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Old October 8, 2013, 03:50 AM   #1
kawasakifreak77
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Dusting off a old 6.5 swede sportster, advice wanted.

I've been wanting to get back into shooting a longer range rifle & get to where I can group well with it. (sub moa hopefully)

My only centerfire rifle is an AAC Micro 7 that's currently at the local smith getting iron sights installed. I threw a cheapo red dot on top of it at first & quickly got my groups down to 1.5" by handloading. Since it's such a short light rifle I don't want glass on top of it.

Dad's got a couple nice old bolt guns he'll let me babysit. First one is a 1903 Springfeild. Not sure if it's an A3 that's converted or a true A4 (doubt it) but it's a nice rifle that hasn't been cut on or at least not much. She shoots good & I bagged my first deer with it. Problem is that steel buttplate is not friendly from a bench, I'm a small frame.

So next up was the old Swede. It's already cut down, sitting in a Bell & Carson stock with a Burris 2x7 on top. Dad has given me permission to tinker around with it.

I know shooting is mostly the guy pulling the trigger which means lots of practice, which I'm going to do. I took it out today & noticed a few things.

First off the stock is awefully flexible towards the end of the forearm. I usually shoot from a bench with rolled up duffle bag under the forearm or prone with a sling. The stock fits me well but either way I'm guessing the forearm might be putting pressure on the barrel. This should be a concern correct? Is the factory barrel stout enough to be free floated for best accuracy?

The bore looks very nice as does the crown. I'm hoping I don't have any problems there. Not sure how I would identify any problems if there were any.

The trigger is horrible, this is the first thing I want to change. My new Micro has really spoiled me. I see Timneys that aren't very expensive. Good trigger?

Ammunition: I've reloaded for years but mostly for handguns. I have several IMR rifle powders like 3130 & 4350 & others along with 2015br & varget already on the shelf. The barrel is about 22".

I have a couple coffee cans of brass but mostly PMC. I've read the American brass is built with a .473" rim like '06 vs the euro stuff has a .480" rim. In a Swede do I need to get the euro brass? I'm assuming the milsurp stuff is non-reloadable.

Bullet suggestions? This is the only component I need to get. I'll mostly be punching paper but would like a expanding bullet if I ever get the time to deer hunt again. I'm hoping to build one load for the rifle. Keeps things simple so I can shoot shoot & shoot.

Okay I'm done bucket mouthing! Any help on my chase to a 1" group greatly appreciated!
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Old October 8, 2013, 07:51 AM   #2
ligonierbill
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Presuming you have a Mauser 96, sure you can free float the barrel, but I wouldn't worry about flexing out on the forend. See how she groups first. I have exactly one experience with a Timney, and it was good. But I don't know how difficult installation would be on the old Swede. Mine is original, and I don't mess with it. I mostly shoot a Model 70. Most used bullet in the 6.5 is probably a 140, and I have had good luck (<1") with Sierras. My absolute best group (1/2") is with Nosler BT 120's. I have only tried one 160, a nice looking Woodleigh, but I can't get better than 2". IIRC the Winchester has a 9.5:1 twist. Your Swede originally loaded 160's, so it might do better. I mostly load Re 22, but IMR 4350 is an excellent powder for 6.5x55. Good shooting.
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Old October 8, 2013, 09:54 AM   #3
kawasakifreak77
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Thanks! You covered a lot of things I was curious about.

Upon closer inspection, the barrel doesn't look as good as I thought.

We're getting ready to go punch some paper now. Fingers crossed.
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Old October 8, 2013, 09:54 AM   #4
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.

I've always used 156gr JSP's in my 6.5x55 Swede's, but then my only targets are pretty much alive (before I shoot ).




.
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Old October 8, 2013, 08:41 PM   #5
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I have a sporterized Swede that loves the Sierra 140gr Gameking and Matchking bullets over IMR 4320. Mine's a short barreled rifle in a Mannlicher style stock and shoots great with my handloads, generally under 1" @ 100yds. I have never had any issues with rim diameter in my rifle and I've used brass from just about every manufacturer including Norma and Lapua. I have had issues with Remington Core-lokt ammo but those were accuracy issues, just couldn't make that stuff shoot in my rifle no matter what I did. The 6.5x55 is my personal favorite whitetail cartridge, it's big medicine for those critters. It's also a very mildly recoiling cartridge and would prove to be an excellent choice for a newer shooter or anyone that might be recoil sensitive.

