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Thread: I'm a believer!

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    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    Default I'm a believer!

    So, after reading so many good reports about RL17 I figured I'd get a pound and give it try in a couple of my rifles. I never expected the results I got.

    The two rifles I took out were my Browning A-bolt Stainless Stalker in 300 WSM and the other was a Browning A-bolt 270 Win.

    To introduce the 300 WSM, it's a solid shooter and a good combination of H4350 and a quality 180 grain bullet would usually get me to 2980 fps with a tight group around a half inch or so, I could push it more, but the groups opened a bit and truthfully I was pleased with 2980.

    To start the day I shot a couple groups with my standby load of H4350 with a 180 gr Nosler E-tip. Everything went as expected. Good group that averaged 2982 fps. After the barrel cooled I shot an equivalent load of 65.5 gr of RL17 and the velocity instantly jumped to 3060. The group was below average for this gun at about an inch.

    The next set I bumped the charge to 66 gr of RL17 with the same E-tips. Velocity jumped again to 3085, but this time the group shrunk to 1 single tattered 3 shot hole. I wasn't seeing any pressure signs and things were just getting better as I went, so I bumped the charge up again.

    Not knowing what to expect I fired 4 shots loaded with 66.5 gr of RL17 again with the 180 E-tip. Velocity came out at 3108, with 3 of the 4 shots duplicating on velocity, and the accuracy was spectacular. Again no pressure signs. I ran out of time to bump up any more, but I doubt I'll push it any further. ES was 3 fps. When you run into a load this cherry you tend to stick with it. I attached a photo of this group for you all to see.

    The 270 was close to the the same story. I shot a group with the standby H4350 load and a 140gr Accubond. Everything was as expected. I took the same approach with this rifle as the 300WSM. Start with the H4350 data and work up. I ended up safely pushing the 140 Accubond with 55gr of RL17 to an average velocity of 3140 with a decent 3/4" group.

    My 300 WSM components are:
    180 Grain Nosler E-tip .523 BC
    Reloder RL17
    CCI 250
    Norma Brass
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG00043-20100612-1559.jpg  

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Good job Brent. One thing I've noticed in the rifles I've used RL-17 in is how clean it burns. Even the fired cases are clean, no black residue. I can still see brass in the cases with just a slight discoloration.

    Did you have the same cleaner burn as well?

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    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Good job Brent. One thing I've noticed in the rifles I've used RL-17 in is how clean it burns. Even the fired cases are clean, no black residue. I can still see brass in the cases with just a slight discoloration.

    Did you have the same cleaner burn as well?
    I didn't notice. I was looking closer at the case head to make sure everything was on the up and up.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Before I got too wild about any powder I want 8 lbs kegs. I hate to work up loads and not be able to load a lot of ammo with that powder and not know what the load will due. One pounds are great to work up a load, but 8 lbs means you don't have to do it again for a while.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Before I got too wild about any powder I want 8 lbs kegs. I hate to work up loads and not be able to load a lot of ammo with that powder and not know what the load will due. One pounds are great to work up a load, but 8 lbs means you don't have to do it again for a while.
    Yes Sir! I'm with you on the 8 lbs. It's nice to load a lot of ammo with the same lot. That said, RL-17 looks like it could be a winner in multiple calibers. .375 Ruger and .243 Win. are next in line.

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    Nice shootin Brent!
    I have liked RL-17 from the get go.
    I also hate to have diff lots of same powder - may not make a dimes worth of difference on a live critter at 100 yards ( about 95 % of my shots are that or less ) but it still keeps the confidence level in your load better...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    Nice shootin Brent!
    I have liked RL-17 from the get go.
    I also hate to have diff lots of same powder - may not make a dimes worth of difference on a live critter at 100 yards ( about 95 % of my shots are that or less ) but it still keeps the confidence level in your load better...
    Thanks Randy. It's always fun to find a new load that performs better than the last one. It's like falling in love with your rifle all over again.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    It's when they change lot numbers on you that the troubles all start. I really like the RL-17 some few years ago, but have never seen any kegs of it yet. If I can't find kegs I just don't want to deal with single pounds, unless they are all the same lot number, which unless you deal with a wholesaler it's hard to do.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentC View Post
    Yes Sir! I'm with you on the 8 lbs. It's nice to load a lot of ammo with the same lot. That said, RL-17 looks like it could be a winner in multiple calibers. .375 Ruger and .243 Win. are next in line.
    Brent if it helps for a starting point I had a good work out with the 375 Ruger and RL-17 under a 300gr Barnes TSX.

