I would also have to vote for the 6.5-06. I have one and it shoots well. Killed a mule deer with it.
However, that said, I would go with either the 270 or 280. I have both, but like the 280 as it seems to do everthing I want it to do, more bullet selection. I use it as my main antelope gun and have taken goats just past 500 yards. It works very well, very little recoil. The 270 would be basically the same, the 280 is just my preference.
This is going to have a bit of what is best considered sacrilege and worthy of being burnt at the stake.
Every year at about this time I go thru a phase of researching F-class rifles and dreaming of having a full blown F-open rifle built. Like many I tuned in on every post I could find on the 6.5’s specifically the 6.5x284 Norma. There is no question of the 6.5x284’s success.
Recently I came across this article on the 284 Win. Record-Setting .284 Win F-Classer
The issue of a 6.5x284 only being good for 1000 to 1500 rds whereas the 284’s barrel life being double that or better caused me to stop and ponder.
For some competitive shooters, barrels are considered consumable items – for “Average Joe’s” this is a major league big deal. There is no question that these small bore cartridges with large powder capacities are hard on throats. However for “Average Joe’s,” we will never put 1000 rds down the bore in a season of competition. Typically 80 to 100 rds will be run thru the rifle dialing in a reload and then maybe 20 to 40 rds per year thereafter, resulting in a fine hunting rifle that will last a long range hunter a lifetime.
To be honest – I am receiving outstanding performance from my Tikka T-3 Lite in 270 Win. I think I have a whopping $600 into that rifle. A buddy has a 270 WSM and he is getting the same too.
For what it is worth: Most of my hunting since the 1960's has been with a 6.5 Remington magnum in a custom rifle which had all the advantages the factory weapons did not. My competition shooting at 600-1,000 has been with the 6.5 x 284. When I compare the problems the magnum brass caused at higher pressures compared to the 6.5 x 284 I wished I would have had the 6.5 x 284 chambering in both all this time.
Most shooters who may choose the 6.5-'06 have not owned one. It is not a bad cartridge. With modern powders you can virtually duplicate its performance with the .260. One hundred feet per second difference can't be seen on a three hundred yard target and no animal you wish to hunt could ever tell the difference. An elks' lungs and heart are large, push a modern expanding bullet through either organ and that elk will die.
Accuracy, can you get enough of it? If you know the distance to the target and know your trajectory shoot that which recoils less and does not affect the five different nerves that run through your axilla ( armpit) region. Human beings respond to being punched in the shoulder, so moreso, some less. It takes time to really get to know a rifle. Learn about the rifle with the cartridge/barrel that lasts longer. In the long run, if 'smithed correctly you will grow to appreciate the .260, long after the concerns over some small amount of velocity are long forgotten.
WE moved from Seattle to northern New Mexico in July and visited Whittington yesterday.
With regard to throat and throat life in the 6.5's: My light hunting rifle was a much modified 6.5 Remington magnum on a short Mauser action whose magazine made a lot more sense with regard to seating out the 140 grain bullets than the Remington 600 series ever did. Anyway that rifle has always shot very well, better than such a weapon should shoot, compared to my target rifles. When I had it throated to accept the 140 grain Speers ( at that time) it lost its gilt edge accuracy but allowed for usage of a better bullet for hunting. That barrel is still on that rifle and I don't believe it will ever be changed. The problem with that rifle was always the brass. it was a "fast" barrel, which you get sometimes and in that mush younger era was always attempting to get .264 Winchester velocities out of it until I finally wised up. I had to Full length resize those belted cases to the absolute max to get them back intot he chamber. Now I realize the problem was mainly me, not the brass.
I have had several weapons in 6.5 x 284. My target weapons loose their finite accuracy at between 800-1,000 rounds when loaded to a 6.5 x 284's maximum, right around 3000fps with the Sierra 142 gr. bullet. Several powders worked well, I prefer 4831 SC over RL22. When you drop 200 fps barrel life seems to last considerably longer.
This is why I suggested the 260 to the person who originated this forum question.
"I have had several weapons in 6.5 x 284. My target weapons loose their finite accuracy at between 800-1,000 rounds when loaded to a 6.5 x 284's maximum, right around 3000fps with the Sierra 142 gr. bullet. Several powders worked well, I prefer 4831 SC over RL22. When you drop 200 fps barrel life seems to last considerably longer."
A lot of good points all ready made in this thread
however I would vote for a 260 or a 6.5x284 as well with for emphasis on the 6.5x284 vs the 6.5-06
My vote is for the 260, that's what i ended up choosing when I was looking for a 6.5mm. I have shoot both and just found the 260 to be both more accurate and more enjoyable to shoot (accuracy is is always dependent upon the rifle, load, and shooter of course). The 260 also scored better with availability of brass and dies. As for the speed difference, with todays powders it's a lot less then you think. If you really need more power skip the 6.5-06 all together go for the 264 WM, it's one hot 6.5mm!