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Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S?
      #321202 - 03/11/18 07:52 PM

Seemingly almost universally owners of a Mannlicher-Schoenauer or Steyr rifle chambered in 6.5x54 mm M-S seem to use a projectile of around 160 grs in a Round Nose type design.

Is this true?

Do you use any spitzer projectiles in your M-S or Steyr?

And how do they perform? Do they feed from the magazine well? Are they accurate? Please give details. I'd be happy to hear otherwise than what I think.

My assumption is that non round nose projectiles may not feed as well from the magazine(?). And possibly the free bore rifling in the chambers is cut to accomodate the long 160 gr round nose projectiles (?).

In previous times, the heavy long round nose projectiles probably were "modern" in comparison to other cartridges of the time. And a good bullet for use against medium sized game, deer, plains game antelopes, boar etc.

However today, many 6.5 mm users like to use a bullet with a better ballistic coefficient, and there is no doubt, the 160 gr as the heaviest available bullet weight in a 6.5 mm is heavier than many 6.5 mm users would like to use. The 120 gr weight to me seems to be an ideal game bullet weight for a 6.5 mm, and the weight range of 100 to 140 gr far more common to modern day users.

Perhaps one reason the 6.5x54 mm and 6.5x53R are lacklustre in demand for 6.5mm choices today?

Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321203 - 03/11/18 07:59 PM

Oops, forgot to add.

When I first learned many years ago, the Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifles in Stutzen form were considered fine alpine hunting rifles, it gave me pause. For hunting eg of European chamois and other mountain species.

If alpine hunting requires shooting at realtively longer ranges, the shorter barrels are less than ideal. And the 6.5x54 M-S cartridge with its heavy 160 gr Round Nose projectile is nothing like what most modern alpine hunters would think is ideal for longer range shots. The relatively curved trajectory seems out of odds for longer shots.

But one factor, is the carbine rifle, is probably more versatile and handy when climing in steep and difficult hunting terrain. Where a long and unwieldly barrelled rifle might be a hinderance. Therefore hunters of old perferring an handier rifle to get them upo there and get them closer.

Discussion welcome.

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Rothhammer1
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321205 - 03/11/18 08:22 PM

Quote:


My assumption was that non round nose projectiles may not feed as well from the magazine(?).






My experience is with the 9.5X57, but your assumption is correct.

The early Schönauer magazine was milled with the profile of the proprietary MS cartridge for which the arm is chambered. With the M1924 ('High Velocity') a 'ring' was added to the magazine that held cartridges in place, but in the 'classic' M1903, M1905, M1908, M1910 the cartridges were guided by their closely matched shape from the shoulder to the nose as the cartridge lays against the follower (spool).

The first photo below (I believe I 'swiped' it from a post of Kuduae's) shows Schoenauer magazines from small to tall. The second image shows an M1903 (6.5X54) alongside an M1910 (9.5X57). The third shows 6.5X54 cartridges 'nested' in the magazine. You can see how the 'profile' of the cartridge matches that of the magazine follower.



That said, with proper fitting cartridges, the Schoenauer magazine and the MS overall deserves its reputation as possibly the smoothest feeding sporting arm ever devised.


The surest way to have cartridges that will feed smoothly in the Schönauer magazine is to build them precisely as the originals. Spitzer type projectiles, unless they are carefully fitted, will jam on the third round. It seems the most critical point of contact (or lack thereof) is about 2/3 of the way from the cannelure to the bullet tip. If your projectile is too narrow at this point it will fall into a void and jam. Kuduae has posted specific instructions for loading spires in the M1910.

Make them like these, they'll work smother than greased snot.



Here's an Eley blueprint of the 6.5X54



You'll also want to pick up some Mauser clips (if you don't already have them).





By the way, you're going to love these things! There's nothing like a 'prewar' Mannlicher Schönauer.



