6.5 Swede vs. 308's

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by 2nd Abeliever, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. 2nd Abeliever

    2nd Abeliever Former Guest

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    Hi all! Greetings. I have recently been reading on different web sites about the ballistics and what-not concerning these two rounds (6.5x55 & 308). I have read in some sites where folks wouldn't dare compare anything to the 308 round. Meanwhile, at other sites, some folk feel "the 6.5x55 hasn't recieved the merit it deserves". So, I figured I would like to hear it from none other than you fine folks here at the FAF. BTW, I hope I'm posting this question on the right section, Curio & Relic. :eek: Any and all input appreciated. Safe shooting.
  2. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    That probably because they have never shot anything different.
    This is a good question. Many times people don't rate what they don't understand or have experience with. There are many rounds out there that never got the merit they deserved and fell short b/c of the rife that shot them.
    Ballistically speaking the 308 and 6.5 Swede are similar, pressures are similar but he 6.5 has a wider range of weights of bullets its capable of shooting. It starts as low as 70g while the 308 starts around 100. I think the reason why you don't hear much about the 6.5 swede is that not many manufactures chamber for it. Its not that its a bad round, its just not popular.

    BTW, welcome to the forum. Stick around, thats a great question.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  3. 308 at my gate

    308 at my gate New Member

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    I would think that it would depend on what your going to use the gun for. If your going to hunt big game such as deer than the 308 is a better round. The 6.5 swede is a .264 and the bullet selection for big game is better in the .308. The .308 does have alittle better velocity also. I think this would make a great antelope round or coyotes and other animals of that size. It would also produce alittle less recoil and would do well for someone who is not accustomed to rifles with heavy recoil. I am not saying you can not hunt deer with it, but that a .308 would just be better thats all.
  4. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to look at when comparing just those two cartridges...
    Sectional density of a particular bullet weight.
    Given the same weight in both diameters, the smaller diameter bullet will have a higher sectional density. This translates into higher retained energy as the bullet travels downrange. Example: Given that fixed bullet weight, and an identical muzzle velocity, the bullet with the higher sectional density will have more energy downrange than the one with the lower SD. That better retention of energy (and velocity), and the lower drag of the smaller diameter bullet will give you a flatter trajectory.


    All that fancy math aside, both are perfectly good cartridges for anything up to medium/large North American game like elk or moose at medium ranges.
    I've taken many whitetail deer and one elk with my Swedes and I know it's a popular cartridge in the Scandinavian countries for similar size game. Over there, it's not considered an oddball since it's been in use in those countries for over a century.
    For deer-size game, the 140gr is a good choice. For larger game, go with the 160gr and let it hammer just as hard as a .277, .284, or .308 diameter cartridge of the same velocity range.

    I've owned one .308, one 7mm-08, and I still own three 6.5x55s.
    Why do I have the Swedes but not the .308 or 7mm-08? Mainly because I like having a unique rifle (be it my Gustaf Mausers or my modern CZ550).
    For some reason I fell in love with the .264 bore cartridges.
    They're easy on the shoulder, are renowned for accuracy, and perform well on game....but some guys will say the same about their .308s too. :) And they're both right...
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  5. 2nd Abeliever

    2nd Abeliever Former Guest

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    Thank y'all for your replies so far. Very interesting! Thanks for the welcome HELIX. I myself own a Swede(chopped up though as it is, I purchased it that way) although I enjoy it. Fortunately it is all matching. Unfortunately though, someone decided to "sporterize" it. I wish I had gotten a hold of it before it became sported. Serial # is 147 all the way around. Bore is in great shape. *sigh*
  6. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    That's okay on it being sporterized (as long as it was done nicely and not just a basement hack-job). It should still be an excellent shooter. Sure would be nice if it was all original especially if it was a really clean example.

    Back in the early 90s when they were cheap, I chopped up quite a few real nice matching numbers '96 Swedes too...but usually I attacked ones that had been arsenal refurbed and weren't numbers matching. I kept and jockeyed a few VERY nice unmolested specimens too...wish I would've kept more of em but wasn't thinking that far in advance at the time.
    Back then they were just another cheap surplus rifle and there were scads of em available. I just used em as trainers for my gunsmithing skills...same thing that happened to so many other Springfields, M98s, and other great military rifles when they were just cheap surplus too.

    The one that really still irks me the most is I had picked up one excellent condition M38 short rifle (arsenal refurbed though) that would drop 5 shot groups under an inch at 100yds all day long. Back in '94, this one got an aftermarket stock ('tween-wars mauser sporter style), the cocking piece bobbed, and got drilled and tapped for a reciever sight along with a polish and blue job. It still needs a double-set trigger to complete the build but since it's such a nice shooter with the original two-stage military trigger I haven't done that yet.
    It's still a beautiful little gun and I'll never part with it but when I see the prices that original M38 short rifles are bringing nowadays I just cringe at all the fun I had building that rifle and wish that I had built it from a rougher M96 instead. OH well...
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  7. the morning light

    the morning light New Member

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    I have a 96' Mauser with the barrel cut to 21", it cocks on opening, has a bold trigger and a ramline stock with a 6X42 leupold with a heavy plex. I have shot .625" 5 shot groups with it. Hard to do with the heavy plex. I have to say that the 6.5 X 55 is my favorite rifle even though I have prettier and more expensive rifles.
  8. wallager57

    wallager57 New Member

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    I've shot, reloaded, hunted with both for over 30 years. Between the two, my favorite is the 6.5, with the 308 a very, very close second. I prefer the 6.5 mainly due to the launch platform (I have a 96 and a 38 Husky) both are great looking rifles that shoot right where I want em to, kill on the front without maiming on the back, and are totally reliable. Either round will cleanly kill anything on the planet, and you just couldn't go wrong with either. 308 brass and ammo has the advantage of being cheaper and easier to find. :)
  9. zfk55

    zfk55 New Member

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    Point of interest.
    The Sierra .308 175gr Matchking has won more Camp Perry shoots than any other projectile.

    zfk55
  10. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Counterpoint to zfk55... :)
    Before the switch to .22LR back in the 70s, the 6.5x55 has won it's fair share of biathalon events. Was the caliber of choice for pretty much every Scandanavian country and is still very popular over there for their versions of the Camp Perry matches (like Norway's Landsskytterstevnet).

    Just shows that they're both excellent cartridges with a distinguished target and hunting pedigree. All depends on what corner of the world you hail from. :D
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