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6.5x55 Swiss?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by krustoleum, Mar 23, 2008.

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  1. krustoleum

    krustoleum Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Waupaca, WI
    I'm narrowing the field on a new rifle.
    Someone suggested something in a 6.5x55 Swiss. Anybody have experience with this caliber?

    How does it compare to .308 for power, range, versatility, availability and price?

    What is a good rifle chambered for this round?
  2. Wheeler44

    Wheeler44 Member

    Feb 15, 2007
    I think you mean 6.5 X55 "SWEDE" The ballistic compare as follows:
    Cartridge Information
    Index Number Cartridge Type Weight (grs.) Bullet Style Primer No. Ballistic Coefficient
    R308W1 Remington® Express® 150 Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt® 9 1/2 0.314
    R65SWE1 Remington® Express® 140 Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt® 9 1/2 0.435

    Velocity (ft/sec)
    Cartridge Type Bullet Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
    Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 2820 2533 2263 2009 1774 1560
    Remington® Express® 140 PSP CL 2550 2353 2164 1984 1814 1654

    Energy (ft-lbs)
    Cartridge Type Bullet Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
    Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 2648 2137 1705 1344 1048 810
    Remington® Express® 140 PSP CL 2021 1720 1456 1224 1023 850

    Short-Range Trajectory
    Cartridge Type Bullet 50 100 150 200 250 300
    Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 0.0 zero -1.2 -3.9 -8.4 -14.7
    Remington® Express® 140 PSP CL 0.0 zero -1.5 -4.8 -9.9 -17.0

    Long-Range Trajectory
    Cartridge Type Bullet 100 150 200 250 300 400 500
    Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 2.0 1.7 zero -3.4 -8.8 -26.2 -54.8
    Remington® Express® 140 PSP CL 2.4 2.1 zero -3.9 -9.8 -27.0 -57.8
  3. GigaBuist

    GigaBuist Member

    Sep 27, 2003
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I'm aware of a 6.5x55 (6.5 Swede) and a 7.5x55 (7.5 Swiss) round but not a 6.5x55 (6.5 Swiss).

    I hear 6.5 Swede is a pretty good flat shooting cartridge that retains energy pretty well.

    7.5 Swiss should be about on par with .308.
  4. krustoleum

    krustoleum Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Waupaca, WI
    Sorry, I mis-typed. 6.5x55 Swede is what I meant.
  5. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    With the array of modern bullets available today, the little 6.5 Swede can actually out-perform the 7mm-08 and .308. It will fall short of the .270, .280 and .30-06, but not by a whole lot. Excellent all-around cartridge for non-dangerous game.

    I'm currently in the process of building a full-length stock to put on a sporterized Gustav M-38 for the woman.
  6. BrandonFromTampa

    BrandonFromTampa Member

    Mar 21, 2008
    I have one and I love it. I have an M-96, sporterized by Kimber. I once saw a picture of a man sitting on an elephant with a rifle just like mine. I've been told by people that I trust that I should feel comfortable hunting anything on the North American continent. The only thing that I have against the cartridge is that it is not very common in my area, and is kind of hard to find. I pay $.60 to $.75 a round for cheap target ammunition that was made in South Korea (Precision Made Cartridge.) My uncle has told me to start assembling my own cartridges with a turret press and I'm probably going to start doing that as soon as possible. Also, I've always heard it referred to as the 6.5x55 Swedish, and that's what's on the box, unless we're talking about two different cartridges. It's my first rifle, and I am not a wonderful shot. But a friend of mine who is a much better shot gets really good groups with it, and that's with cheap ammunition, and with the rifle laid on a block of wood. I was nervous about the reloading thing myself, but I've been told that in the 6.5 Swede, the powder comes almost all the way to the neck of the cartridge and so it is hard to overfill it by a whole lot. But you should know that I'm a gun newb and am not the most reliable source of information.
  7. iamkris

    iamkris Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    My own little slice of Purgatory
    Low recoil and "deadly beyond its caliber". 6.5mm bullets have a great reputation for high BCs, giving them great tragectory/retained energy, and high SDs, giving them great penetration and killing power.

    That's why many of the new long range cartridges are based on the 6.5mm bullet.
  8. Limey46

    Limey46 Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    I've shot a fair amount of 6.5 x 55 and I like it a great deal. Most people do. As a previous poster mentioned, it shoots nice and flat and it retains a lot of energy a long way out there -- loooong bullets, low drag, high stability, great sectional density -- making it unusually effective as a game-getter as well as a target round. The 6.5 calibers are beating the pants off the .30s in the target world these days.

