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6.5mm Bullets for Large Game

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Zak Smith, May 30, 2006.

  1. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Ok, guys, I need some advice here.

    I want to develop a good hunting load for a 260 Rem, for medium-sized to large non-dangerous N.A. game. Since 6.5x55 has proven effective on Moose, I don't see why this should be a problem. Expected terminal velocity is 2800 down to 2000 fps.

    The advice I need is: Which specific bullets are good for this application? If you have used 6.5mm / 0.264 bullets on medium and large game, I request your feedback.

    I have the following additional requirements:

    1. BC must be at least 0.40

    2. The bullet must be known for shooting accurately (not being "sensitive" or "fiddly"), where accurately means 1 MOA or better.

    Bullet weight cannot be more than about 150gr, preferrably in the 140gr-range so close-range ballistics will match my "match" loads.

    Perusing some bullet catalogs, these looked like they might be appropriate:

    Speer TBBC 140gr #1735 0.405
    Barnes TSX BT 120gr #26441 0.441
    Barnes TSX FB 130gr #26442 0.479
    Sierra GK 140gr #1730 0.485
  2. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

    I've used the 140 grain Partition and 140 grain A-frame on good sized mule deer from a 6.5x55 at 2750-2800fps. Both are tougher bullets than required for my uses. I had no trouble making either bullet shoot well, with the Nosler slightly edging the A-frame in accuracy. I haven't tried the 130 Swift Scirocco yet, but I intend to work up a load by deer season.

  3. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member

    Since you asked...

    1. Nosler Partition 140gr, 0.490 BC, famous for expansion and high weight retention

    2. Hornady Spire Point 140gr, 0.465 BC, flat base

    3. Remington Core-Lokt 140gr Spire Point, .465 BC, flat base (I've taken several whitetail and mule deer with this bullet, usually from a 6.5x55 M38 Swede sporter w/20" barrel) Cheap, but good terminal performance, long bore rider and dual cannelure.

    4. Hornady SST 140gr, 0.520 BC, Boattail Polymer Tip, based on earlier Hornady Interlock design.

    [Note] The above Hornady SST is the bullet that I've pictured here on THR penetrating a mule deer from a laser-ranged 303 yard chest shot through to the hindquarters, retaining 119 grains. Nearby fragments brought the total weight up to 130 grains. The gun was a Howa Sporter in 6.5x55 Swede, so the ballistic cousin .260 Remmie should be right there. Needless to say, this is one darned nice hunting bullet in 6.5mm if you're not looking for a solid.

    Pics in this thread:

  4. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

    I've used the 140 grain Remington bullet as well. It's a solid performer and accurate enough when sorted by weight. I really don't think you need more bullet for anything less than elk.

  5. esheato

    esheato Well-Known Member

    I'd go Barnes and not look back. I've got a friend that shoots them exclusively and raves about them. TSX is supposedly easy to work with and accurate to boot. If I ever do anything larger than deer, it's what I would use.

  6. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Well-Known Member

    I use the Gameking.

    I get sub MOA out of my M70 Featherweight 6.5x55. At about 2500fps, it shot completely through a small doe at about 50yds, penetrating two ribs and the offside leg bone, leaving a 1" exit wound. She ran about 10yds and collapsed.

    I've heard they can be explosive at high velocities, but expansion didn't seem excessive in my example. The best part? They're cheap. You can get a box of 100 for about $18-$20. That gives you lots of practice ammo. They're all I use. I've probably put 300+ through my rifle. I'm comfortable with their performance.

  7. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Well-Known Member

    All the std jacketed bullets by Speer, Sierra, Hornady, and Nosler were designed for the Swede and other old 6.5 cartridges. The 260 is a clone of the 6.5x55 in a modern case, any of these bullets will work well on game. The manufacures have had 100 yeara to perfect them. I use the Hornady 129 on deer in my 260 and have used it in my Swede with excellent results. I`ve also used the 140 Hornady and Sierra in them and couldn`t find fault.

    Finn AAguaard (sp?) had a artical in the American rifleman once on the 6.5x55 and claimed the 140 Sierra out penitrated a 180 gr Core Loct from a `06 and opened reliably on game. He stated it was his idea of the perfect bullet for the swede.
    I`ve talked to a few Swede users and seen many on the web that that use a 120 gr Ballistic tip or other std constructed bullet on deer and claim they are great. I don`t go much for velocity over bullet weight but too many have been happy to say they don`t work. If the game was Moose or Elk I`d likely go to a Partition or X-bullet outher wise I see no need for an expencive bullet when the cheap ones work so well, and are likely more accurate.

