Steve Comus – GUN TALK

    Steve Comus is a former Guns and Hunting Editor at WON. Before joining the staff at Western Outdoors more than a quarter-century ago he had a complete career as a frontline journalist with the L.A. afternoon daily Herald-Examiner, including quite a bit of foreign correspondence and years of investigative assignments.

    Since he took a break from WON, he has written articles for most of the major publications in the shooting sports industry, authored a couple of books and published a couple of others, spent a while as editor of Gun World magazine and is currently director of publications for Safari Club International.

     His writings focus on guns and shooting and all of the things that affect them, as well. 
Riton Optics: The Right Stuff
Want a riflescope that will work in good or bad lighting and be able to engage game from the muzzle of the rifle out to 300 yards, maybe a bit more? Check out the Riton RT-S Mod 7 1-8x28IR-H.

This is quite a scope. Very impressive in many ways. Let me count them.

With a variable power range of 1x to 8x, this model is valid for virtually all conditions encountered on hunts around the world. Whether the hunt is for the big stuff in Africa, a deer in the dark woods or open sage, or elk across a canyon, the hunter is not ill equipped with this instrument.

SMALL CALIBER BLASTING with Riton scope proved to be both fun and effective. Here, author uses the Riton RT-S Mod 7 1-8x28IR-H scope atop an AR in 5.56mm.

Many hunters prefer variable scopes that go to higher magnification for general hunting or specific applications, and Riton makes them (I’ll be taking a look at their RT-S Mod 5 4-16x50 Wide FOV later on).

The RT-S Mod 7 1-8x28IR-H is intended to be credible for dangerous game hunting, as well as other game globally. The folks at Riton had an assist from fellow scribe Craig Boddington in its design. The result answers the requirements of a dangerous game scope and a whole lot more. In fact, it could be considered an all-around scope, should someone want to suggest it.

When a scope is configured to work effectively for dangerous game, it is logical to put it on a rifle designed for such things. So, I put the Riton RT-S Mod 7 1-8x28IR-H scope atop a .460 Weatherby Magnum and blasted away.

Every time I feel the maiden’s caress of a .460 Weatherby Mag. pushing against my shoulder, I remember those many days when Roy Weatherby and I would sit in his office in South Gate or home in nearby Downey, talking about guns, ammo and hunting.

There was no question that personally, he liked the .378 better than the .460, but truth is that he thought both were pretty much unnecessary. The .460 may not have been his favorite, however, of the big Weatherby cartridges, it certainly is mine. But I digress.

After quickly boresighting the rig, two shots and it was “walked” to put the bullet a couple of inches or so low at 25 yards. Then it was out to 100 yards for fine-tuning.

Lots of twisting knobs and deliberately walking the bullet holes from here to there on the target at will was both fun and effective. This scope tracked virtually perfectly, which is a good sign. It means the innards are precise enough for repeatable adjustment.

RITON SCOPE WORKED great atop a .460 Weatherby Magnum rifle, as the author shows here. This scope works for everything from small game to the biggest stuff on the planet.

Such attention to detail in this regard bespeaks overall quality in both design and production.

I was able to move the point of impact both precisely and significantly (lots of inches) in all directions. This no doubt is due to the fact that this model has a 34mm main tube, which allows for a whole bunch of adjustment.

The reticle with lighted center dot when desired is something to talk about because it is the kind I have liked since scopes first started being equipped with such kinds of reticles.

It is kind of a combination of the old German three-post concept combined with bullet drop hash marks, with the center dot thrown in for good measure. Such a scope is both quick to use and a joy when lighting is bad or when the game animal is dark, in the shade and/or standing in front of a dark background.

After having all the fun I could think up with the .460 as the “alpha,” I thought about seeing what it was like on an “omega” rig, so I put it atop an AR chambered in 5.56mm NATO and popped off rounds by the dozen, walking the bullet holes around the target at will. Great fun.

One note here, however. The 34mm rings I had were right for the Weatherby bolt gun and way low for the AR, but I made them work. Reminded me of times in the long ago when discussing things with Gene Stoner before the industry had all of the add-on right stuff for his design. I digress again.

Then I spotted a target of opportunity out there at what looked like a bit of a poke and thought, what the heck, good chance to check out the bullet drop feature. The rangefinder put the distance at 364 yards and the rig was sighted dead-on at 100 and the barrel had cooled in the process.