    There are problems, the most significant being that rifles as good as the round are hard to find in the U.S. There are still plenty of Swedish military surplus Mausers knocking around, most of them in good shape and relatively inexpensive, so that end of the spectrum is covered quite nicely, but quality hunting rifles are rare and true target guns are very rare indeed. Winchester and Ruger both made a few hunters, Steyr made a handful, and now and again you run across an older Tikka or Sako from the pre-Beretta days. Currently, the only people making 6.5 Swede hunting rifles are Howa (the 1500), Tikka (T3) and CZ (the 550). They're all OK, and the CZs are great, in my opinion at least. A CZ 550 American in 6.5 x 55 would suit me just fine as an all-around hunting rifle, but you're not going to be able to walk into any old gun store and buy one off the shelf. Another possibility is a sporterized military gun like the Kimber mentioned above or a Bubba special you might find at a gun show. There's also a small number of current production Ruger Number 1 single-shots out there.

    Ammo is another difficulty. Federal makes the best American 6.5 x 55 hunting ammo, and it will do, but neither it nor any other US brand is loaded up to the round's potential. The European stuff is, but it's expensive, sometimes horribly so. Again, there's a well-hidden solution, in this case the Wolf Gold line of hunting ammo marketed by the Russians but made by Prvi Partizan in I forget where exactly. That's good stuff, and they make full metal Jacket ammo too -- but there again, it's usually mail order or nothing. I get around this by reloading, as most 6.5 Swede fans do.

    Right now I have only one gun in 6.5 x 55, a military Mauser 96 set up by the Swedes in the 1950s as a target rifle, but at various times I've had a Winchester 70 Featherweight, a Ruger 77, a Tikka Master Sporter target rifle, a few standard military 96s and 38s, and one of those high-tech Steyrs from a few years ago. I still haven't had a CZ. Hmm.....

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  9. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    Texas, baby!
    6.5 bullets are the king, just the best, they do everyting well. I even like the old 6.5 carcano, and 6.5 jap. AS far as 6.5 swede, any milsurp will be accurate, and for new, jump all over a CZ, best rifle for the money, period.
    As far as the ammo goes, the swiss made great rounds for their soldiers, have no probs buying milsurp 6.5 swede, either from gunshows, or off the net, they will be nearly match grade accurate.
  10. Bezoar

    Bezoar member

    Apr 9, 2006
    ive read that the minimum round for moose or elk is a high powered .308, and the 6.5x55 SWEDE is the undisputed champion for that weight class of animal in europe.

    Nothing to laugh about with this cartridge, only thing is, ive never seen how well the surplus ammo with wooden bullets shoots in production rifles of today, any ideas?
  11. rust collector

    rust collector Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Pierre, SD USA
    Wooden bullets were for training (hence the threaded muzzles on many M96s, for afixing shredding devices) and I have never seen any wooden bullet loads for sale.

    Igman, Prvi Partizan, Norma, and Winchester produce it, although I never heard much good about the Win brass. Lapua would be a source of brass, and Graf had Hornady or other brass for sale as well.

    It's a great cartridge that just keeps bringing home the venison. Very capable, fun to shoot, and easy to reload. There are some fine bullets out there, which do the job without rattling fillings out of the teeth.
  12. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Ammo is available from Winchester, Remington, Hornady, Federal, Norma, Lapua, RWS, PMC, and is available from Cabelas, Bass Pro, Gander MT, and I believe I`ve seen it in Dunhams and most gun shops in my area. Tikka and CZ are importing rifles and Winchester, Remington, Ruger rifles have been chambered for it in the past and still turn up. The old M96 has been around for decades and makes a nice sporter or as is mil rifle.
    The Swedes favore it for moose and more European Polar bear likely have been dropped with it then any other cartridge.
    Did I say I like the round???
  13. Colt46

    Colt46 Member

    Jan 29, 2003
    The swede is a sweet heart of a round

    Easy to shoot well. Those 140 grain bullets don't start off as screamers, but get on target with enough authority for most large game.
    My only complaint is finding a decent rifle offered in the caliber.
  14. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    Sullivan County PA
    It is a great round. I have hunted with the Swede for over 25 years. It is available in a lot of name brands, Ruger, Remington, Winchester, Sako, etc., and etc. I have a SAKO in 6.5 X 55 that I will be taking to the gun show outside of Washington in April. PM me if you are interested. I think questions comparing the ballistics to the the .308 have already been answered. I might add that the report and recoil is also milder. I have a EXTREMELY ACCURATE hand load in this caliber. The only drawback is that it requires a long action. I do not believe the .308 does.
  15. woo18

    woo18 Member

    Apr 29, 2006
    excellent caliber...

