Think I found the holy grail ...in theory

Porker

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Jan 23, 2010
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So after spending much time reading/googling/musing and field work, I have come to a few conclusions with regards to rifle caliber selection ... see, I'm still looking for a 3 rifle battery in bolt actions, that would take care of all my hunting needs (excluding rimfires,lever actions) ... 5 rifles is about the max I want to own...

And being more a Keith than a Jack guy, I have found the 338WM with 210g taking care of the upper spectrum of my needs. Where I hunt, shots are fairly flat and modestly far (400yrd) and where many of you would prefer a big 30 cal/7mm/280AI etc to do the job for you, the 338WM covers it for me with a good recoil pad and mercury in the butt. About 15 rounds at the bench before I start feeling it, and boy I love that rifle!

At the bottom end of the spectrum, a smaller caliber rifle shooting a projectile under 100g is not that difficult to pic 223, 243/257 Roberts .. no big deal there...

The conclusion I have come to is that 120g running at 3100 fps wil take care of anything in between for medium critters at 400-500 yards, including deer/pig under ideal conditions.... question is which is the best caliber to do the job for me? No excessive powder capacity, its a bulk shooter and cost is a consideration ... I'm not aluding to which caliber I have, hoping you clever people out there could come up with this answer for me, as I believe what I have might need replacing. Just the basics to consider for this working rifle..

Short/meduim size action
Powder cost consideration
Safe max loads ..and a pinch permitted
No exotic expensive calibers to set up (ie. fire forming)
Handload and factory ammo


Thanks!:)
 
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Black67

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Washington
For you middle round that will be used for medium critters, I would look at the these:

7mm-08 (personally own)
270 Winchester (yes, Jack, you can combine both of the great writers :)
25-06
6.5-284

All of these will cover that range nicely. They all should put a 120-130 grain bullet around 3100 fps, be easy to load, cost effective, easy to shoot, not exotic, and be able to find factory loads fairly easy, with the 6.5-284 being the hardest to find.

The 257 Roberts would be close too. The old 30-06 is a bit on the heavier side, but would work too with some of the new powders/loads that they have with the 150 gr bullets.

These are just my thoughts on this, to help you think of what might fit into what you are looking at.
 

Porker

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Thanks Black, I was definitely considering the 7mm-08, I currently have a 6.5x55 SE and for the life of me cant understand it's lower pressure ratings to the 260 Rem. Surely they would be on par with each other with the Swede having a slight edge?

A 120g in the Swede should reach 3100 fps? Is it because of thicker brass in the 260? Surely lapua brass in the Swede is strong enough to reach those velocities?
 

benchracer

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Unless your Swede is in a milsurp rifle, why are you even looking for something else to fill that niche?

Loaded to modern pressures in a modern rifle, you would be hard pressed to equal or surpass it with anything else you are considering.
 

Porker

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Jan 23, 2010
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Unless your Swede is in a milsurp rifle, why are you even looking for something else to fill that niche?

Loaded to modern pressures in a modern rifle, you would be hard pressed to equal or surpass it with anything else you are considering.

hi racer, Tikka T3 but looking at a 6.5x55 in a Montana rifle ... by the way, Jeff from Montana Rifle Co. told me they do make a Swede and that it was simply omitted from the list of cartridges on their site. That should be a stronger action to support what you have stated.... what powder grain increments do you load to safely work up to a 3000 velocity?
 

benchracer

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I run 140's from a 26" barrel, so 3000 fps is not on my radar. I get 2800ish with 48.2 grains of H4831. My 6.5-284 isn't much faster with this powder.

With the bc available in the 6.5's, speed is a lot less important. You can drop to 120's and get 3000, probably 3150ish, if that number is important to you, but you aren't gaining any ballistic advantage by doing that. Ditto 130's, which you should be able to push above 3000 pretty easily (from a 26" barrel).

I gave up some speed by going with H4831, but I was pretty happy with the accuracy and consistency I got out of it. RL-22 and RL-17 will get you more speed. If you can live with compressed loads, go with RL-22. If not, go with RL-17.

The real issue with the 6.5x55 is that book data is so watered down, which requires you to venture into uncharted territory to load it to its potential. I did my load development without the benefit of Quickload (or a chronograph), so I was flying blind and working up very cautiously. I was aiming for .308 Winchester pressure levels, so I used .260 Remington data to sanity check my loads. I never did reach pressure signs, but I was concerned that the tough Lapua brass might not show pressure until I was in dangerous territory.