RT-S Mod 7 1-8x28IR-H SCOPE is both sleek and sturdy. The 34mm main tube is rigid and allows for a lot of adjustment.

That’s nice, because in a hunting rig, the critical consideration is where the rig puts the first bullet out of a cold barrel. If it is right, there is no need for follow-ups or chasing critters around God’s creation.

I held the reticle where I thought it probably should be at that distance with the quartering, more or less, 15mph wind and squeezed off a round. Dead-on hit. What more can I say? (Only that I have no doubt that I could hit things a whole lot farther out than that with this scope, but in general hunting terms, that’s about as far as one usually pokes at game.)

One quality of this scope that is worth focus here is the operational clarity of the optics. By clarity, I mean the combination of innate resolution, High Density/Extra Dispersion glass, coatings – all of the things that deliver effectiveness in real world situations – the whole package.

In that respect, this model has it all and that puts it in the company of the best, regardless of brand or origin. This is a serious precision instrument.

One thing this model is not is light. It is both full-bodied and robust. For its intended uses, that is all good.


The scope’s tube is aircraft grade aluminum and the scope is 100 percent waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. It features ½ MOA windage and elevation, has a locking illumination control with six daylight-bright settings and a fast-focus eyepiece.

• Magnification: 1-8x

• Parallax Setting: Fixed at 100 yards

• Tube Diameter: 34mm

• Objective Lens Diameter: 28mm

•  Focal Lens Position: Hunting – Second Focal Plane

• Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated, Full Wide Band, Waterproof Coated, Low Light Enhancement

• Reticle: Riton German #4 Mod 1 Illuminated Reticle

• Field of View at 100 yards: 142 ft. @ 1x – 17.5 ft. @ 8x

• Material: 6061-T6 Aircraft Grade Aluminum

• Weight: 15 oz / 709 g

• Length: 10.9 in / 277 mm

• Eye Relief: 4 in / 101 mm

• Exit Pupil: 14mm @ 1x

• Click Value At 100 Yards: ½ in. / 12.7 mm

• Adjustment Range: 175 MOA

• Mounting Length: 7.3 in. / 186 mm

Riton makes a whole range of optics at various price points, depending on features, etc. They call it their MOD SERIES, which is divided into four levels:

Mod 1 optics are in the $150 to $180 price range.

Mod 3 optics are in the $200 to $340 price range.

Mod 5 optics are in the $320 to $570 price range.

Mod 7 optics are in $680 to $1,500 price range.

Riton, as a Tucson, Arizona-based veteran and family-owned business, stands out in quality, value and service.

“Riton was built out of the belief that a person’s hard-earned dollar should buy quality optics and the best service at every price point,” stated Founder Brady Speth.

For more information about Riton, check local dealers or visit ritonoptics.com.

LIGHTED RETICLE IN the RT-S Mod 7 1-8x28IR-H is fast and easy to use in any kind of lighting under any conditions.

ALPHA AND OMEGA of cartridges were used with the RT-S Mod 7 1-8x28IR-H scope. Here, the scope is shown with the big .460 Weatherby Magnum cartridge and the 5.56mm. Big or small rifle, the scope works great.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.

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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Got a screw loose?
Time to check your firearm

Now is the time to address some kinds of things on hunting rifle rigs that otherwise could snatch failure from success the next time they are pressed into action. I’m talking about loose screws.

For bolt-action rifles, critical screws are those that hold the action to the stock and those that hold the scope base to the rings and those that hold the two halves of the rings together. Loose screws in any of those places can spell disaster. And the scary thing is that they don’t have to be so loose as to rattle or even feel loose.

TIGHTEN SCREWS ON mounts for success. Having loose screws in the scope mounting system can guarantee failure at the moment of truth. Even a slightly loose mount can result in problems. Here, a torque wrench is used to tighten screws on a ring holding a Riton scope. Usually, tightening to 22 inch/pounds seems to work well.

A tiny fraction of an inch difference at the action easily can mean several inches or more of variation at distance. Literally, that can be the difference between a hit and a miss, or even worse, between a clean kill shot and an ugly gut shot.

Part of the equation is eliminated on rifles that have bases that are integral to the receiver itself. Anymore most AR rifles and many bolt-action rifles have integral bases, which means the base won’t ever loosen.

