Saturday, 15 March 2014

JMS ARMS MAE 6.5x47 Lapua Shorty

This rifle review blends both the desire for a short and very functional deer stalking rifle and combining it with a new versatile round and then utilising the fully sound suppression system if possible.
A tall order you might say but the new 6.5x47 Lapua MAE Shorty is just one such rifle that has proven itself this last year on targets and in the game fields.

A great deer or fox rifle

Small is indeed beautiful


This rifle (developed by JMS ARMS) blends both the desire for a short and very functional deer stalking rifle and combining it with a new versatile round and then utilising the fully sound suppression system if possible.

A tall order you might say but the new 6.5x47 Lapua  MAE Shorty is just one such rifle that has proven itself this last year on targets and in the game fields.

This is a custom build item but Julian from JMS Arms can arrange any similar rifle to be made in any spec you like, within reason. What you get is a very short highly practical rifle for use as a woodland stalking tool, 4x4 fox gun or discreet pest control tool.

Reducing barrel length is always a contentious issue, sometimes a calibre is very efficient with a short barrel such as the .308 whilst others like the .22-250 bleed fps. I have not reduced a 6.5 x47L cartridge before so it would be interesting. This cartridge was chosen for its amazing accuracy and consistency to deliver and retain down range energy.

Specification Sheet

What a nice rifle, short, purposeful and very solid feeling, the sort of rifle that just screams to be used for real life hunting scenarios.

This rifle was based around the Benchrest quality actions from Stiller Precision and incorporates a TAC 30 action perfectly sized for the .308 sized cartridge range and gives a Remmy clone but at far superior tolerances. There is a spiral fluted bolt, tactical bolt handle and knob and stainless steel in manufacture with the choice of trigger and bottom metal being left to you.This was blacked which is practical and gives a really nice contrast against the stainless steel MAE moddy.The barrel was a Shilen Select Match stainless steel with a No 4 profile and having a 1 in 8 twist rate and a five groove rifling.The exterior of the barrel was brightly polished to reduce carbon build up due to the integral moderator and the muzzle thread similarly finished. 

Most importantly was the overall length of only 14 inches, we dived straight in at 14 inches as a primarily run through of my reloads into Quickload ballistics program looked promising.

To this a MAE IMS (Integrated Moderator System) was fitted. The outside diameter is 38mm with an overall length of 19 inches. This fits over the barrel and all the way down to the receiver ring. Here twin shallow grooves are cut into the radius of the barrel which locate the two “O” ring that seal the rear of the moderator from the expanding gases. This is because the IMS vents back over the entire barrel profile so greatly enhancing the moderators working volume. In front of the muzzle is a solid blast baffle followed by ten baffles. This provides a uniquely quiet firing cycle.

The stock is one of Julian’s (JMS ARMS) favourites, a Bell and Carlson Tactical unit. Finished in crinkle matt black it is very sturdy in construction, not your usual flimsy plastic affair. The B&C has an aluminium backbone that fills the entire central section of the stock with the synthetic stock moulded around it. This forms an ultra strong chassis, true a bit heavy but once the action is fitted it forms a reassuring solid bedding area which can only enhance accuracy.

The design has a very prominent pistol grip for an upright hold and the cheek piece is adjustable for height via two Allen screws. You can use this stock right or left handed.

The butt pad is a four way adjustable unit so if you cannot get the length of pull, rake, cant or height right then you are not women born.

The forend has a dropped and widened grip area and Julian had the top section shallowed to accommodate the IMS moddy that can be fitted and removed with the stock on.

Although this rifle wears a standard Remington floor plate you could have a Badger, Third Eye Tactical etc as desired with increased magazine capacity.

All in the rifle weighs around 10.5 lbs and the overall length is 40.25 inches, like I said short and very sturdy, me likes.

To finish off a 20 MOA Stiller one piece scope mount with a Weaver type fitment was secured and this rifle then wore a variety of scopes, best of all was the incredible Zeiss / Hensoldt 6-24x74mm scope.


The 6.5x 47L round is very interesting. It is an ultra efficient case compared to similarlarger sized rounds of the .243/.308 case family. The 6.5x47L is loaded to 2.795 inch OAL and as such will fit nicely into a short action rifle, ideal for “Shorty”. It is not a fussy round and can shoot 85-140 grain bullets with ease, heavier bullets defeat the object of the round. Medium burn rate powders such as Reloder RL15 or RL17, Varget, Vit N150 or N540 work very well. Normally a 120-130grian bullet will achieve velocities in the region of 2850-3000 fps dependent on barrel length but how will a short barrel fare?

One real appeal of any 6.5 calibre rifle is the superb aerodynamics of the bullets available in this calibre. This equates to excellent down range retained energy compared to a bullet of the same weight but differing diameter. 

A normal load of 38.0 grains of RL 17 powder behind a 140 grain bullet like the Hornady SST bullet can achieve a velocity of 2700 fps but from a 24 inch barrel. Or 2850 fps with a 120 grain bullet using a load of 38.0 grains of RL15 powder.

