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Hey. I've recently got the bug for a new custom rifle. I'm seriously considering the 6.5/06 AI. I live in Texas and the rifle will mainly be for whitetail & mulely work. However, In the event that I do have an opportunity to go elk hunting, I believe that it would do the job with proper bullets. Just wondering if any of you guys have any experience with the round. Thanks in advance.

Ty Daws
 

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I don't have a 6.5-06AI but I think it would be an excellent choice especially if longer-range shots might be offered, given the superior long-range ballistics of the 6.5mm bullet.





I do have a .280AI, which also could be referred to as a 7mm-06AI. The groups in that photo were the first four recipes I tried in it using the bullet I wanted to use, the Berger 140-grain VLD, and after trying a few other powders, I wound up settling on the load in the upper right. I was able to extract a little more muzzle velocity with some other loads but not enough to warrant added throat wear.

My rifle uses a McGowen Precision Barrels' 25" stainless fluted barrel that was made to exactly duplicate the profile of a factory Remington sporter barrel so the barreled action would drop into a laminated Remington stock, the use of which kept costs down. And those groups were shot with absolutely no bedding work at all - even the forend tip barrel pressure tabs are still intact.





The action is a factory-engraved Remington Model 700BDL/DM and that photo was taken while I was waiting for Leupold to ship a 4.5-14x VX3 long-range scope with a 30mm tube and their Boone & Crockett reticle.

I also had McGowen's make a heavy 27" varmint barrel in .243AI for me and it shoots 65-grain Bergers into one-hole, five-shot groups at 3,939fps. Ackley Improved rounds seem to be naturally accurate and their "squarer" shoulder profile keeps case stretch to a minimum.

Best of luck with your endeavor!

Ed
 

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I would go with a 6.5-284, factory brass is available. If you like forming brass the 6.5-06 AI would be a good round. Ballistics wise they are about the same, much more info out there for the 6.5-284.
 

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.

Have played with all the common 6.5mm rounds including the 6.5 TCU, 6.5-250, 6.5 XC, 260 Rem, 6.5 x 55 Swede, 6.5 - 06, 6.5 - 06 Ackley, 6.5 x 284, 6.5 Rem Mag, 264 Win Mag, 6.5 x 300 Weatherby, 6.5 x 378 Weatherby, etc.

The 6.5 - 06 Ackley is one of the best.

With the right bullet selection, it will handle most anything here and plains game in Africa.

These days it is common to put too little twist in them.

Would recommend 8 inch twist or even tighter.

.
 

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I've taken lots of whitetails with my 260 rems, so they shouldn't be a problem with even more velocity. Reforming cases and fireforming can be a bit of a pain but those ackley shoulders sure look sexy. With Lapua brass and a properly cut chamber a 6.5x55 Swede might surprise you.
 

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Sexy shoulders - I like that. Here's how a .243AI and the parent .243WIN compare.





Ed
 

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Love all my AI'ed rounds, He sure knew what he was doing!!

Looking for a 257 Roberts in a TC Encore barrel that is chambered in a AI.

I know I can order one, but just checking if some one has one for sale.
 

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No experience with any AI's except a 30-30Win AI...excellent cartridge in a levergun with 300Savage power....I do have my dads old 264WinMag and just from a bullet standpoint make sure you use the best constructed bullet you can for those big deer and elk...Partitions and the homogenous single metal type...standard cup and core 6.5's dont hold up on heavy bone and muscle at the velocity you'll be pushing inside 150yds...
 

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When I ordered my .280AI, I actually did not know there were two slightly different versions. I had told McGowen's that I wanted it throated for Berger VLDs and was going to use new Nosler brass, so the barrel came marked like this:





Ed
 

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6.5 x 284 , Excellent brass avaliable .I was able to run 3,000 fps with 142 in cold weather per Oehler Chrono.
 

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I love all my AI's but with 6.5x284 having QUALITY factory brass and great dies available, it just makes sense. Build it on a long action so you can pull the bullet out of the powder column and fill the case up.

In fact, if you want to make the most out of the case capacity, call Dave Kiff at PTG and tell him which bullet you want to use and he can get your builder the proper reamer to use.

That's what I'd do...
 

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Ty,

I have owned and hunted with a 6.5-'06 Ackley Improved since 1973. Very close to 264 WM ballistics. Mine was built on a FN Mauser action. The chamber was reamed to allow 30-'06 brass to be used with out any neck turning. I have hunted Texas whitetails, Mule Deer and Elk in CO. Never under gunned. Very accurate and plenty fast (25" barrel).

For the smaller deer I use 59 gr. of H4831 over a CCI-200 and the Nosler 120 gr. BT for 3,350 fps Chrono'ed.

For the CO trips I use 56 gr. of H4831 with the same primer and the Nosler 140 gr. Partition for 3,025 fps Chrono'ed.

For varmints I use 61 gr. of H4831, same primer and a Sierra 100 gr. for 3,289 fps. I could drive the 100 gr. pill faster but accuracy fell off.

PM me for a discussion of fire-forming, annealing and reloading. I have experimented with over 30 different loadings in this Wild Cat.

