New Powders & Bullets

Fortunately, I hadn't fired any of my handloads before I talked to my source.

Speer's new Deep Curl bullet delivers maximum expansion and weight retention.

A few months back, I issued a flash report on new bullets coming soon from Speer and Federal. Well, I received some 180-grain, .30-caliber samples and tested them along with two recently introduced Nosler and Remington bullets. Again, Federal graciously tested my "standard" .30-06 handload of 57.5 grains of Reloder 19, so I could compare laboratory-tested pressure data with previously tested similar loads. The accompanying table suggests additional load development will almost surely deliver excellent results.

Alliant sent me a sample of the new Power Pro 300-MP handgun propellant. After reviewing their load data sheet, I concluded that 300-MP was similar to W296 and H110 but having a tad slower burn rate. I called Alliant's technical rep to confirm my conclusion. The company hadn't developed any .327 Federal Magnum load data yet, so, of course, that's what I wanted to load first. A generous charge (13.9 grains) propels 100-grain Hornady XTP bullets to approximately 1,200 fps from a 3-inch-barreled S&W Model 632 revolver.

Next, I planned to broaden my use of IMR-8208 with other cartridges. The .260 Remington and 6.5 Creedmoor were two excellent candidates, so I began prepping brass. Of course, because the new propellant hadn't been released yet, I assumed there wasn't any data available in Hodgdon's online Reloading Data Center.

When I'd talked to Hodgdon during the earlier IMR-8208 load development effort, I was told that its burn rate was just a bit slower than Hodgdon Benchmark propellant. Comparing the .223, .22-250, and 6mm PPC data for the two propellants, I concluded that to be true. So, applying a little comparative analysis of the Benchmark data, I assumed I could determine safe starting charges for the two new rounds I intended to load — a perfectly logical and well-reasoned assumption on my part, right? I proceeded to load several boxes using two different bullets before I heard from my contact at Hodgdon.

Never-ending supply of new loading components keeps the reloading editor busy.

Of course, you know what often happens when you assume something to be so'¦

Fortunately, I hadn't fired any of my handloads before I talked to my source. When I related what I'd done and waited expectantly for him to endorse my effort, he pulled up the RDC database (it was updated already with all of their 8208 data) and proceeded to pop my bubble. My starting loads were actually a grain or two greater than Hodgdon's maximum recommended charge weights for both rounds.

Thankfully, I'd only wasted a little time and nothing else more important.

Lesson relearned: A propellant's burn rate typically depends on the specific cartridge to be loaded. In this example, the relatively small case capacities of the .223 and 6mm PPC and nearly 100 percent load density puts Benchmark's burn rate a little faster than IMR-8208. Stepping up to the two 6.5mm rounds having similar but more than 50 percent greater case capacity, the burn rate pecking order is reversed; 8208 exhibits a "faster" burn rate than Benchmark in the .260 Remington and 6.5 Creedmoor.

I've been a careful handloader for nearly 40 years, and as you can see, I'm still learning. Just remember to always be careful while enjoying our hobby.

.30-'06 Load Comparison
BulletPP.C. (grs.)P (psi)E.S. (psi)S.D. (psi)V (fps)E.S. (fps)S.D. (fps)100-Yd Acc.
P = pressure, P.C. = Powder Charge, E.S. = Extreme Spread, S.D. = Standard Deviation, V = velocity
Federal* 180-gr. TrophyReloder 19 57.5 54,600 2200 900 2670 29 11 N/D
Federal** 180-gr. Bonded TipReloder 19 57.5 N/DN/DN/D 2633 10 41.10
Fusion* 180-gr. JacketedReloder 19 57.5 57,700 1300500 2751 2710N/D
Fusion** 180-gr. SoftpointReloder 19 57.5 N/DN/DN/D 2609 81291.65
Nosler* 180-gr. E-TipReloder 1957.5 52,600 3300 1300 2606 59 22N/D
Nosler** 180-gr. Tipped Copper AlloyReloder 1957.5N/DN/DN/D 2630 43 111.55
Remington* 180-gr. Ultra BondedReloder 1957.5 51,300 2800 1100 2616 4620N/D
Remington* 180-gr. Core-LoktReloder 1957.5N/DN/DN/D 2613 29101.65
Speer* 180-gr. Deep CurlReloder 1957.5 53,500 1400 100 2633 1561.40
Speer** 180-gr. JSPReloder 1957.5 N/D N/D N/D 2620 4212N/D
*Data from 5 rounds fired at Federal Cartridge Co. ballistics lab N/D---no data, i.e. not measured. **Accuracy and velocity results based on three 5-shot groups (100 yards) from a sandbag rest with velocity measured 8 feet from the muzzle.
Warning: The loads shown here are safe only in the guns for which they were developed. Neither the author nor InterMedia Outdoors assumes any liability for accidents or injury resulting from the use or misuse of this data. Shooting reloads may void any warranty on your firearm.

Federal is aggressively entering the component market.

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