6.5x55mm or 6.5x55mm SE (C.I.P.) (also known as 6.5x55mm Krag, 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser or 6,5x55mm Mauser) is a rifle cartridge developed in 1891 for use in the new rifles then under consideration by the Swedish-Norwegian Kingdom. The two nations had independent armies and the normal procedure by that time was that the respective MOD's
agreed on using the same ammunition and then purchased small arms or ordnance by their own choice. For this cartridge Norway adopted the Krag-Jørgensen rifle, while Sweden adopted a Mauser rifle design.
Early ammunition was loaded with a 10.1 gram
) long round-nosed bullet (B-projectile
) with a muzzle velocity of 700 m/s
), while later rounds used a 9 gram (139 grain) spitzer bullet (D-projectile
) with a muzzle velocity of 870 m/s (2854 ft/s).
The 6.5x55mm cartridge was used by Norway in the Krag-Jørgensen rifle and in the Madsen machine gun, as well as in several prototype self-loading rifles.
In Swedish service, the 6.5x55mm cartridge was used in the Model 1894 carbine
, the Model 1896 and Model 1938 rifles, the Ag m/42 semi-automatic rifle
as well as in several light and medium machine guns, like the Browning BAR
, Kg m/40
, FN MAG
, Browning M1917
, Browning M1919
The 6.5x55mm cartridge is highly esteemed as a hunting round in Europe, Scandinavia, and North America. It is used for harvesting most kind of game including elk
and brown bear
in Sweden and Norway, while in Canada and the United States it is used for taking deer and other medium-sized game. Sportsmen who favor the round laud the combination of low recoil coupled with the cartridge's inherent accuracy and superb penetrative qualities.
European rifle makers including CZ, Steyr and Mauser offer sporting rifles chambered for this cartridge, as does the Finnish arms manufacturer SAKO/Tikka, while ammunition manufacturers such as Norma, Lapua and Hornady offer loadings of the 6.5x55mm round that are designed for use only in modern hunting rifles that can tolerate higher chamber pressures. These modern loadings should never be used in older military rifles.
The cartridge is also used in the Sauer 200 STR (Scandinavian Target Rifle).
The 6.5x55mm cartridge was widely used in biathlon competition until 1975 (when it was replaced by the .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR) rimfire cartridge), because of its inherent accuracy and historical popularity with the Scandinavian nations who have dominated this sport.
Due to different interpretations of the standard, i.e. the standards of manufacturing using maximum chamber in the Krag vs. minimum chamber in the Swedish Mauser, a small percentage of the ammunition produced in Norway required a heavy push on the bolt handle to chamber in the Swedish gun. After the rumor of this difference first surfaced in 1900, it was examined by the Swedish military. They declared the difference to be insignificant, and that both the Swedish and Norwegian ammunition was within the specified parameters laid down. Despite this finding, the Swedish weapon-historian Josef Alm repeated the rumor in a book in the 1930s, leading many to believe that there was a significant difference.
The CIP MAP
for the 6.5 x 55 SE
is 380 MPa (55000 PSI). SAAMI
MAP for this cartridge is 46,000 CUP
or 51000 PSI
- Accurate Smokeless Powders Loading Guide Number Two (Revised), Book by Accurate Arms Co, Wolfe Publishing, 2000 p. 229
- 6.5x55mm cartridge dimensions
- CIP CD-ROM Edition 2003