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Old 10-25-2010, 11:52 PM
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Default 6.5x55 Swede on big game

Anyone use this round for hunting deer, elk or larger game?

I've always used a .30-06 but last year I used a CZ 550 in 6.5x55 and got a nice mule deer buck and this year I did the same.

Low recoil, less noise and harvests deer as good if not better than the 06. Both years I used a load of IMR 4350 and a Hornady 140 grain SP. Hit the deer dead center through the lungs and he went about 20 yards and was done.

I was going to use the CZ and a 100 grain Nosler partition for antelope but I couldn't get it to shoot consistant. Maybe next year if I draw that is I will try some 120 Sierra spitzers and see how they work for antelope.

If I ever draw a Colorado elk tag should I stay with the 140 grain or go to a heavier bullet? BTW if I can't get within 150 or maybe 200 yards max I won't shoot.
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:54 AM
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The biggest thing I have shot with the Swede is an axis deer.......but the well documented history of the 6.5 x55 suggest that it is quite adequate for any game on earth with proper bullets. I personally would feel no need to use bullets heavier than 140 for elk(though lots have been killed with 160s).
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:15 AM
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The various 6.5 mm cartridges made their reps with 160 gr bullets. Our bullet designs are much better now, something lighter may work on elk, but watch your sectional density. You want to keep at least comparable to other proven elk loads.

BTW, the Swedes probably hunt what we'd call moose with the things.
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:27 AM
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As with any cartridge, bullet placement is the key; but, place that bullet right and the 6.5 Swede will get the job done. It is the queen of penetration. On elk, I would stick with a premium 140 gr. bullet for a good combination of trajectory, penetration and expansion -- and then I'd practice, practice, practice until hitting exactly where I want to hit is second nature. Then, I'd go hunt...
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
As with any cartridge, bullet placement is the key; but, place that bullet right and the 6.5 Swede will get the job done. It is the queen of penetration. On elk, I would stick with a premium 140 gr. bullet for a good combination of trajectory, penetration and expansion -- and then I'd practice, practice, practice until hitting exactly where I want to hit is second nature. Then, I'd go hunt...

I already shoot alot all through the year just for this reason. I have some 140 partitions and some 140 Barnes triple shock may have to work up a load with one of them.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:59 AM
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While I personally have never shot anything with a 6,5X55, it has long been a favorite for moose in Sweden and Norway, using mostly 156 grain round nose soft points, especially in first half of 1900s. It is deep penetration that is key, that is, once the bullet is put in right place. Also important to its success is that the light recoil makes accurate shooting much easier than with 8mm Mauser, 30-06, and any of the 7mm, 8mm, etc. magnums. Don't forget that all those Swedes and Norwegians had been trained to use the 6,5X55 mauser turnbolts during their military service.

The early, rather simple design 156-160 grain soft points are what the 6,5X55's excellent reputation is based on, as is case for other, even lower powered 6,5 mm cartridges. Should one chose a 140 grain bullet, I would opt for one of the premium, controlled expansion bullets.

Not so many decades ago, 6,5X55, 7X57 mauser and 30-40 Krag were common elk cartridges in places like Montana. They worked well with simple soft point bullets in 160, 175, and 220 grains, especially in Montana's "black" forests.

If I did not have nice 7X57, 7X51 and 7X57R chambered hunting rifles, I would likely have a nice 6,5X55 turnbolt hunting rifle.

Niklas
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:08 AM
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I hunt with a variety of rifles, but one of my favorite is a 6.5 Swede carbine that was given to me by my former Chief Deputy. It isn't pretty, it has a fixed 4 power scope atop it, but it shoots.
I have a bunch of old PMC 139 grn SP's that put deer down right away when I do my part.
6.5 is a good round.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:21 PM
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I don't have one, but I do have a 6.5-06 and I must say that a 6.5mm/.264 bullet performs well beyond what the paper statistics indicate.

They are long for their weight and penetrate beyond what they would be expected to. They buck the wind and go long range well too.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K.38 View Post
I was going to use the CZ and a 100 grain Nosler partition for antelope but I couldn't get it to shoot consistant.
Before WWI, the 6.5's earned good reputations on game including buff and elephant with a 160-gr. RN at 2,100-2,400 fps. The Swede may be the best of them, and it's still used in Sweden on what we call moose.

