Reloading 6.5x55mm Swedish
Just got a M96 Swede and right off the bat it's awesome!! Took it out for a spin Saturday w/ two boxes of Privi Partisan 139SP to get an idea what it does and get the brass out of it. 5 shot groups at 100 yds were form 1 1/2" - 2" with the best one at 1 1/4". I heard these can shoot but "WOW" I want to reload for it using Sierra 140gr MK and I was hoping maybe some of yous might have some recipes to disclose. Thanks for looking!
03-19-2012 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by concretus
Now that you have a quantity of cases that have been fireformed in your rifle,
make sure that you ONLY NECKSIZE THEM and USE THEM ONLY IN THAT RIFLE.
If you do not have a necksizing die for 6,5x55, proceed as follows. Take one of your fired cases and make sure that the neck is lubricated. Unscrew the full-size die about half a turn. Run the case up to top dead-center and down again. When you remove the case you should see a "tidemark" on the neck just above the shoulder, where the lubricant has been displaced by the sizer. With practice, you will also be able to see the slight step where the sizing stopped. Experiment with getting this "tidemark" closer to the neck, without actually reforming the shoulder. It is OK to just touch the shoulder, but you do not want to push the slope of the shoulder back at all. In my rifle, this is with the tidemark about 1/2mm above the neck/shoulder transition.
If you treat your cartridges ike this, they will last a very long time AND will shoot better!
Next establish the best seating depth for your rifle. How far off the lands you wish to seat your bullets is your decision, but the first step is to establish the maximum feasible seating depth. I.e. the depth at which the the bullet is ever-so-slightly-not-quite completely contacting the lands in the throat. I have described on several occasions in these forums how to do this with some accuracy, using a threaded rod. But a quick-and-dirty method is to simply load a bullet in a sized case to a slightly excessive length, coat the bullet with a black felt-tip pen, chamber the round and withdraw it. If the bullet has touched the lands, you will see the marks on the bullet. If not, repeat with the bullet seated further and further out until you do see such contact marks. Now reduce the seating depth until the marks just disappear.
BTW, if you do this with a new or full-sized case, very carefully, you may well see that as you get close to the borderline condition, the marks start to appear on one side only. This is a simple demonstration that the diameter clearance of a fully-sized cartridge in a real chamber (as opposed to a "spec" chamber) means that it will sit on the bottom of the chamber, so the bullet in the case is off the bore centerline by the diametrical difference between case and chamber. Using necksizing means that this difference is reduced to the spring-back of the brass case. The unsized slope of the neck/shoulder also helps to center the bullet, and this all helps accuracy.
So better do the depth check with a neck-sized case, for a more accurate result.
When you have established the "barest contact" setting, back this off at least 10 thou. I know there are people who claim to set their bullets a couple of thou off the lands, but there are times when I forget my engineering professionalism and simply say "hogwash". Bullets have tolerances like any other component, and if you try to set bullets too close, then in the real world of tolerances you will have some bullets clear of the lands, and some touching. This will result in large pressure variations at the start of ignition, and that cannot be good for accuracy. So seat your bullets either definitely clear of the lands, or definitely touching (I do NOT advise this), but avoid a "maybe" situation if you want maximum consistency!
So now you have necksized cases and a plausible starting value for the seating depth.
How about primers? Just use ordinary large rifle primers.
How about powder? My experience is limited to Vihtavuori powder, and anything from N140 - N150 - N160 will work. Or the corresponding N540-550-560. N140 is the fastest I would use, for 130gn or lighter bullets. N150-N160 would be my choice for heavier bullets. A wealth of more-or-less informed opinion agrees that the best bullets for ranges of 100 meters and above are the 139 gn Sierra Matchking or Lapua Scenar HPBT types, and you can find load suggestions on, for instance, the Hodgdon and Lapua websites. The Vihtavuori reloading manual suggests a max. load of about 40 gn of N550 for these bullets.
The choice of powder type and quantity is your responsibility, but there is plenty of published load info for the 6,5x55. Do not forget that a maximum load will push the bullet to maximum range, so unless you are in the habit of shooting at 1000 yards or more, make a series of test groups in the range from minimum to maximum load, and select the load for maximum accuracy not velocity!
Good luck, and tell the forum how it turns out!
Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 03-19-2012 at 02:17 PM.
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