I am somewhat new to the development of an optimum long range round although I feel that I understand the basic concepts and physics of the process. My problem is a lack of experience and I am hoping to tap into some here. I am reloading for a Remington Model 700 Long Range in 30-06. It has the stock 26" heavy barrel. I am working up a 200gr ELD-X bullet using RL-17. I picked the 200 grain because I had a lot of time to compare ballistics and I wanted to take down deer and hogs at both the more common, less than 100 yard, ranges and at longer ranges. I will admit to also wanting to impress at the range at 500+. This discussion is about load development for the round. Hornady identifies the following charges and projected FPS for RL-17: 53.1 / 2600fps, 54.3 / 2650fps. I ran a series of .1 increment charges beginning at 52.5 gr (2702fps) and ending at 54.1 (2776). There appeared to be two points on the graph that indicated probable "flats" that would allow for minor charge fluctuations without disturbing the spread. one was at about 52.8 and the flatter at 53.9gr and 2706fps. I used the 53.9 grains. I was using a new chronograph that I intend to verify against another unit. Examination of the fired casings, to my inexperienced eye showed a very slight over pressure at 53.9 grains. I asked a very experienced shooter for his opinion and he suggested that it was well within acceptable pressure. he also suggested that at 2706fps I was shooting a lighter load than I could shoot. Here are the questions: 1) Can the 26 inch, 1 in 10, barrel produce the observed increase in FPS over the Hornady 23.75 inch test barrel? (expected was less than 2650fps and observed was 2706fps average. At 54.3, Hornady’s suggested max grains, I clocked 2800FPS.) 2) Is it surprising that the .4 grains less than the suggested maximum RL-17 produces an average velocity that exceeds the 2650fps maximum suggested charge velocity? 3) I know that Hornady numbers are conservative. Does anyone have any experience with 200 grain loads exceeding Hornady 2650fps top end? 4) At what FPS would you expect optimum long range performance for a 200 grain bullet in a 26 inch barrel? 5) should I back off and look for a sweet spot at a lower fps? 4) is my chronograph screwed? Thanks in advance.