Good luck,

HBT
 

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They are about like a 264 winchester magnum. If you just like messing around with stuff they are great.

a 6.5/06 is only 75 FPS less and you don't have to screw with the extra step with the brass. A 6.5/06 brass is as simple as just running it through the die.

a 6.5 /06 will be very accurate. 75 FPS means nothing unless you plan to shoot past 600 yards.

The AI is just over rated as far as I am concerned. Accuracy is what you WILL need if you plan to shoot past 500 yards. An extra 75 FPS means nothing and you may not be able to make use of it if your accuracy gives out before you max out velocity.

Simple is good, simple ie easy, simple is good. P.S a 6.5x55 Sweed is not in the same ballistic chart as a 6.5x06 or a 264 win mag.Jeff
 

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Jeff, there is one flaw in your argument, albeit a minor one to some folks. All cases with 23 (or so) degree shoulders stretch, which thins the brass somewhere, and belted cases are the worst at stretching because the case headspaces on the belt just above the case head. The flatter shoulder on an Ackley case resists stretching even more than a standard non-belted case, so trimming is all but eliminated and, accordingly, the brass lasts a lot longer. I had a 7mmRM many years ago and my son has a 7mmSTW which he has retired to the collector item it has become. Three neck-sized loadings and the old "ring of death" was showing above the belt on both of them.

I load my .280AI on the mild side and I'm on the velocity doorstep of the 7mmRM without the worry of belted brass stretching or worse yet, separating in the chamber. And for some reason, it doesn't kick like a 7mmRM - I haven't quite figured that out yet but a lot of .280AI owners make that same statement. With the exception of a .257WM, all our magnum cartridges are beltless and like all Weatherby cases, that .257 has an "Ackley-like" shoulder angle.

I do agree that if I were to have a 6.5mm rifle built, it would be a 6.5-284AI for many of the reasons others have mentioned. I have a nice engraved stainless steel 700BDL/DM in .260REM but I just like playing around with Ackley Improved cartridges.

Ed
 

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If you're getting case head separation after 3 firings, you either have your die's set up wrong or there is a problem with your chamber. Either way something is really wrong!

The dies should only BUMP the shoulder and move it 0.001" when sizing.
 

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I have been shooting a 6.5x57Roberts AI & can say it will do everything the '06 AI will do w/quite a bit less powder. I would almost consider it over bore as surely the '06 AI is. Bob Jourdan from OK did a lot of work on the 6.5 & ackleyed the sweede & my 6.5x257AI doesn't do much better. If I had to do it all over again I'd stay w/what I have or do the sweede. The only reason now that I'd stay with the 257 case is because Nosler makes some really fine brass for it. Remchester brass last abour 3-4 firings before primers got loose. Was shooting 140grs from 3000-3170'/s depending on powder. Really fine round. Have barrel for next one & it will get salt nitrided. First bbl went about 1500 rds before it died. Will use old bbl for fire forming other wise would go sweede route.
 

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Nitriding... I've had 2 done and IT WORKS. I've used MMI for both. I'm currently running a Nitrided 300 NM 40° Imp that spits the 230 Bergers at 3050fps. Accuracy was unchanged, it cleans up great (after the initial cleaning when you get the barrel back) and throat wear seems to be really great.

I had a Nitrided 8 twist 243ai (I've since sold) and over 1500 rounds, the throat only moved 0.015".

If you build ANY hot cartridge, I recommend having the barrel Nitrided.
 

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Mooster, re-read my post. I was NECK-SIZING those case, so the shoulder wasn't moved at all. If I had something misadjusted or my chambers were/are poorly machined, a whole lot of other folks are doing the same wrong things and/or have bad chambers in their rifles, too. Brass life with belted cases is significantly shorter than non-belted cases; that fact is commonly reported in many handloading journals. Remember the old reformed paper clip tool for checking belted brass for stretching? There was a reason for its existance.

Back in the 1980s, one of my technicians competed at the Original 1,000-yard Benchrest Club in Trout Run, near Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He shot a wildcat 7mm in one of the larger belted magnum cases necked down and was constantly culling the better cases from groups of fire-formed new ones. I forget how many firings he could get from a case but it wasn't many before a thinning ring inside the cases could be felt with that tool. When you have 10 minutes to fire 10 rounds for score at a target over a half-mile away and try to wait for perfect wind conditions to fire each round, you can't be fooling around extracting separated cases from your bench gun.

My 7mmRUM, 300RUM and 300SUAM dies are "misadjusted" the same as those 7mmRM and 7mmSTW dies were and brass of the same brand - Remington - for those three cartridges is like a Timex watch. I'm up to seven loadings with the initial batch for the two 300s and 11 with the 7mmRUM with just mild trimming every four firings or so. I don't want to press my luck, so I plan to retire them after 12 loadings.

Ed
 

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Mac, that could have been a father and son from New Holland, Pennsylvania. Their last name escapes me but the father was a gunsmith, if I'm remembering correctly. I met them at Williamsport and learned from them that they had a hunting "camp" built in a cave on the side of a mountain complete with a wood stove for heat and cooking along with all the luxuries of home, including a shooting bench across the mouth of the cave from which they used their bench guns to snipe deer on the adjacent mountainside. Odor and noise were not a concern for their targets were too far away to notice either one.

Ed
 
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