do you load 6.5 x 53R?


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novice2009
July 29, 2009, 05:41 PM
I have a Belgian rifle that takes 6.5 x 53R. This is, from what I can gather, a rare load. I have not found it for sale anywhere, and loading dies start at about $150.00. I also know that my particular bore needs a .264 bullet and most 6.5's are .257. (I didn't know this when I fired it) The 40 rounds of ammo I found 15 years ago has the .257 bullets. I have fired 2 or 3 rounds thru it and accuracy is terrible, which is to be expected with an under bore bullet. If you have what it takes to load this particular round, could we make a deal for a few rounds to see how this rifle shoots, before I go and invest that amount in something that isn't worth the investment. I have had several gunsmiths look at this rifle and all of them think it is sound, but just to be on the safe side until I have a little more time with it, I would like some more moderate loads. I am also open to other options, such as rebore to a more modern caliber, or ???? Help please.

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rcmodel
July 29, 2009, 05:57 PM
Actually, most all 6.5's are .264".

No 6.5's are .257".

The 6.5x53R Dutch / .256 Mannlicher actually used a .263" bullet originally but a .264" will work fine.

http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/4,5669.html

http://www.grafs.com/product/225722

rc

Jim Watson
July 29, 2009, 06:27 PM
I would like to see pictures of a Belgian 6.5x53R.

I would slug the bore. Hornady makes a .268" bullet for Carcanos, and it might be what this rifle needs. I have read of British ".256s" with oversize barrels, and they were just Steyrs stocked up in England.

Of course if you actually shot it with .257" bullets, all bets are off and you have an excellent chance of it doing well at .264".

I don't know if 6.5x54 Mannlicher Schoenauer dies would be usable for 6.5x53R. You would have to use the right shellholder, of course.

RSVP2RIP
July 29, 2009, 06:40 PM
It would be in your best interest to get a chamber cast and have it measured by a gunsmith. It could be a rimmed 6.5 x 54 MS (called the 6.5x53R, the Dutch used it). Same dies will work with it and it uses .264 bullets. It could also be a 6.5x53.5 Daudeteau (probably not). It could also be a 6.5x52R, which was nothing more than a 25-35 Winchester, and that uses .257 bullets. It might be that someone got confused when loading it and used .257 bullets or it was a time when in America you could not find 6.5mm bullets to reload?

novice2009
July 29, 2009, 06:48 PM
The rounds that I have came from somewhere out in the land of fruits and nuts, and were purchases through a friend that found them. All the bullets mic at .257. I took the rifle to the big show in Tulsa last year and their were only 2 dealers that I found that had 6.5 x 53R ammo. All of their's mic'ed at .257. One enthusiast that I ran across told me that there were 2 6.5 calibers. One at .257 and one at .264. What I had seemed to verify what I was told, so I have been working under that information since then.
Anyway, thanks for the info, now I have a trail to follow. I'll let you know how it goes.

novice2009
July 29, 2009, 06:53 PM
It would be in your best interest to get a chamber cast and have it measured by a gunsmith. It could be a rimmed 6.5 x 54 MS (called the 6.5x53R, the Dutch used it). Same dies will work with it and it uses .264 bullets. It could also be a 6.5x53.5 Daudeteau (probably not). It could also be a 6.5x52R, which was nothing more than a 25-35 Winchester, and that uses .257 bullets. It might be that someone got confused when loading it and used .257 bullets or it was a time when in America you could not find 6.5mm bullets to reload?
It was cast and mic'ed by the same gunsmith that ordered the ammo for me, which was about 15 years ago. This is for a Belgian carbine, Hembrug 1917. As you can tell from the time frame, this is an ongoing project that keeps getting put on the back burner. Maybe by the time I am old and grey, I will have it up and running. Wait a minute, I'm old and bald now.

novice2009
July 29, 2009, 06:59 PM
I would like to see pictures of a Belgian 6.5x53R.

I would slug the bore. Hornady makes a .268" bullet for Carcanos, and it might be what this rifle needs. I have read of British ".256s" with oversize barrels, and they were just Steyrs stocked up in England.

Of course if you actually shot it with .257" bullets, all bets are off and you have an excellent chance of it doing well at .264".

I don't know if 6.5x54 Mannlicher Schoenauer dies would be usable for 6.5x53R. You would have to use the right shellholder, of course.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=2831845#post2831845
check out this link. It is very similar to what I have.

