Going through high school in the 60s in the Midwest I dreamed of some day going on big game hunts in the Rocky Mountains using "wildcat" guns like the 25-06 and the 6.5 Remington Magnum. Well here I am, in Wyoming for nearly 35 years. I've worn out a 25-06 or two and now it's time to get the 6.5 Rem Mag out.
I've had this closet queen for a couple of years. It's a Rem 700 6.5 Rem Mag with a 24" barrel, one of 650 or so ever made:
The 6.5 Remington Mag is a necked-down 350 Rem Mag. The 350 Rem Mag was the first short mag, a 35 caliber in a blown out 375 H&H case. The 6.5 Rem Mag the second short magnum gun, born 50 years ago, 1966. Another one of Remington's "wild ideas", the 6.5 Remington could have been a great one if it wasn't limited by the length of the magazine. The original Model 600 6.5 Rem Mags were short-action guns with 18.5" to 20" barrels. But who cares? The rifle was made for hunting deer-sized animals at medium ranges in a short-action rifle using very fast 100 or 120 grain pointed bullets. I don't think anyone at Remington was looking at the full potential of the 6.5.
What few 6.5 700s I've seen, or held, had nice wood:
Made in 1969.....you know, pressed checkering, bell bottom pants:
I have some factory ammo. 6.5 Rem Mag ammo is hard to find now and the price per box of what's out there is scary and has doubled in the last two years. Here's some old and some new ammo:
Look a those short fat bullets. Pretty cool for 1966.
I put a period Redfield scope on the old girl, an early 70s AccuTrac. The Denver USA-made scope's been in the shop for about 17 months and I just got her back:
This 3x9 Accu-Trac set-up goes out to 600 yards, long range for the day. The scope will wear an "A" turret; the range for a pointed 125 grain 6.5 bullet at 3200 fps:
The end of the stock had that old bump in it designed to hold the barrel up, keep the barrel from vibrating too much. The barrel on this one rode hard, and rubbed off to one side. My guess is didn't hold "zero" very well after a few shoots or in wet weather. I filed the barrel channel out until a piece of copy paper slides in easily and then gave the wood a couple light coats of spar varnish:
There was only one noticeable place on the action that exhibited a "bearing" spot and it was back on the tang behind the action screw. I'll leave it alone for now. The action screws were tightened to 35 in/lb, factory for a Remington wood-stock 700 (35 in/lb today. I'm hearing the rear screw was like 45 in/lb back in the 60s.)
Barrel rode hard enough to wear a 1/4"-long spot:
My plans are to first see how the gun shoots using a box of the green n yellows. Later I'll neck size them and load em up with 130 grain Accubonds, probably the max length of bullet for the gun's 1 in 9" twist and the ejection port. I may glass bed the action later.
The trigger is stock Rem 700, "conditioned" like we did in the old days and set to 2 3/4 lbs like all my other hunting rifles and slug shotguns. It's as crisp, and as safe, as any of the fancy-dancy triggers I keep buying these days....good grief.
More later. Maybe compare the 6.5 Rem Mag to the 264 Win Mag or the 6.5x284. fun stuff