Worked up some dream loads for 6.5x55


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cal30_sniper
February 3, 2013, 02:11 AM
Hey all, I've been working on a little pet project, and I thought I'd share. I've been trying to turn a 6.5x55 sporter into a varmint rifle, and I stumbled down a very nice little side road along the way.

I spent most of the afternoon today at the range working in reloads. I've been playing with 85grn Varminters for a while in my iron sighted 16" barrel Swede, but I finally ran some through my 20" barreled sporter with a Weaver V9 on top today, and actually let the barrel cool some between shots (I was swithching back and forth between it and one of my 7x57s). I was rather shocked by some of the results.

The best load I found for recoil and accuracy was a Sierra 85 grn Varminter over 40.5 grns of IMR-3031 with CCI 200 primers and Winchester cases on a short-stroke FL resize (one thread above the shellplate, trying not to overwork the improperly sized case head of Winchester brass). That load gave me right at 2850 fps out of the 16" barrel, so it should be doing about 3000 fps out of the 20" barrel (didn't have a chrony today). My 3-shot group at 100 yards measured 0.9" center to center across the widest point. However, that included a called flyer from the muzzle blast of the short barreled 7mm-08 going off in the next lane right before my trigger broke. The 2 shots without the flyer measured only .280" across.

I ran tests with 41.7 grn and 42.9 grn as well, and found them to consistently fly into 1.4-1.5" groups. Largest group size with those loads was 1.5". However, the increased charge also sharpened up the recoil a bit. It wasn't as fun as the 40.5 grn load, and 40.5 also appeared to be the sweet spot for accuracy.

This is on a military trigger and a non-bedded stock. As I continue to improve the rifle, I'm confident I can go sub .5 MOA on a regular basis with this load. For those of you out there worried about stabilization issues with a light bullet like this in a military barrel, don't. So far it's performed excellently in both of my rifles. Even the 39.0grn load that I plink with in my iron-sight carbine is devastating on smaller game. It turns jack-rabbits into grenades. I've managed to hold right at MOA groups even with the iron sights and short barrel, as long as I keep the barrel cool. That rifle is bedded with a Timney trigger.

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