Now that I have a copy of Quickload and a good chrono, I have thought about revisiting my load development with the Swede, but just haven't felt very motivated about the idea, primarily because I am pretty happy with what I have. My H4831 load shoots sub-1/2 MOA @ 100 yards and I am able to bust clays with it @ 600 yards with ease. Though I like speed, and generally try to squeeze as much out as I can, I am not sure that 100 fps or so is really going to change things that much for me. In fact, I have shot my Swede side-by-side with my 6.5-284 out to 600 yards and seen very little difference.

If one judges cartridges by book data, the emasculated data listed for the Swede causes it to be very underrated. Loaded to its potential, it can be expected to split the difference between the .260 Remington and 6.5-284. To significantly outperform it, you have to go with a lot more case and a lot more bullet.
 

J E Custom

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The 7/08 is one great cartridge and will fill your needs for a middle caliber.

I have built over 8 rifles and owned 3. plus two pistols that have taken game beyond 500 yards. It is my go to rifle and has killed more game than any other rifle I have.

I have shot most 7 mm bullets and oddly enough, the 120 grain ballistic tip seams to be the best performer of all. my two favorite loads are CCI BR2 primers, 120 grain Ballistic tips and 49.5 grains of H414 or 45.6 grains of Varget.

My latest rifle has a 22" barrel and the velocity is over 3000 ft/sec with the 414 and 3100 with the Varget. These loads are extremely accurate (Well under a 1/10th MOA).

The 120 grain ballistic tip has a thicker jacket than the 140 and performs very well on Deer, Hogs,
turkey and varmints.

Just My Opinion

J E CUSTOM
 
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stonehands1

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Feb 25, 2015
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270wsm in my opinion is one of the finest mid size cartridges available. Load down to 100-110 for yotes and such. Load up to 140 for deer and elk to 500. Browning Abolt is a fine shooting lightweight rifle at a reasonable cost and minimal recoil. Most of them will shoot sub moa with factory ammo in either 130 or 140 grain.
 

Porker

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Thanks guys, if I can carefully load up to 3000fps in my 6.5x55, i'm gonna stick to the caliber, racer has convinced me, and i'll never know untill I walk that path on my own ....maybe get me a custom built with a stronger action as extra insurance, just love the swede and a close second is the 7mm-08,, that 270WSM looks interesting ... have no knowledge about it but will surely read up on it:)
 

Tabascoman79

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Safford Az
Since you already run a 338 wm why not a 338-06? You've already got half the components ask you wouldn't need to buy more bullets. I put one tower for my dad and he loved shooting it with 185s not so much the 225s and a stiff load.
 

jrsolocam

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Apr 10, 2010
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The conclusion I have come to is that 120g running at 3100 fps wil take care of anything in between for medium critters at 400-500 yards, including deer/pig under ideal conditions.... question is which is the best caliber to do the job for me? No excessive powder capacity, its a bulk shooter and cost is a consideration ... I'm not aluding to which caliber I have, hoping you clever people out there could come up with this answer for me, as I believe what I have might need replacing. Just the basics to consider for this working rifle..


Probably a 6.5 or 7mm...At under 500 yards at medium critters the sky is the limit. Pick anything from a 6.5x284 to a 300 WSM and be happy (hell even a 243). It really doesn't matter, whatever shoots good...
 

Porker

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Jan 23, 2010
Messages
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Since you already run a 338 wm why not a 338-06? You've already got half the components ask you wouldn't need to buy more bullets. I put one tower for my dad and he loved shooting it with 185s not so much the 225s and a stiff load.

In Western Australia you will have a field day trying to license 2 rifles of same projectile diameter ... not worth the fight .... man I love tabasco ... will put it on icecream!:D
 

Porker

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Jan 23, 2010
Messages
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The conclusion I have come to is that 120g running at 3100 fps wil take care of anything in between for medium critters at 400-500 yards, including deer/pig under ideal conditions.... question is which is the best caliber to do the job for me? No excessive powder capacity, its a bulk shooter and cost is a consideration ... I'm not aluding to which caliber I have, hoping you clever people out there could come up with this answer for me, as I believe what I have might need replacing. Just the basics to consider for this working rifle..


Probably a 6.5 or 7mm...At under 500 yards at medium critters the sky is the limit. Pick anything from a 6.5x284 to a 300 WSM and be happy (hell even a 243). It really doesn't matter, whatever shoots good...

yip, figure 6.5/7mm is the best match up for a 120g .... havn't done my homework but do believe the 6.5 will have flatter trajectory in this bullet weight if matched with the Swede...
 

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