My Debate Between 6.5CM and 6.5 Swede

6.5 Creedmoor is all the rage with the cool kids. It fits in short actions. It fits in standard AI style magazines and it seems to fit in AR’s (I say seems on the last example since I don’t personally have any time on any 6.5 AR).

So…all the companies started making 6.5 short action rifles. Great, right?

6.5 Creedmoor Ammunition by Hornady

Here’s the problem, the cool kids are not staying in the same place. They are messing with 6mm bullets big time for competition reasons. So…where does that leave 6.5CM 10 years from now? Like 40 S&W? As a bastard chambering?

Here’s why I think about such things for me. We already have a 6.5×55 Swede Sniper in the armory. It’s a long action obviously. But my Blasers aren’t long/short action sensitive. It’s the same bolt throw for 338LM down to 223.

Top to bottom: SA-7 “Grail”, RPG-7, CZ K98 Mauser, M41b Swede Sniper

So looking at what’s available ammo wise, the x55 Swede has all kinds of factory loadings for it. Match. Crazy fancy-match. Light bullets. Hollow points. Ball. Hunting. Cheap and expensive. And if I want to load for it, the case capacity and modern actions enable some serious FPS numbers. With all this, I just can’t personally justify getting into a 6.5CM instead of a 6.5 Swede.

Closing thought: 6.5×55 Swede is over 100 years old and is a major 6.5 standard. World wide, it’s THE 6.5 standard.

6.5×55 Swede PPU Ammunition

But if the American PRS / cool kids leave CM behind for a new, fancy 6mm chambering? What happens to the CM market over time?

Oh…as for 6mm. I’ve settled on 243. It’s a smoke show performer in my rifles. Pun intended for the barrel burner crowd.

So here I sit, as the more “tactical douche” guy around here, and I’m pretty solidly committed to Fudd calibers like 243, 300wm, 308, and likely will go 6.5 Swede over 6.5cm.
What the hell is wrong with me!?!?



“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

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Writer for Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Analysis of the Geo-political / Military Relationship in the Context of Strategic Goals.
Marky Mark

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  • Jeffrey Scott Boyer

    Not a damn thing. There is a shit ton of data, loadings and anecdotal evidence of the superior ballistics and sectional density of the 6.5 swede. I love it so much I have a 1916 M96 and I bought a Tika brand new in 6.5. Both rifles shoot better then I do. And I keep pestering NEMO arms to chamber one of their 30-06 size AR-10 in 6.5×55. Just think a 20 round semi auto chambered in a proven performer. A modern Ab 42 if you will.

    • That is a neat idea. The Swede just makes more sense for me me. I understand others want the short action, but I bypass it.

      I’m still looking for a 42 at a decent price myself. ANOTHER reason for the 6.5×55 that I forgot to include in my calculus!!!


  • Scott Mayer

    Of all the things I could list wrong with you, Marky, liking the Swede isn’t one of them. 😉

    • Ha!

      A bone almost fell out of my closet right there, didn’t it?!?


  • Matt

    There is quite honestly very few people in the competition circuits that are “leaving” the 6.5 caliber guns for 6 caliber guns. In fact most are doing the opposite. The 6.5s leave a better chance to see impacts at beyond 1000yards including misses. The 6.5 anything is here to stay because of ballistic coefficients. Same goes for the 6mms. The 6.5 may be a better cartridge for most everything. But in competition efficient cartridges win before faster less efficient ones.

    • The competition guys ran to the 6.5CM. And the masses followed. Now the vanguard of the competition guys are playing with 6mm’s precisely because they want less recoil which translates to seeing hits and misses on first shot.

      If they ALL leave 6.5CM, the masses of competitors WILL follow. Then the story will be the same story it always is.

      “You can shoot X caliber, but you won’t be competitive unless you shoot Y”.

      At that position point, the 6.5 game is up.


      • Matt

        It seems youre simply out to just attack the 6.5 creed in this article. Before the competitions discovered high speeds with high BCs and low recoil they were shooting 308s, 300wm, etc. Then bullet technology picked up and a few calibers got a significant boost. The 260s and such started showing up. Less recoil better ballistics etc. People have been using 6.5mm bullets for a long time. You cant act like world records weren’t set before the year 2000 with calibers in the 6.5mm variety.

        My point being is that youre targeting one cartridge for nothing. The 260 is a 50fps faster 6.5CM. Heres my proof of people not really leaving the 6.5s or 6s. The creedmoor included.

        • You are mistaken.

          1. The name of this article is 6.5CM VS 6.5 Swede. Not hate on 6 or 6.5.

          2. I mention the Swede is over 100 years old and is an international standard.

          3. When I say Blaser doesn’t matter for long or short action I am saying I am not limited by 6.5×55 or 6.5-284 being long action. Meaning…if I was running a model 70 action, I would be looking hard at 6.5CM since it’s a short action.

