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Case Histories: 5.66x50 Magnum

Case Histories: 5.66x50 Magnum

To clear the confusion, the country was West Germany in the late 1960’s and the objective was to create a cartridge with enough residual energy at 200 metres to legally take Roe (Reh) Deer. Here in England we can take Chinese Water Deer and the evil but tasty Muntjac with a .22 centrefire delivering more than 1000 ft/lbs from a pill of 50-grains or heavier. And that qualifies the DWM 5.6 x 50mm Magnum, the subject of this month’s investigation.

Grampa was a Remington

Although German, this cartridge can trace its’ parentage to an American favourite, the .222 Remington, aka the Triple Two. In an effort to enhance the performance of the original 222, Remington reduced the neck length to increase case capacity, launching the new model as the .222 Remington Magnum in 1957.

Whilst the .222 Rem Mag was soon lost in the race to develop what became the 5.56 x 45 NATO, or Remington .223, it became the inspiration for an unlikely European design. This was the 5.6 x 47mmR which in turn morphed into the 5.6 x 50mmR Magnum. Yup, there is an anomaly… the 1968 ‘R’ stands for rimmed! It was about a popular as a fart in a spacesuit but two years later evolved into the rimless 5.6 x 50mm Magnum. Not that this iteration took the hunting World by storm, being mainly chambered in shotgun/rifle drillings and sporting rifles by Heym… Frederick Heym being the co-designer with Gunter Freres of Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM).

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Performance? Well, the 50-grain SP delivering 3500+ FPS exceeded the hunting criteria that had been set but beyond German borders it never really caught the imagination of the hunting fraternity on either side of the Atlantic. Hornady list a two die set for the rimless subject of our review as have Lyman, Forster and RCBS/Huntington (a Special Order).

Supplies from EUROPE and beyond

RWS still catalogue both rimmed and rimless versions of the ammo, whilst brass is listed from makers for the rimmed version. I seem to remember seeing both Hirtenberger and Norma ammo but that was a few years ago. The .224” calibre ensures a massive range of bullet brands and weights are readily available. As one would expect, the cartridge employs a standard small rifle primer. Suggested propellants are mostly stock IMR, Hodgdon and Winchester, so home brew is trouble free. Data is published by Hornady, Hodgdon/IMR, COW and others.

As for suitable rifles, Krico and Heym have catalogued the calibre and a number of custom makers such as R J Harvey have built bolt action specials. As a comp, game or pest control calibre it has little to offer beyond novelty. As a collector’s item, the rifles are rare enough to be of interest.

 

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