View Full Version : Barrel life -6.5 x .284 ?

July 8, 2007, 08:17 AM
I heard that the life of a 6.5 x .284 barrel is only 1200 - 1500 shots.
Is that true?

Jim Watson
July 8, 2007, 08:47 AM
From the Long Range shooters I know, yes, and an optimistic estimate at that. Of course they are talking target accuracy, well under moa to 1000 yards. One would probably do ok for hunting at moderate ranges for longer. But why would you buy one for that?

July 8, 2007, 12:51 PM
I want to try an F class competition. I've got a very nice .308 to get me started.
BUT, I wanted to do a little research on a better 1,000 yard rifle and the 6.5 x .284 seems to be the round of choice for that.

July 8, 2007, 06:25 PM
There are other cartridges that are not as hard on a barrel that will still get you to 1,000 yds. 22-6mm, 6mm-06, 6.5-06, 280 Rem, 7mm STW, etc. Folk I know who shoot these cartridges have barrel life well into the 3,000 round neighborhood (except for the STW, at about 2,000). And they shoot faster and flatter than the 6.5-284.

The driving force behind the 6.5-284 was that it could be used in a shorter action, thereby increasing the rigidity of the platform. But to really be competitive at 1,000 yds, you need to shoot long, heavy bullets loaded with the base of the bullet at the base of the neck. In order to get maximum advantage from the round loaded in that way, you are right back to a long action. There are some very accurate F-class rifles chambered in 6.5-284, but there are also some very competitive shooters using 6mm BR, 22-250 AI, 6mm AI, and even 308 Win.

July 8, 2007, 11:19 PM
And they shoot faster and flatter than the 6.5-284

How is that possible, Scorch - that they have longer barrel life, with MORE velocity/trajectory? That flies in the face of the one immutable rule which I thought I knew - "there ain't no free lunches". Not making sense to me.

July 9, 2007, 01:02 AM
A 6mm-06 with better barrel life than a 6.5x284?

It's commonly accepted that the more overbore a round is, the shorter the barrel life. A 6mm-06 (aka .244-06), is more overbore than the .25-06, which is overbore compared to the 6.5-06 (aka .264-06). The .264 Winchester Magnum is also considerably more overbore than the 6.5-06 or 6.5x284, and it definitely had a reputation back in the day as a barrel burner.

The 6.5x284 has a very similar case capacity to the older 6.5-06 (which I've got two of at present). I don't consider my 6.5-06 rifles to be barrel burners, not when the venerable .25-06 has been around for ages and hasn't garnered that reputation.

A wise old gunsmith once told me that barrel life is a function of how many pounds of propellant you throw down that barrel, in particular how many pounds of powder you launch per round. It takes a damned long time to send a pound or two of powder down a .22 rimfire barrel, compared to what a .30-378 Weatherby Magnum consumes. There's a theory that smokeless powder doesn't always combust in the chamber area of the barrel, and those grains will physically erode whatever's in the way as they light off somewhere enroute to the muzzle. Obviously, the bigger the stack of powder behind that bullet, the more powder grains are moving out upon ignition.

I do, however, keep my strings of fire spaced as far apart as I can with bolt open between shots, and I even have a liquid crystal barrel thermometer glued to the chamber area of my 6.5-06 F-Class gun. Don't forget, barrel life is also influenced by working pressures, heat, and barrel steel composition. Rip through a box or three of handloads without keeping the barrel and chamber area cool, and you could probably see the throat erode further down the bore with a borescope after that session.

I've known fellows in the 1,000 yard game using .30-378 Weatherby Mags who minimized their handload development just so they could optimize their remaining barrel life. :eek:

You won't see that with the 6.5x284 folks.

For the BAR-L Temp strips, I use the 86-194 degree version found here:


July 9, 2007, 02:02 AM
How is that possible, Scorch - that they have longer barrel life, with MORE velocity/trajectory?
I never said they had more barrel life than the 6.5-284. I said Folk I know who shoot these cartridges have barrel life well into the 3,000 round neighborhood (except for the STW, at about 2,000). And they shoot faster and flatter than the 6.5-284.
Jim Watson said the expected barrel life was around 1200 rounds, not me.

