6.5 Berger 156gr Elite Hunters in a short action?

SouthTXBowhunter

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Nov 2, 2008
Messages
113
Location
Sabinal, TX
Is it possible to make full use of the Berger 156gr 6.5 Elite Hunters in a short action? I’m considering building a new short action rifle using a BigHorn SL3 I have with a SwitchLug on it. I’m going to have a 6 Creedmoor and a 300wsm barrel spun for it but I’d like to get a 6.5 variant for it as well - I’m a 6.5 fanboy. I have some other 6.5s that I shoot up to 143gr out of and I thought about the newer 156gr Berger EH since I do prefer shooting heavier bullets. The problem is, with 143’s out of my custom 6.5cm (that’s throated for Berger 140gr HVLDs) the bullets are seated to where I don’t have ANY extra room in my AI magazines. So, I’m guessing the 156gr pills either won’t work in my magazine or would have to be seated so deeply that my case capacity would be significantly impacted.
So, my question is 2-fold:

A. Is there a 6.5 caliber that would work best with a 156gr Berger EH in a short action - maybe a 6.5prc, 6.5 SAUM, 6.5x47L, 6.5 Sherman, etc? I prefer calibers that have factory ammo because I travel to hunt and always worry about not being able to buy ammo in a pinch. However, I DO handload and I WILL consider a wildcat if it’ll let me utilize the 156gr.

B. Is there a magazine/bottom metal that will make it easier/possible to feed a longer COAL that’s likely to result with these longer/heavier bullets? This will be built on a fully adjustable McMillan A-10 stock and will be used for both hunting and local LR match shooting. Since the action has the SwitchLug and the bolt has a easily changeable bolt head, this is going to be a multi-caliber rifle used by my whole family. So. I’d really like to be able to use magazines - for matches. I’m hoping there’s an option available that’ll work with a longer COAL

I haven’t been on the forum in a couple of years and just shooting what I have. So, I’m not up on new products and I’m just hoping someone has come up with something, over the past 2 years, that’ll help me out. I kinda wish I’d have bought a LA but this SA is what I have is what I’ve got to work with. Worst case scenario, I’ll build a 6.5x284 down the road <—a bummer but not the end of the world.

Thanks to everyone that replies!
 

snox801

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Sep 19, 2012
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Spring Lake Michigan
Well it’s not my expertise but I’d say you should be able to. I was having no issues with the 147 eld in mine.
Second you mentioned it being a hunting round. Ha e you figured if you wil gain any useable distance for hunting running it?
Here was my issue. I fell into the same thought process as you bigger is better. So I chased that to the ends of the earth. Then I was looking at my chart one day and thought wow even if I got that animal at 900 yards with my creed am I comfortable with how little speed and energy it has left. My answer was no.
So I moved to the hammer hunter 124gr. Did everything better to the distance I needed in my creed.
Now for targets hands down that big boy will pass my 124 around 400-500 yards I would think. Just guessing.
So if you hit the range a lot maybe worth it to either have two loads or the Berger.
I think at some point the case capacities get to low and it’s not worth it. Sounds like you have the same line of thinking.
Wonder myself how it will do in a creed.
 

KurtB

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Feb 11, 2004
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538
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Colorado
My OAL with the 156 to the lands was quite a bit longer than with the 140 vld. That was in my 6.5-284 but the same would hold true obviously in a short action cartridge. For me, I think I'll keep loading the 6.5x47 and 6.5 creedmoor with the 140 vld or 147 eld.
 

rfurman24

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Aug 29, 2010
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Kansas
The simple answer is NO. The 156 seated to touch the lands in a .188 freebore(almost perfect for the 156) will be over 3" in most if not all popular 6.5s. I would say the best of the bunch would be a SAUM or improved. The extra capacity of the saum will help overcome the bullet being slightly deeper in the case that it should be. The SR3 should except a Wyatt's box and that will get you close to 3".

I am confident you will be able to get the 156 to shoot off the lands so it may not really matter much. If I were building a short mag regardless of caliber I would at least go medium action if not long. The 6.5x284 will be even worse in a true short action because the cartridge is longer.
 
Last edited:

lancetkenyon

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Jun 3, 2013
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Arizona
6.5SS. 2.970" to fit in an Accurate mag or Wyatt's extended box is about .020" jump.
Pushing them to 3000+ is relatively easy with numerous powders. Super efficient case with 40° shoulder. I run a moderate charge of H1000 and get 3000 on the dot from a 26" 1:7.5". I can run RL26 and gain 60+fps easily.
Good brass is available from ADG/Rich Sherman.
And sexy as heck!
20190719_173711.jpg
 

SouthTXBowhunter

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Nov 2, 2008
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Sabinal, TX
I agree with you but I’m not sure I want to go with a wildcat right out of the box with this rifle. I know there’s one in my future, at some point, though.
 

codyadams

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Jan 7, 2015
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Southwest Wyoming
I agree with you but I’m not sure I want to go with a wildcat right out of the box with this rifle. I know there’s one in my future, at some point, though.
Pretty much if your not willing to do a wildcat, then not easily, or without jumping them a long ways. The SS is about the only option. Even in a 6.5 creedmoor that I was loading them in, they would need to be near 3.00" to touch the lands if I remember correctly. Seated to fit in the 2.900" mag, they were way in there, and jumping a mile.

