New barrel, results so far – Long text, plus a few photos


Well-Known Member
May 3, 2001

I thought you might be interested to hear the outcome of the load development I have been doing with my light 1000yd bench gun. This rifle formally wore a Shilen barrel in 6/284, but since I have been seeing such great success with the 6.5 bore, I decided to go to a 6.5mm for competition and serious long range shooting. I asked my gunsmith to get a Madco (Australian premium barrel maker) 6.5mm in 1/8" twist. He then chambered this in 6.5x57 Imp. Using fire-formed RWS cases, fully prepped and neck turned, the case capacity is 62.5 gns of water. I decided on this chambering for a number of reasons:

I have had very good results from the 6.5/284, but cases remain an issue (go Lapua!).
Case capacities of around 62gns seem to perform very well in the 6.5mm bore.
I had 200 virgin RWS 7x57 cases on hand.
Dies were easily available by ordering Redding 257 Roberts AI "S" type neck and FL dies, then adding a .290 neck bushing (chamber is a .293 neck). Seating is achieved by running the chamber die into a Wilson 6.5x55 in-line die.

I took delivery of this barrel with a very limited time for load development. I concentrated on the Lapua 139gn bullet because the 105gn Lapua had worked well in my 6/284 and because Lapua bullets are easily available locally. My results from a resent competition were encouraging, however I was keen to try more load/bullet combo's. Subsequent testing has shown the Lapua bullets to be the worst performers IN THIS RIFLE. I have had much better results on a consistent basis with the 140gn Amax and the 142gn Matchking. This last weekend I concentrated on getting a load finalised with the 140gn Amax. I kept getting 4 shots in about .3" at 100 yards, but with a 5th shot dropping out below the rest of the group and opening it up to about 1.0" in total. When I got back from the range, I took the couple of hundred Amax bullets I had on hand and started ogive checking them. The results showed two batches, one averaging about 1.422" and another at around 1.522". I expect this batching will eliminate the flyer shots.

I briefly tried H4350 (ADI AR2209), H1000 (ADI , N160 and RL22, but generally achieved best results with H4831 with all bullets. Velocities run from around 2800 fps to 2950 fps. The following 5 shot groups were shot at 100 yards in fairly mild wind.


This is the best group I have ever gotten from Lapua 139gn bullets.


This group is from Sierra 142gn bullets.


This group is with 140gn Amax bullets


Another group with 140gn Amax.


I don't have a current photo with the new barrel, but this is the rifle with the 6/284.

Hi, Fergus.

Great shooting.
Looks like you better keep that one.

C'ya. Jeep.
Wow! What spendid results! That little number shoots everything well! And it's very pretty, too. Strange, however, that it cares least for Lapua bullets. Also, I've never seen an action like that. By whom is it made?


Thanks for the comments.

Daivd, the action is Australian made and originally used on a fullbore rifle. My gunsmith got hold of it a few years ago and of course I grabbed it from him as soon as he offered I to me. The action is a two-lug design, similar to a Hall. The rifle shoots well enough, but I am in the process of building a whole new light gun and will keep this one as a spare once the new one is built.

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