6.5x55 - 140 Grain Reload Velocity?

Nicholas Barcomb

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This intrigued me a bit. I shoot a Tikka T3 Lite SS in 6.5 x 55 SE. The barrel is 570 mm or 22.441" long. I use 48.3 gr Vihtavuori N560 powder, Norma or Lapua cases, 140 gr Hornady SSTs, a COAL of 3.150", and I am getting a chronographed 2771 fps on average. It may be possible to get it up to 2900 fps,but that would be pushing the upper limits for me. I am going to be re-visiting the 140 gr loading with a 140 gr Woodleigh PPRN, sometime in the near future.

Another load that I have hunted with, with great success, is using the Woodleigh 160 gr PPRN, Norma or Lapua brass, 46.5 gr VV N560, COAL of 3.030" for 2647 fps chronographed. Yes, I am pushing into the 60 K PSI range, but I do have a modern action too.

So, to the OP, I believe the load you are using, if it is accurate, keep it. I have never seen anything kill like a good hunting bullet in a 6.5 x 55, and shot placed correctly. There is simply, just no tracking involved. That's why I have nicknamed it the "pop 'n drop" cartridge!
 
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Shootist43

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Nick, your 140 Gr. loads are getting results almost exactly what mine are. My avg. was 2775fps. with 46.5 Gr of H4350 from a 24 " barrel. I am totally happy with that Virtually everything I hit is DRT. Have you tried any 120 Gr or 130 Gr. all copper bullets? If so, how did they perform?
 

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Nick, your 140 Gr. loads are getting results almost exactly what mine are. My avg. was 2775fps. with 46.5 Gr of H4350 from a 24 " barrel. I am totally happy with that Virtually everything I hit is DRT. Have you tried any 120 Gr or 130 Gr. all copper bullets? If so, how did they perform?

I have not tried any solid metal bullets in the 6.5 x 55 SE, yet. I did try some Barnes 120 gr TTSX in a 6.5mm Patriot Combat Cartridge on an AR15 platform. They did not perform well due to the small case capacity and couldn't reach the velocity needed for expansion on contact. However, I do have a Varget load with 95 gr V-Max bullets that get almost 3200 fps from the 6.5 x 55 SE.
 

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I do not have experience with 6.5x55 but it is on my to get list wonderful little cartridge. If you want speed and flat look at GS Custom bullets for 6.5x55 they recommend a 110gr bullet and at least a 1-8 twist. I know that is light but it will probably be as long as the 140gr and it's moving at 3100fps.
I use two of their bullets a 40gr in a 22-250 and a 200gr in a 375 Ruger in the 22-250 the 40 is longer than my 55gr cup and cores and 200 is longer than my 250gr Game Kings.
Have not cut hair with 375 yet but the 22-250 with the little 40 has taken 2 white tail first 1 at 172 yards on a angel the bullet traveled through 23" of deer and out the other side. The second was at 225 yards and broadside passed through hitting 1 rib going in and busting 2 on way out. They are light but they are moving fast 4175 for the 22-250 3212 for the 375. If that little 40rgr can penatrat 23"+ I would think that a 110 would do well.
Shawn
 

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I do not have experience with 6.5x55 but it is on my to get list wonderful little cartridge. If you want speed and flat look at GS Custom bullets for 6.5x55 they recommend a 110gr bullet and at least a 1-8 twist. I know that is light but it will probably be as long as the 140gr and it's moving at 3100fps.
I use two of their bullets a 40gr in a 22-250 and a 200gr in a 375 Ruger in the 22-250 the 40 is longer than my 55gr cup and cores and 200 is longer than my 250gr Game Kings.
Have not cut hair with 375 yet but the 22-250 with the little 40 has taken 2 white tail first 1 at 172 yards on a angel the bullet traveled through 23" of deer and out the other side. The second was at 225 yards and broadside passed through hitting 1 rib going in and busting 2 on way out. They are light but they are moving fast 4175 for the 22-250 3212 for the 375. If that little 40rgr can penatrat 23"+ I would think that a 110 would do well.
Shawn

The ELD-X 143 gr is 1.44" long. Out of my Tikka, at just a bit under 2700 FPS, and a 250 yard zero, I'm just at 4" low at 300 yards, and a bit over 3" high at 100-150 yards. You could probably compress that 7" a bit with a smaller, lighter bullet, but +/- 3.5" inside of 300 yards is more than adequate precision for deer and hogs. The higher BC's you're going to get out of 140+ gr bullets (and thus resistance to wind drift), for me, more than offsets the slight compression of upper and lower bounds of the ballistic arc inside 300 yards that you will get with the lighter, faster bullets. Plus, I can stack bullets at 100 yards already with what I have.