    I have done a lot of research on this round. It is an excellent round. I just ordered a Sako. However, Tikka and Howa also make excellent rifles for this round. Winchester and Remington have also made rifles for this caliber too, so keep your eye on the used market.
  16. High Planes Drifter

    High Planes Drifter Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    You probably wont find many folks who have something negative to say about the cartridge. Its a very efficient, mild recoil round. I wish there were more firearms chambered in it.
  17. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Upper East Tennessee
    In a nutshell...the 6.5x55 is a great round...its hard to beat the percentage of retained energy downrange...those long pencil shaped bullets are the best at this.
  18. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Impossible to make a better choice for a deer rifle. I have many .308's, .300's, .243's, and 7mm variants...and when the weather's good, it's always the Win M70 in 6.5x55 SE that goes with me into the woods.
  19. rr2241tx

    rr2241tx Member

    Sep 12, 2007
    The currently available battle packs of Swedish surplus ammo are all sniper grade bullets. If you have to have soft points to hunt with, pull down a few and replace with bulk CoreLokts then re-crimp with a Lee Factory Crimp die. The brass is Berdan primed, but the price is right. Be warned though, the first time you shoot one is the last time you'll want to shoot anything else.
  20. Grizzly Adams

    Grizzly Adams Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Central Alabama
    What everyone has said is true. One of the most underrated rounds available. If you reload and have one chambered in a modern rifle (Rem, Win, Ruger, etc.) you can approach 270 volocities.

    I've owned several and all have been tack-drivers. I currently hunt with a Rem. 700 Classic.
  21. ftierson

    ftierson Member.

    Sep 17, 2004
    Colorado Springs, CO
    The 6.5x55mm is, overall, the finest cartridge on earth...

    Even if, as a close friend of mine says, you need to take Geritol with it...


  22. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    I have three rifles chambered for the great 6.5 x 55mm Mauser cartridge. Also known as the 6.5 Swedish Mauser. (The Norwegians also had their Kraig Rifles chambered for this round)

    The case dimensions are not similar to the other Mauser cartridges developed in the early 1890s. The case head is slightly larger in diameter.

    I had previously heard that Winchester brass was not the right size. However I recently bought 200 rounds of Winchester virgin brass and it is the same in dimensions as the original Swedish brass. I mic’ed the heck out of it and my most accurate hand-loads are using Winchester brass. Oddly enough, the PMC brass is undersized. Avoid the Igmann ammo from Bosnia. The velocity and pressures jump all over the place. That stuff is a good way to lose an eye.

    Since I am loading for vintage collector grade Swede rifles, I am using RL-22 in my hand-loads since it seems to duplicate the original military loadings, while still having a reasonably low pressure.

    I shot a 0.75 inch group with iron sights yesterday, using a 108 year old M/96 Swedish Mauser made at the German Mauser Oberndorf factory on the Necker River.
  23. shootr

    shootr Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    I'm another fan of this great round. Sporterized an M38 11 years ago and used a new, milsurp Swede barrel cut to 20" on the reworked action. Throats are long on the swedes, so handloading gets best results. With 140 grain Sierra Gamekings over a stout load of H4350 mine shoots to one hole at 100 yards off the bench when I do my part. Sweet shooting, low recoil and accurate.
  24. viking499

    viking499 Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    I am also a fan of this round. I have a CZ, Tikka Stainless and a sporterized. All are very accurate, but the sporterized shoots the best out of the 3.
  25. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    Great round. Handing the round in a modern action really adds to the cartridge. Most of the stuff we get in the US is down loaded so it won't cause troubles in those 100 year old M1894's, M1896's.

    I have a couple of sporter rifles, one I will have to rebed as the barrel is binding. Even so, I can tell it is easy to develop accurate loads, and the recoil with 140's is not bad.

    One another site, one that has a lot of Europeans, the 6.5 X 55 is highly considered. Even for Moose, thought the comment was sort of "if you do your part the cartridge will do its part". The author, a Swede, gave the opinion that bigger cartridges, like the 30-06, were becoming more popular, but I think the 6.5 X 55 was still a staple.
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