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Looking for a modern 6.5x55 bolt rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ormandj, Apr 4, 2008.

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  1. ormandj

    ormandj Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm looking for a modern 6.5x55 bolt action rifle. I've read a lot of wonderful things about this cartridge, and the long-distance performance is appealing (for competition) as well as the performance in hunting medium sized (NA) game. I was originally considering the .308, but other than ammunition availability, it looks like the 6.5x55 is a better overall choice for my purposes. Feel free to tell me I'm out in left field, if you think so, though!

    I'd like a nice all-around rifle, that I could use for competitive long-distance shooting, as well as hunting (deer-sized by in large.)

    I've read a lot about the Sako Finnlight, it seems very appealing to me.

    I'm looking for the following, prioritized in this order:

    #1 - Reliability (this is why I am not looking at the 6.5x284 - apparently barrel life isn't very good.) I want a *tool*, not a showpiece. Synthetic stock, etc - looks are secondary to me.

    #2 - Accuracy. If at all possible, I'd like something I could shoot competitively, and have the rifle outperform *me*. That said, I don't want to sacrifice reliability to achieve accuracy. I don't want a rifle that I have to swap barrels every 500 rounds, and I most certainly don't want a fragile rifle that can't be carried out in the woods for fear of breaking. (Seems like most match rifles are a bit fragile when compared to their hunting counter-parts.)

    #3 - Price. I don't want to be cheap, at the same time, I don't want to build a $20,000 custom rifle. Ideally, I'd like something nice, stock - that if desired I could later have worked on by a gunsmith (to improve accuracy, for instance) As to my price range, I'm willing to pay whatever it takes to get the best combination of #1 and #2, until reaching the point of diminishing returns. If $900 will buy me a great rifle (not including glass) that shoots 1.5MOA, and $1300 will buy me a great rifle that shoots .75 MOA, assuming the same reliability, I'd be willing to spend the extra money. If $3500 gets me down to .60 MOA, I'd stick with the $1300 .75 MOA rifle. I hope this example makes clear what I'm trying to say! :)

    Thank you in advance for your helpful advice, I've read a lot of posts here, and this seems like a really great group of people!

    Cheers,
    David
     
  2. chestnut ridge

    chestnut ridge Member

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    Consider a Remington 700 Classic in 6.5x55 caliber. This is one of
    the series started in 1978. This rifle was produced in 1994.
     
  3. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

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    Buy a long action Savage in a pawnshop for $250, order a Shilen Supermatch barrel ($350), and take 30 minutes to put it on. In your own garage. Worked for me, except I used a $175 pawn shop Savage, and an A&B barrel.
     
  4. Bezoar

    Bezoar member

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    have you looked at CZ lately? great guns form what im told. its the one id get for myself.
     
  5. ormandj

    ormandj Member

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    I'll look into all of these options you are suggesting. I am totally open to (and in fact, would love) to build a rifle to my suiting. I know nothing about doing such a thing, but I most certainly will research what I can!

    Thank you for the helpful advice, look forward to more!

    Cheers,
    David
     
  6. ushunter

    ushunter Member

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    Cz 550

    Congratulations on choosing a great caliber. I was in the same situation as you about 6 months ago, did my research and the more I read about the 6.5x55 the more I liked it.

    I have this gun: http://www.cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=17 and I absolutely love it! Accurate, well built and will not break the bank (I paid $630+tax)

    Would recommend that you look into the CZ 550 line. Do a search and you will find that most people who own one give them high marks. Here's the CZ American in 6.5x55: http://www.cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=18

    Good luck!
     
  7. ormandj

    ormandj Member

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    skinewmexico, I was looking into your suggestion. It looks like I can buy actions from savage directly. I'm guessing I'd be looking for the "standard" bolt head? http://www.savagearms.com/TA_223_Bolt.htm

    Coupled with a bull barrel: http://www.shilen.com/savageBarrels.html

    Still haven't found a stock I like, I'll keep looking for that. Other than a competent gunsmith, and glass, what else would I need? Just doing this as an exercise in theory, just to see what I'd be looking at $$$ wise, as well as what I'd gain/lose by doing this. :)

    Thanks,
    David
     
  8. ftierson

    ftierson Member.

