Historic Arms: The Swedish Mausers in 6.5x55mm — the crown jewels of Europe
By David LaPell
Swedish engineers with their m/96 mauser rifles.
The latter part of the 19th Century was a busy time for firearms development. All of Europe was beginning to rearm and replace their outdated rifles with one nation after another playing a lethal game of keeping up with the Joneses. In less than two decades, the entire continent would be engulfed in a war unlike anyone had ever seen before and even the more remote European nations were not immune to this ramp-up
In 1891 the Swedish-Norwegian Rifle Commission started working on a replacement for their obsolete Gevar m/1867 Remington Rolling Block. This gun had already been re-chambered from its original 12.7mm blackpowder round to 8x58R Danish Krag and the commission tested out a variety of cartridges and designs before choosing a 6.5mm (.264) diameter round. This was considered somewhat unusual at the time, even among countries who were leaning towards 7mm and 8mm diameter cartridges.
The new bullet was fit in a brass case that was 55mm in length and the commission made the decision very carefully, scrutinizing every angle of the case before coming upon a final design. Where Sweden and Norway differed was on their choice of rifle. Norway went with their