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6.5x55 vs. .270

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by grafsk8er, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. grafsk8er

    grafsk8er Well-Known Member

    i know ballistically that the .270 is ballistically superior in all aspects. but from an ammo price stand point how do these two compare? is the 6.5x55 just as adequate for north eastern white tails as well?
  2. jakk280rem

    jakk280rem Well-Known Member

    i would hope so. if its not, iwouldnt want to see them deer.
  3. jakk280rem

    jakk280rem Well-Known Member

    btw, a 280 rem i ballisticly superior to a 270
  4. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    the differences between the two are so insignificant they practically don't exist.
  5. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Well-Known Member

    Either is fine. I favor the 6.5x55 for its nostalgia, but be aware that if you want it to perform at modern levels in a modern gun, you're going to need to handload. Being a long action, the 270 has never flipped my switch, but if you will depend solely on factory loads, the 270 will be a much more flexible cartridge than the 6.5x55.

  6. sumpnz

    sumpnz Well-Known Member

    The 6.5x55 works just fine for elk, so any deer would not pose much of a problem from a terminal ballistics standpoint. If you're not a handloader though, I'd take the .270. There's just not that much out there for 6.5 Swede factory loads compared to the .270, and as mentioned earlier the 6.5 factory loads are weaker than a modern gun justifies. They download the factory ammo to keep those of us with M96 Mausers from blowing them up with full, modern pressure loads.
  7. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    I do handload, so I'll take the 6.5. Too many great long range bullets. The 270 may be popular, but it does nothing for me.
  8. jefnvk

    jefnvk Well-Known Member

    Past few deer I've shot have been with Rem factory 6.5x55. Every deer I have ever shot has been with a 6.5. Price and availability in MI is pretty similiar, I'd give the heads up to .270 for availability. Meijers and wally world both have had 6.5 on the shelf in the past.
  9. ftierson

    ftierson Member.

    The 6.5x55mm is my favorite cartridge, so you can probably guess what my answer will be...:)

    I own a number of rifles in 6.5x55mm...

    I don't own any .270 Win. rifles...

    In modern rifles and loaded to it's full potential, I think that the 6.5x55mm is a much more versatile cartridge than the .270 Win. There are certainly many more bullets available in 6.5mm than are available for the .270...

    Keep in mind that most commercially available 6.5x55mm rifles will be built on the same long action as the .270 Win., so there's no advantage for that reason.

  10. iamkris

    iamkris Well-Known Member

    How have we, as a society, come to believe that we need a ,600 RemWin Super Nitro Ultra Monster Magnum to put down a deer?
  11. M1 Shooter

    M1 Shooter Well-Known Member

    The .270 and 6.5X55 are both excellent cartridges for deer. I shot my first deer with an old Swedish Mauser in 6.5X55. My hunting partner with me that day was using a .270 and he got a deer too. When we looked at the bullet wounds on the two deer, we could not see any difference in them. Think about it, the .270's bullet is .277" and the 6.5's bullet is .264", a difference of .013", and the bullet I used weighed 140grs while his .270 was loaded with 130gr bullets, only a 10gr difference. There's really not much difference to worry about. The .270 may have more velocity, but the damage to those deer was identical. IMO, the added velocity of the .270 would only be helpful if you shoot long range, since it will have a flatter trajectory. The .270 also has the advantage of being easier to find in more variety of factory loads, but if you are planning on reloading that doesn't really matter much anyway.
  12. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    +1. The lack of quality, high BC bullets eliminates the .270 from consideration as a great LR cartridge, however, for hunting purposes you will find many more commercial loads for the .270 and it is loaded hotter in this country than the 6.5x55, which is deliberately loaded down due to Norwegian Krags still being around.

  13. viking499

    viking499 Well-Known Member

    I own and new and old 6.5. Brother-in-law owns a 270. Have shot both. Both are fine. As said, if planning to reload, go with the 6.5. I went with the 6.5 because I like the down range numbers and it seems like every other person around here has a 270. I guess I just wanted to be a little different...
  14. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member


    You can load 6.5x55 to pretty much the same OAL as 270. Interesting that back in the day cases were used to contain powder and not the bullet.

    6.5x55 is a great cartridge
    270 Winchester is a great cartridge

    I have both, and like both.

    The 270 is most certainly not superior. Truthfully, for all practical purposes they are equals (especially for white tails).

