Originally Posted by Litehiker
When I look at the 6.5 mm "family" I see that the ancient (1890) 6.5X55 Swedish cartridge is also a "medium" size cartridge of that group. It is still used in Europe, mainly in Scandanavian nations, for competition.
What I'm wondering is why it is not used more here in the US for hunting. My very first rifle back in 1962 was a $30. surplus military Swedish Mauser Mountain Carbine. A heavy little sucker but fairly accurate with an American Marble peep sight. Stupidly I sold it for $40. cash when I needed money as I went off to the Philippines with the Peace Corps. (They only paid us $60./month in-country.)
All of the old mauser cartridges have suffered in the U.S. for three reasons:
1) SAAMI specs dictate that they are loaded to such low pressures that their performance is emasculated.
2) They are intermediate in length, which means they are too long to use in a short action, while giving up case capacity to the more common 30-06 length cartridges normally housed in a long action.
3) Factory ammo is less available, with fewer options, and underperforms compared to comparable domestic chamberings.
The 6.5x55 is the only non-wildcat 6.5 chambering, with a smaller case than 6.5-284, that is not a short action cartridge. So, it tends to be overlooked in favor of 6.5-284 and larger cases in a long action and .260 Remington and smaller cases in a short action.
The 98 Mauser, Winchester Model 70, and Ruger 77 actions are all about the perfect length for the Swede, but are not chambered for it from the factory. In any of those actions, the Swede can be loaded to modern pressures. Loaded to its potential, the Swede will easily outperform the short action 6.5's and isn't far behind the 6.5-284.
The 6.5x55 is my favorite non-magnum, non-wildcat 6.5 chambering. But, it requires handloading to reach its potential and is available in only a very few factory rifles, which turns a lot of people off. If I am going to reach for a 6.5, I either go for the mild mannered Swede or step all the way up to the .264 WM.