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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321207 - 03/11/18 08:29 PM

Thanks Rothhammer. No doubt I will soon learn for myself. Re-invent the wheel, hey? :grin

My 6.5x54 M-S only has crude open sights, so no doubt a 160 gr RN load will be more than adequate. However if the rifle was equipped for scope mounts, and I was comfortable in taking longer shots, spitzers might be desired. I expect I already know the answer. I will have a look for Kuduae's post.

In any case, as I have a 6.5x54 M-S Steyr or M-S (?), a Steyr in 6.5x53R - a military rifle with even worse open sights, but I also have a Mauser M96 in 6.5x55 and a Mauser M03 in 6.5x65mm RWS, the latter too will nicely handle spitzers.

Let the discussion continue, and more personal use comments.

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Rothhammer1
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321208 - 03/11/18 08:43 PM



Weren't you also purchasing a M1910 (9.5X57) a while back?

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Rothhammer1
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321209 - 03/11/18 09:13 PM

Quote:

Oops, forgot to add.

When I first learned many years ago, the Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifles in Stutzen form were considered fine alpine hunting rifles, it gave me pause. For hunting eg of European chamois and other mountain species.

If alpine hunting requires shooting at realtively longer ranges, the shorter barrels are less than ideal. And the 6.5x54 M-S cartridge with its heavy 160 gr Round Nose projectile is nothing like what most modern alpine hunters would think is ideal for longer range shots. The relatively curved trajectory seems out of odds for longer shots.

But one factor, is the carbine rifle, is probably more versatile and handy when climing in steep and difficult hunting terrain. Where a long and unwieldly barrelled rifle might be a hinderance. Therefore hunters of old perferring an handier rifle to get them upo there and get them closer.

Discussion welcome.




Another factor, I believe, is the seemingly instinctive aim of the MS while using its iron sights. The stock geometry lends itself well to 'snap shooting'. Take yours in hand, spin around and shoulder it while coming to aim at a target. It's almost as if it aims itself.

They are light and svelte to carry. My M1910 takedown has never felt heavy to me.

Also, the long projectile of the original MS 6.5X54 provides exceptional sectional density.
Putting that much force on such a small spot is said to have killed many elephants for Mr. W.D.M. Bell and others who followed his lead.

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Rothhammer1
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321210 - 03/11/18 09:38 PM

Quote:

Thanks Rothhammer.

Let the discussion continue, and more personal use comments.




Thank you, sir, for providing and maintaining this forum!



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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321213 - 04/11/18 12:18 AM

Hi Rothhammer,

You mentioned Kuduae had written in a thread about loading the M-S for spitzer bullets. Have had a good look for it, thought I had found it a couple of times but don't think so??? Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks.

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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321214 - 04/11/18 12:24 AM

Quote:



Weren't you also purchasing a M1910 (9.5X57) a while back?




Yes. Courtesy of a very nice gentleman in Germany, there is a M-S in 8x56 and another in 9.5x57 waiting for me at a gun dealer who assisted me in the import and freight from Germany via Holts in the UK to Australia. Awaiting for police permits to process before I can pick them up.

Getting them here was quite an ordeal, but perserverance from both ends eventually saw them arrive. All the middle men nowadays get a fat cut ...

I have had the Greek MS for a number of years gathering dust at the back of the safe. Thinking it is time to at least shoot some rounds through it. Originally purchased to make a custom rifle out of it, since decided purchasing (in the never-never) a vintage rifle would be better and cheaper.

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Rothhammer1
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321215 - 04/11/18 12:56 AM

Quote:

Hi Rothhammer,

You mentioned Kuduae had written in a thread about loading the M-S for spitzer bullets. Have had a good look for it, thought I had found it a couple of times but don't think so??? Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks.





It's in there, somewhere. As I recall it was very specific regarding the proper seating depth to make Barnes 30486 'lead free' and another spitzer work in the M1910.

Come to think of it, I believe it was in a reply from Kuduae to a post of mine (possibly about seeking lead free MS food).



