6.5x54 M-S at Distance

OxfordTheCat

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Anyone have GECO or RWS (same thing) ammo in the USA in 6.5x54MS? Any options for factory ammo other than the Grafs load and the PPU?

@OxfordTheCat what country are you in? You make it seem so simple to get RWS I'm assuming you're in UK or EU?

I'm in Canada actually.
RWS / Geco is pretty readily available (at least, via the internet) here, if a little expensive. It's 3x the price of the PPU 6.5x54 we also have floating around.

I'm going to order some RWS and some fresh PPU tomorrow, and then I'll be able to measure and compare. If the RWS works out to be slightly longer than the PPU - which I suspect it will be - it may solve the feed issues and make for a reasonable hunting round. Unfortunately I'm shooting mine out of a Cooey-Carcano, so I can't attest to the feeding in the MS action personally.

That said, if it looks like it will work out for you, I'd be happy to send some down your way. Need to do the ATF 6 form and ship to your FFL I think depending on your state, but I'd like to think that it's not rocket science and between the two of us we should be able to figure it out.
 

Dirtdart

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@Dirtdart
Same offer applies
The beauty of my little MS 6.5x 54 is that when you get the right combination the rounds feed as smooth as any bolt gun I have ever seen. I am not going to waste time working on a load for accuracy or chronograph anything that does not function to complete satisfaction first. If it don't feed they ain't no need. My particular rifle may be more finicky than most but since I roll my own it is no more than a minor inconvenience. My posts in this thread are just to show which combinations thus far for me cycle beautifully in case someone has had similar issues. Accuracy and performance on game with those particular bullets is another can of worms altogether.
I do appreciate the generous offer but fortunately I am not in a position where I have to rely on factory loaded ammunition.

New England Custom Gun stocks the RWS brand of ammunition here in the states but I did not see the 6.5x54MS listed.
 
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Brian Rothhammer

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Update on this thread for the amazing authors @Dirtdart @HWL @Brian Rothhammer

I have a 6.5MS retailed and regulated by Westley Richards, 1903 type. I understand feed and land depth are tricky on this rifle from all I’ve read.

I tried to look around for good round nose options beyond the Hornady that appears cannot be crimped to the ferrule since its so far forward on the bullet. Norma makes a 156gr Vulcan that has a cannalure very low on the round. Has anyone tried this one as a hunting bullet?

Any other options that feed from the magazine on the British tuned and retailed 1903s you might suggest?


Wow.. I've been upgraded to "amazing author" (along with HWL and Dirtdart)!

I do not own an M1903 but do own and load for a M1910 (9.5X57) and can tell you that proper bullet profile and cartridge overall length are vital to the smooth operation of a pre M1924 Schoenauer magazine.

The matter is discussed in some detail on this thread starting with the third post down: https://www.africahunting.com/threa...908-m1910-m1924-m1925-or-high-velocity.47277/ .

The essential part is that you must have enough 'meat' at the critical area (on 9.5X57 it's the 'top' third of the projectile) to engage the guides machined into Otto Schoenauer's marvelous rotary magazine.

Once you have cartridges of the proper profile, as fellow 'amazing author' Dirtdart posted; "The beauty of my little MS 6.5x 54 is that when you get the right combination the rounds feed as smooth as any bolt gun I have ever seen."

Build your 6.5X54 like this and they should feed smoother than a hot knife on ice:

MS Eley 6.5X54.jpg


I would suggest building at least five rounds (live or 'dummy') to the precise dimensions of the Eley drawing above, even if it involves cannibalizing projectiles from vintage cartridges such as DWM 477. With five rounds of the correct dimensions to feed to her, you'll know if your MS is properly configured for its original ammo and should see how delightfully smooth a Mannlicher Schoenauer action and magazine are. It should function flawlessly and consistently so.

That will give you a baseline from which to model additional cartridges.

To again quote Dirtdart; "I am not going to waste time working on a load for accuracy or chronograph anything that does not function to complete satisfaction first. If it don't feed they ain't no need."

Cartridges with other bullet profiles, however, may still be used to 'top off' the Schoenauer magazine.

If you have cartridges that shoot wonderfully but don't feed well, either load only two or load three proper fitting cartridges first and then two of the problematic ones. By doing such one can use the ill fitting rounds with the magazine operating smoothly.
 

Dirtdart

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The only two types of factory loaded ammunition that I have had the chance to run through the magazine in my 1903MS and neither is satisfactory.

thumbnail_20210112_092153.jpg
 

rookhawk

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@Dirtdart Do you think its due to headspace for accuracy, or just bullet seated depth for feed that is problematic?

I'm hearing that the chambers were generous and headspace is a regular issue with these 6.5MS. This is a problem with 318 Westleys also. What I had heard is you take the firing pin out of the gun and test the bolt until you feel resistance when lower the bolt handle. Then set the dies there to bump back the shoulder to maintain headspace, CIP and SAAMI specs be damned.
 

