Why is the 6.5mm calibre so popular?

Q: All of a sudden it seems like 6.5mm calibre cartridges are taking the shooting world by storm. I am amazed because hardly a decade ago, they were largely being ignored. How did this happen?

I have a 6.5-284. What bullet would you suggest for a New Zealand hunt? I am after tahr, chamois and fallow deer. Could you recommend a bullet and load?

James Beckett

A: Search me! For more than a century .264/6.5mm calibre cartridges failed to gain much popularity in America. No matter how good or accurate it was, the cartridge just never caught on. 

This was also the case with the homespun 6.5 Newton, 6.5 Rem Mag, .264 Win Mag and .260 Rem, all of which have become semi-obsolete and are largely forgotten despite being excellent performers.

The renaissance began slowly with the introduction of the 6.5-284 Norma, 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor, then suddenly took off and became a landslide with the introduction of the 26 Nosler, 6.5 PRC and the 6.5-300 Weatherby.

Back in 1914, Charles Newton claimed that the 6.5 represented the ideal diameter for combining bullet weight, sectional density and velocity for North American game. I guess it took American hunters and shooters over a century to catch on!

My favourite 6.5-284 load in a Model 70 rifle used the Barnes 120gn TSX over 52gn of AR2209 for 3150fps. Start with 51gn and work up one grain at a time.




Like it? Share with your friends!

What's Your Reaction?

super super
fail fail
fun fun
bad bad
hate hate
lol lol
love love
omg omg
Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.