NCsmitty
July 29, 2009, 07:01 PM
Here's a link to some case dimensions for the 6.5x53R.
I understand that the brass can be formed from 303 British cases with form & trim dies.

http://ammoguide.com/?catid=21


NCsmitty

novice2009
July 29, 2009, 07:03 PM
Here's a link to some case dimensions for the 6.5x53R.
I understand that the brass can be formed from 303 British cases with form & trim dies.

http://ammoguide.com/?catid=21


NCsmitty
The loaded ammo that I have is from .303 cases. If only the bullet was the right one, I would be in business.
Thanks.

NCsmitty
July 29, 2009, 07:51 PM
This is what I would do to get something to shoot, at a nominal cost.

You first have to verify your bore diameter, .263 or 257. If it is .263, get a inertia bullet puller and remove the current bullets. Buy a set of Lee RGB 6.5x55 dies, under $20, and use them to resize the necks to hold a 6.5 (.264) bullet. You'll be able to neck size those cases a few times this way, if the loads are kept reasonable. Of course the cases must be boxer primed to reload.
You should not use the powder charge that was loaded initially. Get a bullet weight of your choice in .264 and load a starting load for that round.
If you need a powder and charge weight to use, PM me and I will send some data to you.


NCsmitty

Jim Watson
July 29, 2009, 08:19 PM
Geography lesson: Hembrug is in Holland, not Belgium.

You undoubtedly have the 1895 Steyr-Mannlicher 6.5x53R which will call for a .264" bullet. Gun show ammo is of notoriously variable quality, clear down to worthless or even dangerous. Enthusiasts can be wrong, too.

By the way, a .256 Newton has a BORE of that diameter, as do the British rifles of that designation. Cut .004" grooves opposite each other and you need a .264" bullet to fill them. Maybe what confused your "enthusiast."

novice2009
July 30, 2009, 07:45 AM
Many thanks to those that have posted relies. I have learned as much or more useful information here in 2 days than I have in all the previous time spent researching this rifle. Some of the other forums I tried have gone days and weeks with no replies at all. Most of the "experts" around town didn't know anything useful. I will keep you all informed on my progress.
Again, THANKS.

novice2009
September 26, 2009, 07:59 AM
Yesterday I was able to put it all together. I used the lightest bullet weight I could find locally, 120gr and only 90% powder load from the load data I had on hand. Started with 40 empty cases, of which 34 survived the loading process. Took my 34 rounds to the range and had a fun time shooting. It was reasonably accurate, as all 34 rounds hit the target. The third group of 5 shots were all 9s, 10s, or Xs. However, I lost 24 cases to splitting. Now I have to regroup and decide if it is worthwhile to find some more brass to work with, or just hang it on the wall.
Thanks again to all that have contributed to my education.

Steve Marshall
September 26, 2009, 10:58 AM
Are you positive that the cartridge is 6.5x53R? The reason I ask is that this was a cartridge for hunting and usually in break action singles or doubles. I'm not suggesting that your rifle is rare but at the very least, it would be uncommon here in the States. I would suggest at minimum, making a chamber cast to compare dimensions. You said that your reloads split which to my mind indicates the wrong or oversized ammunition. All the 6.5's around that time were very similar in size with a few minor exceptions. It would behoove you to find for certain what caliber it is.

novice2009
September 26, 2009, 09:55 PM
The rifle is a Dutch Mannlicher, Hembrug 1917, so it will be uncommon in the states. That is why I have had a hard time getting to fire it. A gunsmith mic'd the chamber and called it 6.5x53r, which research tends to support. The ammo I started with came from The Old West Scrounger about 15 years ago, and was in British 303 cases. I have no idea how they were resized or loaded, other that it had a round nose 160 grain bullet that mic'd at .257. I slugged the bore and it checked at .263/.264. Of the original rounds, I only fired 7 because of the terrible accuracy, and did not encounter any of the splitting issues of yesterday. Basically I pulled the old bullets, dumped the powder, recharged and seated the new 120gr bullet without a crimp. There were no feeding issues, just the split cases. When you mention over size ammo, are you talking bullet, case length, powder charge or something else? I am open to any and all questions, suggestions, criticism, etc.

