6.5X55 vs the 260 Rem


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Ol` Joe
March 11, 2009, 11:59 PM
I notice a lot of people questioning the difference between the 260 Rem and the 6.5X55 here and on other forums. The general thought seems to be the Swede case appears larger so the velocities it can achive must be higher. In real life though the Swede isn`t large enough to gain any notable amount of speed over the 260, even at similar pressure. I meausured both cartridges today, both were fired unsized primed Remington brass on my Pact digital. The readings I recorded are as follows;

6.5X55
178.1 gr empty and 236.5 gr full to mouth lip; = 58.4gr water

260 Rem
167.9 gr empty and 222.9 gr full to mouth ip; = 55 gr water

3.4gr total variation

I also looked at my own findings on both cartridges in my records as to velocity with similar loads. The rifles were a M700 DBL in 260 Rem and a Mark X with a Hart bbl chambered for the 6.5X55, both barrels are 24". The results might suprise some.

6.5X55 140 gr Nosler Competition HP
46.0 gr H4831sc
WLR
2595 fps @ 44,612 PT

260 Rem 140 Nosler Competition HP
46.0 gr H4831sc
WLR
2599 fps @ 43,609 PT

another load with the 129gr Hornady SP

6.5X55
46.0gr R19
WLR
2755 fps @ 44,408 PT

260 Rem
46.0 gr R19
Rem 9 1/2
2706 fps @ 43,609 PT

The underlined "PT" figures are readings from a Pressure Trace unit. They ARE NOT PSI. The numbers are raw figures from the unit and not representative of any specific unit of measure. They are however a fair comparison of the pressures produced in each cartridge. All velocity/pressure numbers are the average of 5 shots.

You can see the velocities are very close and the pressure appears to be very similar in each case. I have never ran each to max pressure with similar loads to say the Swede will or won`t excede the 260 or by how much but I doubt there will be much difference if any. Certainly not enough to say one is flatter shooting, more deadly, or in anyway a better cartridge IMHO.

Another way to view this is to look at a reloading manual such as Speer or Nosler. Speer states in theirs the pressures are held to a max of 50K CUP not the 46K CUP SAAMI recommends, and not to use in old rifles without reducing charges. Nosler simply says to use only in modern firearms in good condition, hmmm.
CIP gives the Swede a max PSI piezo of 55,100 psi instead of 48K psi for SAAMI. I`m not sure but I would suspect Speer and Nosler both are holding pretty darn close to CIP figures. SAAMI lists the 260 at 60,000 PSI piezo or about 4,900 psi more then the 6.5X55s CIP.
Studying the Speer #13 data shows the Swede useing 1-2 gr more of the same powder in most max loads for up to 100 fps less velocity. Nosler shows a similar trend. IMHO the best argument in favor of one over the other, is if the shooter was set on a long or short action and wanted the cartridge to fit it properly.
Your findings may vary, and you`re free to disagree. This is only a sample of one...:)

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Gewehr98
March 12, 2009, 12:44 AM
The 6.5x55 Swede is underloaded by U.S. commercial ammunition manufacturers in deference to all the small-ring M96 Mauser actions imported over the years. (Sound familiar, aka, 8mm Mauser and .45-70?) Its working pressures are considerably less than the .260 Remington, thanks to that liability concern.

THR member USSR has a 6.5x55 Winchester Model 70 F-Class gun, and I'm sure he loads it to proper potential when punching holes in targets at 1000 yards.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5306154&postcount=6

All indications I've seen in the F-Class world support the notion that the 6.5x55 has more steam than the .260 Remington, when allowed to do its thing in a stronger action. With the heavier 6.5mm bullets, say between 139gr-160gr, the 6.5x55 gains about 100fps over the shorter .260 Remington. I suppose you could seat those bullets out further in the .260 Remington, giving you back boiler room capacity at the expense of making it a single shot boltgun.

I'm a tad biased, though, because I own a pair of M96 Swedes and an AG-42B Ljungmann. My F-Class rifle? It's a 6.5-06, running a moly-coated 123gr Lapua Scenar at just over 3200fps.

jpwilly
March 12, 2009, 01:40 AM
^ So that's a 6.5x63mm then! :D

Gewehr98
March 12, 2009, 01:52 AM
Although I use 7x64 Brenneke brass for my 6.5-06 rounds. :D

USSR
March 12, 2009, 12:18 PM
Bottom line?

The 6.5x55 Swede is underloaded by U.S. commercial ammunition manufacturers in deference to all the small-ring M96 Mauser actions imported over the years. (Sound familiar, aka, 8mm Mauser and .45-70?) Its working pressures are considerably less than the .260 Remington, thanks to that liability concern.

