Exploring QuickLOAD

So, you are interested in using QuickLOAD. Let’s look at some ways of navigating through the program and discussing what it can do. After the disclaimer, we will explore the main four windows: Cartridge Dimensions, Charge, Results and Diagram. We will look at some of the Tool Bar buttons above those windows and then briefly go over the menu items at the top of the page. But first,

Opening the program, you first see the disclaimer page. Read it as it will explain what the program is and is not. Remember, QuickLOAD is a modeling tool only. From QuickLOAD’s disclaimer page – “Ballistic programs such as QuickLOAD cannot predict EXACT internal ballistic results. Therefore one CANNOT use this software as a substitute for information gleaned from a reloading manual along with standard handload development and practices.QL main page
 Note: The load shown in this article is one I developed with QuickLOAD. The prediction QuickLOAD calculated for this load is correct with its prediction and it is an accurate load. Barrel length was imported from my gun file and Maximum Case Capacity was imported from the cartridge file.

Cartridge Dimensions window

The Cartridge Dimensions window is where you select the cartridge andbullet you want use. They are shown in the drop down menus marked in yellow. Clicking the down button in the Selected Cartridge or Selected Bullet box extends a list of cartridge or bullet options to choose from. If the caliber listed in the bullet drop down menu does not correspond with the Selected Cartridge, place the cursor over Selected Bullet: (or File:\XXX) and click the mouse to bring up a new window displaying a list of calibers in the load Bullet File window. Once you choose and click the appropriate caliber in the bullet file it will load into the bullet menu. Click on the down arrow in the Selected Bullet: to choose a bullet. Now that you have your cartridge and bullet selected, look at the boxes below the two drop down menus. All of the white boxes load automatically from data stored in the bullet file and the cartridge file. The barrel length will load automatically only if you have set up a gun file. The grey boxes are computed results of the two menu items you have selected.

QL cartridge dimensions

Some changes to the white boxes you might consider would be:

  1. Barrel Length – measured from bolt face to muzzle
  2. Bullet Length – measure the overall length (it affects seating depth, shank depth and useable case capacity).
  3. Cartridge Length -measure overall length
  4. Maximum Case Capacity, overflow – For rifles cases, use a once fired cleaned case with primer removed. Plug flash hole with R.I.G. or Vaseline. Weigh the case empty. Add water and allow it to sit long enough to get rid of any trapped air and reach room temperature. Fill the case so the surface of the water is concave at the top of the neck. Weigh the case. Now add water so the water surface is convex. Weigh the case again. Split the difference between these two water filled weights and subtract the weight of the empty case. You now have the true case capacity to overflow.

Charge window

The charge window is similar to the cartridge window. Click the drop down arrow and scroll to your powder of choice. Click either of the Charge Weight boxes and input the number of grains or grams you choose or click Filling/LR box and input the percentage of case capacity you want to fill with powder. Click the Apply& Calc and the other two boxes will automatically be adjusted.QL Charge window

Charge buttomClicking the PropellantEditing Button will change the look of the charge window. Notice that all but one of the window’s boxes has changed from grey to white background. This allows you to change the inputs in these boxes if you so desire. Changing any of the numbers in these boxes in this window will not be permanent.

Charge window 2

Charge window tempNotice also, the Temperature button. Clicking this button will bring up a small window (not shown) whereby you can change the temperature of your cartridge and see what effects temperature may have on your load as a result. Its default setting is 70˚F.

Now we will move on to the Results window. As you can see, this windowshows you the results of the inputs you made with the previous two windows. It displays these results both in U.S. Standard and Metric units.

Besides checking the Muzzle Velocity (MV) and the Maximum Chamber Pressure (Pmax), I like to look at the Amount of Propellant Burnt. I like to keep that number above 95%. The next item I look at is the Barrel Time. When you find an accurate load make note of the Barrel Time. It may indicate an accuracy node for that barrel and could be a good indicator for future loads.QL results window

Near the middle of the above window you will see Values when Bullet Base Exits Muzzle…Click here for more data click it and the window will display an alternate view. The information in the yellow portion has changed. Clicking click here to go back reverts back to the previous display.

