I know, I've swore off Encores twice already, and now here I am waist deep in them again. I am a Contender guy for sure, but when something interesting pops up for an Encore, it calls to me my precious. That brings us to the topic at hand. Some of you may have seen this barrel posted for sale on Ebay a short time ago and wondered who the schmuck was that won the bid...me! I already have a SSK barrel in 6.5x55 Swede, but when I saw the fluting and 2 port M-N-P on the Improved one, I just couldn't resist. Kinda like a big mouth bass going after a spinner bait. I decided that even though it was an SSK barrel with bells and whistles, I wasn't going to go too high with my bid. After all, I wanted a bargain. It wasn't until after I submitted my bid that I began my research on the chambering. Looked impressive, just short of a 6.5-284. Then the search for the things I needed to load for it. Dies, brass, and bullets. I had some Hornady 120 grain A-Max bullets that I was going to use in my JDJ or Grendel but had decided against them before I even started. I would sacrifice them for fire forming the brass. I still had an unopened package of Win 6.5x55 brass that would get me started. So far, so good. I started checking the usual places for dies, Midway, Midsouth, etc. No luck, not even listed. Finally found some at Graf's. That's the most I have ever paid for a set of dies! If you gotta have them, well you gotta have them. Loaded up some fire form loads with the bullets seated out to engage the lands and went to the ranch to sight it in. Got it zeroed at 50 yards and the 120 Hornady's were clocking 2530 fps with the cases coming out perfectly formed. That leads me to the reason for the post. I need some help choosing powders and bullets. I would like to squeeze as much velocity as I can with a hunting bullet. I will probably only shoot deer and hogs, but would like a couple bullet choices that would handle just about anything within reason. No target shooting, except informal. Anything ya'll could pass on concerning this would be appreciated.