6.5 x 55 Swede for African plains game

Shootist43

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Daga Boy, If you enjoy your 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser as much as I do please take the time to read a treatise written about it bay a man named Nathan Foster. He is a long range hunter that lives in New Zealand. After doing so I'm willing to bet that you will at least try what he suggests. I did, and changed my reloads accordingly. Here is the link to his website
https://www.ballisticstudies.com/ Once there go to his Knowledgbase for that caliber and rifle. I get 2775 FPS and very good accuracy out of mine.
 

ChrisG

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Those are super impressive V's.
Speaking for myself, I have not been able to get good accuracy with light bullets and heavy charges, but maybe I need to do some more work at the bench using other propellants as i would like to extend the rifle's usable application to cover long range desert and mountain hunting.
For the most part I stick to 140gr bullets going around 2400 - 2500fps (derived, not chrono'd) and these loads are more than enough for general plains game at moderate ranges. I include big, tough beasts like blue wildebeest, gemsbuck and Zebra , for which most people use much bigger calibres (338WM, 375H&H, etc) . Choice of bullet isn't too important as most stay relatively intact at these low Vs.
In fact i am inclined to think that the little 6.5 would be enough even for buffalo with a sufficiently strong bullet, but I haven't tried it and don't intend to unless its just a matter of putting an injured beast out of its misery. Obviously bullet placement would be critical.
(One of friends shot 2 with a 30-06 last year. 180gr Barnes TTSX behind the ear - dropped like stones).

Here you go! your 6.5mm Buff buster. 156 grain turned brass solid by Cutting Edge Bullets! If you get a chance to try them, definitely give us a report!

 

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Daga Boy

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This is an interesting chat and I do like my 6.5 ; however don't get me wrong.
It is a very useful calibre which actually punches way above its weight, but it doesn't compare with a 264 WM, 7 mm Rem Mag or even a 270 for long range ; and it certainly doesn't compete with bigger calibres at close range.
My only point was that it it is very much up to most African plains game, particularly at relatively close range.
I know that "Karamojo" Bell killed a number of elephants using a 6.5 (with solids) and I know from personal experience that this calibre works better than most people would expect even on large animals provided you keep things relatively close 9200m and below)and use fairly tough bullets.
In fact my experience is that its real advantage is lies in the use of heavier bullets (140-160gr) at relatively close ranges, yielding clean kills in circumstances where most .270's would fail on account of bullet "blow up".
All that having been said, the 6.5 x 55 can never be described as a great African plains game calibre.
For that I think my vote has to go to the 338WM (which is my "go to" for pretty much everything except guiding in dangerous game areas). True, it belts a bit , but not so much as to make it difficult to shoot accurately, and it can be used with equal success on anything from Springbuck to buffalo at ranges from almost point blank to around 500m (more in some hands), depending on loads. Ammo is also freely available , and if hand-loading you don't have to push any boundaries in order to get devastating killing power.
Now about that 6.5 Creedmoor.....
 

Daga Boy

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Just saw that "Buff Buster" post. I would be prepared to give it a go. Where are you guys?
 

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Those are super impressive V's.
Speaking for myself, I have not been able to get good accuracy with light bullets and heavy charges, but maybe I need to do some more work at the bench using other propellants as i would like to extend the rifle's usable application to cover long range desert and mountain hunting.
For the most part I stick to 140gr bullets going around 2400 - 2500fps (derived, not chrono'd) and these loads are more than enough for general plains game at moderate ranges. I include big, tough beasts like blue wildebeest, gemsbuck and Zebra , for which most people use much bigger calibres (338WM, 375H&H, etc) . Choice of bullet isn't too important as most stay relatively intact at these low Vs.
In fact i am inclined to think that the little 6.5 would be enough even for buffalo with a sufficiently strong bullet, but I haven't tried it and don't intend to unless its just a matter of putting an injured beast out of its misery. Obviously bullet placement would be critical.
(One of friends shot 2 with a 30-06 last year. 180gr Barnes TTSX behind the ear - dropped like stones).
Just curious in what country and under what conditions he performed that feat?
 

Shootist43

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Like I said my reloads for the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser in a Swedish Mauser generate 2775 FPS in a 24" barrel with excellent accuracy. According to Nikon Spot On Ballistics Calculator that is equivalent to (actually just a whisker better than) what a 7x57 or a 275 Rigby gets using a 140 Gr. bullet. How many Kudus , Gemsboks and or BWBs have been taken with a 7x57 over the years? I'm sure the answer to that question is lots.
 

