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reloading for the Swedish Mauser 6.5 x 55

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bender, Jul 28, 2007.

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  1. bender

    bender Member

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    It's a m96 (actually a m41/B), receiver dated 1908. I've only taken it shooting one time so far - with factory ammo. I shot a box of 20 Fed Classic, and then shot 10 rounds of Win super-X.

    The rifle shot great groups with both (at 50 yds), although 14" high :confused: . One thing that bothered me was that one round of Fed Classic resulted in a stuck bolt - could not lift the bolt handle to eject the round. I did manage to lift the handle after fiddling with it for a while. Does this mean the ammo was too hot?

    I read somewhere that when loading for old swede rifles, to stick to pressures < 45000. I loaded up my first handloads for this rifle last night. I used the once fired brass from my previous shooting session, and used a Lee Collet neck-size die to neck size only. I seated the bullets (Hornady 140gr SP) out to 3.015". I then used the Lee FC die to put a crimp on.

    The powder I chose was Reloder 22. I loaded 5 rounds each of: 40gr, 40.5gr, 41gr, 41.5gr.

    There is a large discrepancy between manuals on the swede and 140gr bullets with Reloader 22. Speer start load is 44gr, max load is 48gr. Lee is very similar with a start load of 43.9gr and a max of 48.1. However, Sierra start load is 37.7gr, and max load is 45.7. That is considerably lower than the other manuals. Unfortunately Hornady does not list R22 with their 140gr loads.

    I chose to make my test loads as mentioned above - from 40gr to 41.5gr. May be light, but I want to take care of this old sniper rifle, and all I do is shoot paper anyway.

    What do you guys use for your m96 swede loads?

    I may go to the range tomorrow to try out these 20 handloads. Hope they don't shoot 14" high like the factory ammo. I may need to adjust my Ajack sniper scope. I know how to due to this thread:

    http://pub176.ezboard.com/fcurioandrelicfirearmsforumfrm45.showMessage?topicID=14.topic
     
  2. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

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    I have shot up to 47.5 grains of RL 22 in my swede (M38) and had no ill results. The actions are strong enough to take a little more than the listed pressures. Those pressures are more for 96's in bad shape and the M1894's. Mine looks like it will need to have the bullets seated out more however, and mine shoots about 8-10 high at 100 as well. It is the norm.
     
  3. Texastbird

    Texastbird Member

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    A friend of mine found some tall front sight blades some years back to help our Swedes zero out at 100 yds. I can't remember where he got them. I haven't reloaded for the old girl yet, but will soon now that I have some brass to work with. I would be interested in your results.
     
  4. Jake in TX

    Jake in TX Member

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    Bender,

    I also shoot an m/96. Mine is a Mauser Oberndorf, dated 1900. I starting load was 40 grains of RL22, using 140 grain Sierra Matchkings. My most accurate load is 45.2 grains. My m/96 still has the original rear sight, with the shortest distance of 300 meters. This is why these rifles typically shoot so high at 50 and 100 yards. I use a target which is 8" in diameter and hold on the bottom of the color. At 50 yards, I'm putting the bullets in the center.

    I believe you are starting out OK. I personally do not like American made brass for 6.5x55, as the case head diameter is typically too small. Lapua and Norma make correctly dimensioned brass for 6.5x55, but it is pretty costly. Wolf Gold brand uses Prvi Partizan brass from Serbia (I believe), and it is much more reasonably prices. Good luck with your load development. Maybe I'll see you at a range.

    Jake in TX
     
  5. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

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    Jake, your 96 shoots center hits with a proper 6 oclock hold? Is that with the listed 45.2 grains??
     
  6. Jake in TX

    Jake in TX Member

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    BsChoy,

    Yes, it does, at a 50 yard range (not 100 yards).

    Jake in TX
     
  7. bender

    bender Member

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    my first time at the range (as detailed in the OP), shot 14" high at 50 yds. The night before I went to the range, I set the elevation dial on "1", for 100 meters.

    However, when I got home and removed the scope from its metal protective container, I noticed it was set on "6" (600 meters). I'm not sure if I accidentally moved it before shooting, or after shooting at the range when I was stuffing it back into its container, or if I accidentally moved it while unpacking it when I got home... in other words, I'm not sure if I accidentally moved it to "6" AFTER shooting, or BEFORE shooting.

