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Discussion Starter #1
I am relatively inexperienced caster but I finally got satisfactory results in .308, .30-06 and .375 H&H. I also wanted to develop a load for my 6.5x55 SM.

The mould I selected was Lyman 2660673 gas check. Sized to .264. It is so called silhouette bullet and expected it to be accurate. I tried three loads with powder available to me here Sweden. I measured the velocities with my chronograph and results are following: 1925 f/s, 2106 f/s and 2253 f/s.

In all these velocities my bullets tumble.

I suspect bullet shape which is a bit weird. It is rather long, has only 3 driving bands and bearing part of the bullet is quite short. It seems that my rifle has a problem in stabilizing this bullet.

Is there a cure for this or I need another mould which would drop a bullet with more driving bands?

Roman
 

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Only a couple of things you can try. One is to try the fit of the bullet's long nose in the barrel...just take one pullet and press it point first into the muzzle. If the nose is a loose fit (land-to-land diameter) then it's probaly going to be a problem getting it to shoot well, but it should shoot without tumbling.

Some people have reported good results from patching the NOSE of the bullet to a better fit to the land-to-land diameter. Usually use plumber's tape (a teflon tape sold to seal threads) and patching the nose until it's a slip fit to the bore.

(BTW: if there is a variation in bore size along a barrel's length, it generally will be a tiny bit larger at the breech end than at the muzzle end. Need to chamber cast to get a good reading on the muzzle end, but having a variation of more than .001" is kind of rare, so can just use the muzzle fit-test in trials.)

The other thing is to try UNSIZED bullets. 6.5mm bores have a good bit of variation and as a general rule, I'd prefer a bullet .001-.002" larger than groove-to-groove diameter than one smaller.
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Did hit on one factor. So long as I'm not trying for max. vel., have always found a lead bullet with longer bearing area to be easier to get to shoot right than one with a shorter bearing length.
 

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I'll agree with ribbonstone on this. You can seat the gas check on the bullet and lube it by hand to try this, or buy a .266 sizing die. The reccomended diameter for this bullet is .266. You are probably getting tumbling because the bullet is not engaging the rifling sufficiently to stabilize.

How much lead is coming out of your barrel after shooting these?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I shot only 15 shots (three different loads by five) and could not see much leading. The barrel was filthy though from all that lube.

A new sizing die is of course first step to try. But getting this in Sweden is a major production, takes ages with local dealers.

While playing with .375 loads (Lyman mould), I discovered that best accuracy I get is in velocities around 1800 f/s. I will try "nose patching" and reducing velocity to about the same with my 6.5x55 load and see what happens. The nose (way down less than bore diameter) is very long so patching seems like a good idea.

Thank you guys,

Roman
 

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Roman,
you could lube some bullets without a sizing die if you would like to fire them unsized. Take one of your fired casings, or a spare that has been fired and cut the case head off of it. Melt some of your lube in a small shallow container, like the lid from a jar. Melt enough lube to cover the top most lube groove in your bullet. Set the bullets in the container while the lube is still melted and let it hardern. When the lube is hardened, use your modified casing as a cutter and push it down over the bullets and cut them out of the hardened lube. If you want more bullets than worked out in the first batch, just place some more bullets in the holes in the lube and reheat it and repeat. It sounds like a lot of work but it's a pretty simple procedure. You won't need to buy anything to see if it works. Just make sure you use a fired casing to make your cutter with.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks kciH

Sounds pretty simple. What about liquid alox from Lee. I used it with .30 caliber bullets, cast and sized using Lee's equipment. It worked all right and I'm going to try it even with .375 bullets.

If I don't size, I could use sizing press only to crimp gas checks, I suppose. But in this case base diameter will be slighly less than the rest of the bullet. Do you think it has some importance?

Have you any advice how to crimp gas checks without sizing at least the base?

Anyway, I'm going to try some tricks tonight and off to range tomorrow.

