Reloading 6.5 Creedmoor with Reloder 16 (RL16) and the 142 and 150 Sierra MatchKing (SMK)

Reloading 6.5 Creedmoor with Reloder 16 (RL16) and the 142 and 150 Sierra MatchKing (SMK)

I’ve heard some great things about Reloder 16 (it isn’t reloader, note the spelling) in the 6.5 Creedmoor.  Notably, impressive velocity performance with relatively low standard deviation and low extreme spreads.  I decided to give it a shot (sorry about the bad puns fellas) and work up some preliminary loads for the 142 SMK and 150 SMK.

Here are some of my favorite 6.5mm Sierra bullets.  From left to right, the 123 SMK, 130 TMK, 140 SM, 142 SMK and 150 SMK.  While I like them all; of the 6.5 bullets Sierra makes, the 142 and 150 are my favorite heavies.  I’ve done some work with both of these and H4350 and have been quite pleased with the results.

Before we start working with reduced loads, please take the time to read the following disclaimer:

WARNING: The loads shown are for informational purposes only.  They are only safe in the rifle shown and may not be safe in yours.  Consult appropriate load manuals prior to developing your own handloads. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

This is my 6.5 Creedmoor test gun.  I built it with parts from Brownells, including:

All the parts; the barrel, chassis, scope and trigger, work well together for a nice shooting rifle but I decided it was time for a chassis change (you’ll note the AICS AX above).  I ordered up a Modular Driven Technologies ESS!

Tell me this isn’t one great looking rifle (check out the ESS at MDT here)!  Of course, this barreled action has been a hammer with my reloads.

For comparison purposes I shot 5 rounds of Sig Sauer factory 140 SMK and it produced the best group I’ve shot with that ammo to date, in any rifle!

Before I fired this group, the best one I got was around .7, with average accuracy hovering closer to the 1MOA mark.

Back to the reloading…

I worked up a series of 5 different loads for the 142 SMK and 150 SMK.  The charges I’m using here should only be considered safe in this test gun.  Sierra actually publishes data for RL16 with the 6.5 Creedmoor and both bullets I’m using here.

I’m using Norma brass and Russian primers.  All shooting was conducted prone from a bipod with rear bag. Target distance was 100 yards.  Velocity data was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel mounted ballistic chronograph.

My results are shown below:

You’ll note a few things:

  1. FAST!  Velocities are extremely good.  With H4350 my highest safe velocity in the same gun was 2768 feet/second in warmer weather.  With RL16 I was able to approach the 3,000 feet/second mark; however, it was cold and my loads were getting pretty hot.  I would say 2,950 is a good number to work off of for a 27″ barrel. With H4350 I was able to reach velocities of 2,773 feet/second.  With RL16 I was able to beat these velocities (again, in much colder weather) by over 100 feet/second with a load at 2,880 feet/second.  Wow!
  2. Consistent.  The standard deviations were low, most were single digit!
  3. Not as precise as H4350.  For these loads with this guns the precision (that’s a better word than accuracy) wasn’t there.  For both loads average 100 yard 5-shot group size was 1.063″ (1.015 MOA), this is in stark contrast to the bug holes this rig shoots with H4350 or even Trailboss.

RL16 does seem to work better in the Creedmoor than RL17.  I’ll be doing some more load development with RL16 and reporting back!

You can order Reloder 16 powder at Brownells.