    If I was shooting with it set on 600 meters, then that would mostly explain the 14" high POI. If it was still set on "1" while I was shooting, then I'll either have to aim low all the time, or take off the elevation dial, and refasten it back on, but at a 90 degree angle to what it was before (that would in effect allow it to go lower than "1").

    Jake - the 45.2gr would probably be close to the mil-spec performance. I may buy some Norma brass. I figure since I am using a Lee Collet neck sizer, that I'll get good life out of my brass.

    Next time I take it shooting, I'm going to double check that it is still on "1" before shooting.
     
  8. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    Bender - is your M41/B have all matching numbers?

    Those were hand selected and custom built. NICE rifles...a bit expensive today...but WELL worth the money.
     
  9. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    Your loads of 40/41grs of R22 are very light.
    Speer suggests starting at 44 gr and Alliant suggests a max of 48.1 gr. Subtracting 10% as a starting place gives us 43.3 gr with a 140 gr bullet. I suspect you will find as velocity goes up with higher powder charges the POI will drop. I have loaded the Swede with 46-47gr of R22 & a 140 gr bullet in a old M96 and presently use 47.5 gr with a 140 gr Sierra BT in a rebarreled Mark X. I`d raise the charge a couple grs and see if POI drops and accuracy improves, I`ll bet you will see some improvment.
     
  10. bender

    bender Member

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    since the 6.5 x 55 is still chambered in modern rifles, and also formerly in the rem 700 and win 70, I thought maybe the loads in the manuals were a little hot for the old swede military rifles.

    My next 20 reloads will be five each of 42, 42.5, 43. 43.5gr of Reloder 22.

    As stated in the OP, I seated the bullets out to 3.015". It looks kind of funny, with the bullets sticking out that far, but I read that the old swedes have long throats.

    would a 120gr bullet shoot lower?

    Ol' Joe - the ammo that was shooting 14" high was factory, not my light reloads. It was the first time I had shot 6.5 x 55, but it felt pretty stiff to me... so I'm sure the factory stuff was of a decent power.
     
  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    You will need a tall front sight as no combination of bullets will reduce the point of impact 14". Sarco has them. http://www.sarcoinc.com/mauser.html#9

    You knock off the old sight, with a brass drift, install the new sight. Go to the range and first get your windage correct at something like 25 yards. You can do a bit of front sight filing at 25 yards, but don't over do it. When you get out to 100 yards that is when you reduce the height of the front sight a little bit at a time. About .006" equals one inch at one hundred yards. I would use a 6" dial micrometer to measure sight height before and after every filing. I would keep write the blade height down after filing. That way I would get cautious about not filing too much as I got close to getting the elevation correct. As you are real close you should concentrate on getting a good flat top to the blade.

    It should take about an hour. File a bit. Shoot a bit.

    In my 29" M1896 I chronographed some 1986 143 grain Swedish Ball. The average velocity was 2615 fps. If I were to duplicate that load I would give IMR 4350 a try. That powder is relatively slow burning, has given me great results in things like 270, 243. Should work well in a 6.5
     
  12. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I think Brownell's carries those sight blades also, about $5-6 IRRC. Looking for powder suggestions for the 120gr bullet in a 20" bbl?!?!?

    Bob
     
  13. bender

    bender Member

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    to clarify, this is a m41/B which has a scope.

    [​IMG]

    This scope is off to the left side, so you are able to use the iron sights even if the scope is mounted. It has a quick-release mounting system, so that the rifle can be quickly changed to scope or no-scope.

    the 14" high is while I am aiming with the scope. I have not shot the rifle using the iron sights yet.

    dcloco - the rifle is mostly matching (the receiver / bolt group is mostly matching), some parts elsewhere on the rifle are diff numbers. Purchased thru Samco. I am mostly happy with it, it is in fairly nice shape, and I have gone over it part by part and compared everything to what Poyer says in his For Collectors Only swedish mauser book. It seems kosher. And yes, it was quite expensive...

    If I can figure out a good handload, and maybe get the scope POA/POI to be closer, it will probably become my favorite milsurp...

    by the way - I love the 6.5 caliber, it' seems like a great caliber.
     
  14. SCW

    SCW Member

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    My load for my 1914, 1911 and sporterized Swede of unknown date is 47.5gr of R22 and a Nosler Partition or Sierra Game King. Both have the same POI and I have shot a 1" group with the 1911, 2 1/2" with the 1914 and 9/16" with the sporter, all at 100 yards.

