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Old January 3, 2008, 04:46 PM   #1
Buzzkill
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.243 or 6.5/55

Hi all
I searched the rifle section but couldn't find anything fitting this description.I can't decide which of these two rounds to get.I like the .243 because it has varmint weight bullets available and i hear it's slightly softer shooting.But i also like the 6.5/55 because it's available up to 160 grainers and it's a bigger penetrator.

Which do you guys think i should go for?I should also mention that This will be my 'everything gun' .I want to use it out to 600 yards when i go to the range,informal plinking,fox and deer.I'll probably get into reloading it later on down the road but in the meantime i'd want high quality match ammo at the high end and some cheap and cheerfull ammo for fun.I forgot to mention that the gun will probably be in a medium weight varmint profile e.g cz 550 varmint,sako 75 varmint that kinda thing.

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Old January 3, 2008, 04:51 PM   #2
dalegribble
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I guess my choice would depend on how easy it would be to find ammo. I have a .243 myself.
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Old January 3, 2008, 04:55 PM   #3
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I'd go with the 6.5x55 if you plan on using it out to 600 yards. The 6.5mm's are notoriously good at bucking the wind and as far as I know are always up there in the 1000 yard competition circuit. The 6.5 x55 would also convince the deer to lay down right there better than the .243 could. I bought a .25-06 recently and wish that I would have gone with the 6.5x55 after reading up on it. Not a lot of recoil, Bullets with high ballistic coeffecients and sectional density that makes them keep up there velocity and penetrate well on game.

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Old January 3, 2008, 05:38 PM   #4
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If you are only going to have only one rifle and those are your only two choices, it's a no-brainer, go with the 6.5. The 243 bore can't come close to a 160 grain bullet and that is a heck of a lot more capability than a 100 grain bullet will ever muster. I own a 243 and like it a lot but I also own a bunch of other guns too. Just make sure the gun you are looking at has a sufficiently fast barrel twist to handle (stabilize) the long bearing surface of a heavy weight bullet.
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Old January 3, 2008, 05:47 PM   #5
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They're both good. If you're a long range hunter then probably the 6.5.
Less than 200yds for deer I'd suggest the .243

Whichever you get you'll be happy with it.
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Old January 3, 2008, 05:52 PM   #6
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I'm going to be a dick...

Well, I know you are looking at 6.5x556 and 243 Win, but have you looked at the wonderful 6mm Remington? Same bullet size as the 243, but if you hand load or reload you can make it do some amazing things. Factory loads are nil, but you can crank some seriously good deer through varmint rounds out of that rifle. Just a thought...

But, if it were down to the settled two, I think I would lean towards 6.5x55. I own a 243, which is a good gun. But from what I have heard, 6.5x55 Swede is one of the older standby cartridges like the 30-06 and 308...they are always useful for something.

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Old January 3, 2008, 06:06 PM   #7
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Sorry, I don't think either is the optimum caliber for you. You should seriously consider the .308 Winchester. Mild loads can be had for target shooting and the quality of the bullets and target ammo available is outstanding.

Accuracy of the .308 Win. is better than many smaller calibers due to the quality of the bullets and loads available for target shooting. The bore to powder capacity ratio is as about as perfect as you can get. The fine bullets have exceptional accuracy out to 600 yards.

I say that with no predjudice. I don't own one and never have, but know many match and benchrest shooters that have sworn by the cartridge, especially using handloads, but even with the great available match ammo.

Recoil is easier than you might expect and if reduced recoil ammo isn't presently available, it will be very soon.

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Old January 3, 2008, 06:13 PM   #8
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I likie the 6.5 but only because it comes in really cool high quality surplus Mauser rifles. Much more pleasant to shoot than a 8MM Mauser. In a sporter, well I don't know. The range of ammo is probably alot greater for the .243 but I might go for one in 6.5 if I were in the market for a sports rifle. I really like that full stock sporter that someone else posted on the forum earlier. I have dies to reload mine. Havent loaded it lately but no hassles there and plenty of 6.5 reloading data. Bullets in 140 or heavier seem to not be stocked as much, the lighter bullets seem to be on the shelves alot more but I only load the 140's. Duplicate the mil. spec. for the rifles.
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Old January 3, 2008, 06:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
I'll probably get into reloading it later on down the road but in the meantime i'd want high quality match ammo at the high end and some cheap and cheerfull ammo for fun.
+1 Picher

I agree totally about getting the .308 because of this part of the post. The .308 will offer you more ammuntition choices for range work, hunting, and plinking. I own the 6.5X55 and .243 and if you have to buy ammunition that would rule out the 6.5 for me as the .243 will be more common and cheaper. Match grade ammuntion for target shooting, quality hunting ammunition, and surplus ammunition makes the .308 more appealing as a one cartridge does it all rifle.

