Military Wiki
6.5×54 Mannlicher-Schönauer
6,5x54 Mannlicher Schönauer.jpg
Type Rifle
Place of origin  Austria-Hungary
Case type Rimless
Bullet diameter .264 in (6.7 mm)
Neck diameter .295 in (7.5 mm)
Shoulder diameter .428 in (10.9 mm)
Base diameter .452 in (11.5 mm)
Rim diameter .454 in (11.5 mm)
Case length 2.11 in (54 mm)
Overall length 3.00 in (76 mm)
Case capacity 44.5 gr H2O (2.88 cm3)
Rifling twist 1 in 9"
Primer type Large Rifle
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
139 gr (9 g) Norma 2,510 ft/s (770 m/s) 1,950 ft·lbf (2,640 J)
159 gr (10 g) RWS 2,460 ft/s (750 m/s) 2,160 ft·lbf (2,930 J)
Test barrel length: 17.5
Source(s): Factory advertised velocity

The 6.5×54mm Mannlicher-Schönauer also known as 6.5×54 Mannlicher-Schönauer Greek is a 6.5mm (.264" cal.) rifle cartridge used in the Mannlicher-Schönauer rifle. 6.5mm bullets are typically known for their high ballistic coefficients and sectional density, which gives them great stability in flight, resistance to wind deflection, and excellent penetration.


Walter Dalrymple Maitland "Karamojo" Bell, who shot more than 1,500 elephants[1] in the period 1895-1930, had a very high regard for the 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer, using it for approximately 300 of these kills.[2] Daniel Fraser of Edinburgh, Scotland built him a special, lightweight rifle in that calibre. He only set it aside when he was unable to acquire dependable ammunition for it, and turned to a .275 Rigby Mauser magazine rifle instead. The .275 Rigby cartridge is interchangeable with the 7×57mm Mauser. Bell's legendary name has remained closely linked with the 7mm Mauser, but the 6.5 Mann.-Sch. was his first preference.

The American cartridge, the .257 Roberts also demonstrates many of the virtues of the 6.5×54mm. The .257 Roberts was originally designed as a wildcat cartridge by Ned Roberts, and is based on the 7x57mm cartridge. Note that the 6.5×54mm shoots a .264" bullet.[3]

The 6.5×54mm was referred to by the writer Ernest Hemingway as the .256 Mannlicher. Though it never replaced his favorite .30-06 Springfield, he did speak highly of it as a lion cartridge, and it was the favorite of his African guide and professional hunter Phillip Percival.[4] The Kenya game warden and naturalist A. Blaney Percival also favored the 6.5×54mm.[5]

In part, the 6.5×54mm's reputation stems from its use of a 160-grain (10 g) bullet, giving the projectile very high sectional density and therefore penetrating ability. It requires a fast rate-of-twist rifling (about 1 in 9") to stabilize such a long bullet.

Military Use[]

The 6.5×54mm Mannlicher-Schönauer cartridge was adopted by the Greek Army, along with the Mannlicher-Schönauer rifle in 1903. From 1906 until the German invasion and capitulation of Greece in April 1941, was the standard military cartridge of the Greek Army. During the German occupation was used by Greek resistance fighters and during the Greek Civil War (1946 - 1949) by the Greek Gendarmerie, militia units and even Communist fighters of the Democratic Army of Greece. During the Civil War, Carcano rifles captured during World War II were also converted to 6.5×54mm Mannlicher-Schönauer and used by Greek forces.[6][7]

The Austrian Army used the 6.5×54mm Mannlicher-Schönauer cartridge during World War I. Some Austrian Army regiments and the Polish Legion, were armed with confiscated Mannlicher-Schönauer rifles produced for the Greek Army. Also the Austrian Army used the 6.5×54 Mannlicher-Schönauer cartridge in converted 6.5×50mm Arisaka rifles captured from the Russian Army.


  3. Ganyana, "The 6.5 X 54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer," African Hunter 5 (February, 1999)
  4. Ernest Hemingway, Hemingway on Hunting (NY: The Lyons Press, 2001)
  5. A. Blaney Percival, A Game Ranger on Safari (London: Nisbet & Co., 1928)
  6. Christos Sazanidis (Χρήστος Σαζανίδης), Arms of the Greeks (Τα όπλα των Ελλήνων), Thessaloniki (Θεσσαλονίκη), 1995
  7. Hellenic Army General Staff / Army History Directorate (Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού / Διεύθυνση Ιστορίας Στρατού), The armament of Greek Army 1868 - 2000 (Οπλισμός Ελληνικού Στρατού 1868 2000), Athens (Αθήνα), 2000

See also[]

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