    COL 3.372 in my chamber puts the ogive at .055 off the lands. That was my starting point, additional depths were tested after charge weights were evaluated.

    77.2gr 2562fps
    77.9gr 2585fps +23fps good group
    78.6gr 2611fps +26fps
    79.3gr 2635fps +24fps
    80.0gr 2662fps +27fps most velocity per 0.1gr of charge, worst ES/SD. Not sure about that correlation.
    80.7gr 2677fps +15fps
    81.4gr 2690fps +13fps best group
    81.9gr 2697fps +07fps best ES/SD, 7/4

    I stepped up in .7gr increments until reaching 81.4gr then a .5gr step and I called it quits. 80.7gr shows the knee of the curve but zero issues showed with primers, necks, lifts, etc...

    The following seating depths were checked:

    Ogive / COL / Lands

    2.712 / 3.297 / .125 off
    2.737 / 3.322 / .100 off
    2.762 / 3.347 / .075 off
    2.787 / 3.372 / .050 off
    2.812 / 3.397 / .025 off

    Best load in my rifle was:

    RL-17 @ 81.5gr @ 2728 FPS
    Hornady Brass trim 2.572
    CCI 250
    Barnes TSX 300gr, BC .357
    COL 3.347
    Ogive 2.762, .075 off the lands


    Hodgdon publishes data with another 300gr bullet. They list IMR-4350 max at 79.8gr and IMR-4831 max at 82.5gr. My load fell right between at 81.5gr, I consider that a max load in a 20" barrel. I believe a longer barrel would require a lighter charge.

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    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    Thanks for the fabulous information!

    I've got a lot of plans for my 375 this year. I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

    I've had great luck with the 270 TSX, and the 300 TSX is something I'll probably try. I also think I'm going to try to take advantage of the better BC of the 260 Accubond and see if I can safely push it to 2950 fps. I'm having Leupold put the CDS elevation system on the scope so once I settle on a load I'll have them etch the dial. I'm curious to see how well I can get it to perform out past 400 yards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    It's when they change lot numbers on you that the troubles all start. I really like the RL-17 some few years ago, but have never seen any kegs of it yet. If I can't find kegs I just don't want to deal with single pounds, unless they are all the same lot number, which unless you deal with a wholesaler it's hard to do.
    Unfortunately, It's pound by pound for me. Now that I know it works I went back to the store to pick up the remaining supply from the same lot.

  12. #12

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    I've noticed that in Alliant's reloading data, they put the max load for RL17 about 5k higher in pressure than the max loads for RL22 and RL19. That right there is the difference you see in speed.

    Pretty clever marketing..

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    I've noticed that in Alliant's reloading data, they put the max load for RL17 about 5k higher in pressure than the max loads for RL22 and RL19. That right there is the difference you see in speed.

    Pretty clever marketing..
    It's not as easy as upping pressure to get velocity. There comes a point in load development when the extra charge increases pressure with minimal change in velocity.

    On paper it may appear to be a marketing scheme, in fact, I thought it was until I used it. I've used several different powders, to include RL19 and RL22 and both displayed excess pressure at about 80 fps less velocity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    I've noticed that in Alliant's reloading data, they put the max load for RL17 about 5k higher in pressure than the max loads for RL22 and RL19. That right there is the difference you see in speed.

    Pretty clever marketing..
    High pressure aside, you could never get enough 19 or 22 inside a 300 WSM case to push a 180 grain E tip past 3100 fps.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentC View Post
    It's not as easy as upping pressure to get velocity. There comes a point in load development when the extra charge increases pressure with minimal change in velocity.

    On paper it may appear to be a marketing scheme, in fact, I thought it was until I used it. I've used several different powders, to include RL19 and RL22 and both displayed excess pressure at about 80 fps less velocity.
    It's not on paper. I use both. I certainly don't stop gaining velocity at 54k.

    BTW, how much pressure do you think you are generating to get a 180 to 3100 out of a 300wsm?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    BTW, how much pressure do you think you are generating to get a 180 to 3100 out of a 300wsm?
    It's not just pressure...

    You could get max pressure out of an ultra fast pistol powder but your velocity would be much slower, I hope you understand why.

