Bolt action rifles 2: 6.5x55


January 3, 2010, 12:32 PM
Well it looks like my orginal post has been closed. Just wanted to thank everyone for the useful information provided. My question was not intended to be on the merits of iron verses scoped rifles. To clarify I am not a new shooter. I have been shooting since I was eighteen (Dad believed everyone had the right to own firearms but did not want them in his home) and have been shooting for over thirty years. I have rifles in pump, semi and lever actions. My son and I have recently taken a hunter safety class and he is now interested in hunting. He is thirteen and we have been out shooting together for the last four years. Looking to buy a bolt action rifle in 6.5x55 for us to have fun with.

To the moderator Art Eatman I apologize for the lack of information in my orginal post that caused the thread to go so far off topic. New around here and don't want to cause any trouble.

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Art Eatman
January 3, 2010, 05:43 PM
No problem. I hope that the title-edit helps.

Probably lots of folks who can offer comments about rifles in 6.5x55.

January 3, 2010, 06:12 PM
I'm partial to the CZ-550. I have two, and one is the "American" version in 6.5x55. I've also got a Carl Gustaf M96 that's getting close to 100 years old. The CZ is my go-to deer rifle. I also use it for general target practice as I can get pretty decent groups with a light hand-load using cheap bullets (doesn't beat up the shoulder or wallet).

There's a lot of other fine rifles available in the caliber. I know the M70 can be had in the Swede, and I also seem to recall seeing Tikka T3's, M77 MkII's, and probably others from the major manufacturers. There's also quite a few sporterized military rifles out there, some done very well. Husqvarna did a bunch, as did Kimber not to mention all the Bubba jobs (some better than others of course).

Most 6.5x55's will tend to shoot the heavier bullets (130-160gr) better than the lighter bullets (100-130gr). The twist rates vary from 1:7.7" on the military tubes to 1:9" on the CZ's. Not sure about the other manufacturers though. Other 6.5mm's like the .260 Rem tend to have slower twist rates favoring the ligher weights. Many 6.5x55's are also throated pretty deeply to accept the 155-160gr bullets that were common in the original military loads.

My CZ shoots the 140gr loads very well. Haven't tried anything heavier in it yet. I still get acceptable accuracy with 120gr bulk bullets, it's just not quite as tight as the 140's.

ETA: If you want irons on the gun, look at the Full Stock version of the CZ-550. It uses the hogsback comb that does a reasonable job in compromising between irons and scopes. The American version is not supplied with irons as the stock is designed for scope use only. That or try to find an older used 550 Lux (good luck finding anyone willing to part with one though). A lot of the sporterized rifles will have irons.

Also wanted to add that besides the twist rate, another reason a lot of Swedes are more accurate with heavier bullets is the aforementioned throats mean that bullets 130gr and under can't be seated close enough to the lands. I can get the Hornday 140gr Spire points just a few thou off the lands and still have nearly if not all of the neck gripping the bullet. The 129gr SP's would barely be in the neck enough to just keep from falling out. Any of the 120gr options would be totally out of the case neck. There's just too much freebore for optimal accuracy.

January 3, 2010, 06:23 PM
I have a Swedish Mauser that has been sporterized (before I got it). It has see through rings, a plastic stock and a Simmons scope. I had to clean a lot of rust off it when it was "new." The sad thing is that it has taken more deer than all of my rifles and my buddies rifles put together. This is with regular old soft point bullets.

This is a backup rifle. I always carry 2 because I don't get to hunt very often and I want to make sure I have a working rifle. It gets loaned out a lot and everyone seems to get at least one deer every time it gets used. The recoil is mild everyone loves it, but they all want a prettier rifle.

January 3, 2010, 07:12 PM
You guys may want to check out both Sako and Tikka rifles. Both offer several of the rifles in their lineup chambered in the under appreciated 6.5x55 swede.

January 3, 2010, 07:56 PM
In 6.5x55mm I favor the CZ 550 Lux or FS just because of the stocks on those rifles; but don't exclude the .260Rem. either, its ballistics are nearly identical to the 6.5 Swede and it is available in a short action.


