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The next Countries to adopt the 6.5mm bore diameter were Norway and Sweden. The 6.5x55 cartridge was initially designed during a joint Norwegian-Swedish commission. Norway officially adopted the 6.5x55 in 1894. But for whatever reasons, history seems to have forgotten Norwegian involvement as well as the the 6.5x55 Krag even though over a quarter of a million rifles were produced in Norway. Furthermore, to the dismay of modern Norwegian hunters and historians, the 6.5x55 is today known as the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser.
Sweden looked to Paul Mauser for a rifle design to house the 6.5x55. Mauser’s newest rifle, the M93 (1893) chambered in 7x57 had just been sold in great numbers to the Spanish military. This rifle was a culmination of Paul Mauser’s 22 years as a rifle designer and all of it’s features were of his own design. Sweden decided to adopt the M93 design and in 1894 the Karbin M94 in 6.5x55 became Sweden’s military rifle.
Between 1894 and 95 Mauser Werkes produced 10,000 M94 carbines (using Swedish steel) before Sweden’s Carl Gustaf factory took over production. In 1896 a much longer rifle was released with a 29" barrel over the original carbines barrel length of 18.5". This model was designated the Gevar M96 and some 40,000 were made by Mauser Werkes between 1896 and 1899 while the Carl Gustaf factory produced 445,000 between 1898 and 1925. The next version of this rifle was the M38 manufactured by Husqvarna. The M38 featured a 24" barrel and micrometer adjustable rear U notch sight. Type 1 M38’s were converted M96 rifles while type 2 M38’s were newly built rifles.
Swedish Mauser rifles were built and inspected to incredibly high levels of workmanship. The Mauser design was also capable of handling greater pressures than the Krag. All inspected parts received a stamped crown for approval or an X if the part failed inspection and was to be scrapped. Horizontal crowns meant the part was made by Mauser or Carl Gustaf while tilted crowns denoted parts made by Husqvarna. Most rifles were proof tested and the inspection mark for this is a crown stamped on the left of the receiver beside the serial number or on the rear sight of Husqvarna rifles.
Military 6.5x55 ammunition was loaded to a pressure of 3200 ATM which converts to 47008psi. Proof loads developed between 4000 and 4500 ATM which converted (x14.69) give pressures of between 58,760psi and 66,000psi. The original m/94 military load featured a 10.1 gram (156 grain) round nosed bullet which achieved 725m/s (2378 fps) in the 29" barreled m/96 rifle, 700m/s (2297 fps) in the 24" m/38 rifle and 655m/s (2149 fps) in the original 18.5" m/94 carbine. The first pointed bullets were tested between 1910 and 1920 in experimental rifles, the final load appeared in the M/41 sniper rifle and used a 9 gram (139 grain) pointed bullet . This load quickly proved itself superior to the former and in 1944, the 9 gram load replaced all of the previous M94 designated ammunition. The M/41 load achieved 793 m/s (2601 fps) in the 29" M/96 barrel, 768 m/s (2519 fps) in the 24" m/38 barrel and 730 m/s (2395 fps) in the18.5" M/94 . Many Swedish rifles still bare a brass disc on the butt which helps tell the user which ammunition the rifle was sighted in for, its zero- and the condition of the bore since its last inspection.
After WWII, Sweden adopted newer self loading rifle designs and released the Swedish Mauser to the civilian market. It is at this point that the 6.5x55 cartridge became known as the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser or simply the 6.5 Swede. The 6.5x55 offered hunters worldwide the same virtues it had provided the military with; high quality, adequate power, excellent accuracy combined with low recoil. America mostly received the carbine M94 rifles while the longer rifles made it as far as Australia and New Zealand where they remain popular to this day. Having limited knowledge of the Swedish Mauser, American ammunition companies kept sporting loads for the Swede to extremely low pressures. Such loads perform adequately at close ranges, under 50 yards, but are left wanting at further ranges.