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260 Rem vs. 6.5x55 ?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Richard.Howe, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Well-Known Member

    Please, no flames or comments like "the deer won't know the difference." :) I'm aware that these rounds are only marginally different, but I'd like to discuss those differences (for example, the 260 brass isn't yet made by Lapua or Norma).

    I'm in a position to buy the 6.5 I've always wanted. The Sako 75 Finnlight is chambered for 6.5x55, and the Cooper Classic is available in 260 Rem. The Remington Titanium is also offered in 260. All three are acceptable to me and each rifle has its strengths and weaknesses. I may move to a varmint-style platform with a heavier and longer barrel...can't decide, but this isn't the central issue.

    I am a handloader, and this gun will be used primarily for southern beanfield whitetail and an occasional western mulie. I already have a 308 and 300 Win Mag for other types of hunts. This rifle will be my "finesse" gun with low recoil and high BCs.

    My question is, if it were your choice, and there was a rifle chambered in both 6.5x55 and 260, which would you purchase, and why?

    Have a great weekend,
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2005
  2. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    The 6.5x55 has a little more case capacity, so it should yield a little more velocity at the same max pressure.

    Also make sure you are getting the twist you need.

    In a short action, 260.
  3. buzz meeks

    buzz meeks Well-Known Member

    The Swede was designed with the heavier bullets in mind. Its greater case capacity is an advantage there. And most of the Euro 6.5x55 rifles have an appropriately fast twist. I choose the old six-and-a-half Swede.
  4. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

    6.5x55 rules....

  5. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    You've got a 308 for the bigger stuff - use the 6.5mm chambering for the lighter/smaller deer. I vote for a short-action, and therefore 260.
  6. CB900F

    CB900F Well-Known Member

    Mr. Howe;


  7. jem375

    jem375 Well-Known Member

    the 260 since you reload........lots of 308 cases around........
  8. Ranger61

    Ranger61 Well-Known Member

    I have rifles in both 6.5 X 55 and 260 and I would go with a 260 simply because of the ready availability of factory ammo. I also reload but its nice in case of an emergency to be able to get factory ammo a the local shops in the areas that I hunt. Here in Minnesota, Remington 260 is widely available while 6.5X55 can be found but is much less common.
  9. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    If you get a barrel with a twist similar to that of the swedish barrels 1 in 7.7" I think, you can shoot bullets up to 160 gr. The .260 isn't an improvement on the 6.5x55, its just a cartridge with similar ballistics and given a name that isn't so intimidating or confusing to American hunters.
  10. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member

    Some thoughts -

    Shorter actions tend to move the balance rearward, which I prefer.

    As a handloader, the availbility of various makes of .260 brass won't mean much, one way or the other, as they can be formed pretty readily, but if you don't want to do that, and still want Lapua brass, then the choice of the Swede is self-evident.

    I prefer to use lapua brass in the Swede, as the head diameter is properly dimensioned at .479", against the US "standard" of .473". Use of .473 brass in a .479 action results in a non-centered primer strike, and implies a non-centered bullet in the chamber/bore, and, at least I imagine, a potential accuracy issue. Another way to put this is that if I weren't willing to spend more bucks for the Lapua brass, I'd avoid the Swede in favor of the .260.

    Given the penetrating and accuracy advantages of premium bullets such as the Barnes and Nosler, I see no purpose in shooting anything weighing more than 140 grains in this caliber. I'd prefer, then, a 1 - 9 twist, favoring the .260 over the Swede's typical 1 - 8.

    If there's ever a possibility of needing factory ammuntion, the Swede has it all over the .260 - it's a popular load, and is extremely unlikely to be orphaned by an uncaring corporate decision.

    As you noted, there isn't much difference, and neither is right or wrong. You could make a pretty persuasive case for choosing one chambering over another just based upon the particular rifle preference. Sako and Winchester in 6.5 Swede, for instance, against Remington and Kimber for the .260. I have an M70 6.5X55 and a 7mm-08 Kimber, and am quite impressed with the Kimber. There's a lot of quality there for a little bit more money than the M70, and significantly less money than the Finnlight. I suspect I've bought my last Remington/Winchester/Ruger.

  11. Mike Hull

    Mike Hull Well-Known Member

    My first centerfire rifle MANY years ago was the Mod94 Swedish carbine in 6.5X55. It was an accurate rifle, though it's extremely short barrel threw a football sized muzzle flash, like a cartoon drawing, and quite visible in broad daylight. I do like the cartridge.

    But I think now, I would also opt for the short actioned 260, with a rifling twist of 1:7.7, or 1:8, which to me means custom heavy barrel, but I'm interested in the long range target potential, not hunting.