Original rifles (and some new ones) are throated for and shoot best with those long RNs. They rarely do well with short, light spitzers. And in a strong action like your CZ, careful use of modern powders can turn the Swede into a junior 270.

You've got a VERY nice rifle on your hands.


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Old 10-26-2010, 03:48 PM
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The Swedes love it for everything up to moose and probably polar bear. That being said, if you want to use it for anything above whitetail sized game I would say you need to move north of the 140 grainers, and you need to get close. I love the round but when it comes to elk and larger game, no it is not the equal of the .30'06. As far as deer go, when you have a Swede, you can leave the '06 in the safe.
In addition, yes the 6.5 with proper (read solid) bullets is adequate for any game in the world from rabbit to elephant. You, however are not a good enough shot to use it for everything, that is not to insult you I am not good enough either, it is just the rifleman that can put any beast down with a light rifle is a rarity. Average shooters, like most of use are, should stick to species appropriate calibers.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senecaap View Post
it is just the rifleman that can put any beast down with a light rifle is a rarity. Average shooters, like most of use are, should stick to species appropriate calibers.
Should I say thank you...
In Sweden and Norway somewhere around 130.000 Moos is shoot every year, and the 6,5x55 is one of the most common calibers.
...so we are excellent marksmen over here in Scandinavia?

In Norway you have to pass a shooting test before can hunt larger game such as moos. 5 shoots inside a one foot circle at 100 meters (109 yards)! Probably not the toughest marksman test you heard about
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:56 PM
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And now posters here are hereby informed that 6,5X55 Mauser is a "species appropriate" for moose, and thereby north american elk.

Would also add that both Scandinavian moose (the real elk(älg)) and northamerican "elk" are still just as easy to kill today as they were 100 or more years ago. All shooters needs to do is to be in suitable range with any decent rifle and put bullet in right place(s). Dudes with big magnums that kick snott out of shooter on each shot are folks that really need help. They would be much better off learning to shoot 6,5X55 Mauser, 7X57 Mauser, 30-30, 32 Special, 30-40 Krag, etc. accurately and keep shots under 200 yards. FYI, 32 Special was very popular elk rifle in Montana for my father's generation and many are still in use by their sons and grand sons each fall.

Niklas
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:41 PM
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IIRC, Karamoja Bell killed elephants (lots of them) in Africa with this round. Sectional density of the long bullet leads to awesome penetration.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:01 PM
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Watch out for regulations in some areas setting minimum caliber requirements for elk and moose.
In a controlled hunt on Federal land for elk, we were restricted to minimum of .270 Win and a maximum of five cartridges for the hunt.
Most carried some sort of .30 caliber rifle.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:13 PM
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I did some research on the 550 last year and I spent some time on the phone and E mailwith the people at Norma and they told me that it can be used on mosse and elk as they do it all the time.
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:10 PM
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I've owned an M96 for almost 20 years. Never shot anything but paper with it, but I think it is one of the most under rated cartridges.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:27 PM
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I was not implying that it could not be done. However, I have seen such poor shooting from guys with, take your pick .300, 30'06, .338 on game down to whitetail, take shots from too far away, poor angles, no idea of where vitals are, that I am hesitant to say the 6.5x55 is appropriate under all conditions for moose and elk sized game, there just is not enough margin for error with the round.

I have killed black bear with the round, an extremely tough animal for which I have the greatest respect. I love the 6.5, but I understand it's limitations and strengths. I don't know the qualities of the original poster or anyone else, so I cannot make a blanket endorsement for the cartridge. I will say if I were limited to only one rifle, it is on the very short list of my favorites (along with the 7x57), so I am not trying to knock it.

And yes WDM Bell killed elephant with the 6.5x54MS (he killed more with his .318WR though, not that it is a big bore), but it is far from the ideal elephant rifle. Bell was one of those wonders who could consistently hit exactly the kill spot every time, there is even a story that he shot birds flying high above Vic Falls from a camp at the base of the falls with his .318, a feat I'm sure none of us could replicate. He didn't need anymore rifle because his shooting skill was so high, he needed no margin. And I know several local hunters who only hunt whitetail with a .22, they bag their deer every year, but is the .22 an appropriate caliber for deer?

