Modelling soil detachment capacity by rill flow with hydraulic variables is essential to understanding the rill erosion process and developing physically based rill erosion models. A rill flume experiment with non-erodible flume bed and small soil samples was conducted. Seven flow discharges and six steep slope gradients were combined to produce various flow hydraulics. The soil detachment capacity increases with the increase in slope gradient and flow discharge. The critical slope gradients of 21.26 and 26.79% cause the detachment capacity to increase at a slow pace. The soil detachment capacity can be defined by a power function of flow discharges and slopes. The contribution rates of slope gradient and flow discharge to soil detachment capacity are 42 and 54%, respectively. The soil detachment capacity increases with shear stress, stream power and unit stream power; the increase rates of these parameters are greater under gentle slopes than steep slopes. Stream power is the superior hydrodynamic parameter describing soil detachment capacity. The linear model equation of stream power is stable and reliable, which can accurately predict soil detachment capacity by rill flow on steep loessial hillslopes. This study can help to sufficiently clarify the dynamic mechanism of soil detachment and accurately predict soil detachment capacity for steep loessial hillslopes.