This isn't a criticism of you or of lighter, faster bullets, just pointing out the trade-offs that should be considered before you invest time in selecting a reloading formula that may or may not get you what you want.

As @Shootist43 has pointed out elsewhere, 2700-2800 fps seems to be the sweet spot for most 130-140 gr 6.5 bullets. He also pointed out to me that for the less-than-160 gr 6.5 bullets, proper seating depth is a critical component of accuracy for this cartridge. I'm getting pinpoint precision with my bullets seated to where they're 0.1" off the lands. Most 6.5SE have a long jump to the lands from a seating depth that is further than that.

YMMV.
 

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All I know to look for is what the Hornady and Barnes reloading manuals say to look for (plus what Google says ;) ), so for my other rifles, I don't put my toe over the line even a little bit. But given that what's published for 6.5x55 seems to be 90% for the old Mausers and Krag-Jorgensens, I figured I'd experiment a bit. Given that the published pressure max for Tikka T3 chambered in 6.5 CM and 260 Rem is in the 58-60K territory, I figured I'd push my loads a little bit at a time until I got to 2750 fps territory with the ELD-X 143.
I know thos is an older thread but i figured i would chime in. The downloaded U.S. ammo is from what i have researched to be primary for the safety of shooters of the krag. The mausers were made from high quAlity high strength steel that was sourced from swedeneven when the first 1896’s were manufactured in GERMANY. It has been clearly documented that the small ring mauser actions being a gustave or a husqvarna( which i own) have been sporterized to more powerful cartridges including 270 win. I personally load my swede with between 45 .5 to 47.4 grains of rl22 or mrp, depending in the batch yieldding 2650-2710 using a 140 gameking or sst. With ZERO SIGNS OF OVERPRESSURE, and the brass (lapua) lasts a very ling time. My most accurate rifle. .25 moa all day. I have never loaded higher than that as the accuracy is great, and if i needed more ass than that i’d bring out my bigger boomers. I’d rather have a big block and not have to floor it that to have a small block pushed to the edge. The swede is my pick if i had to own only one rifle where i live. Sad news is the collectability of the m96 mausers has gone throught the roof lately and to me it doesnt pay when you can get a tikka or other rifle for less that doesnt have to be butchered to make a sporter, my model 38 was converted back in the 70’s for a safri hunter’s wife! He had a375 h&h. I bought them both . Yep i shoot a girls gun.
 

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I saw a new post on this old thread and it prompted a question. I’m trying to work up a load with a 140 AFrame for my TC Encore in 6.5x55. The Swift manual and the VV manual have much lower mins/max for AFrames than other 140 pills. Assume this is a bullet construction issue? In other words, due to the AFrame construction you shouldn’t push this bullet as hard as others due to pressure concerns?

Obviously not worried about AFrames construction on impact - that’s why I’m thinking I’ll use them in Africa in May.

I don’t recall this with other calibers in the Swift reloading manual. Max’s all seem pretty similar to other, similar weight pills from other manufacturers.
 

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Thats interesting. Im going to do some surfing and see what comes up over on another site i frequent. Is it the accubond that would be of similar construction? Pehaps you have a boatload of a frames on hand? I’ll see what i find
 

Oldschool280

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This is what a quick google search yielded, i’m not a subscriber so i dont have the powder charges, but the velocities are printed. Perhaps this helps a little?

28ACCC81-CF23-40D4-8BBB-6D8283F50973.png
 
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I saw a new post on this old thread and it prompted a question. I’m trying to work up a load with a 140 AFrame for my TC Encore in 6.5x55. The Swift manual and the VV manual have much lower mins/max for AFrames than other 140 pills. Assume this is a bullet construction issue? In other words, due to the AFrame construction you shouldn’t push this bullet as hard as others due to pressure concerns?

