6.5x55mm Swedish Ammunition
History of 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser Ammunition
The 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser cartridge was developed in 1891 for testing and evaluation by Sweden and Norway. Historically, the two neighboring countries, which were United Kingdoms at the time, would agree on ammunition calibers and then purchase firearms of their own choosing. This would offer some level of interchangeability and logistical flexibility as both countries worked together to provide for their common defense.
The military service of the cartridge extended to the end of World War II when the Swedes switched to the 7.62x51 NATO. It was used in rifles as well as light and medium machine guns. Some of the more famous machine guns were the: Browning BAR, Bren Gun, FN MAG, all chambered at one time or another, for the 6.5mm Swedish.
The end of military service didn’t signal an end for this cartridge however. The 6.5x55mm gained popularity among European hunters as it was an excellent choice for hunting medium to large game commonly found in Europe. Some of the characteristics that make it so popular are its excellent accuracy, moderate recoil and excellent penetration. The 6.5x55mm is predominantly used in Scandinavia where it is regularly used by hunters when pursuing moose and reindeer. This cartridge has some notoriety among North American large and medium game hunters, but not to the degree that is does in Europe. The cartridge is not easily found, but is not impossible to locate. Interestingly enough, at this time, there are no American companies that are manufacturing rifles chambered in the6.5x55mm.
The 6.5x55mm was also used in competitive shooting. Most commonly it was seen used among biathlon competitors who had a knowledge of and respect for the capabilities of this cartridge. It remained a popular choice in the biathlon until 1975 when the .22 LR cartridge became the standard caliber for the sport.
The most common loads contain a 140 grain bullet of various designs traveling at approximately 2400 feet per second. Remington, Hornady and Federal are currently producing ammunition for the 6.5x55mm as well as Wolf, Privi Partizan and others. There are several European rifle manufacturers that build 6.5x55mm rifles, to include: Blaser, CZ, Mauser, Sauer and Steyr. If an accurate and mild recoiling cartridge that will take most North American game and hold its own at the target range is what you need, the 6.5x55mm is worth a close look!
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