QuickLOAD and QuickTARGET ballistic programs Review by B.Potts
IntroductionWith the prices of raw material such as lead and copper sky rocketing components rise proportionately. Never more have us reloaders carefully combined our pet loads to save wasting precious metal with inaccurate loads. One way I save a lot of money and time is to use a ballistics program to predict and then shoot my theoretical load on my computer, in that way inappropriate loads can be dismissed without reloading them and then end up pulling the heads. I have used for 10 years plus and would not be without the QuickLOAD and Quick Target ballistics program from JMS Arms. I am no computer expert believe me, once you start loading it becomes very addictive with predicting loads. I also use QuickLOAD and its sister program to Quick Design for all my Wildcat creations and it has been invaluable in this regard.
Spec sheetFor £125 you get QuickLOAD, the loading part or interior ballistics of the program bundled with QuickTARGET the Exterior ballistics with data generated and saved being able to move from one and the other. If £125 for a computer disc seems steep it is not, you will save this within the first month or so with the lack of wasted ammunition. Broadly speaking there are 1200 cartridges stored in its data banks with new factory and wildcats updated all the time so the cartridge you are looking for will be there. You also have over 230 differing powders to choice from, some of which I have never heard of so you can load and reload your pet load with different powders just to see the ballistic changes. Bullet choice too is comprehensive with all the major and independent manufacturers stored with some 2500 choices that will suit all you shooting disciplines. The beauty of QuickLOAD is that it can allow reloaders really to understand what effects pressures, velocities, energy by changing single or multiple variables in the reloading procedure. Predictions regarding barrel length, temperature changes, friction in the bore, bullet seating depth can all be loaded to see the changes safely without firing your rifle. There are limitations such as no primer choice but used wisely you can load up your favourite cartridge and simulate its ballistics and trajectory with just a click of the mouse.
Getting StartedWith the program booted you have a main “functions” sheet in front of you that remains the same but with windows to change parameters with a variable section to display pressures, velocities barrel times or burn rate as a graph. First up, access the cartridge window and click and pull down the tab revealing 1200 cartridge choices, here alone you will muse for hours looking at all the known and weird wildcats there are. But let’s choose the .308 Win, click on this and then all the cartridges data is then projected into all the other windows such as Seating depth, Cartridge length,, max pressure, cross sectional bore, capacity and useable case capacity. Also below the main cartridge window is a cartridge spec icon, click this and you access the cartridge diagrammatic profile with all the minute measurements for oal, neck length, rim thickness etc. Now the .308 Win is loaded you can change the barrel length to suit your rifles exact length and then alter to see what best suits your needs if you want to shorten it. I then choose a bullet from the main bullet window and again the choice is memorising. Load this and again the seating depth, shank depth, oal and bullet length windows all change to reflect your bullet choice. You can then alter the oal and thus seating depth to suit how you want your bullet to touch, or be, say 20 thou off the lands. As you change this data the useable powder or case capacity window changes to show how much space the bullet is taking up and how much powder can be loaded. Let’s say a Nosler Ballistic Tip 150 grain bullet with a seating depth of 0.408 inch and a 24 inch barrel. The next step, go to the right of the screen for all the powder changing windows. The main window selects a powder, a good choice again here and all the relevant powder data windows including heat of explosion, burn rate, propellant load density. The most important however are the Filling, showing load density, charge weight where you input your preferred powder weight which is shown in grains and grams. With a charge weight say of 46.0 grains of Alliant Reloder RL15 powder you now press the apply and calculate button. Miraculously QuickLOAD calculates the data you have inputted and then shows its predictions in the lower right boxed window. Pressure for that load is shown in psi and bar and is colour coded to show yellow mild, pink ok, red to high.
There are 15 windows but the main ones are: amount of propellant burnt to see if the powder is all burnt in the barrel. Muzzle velocity and muzzle energy and ballistic efficiency, anything above 30% is good. Also this data is displayed as a graph in the large left hand window for a quick visual guide. With the above load I had 54,605 PSI (pink) with 97.34% filled case and 2860 fps and 2724 ft/lbs energy. Change the seating depth from 2.800 COL to 2.765 COL and the pressure now rises to 61,673 psi (red) and a warning appears and it changes velocity to 2932 fps and energy to 2863 ft/lbs Cut the barrel to 18 inches and muzzle velocity reduces to 2679 fps and 2391 ft/lbs and 2 grains extra powder raises the pressure to over 62,913 psi and well into the red, warning.