6.5x54 Mannlicher Schoenauer carbine

AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,717 ✭✭✭
Just got one on the auction side; it should be here late next week. I read a couple of old posts and wonder if anyone is still reloading for this cartridge. I've got RCBS dies and a shell holder (it takes a #9, the same as the .35 Rem.). My stash includes 200 RWS cases, a part box of Norma 156 gr. cartridges, about a box and a half of the old Dominion 160 gr. cartridges, and various 6.5 bullets. I wish Sierra still made their 160 gr. semi-pointed bullet--they shot really well in my Swedes. Anyone got any pet loads? I know Ken Waters wrote some articles on the 6.5x54 in Handloader magazine and I probably have a copy somewhere but would never be able to find it.


  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,642 ******
    edited November -1

    I think that the SSP's were a good bullet design for these older 6.5mm cartridges. I laid in a decent supply before they disappeared from the supply chain. Now the best example is from Hornady in the 160 gr. RN:


    There may be some surplus available in obscure places but in general the heavier round nose bullets will be the choice.

    I've been using Hodgdon Hybrid 100V with the Hornady RN bullets:

    Start at about 36 gr. and work up to 39.0 gr. or nearly 2300 FPS by chronograph.

  • AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,717 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've got a couple boxes of the 160 Hornadys and I'll try those first. Hadn't thought of 100V powder, I'll include that along with the 4350's to try.

  • yonsonyonson Member Posts: 579 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The 5 1/2 lb. 6.5 Mannlicher was WDM Bell's favorite elephant gun until ammo problems (splitting necks) changed things. He used the standard military rounds of the day, 154 gr. solid RN.
  • AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,717 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Picked up the little carbine today. It's the MCA version, made in 1965. The bolt face is virtually unmarked, the rear sight had been removed and a Redfield mount and Redfield 2-7X scope attached. Strange though, the front base was on backwards (you could see it was cocked!), base and ring screws were snug but not tight; they backed out with no resistence. I can't imagine it was fired that way. The stock has handling marks on it. I tore it all down and gave it a thorough cleaning. I don't think it had been apart since 1965. You can't imagine the caked grease I removed! There was a heavy line of congealed grease on each side of the barrel where it met the stock. No rust--I don't think it has been outside much. I am real happy with the little guy. It will certainly get fired a bunch, now! Oh yeah, it has a George Lawrence sling on it.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    There are a number of loads for it using 4064 and 3031 powder in Phil Sharpes' Complete Guide to Handloading.
  • AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,717 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I took the little carbine to the range, yesterday. It shoots very well. Often, I have found, these full-stock carbines will put the first bullet outside the group but this one doesn't seem to. I fired 7 five-shot groups and the average was just under 2". My Dominion cartridges have deterioted from age with split necks and green junk on them so I pulled the 160 gr. bullets and loaded them in good cases over 33 gr. of IMR4064. They chronographed a little slow @ 1972 fps but averaged 1.9" for 3 five-shot groups. No surprise; the Norma 156's were the hottest @ 2153 fps. I really like this little gun!

    I wonder if any one remembers Arthur Godfrey. He had a morning variety show in the early days of TV. On one of the shows he brought in one of these carbines to tell his viewers about it. How TV (and especially morning shows!) has changed!
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