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  1. #1
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    Default Preliminary test results with Reloader 17 -updated 11/17

    This is Alliant's new powder made in Switzerland. 6mmbr has a great tech article on it here: http://www.6mmbr.com/reloder17.html

    RL17 is different in that the chemical that controls burn rate permeates the entire kernel, as opposed to previous powders where it's pretty much only on the surface. What the claim is for this powder is that it will allow for higher velocities with lower peak pressures because the burn rate has a flatter curve. Supposedly designed originally for the small caliber magnum rifles, it has seen a lot of testing in other calibers, such as the 6xc, 6.5x47, 6.5x284, .284, and .260 Rem. A couple guys I shoot long range matches with shooting the 6.5x47 are getting great results and have switched over to RL17 completely.

    So I thought I would give it a try in the 6.5x55 in my CG80 with a 26" barrel. I'm a big believer in the RL22 for this cartridge. I get very good accuracy at velocities of 2500fps to (at 90 degrees F) 2725-2750 fps using a Sierra 142gr SMK at a C.O.L of 3.125". The load at 2725 fps is what I use for 1000 yard matches and gets the bullet to 1000 yards with 30 MOA of come up from a 100 yard zero.That velocity is getting close to the max published limit for a small ring Mauser. So I thought if this new powder does as claimed, I could get more velocity without increasing the pressure. And hopefully still have good accuracy.

    Alliant lists a max load of 38.5gr RL17, out of a 24" barrel, shooting a 140gr Speer SP bullet with a Fed 210 LRP, giving a muzzle velocity of 2508 fps. Alliant gives a C.O.L. of only 3.000" for the Speer bullet. MUCH shorter than my standard load COL.

    Using the 142gr SMK at my normal COL, I started my load work up at 36.0gr and worked up to 38.5gr in .5 gr increments, and then in .2gr increments up 39.7gr. Since I only have 1 pound of powder to work with I only made up 3 rounds at each charge weight. The initial results were disappointing as to velocity. At 39.7gr I was only getting 2450 fps. There were NO signs of excess pressure at all on the brass. The primers had only a hint of flatness to them. I was shooting at a distance of 200 yards, and the vertical string from the lightest load to the heaviest load was about 6 inches, with a slight curve to the right as the load charge increased. The loads at 39.5 to 39.7 all grouped within 1-1/2".

    I figured the lower velocities than Alliant's data was probably due to my longer COL.

    I worked up another batch and went back out today, but was only shooting at 100 yards. Cooler than the previous trip, with temperature right about 60 degrees F. - Note: my range is about 200 feet ASL.
    I started this load group at 40.5gr, went up to 42.0gr in .5gr increments, and then in .2gr increments up to 42.6gr. At 41.5gr and 2500 fps I hit an accuracy node - all 3 rounds overlapped. At 42.4 - 42.6 I hit another accuracy node. All 6 rounds were inside a 3/4" paster. The velocity at those charge weights 2560 fps and 2575 fps respectively.

    I also fired some of my standard load for baseline comparison today. At today's temperature I was getting 2650 fps for a 5 shot average.

    Velocity is still 75 to 200 fps less than what I am shooting for. The max load I shot today actually grouped BETTER than my RL22 load. The brass still shows no pressure signs - no blown cases, no case separations, case measurement just above the case head is the same as my RL22 cases. The primers are still a lot less flat than my RL22 loads.

    My next work up will be 5 round groups starting where I left off at 42.6gr, and I'll work up to 44.5gr and see what I get. The velocity increases from one load to another seemed to be very linear. No sharp jumps as I've seen with some powders. Right now this powder looks very promising. As it is, I would have no issues using this powder at 42.6gr for my silhouette matches (out to 500 meters) if further testing gives the same accuracy results.

    One interesting thing I did notice. Normally at light loads, the case neck, and in some instances the case itself, will be heavily sooted, indicating the case is not expanding enough to give a good seal. With the RL17, from the lightest load to the heaviest load so far, there was minimal soot on the neck, and none on the case.
    Last edited by Pthfndr; 11-17-2008 at 11:02 PM.
    Rob Thomas - 6.5x55 was a REAL military cartridge before the .308

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    The Plains, Ohio
    Posts
    405

    Default

    Nice write-up, Pthfndr. Interesting too.

    I wonder why Alliant only lists the 38.5gr load and doesn't call it min/max. The only place I read that is in the disclaimer before you view the load data. It says "do not exceed the loads displayed..." Which is kinda saying it's max load. However, your data would definitely say otherwise!

    Have you contacted Alliant about this?

    metzgeri
    Words to be raised by: "I am I plus my circumstances"
    Words to Live by: "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance"
    Words to die by: "Arbeit Macht Frei" and "Molon Labe"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA. USA
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    145

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Metzgeri View Post
    Nice write-up, Pthfndr. Interesting too.

    I wonder why Alliant only lists the 38.5gr load and doesn't call it min/max. The only place I read that is in the disclaimer before you view the load data. It says "do not exceed the loads displayed..." Which is kinda saying it's max load. However, your data would definitely say otherwise!