    In a hunting rifle, I'd probably go with one of the new carbines in .260 also. My nephew uses one with quite a lot of success on wild pig/boar.
  12. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

    My precioussssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss


    Wait till I do my custom one on the Husqvarna Commercial 98....got to find a hunting bullet long enough :)

    Attached Files:

  13. rust collector

    rust collector Well-Known Member

    Can't go wrong with either one. Pick the rifle you want and the manufacturer will select the chambering. The Swede is a favorite of mine, and the shorter 260 just gives you more action options. This may be less than meets the eye, however, as accurate loads may seat the bullet out beyond short action territory.

    Best thing about both of them: no belt, in more ways than one.
  14. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Well-Known Member

    I've stopped being surprised at the thoughtful answers offered on this board to seemingly esoteric questions. What a great forum. Thanks all for your input.

    Let me introduce another possibility -- the 6.5-284. I can download it to match spec with the Swede (good thing for hunting) or upload for Palma 1000 yard. It's like a 260 with an extra 100 fps available.

    The problem is, I hear tell that the 6.5-285 eats barrels for breakfast. Is this concern overblown (doh, no pun intended)? General experience and feedback on this chambering as compared to the 6.5x55/260?

    What would the recoil numbers look like for a 308 150 gr @ 2850 vs a 6.5 140 gr @ 2800 in an 8-pound setup?
  15. crackerjack

    crackerjack Well-Known Member


    I have shot both 6.5x55 and Rem260 for years you will not go wrong with either caliber. The 260 has the advantage of a short action and the 6.5x55 has the advantage of more choices of commerical ammno. I hand load and have settled on the 260 .Brass is easily converted from 243 or 7mm/08. I'am more comfortable working warmer loads in 260 and short action is felt to have a accuracy edge over longer action by some benchrest shooters. If a rifle I wanted was available only in one of these 2 calibers I would not let the caliber be the deciding factor.
    Hope it helps
  16. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member


    Personally, I'm not sold on the argument that "you can always download a cartridge, so you might as well get the big one." In my experience you get better accuracy when a case is 90% - 95% full. This implies to me that the most accurate approach is to decide what velocity level you want, then buy the cartridge that suits your need - in this case, I presumed, the lower velocity. To get the most accurate loads in a larger case, you'll likely need to load more powder - larger cases/higher velocities mean more recoil, powder expense, and fewer rounds fired at the range prior to being able to boil water on the barrel and receiver. (There's a direct relationship between the amount of powder in the case and how much heat is transferred to the chamber, barrel, and receiver.)

    The 6.5-284 is a very good cartridge, and is well thought of for higher velocity, long range shooting. For my purposes, deer and such out to 400 yards, it's overkill. OTOH, Lapua does make brass for it...

    I have numbers for the difference, but I'm not certain the "foot-pounds of recoil energy" model is particularly useful in comparing loads. Since you're comparing similar bullets, though, a useful comparison might be the relationship of the amount of powder in one case compared to the amount in the other. (If that isn't clear, powder is a mass in gas form exiting the barrel faster than the bullet, so it has a large influence on perceived recoil.)

  17. halvey

    halvey Well-Known Member

    I agree. Downloading generally only works for pistol cartridges.
  18. Vic303

    Vic303 Well-Known Member

    I have a soft spot for the Swede round. THat's what I'd get, no questions asked. But I can't quantify it more than that, except to say I own a couple old M96's ald love them.

    Get the Swede.
  19. Drue

    Drue Well-Known Member

    The 6.5x55 and the .260 are so close in performance that it tough to choose. Neither is in the .30-06 - .30-30 - .223 area of availability but neither is hard to get. I would let the rifle be the determining factor. If I wanted a Sako, CZ or Winchester, I'd go 6.5 Swede. If I wanted a Remington or a Cooper it would be a .260. If there were two rifles of the same make and model, side by side in the rack at the shop, at the same price, one in .260 and one in 6.5x55, I would pick the one with the best looking stock.

    My $0.02


    edited for poor typing skills . . .
  20. Grendelizer

    Grendelizer Well-Known Member

    Sako 75 Now in .260

    Rich, I've got an M38 surplus Swedish Mauser (with a Swift pistol scope mounted in the "scout" position) and a Sako 75 in 7mm-08 (but only because they didn't offer it in .260 at the time).

    Now, if you check Beretta-USA's site (http://www.berettausa.com/product/product_rifles_main.htm ), it seems Sako is about to introduce their 75s in .260). Anybody looking for a used Sako 75 in 7mm-08? ;)


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