I agree the 6mm-06 is not exactly nice to barrels.

As for flat shooting, a 6.5-06 will launch the same bullet 200+ fps faster than the 6.5-284. That translates into flatter trajectory.

A 7mm STW will launch a 175 gr bullet at 3,000 fps, much faster than a 6.5-284 can even hope to approach. That translates into flatter trajectory. But there is no free lunch- 2,000 rounds barrel life is not exactly something to write home about.

Barrel life has less to do with powder charge and overbore than you might think. 220 Swifts had a reputation as barrel burners, while 22-250 do not, and they have comparable case volumes. My old 8mm Rem Mag burned 80+ gr of powder each time I touched it off, and there was no discrenible throat erosion when I sold it. Barrel life has a lot to do with barrel temperature, flame temperature and working pressure. The 6.5-284 operates at high pressure.

July 9, 2007, 03:39 AM
As for flat shooting, a 6.5-06 will launch the same bullet 200+ fps faster than the 6.5-284. That translates into flatter trajectory.

I run a 123gr Lapua Scenar at a hair over 3200fps out of my 6.5-06, using 59.0gr of H4831SC.

From working with other F-Class shooters, and having a quick look around, I see that the 6.5x284 guys are doing the same or in some cases better. Try 3405fps with a 120gr Sierra MatchKing and 63.0gr VihtaVuori N165:


With the 142gr Sierra MatchKings, the 6.5x284 benchrest guys are staying right around 3000fps:


That's about where my 6.5-06 runs the 139gr Lapua Scenars, too. I've also seen 140gr 6.5x284 loads out of a 26" Cooper run 3150fps over the chronograph.

Which only makes sense, because the 6.5-06 (69gr H2O) and 6.5x284 (65gr H2O) both have pretty close to the same case capacity, with the 6.5-06 gaining a whopping 4 grains of water. Other than that, one's long and skinny, the other's short and fat. The 6.5-06 runs at 50,000 CUP, and the 6.5x284 runs at 54,000 CUP. Both really need long actions to shine. Since I already run the 6.5-06, and the two are so close to each other in performance, I really don't have a great need for the 6.5x284 in my stable.

July 9, 2007, 12:03 PM
Having never owned a 6.5-284, I have to go by what the reloading manuals say the ballistics are. I owned a 6.5-06 briefly in 1983 or thereabouts, and I could launch a 139 gr Hornady at just over 3,100 fps IIRC. Looking at the Hornady 7th Edition manual, it says a 145 A-Max out of the 6.5-284 leaves at 3,000 fps max, and the same out of a 6.5-06 leaves at 3,200 max, which pretty much agrees with my experience with the 6.5-06. Since they claim to have used strain guages to measure chamber pressure and keep it within bounds, I will believe that their loads are safely within those specs. Having seen handloaders crowd and exceed pressure limits to get the extra bit of velocity available from a cartridge, I think I am being prudent. Not questioning the velocities claimed, just questioning how they got there.

However, me being a 7mm fan, the whole discussion becomes academic, as I prefer the heavier, higher BC bullets available for the 7mm for long-range shooting.

July 9, 2007, 04:12 PM
Thanks for all the good info, Scorch & Gew - I'm glad I stirred things up a bit. :)

P.S. I *still* can't decide whether to build my long range gun in 6.5-284 or 6.5x55 swede. It will be one of those two however, in all likelihood. If I run with the 6.5-284, then it will be in the form of the 30" bbled Savage 12 F Class Precision Target Rifle. If, OTOH, I end up going with 6.5x55 swede, I don't know what platform I'll get it in - I'm leaning toward a heavy-barrel T/C Encore, but I don't know if this has the accuracy potential of a good bolt action. I'm think I'd better stick to a bolt, but don't want to pay the expense and deal with the hassle & waiting of a custom rifle. I want a poor-man's long range rig. In fact, if I were going to buy a custom barrel, have it mated to an action, bed a good stock to it, etc., then I'd just go ahead and run with 6.5-'06 instead like Gew98's rifle, since a custom barrel expense is the same regardless of wildcat or not. And dies are the same cost regardless of wildcat status. So therefore it's looking like the Savage, since no crazy-accurate economy rigs come in 6.5 swede - bah.