For rifles that do not have integral bases, there usually are two small screws (typically 6-48) that attach each of the two bases to the receiver. These are small screws and the hunter is asking a lot from them. Not only do they need to hold the base snugly to the receiver, but they also have to absorb the repeated recoil of the rifle being shot. If the scope is heavy, those forces can be enough to break the screws, or loosen them.

There are cures for those problems, but there is not room here to discuss them in detail. Using bigger screws is one fix, while using bases that also include some kind of lateral stop is another – or both. For this discussion, just make certain that the screws holding the bases to the receiver are tight.

The screws that hold the halves of the rings together also are critical, because if they are loose, the scope can move forward or backward in the rings, or in extreme cases the scope can jiggle loosely in the rings. In the former, eye relief changes and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to see through the scope properly. Or, if it jiggles, the point of impact can change dramatically from shot to shot.

Finally, the screws that hold the action to the stock also must be tight, or the point of impact of the bullet can be erratically unpredictable.

As is apparent, the fix for these kinds of problems can be both quick and easy. That is why it is all the more important to pay attention and keep things tight. And, remember that anytime anything is changed on a rifle rig, it is necessary to take it back to the range and verify the zero. Usually, any such changes as those mentioned above will change the point of impact, even if slightly.

By confirming the zero after everything is tight, the shooter is ready to go afield. And, by tightening everything and confirming zero now, it affords more time between then and the next hunt to practice. That’s the best of all worlds.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.

•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Load ’em up
Handloading ammo is popular, inexpensive

This could be the year to take the plunge and begin loading your own ammo. Or, it could be a great time to talk with company representatives about the latest loading equipment and components.

There is a renewed focus in Gundom on handloading ammunition, which includes a multi-company effort to bring this activity to local retail stores around the country.

Hodgdon Powder announced a new program at the recent Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, NV.

CHRIS HODGDON OF Hodgdon Powder stands next to a display at the SHOT Show, announcing a program in which representatives from leading companies in the reloading industry will go to local stores and show consumers the benefits of loading their own ammo. In the display are presses and other reloading equipment from the various companies participating in the nationwide program.

According to Chris Hodgdon, this new program is a variation of what his grandfather did following WWII when companies setup circus tents in communities around the country where they showed consumers how to load, using the equipment available on the market at that time. This year representatives from the leading companies in the reloading business will go to retail outlets and put on loading seminars for consumers.

Partnering with Hodgdon are Dillon Precision, Frankford Arsenal, Lee Precision, Hornady, Lyman, RCBS, Mec, Nosler, Redding and Sierra.

Robin Sharpless at Redding explained that a large part of the expanded interest in handloading is a result of the recent focus on long-range shooting. By handloading their own ammunition, shooters can fine-tune to ammo to the individual rifle, squeezing the last measure of accuracy from the long-range rigs, he explained.

Historically, there were three major reasons for shooters to load their own ammo. One was to save money (reloading can save about half the cost of much of the factory loads), another was to create ammo for rifles that shoot hard-to-find cartridges and the final reason was to fine-tune ammo to specific firearms.

In today’s market, the sale of bulk amounts of some cartridges results in lower levels of savings by reloading, but it still costs less to load the high-volume cartridges like 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington, 9mmP and .45 ACP. But those bulk sales generally are limited to FMJ loads.

Shooters who want to use higher tech bullets can save significantly more by handloading. Shooters who have firearms that shoot obsolete or obscure cartridges can keep their guns shooting by loading their own ammo. And, they save a whole lot of money, compared to the cost of buying factory loads or those cartridges, if they can find them at all.

There is an interesting dynamic that kicks in when a shooter takes the leap and begins reloading. He or she shoots more, and that means more fun.

Interestingly, there comes a point for many shooters when loading becomes a major part of the sport because it expands the level of involvement. There is a level of pride when a shooter scores well with ammunition he or she made with their own hands. This is especially true for hunters when they take trophy grade animals with ammunition they created personally.

Regardless the reason or reasons for getting into reloading, it can be a most satisfying and rewarding activity that can involve the whole family – parents can be involved with children in the process.

Retailers in California are planning to be part of this new focus on handloading. Check locally for schedules of when representatives from the various companies will be coming to town.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Dickinson Greenwing Over/Under shotgun performs like a true champ
Champion Greenwing tops


THE DICKINSON GREENWING over/under shotgun is loaded with features, shoots straight and handles both quickly and smoothly.

