first time handloader for Tikka 6.5x55


December 29, 2008, 04:07 AM

I actually have two questions...... I'm leaning towards Hornady's LocknLoad single stage kit for $300; also considered rcbs. One of the clinchers is 500 free 129grain Hornady SP bullets with the deal. That's about $150.

I need to decide in two days if I want to take advantage of the free bullets offer. For now my boy is just learning to shoot and will be doing bench shooting most of this year, so accuracy and small groups are a priority. Dead deer will come later.

Hornady seems to have a loyal following. What do you say? How does this round compare for accuracy for heavier bullets (I'm gathering this rifle likes 140s better but at our level I don't know that we'd notice)..


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December 29, 2008, 05:16 AM
For accuracy in the 6.5 caliber you might want to lean towards Lapua Scenar, Sierra Match Kings or Berger VLDS, or something like that.
The wieght of the bullets will depend on the twist rate and maybe even barrel lenght.

December 29, 2008, 12:16 PM
Funny you should mention Lapua bullets...... I just discovered them today. The 144 grain has the highest potential for accuracy, don't you think? BC is
.636, better than Sierras on paper. Wonder how they are in the real world?

As long as I'm getting into this, I might as well pursue the best. I already have Lapua brass..... 200 cases.....

Free bullets aside which press system do you favor?


December 29, 2008, 01:19 PM
I'm partial to the old RCBS Rockchucker--we're talking single stage, right? And that $150 is really only about $90 (still significant) if you shop around.

December 29, 2008, 02:12 PM
I have a Rockchuker...
I personally have only used the 107, 123 and139 grain ones.

BC is one factor on accuracy. Twist rate is another.
Powder is yet another.
Neck Tension is still another, as is primers, or trigget pressure or grip or accuracy of powder load or even scope.

And most important of all... practise.

December 29, 2008, 02:35 PM
Buy European brass cases, Lapua, Norma, Privi, FNM ect ect

American 6.5x55 brass is significantly undersized at the base because we're far too lazy to make it the right way

December 29, 2008, 02:54 PM
My Tikka is a 1 twist per 8 inches.

My son and I are novices so I realize we are the weak link; no sense in handicapping ourselves however.

December 29, 2008, 08:20 PM
mpstan, welcome to the site and congratulations for owning a very nice rifle.
You cannot go wrong with any of the reloading systems mentioned.

I have a 6.5x55 that I built on a VZ-24 Mauser 98 with a medium-heavy barrel for punching paper. You will find that in a modern action as you have or a M98 like I have, you can push the envelope in developing loads for this excellent cartridge.
Most posted loads are restricted to 45,000cup because of the weaker, less safe, M94-96 actions that were chambered for the 6.5.
With a 1in8 twist, the sky's the limit on bullet selection. 139-140gr bullets should be superb out of your rifle, but should handle lighter bullets well too.
My 1in9 twist handles most everything too, but I like the 129-130gr and I'd like to try the 123gr Scenar too.
Slower burning powders usually work best.

Best of luck, be safe and enjoy.
Have a great New Year!


December 30, 2008, 06:56 AM are going to find out that this is a tremendously versatile round. And you have already met some of the friendly folks on this site who are fond of it as well.

My intro to reloading has been with this round and a RockChucker....and I have learned that the reason to go to the to make more cases to reload;) It really does become fun.

I started with the military Swede rifles and finally ended up with a custom barreled Winchester M70. You would think that the 1 in 8 twist would love the heavier bullets....but believe it or best accuracy has been with Sierra Varmint 85gr! I set this up to go ground hoggin last fall......never did that, usually just punch paper. Wow, what a varmint rig it turned out to be. My first hog was a little fellow at aprox 256 yds....made my friend with the 22-250 look at his rifle and wonder what he was missing.....cause he knows that I can load higher if needed. you can see there are lots of options and as mentioned in this string, many things that can have an impact on accuracy. Try them all and have fun with your son.....what a great opportunity for the two of you.

By the way, the 85gr like to be pushed with IMR3031 and when I finally get a chance to work up a load for the Sierra 140gr HPBT it will most likely be Re22 doing the pushing....I found that the Sierra outshot the Hornady in my M63 but your results may vary:D

Have fun, be safe....and Happy New Year!

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