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Need 6.5x55 bullet recommendation

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Marty B, Oct 21, 2012.

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  1. Marty B

    Marty B Member

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    I just picked up a stainless Howa 1500 in 6.5x55 with a 1 in 8" twist and 22" barrel. I'm going to use it for some of my deer hunting this year and was wondering what bullets y'all were having good luck with. I am looking for a slight edge toward accuracy and good performance on deer. Any pet loads would also be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Marty
     
  2. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    I settled on the 120 gr Speer HotCore. It was very accurate in my 700 Classic and worked swell on whitetails. The Swede and Remingtons 260 are really close to being the perfect whitetail calibers IMHO.

    My favorite load was 46 gr of IMR4350 in PMC brass, CCI 200 primer. This a MAX load in three of my seven loading manuals. Start at 42 gr and work up. The 1in8" twist will handle the 140 gr very well, too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  3. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Hi,

    I have had great results with 130gr. Accubonds and 140gr. Sierra Game Kings, will be loading 120gr. Sierra Pro Hunters shortly.

    I did you lots of researching on Amercian sites regarding 130gr. Accubonds and most were using a 0.025" jump which I also used.

    From personal experience the Sierra's like more jump so on the 140's I increased the jump to 0.075".

    Can't give you a load as we use different powders here. I did notice lots of variation between the speeds, the higher I went on the 130 Accubonds the worse it got. Groups opened up to 0.75MOA at 2850fps which was odd as most loads had the Accubonds at 2900fps which is what I was chasing. The load I settled on gave me 2680fps on a 24" barrel

    On three shot three group averages the 130 Accubonds were 0.62MOA and the 140 Game Kings were giving 0.60MOA in windy conditions. In both the fouling shots were included. In both cases the best group was 0.5MOA. I think the 140's were marginally better due to their mass in the windy conditions.

    PS: Was using Remington brass and those Russian Primers
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  4. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in 6.5x55 Swede Mauser.
    1 in 8 twist rate, 22 inch featehr weight barrel
    *This rifle has been glass bedded.

    At 100 yards, light snow, 32F. 6-8 knot wind.

    Federal factory 140gr Soft Point:
    = 2,375 fps, 0.50 inch group.

    120gr Nosler Ballistic Tip: 46.5gr RL-19, Lapua, CCI BR-2, 3.085 col
    = 2,560 fps and a 1.0 inch group

    120gr Sierra Match King: 46.0 gr RL-19, Lapua, BR-2, 3.085 col
    = 2,508 fps and a 0.50 inch group.

    140gr Rem Accu-Tip, 47.0gr RL-22, Lapua Brass, CCI-200, 3.970 col
    = 2,640 fps and a 1.0 inch group

    140gr Nosler Partition, 47.0gr RL-22, Lapua Brass, CCI-200, 3.950 col
    = 2,569 fps and a 1.5 inch group

    140gr Hornady Soft :point , 47.0gr RL-22, Lapua Brass, CCI-200, 3.850 col
    = 2,575 fps and a 2.0 inch group

    160gr Hornady Round Nose: 45.0 gr RL-22, PMC, Rem 9.5, 3.100 col
    = 2,288 fps and a 1.5 inch group



    120gr Sierra Match King: 46.0 gr RL-19, Lapua, BR-2, 3.085 col
    = 2,508 fps and a 0.50 inch group.

    120gr Hornady A-Max, 48.8gr IMR-4831, ww,ww, 2.964 col
    = 2,925 fps and a 0.75 inch group Lee Crimp. High Pressure

    129gr Hornady SST, 47.3gr IMR-4831, WW, WW Stand, 2.942 col
    =2,808 fps and a 1.5 inch group. no crimp. Cratered primers

    140gr Rem Accu-Tip, 47.0gr RL-22, Lapua Brass, CCI-200, 3.970 col
    = 2,640 fps and a 1.0 inch group

    140gr Nosler Partition, 47.0gr RL-22, Lapua Brass, CCI-200, 3.950 col
    = 2,569 fps and a 1.5 inch group

    140gr Hornady Soft :point , 47.0gr RL-22, Lapua Brass, CCI-200, 3.850 col
    = 2,575 fps and a 2.0 inch group

    140gr Hornady SST. 46.5 gr RL-19, Lapua, CCI-200, 3.090 COL
    = 2,570 fps and a 1.0 inch group

    140gr Hornady SST, 44.5 gr H-4350, Lapua, CCI-200, 3.090 col
    = 2,608 fps and a 1.5 inch group

    140gr Hornady SST, 44.5gr H-100V, Lapua, CCI-200 3.090 col
    =2,669 fps and a 0.50 inch group.

