Previous research showed that mid-infrared free-electron lasers could reproducibly ablate soft tissue with little collateral damage. The potential for surgical applications motivated searches for alternative tabletop lasers providing thermally confined pulses in the 6- to-7-µm wavelength range with sufficient pulse energy, stability, and reliability. Here, we evaluate a prototype Raman-shifted alexandrite laser. We measure ablation thresholds, etch rates, and collateral damage in gelatin and cornea as a function of laser wavelength (6.09, 6.27, or 6.43 µm), pulse energy (up to 3 mJ/pulse), and spot diameter (100 to 600 µm). We find modest wavelength dependence for ablation thresholds and collateral damage, with the lowest thresholds and least damage for 6.09 µm. We find a strong spot-size dependence for all metrics. When the beam is tightly focused (~100-µm diameter), ablation requires more energy, is highly variable and less efficient, and can yield large zones of mechanical damage (for pulse energies>1 mJ). When the beam is softly focused (~300-µm diameter), ablation proceeded at surgically relevant etch rates, with reasonable reproducibility (5% to 12% within a single sample), and little collateral damage. With improvements in pulse-energy stability, this prototype laser may have significant potential for soft-tissue surgical applications.