Robert Whitley recently received some of the new Alliant Reloder 17 powder. He was able to test it in his 6XC, 6.5-284, and his .284 Winchester. Robert’s results with all three calibers were remarkable. First, he confirmed German Salazar’s findings that RL17 offers big velocity gains in the 6XC. Second, very importantly, Whitley found that RL17 allowed him to drive 180gr Bergers at 3000 fps in his .284 Win. That represents a gain of about 150 fps over his “max load” with other powders. Robert reports: “I just got back from the range and chrono-tested three rifles with RL17 using 5-shot chrono sequences. My results are presented below.”
|WARNING: This report lists experimental findings based on a new powder for which very limited official load data is available. Always start low and work up in small increments. For a multitude of reasons, the SAFE velocities you might achieve in YOUR rifle may be substantially lower than the numbers listed here.|
Rifle #1: .284 Winchester with 180gr Berger VLDs
.284 Winchester Prone Rifle built up by Warner Tool Co. with Masterclass Stock, Barnard Action, Broughton 1:9″ twist 5C barrel (31.5″ long).
All loads used neck-turned, Winchester-headstamp .284 brass, CCI BR-2 primers, and naked (non-moly) Berger 180gr VLD bullets seated .010″ in the lands:
51 gr RL 17 – Mean Velocity 2881 fps, ES 17, SD 7 – No pressure issues at all
52 gr RL 17 – Mean Velocity 2953 fps, ES 19, SD 7 – No pressure issues at all
53 gr RL 17 – Mean Velocity 3003 fps, ES 25, SD 10 (Slight sticky bolt lift on 3 rounds – this is about top end for my liking but I would not hesitate to shoot it however if it turns out to deliver good accuracy).
Big Speed Gain with Reloder 17 in .284 Win
RL 17 clearly enables me to run the Berger 180s easily 125-150 fps faster that I normally was able to shoot them with H4350 and H4831SC in this rifle. My previous load ran around 2825 – 2850 fps with the Berger 180s and that was about all I could get out of it.
Rifle #2: 6.5-284 with 140gr Berger BTs
6.5 x 284 Prone Rifle built up by Warner Tool Co. with Masterclass Laminate Stock by Carl Bernosky, Barnard Action, Bartlein 1:8.5″ twist 5R rifled barrel (31″ long).
All loads used neck-turned Lapua 6.5 x 284 brass, Fed 210M primers, and naked (non-moly) Berger 140gr BT Thick Jacket bullets jumped .010″:
48 gr RL 17 – Mean Velocity 3035 fps, ES 17, SD 7 – No pressure issues at all
49 gr RL 17 – Mean Velocity 3078 fps, ES 25, SD 11 – No pressure issues at all
50 gr RL 17 – Mean Velocity 3130 fps, ES 35, SD 12 – No pressure issues at all
51 gr RL 17 – Mean Velocity 3185 fps, ES 17, SD 6 (Sticky bolt lift on 4 rounds – this is about top end for my liking but I would not hesitate to shoot it however if it turns out to deliver good accuracy).
Bear in mind my typical loading with this rifle is 48 grains of H4350 with a Fed 210M primer and the Berger 140gr BT Thick Jacket bullets (no moly) jumping .010″. This H4350 load runs 2987 fps and has sticky bolt lift on just about every round.
Nearly 200 fps More Velocity Using RL17 with 140s in 6.5-284
In this rifle, Reloder 17 clearly enables me to run the Berger 140s almost 200 fps faster than I normally was able to shoot them with H4350. My previous H4350 load ran around 2987 fps with the Berger 140s and that was about all I could get out of it.
Caution — The 6.5-284 already has a reputation as a barrel burner. We can’t predict the long-term effects of using RL17 and shooting 150-200 fps faster, but the higher velocities might cause barrels to wear even more quickly.
Rifle #3: 6XC with 107 SMKs and 115 DTACs
6XC Prone Rifle, MAK Tube Gun kit with Remington 700 short action glued in, Pac-Nor 30″ 1:8″ twist barrel (conventional 4-groove) chambered with an earlier design 6XC reamer (i.e. .275 neck, .090″ free bore and one and a half degree throat angle).
All loads were with Winchester 22-250 brass prepped via the Medler method and pre-fireformed to 6XC, BR-2 primed and loaded with either naked Sierra 107s jumped .020″ or DTAC 115s jumped .020″.
38 gr RL 17 (Sierra 107s) – Mean Velocity 2995, ES 34, SD 14
39 gr RL 17 (Sierra 107s) – Mean Velocity 3114, ES 19, SD 7
40 gr RL 17 (Sierra 107s) – Mean Velocity 3204, ES 32, SD 11
38.5 gr RL 17 (DTAC 115s) – Mean Velocity 3031, ES 45, SD 19
Comment: There were no pressure signs with any of the 6XC loads. With RL 17 I was shooting naked Sierra 107s at 3200 fps with no sticky bolt lift. My prior loading with this rifle was with 40 gr of N160 shooting Moly Berger 105 VLDs and above about 2950 fps I used to get sticky bolt lift so I stayed around 2950 fps. The primers with the 40 gr loading with Sierra 107s were flattening out a bit but there was never any sticky bolt lift with any of the loads. I suspect if I used the Russian primers that I typically use with my other 6mms, the ES and SD numbers might tighten up a bit.
Big Velocity Gain with DTAC 115s in the 6XC
Previously with this barrel and the DTAC 115s I could never get them over about 2875 fps without very excessive pressure, but with RL17 there were no pressure issues at 3031 fps. That’s a gain of +156 FPS and there may be more room above that.
Superior Velocities with Reloder 17 Confirmed
Generally speaking, my results confirm that German Salazar’s results with this powder were not an anomaly and that this RL17 powder is really quite different than the propellants we have previously been using in the shooting community. RL17 really takes both the .284 Win and 6XC to whole new performance levels, previously unattainable. Is RL17 a “miracle powder”? I don’t know, but it sure seems to be pointing in that direction.
|Previous wind drift @ 1000 (10 mph)||RL17
|RL17 wind drift @ 1000 (10 mph)|
|.284 Win, 180 Berger VLD||2840 fps, H4350||55.25″||3003 fps, RL17||50.42″|
|6.5-284, 140 Berger BT Thick||2987 fps, H4350||61.55″||3185 fps, RL17||55.56″|
|6XC, 107 SMK moly||2950 fps, N160||73.14″||3204 fps, RL17||64.77″|