which is the better cartridge in long range work


January 10, 2011, 04:31 AM
Huy guys,

I want to get into long range work. This is out to maximum 600 meters (in Belgium, there are 2 ranges out to 300 and one out to 600 metres, none further).
I'm looking to buy a tactical type rifle (Unique Alpine or AI AW or similar) and i'm not shure wich cartridge would be best.
To limit the price of ammo, I'm limiting my choise to 308, 7.5x55 swiss (I already use this one in my K31) or 6.5x55 swedisch (wich I already use in my swedisch mauser).

Another possibility is the 6.5x47 lapua, but this is limited around here to single shot "match" rifles.



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451 Detonics
January 10, 2011, 06:00 AM
If I were to pick between the two here in the US I would go with the 6.5 in order to take advantage of the great ballistic co-efficient the .264 bullet provides.

January 10, 2011, 06:19 AM
6.5X55 because you have it and it will do the job.

January 10, 2011, 07:44 AM
I really like the 6.5x55 for just about anything. I wish it were chambered in more over the counter rifles.

January 10, 2011, 08:00 AM
In a modern bolt action rifle, the 6.5x55 offers the best ballistics of the four cartridges mentioned, assuming you reload. I use mine for shooting at 1,000 yards, and it only requires 25.5MOA of elevation from a 100 yard zero to reach 1,000 yards.


January 10, 2011, 08:00 AM
If you have affordable GP11 Swiss ammo over their I would use it. Match grade at surplus price. The 6.5 Swed is a nice round.

January 10, 2011, 08:18 AM

January 10, 2011, 03:30 PM
Definately 6.5x55.

January 10, 2011, 03:43 PM
In your case, I think 6.5x55 would be the best.

January 10, 2011, 03:43 PM
yes without question 6.5x55

January 10, 2011, 11:49 PM
I have two 6.5x55 rifles, a 6.5x.284 and am having a 6.5x47 Lapua built. The 6.5x47 is magazine-fed as are the others. For really long-range shooting the 6.5x284 might have an edge due to higher initial velocity and less wind drift, but the 6.5x47 has won a lot of 1000 yard benchrest matches recently. At 500yards nobody can tell the difference between a 6.5x55, 6.5x47 or .260.

January 11, 2011, 08:38 AM
Thanks for the info.

I just came of the line with Germany, the sales rep of Unique who offer a great rifle - http://www.unique-alpine.net/index2.html - at a correct price.

The rep told me 6.5*55 is superior balisticaly buth that it is hard to find good ammo. He advised 300 WM to me.
He said the Sellier & Bellot is not good for the rifle because of slack in case tolerance. Lapua was OK.

Any thoughts?

January 11, 2011, 09:09 AM
Lapua makes the best brass for the 6.5x55 cartridge. I cannot speak for their loaded ammunition, although I suspect it is first rate also. Am I to understand that you don't reload your own ammunition?


January 11, 2011, 09:54 AM
I don't reload YET.

I'm planning to because my "caliber footprint" is changing to 45acp, 223 and this larger caliber.

Have to learn everything about reloading though.

January 11, 2011, 10:26 AM
300 WM is way overkill for 600 meters, not worth the blast and recoil. At that range any of the cartridges you listed will get it done easily.

While the 6.5x55 is a great cartridge I wouldnt throw out the .308 just yet. It is widely used for precision shooting and good loaded ammunition is easy to find.

January 11, 2011, 10:48 AM

If you do decide on the 6.5x55, I would be more than happy to share long range load data for it with you.


January 11, 2011, 11:32 AM
7.5 Swiss GP11 is great, as is the 6.5x47 Lapua.

January 11, 2011, 11:59 AM
Another vote for the 6.5x55 Swede.

Vaupet, do you have a scope on your Swedish Mauser? If so, what scope and mounting system do you use?

January 12, 2011, 03:19 AM
@ K9:
I use my milsurp rifles in wath we call "Ordonnance" matches, wich literally (in french) means "issued rifle matches.
It have to be WW II or earlier issued rifles in original state and with their original iron sights. No scope.

@ USSR: thanks, will take you up on that offer.



