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Old Mitch

6.5 Swede for Long-Distance Accuracy? Any Experience or Opinions?

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I've started thinking about something economical and relatively accurate at 600 meters or so.  A lot of Old School shooters would have put together a Swedish Mauser.

While searching prices on the internet, I ran across new Howa bolt action rifles in 6.5 Swede and wondered if that might be as good or better, especially considering how hard it might be to find a Swedish Mauser with a really great barrel.  These Howas are priced from about $450 on up.  That's cheaper than most Swedish Mausers I've found listed.   I do already have a Weatherby Vanguard in .308, which I believe was made by Howa, and it is a very good rifle considering the price.  IIRC, both my Vanguard and the Howas in 6.5 I've been looking at are on Howa 1500 actions.

What are some views on the Howa, the 6.5 Swede caliber, and so forth?  I'm not any great marksman, but would like something I can reliably get MOA at 400-600 meters, without going into debt.

Also, I think the Howa is also available in 6.5 Creedmore.  How does that compare to the 6.5 Swede?

 

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I'm not too well versed in either, but I would have to believe that these days there would be more factory ammo availability on the creedmore as well as current reloading data and maybe even brass. 

 

Ive heard nothing but great things about the performance on the creedmore from owners, usually when you hear about the swede, it is great...for a milsurp round. 

i would imagine with hand loads and a modern quality rifle either would fine. 

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For me, the 6.5 Swede would be nice cause I've already got a 96 Mauser and a Ljungman, and I reload for those already. So not having to reload yet another caliber would be great.   Sadly, I haven't had either of my guns out to distance yet, and can't say what kind of groups I'm getting on paper.   But from what I've read, the 6.5 Swedish should make a good contender at distance for an average marksman.  The BC of the 6.5mm bullets are great.   I also can't say anything about the Howa rifles, but I'm glad that manufacturers are still building rifles for the 6.5 Swedish round.

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The 6.5 swed is a fine choice for a nice comfortable, accurate cartridge. In its day, it had numerous long range grouping records in Europe. The Howa is a fine action and I'm sure it will be a great gun for what you want. Last fall I was at Sarco in PA and they had a row of about 20 or 30 96 Swedish Mausers on the back wall. Even a few of their big bucks match target Mausers. I don't remember what they were going for but it wasn't the pricing of yester year for sure. About 10 years ago I built a 6.5 Swed for an old customer of mine who became a good friend. We tossed the build around a bit and this is what it ended up as. Styled after a Mannlicher Schoenhower , I used a Mexican 98 Mauser short action with a Military Swed replacement barrel That I removed the steps off of. M70 style swing safety and reformed hot forged handle into a pear spoon handle.  This rifle would shoot 1MOA all day with the heavier factory 156g Norma bullets. The 6.5 military chambers have a very long throat. Not sure if Howa kept to the long throat or not.

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Edited by xtriggerman
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Thanks for replies. Xtriggerman, that's a beautiful rifle!  Anything I come up with will be pretty plain-Jane compared to that.

Likely I will mainly target shoot but doubt I have skills to compete.  This rifle could go hunting with me, but long range accuracy hardly needed in the wooded hills around here.   If my base rifle is a surplus Swede Mauser, my work on it will probably not go much farther than bedding action and possibly relieving barrel channel--if even that.  I've always heard many old 96's get close to moa in original configuration.  If I go with the Howa and initial results are promising, might leave it like it comes out of the box.  I'm not really looking for another project so much--got plenty of those already!  

Swede ammo with reloadable cases is still pretty widely available.  Pretty sure PPU and either Remington or Winchester still catalog it.  Norma available too, iirc. Once I've got a supply of brass I'll start reloading.

The Creedmore is still a possibility but I'm kind of a traditionalist.  

If anyone has experience with the Howa in 6.5 Swede, I would appreciate hearing from you.  It comes with low-end scope and mounts so it could go to the range the day I get it.  Built for a hunter, Hogue overmold synthetic stock.  Biggest drawback (in my eyes), no iron sights.

 

 

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On 3/21/2017 at 0:03 AM, xtriggerman said:

About 10 years ago I built a 6.5 Swed for an old customer of mine who became a good friend.

 

1 hour ago, Old Mitch said:

Xtriggerman, that's a beautiful rifle!

