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Hi looking at forster dies for my 6.5x55 tikka t3 ,they list 6.5x55 swedish and 6.5x55 skan two different sets of dies, what's the difference and what one should I get ?


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I always thought they were the same with the scan loads being loaded to higher pressures for modern rifles. 

I don' know why they list two different types of die.

I always used Redding 6.5x55 Swede dies in my sako rifles. 

Best thing to do is email forster and ask them what the difference is and ask them which they recommend for your rifle. 

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There are minor chamber spec differences between the two versions. The SKAN chamber was developed  prior to the  adoption of the Sig Sauer STR-200 standard Scandinavian competition rifle in 1990. It had been found that in Scandinavian international matches where organiser issued ammunition is the norm that there were minor differences in case dimensions between the participants, especially Norway and Sweden. This was apparently caused by historic differences between the various 6.5X55 manufacturing national arsenals' original interpretation of the allowed tolerances of a common set of drawings back in 1894 and which had been perpetuated right up to the  1980s. What it meant was that a Norwegian shooter's rifle might have difficulties in chambering Swedish issued ammunition say, or a Swedish shooter's rifle might not shoot as well as that of a Norwegian competitor due to slightly excess headspace (or whatever!) with Norwegian issued ammo. So SKAN sorted this out and there is now one chamber and one case drawing with common and well understood tolerances.

If there is a difference in SE and SKAN dies, it will be very small. Some people have said that if a case has been fireformed in a long chamber, the SKAN dies won't always bump the case-shoulder back enough to allow it to chamber in one with minimum headspace. Whether that's true or not I can't say ......... but it's not an unknown occurrence in any events with other cartridges and some makes (or even individual examples ) of full-length sizer dies.

So far as pressure goes, there are three sets of standards - original Swedish military for M1894 / 96 / 1938 rifles and their equivalents in other Scandinavian countries. US SAAMI which is 46,000 CUP (Copper Units of Pressure) based on the now obsolete copper crusher pressure measuring method - roughly 51,000 psi using modern strain gauge methods, and 3,800 bar / 55,114 psi from the CIP for the 6.5X55mm SE for modern rifles in good condition. The SKAN designation doesn't change any of the others in this respect. Viht's loads for '6.5X55mm Swedish Mauser' probably don't exceed 45,000 psi (and I suspect may be nearer 40,000 psi levels) whereas the second table for '6.5X55mm SE / 6.5X55mm SKAN' are based on the CIP allowed pressure and MVs are given in three barrel lengths, these being the standard options on STR-200 match rifles. In the case of older US handloading manuals, the older cautious low pressure standard was the norm for many years. However, in recent editions, it has become quite common for full modern pressure SE based loads to be shown and it is very important to read the notes accompanying the cartridge information to see which standard  is being used and if it is the higher pressure SE/SKAN one, what recommendation is given for charge reduction if you're loading for a historic service rifle or old Remington Rolling Block.

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16 hours ago, stephentri said:

Thanks Laurie, so  in a Tikka t3 would it be best to go with the Swede dies?


On the face of it, it would appear so. I'm really intrigued by this - that is, is there a difference between Forster's two models, and if so exactly what? I might email the company and ask. 

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Got a email today from forster about the dies.

Thanks for contacting us about this, year ago there were numerous chamber prints used in Europe.  The SKAN chamber print was to unify everyone.  The data we have been using, since 1989, have two differences between the SAAMI Swede and Skan.  One is that the base of the brass i s.003" smaller on the SAAMI Print.  Th other is that (when calculating the different datums) the SKAN has a .0016" longer headspace.

Hopefully this is helpful to you!

iam still not sure what die to get can anyone help. 

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Ha, Ha! - you and me both as I also emailed Forster and got the same reply from Scott Kempel.

The headspace issue is interesting - hence the rumours that SKAN dies sometimes cannot 'bump' case shoulders back enough. The 'Swedish' version of the die is going to size the brass more than the SKAN, both in reducing the lower case diameter more and in bumping the shoulders more when set at the default die bottom-touching-the-shellholder setting.

It is therefore the 'safer' option in one sense in that it will size the brass to fit any chamber. That's the upside.

The downside risk is that it may 'over-size' cases. At the very least checking the case shoulder to chamber 'fit' will be very important to avoid bumping the brass too much and running with excessive clearance / headspace. (Frankly, one should do these checks and proper die adjustment anyway with any cartridge, but it becomes even more important in situations like this where there are variations in chamber and die dimensions.)

The other way of looking at it is that nearly everybody uses US manufactured dies and that they are dimensioned to SAAMI specifications unless there is no SAAMI set available - as in the 6.5X47mm Lapua that only has CIP dimensions. Other than the Forster 'SKAN' version, everybody has been using US made and therefore presumably SAAMI 6.5X55mm dies for a long time without problems whether they're loading for a 6.5X55mm Norwegian Krag, Swedish Mauser service rifle, or a modern 6.5X55 SE spec rifle.



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