April 12th, 2009

Baney Tests Multiple Powders in 6-6.5×47

Asst. Editor Jason Baney recently commenced load testing with our 6-6.5×47 Lapua project rifle. (Built as a dual-caliber, switch-barrel test bed, this gun also has a 6.5×47 barrel). Our goal at this stage is to find basic starting points and max loads for a variety of popular powders. This is important because the 6-6.5×47 is a wildcat cartridge and very little “official” load data is currently available from the powder makers. We initially hope to give our readers a starting point when loading for the 105-108gr class of BT match bullets. Later we’ll work up load points for both heavier and lighter bullets.

Baney 6-6.5x47 Lapua Benchrest

Thus far, Jason has tested 6 powders: Alliant Reloder 17, Hodgdon Hybrid 100V, Hodgdon H4350, Norma N204, and Vihtavuori N160 and N550. With these powders, Jason shot ladders with charges in 0.5 grain intervals. All initial testing was done with Berger 105gr VLD bullets. Jason will continue testing next week with other bullets, including 115gr DTAC, 107gr Sierra MK, 105gr Hornady A-Max, 95gr Berger VLD, and 80gr Berger FBHP. He will also try some faster powders (Varget and Reloder 15) with the lighter bullets.

Alliant Reloder 17Reloder 17 Very Impressive and H4350 Performed Well
Thus far, the most promising powders, in terms of velocity, accuracy, and vertical dispersion, have been RL17 and H4350. According to Jason, “N204 was also very intriguing, displaying tight vertical, but it showed a lot of horizontal–though it was windy during that testing phase”. Shooting ladder tests at 200 yards, RL17 exhibited very tight vertical over a wide velocity spread, and 4 out of 6 loads went into a 1/2″ group at 200. Max RL17 velocity in our 30″ Bartlein barrel was 3199 fps. H4350 topped out above 3150 fps, but some pressure signs appeared at about 3120 fps. To top 3100 fps with H100V, Jason needed a compressed load. Velocities with N160 were quite slow compared to the other powders, and N550 maxed out at 3095 fps.

CAUTION: Jason was shooting with a 30″ barrel and a strong, custom BAT action. You may not be able to achieve the stated velocities in your barrel. When we’ve completed testing we will publish suggested starting loads for these powders.

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