Saturday, July 07, 2012

Reloder 15

If you're a reloader, assembling metallic cartridges, you've probably got a can of Unique on your bench.  Marketed by Alliant powder, it's a staple of the pistol cartridges.  I trust Alliant powder, having used them since I began reloading in the mid '70s.  I've burned a bunch of Red Dot, Herco, Blue Dot in shotshell loads and Unique and Bullseye in pistol loads.

When I began casting about for a rifle powder for the .308 several years ago, I first looked to Alliant.  Scrolling down through the powder list, I came upon their webpage for Reloder 15 and saw this little blurb. 
Selected as the powder for U.S. Military's M118 special ball long range sniper round.
Well, hell, if the Army is using it for sniper ammo, that's good enough for me. I've long used surplus military powder in other cartridges, particularly the .30-06. So, I bought  a jug and commenced to load .308 cartridges with it.  It's an extruded propellant, a stick powder, but it meters relatively well.  I normally set my measure to drop the charge just a little light, and trickle up to the preferred weight.  However, when I'm using RL15 and get my Lyman 55 set, the thrown charge is really, really close to what I want to use.  Most of the time, trickling isn't necessary.

As I used it more, I became aware that it shares many properties with other great powders.  At #97 on the Hodgdon Burn Rate Chart, it falls in with a number of good mid-range powders, like IMR 4064 and Hodgdon Varget.  If the Army uses it, I can be assured that it's relatively temperature stable.  And when I loaded it in the .308, it turned it wonderful accuracy.   So much so that my go-to load for the .308 is 43.0 grains of Reloder 15 under either a 150 or a 168 grain bullet.  That load isn't in the top of the velocity range, but it is wonderfully accurate in the four .308s that my family uses and it's been as accurate in the few other rifles I've fired it through.  If a .308 won't shoot that load, look at the gun, or the scope, or the shooter.  It's a great load, and one of my pet loads.

The other day I was casting about for a .30-30 powder and pulled down my manuals.  Reloder 15 was listed in several of them.  "Really?" I thought.  So, I loaded a few and gave them a whirl in my Winchester 94.  Not bad at all.  I'm getting older and my eyes aren't what they used to be.  I still use iron sights on my lever rifles, but the RL15 load turned in better accuracy than I've been getting from both of my other pet loads in that caliber.  Interesting stuff.

This morning I went to the Alliant website again and looked at the calibers where RL15 has an application.  From .17 Remington to .458 Lott, there is a load listed with that powder. Thirty-eight (38) calibers listed with an application. I'm no fan of the Alliant website, and it takes a while to learn to use it to best result, but it's easy to see that Reloder 15 is very versatile.  I reload for about 12 different calibers and RL15 will cover all the bottleneck cartridges I currently load for.

If you're casting about for a mid-range rifle powder, you could do worse than to give Reloder 15 a look.  It's been good for me for several years, and it has the PawPaw seal of approval.

1 comment:

Termite said...

It is my "go-to" powder for Momset 9.3 x 62 loads.