Steve Marshall
September 26, 2009, 11:37 PM
I guess I keep stumbling on the .257" bullets. When you reseated .264" bullets did you feel any resistance? .007" isn't much difference but... That would be akin to seating .284 bullets in a .270 Winchester. When I used the term oversized, I meant brass that had been sized too much. Poor choice of words on my part. The cracked cases might just be due to age and/or annealing. Perhaps you could try annealing the remaining 7 cases? Will the empty brass still chamber? Considering that you reduced the charge by 10% it's possible they didn't expand much. What dies did you use to reseat the bullets? If you did/can get ahold of a 6.5x54 die as another suggested, you might get a lot closer than you think, as there is only about .010" difference to the shoulder and .024" difference to the neck.

novice2009
September 27, 2009, 05:34 PM
I guess I keep stumbling on the .257" bullets. When you reseated .264" bullets did you feel any resistance? .007" isn't much difference but... That would be akin to seating .284 bullets in a .270 Winchester. When I used the term oversized, I meant brass that had been sized too much. Poor choice of words on my part. The cracked cases might just be due to age and/or annealing. Perhaps you could try annealing the remaining 7 cases? Will the empty brass still chamber? Considering that you reduced the charge by 10% it's possible they didn't expand much. What dies did you use to reseat the bullets? If you did/can get ahold of a 6.5x54 die as another suggested, you might get a lot closer than you think, as there is only about .010" difference to the shoulder and .024" difference to the neck.
The .257 bullets were in the reloads when I bought them. After firing the first seven rounds, and having difficulty hitting a 3ft x 3ft target at about 30 yards, I knew that something was affecting accuracy. My first thought was that the barrel was shot out and no good any more. At the big gun show in tulsa, several firearms dealers looked at the barrel and all concurred that the barrel was in good shape. That is when I mic'ed the bullets. They all mic'ed at .257 which is the minor diameter of the lands in the rifle. So with this combination the bullets would never really grab the lands, get no spin and may leave the barrel in any direction. I suspect the cracked cases were poor treatment prior to my getting them. When I loaded the very first .264 bullet, before we went any further, I dropped it in the chamber. It went in and came out with very little resistance, definitely not enought to jam. I didn't try the fired empty brass to see if it will rechamber, but it came out without difficulty. Annealing is a definite possibility if I decide to continue with this rifle. It is a family heirloom and there is no way I would get rid of it. Collectors might want it to remain in it's current condition, but I am toying with the idea of rebarreling or rechambering to something more modern and available.

Ol` Joe
September 27, 2009, 08:46 PM
I guess I keep stumbling on the .257" bullets. When you reseated .264" bullets did you feel any resistance? .007" isn't much difference but... That would be akin to seating .284 bullets in a .270 Winchester

I think the confusion around the bullet diameter is from the fact the true "bore" size of a 6.5 MM is .256" and the groove diameters measure .264" with the exception of the Carano`s .268" Grooves.
If you recall the old 256 Newton was a 6.5 mm but used the bore diameter in its name. The 275 Rigby is a similar situation, a 7mm/.284 cal cartridge but useing the .275" bore diameter for its name.

sportclay
October 22, 2009, 03:25 PM
I'm a new guy to this site but have been shooting oddball/obsolete cartridges for 45 years or so. I have had one of the Dutch Mann. and currently have a Reilly (a London gun)SxS double rifle in this cartridge. ".256 Mannlicher" It is regulated for a 160 gr. bullet. Older factory rounds( Kynoch and Norma) I have shot over a chrono have produced 2350-2375 fps. I have used .303 cases for forming brass. Back chamfering is sometimes necessary. but the rims do need turning to the necessary rim groove or bolt face dia.. Several years ago while on Hatteras Is. NC I stopped in a Gun/tackle shop in Frisco and found a bonanza of old Norma and Rws brass and loaded ammo for about 20 different cart. The owner had bought out another gun shop and this was stuff that he didn't really have a use for. he had no use for the uncommon calibers so I bought it all. amongst the lot was 4 boxes of 6.5x53R DM 160 gr. I have been using these since. The low pressure and only necksizing has kept the first 20 of the cases going many times. I have not had a case failure yet. This is a great cartridge and in a bolt gun the performance could be pushed quite a bit over my break action pressure limits.
The Dutch Mann did not like anything but 156-160 gr bullets. A friend now owns this and shoots it regularly. Keep poking around the old gun shops and shows and this stuff surfaces once in awhile. I use 35.5gr of 3031 with a 160gr Hawk bullet .264" It regulates in the double and kills deer very dead.

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