6.5 x 55 Swede for African plains game

Hogpatrol

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About everything listed at midway is 2500-2650 in the heavier bullets (139 gr and heavier).

I ordered some Woodleigh 160 PP a couple months ago, it's just been too hot in my reloading "room" to get out there and work on loads.

Looking at Hornady's ballistics calculator, there isn't a whole lot of difference in any of the 139-160 gr bullets as far as ballistic arc at V0 of say 2450-2650. Faster V0 and higher BCs are easier to stretch to 300 yards, but any of them should be effective on thin-skinned game out to that range.

I think @Shootist43 mostly shoots Barnes 120s out of his.

No personal experience with magnum loads for NP, but there seems to be a common thread here and a couple other fora I visit that NP doesn't always play nicely with high velocity at close range. Better than cup and core, but not as good as bonded bullets like Swift, Norma, and Woodleigh; or monos like TTSX/TSX.
Put a 130 Berger in there, hit anywhere near the vitals and nothing in any size up to an eland will take a step. I killed two springbok at 430 yards, one behind the other. Neither one heard the shot, 26 Nosler and 130 VLDs.
 

BeeMaa

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Put a 130 Berger in there, hit anywhere near the vitals and nothing in any size up to an eland will take a step. I killed two springbok at 430 yards, one behind the other. Neither one heard the shot, 26 Nosler and 130 VLDs.
I'm guessing you were using your "see into the future" NF NSX 5.5-22x50 scope for this work?
Literally...two birds (or Springbok) with one stone (or bullet).
 

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Put a 130 Berger in there, hit anywhere near the vitals and nothing in any size up to an eland will take a step. I killed two springbok at 430 yards, one behind the other. Neither one heard the shot, 26 Nosler and 130 VLDs.

Love my Swede, but I think I wouldn't risk it on an eland. IDK. Maybe if I could sneak up to 100 yds or so and had SAF 140/Norma Oryx/Woodleigh PP, I might give it a go.

I think I'm part of a small chorus who convinced Matt Dubber to change from Berger to ELD-X 143 for his 260R. He swears he's getting 2800+, but in any case, made about an 800 yd 1-shot kill on a blesbok with ELD-X. Must have just barely been supersonic at that distance, but it went down like it was pole-axed. it was a cull hunt with perfect environmental conditions for trying a shot at that distance, and it worked.
 

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Africa quality loads:

4E4B5474-3A42-4381-8E0B-5D0F24B057FF.jpeg
 

BeeMaa

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I'm too damn old/lazy/tired...whatever you call it, to be chasing an Eland overland for miles to risk the shot.
If all I have is a 6.5, I would likely pass...or possibly borrow the PH's rifle if that is an option.
I know the 6.5x55 is up to the task of taking Eland/Moose/Elk etc, I just prefer a larger caliber for this situation.

Remembering that one drop of blood equals trophy fee paid has me leaning toward something larger for Eland.
 

Hogpatrol

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Love my Swede, but I think I wouldn't risk it on an eland. IDK. Maybe if I could sneak up to 100 yds or so and had SAF 140/Norma Oryx/Woodleigh PP, I might give it a go.

I think I'm part of a small chorus who convinced Matt Dubber to change from Berger to ELD-X 143 for his 260R. He swears he's getting 2800+, but in any case, made about an 800 yd 1-shot kill on a blesbok with ELD-X. Must have just barely been supersonic at that distance, but it went down like it was pole-axed. it was a cull hunt with perfect environmental conditions for trying a shot at that distance, and it worked.

I crunched the numbers with the 143ELD-X. At 2800, he's still supersonic at 1000, 1378fps @ 603 ft. lbs. of energy calculated with the Applied Ballistics app. Need to take in to consideration my location where that was calculated, density altitude, right now where I'm located at 80MSL it's now 2621'. A lot of areas in RSA are well above sea level. I hunted Zebra on a plateau a touch over 6000.
One can get a little more punch at the higher altitudes. The gotcha in any long range shooting is time of flight. A lot can happen in a half to one plus seconds.
 