Found it. Short, direct, and to the point:

Re: Aussie Copper for M1910 [Re: Rothhammer1]
#309336 - 12/23/17 06:08 AM

Kuduae:
I simply use Barnes .375", 235gr TSX FB bullets, #30486 or 37662, seated out to an oal of 77.5 mm = 3.05", in front of 55 gr VV N140. They function quite wellin my M1910 M-Sch and do the job killing game.These pointed bullets will not work as well if seated deeper.

Here's more:

Quote:

I have 400 or so 270 grain rnsp (as Hornady 3715) for sighting in and 'paper punching', but live in an area where any lead projectiles are now banned for hunting. Mere possession of ammunition with a trace of lead that will chamber in a firearm one is carrying or has access to while hunting here is now verboten. Hence my quest is for a non - lead projectile of the same profile (or very close to it) as DWM 531, preferably 270 grain.


Kuduae:
Me too. As I hunt the Lower Saxony state forests, I had to use "unleaded " bullets for 4 years now. I too have used the 270 gr Hornady RNs and still have several hundreds stored away. But by regulations I was forced to change to an available pure copper bullet. As I found, the Barnes TTX bullets have a "curvy", tangent ogive point with a small "flat" hollow point. If seated out to the max oal the M1910 magazine allows, the bullets are held reasonably close to the follower spindle by the bullet guide. Yes, my loads work in the M1910 magazine. Granted, the Hornady RNs worked a bit smoother, but there is little choice now.
Such pure copper bullets are much longer than conventional lead core ones of the same weight. The 235 gr TTX is longer than the 270gr RN, but seated out in the 9x57 M-S = .375 Rimless NE it just fills the case neck. The longer 270 gr TSX protudes into the case body, eating up powder space. So I could not load more than 50 gr N140 behind the 270 gr TTX, giving away a lot of velocity. My load, with the 235 gr TTX in front of 55 gr N140, reads out 2400 fps from my 50 cm = 20" barrel over my chrony.



Here's the thread:
NitroExpress

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Edited by Rothhammer1 (04/11/18 01:20 AM)


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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321218 - 04/11/18 06:24 AM

From the pictures, it appears the magazine followers are shaped to the shoudler, thus the shoulder and not the bullet's nose is the guiding factor, thus spitzers should work just fine.
It would be VERY easy to seat 5 spitzers at the proper length and try them for feeding. No doubt different guns may feed differently with the same projectiles. Better to test than to simply use 'printed' text. Oft times, written text is incorrect. Doing proves it one way or the other.

Simply done and the FINIS!

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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Daryl_S]
      #321225 - 04/11/18 12:07 PM

With its different magazine, does anyone know how spitzers feed from a 5.6x53R Steyr?

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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Daryl_S]
      #321228 - 04/11/18 03:15 PM

Quote:

Better to test than to simply use 'printed' text. Oft times, written text is incorrect. Doing proves it one way or the other.

Simply done and the FINIS!





I have personal experience shooting and reloading for the M1910 (9.5X57MS). Kuduae is a Saxon forester who uses one on the job and has vast experience with same.

You are speculating.

Quote:


it appears the magazine followers are shaped to the shoudler, thus the shoulder and not the bullet's nose is the guiding factor, thus spitzers should work just fine.




No, that is why the 'ring' was added to 'High Velocity' Schönauer magazines. On other 'prewar' models the shoulder and nose must fit, as the MS proprietary cartridge is closely fitted to the space between the spool and the magazine's machined lower housing. There is nothing to prevent a round with an undersized 'profile' from wandering astray. Excessive side clearance or a projectile too short will allow the nose end of the cartridge to fall into a void and jam. It will happen consistently on the third round while feeding and they will not cycle. An oversized round simply would not fit.

I have tried other reloads with semi spitzer loaded to standard overall length that were just a tad narrower at the top third of the projectile and they jammed. Hornady 3715 (seated to original Eley specs.) always works flawlessly.

Kuduae has apparently done the trial and error and has found a seating depth for some particular bullets that are a workable compromise.


