The 6x62 Freres and 6x62R
By Chuck Hawks
Photo courtesy of John Walkley.
The 6x62 Freres has been described by my Spanish correspondent and advisor Javier Masoliver as the ultimate European medium game cartridge. Javier did almost all of the research for this article, which could not have been written without his assistance.
The 6x62 is a rimless bottleneck cartridge developed in the late 1980's by Metallwerk Elisenhutte GmbH (MEN). Blaser produces high quality rifles for both the 6x62 and the 6x62R. The 6x62R is a rimmed version of the cartridge intended for break action single shot rifles, double rifles, drillings, and combination guns. In size and capacity the two versions are identical, and what can be done with one can be done with the other.
The 6x62 case is 61.46mm in length and accepts 6mm (.243") bullets. It looks much like the wildcat 6mm-06 cartridge familiar to North American shooters, and with which I have had a little experience. (The 6mm-06 is nothing more than the .30-06 case necked down to accept .243" bullets.) The 6x62 Freres case seems to have less body taper than the standard 6mm-06, so perhaps it is more anagolous to a 6mm-06 Improved. In any event, it is a big case, magnum velocity 6mm cartridge.
As loaded in Europe, the 6x62 and 6x62R are available with 85 grain and 100 grain (5.5 and 6.5 gram) bullets. The muzzle velocity (MV) of the 100 grain bullet (SD .242) is 1015 meters/second (3313 fps) with a muzzle energy of 3,348 Joules (2442 ft. lbs.). If this load is zeroed at 200 meters, the drop at 300 meters is 17.9 cm (7.16"). To take better advantage of the 6x62's flat trajectory, I would zero a scoped 6x62 rifle so that the 100 grain bullet hit 2.4" high at 100 yards, which would mean it should strike about 3" high at 150 yards, 2.5" high at 200 yards, and 3" low at 312 yards.
Handloaders should be able to essentially duplicate factory ballistics in the 6x62 using the slower burning powders like #4831, Norma MRP, RL22, and IMR 4350 behind any of the excellent 100 grain bullets on the market. Using 85-87 grain bullets and maximum charges of #4831, Norma MRP, RL22, or W785 powders should yield MV's of about 3400 fps and ME of about 2181 ft. lbs.
Photo courtesy of John Walkley.
The excellent Nosler 85 grain Partition bullet should give adequate penetration and very quick kills on the smaller deer and antelope species at 3300-3400 fps. The trajectory of that bullet at a MV of 3400 fps looks like this (Nosler figures): +3" at 100 yards, +3.8" at 200 yards, 0 at 300 yards, and -9.4" at 400 yards.
Reloading data for the 6x62 is practically nonexistent in the U.S., so if I owned a 6.62 rifle I would start with minimum loads for the 6mm-284 and work up slowly, checking for signs of excessive pressure at each step. At the first sign of excessive pressure I would back off to the last safe load. I would chronograph all loads, and stop when velocities came within about 100 fps of the European factory loads.
I can't see using any of the big case 6mm's as varmint cartridges, they simply burn too much powder for comfort. However, an 85 grain bullet of lighter construction intended for varmint shooting could obviously duplicate the above ballistics and produce spectacular kills at extreme range if the shooter can ignore the muzzle blast and recoil.
In performance the 6x62 is inbetween the 6mm-06 wildcat (100 grain bullet at 3200 fps) and the .240 Weatherby Magnum (100 grain bullet at 3400 fps). The 6x62 and 6x62R are the second most powerful factory loaded 6mm cartridges in the world, trailing only the .240 Wby.
With any high velocity cartridge barrel erosion can become a problem if long shot strings are the norm, since wear is accelerated by heat, which is produced by high pressure and high velocity. At the range I almost always limit my groups to three shots with any hunting rifle, and I let the barrel cool down between shot strings. With any rifle producing MV's in the 3000+ fps range I try to let the barrel cool down between each shot. Not only does this minimize wear on the barrel, group size is also improved.
With recoil energy in the vicinity of 12 ft. lbs. when shooting a 100 grain bullet (depending on rifle weight), the 6x62 twins kick slightly less than a .240 Weatherby, and also less than any other ultra-long range hunting cartridge. Realistically, as hunting cartridges the 6x62, 6x62R, and .240 Weatherby are essentially equal. They are superb ultra-long range deer, antelope, sheep, and goat cartridges. And they need long barreled rifles to achieve their full performance.
Copyright 2002, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.