Daga Boy

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To answer Red Leg, the buffalo were shot in South Africa. In both instances they had been injured and needed to be put down. (How, I am not sure, but these were not back up shots on a hunt).
In fact I know of another 2 which were shot using a .308 in the course of a cull on private land. I don't know the details of the load or projectile used but both were head shots and both reportedly dropped like stones.
The elephants were shot in various African countries to the North of here, all using solids around 160gr.
And yes, 6.5 x 55 is very much in the same class as 7 x 57 . Both do basically the same job in the field.
 

Von Gruff

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Like I said my reloads for the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser in a Swedish Mauser generate 2775 FPS in a 24" barrel with excellent accuracy. According to Nikon Spot On Ballistics Calculator that is equivalent to (actually just a whisker better than) what a 7x57 or a 275 Rigby gets using a 140 Gr. bullet. How many Kudus , Gemsboks and or BWBs have been taken with a 7x57 over the years? I'm sure the answer to that question is lots.

Is that 2775fps with a 140gn bullet Art? I get 2800fps with the 139gn privi partisan bullet in my Erfurt SR 6.5x57 with 23 in barrel over 46.2gn ADI 2209/H4350
 

Shootist43

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Yes, that is using a 140 Gr. Nosler Partition and 46.5 Gr of H4350. Now you've got me wondering where that 25 FPS went. The only answer I can think of offhand is barrel friction. Maybe I need to do a better job of copper removal. I use Bore Tech CU+2 which seems to work very well, but it seems like I get tired of swabbing and brushing before all the copper is removed. One of these days I'm just going to have to "man up" and do a proper job. The trouble is that I have over a dozen of those old Swedes with barrels ranging from 100 to 120 years old.
 

Von Gruff

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I have used the bore tech elimator for a number of years and like it. Admittedly I dont have the old swedes you have but one old LE barrel I had took a bore tech patch in the morning mid day and evening for a few weeks till it came clean. A soak for a few hours with the bore tech then a couple of dry patches before soaking and leaving again for a few hours only takes a couple of minutes per barrel so you could get through your dozen in about 20 minutes three times a day till they are done. Even twice a day would eventually get the job done.
 

9x57

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Not suprised. Here in Sweden we have shot hundreds of thousands (may be over a million) of moose with this holy caliber.
My uncle used it on almost all the 400-500 moose he shot during his lifetime. What I can remember was the Norma Alaska 156grain his favorite. But I also do know that he used th Nosler Pt a lot.
 

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"These two if my safari were for game that is typically on the lighter side (Wildebeest sized):"

Wildebeest- lighter side- Huh?- not the same wildebeest I'm familiar with!

For all plains game... My idea of "lighter" is slightly different- more like: impala, gazelle, springbok, bushbuck, reedbuck, etc. Wildebeest are NOT small (light), with the blue variety males at about 550 lbs and they have a well earned reputation (and by my experience) for being one of the tougher plains game as do the oryx and zebra. While southern greater kudu are slightly larger than blue wildebeest they do not have a reputation for being especially tough (also by my experience).

My arbitrary, subjective categories of size could be broken into four groups: 1) large- eland, a large eland bull really outclasses all other plains game for size, 2) medium- oryx, wildebeest, hartebeest, waterbuck, sable, zebra, kudu, etc., 3) light, small: impala, gazelle, reedbuck, bushbuck, springbok, etc., 4) very light, very small: duiker, klipspringer, grysbok, oribi, steenbok, etc.

Of course the 6.5 x 55 will kill plains game. Would I choose it on purpose for large plains game like eland- no. Too many other, better choices.

From Gerhard on another thread: a blue wildebeest is born sick and every time you give it a lead pill, it feels stronger and runs further.
 

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To answer Red Leg, the buffalo were shot in South Africa. In both instances they had been injured and needed to be put down. (How, I am not sure, but these were not back up shots on a hunt).
In fact I know of another 2 which were shot using a .308 in the course of a cull on private land. I don't know the details of the load or projectile used but both were head shots and both reportedly dropped like stones.
The elephants were shot in various African countries to the North of here, all using solids around 160gr.
And yes, 6.5 x 55 is very much in the same class as 7 x 57 . Both do basically the same job in the field.
That doesn't surprise me, there was an Australian water buffalo culler that shot something like 60,000 buff in his career all with a 308.
Then I've met a bloke who swore black and blue he was under gunned with a 300rum. I tried to explain the importance of shot placement but it fell on deaf ears.
 