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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321231 - 04/11/18 05:17 PM

More from Kuduae, from a reply to a previous thread of mine:

Re: Aussie Copper for M1910 [Re: Rothhammer1]
#309552 - 12/28/17 02:47 AM


Quote:

Does the Speer 235 need to be set out to maximum overall length as you had with the Barnes TS X? The loads I sent back to their maker with the low, narrow (8X57) shoulders had bullets of that or similar profile and they did not feed. The first round loaded would get 'jacked' as a third went in. Two in, then stuck.

(Kuduae:)
In the pre-1924 Mannlicher – Schoenauer models M1903, 05, 08 and 1910 magazines the cartridges are held to the cartridge carrier rotor by flanges machined in both receiver and magazine bottom. The rear one, about 5.5 mm = .22" wide guides the cartridge bases and is no problem. The front one, about 8 mm = .32" wide, holds the bullet noses.M 1924 and later models introduced a seperate guide ring instead of the machined bullet guides. My old photo shows M1910 magazine parts on the left with the bullet guide at the front end. On the right are the simplified parts of a post-WW2 6.5x68 "Magnum" magazine without such bullet guide, but with the neck guide ring.



Cartridges for all these old M03 -10 rifles must be loaded close to maximum oal, so the bullet noses may be held to the carrier spindle by the guide flange. If, f.i. you try to convert a M03 6.5x54 into a flat shooting varmint number by loading light, short, pointed bullets that are too short to be engaged by the guide flange, the front ends of the cartridges in the magazine will drop away from the carrier spindle and jam. This is your "third round problem"! To avoid such jamming all cartridges for the old M-S models have to be seated close to maximum magazine oal, disregarding any existing crimp grooves. In the 9x56 M05 the 200 gr .35 round noses, designed for the .35 Remington, are too short if seated to the crimping groove. This applies especially to bullets with slimmer noses than the old blunt round nose, like the TTX or the Speer 235 gr. Loaded cartridges for the M1910 should at least have a Diameter of about 7.5 =.30" at 70 mm = 2.75" from the base for proper function in the magazine. Other bullets with very slim, pointed noses will be hopeless, as they may be too slim 8 mm behind the point to be held properly to the spindle.

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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321243 - 05/11/18 12:43 AM

If Axel, (Kudae), said it will work or won't work, there's no need to pursue it farther I assure you.

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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: sharps4590]
      #321245 - 05/11/18 02:02 AM

Quote:

If Axel, (Kudae), said it will work or won't work, there's no need to pursue it farther I assure you.




I can dig it.

For all present and future who read these posts, however, let me be clear in summarizing what I am saying (and what Herr Eichendorff has written) regarding use of 'spitzers' and / or of projectiles shorter or narrower than those originally used in the Schönauer (Schoenauer) magazines of M1903, M1905, M1908, M1910 Mannlicher Schönauer rifles and carbines (stutzen):

One can fire spitzer projectiles or others of any shape from a Mannlicher Schönauer M1903, 05, 08, 10, rifle or carbine provided they do not exceed maximum bullet width or overall cartridge length.

What you cannot expect is to be able to load more than two of such in the Schoenauer magazine and have it function reliably (if at all) unless there is enough 'meat' (bullet diameter) near the bullet tip where it must engage the machined guide channel of the lower magazine housing or 'body'. If not, it will function well only as a two round magazine or as a single shot. Attempts at loading a third round will very likely jam the magazine as the first narrow or short round loaded slips partially into the void at the base of the magazine body.

The surest way to have cartridges that will feed reliably every time and with legendary smoothness befitting the 'classic' Mannlicher Schönauer is to build them to the exact profile of the originals per factory drawings of the MS proprietary cartridges or as closely to such profile as is practicable.


Cross section showing how the projectile engages a channel machined into the magazine body at the lower front which matches the contour of the bullet nose. That and another machined channel at the rear of the magazine which closely matches the contour of the cartridge base are what guide the cartridge on its rotational journey. If the bullet is too short, narrow, or deeply set, the cartridges are free to drop at the front and jam.


Here it is 'head on' (muzzle toward viewer) as being loaded from a 'stripper clip'. It is at this point, while loading, that the first round loaded will shift at the nose and jam if it does not properly engage the machined guide flange. Those empty corners are the area where the projectile and / or shoulder will bind.

