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Charlie Plasters, SASS#60943

Reloading hunting rifle question

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I'm helping my son work up a load for his 6.5x55 and noticed that Nosler indicates the most accurate on their page. Question is since there data came from a 23" barrel and my son's is 19" would it be a good guess that we would get better results from a faster burning powder than what they suggest?

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Each gun is different enough that the only way to find which will be "most accurate" is to try the load in your son's gun. Sometimes the loading manual makes a suggestion that turns out to be best in one of my rifles. Often, though, another powder works better for my gun.

 

The data in loading manuals are only compiled from firing loads in one test barrel (in this case, the one barrel that Nosler has). And often that "test firearm" is not a hunting gun, but a test fixture.

 

Good luck, GJ

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What power are they calling for ???

And yes testing is done in one Barrel ,,, just as shooting any round is Only in One barrel ...

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Before any new loading for a rifle I always consult several manuals and online to

try and decide where to start.

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Like GJ said....every rifle is different, even the same brand & model. There are so many tolerances in all the parts, that no two are exactly alike. You just have to find what this rifle "likes" best. I've had a couple of rifles that took weeks to find the right load. The main thing to remember is only change one variable at a time. Use the same primer, powder & bullet and just vary the powder charge...up & down staying within the recommendations in you manual.

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Each gun is different enough that the only way to find which will be "most accurate" is to try the load in your son's gun. Sometimes the loading manual makes a suggestion that turns out to be best in one of my rifles. Often, though, another powder works better for my gun.

 

The data in loading manuals are only compiled from firing loads in one test barrel (in this case, the one barrel that Nosler has). And often that "test firearm" is not a hunting gun, but a test fixture.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

About 20 years ago CAI offered sporterized 6.5 Swedish Mauser's. Most were either Carl Gustav or Husqvarna. They came on a ADL type synthetic stock and were D&T-ed for scope rings and had a cheap 3x9 scope on them. All for under $200 each. So, I ordered 6 or 8 of them. I knew I was going to keep one for myself so I took them all to the range with some cheap PMC ammo and shot them all for groups. Most where 3 to 4 MOA but of those guns there was a Gustav that even with the cheap ammo cheap scope and the original 2 stage trigger consistently shot 1 MOA or less. Guess which one I still have. :D

 

Point is you gotta shoot it to know whatcha got.

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I'm helping my son work up a load for his 6.5x55 and noticed that Nosler indicates the most accurate on their page. Question is since there data came from a 23" barrel and my son's is 19" would it be a good guess that we would get better results from a faster burning powder than what they suggest?

Barrel length shouldn't dictate powder burn rate. The least velocity loss in a shorter barrel will often be a load made up of powder on the slower end for that cartridge and a bullet on the heavy end.

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Most accurate in loading manuals is not necessarily based on group size. But rather the statistical data that is obtained using a chronograph and other measurement instruments. The best barrel in the world is worthless if you chosen load has excessively large ES and SD.

 

For every firearm that is a tack driver if you chronographed the load you would find that it has a very small ES and SD.

Edited by Sedalia Dave

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Thanks everyone for the input. I know it always takes range time with various loads to find that "sweet one". BTW Big Sage, it is no longer necessary to only change one variable at a time - statistical design of experiments provides the methodology to reduce the number of iterations in a controlled manner and derive even more info such as interactions between variables than is possible with the one at a time approach.

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Thanks everyone for the input. I know it always takes range time with various loads to find that "sweet one". BTW Big Sage, it is no longer necessary to only change one variable at a time - statistical design of experiments provides the methodology to reduce the number of iterations in a controlled manner and derive even more info such as interactions between variables than is possible with the one at a time approach.

Thanks to G.E.P Box and K. B. Wilson. :lol: A tip of the old statistical hat!

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I built a 6.5x55 many years ago with a shorter carbine military barrel and screwed it into a 98 action. The military loading was for 160 gr. bullets, mine will shoot MOA with anything from 85 gr. to 160 gr. using several types of powder. Great cartridge for antelope and deer. If you want my pet loads I'll be glad to send them to you.

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The 6.5x55 is a great round. The small ring Mausers will not safely handle the same pressure loads that a Ruger 77 or new CZ will. Medium loads in medium burnrate powders will likely be best and give very good accuracy in the Mausers.

 

Go to the Handloader magazine website and buy the latest publication on the Swede round. The article may not cover every factor, but they tend to be a very good start.

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So the slower powder allows for the bullet to have more time in the barrel, increasing spin and getting more acceleration?

No... the slower powder, if it burns completely in the barrel length, will provide consistent pressure on the bullet before it leaves the barrel... the faster powder may burn completely, but with the expanding space of the departing bullet, pressure drop-off may actually reduce velocity over a slower powder. Effect on accuracy is unpredictable, (this is why testing various loads is advisable).

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Many a man has gone a bit kooky looking for that perfect load with that perfect accuracy.

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I would heartily suggest that you get your hands on a copy of Ken Waters "Pet Loads". I have enjoyed a good many successes using his book for the statistics.

 

One I particularly remember was a 338 Win Mag, that following his recommendations resulted in an extremely accurate load at Factory specified velocity. 6 rounds brought it in to a load that reached my velocity requirement and resulted in 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards. Just don't get any better than that, particularly with larger caliber Rifles.

