April 15th, 2019

Six-Five Smackdown: The .260 Remington vs. 6.5×55 Swedish

6.5x55 SE, 6.5 Swedish 6.6x55mm .260 Rem Remington Laurie Holland comparison

The .260 Remington and the 6.5×55 Swedish (aka 6,5x55mm SE) are both very popular cartridges with hunters and target shooters. The 6.5×55 has a long military heritage and a great record as a hunting round. The .260 Rem, essentially a .308 Win necked down to .264 caliber, is a more recent cartridge, but it grows in popularity every year, being one of the top cartridges for tactical/practical competitions. It offers better ballistics and less recoil than the parent .308 Win cartridge. In our Shooter’s Forum, respected UK gun writer Laurie Holland provided a good summary of the differences between the two chamberings. Laurie writes:

Remington 260 CartridgeThe 6.5×55 case has 6 or 7% more capacity than the .260s, even more in practice when both are loaded to standard COALs with heavy bullets, which sees them having to seated very deep in the .260 Rem using up quite a lot of powder capacity. So loaded up for reasonable pressures in modern actions, the 6.5×55 will give a bit more performance.

The issue for many is what action length is available or wanted, the 6.5×55 requiring a long action. So sniper rifle / tactical rifle competitors will go for the .260 Rem with the option of the many good short-bolt-throw designs around with detachable box magazines (DBMs). If a bit more performance is needed, the .260 AI (photo right) can yield another 100-150 fps velocity, depending on bullet weight.

(more…)

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November 18th, 2015

Sweet Deal on Big-Name Bullets

Powder Valley Sierra MatchKing Blitzking sale discount

Bryan Richardson, owner of Powder Valley Inc. (PVI), just notified us that PVI is running a super special on big-name bullets. Get Five Hundred 6.5mm (.264) 140gr HPBT MatchKings for just $115.00. That works out to just $23 per hundred for premium match bullets. Or, for you varminters, get Five Hundred .224-Caliber BlitzKings for just $75.00. At just $15 per hundred, that’s a steal for first-run bullets.

To buy these bullets, go to www.PowderValleyinc.com, then click on “Specials” on the menu bar.

Bryan tells us: “We just received a great buy on some custom major manufacturer bullets. We’re passing the savings on to you. Save 25-30% over what we normally sell these bullets for on our website. Check out the Specials Page and look for the bullets with a description of Custom. They won’t last long at these prices!” Questions? Feel free to call 800-227-4299 or email reload [at] powdervalleyinc.com.

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June 12th, 2014

The Great Debate: .260 Rem vs. 6.5×55 — Which Is Better?

One of our Shooters’ Forum readers, Trent from Louisiana, asked for help deciding between a .260 Remington and a 6.5×55 for his latest gun project. In the Forum thread, respected UK gun writer Laurie Holland provided a good summary of the differences between the two chamberings. Laurie writes:

Remington 260 Cartridge“The 6.5×55 case has 6 or 7% more capacity than the .260s, even more in practice when both are loaded to standard COALs with heavy bullets, which sees them having to seated very deep in the .260 Rem using up quite a lot of powder capacity. So loaded up for reasonable pressures in modern actions, the 6.5×55 will give a bit more performance.

The issue for many is what action length is available or wanted, the 6.5 requiring a long action. So sniper rifle / tactical rifle competitors will go for the .260 Rem with the option of the many good short-bolt-throw designs around with detachable box magazines. If a bit more performance is needed, the .260AI gives another 100-150 fps depending on bullet weight.

Brass-wise, you’ve got really good Lapua 6.5×55 off the shelf that needs minimum preparation, and it’s strong and long-lived. There is an Ackley version too that was popular in F-Class in Europe for a while that isn’t too far short of 6.5-284 performance. If you go for .260 Rem, the American brass isn’t as good but you can neck-up Lapua or Norma .243 Win and trim them (or neck-down .308 Win or 7mm-08). This has the downside that doing so usually creates a noticeable ‘doughnut’ at the case-shoulder junction, that may cause problems depending on how deep bullets are seated. [Editor’s Note: After Laurie wrote this, Lapua began producing high-quality .260 Remington brass.]