    140gr Sierra Game King, 44.5gr H-100V, WW, WW, 2.930col
    = 2,675 fps and a 0.55 inch group Lee factory Crimp, no pressure signs

    140gr Hornady Soft Point, 44.5gr H-100V, ww, ww, 2.945 col
    =2,680 fps and a 2.5 inch group. Lee Crimp. Some pressure signs

    140gr Hornady R. N. 44.5gr H-100V, WW, WW 2.975 col
    =2,620 fps and a HUGE Group, lee Crimp

    140gr Hornady SST, 46.5gr IMR-4831, ww,ww, 2.995 col
    =2,700 fps and a 0.75 inch group, primer flow

    160gr Hornady Round Nose: 45.0 gr RL-22, PMC, Rem 9.5, 3.100 col
    = 2,288 fps and a 1.5 inch group
     
  5. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

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    I have taken a few of Float Pilot's loads and run them thru my M38 Swede. Outstanding results from the RL 22 loads.

    With your Howa you have a modern receiver. I am not encouraging going right to very hot loads. However, I have a 6.54X54 in a modern receiver and I have been able to get a 140 grain Nosler Partition up to 2700 fps with no excessive pressure signs yet.

    So pick a load range and work up. And also take the opportunity to use the optimum charge weight method. You will find a load that works just right for your rifle.

    I found my Swede and my CZ in 6.5X55 to have too long of a throat for me to get close to the lands. I had the CZ rechambered to a much shorter throat and got great results. I also sold it but the fellow who bought it has got three through the same hole with it.

    The optimum charge weight method will reduce a lot of that need to get right on the lands.
     
  6. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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  7. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    @Floatpilot.

    Great resource you posted there thanks. We have different powders so it will be difficult to use but the relative performance of bullets and weights and velocities are invaluable.

    What brand is WW?
     
  8. Marty B

    Marty B Member

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    Thanks for the help so far. I decided on 140 grain bullets and got some Sierra SBT's and some hornady interlocks and I'll start there and see what happens. I will start with IMR 4350 and if the results are not satisfactory I may get some R-22 and try that also. I'll try to let y'all know how it works out.

    Thanks again,
    Marty
     
  9. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Andrew...... WW brand is (Winchester-Western brass)
    What are the names of your Powders in Afrika Sud ? I am sure there is some sort of cross reference chart.

    Those loads I listed were from my M-70 with a strong action ... The short light weight barrel dictates which loads it will shoot accurately.

    For years I have been using Swedish small ring Mausers for shooting competitions and I have LOTs of loads which work well in them (those?) as well.

    Most are listed in my hand wriiten hand-loading log books, I used to have most in my computer but I had (still have) computer problems and I lost most of my documents. Plus I lost spell check.... Stinking Gateway


    Here are a couple I managed to find that were for Swedish m/38 rifle with a 23.5 inch barrel.
    UIse a Sierra Game King, or a Nosler Ballistic Tip instead of the HPBT and you will be fine for deer.

    THIS M/38 RIFLE HAS A BORE WHICH IT NOT ALL THAT GREAT


    FORGOT TO MENTION.... LAPUA BRASS IS THE BEST BRASS FOR THE 6.5x55mm SWEDE. ALL US made 6.5x55mm bras sis undersized. LAPUA will last for 15 reloads if you do it right. The US stuff will stretch just ahead of the case head.

    Sierra 120 grain Match King,
    45.3 grains of H-100V,
    Lapua Brass and a CCI BR2 primer. , l
    oaded to a short 3.085 inch COL.
    From my 1943 Husqvarna m/38 , this load gave an average of 2,770 fps
    and a 0.50 inch group with one flyer out to 0.75 inch.