Again, make them like this for smooth, consistent, effortless feeding:

The numbers on the cartridge images are the original Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) catalog numbers of the proprietary Mannlicher Schönauer cartridges, i.e :
M1903 - 6.5X54 - DWM 477
M1905 - 9X56 - DWM 491E
M1908 - 8X56 - DWM 528
M1910 - 9.5X57 - DWM 531


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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321251 - 05/11/18 04:27 AM

Quote:

Courtesy of a very nice gentleman in Germany, there is a M-S in 8x56 and another in 9.5x57 waiting for me




If I'm not mistaken, Sharps4590 has experience casting and loading cast bullets for the 8X56 (M1908) if that would be of interest.

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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321256 - 05/11/18 08:42 AM

Silly question gentlemen.
In regard to the older models up to M1910 to avoid mutilating the rifle, could a small curved shaped block (polished)be fitted to the forward edge of the older styled magazine where the nose of the bullet would normally rotate over?
This should then provide support & allow whatever sized or length projectiles to be used, so they wouldn't tip out & hang up - especially No3, or am I missing something here?
I'm also assuming that this would have to be fitted above what appears to be the magazine release spring?
With the M1924 & later models that have the 'guide' ring this then fixed this issue?


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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: 93x64mm]
      #321266 - 05/11/18 03:03 PM

Quote:

Silly question gentlemen.
In regard to the older models up to M1910 to avoid mutilating the rifle, could a small curved shaped block (polished)be fitted to the forward edge of the older styled magazine where the nose of the bullet would normally rotate over?
This should then provide support & allow whatever sized or length projectiles to be used, so they wouldn't tip out & hang up - especially No3, or am I missing something here?
I'm also assuming that this would have to be fitted above what appears to be the magazine release spring?
With the M1924 & later models that have the 'guide' ring this then fixed this issue?




Not silly at all.

I was having the same thoughts as I was posting the above descriptions of the 'problem' (pitfall, literally). In theory, such an auxiliary piece could even be held in place by a flush mounted screw and thus be removable (though the parts would be quite small). If one had a 'spare' magazine (such as a surplus 'Greek Contract" mag for a M1903) that was expendable, one could braze or weld material onto the front guide area and machine it to size / shape. Perhaps it would be easier, however, to fabricate and add a 'ring' just as the Steyr engineers did with the M1924 onward. All of this is speculation as I have never modified an MS magazine nor do I know of anyone who has.

This is the Magazine 'body', or housing, from a 6.5X54 'Greek Contract' MS (and is currently available on Ebay) It is the same as that of a M1903:



It is my understanding that the 'ring' added to magazines from M1924 onward 'fixed' the issue. My only MS is a M1910, so you'll have to ask others for accounts regarding actual use of different projectiles on M1924 (and later) Mannlicher Schönauers.

Another idea, if one was really fond of a particular spitzer load for their MS and wanted to do a proper job of it, would be to craft a precise model of a new lower housing and spindle of wax to fit the spitzer (or of another material, build a rubber mold around it and shoot some waxes), then make metal copies using the 'lost wax' (investment) process. CAD and 3D printing could be employed to make the model, then hand finish. Wax casting being a repeatable process, once one was made they could be reproduced indefinitely.

For me, I'll just continue building my M1910 rounds as close to the original DWM 531 profile as possible and / or try Kuduae's formulae. I have a good supply of 270 grain RNSP for can, bottle, and gong killing and am still searching for the ideal 'unleaded' hunting projectile for the M1910.

These look promising:
Peregrine Solid




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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321267 - 05/11/18 04:20 PM

Quote:



In any case, as I have a... Steyr in 6.5x53R - a military rifle with even worse open sights, but
Let the discussion continue, and more personal use comments.