Laurie HollandFor purely target shooting, I think I’d go with 6.5×55 if I was making the choice again today for performance and brass-preparation reasons. In fact, I’ve considered going back to the gunsmith to have the barrel rechambered.

You want a multi-purpose rifle though and that makes things trickier depending on the bullet weight(s) you want to use. The [typical] 6.5×55 and 6.5-08 throats are really designed for 140s, so 90-120s make a long jump into the rifling. If you’re always going to use 130s and up, it’s less of an issue. If you want to use the lighter stuff, I’d say go for .260 Rem and discuss the reamer with the gunsmith to come up with as good a compromise as you can depending on the mix of shooting. 1:8.5″ twist is the norm and handles all the usual sporting and match bullets; you can go for a little slower twist if you won’t use the heavies.

Over here in the UK, in Scotland to be precise, we have a top sporting rifle builder (Callum Ferguson of Precision Rifle Services) who almost specializes in .260 Rem usually built on Borden actions. He throats the barrel ‘short’ so it’s suited to varmint bullets, but will still handle the 100gr Nosler Partition which he says is more than adequate for any British deer species including Scottish red stags.

Accuracy-wise, I don’t think there’s anything between them if everything else is equal. The 6.5 has a reputation for superlative accuracy, but that was high-quality Swedish military rifles and ammunition matched against often not-so-high-quality military stuff from elsewhere. Put the pair in custom rifles and use equally good brass and bullets and you’ll be hard pressed to tell them apart.” – Laurie Holland

Remington 260 CartridgeAfter Laurie’s helpful comments, some other Forum members added their insights on the .260 Rem vs. 6.5×55 question:

“To me, the .260 Remington has no advantage over the 6.5×55 if one is going to use a long action. Likewise, the only advantage the .260 has in a modern rifle is it can be used in a short-action. There is more powder capacity in the 6.5×55 so you have the potential to get more velocity plus there is a lot of reloading data available to you for loading at lower velocity/pressure if you choose. The Lapua brass is great and Winchester brass is pretty good at low pressures. Having loaded a good bit for both, the 6.5×55 would always get the nod from me. To me, if someone wants to use a short-action, the 6.5×47 Lapua is even a better option than the .260 for a target rifle.” — Olympian

“There is just one small item that has been missing from this conversation — the 6.5×55 has a non-standard rim diameter of .479″ vs. the standard .473″ of a .308 and all of its variants. Depending on your bolt this may be an issue, or it may not.” — Neil L.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 15 Comments »
February 15th, 2014

Official 26 Nosler SAAMI Drawing Now Available

26 Nosler Cartridge Print SammiNosler has introduced a new 6.5mm (.264 caliber) hunting cartridge, the 26 Nosler. Nosler will initially offer 26 Nosler cartridge brass, and then, eventually, 26 Nosler loaded ammunition.

This new cartridge is designed to be a speedy, flat-shooting hunting cartridge, with performance exceeding a 6.5-284. This is possible because the 26 Nosler is a big, long cartridge with plenty of “boiler room”. Length from base to neck/shoulder junction is 2.33″ for the 26 Nosler, compared to 1.91″ for the 6.5-284 (and 2.04″ for a 7mm Rem Magnum). The 26 Nosler has a 35° shoulder angle and a magnum-size 0.534″ outside rim diameter.

The 26 Nosler cartridge can drive the Nosler 129 grain, AccuBond® LR bullet at 3400 fps. Zeroed at 350 yards, the 26 Nosler has a Point Blank Range of 0-415 yards. Loaded with the 129gr Accubond, the 26 Nosler retains as much velocity at 400 yards as a .260 Rem produces at the muzzle. This makes the 26 Nosler a “quintessential deer, antelope and long-range” cartridge according to company CEO/President Bob Nosler.

Nosler has just released the SAMMI print for this cartridge. CLICK HERE for SAMMI Print PDF.

