The Perfect 6.5 mm Cartridge
The 6.5 mm Super LR is a 6.5 mm wildcat cartridge with a powder capacity of 55.5 gr of water weight (i.e. similar to a .260 Remington) but with a long neck and the proven 30 degree shoulder angle that is seen so often in the top performing accuracy cartridges. It was designed for rifles (bolt guns and semi-automatic rifles) that have a .308 bolt face and can handle a cartridge of that size. It is not suitable for use with an AR-15, but will work out of rifles like a short action Remington 700 and semi-auto rifles like an Armalite AR-10, a DPMS LR-308, etc.
The 6.5 mm Super LR, in addition to being a great long range 6.5 mm cartridge, is also an ideal cartridge for magazine feed applications from a short action magazine (highpower competition, tactical matches, etc.) especially where the use of the 139-142 gr. can provide superior long range performance, all with minimal wind drift on windy days.
The 6.5 Super LR has the best attributes of all the 6.5mm short action cartridges!
Attributes of the 6.5 Super LR:
– Top powder capacity for top velocity
– Long Neck- Competition Proven 30 Degree Shoulder Angle- Excellent Base Brass Available
– Very Easy To Make
– No Neck Turning or Initial Trimming Required
The 6.5 mm Super LR Cartridge – Its Attributes
Conceptually, the 6.5 mm Super LR looks like a long bodied 6.5×47 Lapua. The 6.5 Super LR case body is about .170″ longer than the case body of a 6.5×47 Lapua, and this extra case length provides a good bit larger powder capacity and a significant boost in the performance of the 6.5mm Super LR cartridge, especially with the bigger high b.c. 139-142 gr 6.5 mm bullets. The Super LR has a long neck (.333″) and a 30 degree shoulder angle. The 6.5 Super LR has a case capacity of approximately 55.5 gr. of water weight vs. approximately 48 gr of water weight capacity for the 6.5×47 Lapua and 53.5 gr. of water capacity for the 6.5 Creedmoor.
The 6.5 Super LR has sufficient case capacity to permit the 139-142 gr. 6.5mm bullets to be easily shot (with the right selection of powders) up in the 2900 fps range without being “over the top” in terms of maximum pressures. As a competition shooter looking for consistency over long strings of fire, I find this appealing.
The 6.5 Super LR case is also well suited for shooting the big 139-142 gr. bullets well from magazine length loadings because the long neck makes it so magazine length loadings with the bigger bullets does not leave a lot of bullet bearing surface back in the case.
The 30 degree shoulder angle and the long neck of the 6mm Super LR is another potential benefit of the 6.5 mm Super LR. Not only does it help to avoid the throat torching effect that people associate with a short neck, but the 30 degree shoulder angle has also been a hallmark of some very accurate cartridges (6 PPC, 6 BR, 6XC, 6.5 x 47 Lapua, etc.).
For base brass for the 6.5 Super LR, there are plenty of good choices. My personal preference to make the 6.5 Super LR is to use Winchester brand .243 Win. brass since it is hard and holds pressure well, but it is easy for form into the 6.5 Super LR (one pass in and out ot the 6.5 Super LR re-size die). With use of brass like Winchester brand .243 Win. brass, there is no neck turning and no initial trimming required.
These attributes of the 6.5mm Super LR make it an ideal cartridge for a variety of uses, such as competition shooting, high power, tactical matches, varmint hunting (particularly for long-range work), and other types of shooting.
Brass Is Easy – No Neck Turning & No Initial Trimming Option
Making brass for the 6.5 mm Super LR is very easy, just take new .243 Winchester brass or .260 Remington brass, and properly lube the cases with a lube like Hornady One Shot spray lube, and run the cases in and out of a 6.5mm Super LR full length sizing die, and that’s it – your brass is made!
Load it, shoot it and have fun!
My favorite base brass for making the 6.5mm Super LR is Winchester brand .243 Winchester brass. Remington brand .243 Winchester brass or Remington .260 Remington brass works fine as well.
If .243 Winchester brass is used to make the 6.5mm Super LR, you need to lube the inside of the neck in addition to the outside of the case. I use a Q-tip and spray Hornady One Shot spray lube on the end and use that to lube the inside of the necks of .243 Winchester brass. The lube inside the neck makes it so the tapered expander ball that comes with the 6.5mm Super LR sizing die will easily and smoothly expand the necks of the .243 Winchester brass up to 6.5 mm. Once I lube the inside of the necks of the .243 Win. brass, I then lay the brass cases out on a piece of newspaper, side by side, and spray the group with Hornady One Shot spray lube (making sure the neck and shoulder area of the cases is adequately lubed).
For an easy “no neck turn” brass option with no initial trimming either, use a chamber reamer like one of those shown on this page with either Winchester brand .243 Win. brass (the author’s favorite) or Remington brand .243 Win. or .260 Rem. brass. Both of these brands of brass have shoulder metal that is right around the same thickness as the neck metal of the brass, so that when you re-form the shoulder of the case there are no “donut” issues.
