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6.5x55 revisited


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Well, not casting limits your choices a LOT.


First, find out what your  barrel groove diameter is by slugging it.  You can look up instructions all over the internet or the SASS Wire for how to do that.


Second, find a bullet supplier who is willing to size at or up to 2 thousandths over groove diameter.  Take a reasonable guess at the slug that will work best.  I like the Lyman 266673 design myself (in a M96 Swedish rifle made in 1911), which runs about 150 grains in #2 alloy, for me.  I like a bullet at about 16 Brinnell hardness or slightly higher.  If you can find a feller who lubes with the older NRA (ALOX) soft formula lube it will usually shoot  better than the newer hard wax lubes.  Also reasonable choices for a design that you may find commercial casters making - RCBS 6.5-140 gr-SIL, NOE 270-163 gr-FN, or a Saeco 62264 (140 gr). 


Third, load with 2400, 5744, Reloder 7 or 4198 powder so that you get 1600 FPS on the chronograph.  Beg borrow or steal a chrono, it's that important with the 6.5 Swede.  Because of the VERY FAST twist rate set for 156 grain military FMJ bullets (long for their diameter) for a muzzle velocity of 2,379 FPS, the barrels are touchy with "normal" looking cast bullets.  Much over 1600 FPS on a cast bullet in the Swede, and most folks can't keep the bullet shooting tight groups.  And you want a kinda skinny nose on the slug so you don't have to seat the slug base deeper than the base of the neck - bore riding designs can have chambering problems.


When you get all the right parts together, a cast bullet load in the 6.5 Swede is a sweet heart.  Otherwise, it can be a heart breaker.


For sources I'll start you with a list of some potential suppliers:


Montana Bullet Works - https://www.montanabulletworks.com/product-category/rifle/?filter_caliber=264

Gardners - http://gardnerscache.com/

Moyers - www.moyerscastbullets.com/rifle.html

Western - http://westernbullet.com/2665mmcaliber.html


But, I endorse none of them specifically, as I cast my own.







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Purcella does cast a 6.5mm 150 gr TC GC as he describes it, 0.264 diameter and I request that he size to 0.266".  His bullets consistently weight 155 grains with GC and coating. 


These bullets are long, the GC is at the base of the case neck.  I'll dig up the overall length directly and post it.  If you PM your email address I'll send pix of the bullet and the loaded round.


GJ says "And you want a kinda skinny nose on the slug so you don't have to seat the slug base deeper than the base of the neck - bore riding designs can have chambering problems."  He is so correct here.  Purcella's is a bore-riding design so seated depth is critical.  I'd prefer more taper on the nose.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey Garrison Joe,  I visited the  range with a Model 96 Swedish Mauser and assorted and weighed loads of 5744, 2400, 4895,  and RL7; PPU cases, CCI primers, and 155 gr coated bullets from Purcella.  All of these bullets are 0.266 to 0.267 diameter and all were sorted by weight to 155 grains.  None of the loads at around 1600 fps presented any impressive groups, nothing less than about 8" at 100 yds on targets with a black bull on white paper.


The 5744 with 17.5 grains had group of 12 feet.  Yep, 12 feet.  Bullets were striking from one side of the 25' berm to the other,; the ground in front of the target to the top of the berm.  When one round accidentally hit a target, it was key-holing.  One of the bullets from that load struck the sun shield support rod on my chrono, despite the care with which I aimed over the center of the chrono. 


After this session I checked the RCBS balance beam scale against another RCBS, and they measure within 0.05 grains of each other.  I used the best chem lab scale techniques too.  Comments ?


My next range session will use uncoated bullets with conventional lube, as I could shoot a reasonable group with 13.5 gr 2400.  I'll also use targets with orange bulls on white paper for better visibility and paint over that black front sight blade with white paint.

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Comments ?


Well, I'd repeat:

When you get all the right parts together, a cast bullet load in the 6.5 Swede is a sweet heart.  Otherwise, it can be a heart breaker.




I've never shot Hi-tek coated bullets in anything.  So, those are a mystery to me.  I've never seen top shooters in the Cast Bullet Association talk about shooting coated bullets in their published match results. 


I've seen my 6.5 Swede and a couple of same model of rifles from fellow BAMM shooters here in Albuquerque area (whom you probably know at least by name) shoot 16 Brinnell hardness non-quench-hardened bullets with lubes like White Label XLOX 2500+, Carnuba Red, or conventional NRA formula ALOX shoot under 2 MOA at least out to 300 yards.  My favorite load right now is 17.5 grains of 4227 (checked) under the Lyman 266673 bullet (weighing about 150 grains with GC and lube).


Make sure you have scrubbed ALL the copper fouling out of barrel.  Clean until patches are white.  Check barrel groove diameter that it matches bullets well.  Check for good action to wood contact.  Seat slugs out so that they don't have to jump far to hit start of rifling.


All the standard things needed to work up good loads.....      Maybe there'd be a match we both are at if you'd like to double check against some of my ammo in your gun?  :)  Happy to help.  A fellow WB shooter was out at EOT this summer, and I'm afraid that when I loaned him that Swede and ammo and he shot it pretty well, that he got hooked immediately on BAMM.


The behavior of your 5744 loads would suggest either severe fouling or excess muzzle velocity, especially if you are shooting up your chrono.


Stepping velocity down below 1600 would have more chance of finding accuracy than pushing it above 1600, I would guess.  Those long nosed slugs just don't have the strength in the nose to prevent slumping over as they go down barrel.  So the story goes.






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Garrison Joe, I've just purchased some IMR 4227 to load according to your recipe in the post above.


Your recipe that I used for Accurate 5744 that created the key holes was posted here on reply #2:




I've not given up on the 5744, but will load it less than 17.5 grains to be between 1450 and 1600 fps, whatever will group.


I'm over a week away from reloading as I'm doing some renovations to the weapons cleaning area in the garage, and all that was on the cleaning area is on the loading benches.  That should provide time to receive an order from Purcella for lubed (not coated) bullets.

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Every gun likes a different cast bullet load.  Maybe it's time to say that again.  Rifles are a lot more picky about cast bullets than they are jacketed.  If you expect a hum-dinger load in the first 20 loads you try, you may be expecting too much.  Some folks work on loads for a year.


Anyway, best of luck. 


"That's why they call it shooting, not hitting."  - to adapt an old fishing joke.


With a 6.5 Swede, if you are up over 1600 FPS and going sideways, for sure cut back powder.


The load Your recipe that I used for Accurate 5744 is just about the starting load in Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook #4 for a 150 grain slug in 6.5 Swede.  As also is the 4227 load.  And both are shown at 1600 FPS or real close.  It's just that some loads just don't work well in some guns...




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