    It's about optimizing the burn for your combination. RL-17 has a wide burn curve and keeps accelerating your bullet rather than peaking fast and letting the bore drag slow it down before it reaches the crown. If it happens to be a better powder for your combination then you get more speed than other peaky powders in the same neighborhood.

    Consequently a slower powder that doesn't complete it's burn prior to the bullet exiting the crown will be a flame thrower. It too will have a slower velocity because the powder didn't fully accelerate the bullet in the bore prior to exiting.

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    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    It's not on paper. I use both. I certainly don't stop gaining velocity at 54k.

    BTW, how much pressure do you think you are generating to get a 180 to 3100 out of a 300wsm?
    54k? I don't stop gaining at 54k either. 54k loads are generally considered starting loads and nowhere near max in a WSM. Factory loads aren't even that low. Max loads will usually end up somewhere between 60,000 and 65,000.

    BTW I don't see where Alliant is printing pressure data comparing their different powders. Can you provide a link?

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentC View Post
    54k? I don't stop gaining at 54k either. 54k loads are a good starting point and nowhere near max in a WSM. Factory loads aren't even that low. Max loads will usually end up somewhere between 60,000 and 65,000.
    That's my point. A lot of Alliants published "max" loads for '22 and '19 aren't a true max,and you have room to venture higher up the ladder. They are about 54-55k in my experience. For RL17, they list the true max. (60kish) I've tried to go above what they publish on their website, and it resulted in flat primers and stiff bolt lifts.

    So.. Federal runs their WSM's rather hard. I often can't keep up with them, no matter what powder I'm running. Your 180gr load is 120ish fps faster than them. Wear your safety glasses..

  19. #19
    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    So.. Federal runs their WSM's rather hard. I often can't keep up with them, no matter what powder I'm running. Your 180gr load is 120ish fps faster than them. Wear your safety glasses..
    Just because they are faster than Federal factory loads they're unsafe? I've made my point perfectly clear throughout my posts. RL17 produces higher velocity than previous standard powders, it's no secret. Do some more research and see what you find. If you still don't believe it, then by all means keep shooting your loads, but before you start claiming "unsafe" I suggest you work some loads up with RL17 for yourself and see what velocities you get.

    There are many things that will happen before the rifle starts flinging parts, and you eluded to it earlier. Stiff or locked bolts, flattened primers, etc. My rifle shows none of these signs and I was testing in 100*F heat in Texas. If they're safe at that temp I'm pretty sure I can take them most anywhere and still have a safe round.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    That's my point. A lot of Alliants published "max" loads for '22 and '19 aren't a true max,and you have room to venture higher up the ladder. They are about 54-55k in my experience. For RL17, they list the true max. (60kish) I've tried to go above what they publish on their website, and it resulted in flat primers and stiff bolt lifts.

    So.. Federal runs their WSM's rather hard. I often can't keep up with them, no matter what powder I'm running. Your 180gr load is 120ish fps faster than them. Wear your safety glasses..
    I've run 2 loads of Fed ammo through my 300 WSM ( Blue box 180 SP's and 180 AB premiums, both ran about 2990, give or take, in my rifle as well as H4350 pushing 180 E-Tips, (which are supposed to pressure out quicker than other bullets).

    Using the "same pressure signs", repeat... the "SAME presure signs", RL 17 pushed the 180 E-Tips 200 fps faster than H4350 and the Fed fed loads. Now that may not be everyone's experience, but it IS my experience and others. It had similar results (200 fps increase in velocity) in my 25-06 with two different bullets vs Retumbo and H1000.

    RL17 IS a different kind of powder. And........ it is just as consistant and accurate as any other powder on average, if not more so. I can push 110 AB's at 3500 fps and 115 Nosler Balistic Silivetipts at 3400 fps ihn my 25.06 with .5 MOA accuracy (give or take) out to over 200 yds.

    A picture of last Fall's buck antelope taken at 280 yds with a 115 BST with a muzzle velocity of 3400 fps. My aim point was the crease of the shoulder, mid body.... you be the judge...






    Entrance wound under the hide...



    Eixt wound....



    A very flat and accurate load in this rifle.... and the primers were no more flat than Retumbo pushing the same bullet 200 fps slower.

    As to the suggestion that Alliant is using higher P-max with RL17 for marketing, I have found Alliants data to be conservative with RL17.

    Now I'm not saying that everyone will see the same resultsi in their rifle, but this is IN FACT what I have experienced and from what I read, so have others.

    You can take it or leave it FWIW

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