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    The CZ 550 American is probably about the best bet right now...

    I know that I plan on picking one up a little later this year...:)

    I have a Winchester M70 Featherweight in 6.5x55mm, and you might be able to find one floating around...

    I also have a Howa 1500/Lightning in 6.5x55mm, and you might be able to find one of those too.

    Good luck in your quest to find a modern rifle chambered in the finest cartridge ever produced by man...:)

    Forrest
     
  9. RugerOldArmy

    RugerOldArmy Member

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    Although I like the Savage with the barrel swap idea, the CZ 550 are very nice.
     
  10. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

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    Read the stickies at Savageshooters.com. You don't need a gunsmith. You'll just need a regular long action, with a .473 bolt head (they only make 3 bolt heads, a 223, a .473, and a magnum). I made mine from a 30-06, it's just a matter of screwing on the barrel. Takes some headspace gauges, and 30 minutes. I've built a 6.5x55, a 223 Ackley, a 338-06, and a 6.5x47 Lapua. Very satisfying.
     
  11. ormandj

    ormandj Member

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    My only problem with the CZ rifles chambered in 6.5x55, is it doesn't look like you'd be able to get a synthetic stock. If I'm going to be doing a stock swap, I might as well build the whole thing as I please. :p

    I just noticed that savage target action seems to be single shot only, I'm looking for a repeater. They offer other actions in their 2008 catalog, I'm guessing the varmint action is the second most accurate action they offer, but it looks like a repeater.

    Anybody have any suggestions on stocks?
     
  12. ormandj

    ormandj Member

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    skinewmexico, I'm going to check out that site you suggested! Thank you for all of your advice.

    Out of curiosity, for hunting/long range shooting, which would you suggest - the 6.5x55 or the 6.5x47 lapua. I've heard good things about that cartridge as well, but it seems to be mostly mentioned for target shooting, not hunting.
     
  13. nyggis

    nyggis Member

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    If they are availible in the States, I can recommend the Tikka M/65 in 6.5x55. Produced in the 70:s and 80:s, great accuracy, very smooth operation and adjustable trigger pull.

    Have two myself, wish I had more of them...

    Swedish steel and Finnish gunmaker tradition... :D
     
  14. atomchaser

    atomchaser Member

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    Steyr SBS prohunter. CDNN had them available within the last year -- don't know if they still do.
     
  15. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    I shoot the Finnlight in 6.5 X 55 and could not be happier. The Winchester Featherlight in 6.5 X 5 is also a nice gun.

    I have shot Swedes all my life and highly recommend the cartridge.
     
  16. woo18

    woo18 Member

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    excellent choice...

    I was in your exact same position a month ago. I ended up getting two; a Remington 700 and a Sako 85 Hunter. I should be taking delivery shortly.

    Nevertheless, I really like the idea of putting together a Savage in 6.5x55.

    A Sako in this caliber may take a while to find. If you decide on a Sako or Tikka you may want to consider contacting:

    http://www.accuflite.com/
     
  17. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

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    There aren't really any differences in any of the Savage/Stevens actions accuracy wise. The only difference is triggers / steel / finish. Stevens 200 makes a good base if you're replacing the trigger. Savage sells all of their actions only, or buy a rifle and sell off the pieces. I haven't shot any animals with my Lapua yet, but that sounds interesting. I shot this target doing some load workup before a 500 yard match last weekend

    DSCN0464(300x225).png

    Not a very good pic, that's a dime. You'll want a long action (three digits - 110,111,112, etc.) for the 6.5X55, so you can make long cartridges.
     
  18. ftierson

    ftierson Member.

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    Just a heads-up, but CDNN does not have any more Steyr Pro-Hunters in 6.5x55mm. They've been sold out for a while now.

    I know because I tried to buy one from them when I finally noticed that they had them (which was several months after they started advertising them. You can't say that I'm not observant...:))...

    If you can find one of the Steyr ProHunters, you'd have a nice rifle...