I am shooting them in my .260 AI at 2950 fps with rl26, out of a 29" barrel. Another guy I talked to was shooting them, nearly identical load, at 2750 in a 20" barrel. My OAL is 2.950" to fit in my AICS mag, and they are about .065" off a SAMMI .260 spec throat.

I will say though, they seemed to shoot well in 3 different guns, regardless of the amount of jump. I loaded in my rifle .005" off (3.010" oal), .050" off (2.965" OAL), and .065" off, all with half MOA or a little better accuracy. If I played a little more I bet I would find a sweet spot with them, but half MOA or a shade better and fitting in my mag is just fine.
 

elkaholic

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Dont rule out 6.5 sst. About the only thing that makes it a wildcat is no saami.
Dies, brass, reamers, and even custom ammo is available. Mine has a 26" barrel and runs the 156 at 3100' with a coal of just over 2.9".
 

Pioneer500

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Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
14
Location
Post Falls, Idaho
Is it possible to make full use of the Berger 156gr 6.5 Elite Hunters in a short action? I’m considering building a new short action rifle using a BigHorn SL3 I have with a SwitchLug on it. I’m going to have a 6 Creedmoor and a 300wsm barrel spun for it but I’d like to get a 6.5 variant for it as well - I’m a 6.5 fanboy. I have some other 6.5s that I shoot up to 143gr out of and I thought about the newer 156gr Berger EH since I do prefer shooting heavier bullets. The problem is, with 143’s out of my custom 6.5cm (that’s throated for Berger 140gr HVLDs) the bullets are seated to where I don’t have ANY extra room in my AI magazines. So, I’m guessing the 156gr pills either won’t work in my magazine or would have to be seated so deeply that my case capacity would be significantly impacted.
So, my question is 2-fold:

A. Is there a 6.5 caliber that would work best with a 156gr Berger EH in a short action - maybe a 6.5prc, 6.5 SAUM, 6.5x47L, 6.5 Sherman, etc? I prefer calibers that have factory ammo because I travel to hunt and always worry about not being able to buy ammo in a pinch. However, I DO handload and I WILL consider a wildcat if it’ll let me utilize the 156gr.

B. Is there a magazine/bottom metal that will make it easier/possible to feed a longer COAL that’s likely to result with these longer/heavier bullets? This will be built on a fully adjustable McMillan A-10 stock and will be used for both hunting and local LR match shooting. Since the action has the SwitchLug and the bolt has a easily changeable bolt head, this is going to be a multi-caliber rifle used by my whole family. So. I’d really like to be able to use magazines - for matches. I’m hoping there’s an option available that’ll work with a longer COAL

I haven’t been on the forum in a couple of years and just shooting what I have. So, I’m not up on new products and I’m just hoping someone has come up with something, over the past 2 years, that’ll help me out. I kinda wish I’d have bought a LA but this SA is what I have is what I’ve got to work with. Worst case scenario, I’ll build a 6.5x284 down the road <—a bummer but not the end of the world.

Thanks to everyone that replies!
I'm interested to see where you end up with the larger bullet. I have been using the 143 ELDX with amazing success. So far, 7 shots, 7 deer. This year, my son took a whitetail at 747 yards. The deer was bedded down. The shot was right behind the shoulder missing ribs on the way in and the way out (all soft tissue). I was impressed with the size of the exit wound and the damage to the soft tissue without hitting bone. The deer ran for 6 to 8 seconds and dropped. That being said, I'm with you in that I would rather use the heaviest bullet possible. If you have good luck, I might give it a try.
 

BrentM

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Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
2,402
Location
Meridian, Idaho
I am running 156's in a PRC with the bighorn TL3 and proof chambered prefit. At aic mag length 2.950 the bullet is about 130 thou out. This does reduce case capacity but I am seeing 2900ish in a 22" and they shoot well so far in my testing. Today I am retesting 55.5-56.5. It is not ideal having that much bullet in the case but it is what it is and the results are not bad. I am also testing 135A's today. At mag length they are 80 thou off. 140-147's are 50 thou off at mag.


Marked up.jpg
 

jrock

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Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
1,104
"...full advantage..." I would say not without an aftermarket mag, specifically the Bainey. I built a 6.5 SAUM on a savage because their internal mags are longer than the 700s. I've seated the 140 VLDs optimally in the case to maximize capacity and I'm at the maximum usable length in the Savage bottom metal. I would guess you could get 3000 fps easy out of a 26" barrel.
 

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