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Old February 28, 2010, 11:13 PM   #1
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6.5x55 in a Mauser 98 action question

I am wanting to build a rifle for the first time and I have access to a couple large ring Mauser actions: an old "98" that has been previously semi-sporterized and a Interarms Mark X. I will have a gunsmith install the barrel and headspace it, then do the finnish work myself. I am thinking about going with the 6.5x55 and noticed when reading my reloading manuals that the head was .479 instead of .473 like 8mm, 30-06, etc. What needs to be changed or modified for this cartridge to work in a K98 style action?
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Old March 1, 2010, 08:18 AM   #2
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Usually all it needs is the bolt face opened up on a mill and lathe. I had a similar question, and they even provided pictures.
I used to love being able to hit hard at 1000 yards. As I get older I find hitting a mini ram at 200 yards with the 22 oddly more satisfying.
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Old March 1, 2010, 10:12 AM   #3
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Its really not that difficult of a job, the guy putting on the barrel should automaticly do it as part of the re-barreling job.

6.5X55 is a good choice.
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Old March 1, 2010, 12:09 PM   #4
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I did that many years ago and used it for 25 years as my primary deer rifle and it never let me down. Finn Aagaard called it the perfect deer cartridge. It was one of my gunsmithing school projects.
First a bit about the 6.5x55.The Scandinavian military cartridge, with a Krag for Norway and Mauser for Sweden.There were some slight differences between the two and that was finally adjusted to the 6.5x55SE .
We then had ,in the USA, a lowering of the SAAMI pressures because of the old guns .This dropped velocities down about 250 fps. Then American companies started to load it but used the .473" head instead of the .479 " head of the original !
I think now the cartridge is for hand loaders as they wimped out the loads .For a reasonable load you should be able to get with something like 4350 , and a 140 gr bullet 2750-2850.No sense in pushing it , it's not a magnum and does the job without high velocity, recoil or muzzle blast !
Now the rifle - Mine is a '43 Obendorf M98 .For the work I was doing I wanted to be sure so I re heat treated the action [the hardness varied quite a bit and wartime quality became worse throughout the war]. No opening of the boltface was necessary.The barrel was made so both inner and outer shoulders seated to the receiver for max rigidity. The action and 2" of the 24" barrel were glass bedded again for rigidity.Canjar trigger added. A 1/2" gun !!!

Decisions to make - chamber 6.5x55SE or American .473" head .I would choose the SE but then use European brass. I throated for the long factory 160 but never used that .This long throat didn't effect accuracy [throat diameter is very important which many ignore]. I've always thought the 140 was the ideal bullet weight.
I suppose you could use one of the other 6.5s but I like using and trusting something that's been around for 100+ years.
A great cartridge [ for handloaders now] you'll love it !
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Old March 1, 2010, 12:17 PM   #5
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I happened to have a box of Privi Partisan 6.5x55 and a caliper on my bench. Their heads measure .479". Just an FYI.
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Old March 1, 2010, 03:36 PM   #6
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So, what kind of american brass uses a .473 head? using that would be the easy way right? Is this just as simple as a barrel change? If so, that would be great! I don't have a lot of money do dedicate to the build.

I have been wanting a mid-size bolt action between .223 and 30-06 for varmints, targets, and deer sized game. Even though I am only 29 years old, I still have a real love for classic firearms and cartridges.
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Old March 1, 2010, 03:44 PM   #7
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If you want some 'hotter ammo' use RWS.
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Old March 1, 2010, 07:45 PM   #8
Harry Bonar
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I've built a 6.5X55 on an FR8 98 Mauser action with no modification to the bolt face at all!
It really doesn't need opened up.
Harry B.
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Old March 1, 2010, 09:02 PM   #9
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My bud built one on a turk action and it didn't need to be opened and it feeds well.
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Old March 2, 2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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I built mine on a Turkish action with a Swedish barrel. The large ring turks have small ring barrel threads. A small ring action is plenty for the mild yet excellent shooting 6.5x55. I've thought about opening up my turk-swede to 6.5x68.
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Old March 3, 2010, 03:44 PM   #11
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remington 6.5X55 brass is .473
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