The 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser or simply 6.5 Swedish as it is often referred, although relatively new amongst UK stalkers is not in fact a new calibre.

6.5x55 Calibre - A few weeks ago my brother called me for some advice on rifle calibres. He intended to apply for his first deer stalking calibre rifle and along with many others was pondering over the huge amount of different calibres available. His main criteria was that he only wanted one rifle that would prove suitable for all species of deer in the UK.


(Above: A great combination a Tikka T3 chambered in 6.5x55 Swedish)

Granted he lives near Ashdown Forest in Sussex so the majority of deer that he would in fact be shooting would be Fallow deer, however he also joins me for stalking in Hampshire and Oxfordshire where along with Fallow we also stalk Roe and Muntjac.

6.5x55Almost without hesitation I advised a 6.5x55. So what is it about this increasingly popular calibre? In the UK at the moment this calibre is proving more and more desirable especially with those new to deer stalking, and justifiably so.

(Left: A great calibre choice - the 6.5x55 Swedish)

The 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser or simply 6.5 Swedish as it is often referred, although relatively new amongst UK stalkers is not in fact a new calibre. Having been introduced originally as a military calibre over 100 years ago it was soon adopted by Scandinavian hunters who found it enough of a calibre for use on Moose and even Polar Bear!   

There is no doubt it is a deceptively effective calibre, however on initially reading about it's ballistic capabilities it is easy at first to be confused. The figures surrounding this .264 calibre, put simply, appear rather unimpressive. 140 grain bullet is launched at around 2650fps and the energy at the muzzle is little more than that of a .243 Winchester at around 2050ft lbs.

The trajectory is also far from impressive dropping around 4.6 inches at 200yards with a 100yrd zero and 16inches at 300yards.

However this calibre is somewhat of an enigma and for many is the perfect trade off between shootability and knock down power. This is because it produces a minimum of recoil and muzzle blast yet it is able to knock down animals that on paper just don't look justifiable.

Added to this, the long thin bullet which has excellent penetration and great accuracy and the fact it is able to handle bullet weights from 77 grains to 160 grains and things start to make sense again.

With the size of deer that we have in the UK and the ranges at which we shoot, for me this calibre is simply perfect for UK deer stalking. Typically it is also a very good choice for those new to stalking as many Firearm Enquiry Officers will consider this to be a good calibre with which to start, and a platform from which to gain experience before progressing on to larger calibres. 

Typical Ballistics: (140 grain bullet) 

Muzzle Energy: 2050 ft/lbs

Muzzle Velocity: 2650 fps

For more information about other Rifle Calibres click on the following link:  rifle-calibres 


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