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Proper ammo for a Mauser m/96 in 6.5x55

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ushunter, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. ushunter

    ushunter New Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    What ammo would you recommend for a m/96 Swedish Mauser built in 1900, for hunting purposes? Or maybe I should ask what ammo should we avoid? The caliper is 6.5 x 55.

    I am concerned of shooting too hot, modern loads through the gun, exceeding the pressure ratings. Maybe somebody with experience can chime in. Thanks!
  2. skidooman603

    skidooman603 Active Member

    Dec 13, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    I have great luck with Hornady 140 in most of my 96's. IMR 4064 works well. They are VERY strong actions. Shoot well
  3. chiggerbyt

    chiggerbyt New Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    I've been shooting and hunting with the Swede for some 15 years now. Any "factory" loading that you will find here in 139 gr or 140 gr soft point will work fine as they are loaded mild for the older rifles like your M96, the M38 and the carbine M94 which is the weakest of the three. Winchester, Remington,Ruger, Cz and perhaps a couple more have chambered the round in more modern, bolt actions. A person who handloads can improve on the factory loadings some with the newer,modern rifles.
    It makes a fine whitetail deer rifle with mild recoil and good accuracy. Good shot placement will get you the venison with the 6.5X55.
  4. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Mentor

    Jun 29, 2008
    North Carolina
  5. ushunter

    ushunter New Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. We've got some Prvi Partizan in 139 gr SP, and S & B in 131 gr SP. You think those would be OK?

    Edit: Missed the previous post, kind of answered my question...
  6. Runningman

    Runningman Participating Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I've been playing with the 6.5 x55 for more than 20 years.

    The American loaded ammunition such as Federal, Remington, Winchester are loaded mild for use older Swedish Mauser rifles.

    I would not use modern European 6.5 x55 ammo in an old Swedish Mauser myself. Some of it generates more pressure than is desirable for older Mauser 94 and 96 Mauser. Keep in mind older bores that are in rough surface finish condition will raise pressures with no other changes. Add the metal fatigue factor into the mixture and potential safety issues come up.

    Years ago (late 80s or early 90s) I read in an article about the 6.5 x55 when American ammunition manufactures 1st started loading the 6.5 x 55. One manufacture was forced to throttle back early on the 6.5 x 55 because a couple or early 94 & 96 Mausers blew up in testing in the ballistic lab.

    Speer #14 reloading manual actually has two different sections for reloading the 6.5 x 55. The Mauser 94 and 96 have their own section. Where the other section is for stronger modern actions.
  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Mentor

    Dec 29, 2006
    Based on my testing, I believe a 140 gr Hornady with 43.0 grs AA/IMR 4350 is very close to a duplicate of Swedish service ammo.

    M700 22" Barrel

    140 gr Hornday Spire Point 43.0 grs AA4350
    R-P new brass CCI-200 OAL 2.990"

    2 Feb 2008 T = 52 °F

    Ave Vel = 2512
    Std Dev = 27
    ES = 72
    High = 2547
    Low = 2475
    N = 5

    143 gr FMJ Swedish Ball 1986 headstamp

    2 Feb 2008 T = 54 °F

    Ave Vel =2470
    Std Dev =18
    ES = 48
    High = 2491
    Low = 2443
    N = 5

    M1896 Infantry Rifle 29' barrel Carl Gustafs mfgr 1903

    143 gr FMJ 1986 Swedish Ball 17-Aug-06 T = 85 °F

    Ave Vel = 2610
    Std Dev = 14.38
    ES = 45.59
    High = 2633
    Low = 2587
    N = 8
  8. viking499

    viking499 Senior Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Prvi and Wolf Gold are two of my favorites. The price helps to make them good.:)
  9. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Senior Member

    May 31, 2008
    Go with a scandinavian ammo company, Norma (Swedish) or a Finnish brand, and you'll probably do well.

    I would think they know how to load for those guns.

    They use them on moose over there, and it's considered a more than adequate cartridge for them.
  10. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Senior Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    My favorite M/96 is a 1900 Oberndorf. The 96s 38s and 94s have rifling of one turn in 200mm. Or about 1 in 8 inches.
    The original military ammunition was a 156 grain round nose bullet.
    The Swedes later went to a 139 grain spitzer design in the late 1930s.

    Remember the Swede Mausers have a very long chamber throat, so they like the bullets loaded long.

    For hunting purposes with factory ammo, Norma makes a great 156 grain round nose hunting bullet.
    I have also fired some Federal factory ammo loaded with 140 grain Nosler partitions.

    For Handloads, All of my Swede rifles like the 160 grain Hornady round nose soft point. Using 46 grains of RL-22 and a Standard Federal or CCI primer they will shoot groups under one inch with no problem.
    For some reason my favorite m/96 will not always strip the 160s into the chamber from the magazine, so with that particular rifle I use 47 grains of RL-22 and a 140 grain Sierra or Nosler bullet, for a hunting load.

    Beware that some factory ammo uses cases of an incorrect case head diameter. The real 6.5x55mm Swede Mauser case head is slightly larger than a 308/30-06 case head. Some ammo like PMC uses a smaller 308 size head and thus tends to stretch when fired.

  11. cchris

    cchris Active Member

    Apr 12, 2009
    A friend of mine had good results with the Winchester Super-X in his Swede. There might be better ones out there, but this one is a good tradeoff - accurate and readily available.
  12. ushunter

    ushunter New Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies!

    This has been very informative, especially the link provided by Float Pilot.

    The rifle is a m/96 made by Obernsdorf in 1900 with matching numbers, so it has been interesting to read the history of these beautiful guns. The round ring in the butt stock would indicate that the bore was in good shape at the time of inspection (#1). It will be interesting to take it to the range to see how it will shoot.
  13. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Feed for a Swede...

    U. S. Hunter--
    Before I began reloading for it, my bubba'd Swede liked the Federal Blue Box, softpoint ammo very well. This is hunting ammo, and not the pricier ammo, which Federal puts in red boxes. The Federal Blue Box has the additional advantage of being available all over the place, in 6.5x55, at least before hunting season, at least in my neck of the woods.

    Beware when you reload for the Swede. As Float Pilot said, the case head is larger in diameter than the .308 case head, so you CANNOT make dependable 6.5x55 cases out of any .30-'06 or .308-based brass. FWIW, I just buy Norma cases for the Swede and be done with it.
  14. me26245

    me26245 New Member

    Dec 3, 2007
    6.5x55 ammo

    Really you need to try several different manufactures ammunition in your rifle to see which one works best.

    If you reload then you'll need to try several different component combinations to again see what your rifle likes.

    At this point I haven't reloaded much in this calibure as most of my rifles shoot great with surplus or the cheaper ammo brands.

    Last season I took a button buck with Privi 139gr soft points using a sporterized Husquvarna m38.

    Midweek I replaced the scope on it and shot these groups with Privi and Ingman, at 100 yards.

    Point of aim was the small orange square in the middle of the orange box, as you can see it's not one hole accuracy, but should be good enough for hunting deer sized game.

    There has been talk that the Ingman 6.5x55 ammunition tends to have split necks after firing. I have found that to be the case with some of their FMJ ammunition , but not the softpoint.

    I've also fired PMC and surplus swedish ball ammunition with good results in my rifles.

    Attached Files:

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