About the 160 grain bullets in the 6.5X55 they mainly come in round nose design, I say this because I haven't found a spitzer or semi-spitzer yet (I'm sure some customs are made some where). So I'd probably stick with 140 grain bullets or less in a sptizer for better performance. A 140 and 160 grain bullets seem extremly long to me, and it is amazing what an extra .5mm in the 7mm does to change the shape of these bullets of equal grains. You will probably find 120 grain plenty for deer and still offer you adequate long range performance on paper.
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Old January 3, 2008, 06:19 PM   #10
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The 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser would be my choice. Remington made a run of them in their Classic Model 700 line in 1994, which would be an excellent place to start for the type of use you describe and probably less expensive than a CZ 550 American from the prices I've seen locally for the CZs.

Edit: Looks like Browning A-Bolt Stalkers were made too and Tikka T3. The Tikka deserves a look.
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Old January 3, 2008, 06:24 PM   #11
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I beg to differ on the 308, while it is a good cartridge with many load options, I think he is in the right ball game. He is definitely about a quarter bore, fully capable of what he wants to do. I would tend to go with something more rare then the 308 or even the 30-06. Rounds like the 6.5x55 Swede, 257 Roberts and 6mm Remington all have amazing ballistics for the cases. Plus, when you boil down to it if you hand load you can crank out some outstanding loads for each of those rifles.

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Old January 3, 2008, 08:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
I would tend to go with something more rare then the 308 or even the 30-06. Rounds like the 6.5x55 Swede, 257 Roberts and 6mm Remington all have amazing ballistics for the cases. Plus, when you boil down to it if you hand load you can crank out some outstanding loads for each of those rifles.
F-C, while you make a good argument the original poster stated that he didn't hand load at the present time and that he wanted:
Quote:
high quality match ammo at the high end and some cheap and cheerfull ammo for fun.
I just simply think that he is looking at the wrong calibers for what he is wanting to do. The 6.5X55, .257 Roberts, and 6mm Remington are very capable rifles but the ammunition selection at most gun shops is poor at best in these calibers. Plus no one in the U.S. that I know of manufactures "Match Grade" ammunition nor is the regular hunting cartridges what I would call "cheap and cheerfull" for the budget minded plinker.

Really without knowing this persons budget and what they can afford I go with the old standards. While I like rare rifles and unique cartridges, this person is better off with the .243 Win over everything else mentioned except the .308 Win. I'll admit it is hard to find true varmint rounds for the light end, but it offers everything and more at the top end over the Swede and the .243. The .243 and .308 just fit his criteria better than the 6mm, .257, and 6.5 as fine of cartridges as they are.

Last edited by taylorce1; January 4, 2008 at 10:08 PM.
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Old January 3, 2008, 10:28 PM   #13
ushunter
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Buzzkill,

As someone who has just bought a new 6.5x55 gun and very excited about it I might not be the most objective on your question. Regarding the availability of the cartridge I've noticed that the local gunshops rarely carry the round here in Georgia. On the internet it's a different story thanks to the 6.5x55 being a old military round with a loyal following. I just received 500 rounds of Swedish military surplus ammo at a cost of $0.50 per round for target practice and 100 rounds of Prvi Partizan at a cost of $0.65 per round for hunting/practice purposes. It will take me a couple of years to deplete my inventory
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Old January 4, 2008, 10:01 PM   #14
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I own rifles in both. It is very difficult to find quality ammunition for the 6.5 swede. There is a ton of trash ammo--but good "match" ammo is going to cost a lot.

As far as reloading goes, the .243 has the most availability of components in 6mm category.

I shoot a custom 1909 mauser in .243 and it is probably my favorite non-collectible rifle. Don't ever under-estimate the capabilities of the caliber. There are hunters that take Elk with hand-loaded 243's pushing the appropriate bullets.

The swede is a classy round, and probably more exotic in a deer rifle than the 243. The only production rifles I can think of are Sako out of Finland. Just looking at my cartridge collection on the wall--it looks almost identical to the 6.5 Carcano and the .257 Roberts. Overall, just not a chambering that I'd want to fool with for a weekly or monthly trip to the range. Of course if you pick up a '96, you've got more than just the interesting chambering.
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Old January 5, 2008, 09:28 AM   #15
Buzzkill
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thanks for the help guys!

I've decided on the .243.Heard great things about them.I figure later on I'll get myself a .308 or .270 aswell for bigger stuff.But untill then the .243 should cover me for most stuff plus its low recoiling so it'll be fun to shoot.thanks again guys!
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Old January 5, 2008, 03:55 PM   #16
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One more thing to consider...

Even though you have decided on the .243 (which is a good round) over the 6.5x55 Swede (which is also a good round), you might take a look at the .260 Remington.

I say this because, while the .260 Rem is not as popular a round as either of th other two, it combines the best of both. The 6.5x55 can only be had in standard length actions. Surplus Swede Mausers (I have one made 1917), and the .243 comes in short actions. This means that the basic rifles are slightly different, no matter what else is the same. No big deal if all you are looking at are bolt guns, but the .243 is available in pumps, levers, and semiautos as well. Not so the Swede.

The .260 Rem (which they should have brouoght out about 20-25 years before they did) is the .243 necked up to 6.5mm. Or the .308 Win necked down, depending on how you want to look at it. AND, because it operates at higher pressures than the Swede, it duplicates the Swede in a short action rifle. The old Swede is limited to about 45,000psi loads (because of the old rifles), while the .260 is right up there at 50,000+.