+1. And, there are still single-lug 6.5x55 Norwegian Krags out there.:eek: When you take a cartridge deliberately downloaded pressure-wise due to old, structurally weak receiver designs still out there in shooter's hands, and chamber it in a modern, strong receiver, there is simply no reason not to run it at modern pressure if you so desire. Once you load the 6.5x55 to the same pressure as the .260, the increased case capacity allows you to run about 100fps faster than the .260 with the ~140 grain bullets. This is empirical data obtained at the firing line.

Don

cracked butt
March 12, 2009, 06:48 PM
The real problem I see with the .260 is not that its a lacking cartridge, but its poor implementation. Its chambered in short action rifles which really do it a disservice. To take advantage of the case capacity, you need to seat those long 6.5mm bullets way out which turns a short action into a single shot- this is not a problem with a rifle built around the 6.5x55 swede round.

Zak Smith
March 12, 2009, 07:00 PM
260 Rem 140 Nosler Competition HP
46.0 gr H4831sc
WLR
2599 fps @ 43,609 PT

I am not sure the comparison is valid considering you're getting about 200 fps less with 140-gr-class bullets than everyone I know shooting .260, including me and the Black Hills and Cor-Bon "factory" ammo.

-z

Zak Smith
March 12, 2009, 07:08 PM
To take advantage of the case capacity, you need to seat those long 6.5mm bullets way out which turns a short action into a single shot- this is not a problem with a rifle built around the 6.5x55 swede round.
This is not really true. By increasing the OAL with a 139gr Scenar from 2.800" to 3.000", you gain a whopping 2.8 h2o grains if case capacity, which according to QuickLoad will get you 33 fps with H4350 or 32.5 fps averaging the "best" top 4 powders for each case capacity.

There are a bunch of great long-action 6.5mm cartridges. The .260 is popular (and gaining popularity in the LR crowd) because it works in a short action and feeds from AICS mags.

Ol` Joe
March 13, 2009, 10:32 PM
I am not sure the comparison is valid considering you're getting about 200 fps less with 140-gr-class bullets than everyone I know shooting .260, including me and the Black Hills and Cor-Bon "factory" ammo.


ZaK the point I was trying to make is equal powder charges were produceing very similar pressures. If you go back and reread, I stated I haven`t ran either of these cartridges to max pressure with the same powders and bullets. Both cartridges will produce 150 or more fps, I just listed the loads I did trying to keep all things as equal as possible.

This is not really true. By increasing the OAL with a 139gr Scenar from 2.800" to 3.000", you gain a whopping 2.8 h2o grains if case capacity, which according to QuickLoad will get you 33 fps with H4350 or 32.5 fps averaging the "best" top 4 powders for each case capacity.


Very good! That is the point I was trying to convey, 3.5 grs of added powder won`t give you enought extra velocity to matter. If you only can expect 2.8 gr to add 33 fps how much do you thoink 3.4grs will add? They just are not different enough to claim one is better other then due to action preference or which looks sexier to you.

Greebe
March 20, 2009, 04:02 AM
Interesting post. I have been looking to get a 6.5 cal barrel on one of my actions for some time now. Pretty much it has come done to the .260 Rem of the 6.5x55.

The only thing that I have heard against the .260 Rem is that it can be harder to find an accurate load/rifle combination. Is there any merit to this? I don't mind working to tailor a load to a rifle but this can lead to a less choice of powder/bullet combination's.

I was planning on putting together a 6.5 cal rifle for testing and hunting. I am moving out of Alaska this summer and would like to get back into competitive shooting again. Thinking of switching to a 6.5.

This would give me some time to play around with a 6.5 for a while before deciding if I want to stop using a .308 for long range shoots and switch to a 6.5.

If these two cartridges are so similar, why is the 6.5x55 not used more for competition? Is it just because the .260 barrel can be easily swapped on a short action receiver in place of a .308?

I read Zak's article on the .260, and he gives a conniving argument for it as well as the 6.5 cal bullet.

What is your opinion on the 6.5x55 Zak?

Thanks for indulging me,
Greebe

USSR
March 20, 2009, 08:46 AM
If these two cartridges are so similar, why is the 6.5x55 not used more for competition? Is it just because the .260 barrel can be easily swapped on a short action receiver in place of a .308?

Two reasons: First, as you mentioned, the short action can be used with a .260; and second, while the .260 is relatively new, the 6.5x55 is more than 115 years old. Guys like new cars and new cartridges. IMHO, the lack of quality brass is the only downpoint of the .260.

Don

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 20, 2009, 11:53 AM
Ol' Joe, very very interesting test with identical charges and barrel lengths; thank you! Not much difference; Either neck-in-neck, or the Swede having only a measly 40-50 fps advantage.

