The 6.5x68 Schuler
By Chuck Hawks
The 6.5x68 is a powerful, high velocity cartridge from RWS. With most modern factory loads its performance is similar to the 6.5mm Remington Magnum. With hot handloads its performance approaches that of the .264 Winchester Magnum.
The 6.5x68 uses standard diameter 6.5mm (.264") bullets. It is based on a rimless, bottleneck case 67.5mm long, with a .512" rim diameter.
RWS of Germany, Hirtenberger of Austria, and probably others offer factory loads for the 6.5x68 in Europe. The following information about 6.5x68 factory loads comes from Hirtenberger ballistics tables.
Hirtenberger loads bullets of 105, 120, 125, and 140 grains for the 6.5x68. The 120 grain bullet (SD .246) is loaded to a MV of 985 meters/second (3201 fps). The 125 grain bullet (SD .256) has a MV of 950 meters/second (3088 fps). The 140 grain bullet (SD .287) has a MV of 890 meters/second (2893 fps).
The handloader can achieve higher velocities than the Hirtenberger factory loads. The 6.5x68 is widely reloaded in Europe, and reloading information can be found in the Dynamit Nobel and RWS manuals.
RWS (German) published reloading data shows the maximum load for a 140 grain spitzer bullet in front of Rottweil R 905 powder to give a MV of 925 meters/second (3006 fps). This is very close to the 2993 fps quoted by the Hodgdon Data Manual (see below), and suggests that both RWS and Hodgdon are credible sources of reloading data for the 6.5x68.
For North American reloaders the Hodgdon Data Manual, 26th Edition contains a very limited amount of 6.5x68 Schuler reloading data, all using Hodgdon H4895 powder, which is apparently the best Hodgdon powder for the 6.5x68. However, the Hodgdon manual states that their starting loads for the .264 Win. Mag. can also be used in the 6.5x68, and these loads are shown for many powders.
The Hodgdon reloading data for the 6.5x68S shows the maximum load for a 120 grain bullet in front of 68.0 grains of H4831 powder to have a MV of 3309 fps. This load should have a ME of about 2910 ft. lbs. The trajectory of that load with a spitzer bullet with a BC of .433 would be approximately as follows: +2.4" at 100 yards, +3" at 150 yards, +2.6" at 200 yards, and -3" at 321 yards.
Hodgdon data shows a maximum load of 63.0 grains of H4831 powder behind a 140 grain bullet to have a MV of 2993 fps. This load should have ME of about 2790 ft. lbs. The trajectory of that load with a 140 grain spitzer bullet with a BC of .496 would be about as follows: +2.5" at 100 yards, +2.1" at 200 yards, and -3" at 296 yards. This Hodgdon data was tested in a 25" barrel and used European Berdan primed brass.
It is wise to verify that bullets intended for use in 6.5x68 reloads can withstand the very high velocities attainable. The popular brands of .264" bullets made in the USA are suitable (including Barnes, Hornady, Nosler, Sierra, and Speer), as they are designed to survive .264 Win. Mag. velocities, but bullets made in other countries and designed for cartridges like the 6.5x54 may not be strong enough for 6.5x68 velocities.
With factory loads the 6.5x68 is comparable to the .270 Winchester and 6.5mm Remington Magnum in trajectory and killing power. With hot handloads it gives away only a little to the .264 Winchester Magnum. The 6.5x68 is an excellent choice for long range shooting, and a fine all-around big game hunting cartridge.
Note: A full length article about the 6.5x68 can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.
Copyright 2005 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.