I just want to urge caution, for the sake of hunting humanely. No, I still don't think the 6.5 is the ultimate caliber for elk and above, but if that is what you are going to use, for God's sake use the heaviest weight, toughest bullets available, and get close.
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espen View Post
In Norway you have to pass a shooting test before can hunt larger game such as moos. 5 shoots inside a one foot circle at 100 meters (109 yards)! Probably not the toughest marksman test you heard about
If that's offhand, there are probably a lot of hunters in the US who wouldn't get to hunt big game.
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:28 PM
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senecaap,

In a very real sense, you and I and others are really saying the same basic thing. Lousy hunters that are lousy shots are the problem, not the rifle used.

Perhaps the main reason so many hunters shoot so badly with 30-06 and especially with magnums in 7mm, 30 or 338 is that they are afraid of the recoil of these generally unneeded calibers. They also may not be very good shooters to start with.

Many years ago I hunted some with an outfitter in Montana. I brought along a "puny" little 7X51 loaded with 175 grain Noslers to about original 7X57 muzzle velocities. My elks always dropped with one shot at ranges up to 150+ yards. Total penetration broadside and similar shots and from stem to belly on frontal shots. After first elk, outfitter started telling me how his Grandfather and Grandmother shot 100s of elk with a 30-30, typically one-shot kills. These folks were typical of Montana ranchers in early 1900s -- a box of 30-30 or 32 Special ammo (20 rounds) was expected to bag at least 15 deer + elk and now and then black bears and occasionally a grizzly. 30-40 Krags and 6,5X55 military surplus rifles were common and equally effective. After WW2 30-06 turnbolts became common, as guys returned from the war. He also had lots of stories about clients with big magnums that only wounded elk with poorly placed shots.

To state it differently, "There are hunters and then there are dudes with fancy rifles."

Niklas
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:30 PM
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Niklas
Couldn't agree more, it just takes time for us to get there. To tell you all I can about my ballistic creed, Weatherby is a naughty word in my gun room.
Huzza!!
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:57 PM
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Thanks for all the info and good insight.

Espen what seems to be the most common ammunition in Norway? Is it Norma or some other brand. What seems to be the most common brand of rifle?

I know 2 older gentleman who buy one box of .30-30 a year. Each of them usually shoots one deer and one elk and shoot the other 18 rounds for practice.

I'm a firm believer in practice, practice and more practice before hunting. The worst thing to do is to wound an animal and then have it suffer for hours or days before dieing. As others have said except for a narrow few, most people are ill served by the big boomers. Shot placment and distance are way more important than raw power.

Thanks again for the good discussions!
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:42 PM
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Cannot speak to what is most popular but, all my hunting friends in Sweden that use 6,5X55 and are not reloaders, use Norma 156 grain Oryx factory loads. Jaktsortiment | Norma Precision

Their 6,5X55 Mauser rifles kill a few moose each fall. They hunt in typical Swedish forests, where shots are seldom further than 100 meters. Hunting method is typically with part of hunt club members on stands and other part driving the moose toward the stands. This is very organized and controlled hunting. Most moose shot are calves, to cull the local herd.

Niklas
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:24 AM
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I have no quarrel with the heaviest bullet advocates who state that 160's made the 6.5 reputation.........but would point out that such extreme sectional density is not actually necessary for good penetration. Even 120s in the 6.5 equal 165 grain 30 calibers the 140s are equivalent to 190 grain 30s in sectional density. I'll stand my statement that I feel no need for heavier than 140s fro elk......but use what you wish.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:12 PM
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I've killed several white tails with the 6.5 and never had to shoot any of them more that once. One was a 175 lbs which was facing me at about 100 yds. The bullet traveled the entire length of the animal and lodged under the hide on its back end. I shoot it from a Winchester model 70 featherweight and use 140 Nosler partitions. In my experience the partition is the best big game bullet on the market today including all the high tech bonded stuff that is now so popular.