26 Nosler Cartridge Print Sammi

Credit Grant G. for story tip. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 16 Comments »
May 28th, 2011

6.5mm, 129gr Bonded Blem Bullets at Midsouth — $13.54 per 100

OEM Blem Bullet 6.5mmForum member Ron W. (aka FClassRon) let us know that Midsouth is offering some high-quality, polymer-tipped 6.5mm bullets at half the normal price. Ron told us: “Midsouth is running a great sale this weekend on 6.5mm bullets with polymer tips: $13.54 per 100! I ordered similar bullets in 7mm a few weeks ago and the only blem I saw was light staining on the jackets (as shown in Midsouth’s description).” The bullets, (item 285-26209B100), are listed as: “6.5MM .264 DIA 129GR BIG GAME BONDED 100 CT BLEM”. Current sale price is $13.54, marked down from $27.08 — That’s a full 50% off normal price.

If you shoot a 6.5×47 Lapua, a 6.5×55 Swede, Rem .260, or 6.5×284, this bullet should work well for you. Here’s a chance to get a versatile, high-BC bullet that can be used effectively for BOTH both hunting and paper-punching. These blem bullets have cosmetic defects only. If you don’t mind some staining on the bullet jackets you can save a bundle compaired to normal pricing.

CLICK HERE for 129gr 6.5mm Blem Bullets at $13.54 per hundred

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 3 Comments »
May 13th, 2011

6.5 Creedmoor Finds Favor with Tactical Competitors

6.5 Creedmoor AmmunitionWhile the venerable .308 Winchester is still the chambering of choice for most tactical shooters, a growing number of tac competitors are switching to the 6.5 Creedmoor (as well as other 6.5mm chamberings such as the 6.5×47 Lapua and .260 Remington). Among the 6.5mm options, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers the advantage of high quality, relatively affordable factory ammo.

Can the 6.5 Creedmoor win tactical matches with factory ammo? Absolutely. Team Hornady’s Tony Gimmellie used Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor 120gr Match ammo to win the Oregon Sniper Challenge, held May 22-23, at the Douglas Ridge Rifle Club in Eagle Creek, Oregon. Tony said, “Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor ammo delivered ½ MOA accuracy from [my] POF gas piston rifle, allowing me to stay well ahead of the competition.”

To learn more about the 6.5 Creedmoor, along with the other popular 6.5mm cartridges used for tac comps, we recommend three articles by Accurateshooter.com contributor Zak Smith:

6.5 Creedmoor vs. the .308 Winchester
In the first article above, Zak explains: “Why 6.5 mm instead of .30 caliber? Put simply, they sling the long, slim, high-BC 6.5 mm bullets at respectable velocity. It duplicates or beats the .300 Win Mag’s trajectory with less recoil than a .308 Win. Compared to the 175 Sierra MK fired from a .308 Win, the 6.5 mm will have 27% less wind drift and about 10 MOA less drop at 1000 yards. Despite a 35-grain deficit in bullet mass, the 6.5 Creedmoor will retain 18% more energy and hit the target 260 fps faster.”

6.5 Creedmoor Ammunition

6.5mm Cartridges — Comparative Ballistics Performance by Zak Smith
Put in order of ballistic performance, the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .260 Remington are almost neck-and-neck, pushing the same weight bullets at about the same velocities from almost identical case capacities. The 6.5×47 Lapua in factory form lags by 100 to 200 fps due to less powder capacity; however, it has already gained a reputation for having a strong case that puts up with the high pressures some reloaders push in their custom rifles. The .260 Remington’s main problem for the reloader is lack of high-quality and affordable brass and to date there has only been one factory load produced which was appropriate for serious long-range competition for the non-reloader. The 6.5×47 was designed for intermediate-range competition and very accurate ammunition is available from Lapua; however, these factory loads are at a ballistic disadvantage at long range compared to the .260 Remington and the 6.5 Creedmoor.