 

On 3/21/2017 at 0:03 AM, xtriggerman said:

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That is a very nice sporter job there xtriggerman.  I bought a 1909 M96 Carl Gustaf Swedish Mauser at a gun show many years ago with the intent to sporterize it but have yet to find my Round Tuit to make it happen.  You still doing stuff like this?

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At 600 yards any modern .308 bolt should run circles around any of the surplus rifles mentioned here regardless of caliber. I’ve never owned a Vanguard is there something wrong with it? What scope are you using on it?

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9 hours ago, MP5_Rizzo said:

That is a very nice sporter job there xtriggerman.  I bought a 1909 M96 Carl Gustaf Swedish Mauser at a gun show many years ago with the intent to sporterize it but have yet to find my Round Tuit to make it happen.  You still doing stuff like this?

 Thanks MP,  I don't have blueing tanks any more so I just stick to smaller projects more or less.

9 hours ago, DaveTN said:

At 600 yards any modern .308 bolt should run circles around any of the surplus rifles mentioned here regardless of caliber. I’ve never owned a Vanguard is there something wrong with it? What scope are you using on it?

 True for Win .308 or larger capacity cartridges and 600 yards is a tad far for the rather mild 6.5 swed but the caliber is a nice combination of low recoil and flat trajectory of the .26 cal bullet. If the Howa has a heavy varmint taper barrel, the thing will recoil on par of a light weight AR in 5.56.  Add a good BDC scope and that all spells fun for those of us that arnt excited any more by the belted magnum braun of our youth days passed.  As a reloader, sure the bullets are not in great variety but for informal targeting, I don't fault the choice one bit!

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17 hours ago, xtriggerman said:

I don't have blueing tanks any more so I just stick to smaller projects more or less.

I totally understand.  I always enjoy seeing the work you've done.  Keep it up.

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DaveTN, I don't think there's anything wrong with Vanguard except I just never quite fell in love with it. Scope is nothing great. Iirc, it's a Tasco World Class 3x9? that my dealer said he would make me a real deal on since he had it in his shop way too long. Vanguard does seem to punch my shoulder harder than other .308's I have. Really, I should just get it out more and shoot it til I'm used to it and find ammo it likes. Haven't seen anything better than about 2 1/2" from it. 

But then, there's also that urge for the new.

Actually though I've started thinking I should just hold off a while on purchases that aren't related to all the work my wife would like done on the house. :bored:  She be lot happier seeing stuff accomplished and then not so fussy about, "What? ANOTHER gun?"

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5 hours ago, Old Mitch said:

Haven't seen anything better than about 2 1/2" from it. 

At 400-600 meters?

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I really like the .264 caliber, but I prefer the 260 or the 6.5 Creedmoor over the Swede, mostly because they are true Short Actions and the Swede needs a long action. That might not be important for you, but I thought I'd mention it. 

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On 3/24/2017 at 6:19 AM, DaveTN said:

At 400-600 meters?

Haha.  I wish.  Shooting at 100.  But the 6.5 Swede project has been put on indefinite hold.

I finally bought a barrel for a long(er) range AR in 5.56.  24" stainless, what Midway calls a varmint profile, pretty heavy, 1 in 8" twist, target crown, 5R rifling.  They don't say who makes it.  Customer reviews (there are quite a few) talk about sub MOA with factory ammo.  I hope for good results with bullet of at least 70 gr.  If I can get accuracy out of 77 or 80, even better.

Also bought an adjustable gas block to go on it,  Many reviewers say they started with an adjustable, or soon switched to one. 

Price of the barrel is rather unbelievably low for a good quality barrel, about $130.  Would never have considered it except for the large number of very positive reviews.

This will be a fairly conventional AR. with a fixed A2 stock plus cheekrest, palm-rest pistol grip, aluminum freefloat handguard, fairly inexpensive bipod.  I'll probably start with a Bushnell scope I picked up on a close-out.  Most of the parts I've had for quite a while, they were on another AR, an A2 with a carry handle.

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13 hours ago, Old Mitch said:

Haha.  I wish.  Shooting at 100.  But the 6.5 Swede project has been put on indefinite hold.

