6.5 Berger 156gr Elite Hunters in a short action?

Matt Tatum

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I’m running them in my 6.5 saum. Mine is a 24” proof barrel. Brass is my limitation. I hit 3000fps pretty easy, but anything over that and I’m getting loose primer pockets. The hornady brass I’m using is just too soft.
 
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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!
 
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I started making up a load using the 156 gr elite hunter in my 6.5 PRC made by Straight Jacket Armory. COAL is pretty much magmax length w/ogive @ 2.272, 56.5 gr H-1000. Gm210m primers. Velocity running 2940. Hornady brass shot 1 time. Am very pleased with the results.
 
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Bill Cauley Jr

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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.
I have been shooting some great loads with the 140 burger Vld hunting my reamer is exactly that .188 free bore after what you said I am considering trying the 156s in my 65 284 it is on a long action so magazine length and action length is not a problem
 

HuntnPack

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Since the last post, I built a third 6.5SS. A 20" 1:7.5 suppressed pushing the 156 @ 2966fps w. N565.

I have also loaded the 156 in three 6.5SAUMs. One at 2980 w. H1000 and one at 3038 w. RL23. Both to fit in Accurate mags at 2.210" CBTO.
Lance,
I’m setting up a 21” 6.5 PRC w/156
Will be suppressed. I was concerned on powder choice to get full burn as to not
Have issues with suppressor. trying H1000.

Question for You:
With the N565, do you get full burn in the short barrel?
 

lancetkenyon

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Lance,
I’m setting up a 21” 6.5 PRC w/156
Will be suppressed. I was concerned on powder choice to get full burn as to not
Have issues with suppressor. trying H1000.

Question for You:
With the N565, do you get full burn in the short barrel?
I think N565 is just a touch faster burning than H1000. Right in between N560 and N570. H1000 is closer to N570 than N560, so very close to N565.

To be honest, I haven't shot my 20" unsuppressed at all. So I haven't noticed anything. But, my suppressor is pretty clean after a few hundred rounds of both fire forming and load development on several rifles.

I know H1000 is clean burning though. But I got about 75fps more with N565 before pressure showed on both. N565 just allowed heavier charge weights. H1000 maxed out at 60.0gr, N565 went to 61.9gr max. I am running near max, but not at max.

RL23 is another powder to consider. Same speeds as H1000, but with lower charge weights. Equal charge weights will gain velocity. Burn rate is faster than H1000 too. Still pretty good temp stability, and fairly clean too.
 

new2mud

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Heart of TX
OP--as others (including BrentM) have mentioned here, the 156 EOL is very tolerant to jump. I had the same concern when I built my 6.5PRC off a Savage Short Action to use AccurateMags (2.950 max COAL). Also .188" freebore. Several folks have experienced good accuracy with up to 0.130" jump.

Now, one of the phrases you used was "full potential", and that is where others are jumping in to say the Sherman cartridges would be favored if "full potential" is your priority. The limitation of 6.5PRC loaded to short action COAL is less powder capacity. But if factory ammo is your priority, then I don't think 6.5PRC can be beat.

Is it a compromise? Sure, but not as much as many think. I'm getting 3000 fps with the 156 EOL out of a 25" barrel, loaded to mag-length. And I can pull the factory Hornady 147 ELD-M off the shelf and shoot that, too. Add in new 6.5 PRC factory ammo offerings from OTH (other-than-Hornady) later this year and the flexibility expands.
 
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duckhunter175

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I have been shooting some great loads with the 140 burger Vld hunting my reamer is exactly that .188 free bore after what you said I am considering trying the 156s in my 65 284 it is on a long action so magazine length and action length is not a problem
Did you end up loading the 156s in your 6.5-284 and what did you end up with for COAL?
 
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