Obviously not worried about AFrames construction on impact - that’s why I’m thinking I’ll use them in Africa in May.

I don’t recall this with other calibers in the Swift reloading manual. Max’s all seem pretty similar to other, similar weight pills from other manufacturers.
Yes. The A-frame is a stout bullet with a heavy jacket and that huge partition in the middle is hard to squish down. They don't compress as easily as a cup and core or simple bonded bullet. Barnes got around this with relieving grooves and to some extent the cannelure groove in the A-frame acts similarly, reducing pressure a little. What all this means is that you can usually get the same velocities with less powder on a stout bullet because it takes less powder to create the same pressures. The same charge of powder that pushes a cup and core safely may produce dangerous pressures in an A-Frame.
 

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I have been shooting a 6.5 X 55 for MANY years. Based on my experience, you are pushing the upper end of the velocity envelope with the 140 gr, bullets. I have used some lots of Norma ammo that are slightly faster, but I have stiff extraction issues and and no longer use this ammo. This is in a Mauser with 21" barrel. The gun is a real tack driver.
 

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I have been shooting a 6.5 X 55 for MANY years. Based on my experience, you are pushing the upper end of the velocity envelope with the 140 gr, bullets. I have used some lots of Norma ammo that are slightly faster, but I have stiff extraction issues and and no longer use this ammo. This is in a Mauser with 21" barrel. The gun is a real tack driver.

I’m thinking this is a rifle specific condition and has much to do with barrel nominal size, condition , bullets used twist rate, chamber size, brass type powder type ect. As always, protect yourselves, know your data and rifle. And know your pressure signs. Then let it eat!
 
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I never pass up an opportunity to gloat on the 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser. Both the rifle and the cartridge were way ahead of its' time. In my rifle with a 24" barrel using Norma brass with 46.5 Gr. of H4350 pushing a 140 Gr. Nosler Partition I average 2775 FPS. When compared to the "hot modern 6.5 (s) the old Swede doesn't leave much on the table.
 

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I never pass up an opportunity to gloat on the 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser. Both the rifle and the cartridge were way ahead of its' time. In my rifle with a 24" barrel using Norma brass with 46.5 Gr. of H4350 pushing a 140 Gr. Nosler Partition I average 2775 FPS. When compared to the "hot modern 6.5 (s) the old Swede doesn't leave much on the table.
And it does it at lower pressure which puts let wear and tear on brass and rifle. As well as that beautifully tapered case that makes feeding as smooth as silk
 

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I saw a new post on this old thread and it prompted a question. I’m trying to work up a load with a 140 AFrame for my TC Encore in 6.5x55. The Swift manual and the VV manual have much lower mins/max for AFrames than other 140 pills. Assume this is a bullet construction issue? In other words, due to the AFrame construction you shouldn’t push this bullet as hard as others due to pressure concerns?

Obviously not worried about AFrames construction on impact - that’s why I’m thinking I’ll use them in Africa in May.

I don’t recall this with other calibers in the Swift reloading manual. Max’s all seem pretty similar to other, similar weight pills from other manufacturers.

I had the same question when I received my Swift manual, so I emailed them about it. An engineer from Swift was kind enough to call me back. Their 6.5x55 loads are designed to be safe in Krag Jorgensons, not small ring Mausers or modern sporting arms. They do the same thing with their 7x57 loads. I'm not sure which low-pressure rifle they had in mind for 7x57, but that's what their published data is for.

It would be nice if the publishers would do for 6.5x55 and 7x57 what some of them do for 45-70 - low pressure loads, and then standard pressure loads.

Both of my Hornady manuals (9 & 10) and both of my Lyman manuals (49 & 50) show 3 separate loads for 45-70:
1. Trap Door
2. Marlin 1895/Winchester 1886
3. Ruger #1/#3 (not mentioned, but also Browning/Winchester High Wall)

But honestly, with the 6.5x55 and Lapua Mega, Norma Oryx, and Woodleigh PP, a MV of 2450 or so is more than adequate for pretty much everything you might hunt with that rifle. I just wish Swift and Nosler would offer bullets in the 155-160 gr range. Nothing at all against Lapua, Norma, or Woodleigh, but more options is always better than fewer.
 