    H4350 and 4831 have also been good, but I've had the best results (obviously, those are damn good groups imo) with the R22. The Swede loves lots of slow powder and a big, long bullet.

    Unless you use Norma brass you may experience some denting in the shoulder area when you resize the brass. US brass is slightly different dimensionally than Swedish brass, but shouldn't be a problem after the first reload.
     
  15. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    Not bragging about my shooting capabilities or inabilities...but two of my three Swedes I will put up against any (within reason) over the counter rifle at ranges of 600 yards or greater.....even if they use a scope! The Swedes are GREAT rifles.
     
  16. bender

    bender Member

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    R22 seems to be what you all are using. The bullets I'm using are the Hornady 140gr SP - they have a flat base. I think when these are gone, I'll buy some BT ones. since I am using the neck-size only die, BTs are much easier to seat.. and supposedly they fly straighter... but I'm not sure about that.

    what twist rate do M96s have?

    I need to get me one of those m38s too...
     
  17. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

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    I am using the 140 hornady's too. I think I will go to 140 sst or amax just cuz I love hornady bullets. Was toying with getting the nosler 140 hpbt but not sure about the close performance it may have on animals, namely deer.
     
  18. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    here's a formula to figure how much higher/lower your sight needs to be.
    take the height that you are off in inches divide by the distance you're shooting in inches multiply that number times the barrel length that number will be how much you sight has to come up/down.
    Example I had a rifle that shot 9" high at 100 yards from a 28' barrel
    so 9" divided by 1200" = .0075 x barrel length 28" = .210 higher front sight
     
  19. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    1/7.5", most new Factory rifles I`ve looked at have 1/8".

    Finn Aaguaard (noted African hunter & writer) wrote in his tests on the 6.5 Swede, the best bullet in his opinion for the 6.5x55 was the 140 gr Sierra BTSP for use on deer sized game. I`ve used it and the 140 Hornady with better accuracy going to the Sierra in my rifles. I feel a bit different about the best bullet though and have settled on the 129 gr Hornady SP for deer in both my 6.5 Swede, and 260 Remingtons. It seems to perform as well as the larger hornady and is a bit more accurate then either 140 gr bullet in my rifles.
     
  20. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

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    Highlander, I hate to correct you but there are 36 inches to a yard and 100 yds would be 3600 inches. 3 feet to a yard 12 inches to a foot. Thanks for the example though
     
  21. bender

    bender Member

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    I went shooting this morning and shot my first 20 reloads in my swede rifle.

    my first shot (40gr) was 2" to the right of the bullseye. My 2nd & 3rd shots (also 40gr) were in the bullseye... I thought "wow, my problem is solved...". Unfortunately, all other shots (hot barrel I guess) were high and to the left. Highest shot was around 7", most were between 2" and 6" high. Still, it was a lot better than the first time I shot the rifle with factory ammo (14" high). I figure I must have moved the elevation dial accidentally while shooting the first time.

    I agree that 40gr seemed kind of light... I liked the feel of the 41gr load and the 41.5gr load. I don't hunt, so for shooting paper it seems good enough.

    good twist for long skinny bullets...
     
  22. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    I have a regular 1896. Is it possible to put a scope on it like the M/41 without permanently altering the rifle?
     
  23. bender

    bender Member

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    hmmm... not sure. Somebody may make a no-gunsmithing mount... but nobody that I know of
     
  24. Jake in TX

    Jake in TX Member

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    There is a company called S&K Scope Mounts which makes a scout scope type of mount. It replaces the rear sight, so you use a long eye relief or pistol scope with it. I recently bought one, but have not yet tried it out. Maybe next weekend.

    S&K have a web site, http://www.scopemounts.com/

    Bender,

    Keep increasing the charge, and you will probably find a much more consistent load.

    Jake in TX
     
  25. bender

    bender Member

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    my groups climbed higher & higher as I went along. First shots were pretty much to POA. Next 5 were 2" higher, next 5 were an inch or 2 higher than the last 5, and the next 5 were also and inch or 2 higher than the previous 5.

    Not sure if it was the barrel getting hotter, or the loads getting stiffer. I started with the lightest loads and went up to the heaviest loads. groups were fine, but they just kept getting higher.

    I'm going to remove the elevation dial off the scope and reattach it at a 90 degree angle (so it can be turned lower than "1").

    I'll load 20 more rounds with R22 and try again next time...
     
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