I do think that the 6.5-06 has a bit more oomph over the 6.5-284 when comparing apples to apples pressure-wise, IIRC.

Ken O
July 9, 2007, 09:40 PM
I hear 1200 rounds for a 6.5X284, but I think thats optimistic. At a match Saturday I was in the pits chatting with Bret Solomon, who is one of the top F-class in the world. He says about 400 rounds is max for his barrels, anything over that is for practice etc. he buys Kriegers by the dozen. He told me the throut erosion for just one match, and I could hardly believe it. Last year every match I shot with him at, he cleaned the target of course, but his X count was unbeiliveable. A sixty shot match he woud have a 600 with 57 Xs. These were 600 yard matches, this year they made the target much harder, Saturday he droped a couple points. I shot my AR15 in Service rife class at the same match, what a contrast.
You might consider the F/TR class, which is Fclass, but limited to 308 or 223, and you use a bipod instead of a rest. I don't know of any round with better barral life better than a 308. Since you have a 308 that would be the way to start.
The Swede round is a barrel burner also, other choices that are popular are the 6XC or .260 Rem (6.5-08) which is what I use at 1000 yards. I sling up and mostly use iron sights.
The 1000 yard matches I shoot are at Camp Grayling in Michigan, there are more 308s on the line than any other caliber, and most use iron sights. Palma is real big. This coming weekend is a three day Palma/long range match, and F-class is always welcome.

February 7, 2009, 07:23 AM
The two main ingredients for short barrel life are, weight of bullet in relation to caliber, and amount of powder. One could argue the benefits of the
6.5X.284 vs ANYTHING and it's all a matter of pressures/heat developed in the barrel, and the length/weight of the bullet.
Man you could argue which is a better 1000yd rifle till the sun goes down but
the rifle that shoots the best is the one the shooter knows and can shoot sub MOA at 1000 yds.
But for hunting out here in the N. Idaho sticks I like the .280 A.I
for deer which tend to be large and tenacious. For anything bigger the
.338 winnie mag does just fine. In fact I have hunted both calibers in B.C. for
mulies and moose and granted I'm bias but the .338 had never let me down through 9 moose and the .280 A.I. w/ the 145 gr cookin right along at 3250fps just puts meat in the freezer. My granddad always said you can shoot a howitzer but if you can hit em in the right place it just don't matter !
PS if you told my grandfather that the 30-30 wasn't enough gun for elk moose and deer he would have thought you were ignorant.
He hunted for the Hudson Bay Lumber camps keeping them in meat and
as a PH in his time lordly that man could put meat in the pot. . . :D
That SOB
I have to agree that the .308 just keeps winning in F class 600 and 1000 yd shoots. Great round. I will however be using a 7mm-08
w/ 26" bbl and H414 W/ 49gr. and 140 gr for some 600 yd shooting
I'm amazed at the accuracy of the 140gr .284 accubond !
Blaze on brothers !!

Shane Tuttle
February 7, 2009, 01:46 PM
this Thread Is Old.

September 8, 2012, 02:26 PM
I have a gunwerks rifle. What barrel do you recommend? Would it need to be trued back to the action? GOD Bless, CW

September 10, 2012, 11:19 PM
Its even older now

September 8, 2013, 04:12 PM
^ Yearly check-in of thread?

Shane Tuttle
September 8, 2013, 04:18 PM
This is getting ridiculous. Post a comment relative to the discussion, even if it's old or just don't.