    Have you contacted Alliant about this?

    metzgeri
    Could be the firearm they used has a tight chamber and short leade. Notice the COL they listed was only 3.00 inches. Sierra, even with their 140gr SP lists a COL of 3.050".

    My COL with the 142 SMK is seated so as to be close to the lands, and even though the 142 is in fact a longer bullet, the amount of bullet in the case is probably less than what Alliant used. Enough to leave more empty space in the case.

    Just as an example. I have a Tikka match rifle built on a 695 action, with a tight match chamber and short leade (was chambered to use the Lapua 139 Scenar). With the same 47.5gr of RL22 I use in my Swede with a 142 SMK, it spits out the 139 at a whopping 3200 fps when the ambient temp is 95 degrees F or higher. Accuracy was phenominal, but the bolt was a bit sticky.

    Once all my load testing is done, (I also want to test in my CG63) if there is still a large discrepancy I will be emailing Alliant.
    Rob Thomas - 6.5x55 was a REAL military cartridge before the .308

  4. #4

    Default coated or uncoated?

    Pthfndr - Nice load development. Bet it took a lot of time. I have had great results with H4895 and a 139 Lapua out of my M96 with Elite sights.
    BTW, were you using moly coated bullets or uncoated? (I prefer no moly)
    tx

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA. USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gunimp View Post
    Pthfndr - Nice load development. Bet it took a lot of time. I have had great results with H4895 and a 139 Lapua out of my M96 with Elite sights.
    BTW, were you using moly coated bullets or uncoated? (I prefer no moly)
    tx
    To quote a friend of mine, "I like my bullets like my woman, naked".
    Rob Thomas - 6.5x55 was a REAL military cartridge before the .308

  6. #6

    Default shooting Sacto

    Pthfndr - do you shoot the military silhouette matches in Sacramento? Seems like you are not too far away in the Sierra's.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA. USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunimp View Post
    Pthfndr - do you shoot the military silhouette matches in Sacramento? Seems like you are not too far away in the Sierra's.
    Yes I do. Of all the competitions I shoot I enjoy that one the best. I'm about an hour from the Sac Valley range.
    Rob Thomas - 6.5x55 was a REAL military cartridge before the .308

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA. USA
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    Round 3

    Back to the range today with some more loads. Different bullet though. I ran out of the 142 SMK so I loaded my alternate bullet which is the Lapua 139 Scenar. I've used it with the same RL22 powder load, and seated to the same COL, but the accuracy was not quite the same as the 142.

    RL17 is supposed to work best with the lighter bullets. Could 3 grains make a difference? Apparently it can.

    Today's temp when I started was 65, but quickly warmed up to about 70 (degrees F). I started my loads where I left off, at 42.6gr and worked up to a max load of 44.8gr in .2gr increments. The distance was 100 yards, shooting off the bench with sandbags. Wind today was less than 3 mph, at 12 o'clock.

    As to be expected, the lighter bullet yielded a slightly higher muzzle velocity (MV) at the starting load of 2700 fps. 25 fps more than the 142 SMK. Results were very pleasing. In the picture are the first 3, 3 shot load groups. The shot on the far right should have been with rest, but some numbskull chose that moment to shoot my target with his .22 and my eye got drawn to the new hole I didn't make just as I was breaking the trigger.



    I don't have a picture of the next series because my camera batteries died, so you'll have to take my word for how good they were. There were 4 groups, with loads ranging from 43.4gr to 44.0gr, with a MV of 2740 for the first group, and 2760 for the 4th group. All 3 groups measured less than 0.5 inches, with two of them being less than 0.375 inches.

    The last 4 groups were just as good. The first load was 44.2with a MV of 2815 - the biggest jump in velocity from one load to the next in all the testing so far. In the picture below it's the 3 shots on the right. I adjusted the scope 1/10 mil left and took 3 more shots - the 2 in the center, and the one at the lower left corner of the square, not a called shot so I don't know what happened. 44.4gr and MV of 2820 fps.

    I adjusted another 1/10 mil left and took the final 6 shots. The 2 down low and left were my fault and I called them. I jerked the trigger on one and the other I sat on the scope too long. But that one ragged hole is 4 shots. 44.6gr and 44.8gr respectively with MV of 2835 and 2856 fps.



    So far there are still no pressure signs, and in felt recoil is noticeably less than with the RL22 and 142 SMK. But I will stop here since this is a small ring Mauser and pressure limits for the action could conceivably be exceeded before the brass shows signs of excess pressure. I've reached the velocity I was looking for - 2800 fps, which is in the same territory as 260 Remington and 6.5x47 Lapua - and with good accuracy. I will make up 2, 10 round loads. One at 44.2 and one at 44.6 to confirm things and get good ES and SD numbers.

    If final testing gives the same results it looks like this powder bullet combo might give some new life to my CG80.
    Rob Thomas - 6.5x55 was a REAL military cartridge before the .308

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
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    923

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    Hmmm,

    I have been thinking about trying some RL-19 to compare to my RL-22 loads.. Now I have to go on a powder quest to look for some RL-17....

    Due to the recent powder and primer hoarding spree, things are rather thin on Alaskan gun store shelves...

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