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Thread: Hercules Reloader 21 and Cast

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hercules Reloader 21 and Cast

    I came across two unopened cans of Hercules Reloader 21 (I'll refer to it as H21) yesterday. I am using the same square can vintage of H2400 in the 45/70 with much success and expect this to be good powder once I unseal one.

    I would like to use this powder for is to push cast boolits, and maybe a few jacketed rounds out of the 35 Whelen for trial and fun. The research so far has shown that H21 is one number slower than Reloader 22. Some say drop a grain or two to extrapolate, others have mentioned use RL15 data, as it is faster than H21 and increase as necessary. Though there is published load data that I can find for the 30/06, I don't have load data for the 35 Whelen that I have found, yet. I used to have a Speer Manual #8 but haven't seen that since a move 10 years ago to consult.

    I do have an ancient Speer Manual #5 that my Grandpa used that has load data for the old Hercules Hi-Vel powder in the 35 Whelen, that is said to have been replaced by H21. Some sources say to use that data interchangeably. I would like to be directed to established sources before proceeding, though. Anything you fine gentlemen can pass on is greatly appreciated.

    Ignore the thumbnails for H12. That was another subject but they did not delete due to my ignorance.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    The Sierra manual from about 1971 would have data but not likely in 35 Whelen.

    Three44s
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  3. #3
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    Minerat's Avatar
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    I have the 1988 and 1993 Hercules reloading pamphlets. Neither has loads for Reloader 22 for a .35 Whelen or a .45-70. The closest powder is Reloader 15 in that series of powders. They don't even show 21.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Speer Reloading manual #8 has data for the 35 Whelen with jacketed bullets. No data for the 45-70 shown.

    Well, that was what the source I read was saying. Looking in the manual came up with nothing for the Whelen but it did show some other calibers. Sorry for the false positive.
    Last edited by Dusty Bannister; 07-18-2021 at 05:21 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    If you are talking about the 50 year old Reloader21 in the square metal can and the mixed colored powder granules......Lyman #45 has loads for jacketed bullets in some cartridges. There were only three back then; re7,re11, and re21. Listed from fastest to slowest.
    I'll see what is in there. I did use it in my 22-250 way back then and it wasn't the velocity or accuracy king in my 788 so I moved on.
    Edit, I see that it was called rx21- apologies.
    The closest thing I found to .35 Whelen is the 30-06 220gr data.


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    Last edited by Texas by God; 07-18-2021 at 08:40 PM.

  6. #6
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    I found that it fell between 4320 and H380 with the H380 being slower burning. There were loads in Speer #8 for both of those powders in the 35 Whelen but none for the RL21.

  7. #7
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    I appreciate your time looking this information up. Not sure how best to use the heavy 30/06 loads and powders to create safe loads for the Whelen but you've given me something to mull over. Maybe I'll use it for a 30/06 for a family member.

  8. #8
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    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    My Hercules Smokeless Powder Guide dated 1968 shows numerous loads in different cartridges for Reloader 21.......none for the 35 Whelen of course and none for the 35 Rem or the 358 Rem Mag. Hercules has three "RL" powders then (RL7, RL11 and RL21) with RL21 being the slowest burning.
    Larry Gibson

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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    With the same case except bullet diameter, if you load same weight bullets over a starting load, the larger diameter bullet will go a bit faster due to a wider base for the powder to push on.
    I understand the trepidation. When I was looking for data, I hoped that there would be some for the .350 Remington mag, as it has 35 Whelen capacity- but alas, no go.

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  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Taking what you gentleman have lent to this conversation I am understanding that if I load a 220 grain 35 caliber bullet with the 30/06 220 grain RL21 load data shared above with the 45 gr powder charge the 35 Whelen will achieve greater velocities than the 2,207 FPS that the 30/06 should expect. What, then, does one do when the 30/06 load data maxes out with a 220 gr bullet but the 35 Whelen easily accepts a 250 gr bullet, or more? Though I've read numerous articles of gun scribes successfully accomplishing this in years past, safely progressing in that direction is where I a bit perplexed about. Having studied reloading data for over 30 years shows that certain powders have more leeway between minimum and maximum charges than others throughout the various bullet weights. Slipping over into dark, unchartered waters that only fools dare to go isn't what I have in mind. Yet, for the knowledgeable this is not as hard as I can make it be, if a particular powder has the ability to be utilized in a similar manner than what it has been normally shown on paper.

    What I found out last night in researching this further was a very old Lee loading guide on a single slip of paper, the kind that comes with their dies. In that photo was load data for the 300 WinMag of 59 grains of Hercules Rx21 for 150 to 180 grain bullets. OK, if the 300 Win Mag can use it can the 338 Win Mag use it, just like 7828ssc is nearly interchangeable in those two cartridges? So far the internet search hasn't shown any old load for Rx21 for the 338. My mind says that I know it can work, but just how much variance is there between the 150-180 grain 30 caliber loading and the 225 grain 33 caliber bullets? I'm just not sure. But, as with the 35 Whelen vs the 30/06, I pretty confident it is viable. Hmm, much to learn.

  11. #11
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    Do you have a chronograph - velocity and pressure are directly related.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    Do you have a chronograph - velocity and pressure are directly related.
    Only if you are comparing the velocity of one load of the same powder to another load of the same powder using the same bullet, cases and primers.

    It does not apply if comparing the velocities of different powders even if they appear to have the same burning rate.
    Larry Gibson

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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    Only if you are comparing the velocity of one load of the same powder to another load of the same powder using the same bullet, cases and primers.

    It does not apply if comparing the velocities of different powders even if they appear to have the same burning rate.
    Thanks, Larry. I'll take this sound advise and forgo the desire to use this powder in a cartridge that has no loading data published. It would probably work, but I don't have the intensive background that you and others do cross referencing powders, bullet weight, bearing surface, case dimensions, burn rate and pressure windows to undertake the testing with confidence on my own. Talk about developing a serious flinch every time I go to pull the trigger on a ladder test. My heart says Rx21 will work just fine for the 35 Whelen, but my head points me to the comparison of Rx21 approved in the 300 Win Mag but not the 338 Win Mag in the old loading manuals. Looks like those I assist in reloading the 30/06 and the 300 WM will have the enjoyment of burning these two cans of powder. At least it was cheap to purchase and this has been a good exercise in researching the manuals again.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    I'm not near my data now, but IIRC RL21 is on the fast side. It does not fall in line with the others in the RL series. I think it is faster than RL19. If it is the same powder that I think it is, it works well in the 257 Roberts and probably the 6 Rem and 7x57

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