Tim Bailey and the folks at Dickinson Arms in Southern California continue to out-do themselves and raise the bar when it comes to delivering value in shotguns with the introduction this fall of the Greenwing 12-gauge over/under shotgun.

“This isn’t just a great value gun – it’s a great gun, period,” said Tim Bailey, co-owner of Dickinson Arms. “Working with our factories in Turkey, we are able to provide a level of features, quality and performance one would only expect from a gun costing much more.”

The Greenwing is built with the same handcrafted construction and attention to detail found in Dickinson’s other over & under and side-by-side models.

As much as the Greenwing is loaded with features that will be discussed later in this article, all of the features in the world don’t matter if the gun doesn’t shoot straight. Short answer for the Greenwing: It shoots straight, easily and comfortably. This gun has it all.

First was a trip to the patterning board to see if the gun shot where I was looking, and if both barrels patterned to the same point of impact. This is critical if the gun is going to be a winner in the field.

For much target shooting, it is handy to have a gun that shoots a little bit high (like 60 percent of the pattern above the point of aim) so that the target is always in view. But for a hunting gun and a sporter that engages a lot of dropping targets, a totally flat-shooting gun can be the real ticket.

THE AUTHOR SHOOTS the Dickinson Greenwing over/under shotgun. This gun looks good and shoots good. Great deal.

While shooting targets with this gun, I purposely picked some stations that featured dropping targets and had a lot of fun hitting them easily and repeatedly. In hunting, sometimes shooters miss when mourning doves do their little dipsy-doodle where, as they accelerate forward, they dip down, pick up even more air speed and then sling out of the short dive, up and away. Guess what: dipsy-doodle doves being shot at with this gun would merely fly right into the bottom of the pattern – game over.

Similar aerobatics performed by teal or even quail can challenge guns that don’t shoot right to the point of aim. No problem with a gun that handles like the Greenwing.

At the patterning board, I fired one shot from each barrel and was elated to see that the aiming point was dead center in the overlapping patterns. In other words, the gun shoots exactly where it looks and both barrels shoot to the same point of impact.

Next was a trip to the sporting clays range to engage some random sporting targets, using improved cylinder in the bottom barrel and modified on top. Ammo was one-ounce, 1,200 feet-per-second No. 8 target fodder. Again, the gun came through like a champ. When I did my job, it crunched clays repeatedly. To double-check, I had old buddy Blaine Huling give the gun a ride with sporting targets. Repeated crunches. Beautiful.

We shot the gun a lot more at sporting clays, did some skeet and then hit the five-stand. Story was the same whatever we did. When we did what we were supposed to, the gun hammered targets.

The specific gun for this writing sports 26-inch vent rib barrels. It was both alive and smooth, whether it was a quick pointing shot or a long swing-through. That matters with any field gun.

The Greenwing has a mechanical single trigger system, which is very nice in a hunting shotgun because this means that if there is an ammo failure on the first shot, that the second shot can be taken quickly. By comparison, inertia systems require a bump from the recoil of the first shot to set the trigger for the second shot. The trigger pull for both barrels was virtually identical at a tiny bit more than four pounds. Very nice – clean break in the process.

comus_dickinsonsnewDICKINSON’S NEW GREENWING over/under features full coverage engraving on the receiver that includes two ducks on each side.

The gun also features automatic ejectors, and do they eject! Empties are launched several feet when ejected. And, when two empties are ejected simultaneously, they land within a couple of inches of each other. This is the sign of very well timed ejectors and another added touch that usually is not found in any but the really high-end guns.

Nominal weight is 7½ pounds (since it has a wood stock, Turkish walnut to be specific) but there can be a slight overall weight difference because not all pieces of wood have the same density and weight. Length of pull is 14½ inches, which is standard for such guns.

Diamond point checkering at 22 lines per inch on both the pistol grip and the forend is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, as is the outline of the checking pattern itself. A convex curve at the top of the pistol grip checkering is a nice touch.

The Greenwing features screw-in chokes and comes with five: Full, improved modified, modified, improved cylinder and cylinder, and a flat wrench to change them as well as a small plastic box to carry the wrench and extra chokes.