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I had the same question when I received my Swift manual, so I emailed them about it. An engineer from Swift was kind enough to call me back. Their 6.5x55 loads are designed to be safe in Krag Jorgensons, not small ring Mausers or modern sporting arms. They do the same thing with their 7x57 loads. I'm not sure which low-pressure rifle they had in mind for 7x57, but that's what their published data is for.

But honestly, with the 6.5x55 and Lapua Mega, Norma Oryx, and Woodleigh PP, a MV of 2450 or so is more than adequate for pretty much everything you might hunt with that rifle. I just wish Swift and Nosler would offer bullets in the 155-160 gr range. Nothing at all against Lapua, Norma, or Woodleigh, but more options is always better than fewer.

Completely agree. For the 6.5x55 load with 140g AF that I’m cooking up for SA this year, I don’t want a screamer since I’ll be using it for Duiker and Klippy. But I also don’t want 2450 since I’ll be hunting mountain reedbuck and klippy and those shots could be a bit further.

I have manuals from Hornady, Nosler, Lyman, Speer, Berger, and Swift. Let’s just say that if a little info is good, I think a lot of info is better - esp when they all say the same thing.

I’d be happy with a very accurate load (sub moa) that shoots 2600 or more. First attempt was with RL22, I went with 45.0 and got 2648 and with 46.0 got 2685. Happy with either velocity, but leaning towards 45.0 since extra 40 FPS isn’t all that important. No pressure signs at all.

With 46.0 the std dev was a little high for my taste and there was complete vertical stringing in a 1.8 inch group. Not okay. With 45.0, v good std dev and max spread, but 2.2” group. Also not ok. Could be my rifle, since Encores are fussy in general and this barrel is no different.

Next try will be with RL19 and IMR 4831 and I’m going to test each with my son’s CZ550 to make sure it’s not the Encore. I’m sending off a laminate forearm to Stratton for a hanger bar treatment. Like I said, I love Encores but in my experience they can be finicky. This barrel shoots Nosler 140g AB Trophy Grade okay, just outside moa. It didn’t like the Swift factory ammo with 140g AF.

I may retest 45.0 of RL22 in the CZ to see how it shoots. This CZ likes the factory Superformance with 140g SST, but can you imagine what that would do to a klippy or duiker? Ugly.
 

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Completely agree. For the 6.5x55 load with 140g AF that I’m cooking up for SA this year, I don’t want a screamer since I’ll be using it for Duiker and Klippy. But I also don’t want 2450 since I’ll be hunting mountain reedbuck and klippy and those shots could be a bit further.

I have manuals from Hornady, Nosler, Lyman, Speer, Berger, and Swift. Let’s just say that if a little info is good, I think a lot of info is better - esp when they all say the same thing.

I’d be happy with a very accurate load (sub moa) that shoots 2600 or more. First attempt was with RL22, I went with 45.0 and got 2648 and with 46.0 got 2685. Happy with either velocity, but leaning towards 45.0 since extra 40 FPS isn’t all that important. No pressure signs at all.

With 46.0 the std dev was a little high for my taste and there was complete vertical stringing in a 1.8 inch group. Not okay. With 45.0, v good std dev and max spread, but 2.2” group. Also not ok. Could be my rifle, since Encores are fussy in general and this barrel is no different.

Next try will be with RL19 and IMR 4831 and I’m going to test each with my son’s CZ550 to make sure it’s not the Encore. I’m sending off a laminate forearm to Stratton for a hanger bar treatment. Like I said, I love Encores but in my experience they can be finicky. This barrel shoots Nosler 140g AB Trophy Grade okay, just outside moa. It didn’t like the Swift factory ammo with 140g AF.

