Gratuitous Gun Pic: Mauser 1896 “Target” (6.5x55mm)

Anyone who has known me for longer than 30 seconds will be aware of my fondness for the venerable Mauser Model 96 a.k.a. Swedish Mauser, chambered for the excellent 6.5x55mm cartridge a.k.a. 6.5mm Swede.

(That’s “mine”, nicknamed Princess Inge and stolen from me by the Son&Heir, who shoots 1-MOA groups at 400 yards with the iron sights as fitted.  Unfortunately, he loves it as much or more than I do, so I never get to shoot it anymore.)

Truth be told, I prefer it over the German Gew. 98 and the later K98 Mausers — in fact, I pretty much prefer it over any bolt-action rifle ever made.  Ditto the 6.5mm Swede, which when shot out of that 29″ barrel has a flat trajectory and due to its long bullet, boasts exceptional sectional density, which means it’s going to penetrate just about anything it hits, especially if it’s the steel-core Hirtenberg mil-surp ammo.


One of the actions the Swedish Army took over the years was to identify which of the rifles showed exceptional accuracy (out of a group which was already very accurate), and turn them into both scope-fitted sniper rifles (M41b) and designated “Target” rifles.  Here’s an example of the sniper version:

…and from Collectors Firearms, an example of the “Target” version:

The sniper rifle above was purchased for about $1,500 at Collectors (not by me, but by a Reader), but that was back in the early 2000s.  Gawd knows what it would sell for now, because the Target rifle as shown is going for just under $1,300 at the same Merchant Of Death.

Doesn’t matter.  It seems as though all bolt-action rifles of any quality sell for around a grand these days (aaaaargh), but I would suggest that this Target rifle is actually a bargain at that price — because it has proven accuracy and of course, being a Mauser, its reliability is unquestioned.

What a beauty, in every sense of the word.



  1. I need a rifle to fill the gap in my collection between 30 carbine and the .30 cals (.303 British, .30/06, .308) and I’d really like a 6.5 Swede or a 7mm-08. Unfortunately, few rifles are made in 6.5 Swede anymore with preference given to 6.5 Creedmoor. Plenty of 6.5 Needmoor ammunition around but very little 7mm-08.

    Craig Boddington wrote an article last year comparing the Swede with the Creedmoor and 7mm-08 with 7×57 mauser. Aside from a shorter action, he didn’t see much difference between the older cartridges and the newer ones in terms of ballistics I believe.

    I’m leery of newer cartridges because in the early to mid 90s when I started getting into firearms, I remember seeing the Winchester Short Magnums and the Remington Ultra Magnums come on the market then fizzle out. I remember .45 GAP. It now looks like .40S&W and .357SIG might be going through longer death throes as more people are choosing 9mm.

      1. I saw a Carl Gustav in 6.5×55 swede at a shop today. Unfortunately my funds are insufficient right now.

        I haven’t been serious enough to even kick tires yet.

Comments are closed.