Imported .243 Win. brass (Lapua and Norma) and Nosler Custom .243 Win. and Nosler .260 Rem brand brass all have shoulder metal that is considerably thicker than the neck metal, and reforming these to the 6.5mm Super LR makes a “donut” at the base of the neck that requires the cases to be neck turned after forming.
This author has experimented with all types of .243 brass with the 6.5mm Super LR, and honestly, the Winchester .243 brass or the Remington brand of .243 Win. or .260 Rem. brass work out to be excellent. First off, it’s very easy to reform these brands to the 6.5 mm Super LR case (just run the cases through the full length sizing die, and that’s it, no neck turning or initial trimming necessary). Secondly, these brands of brass are very reasonably priced and readily available. Finally, with some basic weight sorting of the brass, and the culling out of an oddball case here and there, it’s easy to wind up with batches of brass that are of very high quality and consistency. In truth, I weight sort and cull cases, no matter what brand of brass I use, and all brands of brass have weight variances and odd ball and defective cases (yes, my “rejects” bin has plenty of Lapua cases in it too). For reference, I weight sort brass so that a batch is all within 1 grain (i.e. like brass that is 158 to 158.9 gr. is in one batch and 159 to 159.9 gr. is in another batch, etc.) Testing with the 6.5mm Super LR has not borne out an advantage to using a particular brand of brass if it is weight sorted, with the culling out of any oddball or defective cases.
Die Sets Readily Available – Contact http://www.6mmar.com/ To Order
Reloading dies are readily available for the 6.5mm Super LR. At the time of the writing of this, factory 6.5mm Super LR dies have been made by Redding (i.e. Type S. FL Bushing die and Competition Seater) and are in stock.
Working With The 6.5mm Super LR
At this point, I have three barrels chambered up in the 6.5mm Super LR, and all of them shoot very well. The cartridge does not seem to be finicky and it seems easy to load for. In addition, there are a lot of popular powders that work very well with the cartridge, including H4350, IMR 4350, Reloader 17, VihtaVuori N150, N550, and N160, and Varget. I have worked a fair amount with H4350 and Reloader 17, and both have no problem getting the 139-142 gr. 6.5mm match bullets runing well up in the 2900+ fps range.
Initial Chrono Results
Below are some initial chrono results with the Sierra 142 gr Match King Bullets (that can be loaded magazine length to feed out of a short action magazine). Most of the 139-142 gr 6.5 mm bullets can be loaded at magazine length for magazine feeding and still remain close to the lands, but because of the long neck of the case, not have a lot of bearing surface of the bullet back in the case.
42 gr H4350, BR-2 Primer, Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2801 fps, E.S. 17, S.D. 6
43 gr H4350, BR-2 Primer, Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2885 fps, E.S. 11, S.D. 5 ****
42 gr RL17, BR-2 Primer, Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2836 fps, E.S. 26, S.D. 10
43 gr RL17, BR-2 Primer, Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2894 fps, E.S. 19, S.D. 6 ****
38 gr Varget, BR-2 Primer, Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2775 fps, E.S. 17, S.D. 7
39 gr N150, BR-2 Primer, Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2809 fps, E.S. 16, S.D. 6
40 gr N150, BR-2 Primer, Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2869 fps, E.S. 27, S.D. 10
41 gr N150, BR-2 Primer, Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2921 fps, E.S. 17, S.D. 6
**** Note: The 43 gr. loadings for H4350 and RL17 shot well and did not appear to be top end loads. In further testing, loadings using 43.5 gr of H4350 and 43.5 gr. of RL 17 were used and shot well without any excess pressure signs noted (i.e meaning the 142 gr Sierra bullets were running 2900+ fps).
Reamer Print Below
The 6.5mm Super LR/S reamer below is throated and was set up for magazine fed rounds out of a short action while keeping bullets close to the rifling at a magazine length OAL (see notes on print)
The 6.5 Super LR reamer below is throated long (not optimum for magazine feeding out of a short action but fine for a long action magazine feeding) and was set up predominantly for single shot prone rifles, bench type shooting, or single round loading.
Notes On OAL’s With Certain Bullets
With The 6.5mm Super LR/S Reamer:
For the 6.5mm Super LR/S Reamer above (i.e. with the .055″ free bore, is throated for magazine feeding many of the 139-142 gr 6.5 mm bullets) the following bullet measurements were made to show at what OAL the noted bullets hit the lands:
Sierra 142 gr. MatchKing – 2.845″ OAL
Berger 140 gr. LRBT – 2.838″ OAL
Lapua 139 gr. Scenar – 2.808″ OAL
Max Case and Trim Length for 6.5 Super LR Brass Cases
There is no formal established max case or trim lengths for the 6.5 Super LR brass. The author suggests the following for guidelines:
Max Case Length: 2.030″
Trim Length: 2.020″
Written by Robert Whitley for 6mmar.com, but subsequently removed, we feel this information is so helpful that we posted it for future reference and archive purposes. Contact Robert at www.6mmar.com for info and purchase enquiries.