Dirtdart

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@Dirtdart Do you think its due to headspace for accuracy, or just bullet seated depth for feed that is problematic?

I'm hearing that the chambers were generous and headspace is a regular issue with these 6.5MS. This is a problem with 318 Westleys also. What I had heard is you take the firing pin out of the gun and test the bolt until you feel resistance when lower the bolt handle. Then set the dies there to bump back the shoulder to maintain headspace, CIP and SAAMI specs be damned.
I have not got into the accuracy phase on this rifle yet so I unfortunately can not offer much. I did fire a few rounds just to see and there were no blown primers or split cases etc.

The only military cartridge specimen I have as an example is a 6.5x53R not a 6.5x54. My rifle is commercial and not a military conversion. The dummies I have been loading that feed smoothly mimic that example as far as seating depth or very close. Some of the bullets I have tried can be made to feed smoothly but there is not enough of the base left in the neck to be usable.

For my rifle it is just the bullet seating depth and to a lesser degree bullet profile that make all of the difference. There is a sweet spot for the cartridge to feed smoothly as it is pushed from the magazine to the chamber.
A little more finicky than many rifles but a very nice feel once it is right. I only have the two examples of factory cartridges that I posted earlier. There is very little to choose from in factory cartridges so I can not say if there are any 6.5x54 factory cartridges that would hang up or not in this particular rifle.

thumbnail_20210112_124406.jpg
 
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HWL

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DSC04809.JPG


300 rounds 159gr/10,3gramm FMJ Round Nose, from DWM in 6,5x54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer.... same lot.

Enough ammunition to kill 300 elephants like W. D. M Bell did...... someone wants to accompany me?


:cool:

HWL
 

Brian Rothhammer

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Are they on clips?

Surely you know they're almost certainly Berdan primed and Cordite filled.

Great for 'case candy' or one could pull and use the projectiles. I wouldn't be surprised if there are vast lots of 6.5X54 cubby holed in several somewheres as forgotten military surplus.

I have a couple of boxes of DWM 531 (9.5X57) as 'collectibles' For some years there was a date code on the headstamp.
 

HWL

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No, they are not on clips, but ten in a carton.

They are made in the 50's to 60's, noncorrosive and no Cordite surely - Germans never used Cordit.

Not sure about Berdan/Boxer, but I will figure out.

Not even sure, if they still go "bang"...

It is sayed, that they had phenomenal penetration capabilities.


HWL
 

rookhawk

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No, they are not on clips, but ten in a carton.

They are made in the 50's to 60's, noncorrosive and no Cordite surely - Germans never used Cordit.

Not sure about Berdan/Boxer, but I will figure out.

Not even sure, If they still go "bang"...

It is sayed, that they have phenomenal penetration capabilities.


HWL

Germans don‘t tend to make unreliable ammo, they left that to their neighbors. I bet if well cared for, all that ammo is good today. It may even be boxer primed. Even if it isn’t, if a sample of 10 cartridges from ten boxes all go bang and have consistent velocity and accuracy, I’d say the hole pile is ready for hunting use. You’ll never consume it all hunting game in a lifetime.
 

HWL

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Germans don‘t tend to make unreliable ammo, they left that to their neighbors. I bet if well cared for, all that ammo is good today. It may even be boxer primed. Even if it isn’t, if a sample of 10 cartridges from ten boxes all go bang and have consistent velocity and accuracy, I’d say the hole pile is ready for hunting use. You’ll never consume it all hunting game in a lifetime.
You are probably right,.... but what to hunt with, its FMJ.

In Scandinavia, they hunt black grouse and capercaillie with FMJ... and fox, not to destroy the fur.


HWL
 

7x57Joe

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A great find HWL, congratulations!
 

Dirtdart

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This load looks like they got it right but sadly very scarce.

thumbnail_20210120_121519.jpg
thumbnail_20210120_121604.jpg
 
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Dirtdart

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Pictured is another bullet that can be seated out far enough to feed smoothly in my 6.5x54 and still achieve full neck tension.

thumbnail_20210213_150934.jpg
 
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HWL

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The 160grainer with the best BC available.

Worth a try.

Does it group well?


HWL
 

Dirtdart

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The 160grainer with the best BC available.

Worth a try.

Does it group well?


HWL
I have only been making inert cartridges to test various bullets for feeding thus far. I hope to get around to the accuracy testing sometime in the near future.
 

HWL

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We are looking forward...

HWL
 

Dirtdart

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Will do. I got some of the Lapua Naturalis 140 grain bullets in the same lot as the Woodleigh's but the nose profile hangs up on the feed ramp so not a candidate for my rifle.

thumbnail_20210214_153908.jpg
 
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