There will always be those who bash new cartridges, claiming that they don’t do anything better than their favorite cartridge. By this logic, we’d all be shooting .30-06. Put simply, the 6.5 Creedmoor is what the .260 Remington should have been. It looks like Hornady has the right mind-set to make its new cartridge a success in the competitive and practical market, unlike Remington who basically let the .260 languish in a few hunting rifles. The 6.5 Creedmoor enjoys additional case capacity over the 6.5×47 Lapua, which allows better ballistics at a lower peak chamber pressure.

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January 1st, 2011

Lapua Commences Production of .260 Rem Cartridge Brass

.260 Remington Lapua BrassHere is great news for high-power shooters, tactical competitors, and hunters. Lapua will be producing .260 Remington brass starting in 2011. The official announcement will be made at SHOT Show 2011 in Las Vegas, and brass should start arriving in early spring. With Lapua’s introduction of .260 Rem brass, precision shooters now have a “no-brainer” first choice for cartridge brass in this popular chambering. No longer will you have to sort and cull (and re-sort) Rem-brand .260 brass. And you won’t have to fool around necking-up .243 brass or necking down .308 brass, with the problems that come with case-reforming operations.

The .260 Rem offers ballistics similar to the 6.5×55 with a cartridge size that fits short actions. For long range, the .260 Rem works great with 120gr to 142gr bullets, making it highly suitable for both hunting and target shooting. Here is what Lapua says about its new brass:

The .260 Rem was used to stunning effect at Camp Perry to win the 2010 Championships setting an incredible new national record in the process. .260 shooters have hammered their way into the winner’s circles of a wide variety of competitive disciplines, a real testament to the capability of this outstanding cartridge.

The .260 isn’t just a target round. It has also shown itself to be a fine performer in the field for medium game. Effectively duplicating the ballistic performance of the time-honored 6.5×55, the .260 has already developed a well-earned reputation for dependable stopping power on deer, antelope and similar game. Given the tremendous selection of bullets for every conceivable application, the 260 is an extraordinarily versatile cartridge. With such a solid history already established in such a short time, Lapua is proud to add the .260 to our line of premier components for the handloader.

CLICK HERE for LAPUA .260 REM Brochure with Reloading Data

.260 Remington Lapua Brass

[Editor’s Comment: I shot the .260 Rem extensively for 3 years, testing many powder/bullet/primer combinations. I tried both Remington-brand brass (very inconsistent), and necked-up Lapua and Norma .243 brass. If you want a reliable, accurate “go-to” load for the new Lapua .260 brass, I recommend Lapua 123gr Scenars with Hodgdon H4350 powder, running at about 2950 fps. Both Fed 210M and CCI large rifle primers work well. If you run the ballistics, you’ll find you give up little or nothing shooting the 123s vs. the 140gr class bullets because you can achieve significantly higher velocities with the lighter bullets, when using most powders. If you simply MUST shoot the 140s, try Reloder 17 to get higher velocities.]

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 11 Comments »
June 23rd, 2010

Hot Temps and Hot Shooting at 2010 Steel Safari in New Mexico

2010 Steel SafariOne of the best hike-and-shoot, field-style long-range rifle challenges is the Steel Safari match — a 3-day event conducted in New Mexico’s high desert. The Steel Safari is a contest that examines “practical hunting skills, including target recognition, range estimation, wind doping, trail skills, and marksmanship”, according to the match entry form. Competitors locate small and medium-sized steel targets, range them, and engage with one shot only, under a challenging time limit. Some movement on the clock is required, and shoot positions are always improvised. Shooters may have to go prone on a rock slab, shoot a steep angle down a gully, or lean out the side of a truck. Both the North course and the South course are approximately 3.3 miles in length starting and ending at the “front range”, and looping around the rim of different parts of elevated terrain features.

2010 Steel SafariThe 2010 Steel Safari, held June 4-6, can be characterized by one word: HOT. Temperatures started ramping up on Friday for the Long-Range Side Match, reaching about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and peaked on Saturday with a high of 109. The shooting was hot too, with winning scores higher than ever before. Among the 36 competitors, Steve Mann finished first with an impressive 95 score. Close behind, with a 93, was B.J. Bailey. Jimmy Holdsworth and Tom Freeman, both scored 88s, but Holdsworth prevailed on the tie-breaker for third place. In the Long-Range Side Match, Jon Beanland took first with a 111 score, followed by Jim Jensen (109) and Brian Whalen (99).

