Anyone have experience with Quickload software personally? I am wondering about your experience with it and what features you found useful, how accurate you have found the predictions, how extensive the library's are for powder and bullets. Good help files or instructions?

I purchased QuickLOAD many years ago. Since then, I have chronographed and predicted muzzle velocities for 30 specific handloads (including my data, my brother's data, and my father's data). Doing a simple statistical analysis on the predicted vs. measured velocity data, I found a "root-mean-square" (or rms) error of 3.3%. (I've meant to also do a chi-square analysis, but never got around to it yet.) I also created a plot of measured vs. predicted velocities and found the 30 data points clustered around the line y=x very tightly. I consider this (think of rms as an "average deviation" of predicted from measured values) to be extremely good. However, the QuickLOAD documentation on their methods is almost non-existent, just that they employ "a thermodynamic model" to predict the combustion dynamics of the powder and couple this to bullet acceleration down the barrel. Each powder in the library is characterized (or defined) by about a half dozen different thermodynamic parameters (including energy content in kJ/kg, ratio of specific heats, etc.), but there is no documentation on burn rate equations of state (EOS), numerical integration methods, or anything else. I suppose the developers consider this to be proprietary information. I once tried to find internal ballistics textbooks online, but found the "good ones" (e.g., "Theory of the Interior Ballistics of Guns," by J. Corner) to be out of print. Still, with a 3.3% rms error on muzzle velocities, they have to be doing something right. Like any other computer modeling of complex phenomena, you only get out of a model what you put into it, and there are so many real factors that affect internal ballistics performance, that I'm impressed that they did as well as they did. Still, the reloader must always remember to approach maximum rated loads slowly and look for signs of excessive pressure. Data in reloading manuals are based on real test data, so "real world" data trumps computer simulation every time. I have found that QuickLOAD is conservative in its warnings. I have one particular load for my .338 Win. mag. that I know is safe (72 gr of IMR-4831 behind a 250 gr Sierra boattail, which is a slightly compressed load), but QuickLOAD gives a stern warning that this load is unsafe due to excessive peak pressure (just over 70,000 psi). According to the Sierra manual (3rd Ed.) this load is just under the max rated load, but in my Model 70, I've chronographed it and have found no problems. I believe QuickLOAD is a very useful tool for making comparisons between different situations (comparing different barrel lengths for the same load, different bullet weights for the same powder charge, etc.).