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.264 bullet choice for deer at extended ranges with 6.5x55?

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Old 01-04-2014, 10:23 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 100
.264 bullet choice for deer at extended ranges with 6.5x55?

OK, I have a new to me Tikka T3 Lite in 6.5x55. I know that it shoots OK, as the first owner shot only factory stuff and did OK. I reload and think I can do better!!

We shoot deer in western Kansas at decent ranges. The longer the gun, the better!

I have one box (100) of Berger 130 VLD Hunting bullets. I am naturally drawn to heavy bullets -- tried to find so 140's (the Tikka is 8:1 twist) but they are impossible to find. I found some Barnes LRH 127 coppers as well. Interesting....

I have a philosophy of trying to develop a load with the RIGHT bullet from the beginning and not messing around with multiple flavors. Did that along the way, with mixed results.

I did some comparing today. I assume (using .260 Rem as basis) that in a modern 6.5x55 I can get about 2850 from a 130ish bullet, and about 2750 from a 140 gr bullet.

I ran some numbers using the ballistic coefficients for the Berger and Barnes bullets.

The heavy lead 140 Berger maintains over 1000 ft/lbs further, over 700 yards. So if (BIG IF) I can get the heavy 140's to shoot, they would be the theoretical best choice. I have a good Leica 1600b RF and plan to plant a good turreted scope on the Tikka, if I find a good load.

But I cannot buy the 140's right now.... the 130's also maintain 1000 ft/lbs of energy to about 650. Not so shabby, and honestly, what more can I expect from a light weight gun....

The Barnes LRH bullets drop under 1000 ft/lbs at about 550 yards. But as a solid, they might perform better, even at longer range... They are intriguing as well...

So any input on this question? 127, 130, 140?? Lightweight gun at "modest" long range distances, with a modest cartridge... Perhaps I should smell the roses and realize that shooting anything with a lightweight gun at 500+ is a miracle in and of itself and stop obsessing about heavy bullets?
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:47 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 870
Re: .264 bullet choice for deer at extended ranges with 6.5x55?

IMO, with an 8 twist Swede, anything less than the 140's is a waste of potential. Shoot Berger VLD's or Hornady AMAX's. The Bergers don't look like they will be available for a few months. The AMAX's may be available sooner than that. I recommend keeping an eye on them:

Hornady A-Max Bullets 264 Cal 6.5mm (264 Diameter) 140 Grain Boat Tail

I have used both on paper to 600 yards. They both shoot very well. I have yet to shoot game with them, so I cannot comment on their terminal performance, though the AMAX is rumored to expand at lower velocity than the Bergers do.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:04 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Posts: 538
Re: .264 bullet choice for deer at extended ranges with 6.5x55?

You are lucky that you have a 1-8"twist bbl so you can shoot anything that's out there as far as bullet weight goes.

I built a 6.5-06AI a few years back and when I did, I had bought a discounted Shilen 1-9 twist bbl that saved me $200, I wish I had waited and bought a 1-9 because I wanted to shoot 140g Berger VLDs, I tried for a year to "make them" shoot, but the rifle knew better, I also tried 130g Berger VLDs with no luck either. Fustrated, I tried Hornady 129g SSTs and what do you know. 1 hole groups! It shot them consistently. I was also pleased to see that the 129g Interbond had the exact same BC.

As far as longrange accuracy, I have shot this bullet out to 1000yds as I am indeed pleased with the accuracy of this bullet. I was able to shoot a 10" group with 10 shots. Quite pleased. The Interbonds had enough energy to punch through a 5" wooden post that we used to hold the target at that distance as well.

I am concerned with the magazine length of your Tikka, The Bergers really need to be seated out to the lands of the rifling and may be too long for your short action.

While the BC of the Hornady isn't as high as the Berger, they are a good compromise when you can't get them.

Hope this helps,

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Old 01-05-2014, 07:21 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Northeast
Posts: 2,271
Re: .264 bullet choice for deer at extended ranges with 6.5x55?

As previously mentioned, make sure your rifle has an 8:1 or 8:5:1 twist for the 140's. I would hold out for the 140 VLD Hunting Bergers given you don't want to play around with a lot of different bullets/loads. If you can develop an accurate load they have proven performance on game, and offer excellent ballistics. IMO, they will be worth the wait. Try Sinclairs. While they are currently on backorder, they have been filling backorders on a pretty regular basis.

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready"-T. Roosevelt
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:29 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 100
Re: .264 bullet choice for deer at extended ranges with 6.5x55?

Thanks for the advice. Yes, I am nearly certain that the T3 in 6.5x55 is a 1:8 twist. I cannot find any reference that Tikka ever produced anything other than 1:8. In Europe they shoot the heavy 160 gr bullets at moose, and thus the 6.5x55 gets a fast twist.

Looked at the 140 gr Hornady A-max. Lots of good reviews. Though not exactly recommended for Hunting, lots of people are using it with success apparently. Also backordered all over, but I placed an order nonetheless and hope that it will come in soon. The gun was sort of my Christmas present to me, and I am itching to shoot it.
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Posts: 3,515
Re: .264 bullet choice for deer at extended ranges with 6.5x55?

As far as terminal performance on deer, amaxs are very good.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (where the shot goes, how big the group is, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:50 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 46
Re: .264 bullet choice for deer at extended ranges with 6.5x55?

Matrix Ballistics in Canada has a 160 grain VLD, I do not know about terminal performance on game though. Maybe give Marshall a call and talk to him, he has been to me and I like his bullets. I wish my 260 would handle the 160s, but I am going to use his 142s instead. Good luck!
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