Alliant Reloder 17
Date: Dec 01 2009
Alliant recently released a new rifle powder called Reloder 17. The company claims this cylindrical (stick) powder meters easily and consistently while providing maximum velocity, even in extreme weather. It is primarily intended for short-magnum cartridges but will also work with medium rifle loads. Alliant claims Reloder 17 has a burn rate similar to IMR-4350 but with added velocity.
The Alliant website lists load data for 22 different cartridges from .223 WSSM to .338 Winchester Magnum. To test the powder using Alliant data, handloads were developed for the .243 and .308 Winchesters. Loads were also worked up for the .257 Roberts and the .264 Winchester Magnum, for which Alliant has no data. Before load development began, a test was conducted to see if Reloder 17 would meter more consistently than IMR-4350.
Using an RCBS powder measure, 10 charges of Reloder 17 and 10 charges of IMR-4350 were thrown and then weighed on an RCBS Chargemaster digital scale. Reloder 17 charges had an average weight of 28.62 grains with a maximum deviation of 0.5 grain. Using the same setting on the powder dispenser, IMR-4350 charges averaged 27.53 grains with a maximum deviation of 0.7 grain.
It appears Reloder 17 does meter more consistently than IMR-4350. Still, when working with maximum loads, setting your powder measure to throw a charge 0.5 grain under maximum might be a good idea. This is one reason I have become so fond of spherical powders like Ramshot Hunter, which also has a burn rate similar to IMR-4350. Generally, it will meter to within ±0.10 grain.
The first Reloder 17 loads developed were for the .308 Winchester using data from the Alliant website. This data is also available on LoadData.com. For a Speer 150-grain boat-tail soft-point (BTSP) bullet, the maximum load listed was 50.0 grains. The first cartridge was loaded with a 150-grain Swift Scirocco II bullet and 48.0 grains of RL-17. Resulting velocity was 2,763 fps. The same bullet ahead of 49.0 grains left the 26-inch barrel of a T/C Encore at 2,782 fps and 50.0 grains produced an average velocity of 2,863 fps, exactly 100 fps faster than the velocity listed in the Alliant data for the Speer bullet.
Switching to a 180-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, I worked up to Alliant’s maximum 180-grain bullet load of 48.7 grains. At that charge weight, velocity averaged 2,718 fps, 77 fps faster than what Alliant lists for a 180-grain Speer BTSP. All Alliant .308 Winchester data was developed with Federal 210 primers. My loads were put together with CCI Bench Rest primers.
Alliant’s .243 Winchester data is also available on LoadData.com. The maximum charge for an 80- grain Speer soft-point is 44.0 grains. Working up to that charge weight with an 80-grain Barnes Tipped Triple-Shock, the resulting velocity averaged a neat 3,400 fps, which was 38 fps faster than the Alliant data for the Speer bullet. Out of the same rifle, a New Ultra Light Arms Model 20 with a 22-inch barrel, the same bullet ahead of 46.5 grains of IMR-4350 averaged 3,336 fps – and 3,360 fps when loaded ahead of 47.2 grains of Hunter.
Alliant did not list data for a 90- grain bullet, but 46.8 grains of Ramshot Hunter produced a velocity of 3,190 fps with a 90-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip out of this rifle. Reducing that charge weight by about 10 percent, to 42.0 grains, produced an average velocity of 3,190 fps with Reloder 17. For what it’s worth, Nosler lists 43.5 grains as a maximum IMR-4350 load with this bullet.
.257 Roberts +P
Alliant has no data for the .257 Roberts, but out of my Cooper Model 22, 48.0 grains of IMR-4350 launches a 90-grain Sierra boat-tail hollow-point (BTHP) at just about 3,200 fps. Reducing that charge weight to 44.0 grains with Reloder 17, the resulting velocity was 3,266 fps. Several of these loads were placed in the freezer overnight, chilling them to about 30 degrees. This was done to test the temperature sensitivity of the powder. Point of impact at 100 yards did not change, but velocity was reduced by 133 fps with a standard deviation more than twice as high as it was with the 82-degree loads. Be that as it may, the chilled ammunition placed three shots in a group that measured 0.48 inch center to center!
.264 Winchester Magnum
Barnes Triple-Shock 120-grain bullets, when fired from my Remington Sendero .264 Winchester Magnum, ahead of 58.8 grains of IMR-4350 and a Federal 215 primer, will shoot one-inch groups all day long. Muzzle velocity of this load is 3,300 fps. Reducing by 10 percent resulted in an estimated Reloder 17 maximum charge of 53.0 grains. I started with 51.0 grains that produced a four-shot, 100-yard group measuring 0.51 inch. Velocity was 3,144 fps. Bumped to 52.0 grains, velocity jumped to 3,400 fps. The resulting five-shot group measured 0.36 inch center to center!