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Hogpatrol

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I'm guessing you were using your "see into the future" NF NSX 5.5-22x50 scope for this work?
Literally...two birds (or Springbok) with one stone (or bullet).

5-20 Trijicon.
 

BeeMaa

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I crunched the numbers with the 143ELD-X. At 2800, he's still supersonic at 1000, 1378fps @ 603 ft. lbs. of energy calculated with the Applied Ballistics app. Need to take in to consideration my location where that was calculated, density altitude, right now where I'm located at 80MSL it's now 2621'. A lot of areas in RSA are well above sea level. I hunted Zebra on a plateau a touch over 6000.
One can get a little more punch at the higher altitudes. The gotcha in any long range shooting is time of flight. A lot can happen in a half to one plus seconds.
I know Eland is the largest of the PG, but if you are good for Eland you should be good for everything else.
So what is your opinion on the max range you would take a shot at a 1600# Eland using a 6.5x55?
 

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IMO you are pushing the envelope to hunt eland in the bush with the 6.5. It will absolutely kill an animal of that class with a perfect shot. However eland are tough to hunt if you are hunting them properly, and the chances are the shot offered will not be perfect.
 

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IMO you are pushing the envelope to hunt eland in the bush with the 6.5. It will absolutely kill an animal of that class with a perfect shot. However eland are tough to hunt if you are hunting them properly, and the chances are the shot offered will not be perfect.
WAB - I agree with you on this point as noted in one of my posts just prior to this.
I'm a "one gun" safari guy and my one gun is a 375H&H.
My wife however is a different story, although she is perfectly willing and able to shoot my 375.

I just wanted to know what others would consider a "reasonable distance" for Eland with a 6.5x55.
 

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I know Eland is the largest of the PG, but if you are good for Eland you should be good for everything else.
So what is your opinion on the max range you would take a shot at a 1600# Eland using a 6.5x55?

I never hunted eland so take this as an ballpark guesstimate. Looking at the kill zone and in ideal conditions, it depends on the velocity of one's most accurate load. If it's in the 2800 range with an open shot between you and the target, 1/2 moa or less accuracy, with a good rest, 130 grain Berger VLD, lung shot, 300 meters. Everyone else's MMV.
 

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Perfect broadside shot with a tough bullet like the 140 A-Frame at a minimum of 2,000 foot pounds impact energy - would be my arbitrary minimum for Eland.

That would be 100 yards max with the 6.5x55, 6.5 CM or 260 at ~2,750 fps MV.

My 140 A-Frame load (in a 24" CM) has a starting velocity of 2,748 fps and 2,347 foot pounds at the muzzle (74*F and 4,000 feet Density Altitude). Impact Velocity at 100 Yds drops to 2,544 fps and energy drops to 2,012 ft lbs with the AF.
 

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The good Lord and most of you know that I love my 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser. In the past I have said that under perfect conditions I think I be willing to use it on Kudu. An Eland though is another thing all together. If I were starving and the only thing available was an Eland would I take a shot at it. The answer would be yes, but it would be head shots only. Even with my 140 Gr. loads traveling at 2775 FPS I doubt they would get all the way through broadside. They might penetrate enough to get to the heart, but I'd bet I (or my PH) would be in for a long tracking job. Personally my minimum choice for Eland would be a 35 Whelen pushing a premium 225 Gr. bullet at 2700 FPS or better. My minimum choice in a metric caliber rifle would be the 9.3 x 62. IMHO the 6.5 x 55 just isn't "enough gun" for a an animal that could easily weigh a ton.
 

