Reload Swiss are the newest propellant brand in the U.K. Propellants have suffered with supply problems in recent years here. Varget – the powder choice for many became virtually unobtainable and many other popular powders became a little hit and miss regards availability. The Reload Swiss brand was therefore highly anticipated.. The rollout was fairly slow. The process of import/export for anything firearms related is awash with red tape, rubber stamps and DELAY. Luckily the Reload Swiss range is now readily available and we decided to test a few of their offerings here at GnZ.
Using an exotic rifle or calibre would not be of much real world use to the majority of shooters out there. With that in mind I chose the two calibres and rifles that I think will interest the majority. The Remington 700 in .308Win and The AR in .223Rem. In this article we will be using the Remington 700 .308 along with some RS52 propellant. The Rifle has a 26″ 1-12 twist Remington Varmint barrel. The rifle sits in a Manners T5 stock and in this first basic test was fired from the prone position off of a Harris bipod.
RS52 is touted as a single base powder (based on Nitrocellulose), however it has been “impregnated” with Nitroglycerine. Traditionally that combination would be regarded as a double base powder but I am guessing that the Niroglycerine being added at a latter stage in processing is the reason for the single base reference.
The granules are extruded (cylindrical) and run through the powder measure with ease (some extruded powders can cause your measure to jam momentarily which is a pain).
Of course the reason that propellants come in different shapes and recipes is down to burn rate. Different burn rates suit different calibres and firearms. The short barrel of a pistol will require propellant with different burn rate to a long barrelled rifle for example. Always check with the supplier or your reloading manual regarding powder selection for your chosen firearm and caliber.
RS52 is a rifle propellant which is highly recommended for use with the 7.62x51mm or .308Win. It will also work well for several other calibers and luckily Reload Swiss have a great website (link below) which details their recommended loads as well as loads used and verified by end users.
Load testing stage 1.
I took a look around for info on the Reload Swiss powders regarding data. The RS website had quite a lot. I cross referenced this with info from friends and forums. Never rely on one place for your load data. It is always good practice to cross reference all info which can help outline erroneous data before actually using it with possibly dangerous results. The information I am relaying to you here should only be used in conjunction with data from several other reliable sources. Also bear in mind that this is what worked safely and efficiently in my rifle, it may not suit your rifle.
I needed a rough range of charge weights to begin reloading for the load testing. The bullets I would be using are Lapua B476 170g Lockbases. They have performed reliably in the rifle before and I already had measurements for seating the bullet. Brass was also Lapua in .308 and the primers – CCI no.200. I loaded 3 rounds a piece stepping up in .2gr increments. The loads began at 44gr to a max of 46g. When shooting I start low and work up checking for pressure signs (stiff bolt, markings on the brass, primer distortions and so on).
At the Range.
I received an invite from regular GnZ contributor Turkish Raf to shoot with him at Bisley. This provides an opportunity to load test, meet a friend and spend a pleasant afternoon.
We set up at the 200yd range on short Siberia (a 100yd and 200yd range over the far side of Century). The weather was glorious considering the time of year, hardly any wind at all and the Sun shining.
I like to shoot groups for load testing as it is an excellent training tool. I settle down into the prone position and shoot off a bipod rather than a bench rest set up. I do that because it keeps me very focused and it has taught me to call my shots with good accuracy. I concentrate deeply on the fundamentals of shooting – position, breathing, trigger release and follow though. I strive to keep it all consistent.
Raf and I took half the target each and I set up a number of dots. I would be shooting 3 rounds at each dot. This gives a pretty good idea of where the sweet spots or “Nodes” are regarding charge weight. Altering the powder charge produces a change in the harmonics of the barrel which can improve accuracy or decrease it. Obviously we are looking for the charge weight that most improves accuracy.
ignore the smaller holes.. These were from a .223 with iffy windage!
I am looking for groups below 1MOA in size. At 200yds this equates to 2″ or smaller. Most of the groups were around 2″ which I had expected. I checked for pressure signs on both case and primers. Nothing noticeable and the bolt continued to run smoothly (a sticky bolt is usually the first sign of high pressure). The real magic happened in the upper charge weights on test. At 45.6grn the group cloverleafed. It translated to around .3MOA which is a very nice group in anyones book.
Overall I was very pleased with the performance. In the next load test I will step up in .1gr increments from 45gr. The testing will be done with a Chrono and the best 2 loads will be selected for further testing at longer range.
RS52 gets a thumbs up for now…
Reload Swiss – http://reload-swiss.com
Dealer – www.acpshooting.co.uk