So, should I re-barrel?


December 24, 2011, 04:35 AM
I have a 1913 Swedish 6.5x55 that has a cut down barrel to about 19 inches. The bore is dark and somewhat pitted. The barrel and the receiver/bolt/everything but the stock is matching numbers.
I would like to get it shooting well enough to use as a deer gun.

As it it sits now, its in a military stock thats been sporterized, has 1 inch tall rings on it, with a Bushnell Elite 3200 4-12x40 (too much scope, I know)

Heres what it looks like (different *cheaper* scope in this pic)

I have some,....
139gr SP bullets manufactured in Sweden distributed by Century Arms. (unknown age)
139gr sp bullets manufactured in Yugoslavia distributed by Century Arms. (unknown age)
And I bought a box of Winchester-X 139gr SP today for it as well.

Out to my club range to try all 3 bullet types. Bench rest under the forestock with sandbags under the rear stock. All shooting was at 100 yrds. Barrel was already fouled.
Heres the results, 3 shot groups...

First ammo was the Swede stuff.

Then the Yugoslav stuff

Then the Winchester X

I thought Swedish mausers shot tighter than this. Maybe its my lack of constant practice..maybe its just an old gun?
Thoughts guys?

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Willfully Armed
December 24, 2011, 05:47 AM
Those groups are definitely minute-of-whitetail.

Have you scrubbed that bore with a good cleaner such as Sweets? A few hours with a brush, sweets and hopped turned a M44 barrel that I thought was beyond help, into a bright shiny thing of beauty.

Or yours could be ruined by years of corrosive ammo and improper care.

What's the crown of the bbl look like?

Joshua M. Smith
December 24, 2011, 06:08 AM

Ditto the question about the crown.

This was never meant to be a minute-of-angle rifle and the precision you're seeing is definitely on par with other milsurp rifles I see out there.

Before you change anything, try handloads and/or slightly heavier bullets. The original bullet weighed 156 grains or so and had a long bearing surface. I find that if I use the original bullets in my handloads for early rifles (the 1888 Commission Rifle being but one example) I get much improved precision over later spitzer-type bullets.



December 24, 2011, 08:26 AM
Go get yourself some modeling clay and a big ol bottle of hoppes 9 plug the end of the barrel and pour the hoppes 9 down into it with a funnel from the receiver side until it comes up to the chamber then sit it plugged side down and forget about it until the next morning then unplug the barrel and bore brush the thing until your patches are white youll have a new shiny looking bore.

December 24, 2011, 10:43 AM
If the rifle shoots that good, why can't you use it for deer? My custom carbine shoots 3 inch groups and I have taken many deer with it. I suppose this boils down to "what will other hunters think" because I have a bubba custom military rifle that probably shoots better than the "pretty" rifles they have. Just hunt with it. Personally, I would install a lower set of mounts to get the scope more in line with the bore..........chris3

T Bran
December 24, 2011, 10:56 AM
You will really be upset if the new barrel shoots groups that are even wider than the current one. Give it a good thorough scrubbing and try some different bullet weights bet you will be surprised. If you dont like the looks get some camo wrap and beautify it.

December 24, 2011, 11:03 AM
I'd put a Shilen 22" match grade no 4 contour and match it up with a McMillan stock.

Ol` Joe
December 24, 2011, 11:23 AM
Putting a new after market bbl on the rifle will double what you already have invested in it, and you will still have a bubba`d mil-surp. The rifle seems to shoot the Winchester load fairly well as is and definately is fine for hunting. The group in your picture appears to be sub 2" and closer to 1.5"

If I needed a more accurate rifle I`d look at adding another $100 to the cost of a rebarrel and buying a commercial rifle that will shoot as you want.

December 24, 2011, 12:01 PM
Here's what I'd do. Follow the above advice to clean the bore. Glassbed the stock - very easy - use Brownell's accraglass gel and follow the instructions. Track down some ammo with the longer, heavier bullet that this rifle may like better, but I would have no problem using that Winchester load at all...any rifle that shoots inside 2" will do just fine for a deer rifle.

December 24, 2011, 12:06 PM
I would definitely rebarrel. I would send it to er shaw and get a nice shiny new stainless barrel put on it. Then I would cerakote all the metal work and put it in boyds stock, then glass bed it.

