James Schneider switches from Sako to Federal in his pursuit of readily available, accurate stateside ammunition for his 6.5 Swedish. 

6.5 SE calibre

For many years, I enjoyed shooting my Sauer 202 chambered in 6.5x55 Swedish, with 156 grain Sako Deerpoint ammunition. I am very fond of this cartridge, and its broad utility in taking a wide range of game, from the largest elk, red and moose, to the smaller roe and muntjac. It is a dynamic and trusted round, with which I have felled many deer and fox throughout the UK over the years. 

Then Covid hit, and our family relocated to Florida, placing me in a supply-chain predicament. Sako is not a well-known brand, and the 6.5x55 Swedish is an unusual calibre stateside. Similarly, the ammunition market at the time in the USA was experiencing an inventory dip, further complicating my ability to acquire my beloved Sako Deerpoint. Instead, my only option was the Federal 140 grain, and I reluctantly purchased a few boxes for my cabinet. 

Truthfully, I was concerned at how this change would affect my shooting, coming from an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mind set. But I am pleased to report that I could not have been more wrong! 

Rifle Ammunition

Instead, the Federal product has evolved my Sauer into an entirely new tool, elevating my accuracy to a dizzying level. With the Sako Deerpoint, I was consistently shooting 1–2-inch groups at 100 yards, more than sufficient for efficient woodland culling. With the change to Federal 140 grain Soft Point, overnight my grouping tightened to sub-1/2-inch pattern with an extremely flat, confidence-building result. Essentially, my Sauer loved the Deerpoint, but this was like discovering a ballistic soulmate. 

It was quail season, and to test my new-found accuracy, I set up with a “Death Grip” tripod 100 yards away from my feeder. Like the bench anchored “Lead Sled”, this device has a very tight grip on the rifle that minimizes human vibration while shooting, ensuring optimal accuracy. 

Sure enough, a covey came in to enjoy some gratis corn. Over a 20-minute period, I was able to snap the heads off four birds at distance. The result can only be described as oven-ready quail, still in feather. It was incredible! 

To reiterate, I was using a high-powered rifle equipped with a Swarovski Z6i scope to head shoot bobwhite quail at 100 yards and hit this mark perfectly four times in a row. Exceptional performance that still makes the hair on my neck stand up thinking about it. 

In conclusion, I find it fascinating how different rifles are greedy regarding the ammunition that best utilizes their specific engineering qualities. While I am all about sticking with what works, I encourage stalkers to give ammunition brand and weight alternatives a try, to see if the results warrant a change. In my case, it has been a dramatic impact and welcome surprise, that took my supply-chain lemons and turned them into lemonade. Switch it up and experiment, you might have an eye-opening result! 

James SchneiderWondering which calibre to choose for hunting deer? Check out our editor’s favorite choice of calibre for UK deer stalking? what-is-the-best-calibre-for-deer-stalking 

To read more from James on caliber’s, follow this link: david-lloyd-calibres



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