But then again, I guess you might suspect that with identical CHARGES they'd have the same ballistics, whereas if the swede was loaded with more powder (more than the .260 could accept, but within safe ranges), it would have the edge, and yet have nearly identical pressures to the .260 with a lesser charge.

Zak Smith
March 20, 2009, 12:58 PM
The only thing that I have heard against the .260 Rem is that it can be harder to find an accurate load/rifle combination. Is there any merit to this? I don't mind working to tailor a load to a rifle but this can lead to a less choice of powder/bullet combination's.

I know quite a few people shooting the .260 for long-range matches around here. They use a variety of brass, bullets, primers, and powder. The most common powder is H4350 followed by H4831SC; generally BR2's or 210M's; a mix of Remington brass and converted Win or Lapua 243; and usually either the 139 Scenar or the 142 SMK. If you have an accurate barrel, you should be able to start with your choice from those (or other substantially similar) components, and just develop the load until you get the velocity you want at acceptable pressure. My recipe uses converted Lapua brass, BR2's, H4350, and the 139. I have two associated about to develop this load in their two new .260 rifles.

My impression is that most people who want one of these 6.5's and use a longer action do it in 6.5-284 or 6.5-06. 6.5x55 would be a natural alternate to those two, with a little less ballistic potential. For a short action, you're stuck with 6.5x47, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .260 Remington.

woof
March 20, 2009, 02:09 PM
The greatest competition to the .260 has been the 7-08 not the 6.5x55. I think in due time the .260 will do to the 6.5x55 what the 7-08 has done to the 7x57.

jpwilly
March 20, 2009, 03:15 PM
IMHO, the lack of quality brass is the only downpoint of the .260.

How could the lack of qauality brass be a downside to .260? It's a 308 case necked down. 308 has more quality brass available than most other calibers.

USSR
March 20, 2009, 04:25 PM
How could the lack of qauality brass be a downside to .260? It's a 308 case necked down. 308 has more quality brass available than most other calibers.

Yes, Lapua has .308 brass available in that chambering, but you cannot buy Lapua brass in .260, and Lapua is the "gold standard" of quality brass. So, many guys who want quality brass are necking up Lapua .243 brass or necking down Lapua 7mm-08 or .308 brass. That's a pain in the arse. Lapua 6.5x55 brass is readily available.

Don

jpwilly
March 20, 2009, 06:00 PM
Don, I'm pretty sure we'll see Lapua producing 260 Rem Brass as demand rises - you've got a point regarding necking up or down being a PITA.

gvnwst
March 20, 2009, 07:07 PM
I'm pretty sure we'll see Lapua producing 260 Rem Brass as demand rises
I doubt it. Lapua is allready making and marketing THEIR version of the .260, the 6.5x47, they are ballistic twins. Don't wait for them to come out with it. If they do, they will only lose sales, so you think they will......?
:)

skidooman603
March 20, 2009, 07:32 PM
.260 will never replace the 6.5x55. I want a Ruger #1 in 6.5 so bad right now I would "almost" sell one of my "swedes" to get it. Or wait til I get "my" stimulous. :banghead:

USSR
March 20, 2009, 10:44 PM
Quote:
I'm pretty sure we'll see Lapua producing 260 Rem Brass as demand rises

I doubt it. Lapua is allready making and marketing THEIR version of the .260, the 6.5x47...

Gotta agree with gvnwst.

Don

Zak Smith
March 20, 2009, 10:49 PM
The Hornady brass is apparently really nice.

gvnwst
March 21, 2009, 12:24 AM
The Hornady brass is apparently really nice.

Are you meaning for the 6.5 creedmoor? They don't make .260 brass unless it is a secret or something.

Zak Smith
March 21, 2009, 12:40 AM
Sorry, I was thinking Nosler but typed Hornady. Nosler.

72IH
March 21, 2009, 01:31 AM
I have had excellent results in my .264 Win mag with 4831sc and a 142 sierra match king. The 107s work good to on rock chucks.

I have a 260 in a 700 mountain rifle and have only shot it 3 times. I haven't had time to work up a load for it yet. I know, that it is just wrong to own that for 2 years now and not shoot it. The barrel is too skinny to do much shooting. Some day it will get a new heavier barrel. My hope is to do half round and half octagonal.

Anything in a 6.5 won't disappoint in my book.

gvnwst
March 21, 2009, 01:45 AM
Nosler.
Nice, yes, but very $$$ and hard to find IME...:( Wish it was more available, make getting one more acceptable.

Greebe
March 21, 2009, 03:46 AM
So would the 6.5 Creedmoor be a better alternative to these?

