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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > Can I Re-chamber my 6.5 x 55 into a harder hitting calibre?

Can I Re-chamber my 6.5 x 55 into a harder hitting calibre?

10 May 2012
@ 11:05 pm (GMT)

Ian Dingo

Hey All,

This is my first gentle.

I am thinking of re-chambering my Ruger All Weather.

The current calibre is 6.5 x 55 Swedish, however I want to knock off deer more emphatically in the 300>500mts range.

So I'm after a flatter, harder hitting calibre.

So if this is possible with just Re-Chambering I will be delighted.

I would appreciate any advise on this.

Cheers, Eco


13 May 2012
@ 07:34 pm (GMT)


Re: Can I Re-chamber my 6.5 x 55 into a harder hitting calibre?
Hi Ian,
I'm no expert and I may be cut down in flames on this, but I would think it relies on a number of things. They include teh bolt face size, the length of action, the length of the magazine and the contour of the barrell arounf the chamber area. Rounds like the 6.5-06 and the 6.5-284 come to mind depending on the aforesaid issues.

The bolt face of the 6.5 is a very small part larger than required for a 6.5-06. I don't know if that 5 or 6 thou makes it safe. You'd think it would, but... So the other question is if the action is a medium action or not. Because teh 6.5 is long for a short action it really runs out of room to go any longer in the short action. Hence, going for a larger diameter boiler of the 284.

I'd be taking it to Nathan and seeing what he can do (if you are near him). If not, I'd see a good gunsmith.[b]
14 May 2012
@ 09:39 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Can I Re-chamber my 6.5 x 55 into a harder hitting calibre?
Hi Ian, the 6.5x55 is slightly fatter than traditional standard cartridges of the .308, .30-06 and 8x57 family. This means that a trypical option is to go for a wide cartridge such as the 6.5-284 or .264 Win Mag. The rim diamater of the Swede is slightly wider than than a standard case but is well within tolerances for accuracy. Safety is not a concern in this regard.

The above being said, one of the major problems with reaming to say the 6.5-284, is that prior to beginning the job, the smith really needs to cut off a good half inch off the start of the barrel so that the throat and neck area is cleaned up. On factory rifles, there is very little meat in this first part of the barrel to begin with. Removing a half inch can there fore increase barrel whip exponentially. Think of a rifle barrel like a tree trunk, the wider the base of the tree, the greater the strength.

Of course, removing a half inch from the chamber end of the barrel can mean that the 6.5-06 is an option. But again, the finished job will lack meat at the chamber end of the rifle and be prone to whip.

Lastly, it pays to bare in mind that the cost of a barrel is not that expensive on its own. It is the cost of machining (labor) on top of the cost of the barrel that brings the price up. It pays to keep this in mind because you may well find that it is not too much dearer to have a new barrel fitted keeping in mind that the cost of machining will be the same whether you rechamber or rebarrel.

You rifle has a magazine length of 87mm, allowing for COAL's of 86mm for smooth feeding. This internal magazine length is optimally suited to the .30-06 which is something I would like you to consider if hunting larger bodied deer (Red deer etc) at longer ranges. Increase the barrel countour by a # and increase the length of the barrel parralel. Basically I am describing a Sako Finnbear / Sako Hunter contour #3 barrel.

If recoil is a concern, then stay with your 6.5x55 and develop a dual load, the 140gr Partition for hunting out to 300 yards, the 140 grain A-Max for hunting past 300 yards from a planned sniping position. Find maximum (not manual listed maximum but actual max for your rifle), load to near max/ best accuracy etc. To be honest, reaming to slightly greater power is often far less rewarding than imagined/planned. For example, reaming from 6.5x55 to 6.5-06 does not make the 6.5 a great deal more emphatic in the field at the ranges you have already hunted.

In your mind, you will already have a memory of how the cartridge performed when you shot a deer at x range. The 6.5-06 will perform the same out to a range of approximately 50 yards further. Check you ballistics charts and you will see what I mean.

So, in order to see a real change, either change bullet designs or look for a radical change in muzzle velocity (26" barreled .264) or change calibers altogether.

The above being said, it is not uncommon for folk to under load the Swede by 200fps or so. In this regard, a radical change can be found simply by increasing charges 6-7 grains- combined with a change in projectiles. It is only when the Swede is loaded to full potential, that the change from the Swede to the 6.5-06 is of low productivity. I hope I have explained that clearly enough, if not, let me know.

Typical sweet spots for the Swede (Lapua or U.S brass) range from 45 to 47 grains ADI 2209 (H4350 / IMR 4350). In some rifles, 47 grains is way too hot but in others, it is just right. To this end, it is important to be able to read brass and understand pressure signs allowing you to safely find maximum and back off a touch accordingly.

The Rugers really need bedding and free floating for best accuracy. The triggers need to be honed and lightened, the bores need a real A kicking like the SPS, forced to conform, lapped as described in the barrel break in article.

15 May 2012
@ 11:19 pm (GMT)

Brian Cornish

Re: Can I Re-chamber my 6.5 x 55 into a harder hitting calibre?
Hi Ian and a good first post question. I shoot a 6.5 in both 6.5x55 and 260AI format. Firstly I would recommend extracting all the performance (safely) you can, while maintaining accuracy. In both the above calibres I have found VV N560 to be the optimum powder for velocity and accuracy with low pressure. Coupled with a good 140gn projectile such as suggested by Nathan, you already have a good answer. if you are set on a change with your existing rifle then the easiest and perhaps most effective move is to 6.5 x 55 AI. While I am not sure of your barrel length (appologies if it is in the above posts) - with a 26 inch tube you should easily be able to achieve 2950 fps MV with 140gn projectiles which gives good down range energy with high BC and SD bullets. If you need any load data help with N560 please let me know.
15 May 2012
@ 11:39 pm (GMT)

Ian Dingo

Re: Can I Re-chamber my 6.5 x 55 into a harder hitting calibre?
Hey thanks guys for the advice, I will go with Nathans suggestion of getting the rifle bedded and experimenting with the two 140gn projectiles.

Really nice site BTW.

Cheers, Ian


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