Roman
 

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Roman,
I'm trying to think of a way for you to do that, but I can't think of one. You could probably arrange things so it just starts to crimp the gas check, but I don't know what the effect would be. Jacket material, in the case of swaged bullets, actually springs back a little when it's compressed. I haven't noticed this when using gas checks, but I've never looked for it either. I would imagine that you want the checks to stay on all the way to the target, but I don't know if that's going to happen. Crazy glue it on? :) The main exercise here is to find out if the bullets will still tumble at the unsized diameter, in order to determine if you want to buy/wait for a new sizing die. A little difference in accuracy as a result of the gas check coming off probably wouldn't affect seeing if the diameter cures the problem. I would imagine after the check is slammed onto the back of the bullet and crimped on by the rifling that it might not be an issue. Good luck
 

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Roman,

It's already apparent that your sizing die diameter is too small for your gun, so increasing the diameter of your existing die wouldn't hurt anything at all, and would allow you to shoot without waiting for products to get to Sweden.

Simply open it up this way. First is to thoroughly coat several bullets with a 320 or 400 grit lapping compound and run them in and out of your sizing die (with no lube pressure), do them repeatedly until such time that your die is .266". Yes, your return punch in the die will be .001" undersized at this point, but only one thousandth won't allow enough lube to get past to be more than just a slight nusiance, it's no big deal.

After lapping to size, remove your die from the lubrisizer, and heat it up to remove all existing lube, and at the same time the residual lapping compound in the die and lube holes. Clean it thoroughly with solvent, and reinstall as you normally would any other die. (leaving the lube in the die and lube holes of the die will help trap any excess lapping compound, and prevent it from getting into the lubrisizer itself. Then simply heating the die to melt out the lube will make cleanup after this operation a snap.

Too, I would also be suspect, as are others of the long "bore-ride" nose on this bullet. Lyman #266469 has always given pretty reliable performance (for an off-the-shelf-mold in this caliber), and doesn't have the long, unsupported, "bore-ride" nose that's probably giving you the most problems in this scenario.

Let us know what you do, and what results you get!

God Bless,
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you, Marshall,

Lyman #266469 seems to be the mold I should have bought instead of #266673. But in Lyman’s material I found that this bullet had been designed specially for 6.5x55 SM. Anyway, I’m stuck with it so I better make the best of it. Thanks to advice from you guys I have several options.

I just have 50 bullets freshly cast so I will try first without sizing and I will also reduce velocity to about 1700-1800 f/s.

I take some already sized and lubed bullets and try to patch noses.

This is what is easiest to do. I like the idea of lapping the die away to .266. But I have to buy lapping compound first.

I let you know about some results tomorrow.

Roman
 

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Don't need a sizing die at all to test the bullet dimeter theory of why it key-holes. Just apply the gas check after tumble lubing (it won't stay on if you allpy it first) and CHECK THE BORE after each shot. Will at least tell you if you are going in the right direction before modification of a sizing die or purchace of a new mold.
 

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I think I have finally something going with my 6.5x55. I applied mixture of advices I got from you.

1. I did not size the bullets. I put the gas checks on using special tool which comes with Lyman sizing press. It allows to crimp gas checks ever so slightly but without bullet actually entering the sizing die.

2. I lubed the bullet with Liquid Alox. I use oven hardened wheel weights - Linotype is unobtainable in Sweden.

3. I prepared two loads with two different propellants, both calculated to give about 1800 f/s. I could easily predict the charge using QLOAD internal ballistic software. I used 19 grains of Vihtavuori N110 and - because s fellow on another forum advised me to switch to slower burning powder - 26 grains of Norma 202

Shooting ’as cast’ bullets certainly solved the problem of key holing. With faster powder the accuracy was dismal - I got 4 shot group of above 1 feet. But at least all holes were round, no indication to tumbling. Chronograph-ed velocity for this load was 1768 f/s

To my relieve, there was night and day difference with the other, slower powder. It grouped inside 3 inches on 110 yards, Chronograph-ed velocity for this load was 1788f/s . This is quite OK I suppose, considering previous disaster.

N110 is called fast rifle powder or very slow pistol powder - whatever you prefer. I use it normally for .357 Mag. There is enormous difference in burning rate between N110 and Norma 202. This charge of N110 burns in 100% in first 4 inches of the bore. In my 22 inch barrel only about 98% of 202 is burnt.