Stu
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Old October 8, 2013, 09:07 PM   #6
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Swede's sweet six-five

With a little work, you should easily get sub MOA from your swede. My 1912 M96 has the original barrel and will do this with the Winchester Super X 140gr ammo I use for whitetail.
Bench group was using a rolled up guncase for a rest. Prone group is a bit off since I am leaning on my elbow(I always tend to push up-right)


I've considered the Timney as well, but the military trigger breaks clean after a bit of take up and I've grown accustomed to it over the years.

I've fired different weights from time to time (120-160gr) and the 139-141 range is by far the most accurate from my rifle.
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Old October 9, 2013, 02:05 AM   #7
Jimro
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If you have IMR 4350 on your shelf, get a 250 bullet box of Nosler Custom Comp 140 gr BTHP bullets.

140 GR. SPR SP IMR IMR 4350 .264" 3.030"
41.0 2486 39,300 CUP
45.0 2677 46,000 CUP

Just do a normal workup and stop when your groups get tight, you'll be happy with the old Swede.

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Old October 9, 2013, 04:16 AM   #8
kawasakifreak77
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Well I spent about half an hour typing out a reply only for my robot phone here to crash before I submitted it.

Long story short I took the scope off to see what date the M96 was (1919) & ended up shooting with irons today. My groups were more like patterns though. 4"

Shooting it more convinced me to get a Timney trigger on the way along with some Hornady 140 Amax bullets.

I really think the trigger will help. I have to keep pulling & pulling it seems waiting for the rifle to go off. My patterns all had a lot more horizontal spread to them than vertical so I'm thinking trigger control.

That & tuning a load to the rifle as I have recently in my Micro will help a lot.

Thanks for reading. Ya'll have a good one!
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Old October 9, 2013, 06:18 AM   #9
Revoltella
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Quote:
Problem is that steel buttplate is not friendly from a bench, I'm a small frame.
Slip on Pachmeyer Decelerrator pad takes care of that.
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Old October 9, 2013, 09:19 AM   #10
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I have shot a bunch with the 6.5x55. I like RL19 with 129gr-130, and RL22 with 140gr bullets. Sierra bullets are always accurate in every rifle I own but I have found the Hornady SSTs to be the most accurate in my 6.5, both 129gr SST and 140gr SSTs are splitting hairs good. IMR 4350 pushing a 120gr Ballistic Tip is a great load, in fact the first deer I ever killed with a handload was using that.
Another bullet I recently tried and was HIGHLY impressed with was the new Speer Deep Curl, from starting load to 1gr over max it shot easily sub-MOA first time out with every group. I have never seen anything like it, have not had the chance to test on game yet but it is a Speer product it is sure to please.
For brass if you can get Prvi that is the best stuff EVER in the Swede for what it costs, no they don't often sell it as a component but 139gr Prvi SPs shoot so well in my rifle that I always have some on hand. The Prvi bullet make a decent deer bullet inside woods range too, the damage they do at modest factory Swede speeds will surprise you and penetration is impressive.
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Old October 10, 2013, 03:04 PM   #11
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A Timney or Bold trigger is a drop in proposition. You just push out the pin and the old trigger drops out. Put the new trigger in place and replace the pin and do the function test in the instructions. I put one in my Kimber built Swede sporter. I don't have a trigger scale but the the pull was real nice with slick break and almost no over travel. For some reason I can't shoot a group worth a schit but can ring the 200 yd. gong all day long with my Swede with the Privi 140 grain FMJ's. It's my favorite bolt gun now.
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Old October 10, 2013, 03:23 PM   #12
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Hi All.New here,first post.I too have a swede that I sporterized.As for the timney trigger I tried 3 different ones that would not work in my 96.What did work was a Boyds trigger with side safety and was much cheaper.Mine likes 120gr Sierra Pro Hunters with 38.5gr of varget and a standard large rifle primer.Hope this helps.
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Old October 10, 2013, 04:49 PM   #13
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My swede was one of the shorter barreled ones. I simply recrowned the barrel, and lightened up the factory stock, put a rosewood forend piece on it, and free-float bedded the stock all the way to the tip of the rosewood to stiffen it up. (after I had thinned the military stock WAY down) I altered the bolt handle to clear a scope, and it's been my go-to deer rifle for a bunch of years (17-18?)
I haven't experimented a whole bunch with different bullet weights... just a little. I load the Hornady 140gr interlock bullet behind IMR 4350 to about 2650 fps, give or take. This is an honest 1" shooting gun/load combination. Groups will be between .9" and 1.1" all day long.... as long as I don't jerk the trigger. That 140gr bullet is a little long for caliber, so it penetrates like there's no tomorrow, and kills deer dead. Farthest any deer has gone is one that leaped sideways and staggered about 20-30 feet and died falling through a barbed wire fence. All the others have pretty much dropped to the shot.
I know the desire to try all different kinds of bullets and loads.... I was the same way when I was quite a bit younger. Now I'm more of the "find one good load and use it for everything" sort of camp.
I've got a bunch of TSX 130-ish bullets that I'm going to work up some loads for, someday. Maybe..

