easy; it takes less than 5 minutes to load and uses a measly 2 megabytes of
storage space. It runs on any version of Windows 3.1 or higher, including NT.
installing, I fired up QuickLOAD, read the expected disclaimers and warnings
about safety, then jumped right in. It is easy enough to use that you don’t
need to read the user’s manual, though it does come with a comprehensive printed
manual. In less than a minute I was selecting cartridges, bullets, powders, and
loads and seeing what results I might expect. In all the fun, I nearly forgot
why I launched the application in the first place, for there were too many
nagging questions…how fast is that load of 27.5 grains of H335 behind a 50 gr.
Nosler BT? QuickLOAD said 3485 fps, which put it close to chronographed loads.
For the 7mm STW, several iterations revealed that a load in the 72 to 74 grain
range was a good starting point. Did I begin here? Not on your life –
QuickLOAD does not even remotely guarantee the results of this application – the
user MUST verify the loads using a loading manual. For me this was as easy as
going to the Hodgdon web site (www.hodgdonpowder.com)
and looking at their on-line loading manual. Once done, I loaded some rounds
and headed to Kenny Bahr’s Voyageur Sportsman’s Paradise (the range I use) to do
some shooting. How close was QuickLOAD in this case? The application predicted
3090 fps for a 150 grain Nosler BT, but I got a bit over 3200. The difference
of just over 100 fps turned out to be the largest margin of error that I would
experience with QuickLOAD.
Before I dive
into all of the features and functions of this unique tool, let me again state
that this is no substitute for a loading manual, nor can it predict the physical
characteristics of your rifle. For example, throat lengths can vary greatly
from rifle to rifle. All else equal, a load that jams a bullet into the rifling
is going to have a higher pressure than one that does not. Sometimes this
results in a higher than expected velocity, and sometimes it produces a lower
than expected velocity (think about the Weatherby freebore concept).
Temperature can play a very large part in muzzle velocity, yet it is not
reflected in the application that I reviewed. Nevertheless, QuickLOAD is
remarkably accurate. It will get you in the ballpark, but it is not perfect –
often it indicates that a load is safe when it is not. For example, as overall
cartridge length increases, it predicts lower velocity and pressure. Often,
velocity does go down with an increase in cartridge length, but in my
experience, the pressure always goes up. Certain loads in the 7mm STW were way
too hot when seated to touch the rifle lands but proved okay once I seated the
bullets were seated deeper. The safest way to use QuickLOAD is to know the
overall cartridge length you intend to load and use good judgement. Do not try
a load that QuickLOAD indicates is starting to get a little warm and load it
with the bullet touching the rifle lands. Also, QuickLOAD does not predict the
affects of high or low temperature – for powders such as Hodgdon’s VARGET, this
is not a big deal, but for most ball powders, it is.
let’s examine just how this unique software application works. QuickLOAD uses
the Windows Multidocument Interface (MDI), a fancy term that means the user uses
multiple windows to interact with the application. For the user, this is
seamless…each window shows up in the Taskbar as if it was a separate running
application, but in truth they are not. Clicking on any of the QuickLOAD tasks
bring up all of the QuickLOAD tasks. After launching, three windows appear.
The first, on the top of the screen, contains a toolbar with icons (those tiny
little pictures you can click on to do things) and menu commands. The second
window, on the upper left-hand side of the screen, contains cartridge and bullet
data. Given a caliber and bullet type, which are input from the user in this
window, most of the cartridge data needed are derived from the cartridge overall
length, which the user inputs. OAL is used, for example, to determine seating
depth. If the user prefers to specify the seating depth, then bullet travel is
calculated. As stated above however, QuickLOAD always predicts a lower velocity
and pressure as the overall cartridge length is increased. But again, it is
just plain absurd to think a maximum charge with a bit of freebore generates
more pressure than the same load jammed into the rifle lands.