The Schnabel forend is a nice touch and a pleasing part of the overall configuration of the stock and forend. Both the sweeping pistol grip on the buttstock and the forend are substantial without being blocky. This means there is plenty of wood to grasp securely for total control. Other dimensions are classic, which gives the gun an appealing look.

The action features a full coverage scroll engraving pattern with two ducks on each side, as well as the Dickinson name and Greenwing logo on the bottom. This is not something one expects on lower priced guns. The Greenwing comes with either blued or silver satin finish receivers (the model for this discussion has the silver satin finish). The trigger has a gold finish.

The barrel selector switch is within the mechanical safety button and the barrel indicators are totally intuitive in that there are two dots for each barrel. One is white and the other red. The red dot indicates which barrel will shoot first. Bone-headed simple and about time.

The Greenwing is offered in 26-, 28- and 30-inch barrel lengths to accommodate different preferences and shooting needs. In addition to the 12-gauge Greenwing available now, Dickinson will be adding 20, 28 and .410 gauges in the 2019 model year. The Greenwing carries a retail price of $700.

Like every Dickinson shotgun, the new Greenwing is also backed by the company’s U.S.-based customer service and Limited Lifetime Warranty.

For more information about the new Dickinson Greenwing 12-gauge over/under, or the company’s entire line of quality shotguns for hunting, sport shooting and tactical use, visit the local Dickinson Arms dealer, contact Dickinson Arms at (805) 978-8565 or go online to www.DickinsonArms.com.

STOCK CHECKERING ON the Dickinson Greenwing over/under is 22 lines per inch and the trigger is gold colored. The gun comes with five interchangeable choke tubes, wrench and carrying case for the extra tubes.

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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Is 6.5mm magic or just a nice size?

Given all of the hoopla in Gundom these days surrounding the 6.5mm bullet size, one might think that there is something magic about .264-inch. Not so, but it is a nice size for all kinds of shooting and hunting.


In a way, today’s 6.5mm mania is going back to the future, since that diameter was among the first to be used militarily in the early days of smokeless powder back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.


Even by the end of WWI, interest in 6.5mm was lackluster at best among militaries and civilians. Metric cartridges of 7mm and 8mm took center stage, while American diameters of .277 and .308 were the name of the game.


The sectional density of the long, narrow 6.5mm bullets in military full metal jackets and civilian expanding bullets of the era made that size logical when penetration was desired. The typical configuration then was the 160-grain round nose. That is a very long bullet for its diameter.


After remaining mostly dormant for decades, the 6.5mm made an anemic “comeback” in the late ’50s and mid-’60s with the respective introductions of the .264 Winchester Magnum in 1959 and the 6.5mm Remington Magnum in 1966. Neither captured the imagination of the general shooting public and have since fallen into obscurity.


Then in 1997, Remington came out with the .260 Remington, which was a standardized 6.5-08 because essentially it is the .308 Winchester cartridge necked down to .264. The .260 Remington was developed as a target cartridge, but quickly found its way into the woods as a hunting round for game like deer. It never developed much of a following before it was supplanted by the 6.5mm Creedmoor — a cartridge designed for target work, but which also quickly found its way into the woods on hunts.


Because of the superlative marketing efforts by Hornady, the 6.5mm Creedmoor captured the imagination of the shooting public and has become a rock star among recent cartridges. Now, Hornady is attempting to do a marketing double-tap with its 6.5mm PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) that was announced in the fall of 2017 and hit the market in 2018. It is touted as the “big brother” of the 6.5mm Creedmoor. The 6.5mm Creedmoor is based on the .30 TC, which was based on the .308 Winchester, while the 6.5mm PRC is based on a fatter Ruger Compact Magnum mother case size.


For both of the Hornady-backed 6.5s, the mindset has been to deliver cartridges that work for long-range shooting and hunting. They combine the best of all worlds in that they have relatively flat trajectories, retain punch at distance and don’t kick like mules. There is little doubt that both will continue to be quite popular because of the focus these days on longer range performance.


In the middle of the 6.5mm hoopla, Weatherby trumped them all in 2016 with the introduction of the 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum cartridge, which essentially is a .300 Weatherby Magnum cartridge necked down to .264. Where the other modern 6.5s operate with muzzle velocities in the 2,800 to 3,200 feet per second realm, the 6.5-300 puts bullets out in excess of 3,500 fps (eclipsing the .26 Nosler, introduced in 2013, by around 100 fps).


