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Vanguard 6.5x55

05 May 2016
@ 09:40 am (GMT)

Mal Birrell

Headed to south island NZ in November. Only time I can get off work. Only own a 243 and 8x57. Thinking of buying a vanguard in 6.5x55 for the trip. Would stabilize forend, pillar bed,ect.
Will be targeting chamois and tahr. Not keen on recoil so a 7mm mag is probably too big.
Also thinking about a vortex scope, maybe 4-16x50 ffp.
What do you all reckon ??


05 May 2016
@ 03:19 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
Last fall one of my sons bought a .243 Winchester in a Vanguard S2 version and put a Vortex 4-12 Diamondback scope on it.

The rifle shoots under its guaranteed 1 moa.
It has a great trigger, and has an action area aluminum bedding block installed at the factory.

The barrel is not free floated as it comes and has a for-end pressure point that they claim is what helps provide the accuracy.

I would carefully break the barrel in and shoot it a lot determining accuracy loads before changing much re the bedding. I have not bedded one of these rifles myself, but took his apart and had a good look at it and am sure others here have done so and will chime in with their experiences.

As many here will also advise you, asking Nathan about what and how to proceed and buying his books he sells online here is a very good idea. I bought and read all of his books as Ebooks so I can refer to them on my iPad, as well as my iphone and computer where ever and as needed.

Good luck with your new rifle.
05 May 2016
@ 06:08 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
Hi Mal

like Bryan said if you get one just follow the steps in Nathans books and you should do well with this.

i have never hunted in the south island its on my to do list, but i have heard from a number of people that thar are very solid animals and can be hard to put down.
the problem being trying to get close to them to.

have you considered 7-08 or 30-06? maybe the 270 or 308
05 May 2016
@ 09:49 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
OK, if you buy the Vanguard then yes, it would be best to stabilize, bed and float it as you suggest. All the steps are provided for tricking this rifle (Howa) up in the accurizing book. Has to be done as the changes from Oz to the SI hills are just too much and the zero will wander too far after plane travel etc. You'll burn off much of your allowable ammo doing the re-sight. Also check pricing on Vanguard rifles with B&C stocks. Check also to see if there are any basic Howa rifles available with laminate stock and normal contour barrel- not the new ultra light. The straight comb laminate Howa will produce the least recoil of all options.

If you go with the .30-06, you'll have a good basic Sambar rifle when you return home and good for pigs too. Recoil is about the same as your 8mm with full power loads. If you read the book series, you'll find full info- even pictures of Thar ball joints in the cartridges book.

Vortex or Sightron. You'll see my comments spread through the Rifles book and Shooting book. You may want to read the series first, then look at rifle, cartridge and scope options.
06 May 2016
@ 12:34 am (GMT)

Mal Birrell

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
Thanks for your replies. Only reason for a vanguard over a howa is the extra 2" of barrel the vanguard comes with.
I have all of Nathan's books.
Have seen the 6.5x55 kill fallow out past 500yds with 129gn SSTs ,so I was hoping it would do the job on tahr at say 400 using 140gn pills, BUT from Nathan's comments sounds like maybe not.
30-06 is really too close to my 8x57. 270 would be good but for the limited pill choice. 7mm mag would tick all boxes apart from noise and maybe recoil.......
Vortex scopes apparently have 4" eye relief and unbeatable warranty but also sounds like Nathan much prefers the sightron.
06 May 2016
@ 03:44 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
The Swede will work. We have guys here that hunt Thar with the .25-06. But I have seen animals absorb .270 pills and 150gr .308 and keep going. Sometimes its the angles, sometimes its shot placement (including wind drift), sometimes its simply a tough bull. The more experienced the hunter, the smaller the caliber he can use, to a point. The same goes the other way- but that with poor experience / shooting practice, a high recoiling rifle can be very counter productive. Photos simply don't do the big bulls justice, they don't show the bone structure and overall density.

My take is, if you are going to travel to another country for one shot, then use as much gun as you can comfortably and accurately shoot.

Have you seen the photos of Steph shooting her 7mm rem Mag in the final book? All you need is good technique. If you have had a bad experience with a Rem mag, it will be because of a particular rifle (can ruin your day) or possibly where you were standing if another person fired such a rifle or shooting technique. If you want a 7mm Rem mag, I suggest you investigate this further.
06 May 2016
@ 06:15 am (GMT)

tom winstanley

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
As a confirmed fan, why not use your 8x57? If it is sufficiently accurate, with 170gr SST at 2700fps-ish, that should get you out to 600yds. You'll need a rangefinder anyway for those sort of ranges, and a dial-up scope if you aren't using one now. That is more than enough for chamois, and will be both soft enough to open up, but hold together at longer range wrt tougher, heavier thar. While you have found it soft, w. core separation at close range, I'm guessing that was on deer/pigs in bush - much closer than you're likely to meet a thar.

Are you particularly looking for longer range than that, and/or flatter trajectory? Higher BC & SD start to have more appeal then...

As Nathan pointed out, with atmospheric differences, whatever you choose will need to be stabilised.

Good luck whichever way you jump!
06 May 2016
@ 08:05 am (GMT)

Chris Murphy

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
Hi Mal I am a South Island hunter and I don't recommend anything under 270 with out experience especially with tahr they are tough bastards I've seen one drop then get up and run after shoulder shot from 338 lapua at 400 yrd. Chamois its is handy to have a flat trajectory unless you are confident with range angle and dial up they are hard to get close to and the country is steep and rocky. Keep in mind you can't over kill an animal you can only under kill them
06 May 2016
@ 10:38 am (GMT)

Mal Birrell

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
Thanks boys. Yeah I have a soft spot for the 8x57, but unlike Nathan's dad, I don't think of it as a long range caliber.
I have been impressed with my 70yr old dad shooting fallow and goats out past 500yds with his tikka 6.5 and his 2-8 Nikon scope.....
Sounds like a 7mm mag should be in my future. In the howa's the mag cals have 24" tubes so I can buy a barreled action and a stock separately.
Is the laminated stock you mention a Boyd's Nathan ?? Which one ? Or what B and C should I look at ?
Will look at sightron scopes.
Thanks everyone, Mal
06 May 2016
@ 09:22 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
Thanks for your input Chris, much appreciated.

Tom makes some good points. If the barrel on your current rifle is in good condition, you could put time into optimizing this rifle including good optics. But alas, a good many Mausers do not have such good bores anymore. Great to see that enthusiasm for the 8mm Tom- all very good points.

Mal, some gun stores offer a mix and match type deal for the Howas. The stock on the laminate option (if you can find this option) is a Boyds. Again, double check that the barrel is not an ultra light. Just want a basic stainless Howa with traditional contour barrel mated to the laminate stock option. This is the lowest recoil option for you.
07 May 2016
@ 04:06 am (GMT)

Mal Birrell

Re: Vanguard 6.5x55
Thanks Nathan.My 8mm is on a tikka T3 action/stock with a new walther SS barrel. Just couldn`t get the factory tube to shoot. No such trouble with the walther.
We can buy just the howa barrelled action here no problems.Works out much cheaper than a vanguard. Only the mag cal howa`s come with 24" tubes whereas all the vanguards come with 24"....
Hopefully the poor barrel quality you refer to in your books back in 2012 has been resolved now.

Probably smartest thing for me to do, would be to get another cal barrel for my 8mm and have a switch barrel.... Could have any/all std calls then.But i just don`t like the non top feed single stack mag arrangement.


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