2010 Steel Safari

Equipment List — Two-Thirds of Competitors Use 6.5s or 6mms
The most popular rifle/action make was Surgeon (28%), followed by Remington (22%), then Accuracy International and Stiller (11% each), then Savage (8%), Big Horn Arms (6%), and one each of Barrett, Borden, DTA, GAP Templar, and Howa. The 6.5mm caliber totally dominated with 39% of all rifles; 6mm was next with 28%, then .30 (22%), and then 7mm (11%). Chamberings of choice were: .260 Remington (25%), .308 Winchester (17%), 6.5×47 Lapua (11%), 6% for each of 6XC, 7mm WSM, 7mm RSAUM, .260AI, and then 3% each for .300 WM, 6mm-250, .30-06, 6.5-284, 6 Dasher, .243 Winchester, and 6CM/243.

2010 Steel Safari

Scopes: Nightforce (28%), U.S. Optics (25%), Schmidt & Bender (17%), followed by Leupold (14%), Vortex (6%), and 3% each for Hensoldt, Burris, Pentax, and Premier. Laser range-finders were dominated by Leica (50%), followed by Swarovski (19%), Zeiss (17%), Vector (8%), and 3% each Leupold and Newcon. Bipods were mostly Harris (78%), followed by Atlas, AI, Caldwell, and Sinclair.

Propellants: Hodgdon powders totally dominated (80%) with Alliant second (20%). Of the Hodgdon powders, H4350, H4831SC, and Varget were the most popular, while RL17 was the most popular Alliant powder by far. The most notable trend in powder choice is that RL17 has replaced H4350 and H4831SC for many shooters.

Bullets, Brass, Ammo: Sierra (31%), Berger (25%), Lapua (25%), and DTAC 6mm (11%). Winchester and Lapua cases dominated with 33% each, followed by Remington (16%), and then Black Hills, Norma, and Lake City (3%). Only 2 shooters used factory ammo: one was Federal GMM (.308) and the other was M118LR (7.62×51 NATO).

CLICK HERE for full, 6-page report on 2010 Steel Safari

Permalink Competition, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
May 20th, 2010

Is the 6.5×47 Lapua the Next, Great Do-It-All Cartridge?

6.5x47 LapuaLapua developed the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge for International 300m competition. Lapua wanted a cartridge that could match the “pure accuracy” of the 6mmBR, but with even better ballistics and good barrel life. The 6.5x47L is now really coming into its own. In the hands of NBRSA long-range Hall of Famer Don Nielson, the 6.5x47L has won two NBRSA 600-yard Nationals convincingly. The cartridge is winning Varmint Silhouette matches, and Tactical competitors are finding the cartridge delivers great accuracy with much less recoil than a .308 — plus it feeds well from magazines. With advanced powders such as Alliant’s Reloder 17, the 6.5x47L can deliver surprising velocities, even with the heavy 139-142 grain bullets, though we still think the 130-grainers may be optimal for the cartridge. Don Nielson used Berger 130gr bullets “right out of the box” to win the NBRSA 600-yard Nationals, setting records in the process. In addition to its paper-punching abilities, the 6.5×47 Lapua is a capable hunting cartridge, delivering velocities that approach a .260 Remington with 120-130 grain projectiles. Considering all this — is the 6.5×47 Lapua the next, great do-it-all cartridge — a chambering that can win a benchrest match one weekend and harvest a whitetail the next?

6.5x47 Lapua

6.5×47 Lapua Ballistics Chart | 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Diagram (PDF)

6.5×47 Lapua Is a Hot Topic on Our Forum
In our AccurateShooter Forum, there has been a thread discussing whether the 6.5x47L or 6mmBR is better for the 600-yard game. Forum member Lloyd (aka “1Shot”) wrote:

How many years have the 6BR and its variants been in existence as opposed to the 6.5x47L? I pose this question to you because we all know that with time and experience, comes knowledge. In a short period of time, (relatively speaking) the 6.5x47L has made great strides. I’ll make a bet that the 6.5x47L will outshoot the 6BR within the same time frame of its existence. It will just take time and shooters like Sam Hall to bring this cartridge to its full potential.”