December 24, 2011, 01:22 PM
if giving the barrel a good cleaning doesn't help sarco still has m94 carbine barrels.
i have two swedes, a tweede & a 88commision rifle with a swede barrel and all of them are good shooters reguardless of the ammo used.

December 24, 2011, 03:20 PM
The problem I always have when shooting groups is trying to determine who I am measuring; me, the gun or the ammunition.

I feel I am the greatest variable. How well am I controlling my breathing, jitters, etc.?

The next question is how good of a real world shooter are you when you are in the field? How are you when you are cold, windy, wet, stiff from sitting in a stand for hours or if stalking shooting a moving target?

It really boils down to money. As others have suggested I would clean the barrel ( I use the Outters Foul Out system ). Then I would try different bullet weights.

Finally you can always sell it. That little Swede would make a nice addition to someone's gun rack.

December 24, 2011, 03:33 PM
Leave as is. You have a great deer rifle with those Super-X bullets. Keep experimenting with different American brands like Federal, Hornady, Remington, ect. You would be surprised what the factory loads are capable of. That group with the Winchester Super-X looks like a 1.5" group. That is perfectly acceptable accuracy.

December 24, 2011, 03:38 PM
Swedish 6.5x55 that has a cut down barrel to about 19 inches.That right there is highly suspect.

Perhaps the cutee didn't do so hot a job when he re-crowned the cut-off barrel..
I'd clean it and have a gunsmith re-crown properly it before I did anything else.

And don't put to much faith in old mil-sup ammo.
That might be as good as it gets in any barrel.


December 24, 2011, 04:00 PM
I'm in the "clean that bore and take that rifle hunting" group. Looks to me, in a 3 shot group, you are getting a final flier. I wouldn't think with that barrel being as heavy as it appears to be in the picture that it would be from heatup but you never know. How much time did you allow to pass between each shot when you fired for group? If they were all pretty quick to each other, then it would most likely be from the barrel heating up. If you were going fairly slow then I would have to guess it's more than likely you pulling the last shot. Also, what kind of crown is that? Again hard to tell from the picture but it looks like it's a straight cut barrel with no crown. That is a BIG no no.

Clean that bore really well. I have been getting really good results from Knockout Bore Foam and if it doesn't have a good crown, take it to a competent smith and have one cut into it. 40% of the rifles that have come to me with grouping problems have been either crown damage or some retard cut a crown in while not knowing what they were doing. You have to remember, that is the last thing the bullet, as well as the gas behind the bullet, is in contact with so to disconnect evenly it has to have a perfectly balanced crown. I have found, for my hunting needs, that a good 11 degree recessed target crown offers very good protection and, if done properly, a perfect release.

December 24, 2011, 10:25 PM
Clean that dark bore. Lots of good ways suggested here. I pour the barrel full of KG12 and let it sit for a few days muzzle down. Pull the stopper and catch the KG in a plastic cup. Use that to keep an SS brush wet and have at it from the breech. It'll be shiny in about 15 minutes :)

Literally hose it out with water and blow dry with air. Patch it out with any general purpose bore solvent and then oil. Swab out the oil before the next range session and you might be surprised?

But, like the others, a better crown will go a long way. So will a bedding job. Add all that together with the Winchester ammo you already have worked out, and the deer better lay still :)

There are plenty commercial rifles with 20" tubes. You are not that far off teh mark :)

December 24, 2011, 11:05 PM
Are you trying to hit the deer or the fly on his flank? the groups look ok to me.

December 25, 2011, 09:22 AM
A rifle that has a scope mounted that high off the action and no cheek-piece to raise your eye will be difficult to shoot good groups with. This is because your eye will not be in the same place for each shot. On top of that, My 6.5 Swedes with near perfect bores don't shoot that much better with (one-size-fits-all) factory ammo. Clean the bore--find an Outers "Foul-out" and alternate with carbon solvents and electro-cleaning until you get all the crud out. Build up the comb area on the stock so your eye is aligned with the scope. Learn to handload--Swedes really shine with good handloads. The Sierra 140 grain PSP (flat base) bullet on top of a full case of Reloder22, bullet seated out to kiss the lands and lightly crimped with the Lee collet crimping die will amaze you. Fabulous hunting round for medium-big game too!

December 25, 2011, 10:14 AM
A 3" group at 100 yards is good enough for deer out as far as you would want to shoot them. Actually, it is good enough for most game animals. Has been for centuries. Not all game is dropped with MOA rifles.

