Happy 6.5 Day! This video is debuting on June 5 – “6/5” – so what better day for Brownells Gun Tech™ Keith Ford to share his love for 6.5mm rifle cartridges? He has seven Six-Fives to show us, starting with the 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser, adopted by the Swedish military in 1893. The 6.5 Swede’s strong points are the sectional density, velocity, and ballistic coefficient of its bullet, which make it very accurate over long ranges AND give it a lot of knock-down power. The 6.5 Swede with a 140 grain hollow-point is still a popular hunting round in Europe.
Steyr debuted the 6.5x54mm Mannlicher-Schönauer in 1900, and it quickly became popular in Africa as a hunting round. The famous Scottish big game hunter W.D.M. “Karamojo” Bell took approximately 300 elephants with the 6.5×54. The most infamous 6.5 cartridge is the Italian 6.5mm Carcano used by Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. It was not a great cartridge by any means, but it did change the course of history.
In the mid-1990s, Remington and a company called A-Square were both developing 6.5mm cartridges based on the .308 Winchester case. When the SAAMI approval process finished, the .260 Remington beat out the 6.5mm-08 A-Square and was introduced in 1996. It’s an excellent round that never really took off. The 6.5×284 Norma, based on the .284 Winchester, debuted in 1999 and proved not only an outstanding benchrest cartridge but a great hunting round, too.
The 6.5mm Grendel came along in 2003 as an intermediate AR-15 round to fill the gap between the 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington and the .308 Winchester. You can easily convert a standard AR-15 to 6.5 Grendel. Don’t be deceived by the small size: at 1,000 yards the 6.5 Grendel is still smokin’ along at 1,200 fps.
Introduced in 2007, the 6.5 Creedmoor delivers ALMOST the same performance (about 100 fps less) as the 6.5x55mm Swedish. In 130 years we’ve come full circle! But the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is shorter, so it fits nicely into the AR-308 platform. For over a century, 6.5mm cartridges have served militaries, target shooters, and hunters – and there’s probably a new 6.5 being developed right now!