I finally bought a barrel for a long(er) range AR in 5.56.  24" stainless, what Midway calls a varmint profile, pretty heavy, 1 in 8" twist, target crown, 5R rifling.  They don't say who makes it.  Customer reviews (there are quite a few) talk about sub MOA with factory ammo.  I hope for good results with bullet of at least 70 gr.  If I can get accuracy out of 77 or 80, even better.

Also bought an adjustable gas block to go on it,  Many reviewers say they started with an adjustable, or soon switched to one. 

Price of the barrel is rather unbelievably low for a good quality barrel, about $130.  Would never have considered it except for the large number of very positive reviews.

This will be a fairly conventional AR. with a fixed A2 stock plus cheekrest, palm-rest pistol grip, aluminum freefloat handguard, fairly inexpensive bipod.  I'll probably start with a Bushnell scope I picked up on a close-out.  Most of the parts I've had for quite a while, they were on another AR, an A2 with a carry handle.

I've got one of the midway barrels, the ar stoner brand. 

 

Im very happy with mine, though I paid a lot more when I got it than you. It is an all around well built piece of gear. 

 

There re was rumor mill word that these were being made by wilson and or green mountain if I recal right. 

 

I dont really care who made it, they did a great job. 

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The Swede is a spectacularly under rated cartridge in a modern action.

3000fps+ with 140VLDs runs rings around the CM velocity wise. It's also low enough pressure to have awesome barrel life.

I've built 2 on savage actions. A pure hunting gun based on an Axis & a pure target gun on an old 110. Both will bang gongs at 800 all day, every day. The 110 will keep them sub ¾moa to 1250yds.

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In a short action bolt gun the 6.5/284 would work well in a 24inch barrel. The 260 would allow 5 in the mag and would be the way for high volume shooting because the brass is easy to produce from .308. If you are set on a 6.5x55 look for a commercial Husky in a 1900 action. They are really slick 

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8 hours ago, Sunfish said:

In a short action bolt gun the 6.5/284 would work well in a 24inch barrel. The 260 would allow 5 in the mag and would be the way for high volume shooting because the brass is easy to produce from .308. If you are set on a 6.5x55 look for a commercial Husky in a 1900 action. They are really slick 

 Yes indeed, The Husqvarna HVA action was one of the very finest actions ever made. When I was in gunsmithing school 79-81, There were 2 actions that were top of the line candidates for custom builds and that was the Sako's and the Husky HVA (not 98 Commercial). The HVA is a small ring Mauser action with 98 featured bolt design. It was the only small ring Commercial Mauser action offered in belted magnum chamberings. I built a couple custom rifles for folks on that action. I like it so much that I bought one many years ago and modified it to suit my  thoughts of a perfect hunting rifle in a classic way. I put a Win M70 style safety on it and modified it for a detachable 4 round magazine that feeds from center in line. Needless to say, this unit is as slick as it gets working 30-06 in & out of the chamber.  I put my signature 3 sided bolt handle flats on the bolt.  One of these days I still need to reshape the comb over the grip to fit my hand better but hey, the shoe maker's kids hand no shoes either! These HVA's are sleepers on used racks.

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I just picked up another Ruger Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor for $399 at cabelas yesterday.   This is my 3rd one (two sons) and they shoot very close to the ruger precision I have $1400 in.  I have hit with the predators at 1100 and 1200 on several occasions and less than 1000 is basically childs play.  I also shoot 260rem and have a swede.  I personally would take the Creedmoor over all of them just for the ease of ammo availability when I dont feel like reloading.  Throw the ease of buying ammo out and I prefer the 260 in my mind its just an inherently accurate cartridge (or maybe its just my 260rem guns are more accurate than the others) and the ability to make brass from .308 ,.243 7mm/08 etc....  The swede is a fine cartridge and can certainly be loaded up to be a great distance shooter, ammo availability and expensive brass is its downfall imo.  I would take any of them over a .308 and I own my fair share of those also.

 

For economical <$400 you cant beat the ruger predator in 6.5 creedmoor but I will give an honorable mention to the Howa 1500 in 6.5CM for less than $600 its a lot of rifle.

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I have never put my swedish mauser to paper, but I have shot mine out to 350 yards or so and hit a 12" plate with regularity. Mr. Brian's reloads patterned extremely well for me at 50 yards. I don't have a scope on mine, just shoot it with the irons.

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