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We present the results of a detailed experimental study of the XeCl laser pumped by a high-intensity electron beam. The laser system was optimized as an oscillator for mixtures of Xe and HCl with Ne, Ar, and Kr diluents. The peak intrinsic efficiency (laser energy out/electron-beam energy deposited) was near 4.5 percent for each of these diluents. Small-signal gain and background absorption were measured as a function of electron-beam deposition rate from 0.4 to 6 MW/ cm3. The ratio of small-signal gain to absorption was found to be constant over this range with a value of ∼5. Measurements of absorption in the presence of a large photon flux indicated that there was no appreciable saturable contribution to the absorption. Measurements of fluorescence from the and states indicate that collisional mixing between these states is very rapid. The formation efficiencies of the and states are estimated to be 0.15 and 0.05, respectively. A vibrational relaxation rate of between 1 and cm3. s-1was determined. The effect of this finite relaxation rate is to reduce the energy available to the stimulated process by a factor of 0.67-0.75. Estimates of the XeCl* deactivation rates by HCl and electrons were also obtained. A value of cm3. s-1was obtained for quenching by HCl, and a value of cm3. s-1was estimated for electron deactivation.