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6.5X55 Swedish Mauser


Co-developed by Norway and Sweden in 1891, the 6×55mm was adopted as the battle-rifle chambering for both nations in 1894.  The misnomer, 6.5 Swedish, is a point of contention with many Norwegians, who correctly and rightly believe their country has just as much ownership to this fine cartridge design as Sweden does.  Military adoption came in the Krag-Jorgensen (Norway), 1894, and Carl Gustafson (Sweden), 1896, rifles.

Launching a 160-grain round-nosed bullet using a very fast rifling-twist rate, this cartridge soon developed a reputation for extreme accuracy and significant penetration.  As a hunting round, it has been used to cleanly dispatch tens of millions of moose in Scandinavia.  Loaded with the right bullet, it is an excellent, flat-shooting, and efficient hunting round.  It generates significantly less recoil than high-performance 7mm and 30-caliber rounds but will do the same job just as well with a well-placed shot.

As my friend, Terry Brewer, correctly observed: “There is no replacement for shot placement.”

While many countries adopted 6.5mm battle- and sporting-rifle chamberings in the same era, none of the others have had the staying power of the 6.5×55mm.  It can reasonably be considered the logical progenitor of all modern 6.5mm chamberings, many of which it is ballistically superior to; outside the biggest magnums, the only advantage any of those have is tighter ammunition and chambering tolerances, see the 6.5 Creedmoor discussion.

This round has a disconcerting way of making any serious shooter who works with one find a new passion.  Consider yourself warned.

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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