Alliant Power Pro Rifle Powders
Date: Oct 07 2011
New powders seem to arrive on the market almost daily. However, many handloaders are set in their ways and content to continue using established powders, but experimenting with new powders often pays big dividends in increased velocity and better accuracy compared to old standbys. In that spirit of discovery, I carried out tests with Alliant’s new Power Pro Varmint, 2000-MR and 4000-MR spherical rifle propellants made in America. I’m glad I did because some of the loads listed on the Alliant website (alliantpowder.com) under the “Reloader’s Guide” heading stepped up the speed of my .220 Swift and provided great accuracy across the board in the .223 and .22-250 Remingtons and .243 Winchester.
Power Pro Varmint Light Rifle
The majority of the Varmint kernels are spherical-shaped, but some are larger, flattened and have a disk shape. A varmint hunter might shoot upwards of 500 rounds a day, which requires a lot of time at the bench to handload. That time can be reduced significantly by setting a powder measure to drop the intended powder charge and then dumping the powder directly into a case – if the powder drops from the measure at a uniform weight. Power Pro Varmint varied in weight 0.1 grain one time from 37.6 grains for five charges from my old Ohaus Du-O-Measure powder measure. So with that peace of mind, I’ll save hours at the bench loading Varmint in .223s and .22-250s.
My .223 loads with Varmint came up about 150 fps short of the velocities Alliant states. Accuracy, though, was excellent. My Savage Predator Hunter .223 has been shot a lot over the years, sending ground squirrels and marmots to that clover patch in the sky. Still, it shot a .54-inch, five-shot group at 100 yards with Varmint powder and Berger 40-grain Flat Base Varmint bullets and an .86-inch group with 52-grain Flat Base Target bullets. I flinched on the trigger and flipped the fifth 52-grain bullet out a bit of what otherwise would have been a .43-inch group.
Varmint also shot well in the .22-250 Remington. From a Cooper Firearms Model 22, Sierra 50-grain BlitzKing bullets grouped .38 inch. That rifle has been a great shooter since the day I got it years ago. I wonder if the Cooper, clamped in a fixture to remove all aiming errors, would put five of the BlitzKings in one tiny hole with Varmint powder? Varmint also shot a tight .80-inch group with Berger 55-grain Flat Base Varmint bullets. The group had a horizontal string to it; I wonder if that might have been caused by the extreme velocity spread of 102 fps for the five shots?
Power Pro 2000-MR Medium Rifle
Power Pro 2000-MR reduced velocity spread quite a bit with the Berger 55-grain Flat Base Varmint bullets in the .22-250 Remington and shot a tight, round group measuring .45 inch.
The 2000-MR powder provided the highest velocity with 55-grainbullets I have recorded from the 26-inch barrel of a Winchester Model 70 Varmint .220 Swift. Alliant states 3,921 fps with the Hornady 55-grain V-MAX and 41.0 grains of 2000-MR. The Berger 55-grain Flat Base Varmint bullets averaged 3,834 fps with the same powder charge from the Model 70. The previous 55-grain bullet velocity champ was the Combined Technology 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip with 45.5 grains of Reloder 19 for a velocity of 3,730 fps. I had to use a drop tube to get all that Reloder 19 in a case. The 41.0 grains of 2000-MR, though, fit in a Swift case with a bit of room to spare.