    6.5x55mm
    120gr Sierra HPBT
    43.0gr H-4350
    CCI-200
    WW Brass
    3.00 col, no crimp

    2,649 fps m/38
    1.67 in grp m/38
    no pressure signs
    Clean brass

    6.5x55mm
    120gr NOSLER Bal-Tip
    47.0gr RL-22
    CCI-200
    WW Brass
    3.00 col, no crimp
    2,619 fps m/38
    3.69 in grp m/38
    no pressure signs
    Clean brass
    Aug 30, 2009. temp 65’F


    6.5x55mm
    140gr Sierra HPBT
    46.3gr RL-22
    CCI-200
    WW Brass
    3.055 col, no crimp

    2,622 fps m/38
    1.19 in grp m/38
    no pressure signs
    Clean brass
    Aug 30, 2009. temp 65’F

    6.5x55mm 120gr Sierra HPBT
    47.0gr RL-19 CCI-200
    WW Brass 3.00 col, no crimp
    2,693 fps m/38
    1.70 in grp m/38
    no pressure signs very Clean brass temp 65 degrees F 08/30/2009
    Shot from dirty bore.


    6.5x55mm
    140gr Sierra HPBT
    46.3gr H-4831
    Fed 210 match
    Lapua Brass
    3.100 col, no crimp
    2,545 fps m/38
    1.12 in group m/38
    slight pressure signs
    very Clean brass
    Sept 6, 2009. temp 55’F
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  10. Xeon64

    Xeon64 Member

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    m/38 1942 Husqvarna

    I just joined because of this thread.

    I have a customized m38 mauser that is in excellent shape. It has the military barrel cut down to 23" I just started reloading and decided to start with the 6.5x55 round. I find load data for modern rifles and load data for Mausers M38/96. I am using Alliant Reloader 22 with a 140grain Nosler Accubond. My question is this: Alliant says to us 40 grains of RL22. I see a lot of people online posting that they use between 42 grains and 44grains in their Mausers. I was thinking of using 42 grains. Will this be safe in a M38? I have a felling the American powder companies are recommending lower pressure loads because they do not know what shape these old Mausers are in just like commercial ammo makers do.

    Here is what I was thinking of.

    Hornady brass once shot in my m/38 & resized with LEE full length die trimmed to 2.165"
    OAL at 3.1" I got this from splitting the distance of Max OAL and the OAL of Mil Spec M41 which measured 3.05"
    140 grain Nosler Accubond
    42 grains of RL22
    CCI Primer
    uncrimp Neck

    Is this safe for a M/38? I have shot the gun a lot with Sellier and Bellot 131 gr, Remington 131gr, and Hornady Superperformance. All shot about okay but not great for accuracy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  11. mnhntr

    mnhntr Member

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    I do not use a 6.5x55 but my 260 is 1/8 twist and i have had excellent results with 142gr SMKs and 140gr Berger VLDs
     
  12. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    XEON's load guess-ta-mation sounds like a good one. (at least with my rifles, yours might not be the same) Just fine tune both ways for the best group. Also be aware of other factors like barrel to stock pressure which can affect your groups.
     
  13. Xeon64

    Xeon64 Member

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    Thanks for the response. My barrel is free floated and the receiver is glass bedded and pillar bedded. I think I will make a few 40 grain loads and a few 42 grain loads. Attached are some photos.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    When was the receiver made?. If it is one of those WW1 or earlier receivers keep the velocities to Swedish service rifle standards. While the Swedish rifles are some of the better old rifles, all of the steels, all the receivers from that period were made under primitive conditions and are highly variable in strength. The steels used were plain carbon steels, state of the art then, but used for rebar now. Plain carbon steels are much weaker than alloys today, even WW2 era alloys.

    If your receiver is 1930’s or 40’s, the plain carbon steels were made under better conditions, so the risk of receiver set back is less.

    For stuff made in the 20’s, I don’t know, still an era of primitive process controls but getting better. I would keep charges at service rifle levels.
     
  15. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    It was mentioned that it's a '42 Husky, and likely some of the best of the breed for Swedish steel.


    NCsmitty
     
  16. Xeon64

    Xeon64 Member

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    It is a 1942 Husqvarna. I think I will start at 42 grains of RL 22 and check for signs of excessive pressure. If I can get to 2500 fps I will be happy. At 42 grains with a 22 inch barrel I expect around 2200 fps. Basically 30-30 fps I do not have a chronograph so I am guestimating.
     
