Alliant Powder Reloder TS 15.5
Date: Sep 28 2023
I’m always delighted to test new powders, not because there is anything wrong with the older formulas we have trusted for decades, but because I’m curious to see what additional benefits might be gained. Reloder TS 15.5 is the newest release from Alliant Powder, and after using it in a multitude of loads for the past year or more, I can highly recommend it for a wide variety of cartridges. Reloder TS 15.5 includes an intermediate burn rate sitting, predictably, between Reloder 15 and 16, exceptional temperature stability (the TS in the name), and a de-coppering agent to keep bores clean longer.
The Swedish-made powder has proven excellent in cartridges as varied as the 223 Remington and 224 Valkyrie with heavy bullets, 22-250 Remington, 6mm Creedmoor with light bullets, and 308 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield hunting loads. It provides good load density and very low, extreme-velocity spreads.
In the 223 Remington, Reloder TS 15.5 is most compatible with bullets weighing from 75 to 85 grains. Shooting Speer 75-grain Gold Dot bullets from my Remington Model 700 VTR SS (pelt-shooting coyote loads) or parts-build AR-15 (hog loads), Reloder TS 15.5 provided velocities on par with or slightly faster than Winchester StaBALL 6.5 and Accurate 2460, with Shooters World Precision Rifle and Vihtavuori N540 edging it out slightly for velocity. It provided very consistent accuracy.
With Hornady 80-grain ELD Match and Nosler 85-grain RDF bullets – single fed in my parts-build AR-15 with 1:7 rifling twist – the powder produced top velocities with maximum loads, matching powders like Hodgdon CFE-223 and Norma 203 B. Accuracy was also pretty good, the Nosler RDF producing a .58-inch group at 2,427 feet per second (fps), with every load tested producing accuracy adequate for hog hunting.
Reloder TS 15.5 might be considered ideal for the 224 Valkyrie, especially in the longer barrel of my bolt-action rifle. From the 24-inch barrel of a Franchi Momentum Varmint, shooting Sierra’s 77-grain Tipped MatchKing, Reloder TS 15.5 provided velocities equal to Shooters World Long Rifle and Hodgdon Varget, but overall better accuracy. From the same rifle, shooting Hornady’s 88-grain ELD Match, Reloder TS 15.5 gave up 70 to 80 fps to Hodgdon CFE 223 and Ramshot Big Game, though accuracy was much better with the Alliant product.
My parts-build AR-15’s 22-inch barrel showed slight velocity losses to Hodgdon 4895 and Shooters World Long Rifle with Speer’s 75-grain Gold Dot, and slight velocity loses to Winchester StaBALL 6.5 shooting Federal’s 90-grain Fusion bullet. It equaled Hodgdon Superformance’s velocity with the heavier bullet, while also providing much better accuracy than StaBALL 6.5 or Superformance.
I mention results while developing loads for the new 224 Grendel only because it is a cartridge gaining serious momentum with PRS and varmint shooters and destined to become quite popular. Testing included a custom Upriver Precision Arm’s chassis rifle assembled for PRS competition. Shooting Rocky Mountain Reloading’s (RMR) 75-grain 3-Gun Hunter, Reloder TS 15.5 matched the velocity of new Winchester StaBALL Match, and bettered the velocity generated by IMR-8208 XBR, while providing the best overall accuracy. With Hornady’s 80-grain ELD Match bullet, Reloder TS 15.5 equaled Hodgdon’s Varget and bested Hodgdon’s 4350 for velocity, while providing markedly better accuracy – including a .15-inch, three-shot group.
Reloder TS 15.5 performed respectably from the 22-250 Remington, holding its own against many proven powders. Shooting my 26-inch barreled customized Mauser ’98, both Remington’s 50-grain PSP and Hornady’s 50-grain V-MAX showed a 75 fps advantage over Accurate 2460 and Hodgdon CFE 223, plus decided accuracy gains.
More recently, shooting a wider range of powders from a Winchester Model 70 Long Range MB with 24-inch barrel, Speer 50-grain TNT and Sierra BlitzKing bullets combined with Reloder TS 15.5 gave up 75 to 95 fps of velocity to StaBALL Match and 6.5, CFE 223 and Accurate 4064, so the extra 2 inches of barrel of my Mauser-based rifle seem to have made a difference. Reloder TS 15.5 provided no accuracy gains to this point. Shooting Nosler 55-grain Tipped Varmageddon bullets from the Winchester, Reloder TS 15.5 essentially equaled the velocity of Shooters World AR Plus and beat slower-burning Reloder 16 by about 300 fps. Accuracy remained equal with all powders shot with the 55-grain bullet, though extreme velocity spreads were slightly lower with Reloder TS 15.5.
In the 243 Winchester, Reloder TS 15.5 is compatible with only lighter bullets – my single experience with a Barnes 80-grain Tipped TSX BT shot from a Hardy Hybrid Rifle with 1:8 rifling twist. Reloder TS 15.5 provided an almost 100 fps velocity advantage over Hodgdon 4831sc, but lost about 100 fps to Accurate 4350. That said, Reloder TS 15.5 proved most consistently accurate, including very low extreme velocity spreads. As I neither own nor have access to a 243 Winchester, no further tests were feasible.
Reloder TS 15.5 proved more useful in the 6mm Creedmoor, also while shooting lighter bullets. Since I’ve experienced a few instances of bullet failure from my Ruger Precision Rifle’s fast rifling twist, I choose tough monolithic copper bullets to ensure reliability during testing. My test included Barnes’ 80-grain TTSX BT and long-for-weight Hornady 90-grain CX with red polymer tip and boat-tail. I had never shot bullets this light from my Ruger Precision Rifle, so had nothing to directly compare these loads with, so I was forced to seek close approximations.