    Forrest
     
  19. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    Have you considered a 260? It's the same bore diameter, it used to be known as the 6.5-08, being the 308 case necked down to 6.5. The performance is very close to the 6.5x55, but can be had in a 308 length action. They are used for longer range (up to 1000 yards)target shooting, and barrel life is long.

    Look at Zach's links to long range practical shooting.

    http://demigodllc.com/articles/practical-long-range-rifle-shooting-equipment/
     
  20. ormandj

    ormandj Member

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    I am (potentially) open to other calibers, feel free to make suggestions. I'm also considering the 7mm-08, from what I've read it's ~ the same in ballistics, but has more downrange energy, with only a slightly increased recoil. Sounds like it might be easier to find here in the US, as well.

    I just like the idea of a (relatively) low recoil round with excellent ballistics both on paper and in practice. I'm not going to be hunting dinosaurs, so there is really no point in getting something like a .338 lapua and dealing with the excruciating recoil (or insane muzzle blast.) I also like the ammunition cost of these smaller rounds, especially reloaded. Also, with the lighter recoil/less expensive ammunition, I'll be able to practice more - which will, in turn, lead to more accurate shot placement - which we all know is key to a clean kill - caliber is secondary.
     
  21. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

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    Hard to beat the ballistics of a 6.5. Any of them. Out to 1000 yards. A 243 with 115g DTACs had great ballistics too.
     
  22. viking499

    viking499 Member

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    The 6.5x55 is a wonderful caliber. I picked up a Tikka T3 Stainless Synthetic awhile back to go with my CZ and Mauser. I really like the Tikka for accuracy and weight. It shoots a hair better than the CZ and as good as the Mauser.

    I also got my wife a T3 243. It shoots as good as the 6.5. Starting to really like the Tikka's. Also like the CZ's.
     
  23. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    Very true. But I have no had any trouble finding the 6.5 X 55. My hand load is very accurate and compares favorably to the 7mm - 08.
     
  24. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    6.5 bullets begin to surpass, trajectory and energy of 7 bullets, usually after about 400 yds, no matter what size case you are using for your 6.5's; it's just that the b.c. is so much better on a 6.5 bullet, it slips and slides through the wind so much better. if you want a mild 6.5, get a grendel, then a 257 roberts, then say a 6.5 swede, then a 260 remmy, then a 6.5-284, for the hottest. I'll even for craps and giggles throw in a non 6.5 , but close, a 270 wsm, which will get you way out there. A grendel would be cheapest to reload, the 6.5 swede will be the cheapest to just buy, and also very good for reloading.
     
  25. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    Near as I can tell, the Howa 1500 and Tikka T3 in 6.5x55 are still being made and sold in Europe (well the Howa is MADE in Japan and sold in Europe), but neither are being imported any longer into the USA, as of a few years back. Dunno why - they both WERE at some point. Beretta, the US distributor for Tikka and Sako, however, DOES show certain Sakos as still being offered in 6.5x55. In addition, as mentioned, the CZ550 is an excellent choice, and I believe can be had in either "American" or "FS" - the FS being the full mannlicher style stock. I'd get the American for the free floated barrel since you said longrange/target. I really don't think there's any way you'd regret getting a CZ 550.

    When USRAC shut down the Winchester featherweight M70 in 6.5x55 was stopped with all the rest of them, and my guess would be that that caliber will be eliminated out of the leaner meaner F.N. plant in S. Carolina. But you can find used 70s - quite a few - if you look. Also, as mentioned, Rem made one or more runs of the 700 in this caliber. In addition, you can find occasional sporterized swedes - some nicely sporterized, some crappily sporterized. The Savage plus barrel idea is a good one too - you can find old long action savages at gun shows for $175-$250, and at pawn shops for $200-$300, if you look. The Sig Blaser can be had in this cal as well, but man oh man you've got to have a thick wallet. And I know you said repeater, but you can get a T/C Encore with a T/C barrel or Eabco barrel from www.eabco.com (E. Arthur Brown Co.). Good luck! It's pretty much THE goldilocks caliber - just right for deer and similar. :)
     
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