This great little rifle has been with the ODHA for several years, and is presently in the capable hands of Mr. President. In my mind, the Classic
is one of the best designs ever to come from Remington. The clean lines of the classic stock has no caps or Monte Carlo's, but does have what it takes for a great stock. The
dimensions are very good with cut checkering, a round contoured forend, rubber but pad, straight high comb, and usually a decent piece of straight-grained American walnut. Of
course you know it's going to be accurate right out of the box because the heart of the gun is the proven M700 action.
Remington also did a great thing a few years back when they started limiting the Classic to be chambered in only one caliber each year. About four years ago, 6.5x55 was the
designated caliber for the Classic and I could not have been happier to see it arrive. I was on the prowl like a hungry coyote, and soon found one at a local gun show. I
topped it with a Pentex 3x9 Lightseeker and was totally impressed with the rifle and the scope.
I knew the key to my 6.5x55 happiness was handloading. Finding bullets and powder was easy. Next came the hard part of finding brass. There just wasn't any to be had, so I had
to buy Winchester factory loads--totally unimpressed! I promptly chronographed a few rounds and pulled the rest of the bullets, dumped the powder, and began reloading
operations. Shell holders presented another challenge. Remington and Winchester brass have slightly smaller case rims than the originally designed Mauser case. The
American-made brass uses a 30'06 shell holder. Other brands of brass require a slightly larger shell holder. I don't know how the American brass functions in older Mauser
rifles, but it worked fine in my M700.
The Cartridge: 6.5x55
I began my loading data search through the usual loading manuals and found most
geared to M96 Mausers with weak actions and 29" barrels. I really only needed starting loads anyway, so these were fine. I knew the potential was there but needed a guide
on powder selection more than max load limits. Much to my surprise, the best powders were slow burning powders like RL22 and IMR4831. I really liked the results with RL 22. It
pushed the 120 Noslers to 2950 FPS and the 140 Winchester soft points to 2700. These are great velocities from a 22" barrel. Results are listed in the ODHA loading tables. More loading data for the 6.5x55 is available from Hodgdon.
The real eye opener was the awesome velocities this round delivers with varmint bullets. I think a new name like 6.5 Coyote Buster is in order. IMR4895 lights up Sierra 85
grain HP's to the tune of 3500+ fps. I won't even publish max loads-you won't believe it. How about a 26" bull barrel varmint rifle in 6.5x55!!
Future plans are to test the new Hornady 95 grain V-max and the Nosler 120 Ballistic Tips, as well as the proven Nosler 125 Partition in the near future. Mr. President promises
to provide field trial results with the Nosler 120 Ballistic Tips during the 1998-99 deer season.
Field Test 1998
As promised, Mr. came through with 1998 field data. He took a nice whitetail doe with one shot through the lungs and shoulder for a clean one-shot kill. The load was a Nosler
120 Ballistic Tip pushed by Reloader 22. The Ballistic Tip was true to form, completely destroying everything inside, and to my pleasure completely penetrated the 120 pound
deer. This makes a total of five deer the ODHA has taken with this 6.5mm 120 grain Ballistic Tip and in every case, the deer went down quickly with one shot.
Next year we will shoot the 125 Nosler Partitions. Load development to completed by June with results here by mid summer.