December 25, 2011, 01:45 PM
3" @ 100 yds. is going to be 6" @ 200 yds., and so on. If it was mine I would first try a really good cleaning and even a light lappein to smooth out some of the rough spots. And then try some different bullets, powder's, and velocities. I would bet you might be able to get some fair improvement by decreasing velocity a bit. But be carerful with the lapping, you don't want to take off any significant barrel diameter, just a polishing is all that is necessary.

And then optics, be sure the glass your using is not causing some or most the issue. If you have some better glass to try on it, give that a try too. Leupold makes a real clean hunting optic for around $200. 3x9x40 Leupold Hunter, it's really clean glass and will out class any of the bargan optics out there. I shoot sub moa with one I have on a bottom shelf 7 mag..

But if it isn't going to improve using clean up and light lapping, or swapping glass, I would just drop some bucks on a new rifle, if it were me. Other wise you have to consider whether or not re-barreling will provide a cost worthy improvement, if any?

December 25, 2011, 03:41 PM
This is what I got with a nice shiny barrel, Swedish ball, iron sights, at 100 yards.

Your barrel is doing as least as well. These are service rifles not match rifles.

If the pitts and dark bore really bothers you, then an Adams and Bennett barrel is going to be about the lowest cost solution. My rifle gunsmith, a Long Range champ, recommended that option for one of mine, he has chambered a number of hunting rifles with these barrels and he claims they will shoot inside most people.

I have the barrel, I have just not got off my duff and sent the thing to him.

December 25, 2011, 03:46 PM
So, should I re-barrel?

No! Follow the recommended cleaning with a good bore solution, and get rid of the high rings, for something lower.
Perhaps try some Prvi-Partizan or Wolf Gold ammo, although some of Winchester's budget ammo is Prvi, I do believe.


December 25, 2011, 05:27 PM
+2 on Prvi-Partizan for consistency :)

December 26, 2011, 01:39 AM
Ok.....a serious cleaning is in order. I have some Hoppes #9 but I doubt its enough to fill the barrel. I'll give it real good scrub with what I have.
The rings,..theres nothing I can do about them unless I go to an offset mount. The stock 6.5 bolt handle comes straight out and when opening the bolt it flips up to the 12 oclock posistion. This handle on it now..even though it curls downward, it still flips up hi enough to hit the rear bell on my scope when opening the bolt. I'll need a cheek pad on the stock I guess.
I do reload for my .204 and .223 and after rooting around in my gun cabinet discovered a set of 6.5x55 Lee dies, a box of 100 Hornady 140gr SP bullets, a pound of Varget amongst my other powders and I already have a ton of 6.5 brass, so I just need to come up with primers.
But first, a good scrub.

December 26, 2011, 11:45 AM
I wouldn't add a cheek piece, but I would install a Rifle Basix trigger. With some load development, you could end up with a real shooter.

The only other thing that I would consider is a re-crown job.

December 26, 2011, 01:42 PM
Since it has a bent bolt already, there is no reason not to go the next step and get a proper welded bolt handle that will clear the scope. The one you have was a good try, a little fiddling and reweld should get you lower by a bit. It'll be mostly cut if off at the root and rotate the location of the reweld down around the bolt body. This is not home hobby stuff unless you weld for a living?

Next, I'd loose the variable with the zoom collar and consider a fixed power scope with a smaller ocular bell. With these changes, you can drop the scope height somewhat. Then add the appropriate cheek piece and you should be good to go.

Please note that stocks that were built for iron sights needed to get the shooters cheek down low to get behind the sights. So the stock has a fair bit of drop. Now you are going the other way. You need to come up a bit. BUT, that stock is still acting like a bent lever and it will raise up every time you ouch one off. A stock with a straighter comb will transfer the energy straight back and keep the muzzle down. A straighter stock might contribute to better accuracy?

December 26, 2011, 02:16 PM
Rebarreling is not a good option. You'll spend more money (and time) on it than it's worth. You can buy a new rifle cheaper than having that one rebarreled. I had it done and wouldn't go through the process again. It cost me about $600 and it took about 5 months to get it done.

I think you deserve a new convince yourself.

December 27, 2011, 01:19 AM
This rifle is a "secondary" gun or a loaner to any friend wanting to hunt with me. I have a Marlin X7C in .308 I bought last year.
The Marlin has maybe a box of ammo through it and is a sweet shooter.

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