    I`ve never recovered a bullet from a deer shot with a 6.5mm. That`s not saying alot as I`ve only taken 6-7 animals with them, but I thought I`d toss it in. One was a whitetail at about 75/80 yds with a 129 gr Hornady SP from my 260 at ~ 2700 FPS m/v. I hit it sharply quartering in the left front shoulder, clipped the bone penitratred the rear of one lung, paunch, liver and exited the front of the off rear ham. The deer went ~130lb and dropped in about 30 yds of where he was hit. What more can one ask for?? I`m experimenting with the same bullet now in my new 6.5x284. It should work just as well.
  8. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    Finn Aagaard said the 6.5x55 was the perfect deer cartridge.I've used it for many years and have to agree.I always used the 140 which I think is the ideal weight.While the 6.5x55 is used in Scandinavia for moose ,it is the minimum cartridge.The moose there are not as large as ours and most use 308 or 30-06. The 140 Nosler Partition would work as well as any for elk or moose.
  9. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Well-Known Member

    I use 120 grain ballistic tips almost exclusively. Except for my first deer (inexperience) ALL were one shot take a step and drop kills.
  10. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Any (more) comments on the following?

    Swift A-Frame
    Swift Sirocco II
    Trophy Bonded Bear Claw

    (All in the 130-140gr range)

    Has anyone had a terminal ballistics "failure" with the TSX's, especially at low impact velocity?
  11. Bob F.

    Bob F. Well-Known Member

    One loading manual said in testing they were surprised best accuracy was from a 160gr RN. Hornady makes one. Real tempted to work up a load for my M38 for brush, maybe get a chance at a blackie; could go up 500 lbs here. I think that would be plenty of gun at reasonable range and, as always, good placement.

  12. Corey ACP

    Corey ACP Well-Known Member

    Zak, I shoot a .264 Win. mag and for the last 27 years have used it exclusivley for big Utah mule deer. I only shoot my reloads. I began using the Sierra 140 gr. gameking, (they were the least expensive I could find and at that time cost was a big factor.) and did take several deer with that bullet. In each instance, the bullet broke apart inside the deer I was only able to recover pieces. I felt penetration was not good enough.
    I then began to use the Nosler 140 gr. Partition and have not changed since. I have recovered several slugs and all were mushroomed in the typical partition fashion. Most however were not recovered as they passed through the animals.
    Accuracy out of my rifle is acceptable for hunting with groups between 1-1/2" - 2" at 100 yds.

    Good luck,
  13. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Well-Known Member

    Corey, I've heard of people having that problem with the Gamekings, but it always seems that they're pushing them hard from either a hot 6.5x55 load (or 250rem) or from a 264WinMag. I've never heard of a problem in standard 6.5x55/260rem loads (nor did it fragment in my 6.5x55 load). They're probably not the right bullet for faster velocities. I know at 2500fps, they'll fully penetrate and not fragment on our small mid-atlantic deer.

  14. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member

    As for the Nosler 120gr Ballistic Tips...

    I ran them for a bit in my 6.5-06, H-4831SC at 3200+fps. My bad, they exploded inside a whitetail, tiny copper speckles and way too much ruined (liquified) meat. I understand Nosler has since then thickened the bullet jackets, but I haven't used them since for hunting. Paper targets, yes, but not deer.
  15. esheato

    esheato Well-Known Member

    I'll second that...

  16. MLC

    MLC Well-Known Member

    I was impressed with the 140 at 6.5x55 velocity.
    I nailed the humerus of a doe straight on at less than 50 yards and the bullet continued through the deers vitals and out the abdomen just forward of the left leg. I found a 1" chunk of humerus in the abdomen.
    I've shot deer with the 120 Nosler and the 160 Sierra(large wound channel) and think with your 260 I'd pass on the premium bullets because under 3K fps the 6.5 bore has more than ample lethality with cup and core bullets.
  17. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

    I've used the 129 SST on a 300 yd. bighorn ram, 300 yd. goat, and 400 yd. cow elk, all from an XP-100 handgun 6.5-284 @ about 2700 mv, and all worked just fine. if i were to do it again, i'd probably opt for the higher BC/SD of the 140 SST.
  18. Dale Taylor

    Dale Taylor Well-Known Member

    I shoot 139 grain Norma 6.5x55 for deer and hogs here in Florida. Wouldn't hesitate on elk or moose. Shot placement is important. daleltaylor@att.net

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