edit: more to your point.... I've been thinking of getting a Timney trigger, with the safety, for my swede, as well. Probably will, one of these days. Certainly couldn't hurt my grouping. If it does, I'll put the military one back on it.
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Old October 10, 2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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Reloading Mil surp brass

Quote:
I'm assuming the milsurp stuff is non-reloadable.
Milsurp brass is reloadable BUT in some calibers the primer has been crimped in place which requires you to swage the brass to remove the crimp before installing a new primer.

I have no experience with the 6.5 but do reload .30-06 milsurp. The 06 caliber was also used in machine guns which required the primer crimp. Anyway, I have reloaded a lot of milsurp 06 cases and love them as the brass seems to be a bit thicker than commercial cartridges and they last a bit longer.
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Old October 10, 2013, 10:31 PM   #15
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Kwasa, it will be a miracle if that rifle shoots the A-max.
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Old October 11, 2013, 12:01 AM   #16
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I have had three swedes, foolishly getting rid of the first one I got (a carbine).

I currently have a 1917 M96 (the looong infantry rifle 29" barrel) and a sporterized Norwegian Krag in 6.5x55mm. Haven't shot the Krag yet, but I have shot the Swede some. R-P cases, a medium charge of IMR 4320, and Speer 140gr SP.

Haven't grouped that load, but it shoots well enough to regularly ring the 400yd gong on the range, with the sight on its lowest setting.

I have had and installed Timmeny triggers in several mausers over the years, they are an excellent trigger.

Just don't set the sear engagement to light. I'd recommend not changing it at all, you can get a fine crisp trigger using the other adjustments.

If you do mess with the sear engagement, be sure to slam the bolt shut hard on the empty rifle a few dozen times. If the striker drops, even once, readjust the sear engagement back to where it was, and test again. If it passes, leave it there, and live with it.
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Old October 11, 2013, 12:43 AM   #17
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Loading for the M96 to its' potential requires the use of a slow powder, such as H4831. This will produce better velocity at lower pressures, I also find that a 120gr bullet opens up better on deer at 100 -300yds.
My own load data with my own Carl Gustav M96 is as follows:
47gr IMR4831 2722fps
48gr 2752fps *
49gr 2802 fps
50gr H 4831 2841 fps *
* = MOST ACCURATE LOADS
Hope this helps
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Old October 11, 2013, 01:58 AM   #18
kawasakifreak77
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Thanks everyone for the info! I'm having a blast tinkering with this old rifle. Keeps me from buying something else while my Micro is at the shop.

I went out shooting again. Got my patterns down to 3". Once I actually had some consistancy with the rifle all the shots were about 5" left & at least that high. I made a witness mark on the front sight, drifted it over .020 & took a few passes with a file across the bottom of the rear sight. Slowly but surely I got the bullets in the bullseye.

A local store had a box of SST 140s so I got those. Trigger should be here tomorrow & I've got a skinner lopro coming to go in the farthest rear scope mount hole.

I prefer a rear peep & legthening the sight radius will help me. I was going to do this with a scope but now I'm curious to see how well I can shoot with irons.

Keep the discussion going guys!
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Old October 11, 2013, 08:26 AM   #19
jimmyraythomason
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My 6.5 Swede is a GEW 98 with a commercial barrel of unknown origin. It has a 1:10 rifling ratio. I have a Boyd's Bold trigger set at 2 lbs,stock is a Bell and Carlson and scope is a Nikon Buckmaster 3x9x40. This rifle loves 131 grs flat base bullets but is a little random with 140 grs.
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File Type: jpg Mauser 6.5x55 003.jpg (218.6 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg Mauser 6.5x55 002.jpg (220.1 KB, 26 views)

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Old October 11, 2013, 08:29 AM   #20
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Just keep in mind that you might have difficulty getting best accuracy with lighter bullets. It can be accomplished, but it will probably take a lot of work. The swedes were designed/built around a what, 160gr bullet? Looks like a pencil stub... this bullet necessitated a REALLY fast rate of twist, rifling-wise. I think most are in the 1-8" to 1-8.5" twist range.