Modern manufacturing capabilities and modern designs and materials have made this entire rebirth of the 6.5 possible. The industry is able to make the accurate rifles, effective scopes and consistent ammunition necessary for success. Until all of those elements came together, it took bigger diameter bullets to work so universally.


What this 6.5 mania all boils down to is a win for hunters, because it represents added options. It doesn’t obsolete or replace the other caliber proven performers, but it certainly is something for hunters to consider.


When it comes to centerfire rifle hunting cartridges, the 6mm/.243 size works fine for some of the smaller game like antelope and the smaller deer but is wanting when the animals are larger. The 6.5 is the smallest diameter that offers enough of everything to work well on the larger deer (including elk and moose), as well as other species.


Certainly, the .270, 7mm rounds and .30s all work fine for most hunted species in the world short of the thick-skinned dangerous game of Africa. And granted, in the early 20th Century, the 6.5 was used against elephant, but it is not an elephant caliber.

POPULAR HUNTING bullet diameters compare, from left: 6mm/.243, .25, 6.5mm/.264, .270, 7mm/.284 and .30/7.62.

Although the 6.5mm Creed­moor and 6.5mm PRC no doubt will get most of the attention in days to come, it would be nice if the focus on them would expand to a more general awareness of all of the 6.5mm cartridges available.


The hype for the two new 6.5s does not mean the predecessors lack merit. They are still as valid today as ever. They include:


First of the 6.5mm military cartridges was the 6.5x52mm Italian Mannlicher-Schoenauer adopted in 1891, and shortly after, the 6.5x53R Mannlicher, which was chambered in the Dutch Models 1892 and 1893 models and the Romanian Models 1892 and 1893 rifles. The 6.5x54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer, a Greek cartridge designed in 1900 and chambered in the Model 1900 Mannlicher, was essential a rimless version of the Dutch/Romanian cartridge.


The 6.5x50mm Japanese Arisaka was introduced in 1897 and the 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser was adopted in 1894. The 6.5x57mm Mauser was introduced in 1894.


Also there was a host of other 6.5mm cartridges in Europe, going back to black powder days and continuing into the 20th Century. They included the 6.5x40R, 6.5x27R, 6.5x53.5 Daudeteau, 6.5x48R Sauer, 6.5x52R. 6.5x54 Mauser, 6.5x58R Sauer, 6.5x61 Mauser and 6.5x68 Schuler.


Hence, there has been no dearth of 6.5mm cartridges in the history of Gundom.

Although a majority of my personal focus through the years has been on .30 caliber, 8mm and .375 or .458 calibers, I have had occasion to use most of the better known 6.5mm cartridges on hunts — all with great success.


Of them, I prefer the two at opposite ends of the spectrum, and for different reasons. The 6.5x54mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer is one, and the 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum is the other.


I love the 6.5x54mm more because of the Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifles it is chambered in than for the cartridge itself (I also love the 8x56mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer cartridge in the M-S full-stock rifles). The reason is that for me, the M-S rifle is one of the finest all-around pure hunting rifles on the planet. They are made to the highest quality and carry and handle like a dream. Stalking with one of them adds dimensions to hunts that have to be experienced to be appreciated fully.

AUTHOR’S FAVORITE 6.5mm rifle is the 1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauer, which he considers to be a “pure” hunting rifle in all respects.

On the other end of performance, I feel that the 6.5-300 Weatherby is probably one of the finest deer-hunting cartridges ever designed. It works superbly from the end of the barrel out to the longest distance anyone should ever take at a game animal. When fitted with an effective muzzle brake, the 6.5-300 Weatherby allows the hunter to watch the hit, which not only is exciting, but provides invaluable information about the hit itself. This is not possible with the parent .300 Weatherby or other larger caliber rounds because the recoil of them takes the eye off the animal at that critical moment (similarly, I use a muzzle brake on my .223 for prairie dogging so I can watch my hits).

6.5-300 WEATHERBY is a superb deer cartridge, as author shows here with a nice whitetail buck, taken with a Weatherby Accumark rifle in 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum

Anyone considering a new rifle/cartridge combo is well advised to take a close look at the 6.5mms. They do work great.


So, what’s the verdict? There is no “magic” to the 6.5, but there certainly is performance. Gundom is better off for it being part of the mix.

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