          4. One of the appeals of 6.5CM for the commercial market is the perception it’s a common chambering. The PRS kids made it so. The very stats you state show a significant number of PRS shooters NOT shooting 6.5 Creedmoor. I didn’t say 6.5 or 6. Big difference.


  • MC

    Thanks for directing me over to your site from over at blaserbuds. I have been thinking really hard about adding 6.5 swede to my blaser barrel collection. I have a regular (standard contour) safari rifle and an LRS2. My question is more about how to implement 6.5 swede on the LRS2? I know any r93 barrel will work on the LRS2, but what magazine will work and what bolt head size works?


    • Hi Martin!

      Getting an alert asking something about Blaser? I about screeched like a little girl when I saw that!

      Looking at the Blaser caliber list (to confirm) they show the 6.5x55SE as a standard case head size so a standard bolt head that accepts 308 or 243 is the same. As for the magazine, the is a 6.5×55 LRS magazine. I am seeing one 6.5 LRS magazine for sale on Gunbroker. Mag Dog has the listing. He is a reputable dealer.

      As for how many magazines he has? Dunno. I am seeing one. So that might be all she wrote. But one is a good start and you might get away with using other LRS magazines in a pinch since they all feed single stack.

      Overall length would be the issue there. But all the Blaser LRS mags have rubber spacers front and back one can mess with.

      The only reason I don’t buy the 6.5 mag myself is I have a Tactical 2 and those barrels are not compatible with the LRS series. Too big. So I would have to chop and sleeve a donor barrel. Big money. Or…pickup a LRS just to have access to the R93 barrels.

      Tell you what, I agonized over TAC2 vs LRS2 for this very reason. But at the time, I was better
      serviced by the standard military calibers and I wanted 338LM for some mountain ranges I have access to. Also…the LRS would have meant I went R93 as well.

      And to this day I still see a smoking deal on a LRS and it’s HARD not to pull the trigger. But I just keep saying I’m on the R8 side. I don’t need to go R93.

      Here is a screen grab of the current LRS 6.5×55 mag on Gunbroker. And FYI…mag body wise, any LRS2 / Tactical 2 single stack magazine will in that LRS stock style you have. The only exception is the very, very early 10 round double stack UIT magazine.

      Blaser stopped making those due to poor reliability. And they are so rare, I doubt you’ll ever see one.

      Bottom line…have a question. Drop me a note. If I don’t know the answer, I will know someone who does.


      • Here is the screen shot of the case head info on Blaser’s website.


      • MC

        Thanks again Marky!
        Few more questions on 6.5 swede:
        – is there a minimum barrel length I need for optimum ballistic performance?
        I noticed a standard barrel on GB but passed (wish I hadn’t) described as being 22″ in length.


        • 1., I am not a ballistician so I am not really qualified to answer that question directly. Perhaps others would chime in. I can google it but that doesn’t really help without more info.

          The real question is how far do you see yourself shooting the 6.5 Swede? Long range? Not just hunting? 300-400 and in? Do you live on a 1000 yard range? Are you wanting a 6.5 for it’s flatter shooting? Or do you want a 6.5 for it’s flatter shooting at 1000 yards?

          Point being, I am seeing data showing a 22″ barrel is fine. But if you want to wring every last FPS at extended ranges, will you miss the extra 2″? I tend to doubt it. 4″? At 1000 yards? I would guess you’ll notice it.

          Keep this in mind. For really long range 6.5 shooting, the 6.5-284 beats them all. But is a barrel burner. But I know of a guy who has gotten 2500 rounds of 6.5-284 out of a Blaser barrel because of the nitride treatment I suppose.

          If the 22 is a smoking deal and you aren’t shooting at the extreme ragged edges of 6.5 Swede ballistics, I would get the 22.

          Also…if you hand load, the Swede has room to pump it up powder wise in strong actions.


          • MC

            I am really interested in it for longer distances (1000 yards). I have relatively easy access to a 1000 yard range (about 2 /1/2 hours drive). I already have .308 and 300 Win Mag barrels for both the LRS2 and the standard r93. I started out only looking at it for long distance target/sport shooting but i am discovering how well regarded and effective it is for hunting.
            On a side note: I am on the hunt for a .223 barrel for the LRS2. I have seen a few standard contour barrels pop up but i really want the LRS2 specific Match barrel. You wouldn’t happen to have any good leads on one?

          • Then I would obviously recommend getting a little longer Barrel.

            FYI…the match barrel on the Blasers is really just a measurement of width.

            I know the theoretical advantage a thicker or fluted barrel gives with heat for extended strings, but…

            The Blaser barrels seem to have that figured out. I assume they are stress relieved well. And with the LRS/ TAC the airflow is so good they don’t seem to have a POI shift when hot.

            My point? If you see a R93 barrel that is the length you want, pick it up. Don’t worry about “match”.