Which 6.5mm for 1K deer?


Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2003
Hermiston, Oregon
I am going to be in the market for a 6.5 of some sort when my 25-06 shoots out. I've had a love affair with the 25-06 for 10 years, but it has its limits, which for me is around 600-700 yards with the 115g NBT. I have a rem 700 w/24" shilen right now that shoots great, but when the barrel is toast, I am going to rebarrel to a 6.5 of some sort. They just stomp the .25 cals due to the BC.

This rifle will be primarily used for deer, occasional antelope and coyotes, and gong shooting out to 1200.

I would like to shoot a 140g amax or vld at around 3200fps. This would give me 1800fps and 1000ft lbs remaining at 1K, which should fully do the job on any deer I will shoot. I dont want to get to much faster then I get into way overbore cartridges and shitti barrel life, dont want to much slower because the velocity at 1K is down to 1650fps when started at 3000fps.

Originally I always thought the 6.5-06 AI was the way to go w/28" bbl, **** near 264 WM performance and no belt, plus I wouldn't have to open my boltface. Is it possible to get 3200fps with a 6.5-06 AI w/28" tube and a case full of some slow powder??

I know I can pretty much build anything on a 700 LA, but I would like to keep the standard boltface and have a cartridge with no belt that will give me 3200fps comfortably, and more importantly, very accurate at 1K.

Here is some cartridges I was thinking of, standard 6.5-06, 6.5-06 AI, 6.5 Gibbs, 6.5 Dakota, 6.5 300 RUM (realize the last 2 would have to open the boltface) I would more en likely put a 28" on all of them.

Would just kinda like to have something different, dont know about to extreme though, the 6.5-300 RUM is kinda extreme IMO.

I am somewhat concerned about barrel life as well. I like to shoot and practice a lot, so I'd like to have a round that gives me at least 2000 rounds of barrel life. If this is possible while pushing a 140g at 3200fps...

Thanks for any and all feedback.
The 264 stw is your best choice for 1000 yard deer. But you must open your bolt face. Don't bother with anything larger than the stw case. Extreme barrel burners. I have the 264 gibbs and 264 win mag. The gibbs is your best bet on your action. They are extremely accurate and will kill deer at 1000 yards. The JRS design which is all you can get out of a 280 rem case would be the other top dog on your action without modifying.
I think the Dakota and RUM would be way too overbore for any kind of barrel life. I think the 6.5 WSM would get you to 3200 fps shooting a 140 gr pill, especially with RL17. This is a cartridge I'm considering also. It will still be hard on barrel life.

Just a thought,
The 140 VLD really like to go about 2950 fps. That is where the accuracy is. With my 6.5284 i can push them fast, but gain nothing. At 1000 yrds its still going 1649 fps with 845 energy, and at 1200yrds 1424 fps with 631 energy.

So that may leave you with the 142SKM and the 140 amax.

I love my 6.5 and it with 140 bergers it runs almost identical to my 7 rem mag with 168 VLDs. I think you can get the preformance you looking for with a great reduction in barrel life. With what you looking for power requirments, i think I would look elses where. If your stuck with 6.5, you just have to accept barrel wear.

Have you thought about the 7mm, i think you can accomlish your goals much easier, Say 280AI or just the 284 win.
I'd go with the 6.5wsm. I have one with a 26" barrel and get the 140 vld's going 3240fps with 65gr H1000 and it is very accurate.
I know the 6.5-284 is a great 1k cartridge, but it only pushes the 140g at 2950-3000fps. Thats a bit slower then I would like to have for hunting. I have often heard even the 6.5-284 is only a 1000-1500 round barrel life cartridge, that just seems really odd to me.

I was thinking of the 6.5 STW as well, or 6.5-300 WBY. Realize I have to open the boltface for either of them as well.

I have never heard of the JRS design, will have to research that one.

The 6.5 gibbs really has peaked my interest...3340fps with a 30" tube, maybe get 3300 w/28" tube, at least 3200-3250comfortably w/out opening my boltface. Pretty good performance from an 06 case. Wonder how barrel life would be though???

I actually just sold my 7mm RM, to pay off my 338 EDGE. It was a helluva shooter with anything I fed it, 162g amax, 168-180g VLD, 175g Wildcats, 140g NBT's, made a few 1 shot kills on deer/elk out to 900 with it. Really shouldn't have sold it, but I have the option to buy it back anytime as a good friend of mine bought it.

How hard is it to make cases for a 6.5 gibbs?? Is it worth the hassle?? Anymore work involved then say a 6.5-06 AI?? Dies will obviously be more expensive...
Its one more step to make the gibbs rounds over the 6.5/06 AI, here is what I do
resize to a crush fit
charge with 11 gr of unique
fill with cornmeal
plug with tissue or paper towel
the sholders are just round but sharpen up with the first firing
heres a fully formed gibbs beside the parent 270 win cartridge

my smith used a reamer based on a 270 case for the extra .046 neck legth which according to theory better supports the long 140 gr bullets.

you can load and shoot just like any wildcat but I was never thrilled with the accuracy of the fireform loads so I don't use them hunting.
Was bored tonight and started looking at QL and its predictions. Ran a few calibers, but it doesn't have the 6.5-06 AI or 6.5 STW or 6.5 Dakota in there, and 2 of them are the ones I really would like to see some numbers for, the 6.5-06 AI and the Dakota...

Anyways, barrel length is 28" for all, and bullet is a 140g VLD, these are top end loads...

6.5 SAUM-3150-3200fps
6.5 WSM--3200-3250fps
264 WM---3200-3250fps
6.5-300 wby-3300-3350fps

I'm thinking with the 6.5-06 AI, you could hit 3200fps, thats only a 75fps gain, which is a safe number...And that would meet my requirements pretty much spot on. No opening of the boltface, beltless case, 3200fps w/140g, good barrel life (thinking 2000-2500)

I like the standard 6.5-06 though to, 3125fps with RL-25/Magpro and only burning 56-57g of powder. Should be able to get 2500-3000 rounds of barrel life. Reason I say this is because I have shot out a 25-06 barrel at around the 3K mark and most of them were moving a lot faster then a 6.5 w/140's. A lot of 85's and 100' and 115's anywhere from 3200-3700fps, so I'm hoping/guessing/assuming you should be able to get 2500-3000 rounds of good barrel life since your only shooting around 3100fps w/140's the whole time... If I'm way off on this, please help me understand why...

Im thinking if not the 6.5-06 or AI, the standard 264 WM is looking pretty good as well. You burn on average 10g more powder to get that extra 100-125fps, and I'm not so sure thats exactly worth it. 100fps dont amount to jack at 1K, and the decrease in throat/barrel life with 10g more powder is probly cut by 1000 rounds one would think... Only problem with the 264 is opening my boltface and the belt, which are really non issues, just kinda wanted to stay with the original boltface so if I ever wanted to go back to a 25-06 for some reason, I still could...

Right now I think the 6.5-06 AI is probly still going to be my best bet for what I'm looking for.
You can always order a separate bolt and then you could have a switch barrel, switch bolt rifle. Just get a pinned lug.
For what you have on hand, go with the 6.5-06 AI. Great caliber.
It will serve you well.
The 6.5 STW will give you less barrel life.
If you want a great STW go with the 7mm version.
Warning! This thread is more than 14 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.