14 inch barrels are another thing, see the results table.

There are Lapua factory loads available but I choose the reload route to maximise burn rate to short barrel length ratio, hopefully!



Bullet Make

Bullet weight
Bullet Type
Reload data
Muzzle Velocity fps
Muzzle Energy Ft/lbs
38.0gr of Benchmark
2839 fps
1700 ft/lbs

2854 fps
1724 ft/lbs

Pro Hunter
40.0gr RL17
2520 fps
1692 ft/lbs

41 gr
2574 fps
1765 ft/lbs

2643 fps
1862 ft/lbs

2713 fps
1961 ft/lbs

40.0gr RL17
2499 fps
1706 ft/lbs

2554 fps
1781 ft/lbs

2622 fps
1877 ft/lbs

36.0gr Vit N150
1672 ft/lbs

37.0 gr
2387 fps
1772 ft/lbs

35.0gr Varget
2364 fps
1738 ft/lbs

2397 fps
1786 ft/lbs

36.0gr Vit N150
2405 fps
1580 ft/lbs

38.0 gr
2456 fps
1647 ft/lbs

40.0 gr
2524 fps
1740 ft/lbs

Field Use

It proved that Quickload and QuickTarget ballistics program works as the predicted, results for that short barrel were very close, thank god, that`s an expensive barrel.

From the get go you can see the 6.5x47L case is a very efficient little number. Those speedy little 95 gr V-Maxes, ideal for fox sped along at 2854 fps with 38.5 grains of Benchmark power for an equally impressive 1724 ft/lbs, so deer legal in England and Wales also.

The 120 -123 grain bullets really shine and whether you go the hunting bullet route or full blown long range projectile style either way that short barrel spits them out very well.

The 120gr Sierra Pro Hunter are a great design and the starting load of 40 gr of RL 17 powder , which was mild gave 2520 fps for nearly deer legal 1692 ft/lbs. Increasing this a tad to 41 grains elevated the velocity to 2574 fps and bingo 1765 ft/lbs and also deer legal in Scotland. 43 grains of RL17 was top load but most accurate was the 42 gr load with three shots all touching at 100 yards.

You can switch to the 123 gr Lapua Scenars if you want a good long range load and best through this riflewas the a recipe of 42 grains of RL 17 powder for 2622 fps and 1877 ft/lbs and again less than 0.5 inch groups.

Alliant RL 17 power is my favourite for the 6.5x47L round but I tried some different powders for the heavier 140 grainHornady SST bullets. 37.0 grains of Vit N150 worked well with 3387 fps and 1772 ft/lbs although Hodgdon’s Varget powder bettered it with only 35.5 grains for 2397 fps and 1786 ft/lbs. In Scotland you need 2450 fps and 1750 ft/lbs and 100 gr minimum bullet for large species, so the lighter 120gr bullets are the way to go.

Finally I tried some slower Vit N150 from the Scenar 123 grain bullets as well, accuracy was good but velocity was a bit down compared to the RL17 powder. 40.0 grains produced 2542 fps and 1740 ft/lbs energy


Ballistics and targets are one thing but hunting is another. 

The muzzle report with all loads was incredibly muted, a dull compressed “throng” almost hiss. In fact out Fallow stalking across wide open fields in Sussex the bullets impact from neck or heart shotwas the loudest noise!

This gives the Shorty a very good stealthy attitude and allows you to shoot more than one deer if culling is necessary without spooking the game or land owner.

It is very portable, yes a tad heavy but it isn`t going to break easily, trust me and this means you can man handle it in and out of 4x4 vehicles and really get on with the job of stalking without fear of causing any damage.

This just proves that some cartridges respond well to short barrels and the 6.5x47L here work extremely well. You could of course have a 14 inch barrel and a muzzle can fitted, not as quiet as the IMS system but still plausible.I reckon the muzzle velocity reduction per inch is around 30 fps from these results, pretty damn good.

Cost indication varies between £2500 and £3500 depending on chosen package.

Target rifle accuracy

The perfect hunting rifle 

TAC 30 Action

Three  6.5 x 47 rounds on the left and a 308 round on the right

Ballistics analysis sheet from Quickload

Image showing  MAE Moderator removed

A successful days hunting
Bell & Carlson stock

Bell & Carlson Stock - with view of aluminium bedding

                                      6.5x47 Lapua MAE Shorty  with one of the many scopes we tested

A very useful bit of kit  - the Gametransporter

By Bruce Potts

To order your 6.5x47 Lapua Shorty (IMS) Contact:

· Julian at JMS Arms on 07771 962121

· Or email Julian on

· Subject of email: 6.5x47 Lapua Shorty (IMS)

Download the Brochure: JMS ARMS 6.5x47 Lapua Shorty IMS

Article and images by Bruce Potts

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