January 3, 2010, 08:23 PM
Tikka and Sako make great rifles in 6.5x55. Unless your the nostaga type, stay away from the old military surplus. The new actions allow you to hot-rod loads.

Smokey Joe
January 3, 2010, 08:49 PM
Silver Bullet 12--The least expensive entry to the world of the 6.5x55 would be to find a Bubba-ized Swedish Mauser at a gun show. The Swedish Mauser has the nicest workmanship of any of the "common" military Mausers--and very nice accuracy to boot. Doesn't matter where or when it was made, either--They were all well made, out of xlnt Swedish steel.

Now, if you can find one that Bubba cut down the stock of--crudely, you hope (ugly is cheaper)--without messing with the internals, it won't cost an arm and a leg, but it'll work just fine. If Bubba also did a decent job of mounting a 'scope mount, bending the bolt, and modifying the safety, so much the better.

I lucked in to one just as described, bought it, sighted it in during the week, and took it out the following weekend and killed the largest doe I've ever seen. (No, this wasn't an edition of "The Last-Minute Deer Hunter"--I DID have 2 rifles all sighted in and handloaded for, to go deer hunting at the time!)

Last fall I lucked in to another, at a pawn shop; offered less than they were asking, and they took me up on it. To a collector, it'd be a horror show. Its stock was "cut down" (ugh!) and a Pickatinny rail had been installed over the receiver. All the blueing had been sanded off, and the rifle coated with some kind of clear preservative. Bolt was bent, but the safety still unmodified. It looks funny, but if it'll shoot decently, who cares. I stuck a red-dot sight on it, that avoids the area of the safety. That one I haven't had out shooting yet.

My point is, that Bubba'd Swedes are to be had, they are cheap, and still fundamentally dependable.

Handloading works fine with the cartridge. With my deer-hunting Swede, I didn't have time to do so, therefore used ordinary Federal blue-box ammo, the cheap stuff. Worked slick.

The 6.5x55 is a GREAT deer round; nice accuracy, good penetration, low recoil. I started my own son on a .243 Win, but he was slender and small. If your boy is an "average" 13-yr-old, the 6.5x55 oughta work very nicely for him. You, too, will appreciate the low recoil.

Anyhow, enjoy the hunting with your son--first of all for a Swede, then for a deer! :)

January 3, 2010, 09:28 PM
I've got a sporterized Swede that shoots clover leafs with 140 grain Sierra Gamepoints. I've got another, non-sporterized M38 that does the same with 120 grain NBTs. I've got sOme additional test rounds loaded with various other bullets for the sporterized one and will see how it does.

Both mine shoot handloads best and like them seated long. Eager to see how the sporter does with lighter NBTs and TTSXs. IMHO, a great round.

January 3, 2010, 10:37 PM
New here, and really like the 6.5x55 threads I have found. Lots of great posts.

Allow me to say:

Worse mistake ever: Selling my CZ 6.5x55
Best backpedaling ever: Selling a $200 stevens 7mm-08 and ordering a Tikka 6.5x55.

I even got my 6.5 dies back from a friend, when I handed over the 7mm-08.
now to get some IMR4350 :)

January 3, 2010, 10:48 PM
Welcome to THR, timbertoes!


January 4, 2010, 12:03 AM
I've got the Tikka T3 Hunter. Smooth action, short bolt throw, great adjustable trigger ( 2-4 lbs. ) accurate out of the box and dependable. Has a Sako barrel also. One of the best deals IMO and of course a caliber that's hard to beat! Oh I almost forgot! A 1:8 twist rate which CZ does not have!

January 4, 2010, 12:34 AM
I believe, but am not sure, that Ruger chambers a 6.5 as well...

January 4, 2010, 12:54 AM
I believe, but am not sure, that Ruger chambers a 6.5 as well...They do but IIRC they only have the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .260Rem. available, not sure in what models though.


January 4, 2010, 05:03 AM
I found a Sako TRG-S/M995 in 6.5x55 awhile back. Same basic reciever as the Sako TRG sniper platform. Very robust and accurate, slightly heavier barrel. I think these models are sleepers, and can be had for less money than the regular Sako's alone. They come with a factory synthetic stock, that is pretty nice also. If you like black...

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