Apparently, this bullet likes to be pushed not kicked. Pistol powder is too violent and must have upset this long nosed bullet. Of course the sizing must be .266 and I’m going to apply Marshall’s method of lapping the die. And I will try even slower propellants. This is a surprise to me, because perusal of Lyman Handbook gave me the idea that cast bullets prefer pistol powders even in rifle cartridges.

My aim is to develop a load, which would group close to 2 MOA. I want to use cast bullets for plinking and training so it should be plenty enough.

My experiments are over for time being. On Sunday I’m off to hunt moose for a week, afterwards India for a month and immediately afterwards stag hunt in Scotland. I hope to do some range time at the end of October.

Thank you again for the advice.

Roman
 

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Hi Roman,

Just wanted to put 2 cents in here. I don't have the knowledge of most of these guys but I do have a couple of tidbits that might be helpful. I have a Swede 6.5X55 made in 1898.....it is the carbine version with the stubby little barrel and turned down bolt. Anyway...I have been investigating shooting cast bullets in it. My gunsmith...Ted Ulmer of Potters Mills, PA specializes in the 96 Swede. He slugged my bore and it was in between .268 and .269. From what I understand this is common. This bore is nearly mint....my grandfather only fired it a few times after he took it out of the cosmoline back in the 50's and it sat in my dad's gun cabinet unfired for over 40 years. So, on my gun these dimensions are for a near new bore. Also, Ted says these guns have a rate of twist which is designed for the long and heavy military bullets. I assume he means 150 to 160 grain. These might fill up the throat of the rifle more readily. For mine, I am going to investigate having a custom mould made but havent gotten too far yet. Just a couple of thoughts that may or may not hold water. Anyway....good luck and take Care, Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You have dandy little rig, Chris.

The original military round nose bullet was indeed very long. It was changed after the war to regular spitzer bullet.

I have also one '96 sporterized for hunting. I keep it abroad with a friend and use it when I visit him

The load I want to develop is for Tikka. It shoots military spitzers extremely well.

My main goal is to manufacture inexpensive training ammo. When I get 2 MOA I'm all right, everything smaller will be a bonus.

I will probably change to other mould along the way. But it seems that even this strange bullet has some potential so I'm going to keep on trying.

Roman
 

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the only 6.5mm I've shot much was one built on a Ruger #3 action in 6.5RM some years back. The only mold I had to try back then was a Lyman #266455...a kind of multi-grooved little 118gr. bullet with a very short nose.

Barrel was .264", but even with this sized bore, the better accuracy was found with bullets as they droped from the mold (and that old Lyman mould would drop them a large .267").

Like you, found certain directions the reloads wanted to take...and rather than fight them, followed the trends. If it likes slow powder, try various loads of differnt slow powders rather than trying to force it to shoot with fast powders. If it likes larger diameter bullets than it should, better to use them than get fustrated trying to make it shoot what the book calls "right".
 

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regarding a different 6.5 mold

ribbonstone said:
the only 6.5mm I've shot much was one built on a Ruger #3 action in 6.5RM some years back. The only mold I had to try back then was a Lyman #266455...a kind of multi-grooved little 118gr. bullet with a very short nose.

Barrel was .264", but even with this sized bore, the better accuracy was found with bullets as they droped from the mold (and that old Lyman mould would drop them a large .267").

Like you, found certain directions the reloads wanted to take...and rather than fight them, followed the trends. If it likes slow powder, try various loads of differnt slow powders rather than trying to force it to shoot with fast powders. If it likes larger diameter bullets than it should, better to use them than get fustrated trying to make it shoot what the book calls "right".
I am looking for a smaller 6.5 mm mold. I would like to see if any of you have a Lyman 266324, 119 grain mold, that does not require a gas chck. I do not hunt. I just paper shoot.
I have casting lead, linotype, and wheelweight up the wazoo,so I would like to cast this smaller bullet for both my 6.5x50 Jap and My 6.5 Swedish Mauser.

I would be interested in purchasing the mold if you were willing to sell it and/or I would like a cast bullet or two to see If I could have a local mold maker make a mold for me
thanks in advance.
 
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