Good hunting results are dependent on three things:
1. Bullet placement.
2. Bullet construction.
3. Caliber.
With caliber the least important of the three.
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:00 PM
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There's a zeroth law:

0. Good hunting, which makes #1 (bullet placement) easy.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:01 AM
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I too prefer Nosler Partition bullets for bigger critters. First elk I shot was a frontal shot with 175 grain 7mm NP at about 2300 fps muzzle velocity. Bullet hit chest bone on way in, and then proceeded to make "walnut-sized" hole in heart, long "walnut-sized" hole through one lung, and a third such hole through liver. We failed to recover bullet from stomach. Hard to ask for better performance than that. Distance was 150+ yards. Elk ran/staggered maybe 75 yards.

Note that Norma loads 140 grain Nosler Partition bullets for 6,5X55 Mauser. Would sure expect more than an occasional moose fell to one of those.

Even the old-style 175 gr RN 7X57 and 160 gr RN 6,5X55 bullets performed well, most likely simply because velocities were low enough that these simple bullets did not fragment, just expanded some and penetrated lots.

Niklas
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:14 PM
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Benchrest shooters have been shooting this cartridge for many years due to its fantastic accuracy. My dad used a 140 gr Barnes on his elk 3 years ago with great success. If anyone needs components for 6.5x55, he is no longer shooting it and I have 400 or so rounds of new unprimed brass and some odd bullets I would be willing to part with. Drop me a line if interested.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:20 PM
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120 gr Sierra's-My dad kills whitetail deer very nicely with his .260 Rem with the 120's.
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K.38 View Post
Espen what seems to be the most common ammunition in Norway? Is it Norma or some other brand. What seems to be the most common brand of rifle?
Well, since I make a living out of selling ammunition, I might be able to answer that.
Different types of Norma, and Lapua with the Mega bullet is the best sellers. One reason might be that there is no competition from the US brands in that caliber.
There is also a good percentage of reloads. Norma, Nosler, Lapua, Hornady and Sierra have their fair share of the sales, but as you can guess we always sell more of the cheap stuff, than things like the Oryx bullets.
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:26 PM
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Gents,
I have been shooting the 6.5x55 Swede cartridge for over 20 years and its my hands down favorite.
I own and shoot a host of other cartridges from 17 Remington to 458 Win Mag. I have more than a few 30 cal, 270 and 7mm rifles, a 358 Norma Mag (another swede), and a 375 H&H. I like them all, but I tend to reach for the 6.5 Swede more then any other. I doesnt kick much, shoot flat and the long, skinny bullets penetrate like a javelin.
Some of you have compared it to a 6.5x06. I have a beautiful 6.5x06 built on a custom Springfield 03 action and the metal and stock are stunning. It has a 25 inch Douglas super match barrel and it out distances the swede in angle of trajectory, but only by 100 yards.

