Well, I haven't completed my test loads yet. Still have a few powders to consider but the reason I built this 6.5-284 was to use the 140 VLD bullet class and so far, using the go-to powders among those more experienced than me, my 24" bbl isn't cutting it. Again, I still have a few powders to try. The following powders just didn't cut it: H1000, Retumbo, H4831SC. In fact, the slower the powder, the lower the velocity. Next up is H4350 and N165 for the 140 VLD. I was told that sometimes the new barrels may need quite a few rounds before velocities settle and I could see higher speeds with past test loads in another 50-100 rounds.
As an alternative, I loaded up some 130 NABs over Re19 to check those and if they work I may just keep it as is and just not use this rifle for longer range stuff.
Another thought is I could send the barreled action to Barlein, and let them put a longer slightly heavier barrel on there and I'll use the 24" barrel to put on a different rifle in the future for a friend of mine or even one of my own kids if they decide to start hunting.
Just disappointed with what has happened so far with the 140 VLDs.
You don't mention who made the rifle or barrel or the spec of the barrel ?
There are plenty of potential issues with getting a particular rifle to shoot finicky VLD's. Over diameter throat, bullet seating depth, twist rate, crown etc etc.
Then the basics (bedding, free floating, trigger, shooter).
I am still waiting for my barrel (26" Shilen varmint 1:8) so can't help you with advice. I was going to try H100V in mine. I was able to get it during the "crisis" apparently it is not too popular... It works great in my 243 AI, so I figure it could be promising in the 6.5x284 also.
I did a lot of study on barrel lengths and velocities with the 6.5-284 before buying mine. What I found through research, for the most part, is that cartridge really needs a 26" or longer barrel to get all the "goods" out of it when shooting 140's. I've read seemingly countless posts from others that couldn't get the velocity they wanted with a 24" barrel. Seems like most 1000 yd competition shooters using that cartridge are picking 27-29" barrels and using slow powders.
Perhaps R17 or 4350 will get you close enough to your goal that another tube isn't necessary........only way to know is to try I guess. Some of the competition guys are using 4350 with good results.
One thing to keep in mind is this: Even if we can only get 2900'/sec. with the 140 VLD.......we've theoretically still got enough energy and velocity at 925 yds for a clean kill on antelope and deer. Getting 3000'/sec only increases that distance to 1000 yds (I am speaking of at least 1800'/sec, and at least 1000 ftlbs of energy on target, based on my elevation of 4200'). If you drop the bullet down to the 130 gr. NAB, we've also dropped our maximum effective range to 800 yds and that's assuming we can get it up to 3100'/sec!! Perhaps switching to the 129 gr. Long Range Accubond would kinda split the difference, but I don't know if they're available. I haven't seen any on the shelves yet.
Hopefully you're seeing promise as far as accuracy goes.? My 2 cents would be; if it's accurate and you're getting around 2900'/sec.........run with it.
Best of luck and hopefully this helps the decision some.
My bad. The rifle builder is top tier, Dave Bruno. That's not an issue. He's built several for me and a couple for my friend. Excellent components: McMillan stock, Jewel trigger, Stiller Predator action, 24" #3.5 Bartlein gain twist barrel finishing at 8T. Crown is 11 degree. The accuracy of the rifle is a non-issue. It's another one of my best. Only issue is velocity.
I've seen some youtube vids where Hybrid H100V and Re17 are used with excellent results and I may try those also.
If I had to do it over again, the bbl would be 27".
Well, actually the 24" barrel is ideal as I wanted a decent carry rifle. I'm not the guy who enjoys toting 10 pound rifles around. And it will kill just fine as is even if I'm lobbing 140 gr VLDs at 2600 fps. It's a perfect rifle for hunting medium sized game inside of 400 yards which would be 90% of what I encounter. I was rather anxious to see what this caliber would do, however, at longer distances. I have 2 other rifles with 28" barrels and if I do decide to go that route I can certainly order a 28" finished length tube.