One of these?:
6.5X53R 'Dutch' Mannlicher Video

Once they get to where you can hear the narrative over the wind, he's got some information there. By 5:10, he's getting ready to shoot and discusses magazine and feeding issues. He is wrong about dies being unavailable, Hornady makes them on order. At 10:55 he addresses use of spitzers and resultant loss of accuracy as they jump a gap to engage the rifling. He (and another video host) mentioned that overall cartridge length must not be less than 3" or they will not feed. I don't know why, I've never owned or handled one.

More info:
RIA Video 'Dutch' Mannlicher

More:
6.5X53R Case Forming Video


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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321279 - 06/11/18 04:40 AM

Since acquiring my 1903 early this year, I have tried several bullet profiles in it. The round nosed bullets definitely are the smoothest feeding of the lot, but I've had good luck with some 140 grain spire points as well as a batch of older 139 grain Norma factory loads I stumbled across. It took a little experimentation with the OAL of the reloads with the 140 grain spire points, but the Norma factory 139s fed just fine out of the box. Both do have a hitch if cycled slowly, but it is hardly noticeable if cycled crisply. Accuracy with both of the spire points is as good as the round nose reloads. The spire points certainly shoot flatter and I plan to hunt with the Norma factory stuff this season.

Our whitetail season opens in two weekends and I sincerely hope to blood the little jewel early and often. It is such a delight to carry and handle that I will likely be using it more during my mid day stalk hunting.


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Waidmannsheil
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321299 - 06/11/18 06:19 PM

Kynoch, Eley and Nobel all offered cartridges with a 135 grain Spitzer FMJ bullet for target shooting and these were also available ready loaded in clips. The bullets shape is not really important if the original cartridge overall length is maintained or very close to it. If using a bullet that is pointier than the original round nose than one cannot reduce the COL significantly without causing the ammunition to jam in the magazine with the third round as said above however even semi-spitzers such as the Woodleigh 140 grain Protected Point will still feed perfectly with the COL reduced quite a bit, providing the nose does not drop down too much when at the bottom of the magazine.
The main criteria is to maintain the original COL regardless of the bullet shape. With bullets in the 140 to 160 grain range seating them deeper makes no sense anyway as the base of the bullet then starts to reduce the available powder space. The above mentioned Woodleigh 140 grain PP for instance when seated to the same COL as the 160 grain RNSN has its base finish directly at the junction between the neck and the shoulder of the cartridge giving maximum powder capacity with a full neck grip and still feeding flawlessly.

Matt.

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There is nothing wrong with vegetarian food, so long as there is meat with it.


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Waidmannsheil
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: NitroX]
      #321300 - 06/11/18 07:21 PM

Spitzer bullets feed without any problems from the En Block clips of the 1895 Dutch rifle and again Kynoch, Nobel and Eley all offered ammunition with 135 grain spitzer FMJ bullets, also available pre-loaded in clips. The main thing with these rifles is to make sure that the cartridge follower is allowed to move the full amount of travel that it was designed with, and that the correct amount of pressure is being placed on the rear one-third of the cartridge. With the correct pressure the nose of the ammunition is pushed upwards slightly which allows it to feed straight into the chamber and the rear of the cartridge is pushed up underneath the extractor. If you don't have enough pressure than the last round will jam as the rim of the cartridge catches on the rear feed ramp and wont be gripped by the extractor. With these rifle maximum COL cannot be exceeded as they will not fit into the magazine.

Again the Woodleigh 140 and 160 grain PP feed perfectly.

Matt.

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There is nothing wrong with vegetarian food, so long as there is meat with it.


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fsrmg1
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: Waidmannsheil]
      #321396 - 10/11/18 12:44 AM

I have an early M1903 TD in 6.5x54 M-S. I primarily shoot 140 gr HPBT match and 130 gr Hornady SST in it. It feeds silky smooth with these very pointy projectiles. The barrel is 23" and I'm getting close to 2700 fps with the 130 gr SST using Reloader 17 and seated to an OAL of 3.050".

The barrel has the typical pre-war groove diameter of .268", so I am using .270 cal projectiles sized down with a set of custom Lee dies. The rifle likes this load and shoots 2" groups at 200m, where I have it sighted dead on for.