 

RBK

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The thing about the slower-burning powders in a short barrel is that any unburned or partially-burned powder will probably result in more muzzle blast and flash. When I was a younker, and went hunting for wild boar down to Tennessee, with a "Tanker" model M-1 rifle, with an 18" bbl. I happened to have a bunch of H4831 powder and loaded it up with 180 gr. bullets. (Yeah, I know about the effect of higher port pressure on a Garand with slow-burning powders, but that was before that factor got discussed in print, and I doubt I fired over 20 rounds with that load!) I got a nice hawg, at a range of about 10 feet! But, boy howdy, if the dense brush I was in wasn't fairly moist, I might have started a forest fire with the muzzle flash! Not to mention my hearing, which was great in those days, probably wasn't helped by the blast! :o

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The key to load development is EXCELLENT RECORDS!!! Note everything in your reloading notebook including date, time, weather, wind sun, clouds, humidity, all load details, etc. Change only one component at a time. Be meticulous and take your time.

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I shot a Swede 6.5x55 (1934) in CMP matches for awhile. I found two batches of data: for for older, nonvented rifles, like the Swede Mauser Carbine, and 8ne for modern rifles like the Ruger 77.

The 6.5 does not need to be jacked up to high velocities to perform well at the range on on deer-size game.

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I have a Browning A-Bolt in 300 WSM. Since it is strictly a hunting rifle I always shoot it clean cold barrel and a follow up shot at the range. Let the barrel cool, swab it a couple of times and repeat the shooting sequence. A session at the range takes a very long time. I have not found a handload that works any better than a Winchester factory 180 grain. It took the better part of a year to figure this out.

 

So, depending on your intent, handloads may not be worth the effort.

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The key to load development is EXCELLENT RECORDS!!! Note everything in your reloading notebook including date, time, weather, wind sun, clouds, humidity, all load details, etc. Change only one component at a time. Be meticulous and take your time.

I agree!

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I have a Browning A-Bolt in 300 WSM. Since it is strictly a hunting rifle I always shoot it clean cold barrel and a follow up shot at the range. Let the barrel cool, swab it a couple of times and repeat the shooting sequence. A session at the range takes a very long time. I have not found a handload that works any better than a Winchester factory 180 grain. It took the better part of a year to figure this out.

 

So, depending on your intent, handloads may not be worth the effort.

 

 

I have no rifle for which I do not have one or more handloads that will consistently turn in better accuracy than the best available factory loads. Just depends if I want to work hard enough at it. If you want ultimate accuracy, it will be a load that is tuned to your rifle, not something the factory had good luck with in one or two of THEIR rifles.

 

Now, there are some real good factory loads. And perhaps one satisfies your needs in your rifle. But top rifle shooters almost always shoot hand loads. Even the rim fire experts are shooting a very tightly selected factory round, after comparing tens or hundreds of loads and lots.

 

The OP already stated that they were doing load development. Indicates they have probably already checked the rather limited factory loads available in 6.5x55 Swede.

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708

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I would heartily suggest that you get your hands on a copy of Ken Waters "Pet Loads". I have enjoyed a good many successes using his book for the statistics.

 

One I particularly remember was a 338 Win Mag, that following his recommendations resulted in an extremely accurate load at Factory specified velocity. 6 rounds brought it in to a load that reached my velocity requirement and resulted in 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards. Just don't get any better than that, particularly with larger caliber Rifles.

 

RBK

I have Pet Loads and consult it regularly. However, many of his tests are old at this point and don't include some of the newer powders or bullets.

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Yes the "Pet Loads" by Ken Waters is "Old" the principles still hold true and I am amazed how often he was BANG on with-out having the use of modern pressure testing equipment ....

He noticed many "small" things and used sound judgement in making the "Calls" he made ... Fine Gentleman ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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I have no rifle for which I do not have one or more handloads that will consistently turn in better accuracy than the best available factory loads. Just depends if I want to work hard enough at it. If you want ultimate accuracy, it will be a load that is tuned to your rifle, not something the factory had good luck with in one or two of THEIR rifles.

 

Now, there are some real good factory loads. And perhaps one satisfies your needs in your rifle. But top rifle shooters almost always shoot hand loads. Even the rim fire experts are shooting a very tightly selected factory round, after comparing tens or hundreds of loads and lots.

 

The OP already stated that they were doing load development. Indicates they have probably already checked the rather limited factory loads available in 6.5x55 Swede.

 

Good luck, GJ

I have a 6.5 Creedmore that I shoot in F Class matches. Handloads only. MOA out of a hunting rifle is good enough even if they are factory loads.

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OK, so this thread got me nostalgic. My first couple of deer hunts I used a borrowed military surplus 30-40 Krag with the battle sights. It shot six inch groups on a good day. But, it killed deer. The first rifle I bought was a Marlin lever action 30-30. Things improved. It shot four inch groups on a good day. It too, killed deer.

 

Now we talk about moa as if it is the Holy Grail. Gotta admit it is fun to walk up to a target at the range that has a single raggedy hole in it. But, my experience is that a deer or elk is no deader for the effort to get to moa accuracy.

 

And, no, I am not going to look for another Krag out of sentimentality.

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No, but when a hunter is having difficulty closing on game (like out West here), and might have to attempt a shot at challenging distances, the difference between a 2MOA load and a 4MOA load is often an extra 150 yards for a clean kill...

 

Accuracy never hurts. Even if one is a great hunter.

 

Good luck,GJ

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No, but when a hunter is having difficulty closing on game (like out West here), and might have to attempt a shot at challenging distances, the difference between a 2MOA load and a 4MOA load is often an extra 150 yards for a clean kill...

 

Accuracy never hurts. Even if one is a great hunter.

 

Good luck,GJ

Front stuffers for hunting these days.

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I have found that Norma 204 , H - 4350 to be good powders to try ...

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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I would think 4350 of any persuasion, be it AA, Hodgdon, or IMR would be quite effective in the heavier hunting bullets of this caliber.

 

RBK

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My '96 Swedish Mauser ( stock Military) 6.5x55 really likes IMR-4895 and 140 gr. Sierra Game Kings...hovers around 1.25 inch groups all day long...velocity is approx. 2700 fps.

 

Bugler

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