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Great caliber but please do not forget that it is not legal in all countries to use as you please, not only legally but ethically. It has its limitations no matter how good it is.
 

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IvW makes a good point. Min cal in Namibia was 7mm last time I checked. Over here a lot of landowners also stipulate .270 (so say 7mm) as a minimum for use on larger animals like Kudu. You may be permitted to use a 6.5 on the basis that its pretty much the same ; however I wouldn't take poison on it, so best check with your outfitter or PH before bringing a 6.5 cal to Africa.
Fourfive8 and Gerhard also make good points about BWB being notoriously tough; however I have to say that my experience is that they run pretty much the same distance regardless of what I shoot them with provided they are hit in the right place. If heart shot then you can expect it to run somewhere between 20 and 30m. On the other hand they can go very far if shot only in the lungs.
All of that having been said my recommendation for a visiting hunter who will be wanting a guaranteed quick kill and not be too worried about meat damage is a good sized bullet with good expanding properties fired at fairly high velocity. By this I mean 200 - 300gr controlled expansion bullets (the Nosler partition works well, but there are many others) in cal .338 to .375 . Monometals are also a good option but they tend to lack the explosive effect of lead core bullets so kills tend not to be as dramatic.
 

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I have to jump in and say that I have had very good results on all sorts of game, including blue wildebeest and zebra, with a 7x57. I load 175 gr Swift A-Frames. One shot kills with high heart/lung shots are the rule.

Stateside I have shot pronghorn, Mulie, whitetail, caribou, elk, and on and on with this caliber.
 

sgt_zim

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IvW makes a good point. Min cal in Namibia was 7mm last time I checked. Over here a lot of landowners also stipulate .270 (so say 7mm) as a minimum for use on larger animals like Kudu. You may be permitted to use a 6.5 on the basis that its pretty much the same ; however I wouldn't take poison on it, so best check with your outfitter or PH before bringing a 6.5 cal to Africa.
Fourfive8 and Gerhard also make good points about BWB being notoriously tough; however I have to say that my experience is that they run pretty much the same distance regardless of what I shoot them with provided they are hit in the right place. If heart shot then you can expect it to run somewhere between 20 and 30m. On the other hand they can go very far if shot only in the lungs.
All of that having been said my recommendation for a visiting hunter who will be wanting a guaranteed quick kill and not be too worried about meat damage is a good sized bullet with good expanding properties fired at fairly high velocity. By this I mean 200 - 300gr controlled expansion bullets (the Nosler partition works well, but there are many others) in cal .338 to .375 . Monometals are also a good option but they tend to lack the explosive effect of lead core bullets so kills tend not to be as dramatic.

There is no minimum caliber in Namibia, there are NAPHA (I believe that's the acronym) guidelines, but these are not law. Jerome has affirmed this at least a dozen times that I know of, and probably more often than that.
 

Daga Boy

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Thanks for that clarification.
Although a bit off the thread I agree with WAB. 7 x 57 , which really started the smaller bore/bottleneck revolution remains an absolutely brilliant calibre . Flexible and kills extremely well. As with 6.5 x 55 it punches above what people consider to be its weight. IMO a better bush calibre than the 6.5; however I am not sure that any animal will know the difference between a 156gr 6.5mm bullet and a 175gr 7mm bullet. Both penetrate amazingly and do a great job. Both calibres can also be loaded to perform quite effectively at fairly long ranges, and neither has significant recoil.
 

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I like .264 and .284 families for their ability to punch above their weight, at least with the heavy for caliber bullets. I don't have a 7x57 yet, but it's on the list.

156 and 160 gr .264 bullets have about the same SD as 400 gr .416 and 404 Jeff bullets. 175 gr .284 bullets aren't quite that high, but still north of .300
 

JvW

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I have shot animals as large as black wildebeest and kudu with mine, all with 140gr bullets. I use Nosler LR Accubonds at this stage and they work very well. I push them at just over 2 700 fps and with good shot placement they kill well.

The 6.5 certainly punches above its weight.
 

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