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Norma Partitions are good on lighter game at longer ranges but no good at all on heavier game at bush ranges (50-150m) as the front section tends to explode, especially at high impact velocities.
The Hornady SST is also a good open country bullet, but again not good for close up.
Swift A frames are excellent at bush ranges as they hold together and penetrate very well, but expansion will be very limited at long range.
I haven't tried the Barnes 120 but I know people who load them and they speak very highly of the performance regardless of range.
Note that it is not unusual not to be able to get accuracy with 120gr class bullets in this calibre. This is a result of twist rate typically being suited to a longer , heavier projectile (140-160gr).
As with all calibres, Heavy for calibre bullets generally work better than lighter bullets at bush ranges, with the exception of mono-metals, which work well at all ranges provided there is enough velocity to initiate expansion.
I also make a concerted effort to keep my velocities in the standard range (2500fps and even slightly lower) for bush work.
I have had good results with Norma Oryx in other calibres. They are not as tough as A Frames but they work well enough on all thin skinned game and they are half the price of the Swifts. I would definitely place the 156gr Oryx near the top of the list as a bush load in this calibre.
 

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Rookhawk, did Lapua happen to mention the length of their "test barrel" or anything about accuracy? That is a little better than 100 FPS faster than what I'm getting with my reloads. Just for giggles I'm going to run this through Quickload to see what It has to say.
 

bruce moulds

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all the Swedish mausers I have seen shoot 120 gn bullets as well as anything, and even 85 gn bullets and 100 gn bullets.
they have quite fast twists, and those 85s have a long jump to the rifling.
if 120s won't shoot, it is not overspinning them that causes it.
swifts will open up ok to 1800 fps, so consider that a max range for their use at your velocity.
bruce.
 

rookhawk

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Rookhawk, did Lapua happen to mention the length of their "test barrel" or anything about accuracy? That is a little better than 100 FPS faster than what I'm getting with my reloads. Just for giggles I'm going to run this through Quickload to see what It has to say.

760 Mm barrels. 30”

2848fps max load from a 670mm / 26” barrel.

The trick to figure out, since that’s the shortest test barrel, is which powder completely burns in shorter 24” barrels to achieve max velocity in a hunting setup.
 
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rookhawk

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as a bit of trivia, in some African countries the minimum caliber for eland is 300H&H. (Smallest bullet, weakest energy, that meets the law)

For leopard in some countries, the minimum load for caliber and energy is 7x57. (Smallest bullet, weakest energy, that meets the law)

Just mentioning that if you are going to use a gun on a 2000lb animal that is normally unfit for a 180lb animal you better be a reloading savant with the biggest, nastiest bullet possible at the closest range. 140gr a-frame seems like the inside 150 yard shot option, same with 156gr oryx. Didn’t Norma make a 160 Vulcan?

When faced these challenges with my 8 year old having to deal with recoil, I went with a 7x64 brenneke. 17lbs of felt recoil, yet pushing 175gr bullets at about 2550. When using Barnes it dropped to 140gr and worked at 344 yards on oryx but required several shots to kill the animal even though it was anchored.

The experiment in this thread is many orders of magnitude harder than what I had to accomplish with my son’s scenario.

Keep this in mind.
 

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Rookhawk, I have no intention of using my 6.5 x 55 on anything above deer sized animals. Th Lapua data you showed is slightly over 100 FPS faster than my deer load. Providing it shoots well and is achievable out of a 24" or better yet a 22" barred I may be interested in trying it out. So far I haven't been able to get the "grandkid's" gun to shoot a 120 gr bullet accurately. To be fair the first load I tried was reduced to right at 2500 FPS. It may need to be faster to group well. That same rifle shot 156 Gr. Norma Oryx just fine.
 

Daga Boy

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I absolutely do not recommend this calibre for eland. While I am sure that a strong bullet at moderate range will give sufficient penetration to make a kill the reality is that an eland (especially a bull) is a big animal, and anything but a perfect shot is going to result in problems and possibly a lost animal.
Basically you want a lot of shock and a good wound channel rather than just a neat hole.
30 cals do the job but I regard them as marginal.
Good calibres for eland include .338WM, .358Norma, 9.3x62, 9.3x64, 9.3 Sako and any of the .375mags. Also any of the .416's. .416 is unnecessarily big for thin skinned game, but it does a good job.
 

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