A 6.5 decision question


Well-Known Member
Dec 17, 2007
It's been a long road but the barrel on my 264WM has finally given up the ghost. It was my first rifle and is still my favorite. It's going to the smith next month for a new tube. I'm leaning toward leaving it a 264WM but I have been toying with the thought of more horsepower. A 6.5/7MM Dakota or a 6.5 STW sounds interesting to me but I'm unsure of the return I would see with the added powder capacity as I am aware that the 264WM is already fairly overbore. What do you guys think? Should I shoot for a 6.5 "Super Magnum" or would any negative effects like further reduced barrel life outweigh the increased velocity?
I have a friend who has a 6.5 STW, his will last him the rest of this life, he hasn't shot it in years.... It is super fast. but you have to be made of money to shoot one of those things, cause you'd burn out the barrel in no time. Then back to the smith again.... He said it's a cool cartridge, but murder on barrels.

I wouldn't change it for nothing, I've always liked the .264 Win Mag. Unfortunately I've never had one, but I'm playing with a smaller 6.5 cal right now. It's a 6.5-06AI. I love it!

I would stick with the Win mag. I have been running numbers on the putr and with a 140 gr Berger the 264 Win Mag is a *** kicker. Like shooting a laser and enough power to take elk at long range.

I would guess barrel life at around 800-1000. Any more overbore and you could just shoot it out your gunsmiths window and burn the barrel out!
I have the win mag and the STW. The STW is about 150 fps faster on average. I am shooting the swift 130 grain at nearly 3600 fps out of the STW and it is awesome with the high BC on that bullet. Plus it is a quality hunting bullet. The Bergers are to thin a jacket for it. If you are going to shoot it everyday on the range it is not a good choice and neither is the win mag. If you want to work up a load and shoot it for hunting only and a test shot here and there it is an excellent round. The key is just don't sit at the range firing rounds through it because you can ruin it in one day as with any magnum caliber. It heats up fast. Really both the win mag and STW must be treated with TLC so it is really a wash. My wife and I were out with those two rifles shooting rocks across canyons from 700-1200 yards. The STW was a tad better in the wind because of the extra velocity but my wife liked the win mag best because of less recoil and she shot it most. She probably hit better with the win mag because of that but then she's a better shot than I am.

Many years ago I remember getting ready for an elk hunt with her and about ten guys were trying to zero in on a 450 yard target. When it was her turn she didn't shoot off the bench but folded down the bipod and laid down prone as she would on an actual hunt. They really questioned her shooting a 338-378 wby. There was a 4" bullseye on the target. I set the clicks for dead on hold and she fired five shots. The guys spotting said she missed every shot since there were no holes in the target. I drove out to the target and brought it back. Five shots through the bullseye. The guys put there rifles in there cases. I have never even looked at another woman since. She can shoot way to good to risk it.
If it were me I would just stick with the 264 Win mag. I would go with as long a barrel as I could. I have a Rem 700 with a #4 Shilen 27 3/4" long. It is a tack driver with 66.5 grs Retumbo and the 130 Nosler accubond ten thousands off the lands and it does 3350 fps. I just got the rifle this past winter so I have not shot any game with it yet. I can't wait until Oct. 17 for deer season to open where I hunt in East NC. I will see just how far across a bean field I can drop a deer.

I have a buddy that has had the 25 STW and the 7mm STW and they both are barrel burners. He had problems getting a bullet to stay together in flight with the 25 STW. He had to use a Barns.

I don't know his velocities, When I go back home to where I grew up, I'll ask him, but I'm betting that Long ranger is correct. 150-200fps faster is about all you could get from a 8mm Mag parent case versus a "short" belted magnum case. In the same caliber.

+3 for sticking with the 264 Win mag. Just an all aroung great catridge with plenty of velocity for most tasks. If I buy another 6.5 rifle it will be a win mag for sure. you can always squees a little for velocity out of it my putting on a longer that stock bbl (28 or 30" vs the 24" factory)
For sure don't go with a 24" barrel. 26" is the least you should go with the 264 Win Mag.
I have a 6.5 that I designed on a reformed .270 case that holds the same amount of powder as a wsm. I can shoot 140 bergers safely at 3200 fps with a 26" barrel although accuracy is better around 3100. I would not personally go with a larger case than the .264 wm if I were you because of the already mentioned barrel life and also, most bullets are not designed for that kind of velocity so accuracy suffers. I love my 6.5 Sherman because I'm getting .264 wm like velocities with considerably less powder and its a real tack driver. My cases are good for a dozen or more firings up to about 3150 fps......Rich
Thanks for the replies guys! I will probably stick with the 264 WM. I was just toying around with different ideas and wanted some opinions. I absolutely love the rifle. It currently holds my longest kill to date at 780 yds on a decent muley. It's always been a tach driver and I was heart broke when I lost considerable accuracy and discovered the barrel was done and I wouldn't be carrying it this season. At least I'll have it next year!
When my old 264 went south I went with a 6.5 dakota. It is much more accurate than the old 264 and less finniky to load. Basically 264 vel plus 200 on aly bullet. Case life is phenominal-20 plus reloads and still going. I have shot my gun 900 times and it will still shoot .5 groups. Youmight consider what I did as I rechambered my old 264,shortened the barrel .25 to try the 6.5-264 before I bought a new barrel. I put a 30 inch broughten barrel on and recorded thesse velocitys. 120 grain81 retumbo-3785,75 retumbo-3529 .3 inch groups,100 grain lapua-80 4831-4028fps incredibly flat shooting,107 lapua-80 h1000-3830fps,140 grain-78 retumbo-3499fps, 85 grain-82 4831 4178 fps. I dont think barrel life is a concern if you use some common sense.
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