Can't ask for better than this.

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Cheers,

Rich


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Rothhammer1
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Re: Use of spitzer bullets in the 6.5x54 M-S? [Re: fsrmg1]
      #321550 - 14/11/18 09:57 PM


This is excerpted from an article by John Barsness printed in the May, 2017 issue of Guns Magazine:

Before World War II the Stoeger company imported Steyr sporters, but after the war all German and Austrian arms factories were closed for several years. Stoeger filled the gap by having a number of carbines made on a military Mannlicher-Schoenauer action, commissioned in 1930 by the Greek government. A few years ago I acquired what may or may not be one of these semi-custom carbines, through a trade with a rifle loony named Scott Magie. There’s no Stoeger name on the carbine, but it’s very well done, though with a 19-inch barrel rather than the 70cm (17.7 inch) barrel on the original 1903 carbines. Scott had a local gunsmith fit a Williams aperture sight to the cocking piece, and despite the extra barrel length the carbine still weighs only slightly over 6-1/2 pounds.

It also has an essentially pristine barrel measuring the modern standard 0.256-inch across the lands and 0.264 in the grooves. Many 1903 carbines had deeper grooves, perhaps due to the cupronickel jackets commonly used on early smokeless bullets. Fouling from such jackets built up quickly to the point where some barrels bulged or even burst, exactly why the original 0.318-inch grooves of the 7.9×57 Mauser were deepened to 0.323, creating the “S” variation used in most 8mm barrels today.

Theoretically such deep-grooved 1903’s may require slightly larger-diameter bullets to shoot accurately, but my experience has been bore diameter is far more important than groove depth, the reason some tighter-bored .303 British rifles are accurate with .308 bullets. I suspect the real reason some Model 1903 6.5×54’s shoot better with slightly larger diameter bullets, such as Hornady’s 0.267-inch 160-grain roundnose, is bores were enlarged by corrosive primers, which weren’t phased out until non-corrosive priming became common in the 1920’s.

The 0.267 bullet, by the way, isn’t listed at this instant (8:48 a.m. on December 26, 2016) on the list of InterLock bullets on Hornady’s website, despite being specifically mentioned in their 9th manual, though if you use the “Bullet Search” function it shows up. But these days bullets come and go on Hornady’s website, depending on whether they’re in production at the time. A couple of years ago many 6.5×54 handloaders panicked when the 0.264 diameter 160-grain roundnose disappeared from the site, but it’s there now.

Scott Magie had worked up a load with the 0.264 160-grain Hornady and H4831 that got almost 2,200 fps and to save time I used the same load for hunting that fall, but found the bullet’s performance on game erratic at this velocity. Once it broke both shoulders of a whitetail doe and exited, but on another deer did not reach the far side of the chest on a broadside rib shot. Dropping the powder charge to 37.0 grains reduced muzzle velocity to a little over 2,000 fps, where the bullet has performed more reliably.

At higher velocities the 156-grain Norma Oryx, a bonded bullet, penetrates and expands very well at iron-sight ranges. The only minor problem is the squarish edge on the flattened tip which needs to be filed slightly round to feed reliably. The 140-grain Nosler Partition also shoots reasonably well and the Partition’s soft front cores expand well at moderate velocities.

However, another Hornady bullet performs well at higher velocities—the 129-grain Spire Point and it shoots more accurately at around 2,500 fps. In fact it’s the most accurate bullet I’ve found in the carbine, somewhat surprising considering the long chamber throat and it feeds fine from the magazine.

New 6.5×54 brass is no problem. I got some Norma cases in the trade for the rifle and purchased more later. Prvi Partisan brass is also available in the US. If any handloader has a yearning to use the most popular 6.5mm cartridge of a century ago, the only real problem is buying a Mannlicher-Schoenauer carbine. They’re not unknown in North America, but tend to cost a little more than the average factory rifle!




Here's a link to the whole article: Guns Magazine May 2017 6.5X54 MS

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Citizen of the Cherokee Nation


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