I'm sure some of you are using software to enhance your reloading experience. I have a subscription to Ammo Guide. It seems to have a lot of info, but I find it a bit hard to navigate. I like what I see of Quick Load but I have not used it. I load quite a few calibers and I am leaning to buying QL. Any suggestions?
Don't just name drop ... Explain why you like a particular software and it's features
QL is good, and I use it all the time. It will let you experiment with powder combinations with certain bullets/calibers, play with the barrel lengths, and estimate your velocities. It's gets you in the ball park, but it's not always 100% accurate. It helps keep me "out of trouble" with some powders, and is another source of loading data to use. When playing with subsonics and running different powders, it helps to see what pressures will be at certain distances down the barrel and see your pressure curve. You can increase your seating depth and see what effects it has on pressure, and velocities. It does a lot.
I used Load-From-a-Disk for a couple of years, and it was good. Its capabilities were pretty limited, but what it could do it did quite well.
I decided to bite the bullet and spend the $160 or whatever it was on QuickLOAD several years ago and in my opinion it was one of the best purchases I've ever made. As Kevin says, it's not always 100% accurate so there are things you have to know and understand about it if you play with certain cartridges, but it's a great tool. It will show you things you may never have thought about. I've played with it for four or five years now, I think, and I am probably utilizing about 20% of what it can tell me. It's REAL easy to become entranced with it and spend a couple of hours fiddling with some aspect of something that captures your attention and kill a couple of hours without even realizing it.
I'd recommend it to anyone who I think has a handle on the basics of internal ballistics, but not to someone who's not willing to take the time to absorb and comprehend those basics. It's a great piece of software!
I have had Quick Load for about 6 months now and it does come in handy quite often. Last use was last night. Loading 30/40 Krag with Norma 202 180gr Hornady bullets.There is no data I could find so plug in the numbers and have the info I need in about 5 minutes of computer time. I am really not using it to its fullest I am sure but have managed to muddle around to find info when I need it.
Another long time QuickLoad guy, use it for all my loads. If you are tailoring the input to your brass, bullet, and firearm it is more accurate than published data. If you take the time to read and study the User's Guide it is a great education in internal ballistics. I also use the RSI Pressure Trace II equipment it really reinforces the QL predictions. I've been using pressure trace equipment since the first version. The one shortcoming of QL are some recently added powders, they are not there and they are slow in coming. Late last year I started to build the profile for Leverevolution, as an example, but just haven't figured out how to do despite having a lot of data points from pressure testing. I'm holding off on that work for now until my Labradar arrives. Check the powder list, which is extensive, to insure that you are not depending on it to generate data for something that is not there.
As far as my actual reloading records and ballistic data, I use TMT's Shooting & Reloading Records software, I use all of the various modules to include the cast bullet design software. I've been using this software a long time and despite being somewhat of a shooting software junkie that has tried everything that is out there, I think this has the best thought out features of any. Why I actually switched to it was the target analysis that it performs. This software is more than just a database of your loads but it capable of determining what works best from your entries. The software provides for component inventory, digital target scoring (target against your screen), chronograph import, generates QL files from your component and firearm files, a load/pressure generator (pretty good but not as detailed as QL but miles above Load From A Disk), and the list pretty much keeps going. If you take the time to slug & chamber cast/impression or firearms the software will take care of overall length suggestions for your choice of bullets. All of the modules have more features than I've seen from an product and will make you a better shooter. TMT is written by one of the smartest guys I've ever met rather than a group of coders that really don't have the experience on the trigger.
RD, lack of needs powders in the QL database has always been a frustration for me.
Are you saying this other program does everything QL will do, and more?
The TMT calculator is based on the The Powley Computer & PSI Calculator, a long out of production IMR load calculating slide rule that is best described by this Shooting Times article. The TMT calculator has been updated to include a few other features such as the ability to change the pressure limits plus other variables. It is best to read the article on how the calculations work.
I took a screenshot video that I posted on YouTube and linked here. In my example, I use the calculator to find a powder and load for my Remington 600 chambered in 35 Rem. This is a good example as the cartridge has a really low pressure limit for the original Remington models it was chambered in but with the 600, I don't have a problem of pushing it to 60.0K PSI. Here is what you will see in the video:
The calculator generates a load for the SAAMI limit. I unlock the limit and generate a load near 60.0K PSI.
The generated load is quite compressed so I reduce the load from the generated 116% of case capacity to 105%.
From there if I didn't want to use the suggested IMR 3031 I would use the generated "Relative Quickness" to get into a powder burn rate chart to figure out an alternative.
All the powders in the TMT database are assigned a "Relative Quickness" number to relate to this prediction.
There is a online Powley Computer but I would not use it to predict loads until you completely read and understand the notes. Also, powder burn charts are just that, an order of burn rate. No longer is a relative quickness associated with them as far as I know.
If you what internal ballistic software, I would buy QuickLoad and really learn how to use it. If you are looking for reloading software I would get the TMT and take advantage of the calculator and other tools.
I haven't used any commercial software but have written a few tools that I use a lot. My first program does external ballistics. It seems to compare very well with published tables. It is based on some polynomial curve fitted data from an Army ballistician and was published in the NRA magazine several decades ago. I originally wrote this program in compilable basic, then Fortran, and now in a spreadsheet. Together with a chronograph it helps in working up loads. I also have a barrel twist spreadsheet and a load estimator program based on " the rules", an article published by John Barsness a few years ago. I am convinced that I can reconstruct an entire loading manual using these simple rules.
Oh, I forgot that I also wrote a spreadsheet " Powley" computer using equations in the old NRA loading book that I have had forever. It can be useful with some of the old standby IMR powders. It's easier to use than the slide ruler version.