I was originally interested in that cartridge, but I was unable to find anyone that does barrel work for it. All the barrel makers that I contacted did not chamber for it, albeit that was about 6 months ago.

It seems like brass for the 6.5 Creedmoor was a decent price last I checked. Not as easy to find though. Maybe if it ever gets popular before it goes bust I might think about going that route.

Greebe

gvnwst
March 21, 2009, 12:44 PM
Really, if you are willing to get stuck with just one brass source, the 6.5x47 lapua is the way to go, their brass is a good bit better then Hornadys IMO.

Zak Smith
March 21, 2009, 02:04 PM
6.5x47 has less capacity than .260 or 6.5CM and it has to be driven to higher pressures to achieve the same velocities.

6.5 CM is essentially the same capacity as .260 but you only have one source for brass.

gvnwst
March 21, 2009, 10:17 PM
Hmm....okay. A question i have, what would be the "ideal" length for a 1k yd or so target rifle in any of these .260'ish cartridges? 26", 28", or 30"?:D

Zak Smith
March 21, 2009, 11:05 PM
I wouldn't go longer than 26" if you want to suppress it. In any case, I like the 26" length. You'd gain a bit more with 28 or 30, but it's your call.

-z

USSR
March 21, 2009, 11:23 PM
I'm very happy with my 28" Obermeyer in 6.5x55 for F Class competition. Much longer than that, and you have trouble finding a case that it fits in.;)

Don

Greebe
March 23, 2009, 01:08 AM
Why couldn't 6.5 Creedmoor be made from a .243, .260, or any other .308 derived case?

The dimensions appear to be that the 6.5 Creedmoor is made from the .308 case.

I always see people saying you can't form the 6.5 Creedmoor from the .308 case.

Here are the dimensions:
6.5 Creedmoor:
http://guntech.com/ammo/6.5creedmoor.jpg

And the .260:
http://www.6mmbr.citymaker.com/i/Tech%20Diagrams/260REM.png

Greebe

Zak Smith
March 23, 2009, 01:12 AM
Look at the base to shoulder distance. That's the main problem.

Greebe
March 23, 2009, 01:23 AM
I'm sorry, but I fail to see how you could not form the 6.5 CM out of a .260 Rem.

Base to shoulder for .260 is - 1.5598"
Base to shoulder for 6.5 CM - 1.5202"

Running the .260 into a 6.5 CM size die should bump that back. Then fireform to get crisp shoulder dimensions.

Is there something that I am missing?

Greebe

Zak Smith
March 23, 2009, 01:28 AM
I'm not sure you could bump a shoulder almost 0.040" without smushing it. I haven't tried. Anyone?

If we're talking about 6.5CM vs. .260-- the effort to convert a "08" case to 6.5CM is much more than the effort to convert any of them in the family to .260. So why bother when the .260 has identical performance?

Greebe
March 23, 2009, 01:38 AM
.040" is nothing

I form .350 Rem Mag out of .300 Win Mags without any problems. That is pushing the shoulder back half an inch.

I used to form .308 out of 30-06 as well and they shot better than some of the match .308 brass I had. The rim of the .30-06 is a hair thinner but that does nothing to effect accuracy.

Greebe

Greebe
March 23, 2009, 01:44 AM
Oh, I forgot to mention the shoulder would be a bit rounded but as I stated above it will get ironed out first time you fire it. Basically it would be like when you fireform a .260 AI out of .260 Rem brass.

Greebe

Greebe
March 23, 2009, 02:42 AM
Zak--

Yeah .260 seems like it would be easier. OK, so 6.5 Creedmoor is back out of the picture.

Seems like the 40 degree shoulder angle on the .260 might feed more reliable in a field gun as well.

Greebe

Greebe
March 31, 2009, 06:03 PM
dead?

gvnwst
March 31, 2009, 06:07 PM
A small update, i just recieved midwayusa's april flyer, and they listed NORMA .260 brass! This must be new, i haven't heard about it anywhere else. IIRC (can't find the flyer right now) it was pretty good price too.

dead?
Mostly:D


What more do you want to know?

jkingrph
March 31, 2009, 06:09 PM
The greatest competition to the .260 has been the 7-08 not the 6.5x55. I think in due time the .260 will do to the 6.5x55 what the 7-08 has done to the 7x57.

Maybe so, but in the meantime I shall keep my 6.5x55's and 7x57 and pass on the other two upstarts.

Gewehr98
March 31, 2009, 06:21 PM
6.5x57.

Make it from damned near any of the x57 brass, be it 7x57, 8x57, or .257 Roberts.

I've seen guys make it from .30-06 brass, although I'd recommend neck-turning.

More zip than a .260, less wear than a 6.5x285 or 6.5-06.

When in Europe, I found it to be very popular.

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