6.5 Gibbs

Matthew Ford

New Member
Sep 10, 2003
Dallas, Texas
I need some help here. I have inherited a 6.5 Gibbs from my father. He passed away before he taught me anything about reloading or the gun itself. I have recently been captivated by hunting, guns, and reloading. I have been having a terrible time trying to find out how to fireform brass for it. I have reloaded the fireform brass he left me (most of which is military and is not worth a darn).

I guess this is the info I need (or at least I need directions on where to look for it):

Case demensions for the brass
How to fireform the brass; powder, how much to use, what type, bullet recomendations, anything at all.
Recomendations on loads that you have used (I've been using 100 grain bullets with 61 grains of powder).

I noticed that Darryl Cassel had one of these for sale a couple of years ago on this forum. If you are out there I'd love to get your help, insight and anything else you might be able to offer about this rifle. It is a hoot to work with, I'd just like to learn more. Thanks in advance for any help I get.
Mathew, welcome to the board. I have had a bunch of experience with a 30 Gibbs and really like the cartridge. They are really easy to work with and here is how you form the brass.

The easiest for you is to get new 270 brass. Neck size with a 6.5 neck sizing die, a 260 die will work in a pinch. Size the neck down so that chambering the brass requires firm pressure but the bolt will fully close.

You can also use 280 or 30-06 brass. You just need to use an intermediate 7mm neck die for the '06.

Use 14 to 17gr of HP38/Win 231 pistol powder under cream of wheat (not the instant kind) filled to the base of the neck. Stuff a small piece of paper towel to keep everything in place. Fire safely. What will pop out will be your formed brass with a slightly rounded shoulder. The first full power load will give you that sharp shoulder.

I like to neck size and would use a 260 Lee collet neck die and a spacer. You will need to use a decapping die to remove the primer (any primer works for the fireforming). Trim to length. Voila, good to go. You can even use the 260 seater to seat bullets.

I suggest you get the newest Nosler reloading manual (#5). It has info on the 6.5-06. You can use the middle loads and work up past the max loads. In general, the Gibbs will use 2 to 4 gr more powder then the reg. 6.5-06 (start low first!!!) and reach 100 to 200fps faster for all bullet weights.

For the 6.5, I like the 129gr and 140gr SST (around 3000fps). Using a 100gr bullet at these elevated vel will lead to over expansion on close in shots. Of course, using a light weight Barnes or Partition will solve that problem.

For powders, what works in the 270 should be good choices for your Gibbs. Personally, I would look at H4831SC and H1000 lit with CCI BR2 primers.

Good luck


PS I use Lake City (69) brass in my Gibbs and it shoots 1/3 MOA. So much for military brass being crap.
Trim length to max '06 (2.494") and you should be fine. Military brass has a smaller case volume so loads should be reduced 10% from commercial brass loads, at least to start.

What is the difference in length between the Norma and military cases? Just keep things consistent.

Good luck...
Thanks a ton for the information. It will be put to good use. I was beginning to wonder if I would find anything or hear from anyone. Sure is good to know there are people out there willing to help.

And, by the way, the military brass I have was left by my father and is about, oh, say 40+ years old. That might have something to do with the problem.

Any Idea on where I might get some case demensions? I've blown out primers with a 61 grain load (only on the military brass, I have some .270 Norma brass that has had no problem). I think that the brass was a little too long and may have squeezed the bullet in the chamber causing extra pressure, but then again I am a novice.

Thanks a ton again, and any more info is apprciated . . . extremely appreciated.
I have a 1kBR rifle in 6.5 Gibbs.

My original load was 57gr of R22 with 142gr Sierra match Kings. This was accurate but hammered the brass. It was only good for 3 or 4 shots. At a buck apiece, that was just not enough case life. I bought this brass while in Germany for half what it costs in the US, btw.

I've had good luck backing down to 54gr of R22 with 142gr Sierra MKs. I fired a 3/4" 10-shot group @100yds off a friend's bench in his back yard. No signs of pressure, no sticky bolt. It was smooth as butter.

[ 09-13-2003: Message edited by: Lee in Texas ]

Here is some dimensions for the 6.5Gibbs.. This should be close anyways..


I dont have one to verify the specs but maybe someone here can measure theres to see how it compairs.. This one is based of the 270 win case...

6.5 Bandit

[ 09-14-2003: Message edited by: 6.5 Bandit ]
Thank you for all the information. I'm getting ready to do another set of reloads and I can't tell you how much help you've been. Let me know if there is anything else you think might be helpful. I could use it. I'll let you know how it all turns out. I finished off my last set of reloads and at 100 yds (the longest range anywhere close to here that I know of) and was shooting 3/4 inch groups. This is getting to be a whole lot of fun!
To the orginal poster

Jerry Teo and others have given some good advice.
AS an addition here, your 6.5 Gibbs was probably made on the 06 case length.
The 270 case is about .050" longer then the standard 06 and MUST be shortened if you plan on using that brass.
The 270 case is the easiest to bring down to the 6.5 diameter. Just take the factory measurements of the 06 case and trim the 270 brass to .010" less then that of the 06 and you can use it in the 6.5 Gibbs chamber.

To fireform the 6.5 Gibbs-- seat your bullets so they are into the lands and the bolt has a snug fit when you chamber the round. This is keeping the base of the case back against the bolt face when fired. The case will form to the chamber without any case loss in the process.

I used lighter bullets and standard 6.5/06 powder suggestions to do the fireforming.

Hopefully there is an 8 twist barrel on that rifle so you can use the 140 gr to 155 gr bullets in your Gibbs.

What is the barrel length on your Gibbs?
I was duplicationg a 264 Mag with my 6.5 Gibbs with a 30" barrel.

Good luck.
Once again, Thanks!
You know, I am not sure on the barrel length. I will check it out and let you know. You know fellas, I am still gushing at the fact that I found someone who actualy knows about this rifle. Everyone I talked to around here just gave me blank looks.

I've got some new .270 brass, a case trimmer, powder, cream of wheat . . . yep, I'm ready to fireform. I'll let you know how it goes.
Welcome to the joys of wildcatting and shooting in general. I have been shooting a 6.5 ackley for years which is very similar to the gibbs. you have already gotten some really good feedback! 25-06 brass also works very well. in fact , fired 25-06 brass will accept a .264 bullet without even resizing the neck. This will work fine provided the fired brass will fit in your chamber? otherwise, use the advice you have already been given. another trick is to seat the bullet out to touch the lands which will help maintain proper headspacing. when i use .270 brass, i like to set the neck sizer so it leaves a bump at the base of the neck (just enough so that the bolt closes with a "little" difficulty. it takes a little trial and error, but this will also help maintain proper headspacing. this is very important! if headspacing isn't maintained during fireforming, you will soon separate most of your cases at the web when firing full loads. good luck and feel free to let me know how you do........rich
Either one will work but with the .270 you get the benefit of a longer neck and you can leave a bit of a false shoulder to headspace on.....Rich
Have shot all the Gibbs for many years. I have had better luck using 30-06 brass and necking down in two steps. I get less split necks and it gives a very nice false shoulder to headspace on. Like the first guy said neck it down slowly until the bolt closes snug. That is your headspace and it will not drive the case forward upon firing causing a bad situation. You are better to use largr caliber brass than smaller because the brass expands so much into the neck of your parent brass. The Gibbs neck is very short. It will give velocities near the 264 winchester which is a plus using cheap '06 brass. I have a long range heavy rifle in this cartridge that is extremely accurate. Also the same rifle in 6mm Gibbs.
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