If you don't handload, the .260 Rem is going to be a bit spendy and scarce, but if you do handload, the cost comes down to the same as nearly all other common rounds. You can form brass from .243 or .308, which are very common, so even if you have trouble finding .260 in your area, you just make it. 6.5mm bullets are very long for their diameter, and that is what gives them their great ballistic coefficient and penetration. 120gr to 140gr are best for general game and target use. If you can find them, the 160gr are great for longer ranges, BUT, as mentioned, they are all a roundnose profile. Strangly enough, this does not hurt their performance to any noticable degree. The Swedish GI bullet is the 160gr FMJ with a round nose profile.

Another thing for you to consider, and this might just be the best thing for you, if you go with a quality .243, when (if) you find out that the .243 is not giving you all you want, all it takes is a barrel change to make it into a .260 Rem. You cannot make a (normal) .243 rifle into a 6.5x55 Swede, but you can make it into a 260 Rem and get Swede performance!

Whatever you decide, enjoy yourself. That is what counts most, after safety!
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Old January 5, 2008, 04:04 PM   #17
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I am amazed that nobody has mentioned the best of all worlds caliber. I mean the .270 Win. Bullets from 90 gr. at 3600 FPS to 150 gr. at 2950FPS. and the all time best in the caliber 130 gr. at 3100 FPS. As accurate as the 6.5 at long range (same BC weight for weight) and deadly on smaller critters too.

It wil kill anything in North America, is easy on the shoulder,available in almost any configuration. And with handloads will group 5 rounds inside a nickel at 100 yd.

What's not to like?

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Old January 5, 2008, 05:47 PM   #18
Buzzkill
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Macgille,
Oh dont get me wrong I'm right there with you on the .270 .Its just I'd favor a slightly lighter recoiling gun for frequent range trips.Down the line though I'd really see either a .270 or a .308 in my jeep for dedicated hunting.But untill then The hairdressers gun will have to do.

regards
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Old January 12, 2008, 01:08 PM   #19
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I have been considering this caliber(6.5/55mm), also. So far, I have found that CZ, Sako, Tikka, and Ruger still make this round.
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Old January 12, 2008, 03:38 PM   #20
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The original post mentioned 600 yards. Somewhere on the way to 600 yards, ballistic co-efficients start making a significant difference. The last time I looked at the numbers, I noticed that the B.C.s took a signifcant jump beginning at 6.5 caliber. At .30 caliber, one must use heavier bullets to get similar BC; which then usually means a magnum with more recoil to get the trajectory equal. Thus the "best" long range calibers for sporting rifles are 6.5mm, .270, 7mm. I hear the 6.5 Norma is proving this point at 1000 yards/meters. I think the numbers would show that while the Swede starts slower than a .25-06; it will likely be doing better before they get to 600 yards. I'm a .270 guy myself. Saw a Winchester model 70 Classic Featherweight in 6.5 Swede at the gun show. If I'd had more money and didn't already have a great .270; it would have become my new favorite for sure.
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Old January 12, 2008, 03:52 PM   #21
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6.5x55 rules!

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Old January 13, 2008, 01:46 PM   #22
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another vote for the .270. its light on the sholder and I just bought another. now I have a howa 1500 and a vanguard. hope fully gonna site it in today. had a swede and a .308,but after the .270 win its no contest.
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Old January 13, 2008, 02:34 PM   #23
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While I have never subscribed to any one-gun-for-all mantra, the 6,5x55 is a much more flexible round than the .243.

That said, anything designed or intended for myriad uses will compromise in each category. And I don't mean just the cartridge, but the rifle. One that's light enough to be comfortable for big game hunting is a bit too light for long range benchwork and varminting. The reverse is also true.

You can make an adjustable wrench fit any bolt, but it certainly wont make the job as easy as an assortment of combo wrenches, crow foot wrenches, 6-point flex sockets, flare nut wrenches, etc, etc. Right tool for the job, man. Applies equally to all things.
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Old January 15, 2008, 02:12 PM   #24
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Definitely a 6.5x55mm or the .260. The only other commercially available round I would consider for your purposes would be the 7mm-08.
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Old January 16, 2008, 04:45 AM   #25
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I have never owned a 243 but i was told once that the barrels tend to burn out quicker than most if youre going to do a lot of target shooting with them. I mention this in passing as i only heard it once and maybe someone here with greater knowledge can verify or disprove the statement.
That being said i have owned a few 6.5x55,s over the last 10 years and i was shooting it yesterday in fact. If you want good ammo for it, handload. Mine shoots 100 grainers beautifully under 44 grs of H-380. You want a heavier bullet ? Try the 140 grainers, they will get the job done with deer, no problem.
I am looking into getting a Encore with a bull barrel in 6.5x55 very soon myself and am also looking into the rifle that CZ makes. Its a fine caliber and i got obsessed with it as it was the first center fire cartridge i ever fired.
For a while i was seriously thinking of building a varmint rifle in this caliber from scratch but when i totaled up the cost and all the work involved i got cold feet, lol.
I would be interested in hearing what you do choose and why. Good luck.
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