My 6.5x55 is my ugliest rifle. It started life as a Turkish mauser ( large ring outside dimension and threaded for a small ring mauser 8x57 barrel, which equates to a really thick receiver ring. It had the flange at the front of the receiver turned off and the action squared, lugs lapped and a small ring Swedish Mauser barrel installed. The barrel was cut from 24" to 22", recrowned and the intermediate barrel step turned down to make for a smooth medium weight barrel. Twist is 1:7.5. Pretty tight and perfect for 140gr bullets. The barreled action sits in a epoxy/micro-ballon bed, in a Brown precision fiberglass stock, and the works are touched off by a Timney premium trigger.
Scope is a Leupold 3x9x42ish, VXIII. Nothin fancy. It is scarred from stem to stern and is darn ugly, but it shoots!!!
Since the throat is set up for military rounds and the round is shorter than a 270, you can seat the bullets to the depth of the throat and leave the balance for powder.
I have two loads that shine it this rifle.
First one is a 140gr (Nosler Partition, Sierra Game King, Remington Coreloc't, Etc., they all seem to group well) over 48gr of IMR 7828 or RE 21. Velocity runs around 2750fps. These loads hover at .5"-1" clover-leafers and is my standard deer round. Velocities aren't screaming, bullets mushroom perfectly and they don't tear up meat, shoots as flat a pancake to 250yds, and at 300 I put the crosshair on the backbone. Took that load and ugly rifle to Africa and used it for most stuff up to 550 lb critters.
Second one developed is a 120gr Ballistic tip over 48 grains of H414. velocity runs at 3,000 FPS and a one holer. Great long range antelope round and not half bad for coyotes. I have killed a few of deer, hogs, and coyotes with that combo. its a tad thin jacketed for hogs, so you have to ensure a clean lung shot. If you're worried use the 140gr and reset your scope a few clicks.
Neither of these loads are suitable for older M96 Swedish Mauser Infantry rifles. If you drop to 42-44 grains of either powder/bullet combo you should be ok.
These loads are MAX. Start with the M96 load and work up, checking for signs of pressure.... flattened primers, etc.
I hope you enjoy your Swede as much as I do. keep your powder dry and happy shooting.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:38 PM
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i have a 1910 carl gustoff long barrell and a 1945 that has been sporterized 18 in barrell thay shoot the 160 gn best i shoot the same load of reloader 22 out of both they have both killed a lot of deer my friend in montana shot threw a very good elk at 60 yard with hornady 148 bullit and 46 gr of reloader 22 in a model 70 dropped it where it was standing i will tack mine along with my 300 mag when i go hunting in montana
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:47 PM
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I used to use one for whitetail deer hunting. From my experience, the use of premium bullets is a waste of money and good deer meat. Mainly from lost deer! I use Nosler Partitions in all my deer cartridges and found that the partition in the 6.5x55 does not open well at the closer ranges. I got a lot of pass throughs at less than 100 yards.

I use a Winchester M70 in .243 with the 100gr. partition now.

I still do have a Swedish carbine that I load standard Sierra and Hornady bullets with IMR4350 powder. At closer ranges, they seem to open better and give quicker kills.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:03 PM
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I've taken caribou with the 6.5x55. On broadside shots at <100 yards (the only shots I've taken) the 140 gr Hornady spiters exited the animals. These were the basic soft point bullet - nothing fancy.
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:45 PM
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I have a Winchester Mdl 70 in 6.5x55 that I cut the bbl back to 20" on and put it in a Mannlicher stock. I worked up load using 140 Barnes X bullets that is very accurate. It has become the "family" favorite, and just about everyone in the family has killed a whitetail with it. It is the favorite of the grandkids because "it don't kick like the other ones".
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:29 AM
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In 2008 I took a nice mule deer buck with the Swede.



And I tagged an antelope doe for the freezer with it.



In 2009 I used my Rem. 700 Classic 6.5X55 with Leupold FX4 scope to take an antelope buck (no picture ), fork horn mule deer, and spike elk in three ½ day hunts near my home in SE Wyoming. It was a charmed season, for sure.

Ammo was standard Federal 140 gr. for the antelope and deer. The elk fell to a handload using Hornady 160 gr. RN Interlock. The antelope and deer were 200 yard(+ or -) shots. The elk was less than 50 yards away when shot.





2010 was a tough year. My only harvest was a white tail doe with the Swede.



I am convinced that the 6.5X55 is greatly under appreciated and can handle all of my hunting needs as long as I do my part. I was not impressed with the performance of the 160 gr. RN bullet on that little elk. My modern Rem. 700 rifle shoots 140 gr. ammo the best. Going forward I will stick with 140 gr. bullet in factory loads or handloads for all my 6.5X55 hunting ammo, including elk (and moose if I ever draw the tag).
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carbine, cartridge, hornady, krag, military, nosler, remington, rifleman, scope, sig arms, springfield, swedish mauser, walnut, weatherby, winchester, wwi

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Reloading Thread, 6.5x55 Swede on big game in Ammunition-Gunsmithing; Anyone use this round for hunting deer, elk or larger game? I've always used a .30-06 but last year I ...
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6.5x55 Swede on big game This thread Refback 07-10-2013 01:19 PM
6.5x55 reloading - WEB.DE - Web-Suche This thread Refback 06-10-2013 09:30 AM
6.5x55 This thread Refback 02-24-2013 09:39 AM
Kúla í 6,5x55 : Endurhleðsla This thread Refback 05-22-2012 10:08 PM

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