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Thread: Bofors RP3 surplus powder?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Question Bofors RP3 surplus powder?

    I'm sure that this is bit of a long shot, but does anyone on here have any experience with surplus military Bofors manufactured (Sweden) RP3 powder?

    I've been told that it was sold as a surplus military powder originally loaded in 7.62x51mm (.308 Winchester) ammunition contracts. I originally thought it was in about the burning rate of IMR3031 or IMR4064, but the burning rate chart puts it a bit slower than IMR4320 and a bit faster than IMR4350. (But of course I realize that performance and pressures with any smokeless powder can vary with differences in the volumes of cartridge cases.)

    Reasonable quantities of it were sold locally about 40 years ago and the long range .308 target shooters from my area loaded and shot a ton of the stuff in their 7.62x51 target rifles out to 1,000 yards. (Sportco's, converted No. 4 Lee Enfields and rebarreled P17 Enfields) I've fallen into a reasonable quantity of this powder and before I start experimenting with some test loads in .308 Win, .303 British, 8mm Mauser, etc., mostly with cast boolits of course, I just thought I'd ask if anyone here might have any experience with it?

    If not then I guess I'll let you know how I make out!
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Well, it looks like I'm on my own on this one. Over 70 views and nobody seems to have any experience with this old surplus Swedish powder? I'll just have to start low, work up slowly, and see what happens. I was thinking that I'd load the same powder charge in the same cartridge with the same bullet using IMR3031, IMR4064, IMR4320, and IMR4350 and then compare them all over the chronograph against the exact same charge weight of Bofors RP3. That should give me some idea of where it falls in burning rate and I can go from there.

    I'll keep you posted ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    TCLouis's Avatar
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    No info available from some of the "local" folks that used it in the past?
    Nothing is impossible for the person that does not have to do it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCLouis View Post
    No info available from some of the "local" folks that used it in the past?
    Sadly no ... pretty much all of those old timers who reloaded and shot with this surplus powder in our local BCRA long range rifle matches (British Columbia Rifle Association) 40 years ago are now long gone.

    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  5. #5
    hello!

    I think that many may have experience with this powder but don't know it...

    Bofors powders have not been sold directly to reloaders for some time, perhaps since your batch was made.
    It is sold in bulk to distributors who can and label it as their own.

    These distributors could have different standards for moisture content and allowable difference from the reference powder used but it is in every other aspect the same powder.

    with this said, RP3 is the same as Norma 203(old not B) Rotweil 903 and Rhino 16.

    it is listed as useful in 308 win with bullet weights from 110 to 200 grains.
    in 303 British with bullets of 150 to 215 grains.
    and in 8mm Mauser using 180 to 224 grain bullets.

    I hope this can be of some help!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Many thanks because yes, it does! I have several old Norma factory manuals from back in the 70's that include reloading data for the old Norma 203, so I can compare that data to several of the IMR powders and see how they stack up against one another.
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Powder Burn's Avatar
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    Sorry, this is the only Bofors I'm familiar with.

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    The meetings will continue until we find out why we can't get anything done around here. NRA Life Member, Illinois Rifle Assoc., Chillicothe Sportsmans Club.

  8. #8
    If you know they used it in 308 you're most of the way there.

    The military would never use anything faster than 3031 in a 308.

    Get some 150 gr bullets, try a starting load for a 180 w/3031.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Yep ... I'll be cautious and see how I make out with it ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  10. #10
    Boolit Man Gamsek's Avatar
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    Bofors RP3 surplus powder?

    Hi,

    Bofors is still making the powders for German Rottweil brand which is RWS/RUAG. See Bofors made in Sweden.


    Some data for .308 from their manual.





    From Norma manual. If you need data let me know, they list only203-B

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    I have some older factory Norma powder data pamphlets that will list the older Norma 203. Again, I'll be conservative and work my way up ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check