This fast rate, combined with the smaller diameter, makes it very difficult to get good results with cast bullets, as well. It can be done, but usually accuracy drops off when the bullet (boolit?) velocity goes above about 1600-1800fps. Good for punching paper, but a little slow for hunting purposes.
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Old October 11, 2013, 09:06 AM   #21
kawasakifreak77
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Since this is an old rifle, would it be prudent if me to slug the bore? Or is that more SOP for shooting cast? Something I've always wanted to get into.

How does one slug a barrel? I suppose if it's loose there's always the .267" bullets from Hornady...
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Old October 11, 2013, 11:02 AM   #22
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If all you are shooting is jacketed, then slugging won't do you a lot of good, other than to possibly explain bad groups. A badly worn bore will not produce good groups... most of the time.

When slugging, you are just hammering a pure, soft lead ball/bullet/sinker, through the bore, then measuring the largest diameter of the rifling. The ball should be a few thousandths larger than the largest you would expect your bore to be. You could probably get a soft 7mm ball/bullet through the 6.5, but it would probably be tight... you're talking 20 thousandths there...but it should work.
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Old October 11, 2013, 01:49 PM   #23
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One other thing "slugging" a bore will tell you, by feel, is if there are any "tight, or loose spots" in the bore.

A professional gunsmith who has slugged bores before can usually recognize this. If its your first time doing it, you might, or might not notice, depending on the amount of change in the feel, if any.

Also not something that you can do much about, but its nice to know, if it exists.

All the Swedes I have seen have had at worst, pretty good bores, and most of them have been excellent. Rifles converted to sporters have also followed this trend. (generally speaking, one does not sporterize a rifle and keep a barrel with a bad bore).

The 96s in military trim have a brass disc on the stock with a bunch of code on it. It includes the bore specs (as of the last time the rifle was arsenal checked). My long Swede's disc says its right on the min spec for barrel diameter (meaning its tight and good, basically like new).

Enjoy your Swede, they're good guns. Let us know how things progress.
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Old October 12, 2013, 01:36 AM   #24
kawasakifreak77
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Parts came in today!

Timney trigger: Holy freak'n crap this is nice. It's a whole different rifle now. Getting it on the action & set was easy as pie... Getting the action back in the stock & the trigger gaurd around the trigger is another story. Best $40 I spent on a rifle to date.

Skinner low pro peep: Nice simple unit. I got it adjusted down with the milsurp rear sight still in place then drifted it out of the way so I should be close.

The gunsmith called me to say my Micro was ready so I headed down there to pick it up. They had a few boxes of 142 SMKs so I got one. Sierras have done me well in my Micro & the 142s seem to be non exsistant online so I didn't mind paying a few extra bucks for something that is otherwise unobtainable.

Might be a bit much for punching paper but it's nice having good bullets.

I got back to the house, where I'd left about 60 PMC brass shaking. We have two sets of dies, one Hornady & one Lee. I got the Hornady set out & for some reason the brass would go up into the die with basically no resistance but would damn near pull the brass in two coming back out. Don't know what that was about. I was using Dillion case lube. I switched to the Lee die & they went smoooooth.

I'm new to reloading for a rifle, as I had some trouble at first with the .300blk I'm making from LC 5.56 range pickups but I've since solved that. Wasn't getting the case far enough up there.

One thing I did notice is how all the brass have a little buldge about 1/4" from the rim. This must be the difference of the smaller American brass in the Euro chamber.

So i hop on my robot phone here to look at what ya'll have suggested but didn't have any reception. I start digging through all the old manuals & could only find loads for one powder, IMR 3031. Most this equipment was passed down to my dad when my great uncle passed. Dad's too busy to really mess around with loading so it's been passed down to me. Most this stuff older than I am so it's probably time to update some things.

Boy this Swede must have a loooong throat. I settled on a coal of 3.100" to start. Close as I can tell I'm still almost .050" from the lands. Middle of the road charge of 3031 is 36 grains on top of a CCI primer.

Field report tomorrow!
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Old October 12, 2013, 01:47 PM   #25
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Quote:
One thing I did notice is how all the brass have a little buldge about 1/4" from the rim. This must be the difference of the smaller American brass in the Euro chamber.
Swede military chambers can be "generous to a fault." Which is why I neck size my 6.5x55 brass.

Check the inside of your brass for pending cracks with a bent paperclip.

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