Results alternate view

Diagram window

This is one of many views of the Diagram window. There are six buttons on the Tool Bar for the standard graphs. You can click the Change diagram in the window for other graphs to be temporarily displayed.QL diagram window

Tool Bar
QL tool bar

Briefly from left to right:

1. Open saved load data file
2. Save actual load data
3. Permanently edit powder data
4. Permanently edit case and caliber data
5. Permanently edit bullet data
6. Search all cartridge data
7. Search all bullet data
8. Displays a tabular form window
9-14. Diagram windows
15. Activates the incremental load table.
16. Opens the propellant setup table form
17. Selects a conversion of units calculator
18. Selects a recoil calculator
19. Selects a black powder estimator
20. Enter a selection of cartridges of a specific caliber
21. Load data from Quick Design
22. Permanently edit gun data

Let’s look at a few of these buttons on the tool bar.

Permanently edit case and caliber data

cart data buttonThis is a very useful button. As you can see in the drop down menu, I show the .260 Remington Ackley Improved cartridge. It is not a cartridge that comes with QuickLOAD. For this cartridge all I did was change the name of the cartridge (the same way QuickLOAD names cartridges), adjust the Maximum Case Capacity and then clicked the Add New button. Another thing to consider is if you have multiple brands and/or lots of cases, with various weights of a particular cartridge, you can add them to your file as shown above by saving each of them separately into QuickLOAD. Remember to determine the Maximum Case Capacity of each case and then average your sampling. This is demonstrated in the drop down box of the Cartridge Dimensions window. Scroll down to the .300 Win Mag you will notice that there are six different listings for the .300 Win Mag. These include: Federal, Norma, Saami, Winchester, [@] and [T].

Cartridge data

cart dat Cal  cClicking this button in the Cartridge Data window will allow you to enter measurements of a case for each cartridge and then calculate its Maximum Case Capacity. Using this window is handy, but you should still physically weigh a sample of cases to obtain a true average Maximum Case Capacity for your selected cartridge.

Case capacity

bullet data buttonYou can get the same kind of results for bullets as you did with cartridges using the edit bullet data button.


gun data buttonClicking this button brings up the Guns window.


You can keep data of your firearms in QuickLOAD by entering it into the correct fields of the Guns window. If you want any sense of order, I would recommend inventorying your arsenal in a spreadsheet, sorting it and then entering the information into QuickLOAD. I have yet to figure out a way of sorting this data once it is in the program. When you have finished entering a firearm, click Save Data and go on to the next firearm. Once loaded into the file, bring up a firearm that you want to use from the drop down menu, click the OK/Apply button and your information will transfer to the appropriate boxes and into the appropriate windows.


propellant setup buttonClicking this button opens the Propellant Table Setup form. This is a table that you will use a lot. You can shrink or expand the range of powders QuickLOAD will display by sliding the two bars left or right based on Propellant Burning Rate Factor (Ba) values. You can change the Nominal Maximum Pressure (NMP) to see what load suggestions the program comes up with based on selected NMP or if you have a load already showing a barrel time in the Results window that you like, you can click The Barrel Time of Entry Load button and click on Apply& Exit to come up with load suggestions based on that barrel time figure.

Propellant table setup

Looking to the Menu Bar you will notice File/ Data: Add, Change, Load, Save/ Options/ Windows…/ Info.

Most of the items in the menu bar are common to other items in the program. The item I personally like to explore is the Loadtable settings in the Options drop down page. Following the steps below, you will be able to adjust the charge increments of the Loadtable by percent or weight.

  • Click the options button
  • Scroll down to loadtable setting
  • Slide over to Load increment step width
  • Slide over to 1%, 2%, 3%, User defined
  • Scroll down to User defined and slide over to in percent or in weight increments.

For this demonstration, I used weight increments of .5 grains of powder.

charge vari buttonClicking on the Charge Variation button will bring up the Charge Variation window. As you can see, this window shows various charges based on the increments I have setup in the Loadtable settings on either side of my calculated load.
charge variations


This is just a sampling of what QuickLOAD is capable of providing the user in terms of load development. Remember, if all else fails READ THE MANUAL. QuickLOAD may not be a ‘be all to end all’ but it is a very good modeling tool and will help you find and develop loads not found elsewhere.

Article written by Daniel Champness. You can find the discussion about this article on Eu-LRH forum.

Related Posts