The real advantage of an Ackley

Alexandro Faria

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Hey all,
I have heard and read a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of an ackley round. I was wondering if any of you could share from experience? The topic cartridge is the 6.5x55.

I want to know if it's a worth while investment? If you're already reloading, I don't see how it adds any more work than any normal cartridge?

Here's a few (not all) areas where I am a little unclear:
1) Is it fine to just shoot factory ammo through an ackley set up?
2) Can you just fire form brass by shooting factory ammo through an ackley set up?
3) Are dies essential?
4) What kind of benefit does an ackley set up give you?
5) Are there any added issues that fanatics don't tell you about?

I'm thinking in terms of a 6.5x55 ackley set up in a ruger #1 with 26" barrel...
 

sheephunterab

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You can fire form factory ammo but after that you need proper die or having an Ackley chamber is pointless. Ackley offers up some extra speed but how much speed depends on the cartridge. Feeding issues have been noted with some Ackley chamberings.
 

Alexandro Faria

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@sheephunterab, I assume that said feeding issues in a single shot falling block would not be an issue? So in your opinion, is an optimistic increase of 10% on velocity and hypothesized better brass life worth the extra effort?
 

Spooksar

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It depends on what caliber the 280 and the 257 Roberts seem to get the best increase in speed. The 6.5x55 should also be a good one. As far as brass life there will be a lot less stretching so it may make it worth while.
 

Shootist43

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Let me begin by saying that I love the 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser (the original 1896 version.) Including the Swedes I have given to my grandchildren or plan to give them, there are just over a dozen of them in my safes. In order to reply to this question I went online to find out what the Ackley version of this fine old cartridge would do. In short 2900 fps with a 140 gr. bullet. My current load of 46.5 gr. of 4350 and a 140 gr. bullet is 2775 fps. To me the 4.5% increase in velocity isn't worth the trouble. If for some reason you really wanted to stick to the 6.5 caliber there are a number of options that would yield a greater boost in velocity like the 6.5 Creedmoor or the 6.5 x 284.
 

Alexandro Faria

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@Shootist43, I think you make a good point. In that case, it's not a worthwhile investment. Thank you very much, I'd say that itch has been satisfied, for now :p
 

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Ackleys are fun to play with and in the days before ballistic reticle scopes, 10% meant something but other than the cool factor there really is no benefit these days. No, feeding obviously wouldn't be an issue in a #1.
 

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Ackleys are fun to play with and in the days before ballistic reticle scopes, 10% meant something but other than the cool factor there really is no benefit these days. No, feeding obviously wouldn't be an issue in a #1.


Agree 100%
 

Areaonereal

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I have Four different Ackley chambered rifles, would I do it again...no.
A 6.5x284 would be better IMO than an Ackley in 6.5x55.
 

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@Areaonereal I thought the same things. I started to review 6.5x55 and found out that the european loads are hotter and notated as 6.5x55 SE. The most accurate loads were within a few FPS literally of a 6.5x284. Then I looked at 6.5x284 and the AI versions and found out that the most accurate loads weren't the fastest anyway, they were the ones around 2900fps.

Conclusion: not a tremendous amount to gain from a hunting perspective by getting an AI model albeit it is understood why it is theoretically a better cartridge.
 

rookhawk

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Here's a few (not all) areas where I am a little unclear:
1) Is it fine to just shoot factory ammo through an ackley set up?
2) Can you just fire form brass by shooting factory ammo through an ackley set up?
3) Are dies essential?
4) What kind of benefit does an ackley set up give you?
5) Are there any added issues that fanatics don't tell you about?

I'm thinking in terms of a 6.5x55 ackley set up in a ruger #1 with 26" barrel...

1.) You shoot factory ammo at an accuracy deficit. You're giving up something because you lose accuracy when you're actually hunting with a cartridge that is fire forming simultaneously.

2.) Yes. Then usually a trim. Usually not a full length resize thereafter because you'd lose potential accuracy/fit.

3.) Yes, they are.

4.) The shoulder angle has been proven to give you more powder by volume and better burn in some instances. Some claim longer brass life.

5.) Your rifle becomes hard to sell and you'll never recover your expenses. Your gains for hunting purposes are marginal if you look up the difference in Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR) for 6.5x55. There is a euro designated 6.5x55SE load and euro factory ammo that approaches AI performance and will chamber in a standard ruger #1 out of the box safely. ***Last big one***. African customs people are dunces. They want to see ammo that matches the paperwork explaining what rifle you've brought in. I would NEVER risk bringing in ammo that doesn't have the exact same headstamp as the ammunition and paperwork because it would RUIN your trip if they play games with you. People have had problems for having a 7mm on the paperwork and the ammo stamps say 7mm Remington Magnum. I wouldn't tempt customs in Africa.