  17. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    42.5gr of RL 22 is listed at 2560fps per Nosler (using a 23" barrel), that is their starting load with that powder. If you were using a 22" barrel expect to loose about 20-30fps tops vs the slightly longer tube that was tested with.
    Game Kings, Core-Lokts, SSTs, Hotcores, TSX, Partitions, and Ballistic Tips are all well regarded bullets in 6.5mm. I load 140gr SSTs, 140gr Game Kings, and 120gr Ballistic Tips myself.
     
  18. Xeon64

    Xeon64 Member

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    Was the Nosler info for a Mauser for a Modern production rifle like a Tikka? My Nosler Manual does not specify between mausers and modern production rifles. My Lyman book does not even list RL-22 for the 6.5x55
     
  19. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Swedish Steel ( from Swedish Iron Ore) is and was some of the best in the world. Back during the late 1890 and early 1900s is WAS the best in the world.
    There is a reason that warm Norma factory ammo has been fired in Swedish Mausers for over 100 years.
    US factory loads are whimpy because there are also Krag rifles out there chambered for 6.5x55mm and the lawyers of the world have decided that US citizens are too stupid to not shoot warmer loads in those weak Krags.


    On the bright side, there is not a deer in your area who will know the difference if he is shot with a 140 grain bullet going 2,500 at the muzzle or 2,600fps at the muzzle. Within 300-400 yards it will all be the same result.


    USE LAPUA BRASS
     
  20. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    That info is for a modern action, though I am sure the starting charge would work in an old small ring Mauser. I use the max charge 46.5gr in my Tikka with FANTASTIC results, and not even a hint of pressure. You don't need the 2800+fps a modern action can push to hunt deer, I have used my factory 139gr Prvi SP (2550fps) to take deer and the 6.5x55 delivers even at that low speed within reasonable ranges. As with all small calibers shot placement is key.
    As Float Pilot said Lapua brass is supposed to be top of the foodchain good, but seeing as I have never been able to find it I have been thrilled with the Norma brass I have bought and really surprised how good my Prvi brass is. I do avoid Winchester and Remington brass in my Sweed but use them extensively in my other rifles.
     
  21. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The Bessemer process would have never come about (1870’s) if it had not been for Swedish iron ore. Swedish iron ore lacked phosphorus, something very unusual, and Bessemer was able to make steel from the stuff without problems. It was only later with other ores that had phosphorus that Bessemer was almost bankrupted before a fix was found.

    But to say, Swedish steel was the best in the 1890’s is probably true, but this is 2013. You have to look at the quality of the steel in its period, and what was great in 1890 is low or poor metallurgical quality in today’s world.

    That is why it is best practice not to exceed period pressures with period receivers.

    I recall an article in Rifle magazine where the writer had a Swedish mauser receiver that had receiver set back, I just don’t remember the date.
     
  22. Clark

    Clark Member

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    120 gr Nosler Ballistic tip.
     
  23. Xeon64

    Xeon64 Member

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    Thanks for the info. I set this load up

    42.1 gn of RL-22 with the 140 Nosler Accubond.

    First shot was great no signs of pressure. Second Shot primer was a little deformed but nothing to get concerned about. Third Shot, Flat primer. Fourth Shot the Primer Blew out and gas vented out the ports.

    I am dropping the load down to 40 grains like Alliant says. Not sure if it is my chamber, OAL or primer causing the increase pressure. There was black around the neck of every shot and I find it odd the pressure increase incrementally on every shot until the primer blew.
     
  24. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Xeon64,

    You've got something going on with your rifle or brass aside from that load, which is quite mild. I shot 48.0gr of RL22 in my modern (not milsurp Mauser) match rifle for years with 139-142gr bullets in Lapua brass.

    Don
     
  25. Xeon64

    Xeon64 Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. I have shot plenty commercial ammo and military ammo no problem. I am not sure what is going on. Before the primer blow it was shooting very accurate. I am also starting to question my OAL. I am at 3.1 the max is 3.150. Commercial Ammo is under 3.0 and the Military ammo is at 3.05. My bullet is not even touching the lans. I am thinking of bring it to a gun smith and getting them to check the chamber and head spacing. That is going to hit me for over 100 bucks which is why I have never done it.
     
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