    6.5x55 actually wins out on the ammo price thing. There are some European off brands that are actually quite decent that are considerably cheaper than any 270 ammo you're going to get.
  15. aspade

    aspade Well-Known Member

    If you're thinking Igman, Wolf, Prvi, etc. they load cheap .270 too.

    Looking at full powered loads, the .270 will give 250fps or so over the 6.5x55 with any given bullet weight, which is a fair step up. It's fair to say that no deer will ever discern the difference, but 20% more power (and 20% more powder) is superior somewhere even if not for deer hunting.

    I really like the old Swedish Mausers, but in a new production long action rifle I don't see much advantage. If you don't reload, domestic factory ammo is neutered in deference to hundred year old guns and the full power European stuff is a mail order proposition at $40 a box. If you do reload, you can download a .270 or 30-06 to any level you want but you can't make the 6.5 into a larger cartridge.

    That said, I'll probably buy a CZ 6.5x55 to round out the collection eventually, but I can't spin it as making any sense.
  16. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    checking the norma ballistic calculator, the diff between 140 grn 6.5 's and 130 to 150 grn 270's, is about 1 inch diff in trajectory, between all 3 , and less than 100 fps , between all 3, with a 80 yds zero, measurements all checked at 150 yards. So then, If you can get 6.5 cheaper than 270 , which you should be able to easy, then i would go 6.5 all day.
  17. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Well-Known Member

    6.5 x 55 max overall length 3.062in,,,,,,, case 2.160 inch
    270 Win max overall length 3.340 inch... case 2.540 inch

    6.5mm (26.4 caliber) Barnes 140 grain XFB= B.C. 522 or a 140 grain matchking at a .526 BC

    270 cal. (27.7 caliber) Barnes 140 gr XFB= BC 462 or a 140 grain XBT for a BC or .497

    A XFB 140 grain 6.5mm at 2750 fps muzzle velocity (About what you can expecvt in a reasonable handload) will still be going 2200 fps at 300 yards. And it will be 14 inches low at 300 if you are sighted for 100.

    A XFB 140 grain 270 at 3,000 fps muzzle velocity (a good listed top vel in the barnes book) will still be going 2,396 fps at 300 yadrs. It will be 11 inches low at 300 yards if sighted for 100 yards.

    So they are within 3 inches of each other out to 300 yards. A deer or caribou would not be able to tell the difference between the two he he was shot with either...

    This is an apples and oranges comparison. One cartirdge (the 6.5 x 55mm) was developed in the 1890s as a military round to replace Black Powder cartridges.

    The 270 was developed in 1925 from the 30-06 case (1906) as a hunting cartridge.
  18. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Well-Known Member

    Not really, if you handload. In fact, the June issue of Handloader Magazine went so far as to say the handloaded 6.5x55 made the .270 unnecessary. That's 'bout the most apples-to-apples you can get!

    It definitely is an apples-and-oranges discussion if you're talking factory loads only.

  19. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member


    No, they're really about equal. The 6.5x55 has better bullets available simply due to its popularity on the benchrest circuit. Those are target bullets though so...not ideal for deer.

    It used to be that 6.5x55 was available pretty cheap, but looking at the usual ammo stores it appears to be about the same as 270. You might be able to find some of the offbrand Euro stuff for under $10 a box still (Bosnian, Serbian, whatever). Kinda doubt it though.

    Absolutley. Both are delightful deer rounds.

    Some more 6.5x55 ramblings

    270 on the far right. 6.5x55 loaded such that it still fits in the mag box and feeds from my M96. Chances are a commercial 6.5x55 is built on a 06 length action so you could also load it that long.

    It looks like things have changed since I last bought 6.5x55 (started handloading and never looked back). Used to be that you could get Serbian/Bosnian/etc. 6.5x55 for $8 a box. Look like Wolf bought all those factories and it is now $15 a box.

    6.5x55 and 270 are about equals when loaded to their potential. The OALs published for 6.5x55 I don't think are correct. The old guns have long mag boxes and are throated long. Why wouldn't they be loaded that long?

    At practical deer hunting ranges there is no distinguishable difference between the two.
  20. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    :) Ain't that the truth.

    Whe I started deer hunting (back in the mists of time) 243 was considered a great deer cartridge, along with 257 Bob and 30-30. 30-06 was the do all cartridge for deer, elk and bear. The rich guys had those new magnums.

    Now, it seems like everything is an ultramag or short mag, etc.

    My personal favorites for deer: 243, 257, 6.5x55, 260, 7x57. I;ve lately become a convert to 260, which is just a sightly faster 6.5x55 stuffed into a smaller case.

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