P.S. - 6.5x55 and 7x57 are the two greatest rifle cartridges ever made. The Ruger #1 is the greatest gentleman's gun at the $1000 price point ever made. I like everything about your shopping preferences! Absolutely loved the three 6.5x55 ruger #1 rifles I've had. The stainless K1a models are awesome but pricey now. I understand there is a manlicher version available this year and I'd jump all over that for a brush gun / stalking gun for africa.
 

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The 6.5 AI, 6.5 x 284 and the 6.5 Creedmoor will all give you between 2900 & 2950 fps. The Creedmoor and the 284 are commercially available. That is why I suggested them. Neither of these calibers offer a significant improvement over a Swede loaded to its' full potential. Other than "playing around" with something new or "different" there isn't much to be gained.
 

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Hey all,
I have heard and read a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of an ackley round. I was wondering if any of you could share from experience? The topic cartridge is the 6.5x55.

I want to know if it's a worth while investment? If you're already reloading, I don't see how it adds any more work than any normal cartridge?

Here's a few (not all) areas where I am a little unclear:
1) Is it fine to just shoot factory ammo through an ackley set up?
2) Can you just fire form brass by shooting factory ammo through an ackley set up?
3) Are dies essential?
4) What kind of benefit does an ackley set up give you?
5) Are there any added issues that fanatics don't tell you about?

I'm thinking in terms of a 6.5x55 ackley set up in a ruger #1 with 26" barrel...

Hello Alexandro Faria,

Back in the 1970's, when Ruger only chambered the .257 Roberts cartridge in their Model 77 bolt action, and with only a limited run of just 1,000 rifles, I got one and a friend of mine did the same.
Except that, he had a Gunsmith gouge-out his chamber to the sharp angled Ackley shoulder version and I left mine original.

Much to his surprise and disappointment, my friend soon discovered that there was no distant target which, he could hit with his re-chambered rifle that, I could not hit just as well with my original "Roberts version" chambered rifle.
Then, to add insult to injury, when he put it up for sale, he discovered that nobody wanted to buy it, unless he would lower the price to make re-barreling it to some other cartridge an affordable project.

It seems to me that the 22 inch barrel on that model of rifle likely was the reason that the Ackley version did not provide any noticeable advantage in trajectory beyond my standard / original Roberts chambered version, in spite of the Ackley's slightly larger powder capacity.
(Either that or possibly an Ackley chamber is generally speaking, simply not worth the money and effort to modify an already perfectly adequate rifle).

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 
Last edited:

Mekaniks

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I had a spingfield 03' 30-06 Ackley. It's what got me into reloading 30 years ago. I thought it was cool and had lots of fun working up loads. As I learned, there was no real advantage and could have done everything with a regular 30-06. That said, I also learned a lot about ballistics, case pressure, and accuracy from that rifle. Ackley (along with Weatherby and others) was one of the pioneers that helped to develop what were wildcats and are now standard calibers which I think is all pretty cool stuff.
It seems today the popular sheep hunters caliber is the 280 Ackley. I have seriously thought about, and done lots of research about building a custom one, but alass, for the cost I can put that money into Africa trophy fees and have another hunt and trophy on the wall instead of another gun in the safe....
And that just about sums up everything I know about Ackley Improved rifles....Cheers:)
 

TallGrassHunter

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I'd say the lads here are absolutely right. If you're going to do it, do it for the fun of it and no other reason. I think modern powders used in the standard cases make the "improved" cartridges somewhat less attractive and, IMO, the range and capabilities of standardized cartridges available do not provide much room for a wildcat/improved cartridge.
 

Von Gruff

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And with so many having a range finder and a balistic chart. doping the longer shot makes any potential increase in veocity a non event as does the bullet inprovements that have been made
 

ZG47

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The .30-06 Ackley may have been the most popular version over the years but, if so, that was simply because you could use it to clean up worn rifling on a target barrel and thus maximize the useable length when recycling that barrel for a sporting rifle.

It is also worth remembering, as I have said before, that the craze for straightened cases seems to have started as a way of getting higher velocities out of relatively weak lever-action rifles (single shot and repeating) without removing the shooter's face!
 

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I thank the original post for asking the question. I have a rifle currently tore apart and was thinking about re-barreling to an ackley round.
I thank the subsequent posts for offering insight. I knew I would only get about 5% over what I had, but it was "cool." I still may do it for the fun factor or may just re-barrel to something I already have to save on the investment of dies, brass, etc.

Randy
 

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