I may retest 45.0 of RL22 in the CZ to see how it shoots. This CZ likes the factory Superformance with 140g SST, but can you imagine what that would do to a klippy or duiker? Ugly.
Alliant Powder offers 2 different sets of data available here: http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/RecipeList.aspx?gtypeid=2. One is for military actions and one is for "Commercial Actions" and is loaded to a more appropriate 55,000psi for modern rifles. Still conservative but not as bad as the factory loads are. The thing about the 6.5x55 is that it needs the slowest burning powders to get the velocities you are looking for. I have managed about 2,600-2,650 with Reloder 22. A 140 grain bullet from that rifle is the equivalent of slinging a 190 grain bullet from a .30 caliber rifle. So, while 140 is a standard weight for that caliber, it is by any other measure, a heavy for caliber bullet. Even more so the 155 and 160 grain bullets. Reloder 17, although there is data for it from Alliant was a poor performer for me in a 22" barrel.

If you want a flatter shooting bullet, consider the 120 grain barnes TTSX. Here is one I recovered from a deer's spinal column after smashing through about 4" of bone in the spine and penetrating another 20 or so inches skimming through the backstrap.

6.5x55
RL22
120 Barnes TTSX
MV of 2,700fps
Range- about 75 yards.
full

full

Having killed a couple deer with this bullet, This is the first one I have recovered. The deer I killed last year with it dropped instantly to having been shoulder punched, the internals liquified and breaking a rib near the guts on the way out. Total penetration about 26" with an exit and tons of internal damage.
 
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Don't overlook the Woodleigh 160 PP. It has a high BC, .509. It won't come out blazing fast, but it'll hold the line a good bit further out than either Oryx or Lapua Mega. Scirocco II 130 gr might also be a good choice, especially for what you have in mind.

Your issue with Swift may simply be your barrel is in need of a good copper cleaner. Apparently, the pure copper jackets on Swift and Barnes don't do well with copper fouling left over from the copper alloy jackets on Nosler, Hornady, and the rest. I've never experienced this, but a lot of guys have. Also, Swifts can be a little finicky on seating depth.

I don't know if I have mentioned it on this thread, but ELD-X 143 is a good choice, especially for smaller game. On a youtube channel I watch, the South African you-tuber was on a cull hunt for blesbok. He made a 792 yard shot on a ram, and it dropped like it was pole-axed. He was shooting a 260 Remington, but he swears he's getting better than 2800 fps.

Though I haven't killed anything with them yet, I'm getting excellent accuracy with 125 gr Partitions out of my Tikka T3X. 2900 fps is realistic with that bullet ( though my best groups are at ~2750). That would be a good pill for duiker and klipspringer, impala, etc.
 

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Alliant Powder offers 2 different sets of data available here: http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/RecipeList.aspx?gtypeid=2. One is for military actions and one is for "Commercial Actions" and is loaded to a more appropriate 55,000psi for modern rifles. Still conservative but not as bad as the factory loads are. The thing about the 6.5x55 is that it needs the slowest burning powders to get the velocities you are looking for. I have managed about 2,600-2,650 with Reloder 22. A 140 grain bullet from that rifle is the equivalent of slinging a 190 grain bullet from a .30 caliber rifle. So, while 140 is a standard weight for that caliber, it is by any other measure, a heavy for caliber bullet. Even more so the 155 and 160 grain bullets. Reloder 17, although there is data for it from Alliant was a poor performer for me in a 22" barrel.

If you want a flatter shooting bullet, consider the 120 grain barnes TTSX. Here is one I recovered from a deer's spinal column after smashing through about 4" of bone in the spine and penetrating another 20 or so inches skimming through the backstrap.

6.5x55
RL22
120 Barnes TTSX
MV of 2,700fps
Range- about 75 yards.


Having killed a couple deer with this bullet, This is the first one I have recovered. The deer I killed last year with it dropped instantly to having been shoulder punched, the internals liquified and breaking a rib near the guts on the way out. Total penetration about 26" with an exit and tons of internal damage.

I think @Shootist43 also like TTSX 120s out of his Swedes.
 

Shootist43

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I haven't shot any 120 Gr Barnes TTSX out of a Swede yet. I did however just load some up to try in the Grandkid's gun. I set my Dillon up to load 43.1 Gr. of Win 760. QuickLoad estimates 2570 FPS. I'm trying to keep the recoil at a minimum and still be able to take a hog at 50 - 60 Yds.
 

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