Project Deer Rifle
Start: December, 2003
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Well, with all the deer hunting stuff that went on this year, I decided to review my hunting rifle options for 2004. Single shot .270? Heavy barreled .308 and 22-250? Gramps old 30-30? Now, I have a .35 Rem just like the one that dropped  
a 200+ lb. 8 point buck this year. Would that work? "You bet!"  But, I like long range options. I made a visit to the local gun store and picked up a variety of .270's and .308's in bolt action hunting rifles. $400 for a used rifle?

On the way home I remembered the Remington Model 600 I had chambered for 6.5 Remington Magnum. The cartridge had been discontinued, but I had dies. Hmmm . . .
I figured I'd better do some research.

"The 6.5mm Remington Magnum was first introduced in the middle 1960's as a companion cartridge to the .350 Rem. Mag. It was initially chambered in the short action Remington Model 600 and 660 carbines. Later it was also offered in the short action version of the Model 700 bolt action rifle. The 6.5mm Mag. was simply the short .350 Mag. case necked down to 6.5mm. The 6.5mm Mag. was a sensible cartridge that, unfortunately, did not catch on. It was, in fact, well ahead of its time. I believe that Remington quit loading for the 6.5mm Mag. in 1994 . . . In 2003 Remington kicked over the traces and reintroduced the .350 Rem. Mag. cartridge and the new Model 673 Guide Rifle in which to shoot it. And in 2004 they reintroduced the 6.5mm Remington Magnum, also in the Model 673 . . . The 6.5mm Rem. Mag. is again being factory loaded by Remington with a 120 grain PSP Core-Lokt bullet (SD .247) at a MV of 3,210 fps and a ME of 2,745 ft. lbs. Retained energy at 200 yards is 2056 ft. lbs., at 300 yards is 1,475 ft. lbs., and at 400 yards the 120 grain bullet still packs 1,177 ft. lbs. of energy . . . The 6.5mm Remington Magnum is a fine 300+ yard deer, antelope, and general CXP2 class game cartridge. For the handloader it is also a fine all-around cartridge . . ."
(Quotes from an article by Chuck Hawks)
So . . . life is good!

I had only loaded 120 grain Sierra Pro-Hunter spitzers before and only made one trip to the range. These would probably be fine, but I wanted weight options. I pulled out the reloading manuals and visited many websites. There wasn't much talk of the new offerings. I decided to concentrate on finding the best hunting bullets first. Sierra offers a 140 grain GameKing but it is a long range boat tail design. That's fine except with my short case I'm going to be fighting case capacity and seating depth issues with the longer, heavier 140 grain bullets. The boat tail looked very long. I decided Nosler would be my choice for testing using their 125 and 140 grain partition bullets and their 120 grain ballastic tip.

So, on December 12th I ordered the Nosler Bullets from Graf & Sons, Inc. in Mexico MO. They arrived via UPS on the 19th. They're great looking bullets.


.35 bullet added for reference

After doing some digging in the reloading room I realized I lacked enough brass for the project. Even though Remington is reintroducing the 6.5, brass production (in a popular way) always lags behind. After all, they want to sell their loaded ammo.

I wasn't having much luck. I was finding some old once fired cases for around a buck apiece! I decided to email a couple of contacts to see if they had any kicking around. Graf & Sons got back to me the next day
"Yes, we do carry it, RU65MAG- its in stock $41.99/100 (with free ups shipping plus $3.75 handling). Liberty Shooting Supplies from Hillsboro, OR replied the day after "As a matter of fact, we have 100 pieces set aside to take to the gun show this weekend. It is yours for $62.50 + $8.50 parcel post shipping. For a total of $71.00." I appreciated Liberty's offer, but ordered up 100 from Graf & Sons on the December 19th and received them on December 29th via UPS.

Powder Choice

After reviewing the available reloading data, I've decided to start with IMR 4350. This is what IMR has to say, "A slow burning powder specifically designed for bottlenecked magnum cartridges; it is the most popular and versatile of the IMR rifle powders."  Purchased from local gun store.

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