Vern Humphrey
January 12, 2011, 11:53 AM
There are two points I'd consider.

If you're going to buy a rifle, then there are modern .308 "tactical rifles" (mostly based on the Model 700 Remington) that are specifically designed for the type of shooting you're talking about.

And because .308 is the civilian version of the 7.62mm NATO, ammunition is plentiful and high quality.

January 12, 2011, 03:36 PM
Welcome to THR :)

OK, I think there are some TIKKA and Sako "tactical" coices in a lot of the calibers discussed here. I'm also pretty sure CZ makes some too. But, you are in Belgium - what is wrong with FN? And there are couple of very nice French rifles we can't get here in the US.

I think 6.5mm or .308 would be my two choices. 6.5 because of performance and .308 because I could get US Gov't rounds off one of the bases for a "discount".

As far as caliber looking into the pipe from your end - what is the best supply of ready made cartridges vs cost vs ballistic performance? How about reasonably priced reloading supplies? Prvi Partizan makes very nice practice rounds for not a lot of money. Lapua makes excellent ammo and very, very good brass - so you shot one of their factory rounds and have the brass for later :)

January 12, 2011, 04:46 PM
I would just go with the caliber that you can find the cheapest, because the key to long-range marksmanship is LOTS OF PRACTICE! Any of those cartridges are more than sufficient for 600m. Just go to the range and figure out your elevation adjustments for each distance you will be shooting at.

January 12, 2011, 05:19 PM
308 is one of my favorite rifle calibers and will do the job you require at that distance...

January 12, 2011, 10:18 PM
Are there any restrictions on ammo components there we may not know about? If reloading, will the factory rounds be boxer primed? Can you catalog order or find what you need to properly reload? The gent you spoke to may have a valid point on ammo.

January 13, 2011, 03:24 AM
As strange as it may seem, FN is not for sale to civilians in Belgium.(they do sell browning hunting weapons and winchester) I can find some old SAFN (sa49) or fal but nothing else.
ALso Sako is considered by the Finnisch autority as "Military", so they require an end-user-certificate wich is to much trouble for individual sales.

The rifle in Pole-position right now is the Unique Alpine, a tactical of German origin, very modular, wich I can obtain directly at the factory. It is, if my info is correct, not available in the US. It is more and more used by European special police forces. They guaranty 1/2 MOA.

Price level is about 20 to 25% less than AI-AW.




Zak Smith
January 13, 2011, 01:25 PM
6.5x55 when loaded in a modern rifle will beat .308, 7.5 Swiss, and 6.5x47 Lapua at long-range due to high BC and/or higher velocity. It should be able to shoot a 139-142 gr match bullets (BC around 0.59 to 0.61) at 2900-3050 fps.

Vern Humphrey
January 13, 2011, 02:09 PM
Indeed it will. But in military rifles, with their long throats (intended for a 160 grain round nose bullet), it doesn't achieve optimum accuracy.

So it really depends on intended use and standards for performance. A purpose-built long range rifle will be better than a century old military surplus rifl;e.

January 13, 2011, 02:47 PM
6.5x55 when loaded in a modern rifle will beat .308, 7.5 Swiss, and 6.5x47 Lapua at long-range due to high BC and/or higher velocity. It should be able to shoot a 139-142 gr match bullets (BC around 0.59 to 0.61) at 2900-3050 fps.

I have loaded the 139-142gr bullets in 6.5x55 to 2950fps for years in my Winchester M70 Match Rifle. The barrel is a 28" Obermeyer. With those high BC bullets, there is simply no need to push them any harder than that.


January 13, 2011, 07:10 PM
Definitely I would go for the 6.5

January 14, 2011, 03:18 AM
Thanks for al the info.
I'm checking at my favorite hardware store to day to check on ammo availability and prices.
I think i'm "falling in love" with the Unique Alpine rifle, which is bad news for my bank account (4500 euros + 2400 euros for a nice Schmidt & Bender pmII = 10000 $)
Also, I learned that there is a chooting range out to 1200 metres in Germany, not to for from where I live, so I shure like a rifle and ammo that goes out to 1000 m.


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