I’ve had great success with Ramshot’s Hunter Powder. It has been around for some time, and it still holds up!
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About Ramshot Hunter
I started using Ramshot Hunter about 10 years ago and was impressed with the velocities I saw it producing with 165 and 180 grain bullets from the .30-06 cartridge.
HUNTER is a double-base, clean burning, high performance propellant that is perfect for elk country cartridges such as the 270 Winchester, 300 WSM and 338 Win Mag. It’s the only spherical powder in the popular 4350 burn range making it an ideal powder for a wide range of cartridges. The excellent flow characteristics allow accurate metering and consistent shot-to-shot results. Made in Belgium.
Burn Rate charts are published annually and vary somewhat from year to year. The numbers go from the fastest burning powders to the slowest burning powders
Looking through Hodgdon’s reloading data center, I found interesting and useful loads for quite a range of cartridges from the new .22 Creedmoor up to the .338 Weatherby RPM. Such standards as the .243 Winchester, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .7-08 Rem, .30-06 and the .300 WSM were also included.
Here we see some of Hodgdon’s recipes utilizing Ramshot Hunter in a wide range of cartridges from the elk, moose and bear stomping 250 grain .338 Weatherby RPM, down through some useful general purpose cartridges and ending with a high velocity 6mm Creedmoor load using the respected 95 grain Berger VLD.
Under the Microscope
Using our digital microscope, Tyler was able to measure the powder grains of Ramshot Hunter as well as several powders with similar burn rates.
Ramshot Hunter consists of tiny round spheres which explains why it meters so well through a conventional powder measure. With good technique, very consistent powder charges can be thrown. This makes it particularly useful for handloaders using a progressive press and to those loaders like me, who simply enjoy using a conventional powder measure.
If you’ve used the older “stick” powders from a conventional powder measure, you may have run into problems such as bridging, or powder granules being cut with each stroke of the powder measure. In my experience, those problems are eliminated by the use of spherical powders such as Ramshot Hunter.
ELD-X Test Data
I used Ramshot Hunter with my favorite .30-06 hunting rifle, a 24” barreled Remington 700 CDL.
When I worked up to Hodgdon’s max charge of 60 grains, I found the 178 grain Hornady ELD-X was pushed to a remarkable 2860 fps!
For my hunting load, I backed that down to 58.5 grains and 2790 fps.
For comparison, it should be noted that the famous military load for the .30-06 was a 150 grain bullet going 2700 fps. Standard 180 grain factory ammo usually produces 2600-2700 fps.
Hunting with Ramshot Hunter
In 2020, Gavin asked me to try the 180 grain Berger Elite Hunter for my Washington state mule deer hunt. I turned immediately to Ramshot Hunter and quickly worked up a sub-MOA load and zeroed the rifle at 200 yards. A few days into the mule deer hunt, that bullet instantly dropped a good sized 3×3 buck at about 350 yards. Bullet performance was good and the Ramshot Hunter provided plenty of accuracy and velocity for the task.
I have also used Ramshot Hunter to load my son’s 6mm Remington with 95 grain bullets. He dropped a young mule deer buck on the same hunt. Ramshot lived up to its reputation of producing accurate, high velocity ammunition in the old 6mm Remington.
In January 2023 I used a similar load, but with the 178 grain Hornady ELD-X on an Oregon cow elk hunt. In such open country, I could only stalk to 405 yards before running out of cover, so I took the shot from a stable tripod in a stiff crosswind. That bullet broke the foreleg of a dry cow, shattering it really, before penetrating through the heart. Despite the injury, she did manage to run off a bit and I finished her at closer range with another shot. Again, Ramshot Hunter did well, giving the velocity and accuracy necessary for me to be confident about that shot with my simple rifle.
Ramshot is a very useful powder combining a great burn rate with the advantages of a spherical powder, meaning it flows nicely through a powder measure for consistent charges. It also packs densely in the cartridge case, enhancing accuracy. The burn rate is conducive to good velocity in a number of different cartridges.
Hodgdon mentions that Ramshot powders are somewhat sensitive to temperature extremes. I have used Ramshot Hunter only in hunting cartridges which were to be used in the cool and cold temps of fall and winter. The powder performed admirably in those conditions.
It appears to be best suited for use with medium to heavy bullets in quite a few well known rifle cartridges and offers excellent value for the money.
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