Responding to Lloyd’s post, British gun writer Laurie Holland analyzed the present and possible future of the 6.5x47L cartridge. Laurie makes some very interesting points, considering the role the 6.5x47L may play in F-class competition, and in 300 to 600-yard benchrest. Laurie’s post is worth a read….

6.5x47 LapuaLaurie Holland Talks About the 6.5×47 Lapua
“Lloyd, you may well be right on this. There is that intangible something issue though that sees one cartridge become ‘great’ in a shooting field, while others that should theoretically compete somehow never quite get there. The example that comes to mind is the PPC in short range BR of course[.] The PPC outshoots similar rivals, and we don’t know why. At the moment, the 6BR and BRX/Dasher variants look like they may be getting to the same point in 300 to 600-yard BR type competition. That’s not to say they won’t be pushed out of the top spot by something better, or even matched by a rival, but it looks like it won’t happen quickly or soon.

One thing people often forget is that BR can see 5 shots rattled off in under 30 seconds while the wind conditions hold. F-Class or any other form of deliberate, marked-target shooting is different because of the enforced gap between shots. This is particularly so on our side of the Atlantic (or north of the 49th Parallel). Unlike your F-Class, Fullbore, Palma, CLRP etc. shooting, we British Commonwealth types are squadded two to a target (sometimes up to four in local shoots) and there is therefore a minimum three or so minutes between taking each shot by an individual shooter. Fairly typically, I shot in a club 600-yard F-Class comp last Sunday and found myself with two others on ‘my’ target. Throw in one of them missing with both sighters and the resulting delays while the RO had to be asked for the target to be pulled and checked and people looking for his subsequent fall of shot and it took around 70-75 minutes to get through 2 sighters and 20 score shots. So each shot is virtually a new start so far as the wind-call goes.

The 6.5X47L likely gives a significant benefit even at 600 yards over the 6mmBR thanks to the external ballistics improvements in such a scenario. What has to be seen is how it stands up in national level competition against the big sevens since that’s the competition in F-Open. Until this year, all national GB F-Class Association rounds were shot over a mixture of 800, 900, 1000-yard matches with the emphasis on the 1000. The 6.5X47L can’t hack it against 180gr 7mm Berger VLDs at 3,200 fps in these conditions (nor could the US F-Class Team’s 6.5-284 Norma in last summer’s F-Class World Championship at Bisley). Club / regional level may turn out different with a bigger mix of ranges (distances) in a season’s programme. And (here’s the killer) — the 7mmWSM brigade can’t afford to shoot say 15 such matches in a season given the barrel life issue. 15 matches is 300-330 shots, or 50% of barrel life. So they enter one or two matches only for practice, checking sight-settings etc. Unless you do your own gunsmithing, barrel replacement by a top gunsmith with a Bartlein or Krieger tube is an expensive job here — a bit over £700 all in which is $1,000 + in translation[.]

So, accurate and ballistically-efficient smaller cartridges that give long barrel life have a bright future in European and British Commonwealth shooting, and I think the 6.5X47L is going to be a key player in this role. Also, as in the USA, many people want a multi-purpose longarm, and this cartridge is an excellent long-range fox/crow round and ideal for most of our deer species too.

To go back to the very original question in this thread, if I were having a multi-discipline target shooting single-shot rifle built for club / regional competition shooting, I’d stick to 6BR or variants if it were primarily for 600-yard or shorter range competitions, but I’d go for 6.5X47L if there were 800 to 1,000-yard matches in the mix. If it were for F-Class at national level, I’d have neither, but stick to .308W in the F/TR division which I shoot now. — Laurie, York, England”

Permalink Competition, Reloading 3 Comments »