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Old January 23, 2021, 09:30 PM   #1
Colorado Redneck
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Staball 6.5 loads

I finally got around to trying Staball 6.5 for load development in 243 Winchester. The bullet was 100 gr. Hornady BTSP. Load data was Hodgdon and the brass is Winchester and primers WLR. The test loads were in the truck for a couple days, so the rounds were fairly cool, maybe 45 degrees. It was 35 degrees outside, and the ammo rode in the back of the truck, and then were put in the shade at the shooting range. The temp was around 40 when shooting. The Caldwell chronograph was nice and warm to start with.
Here are the velocities:
38.5 gr..........2590
39.5 gr...........2751
40.5 gr...........2829
41.0................2776, 2890, 2755
41.5................2822, 2753, 2837
42.0................2805, 2821, 2848

The predicted velocity for the 42.0 gr load is 3080 fps. using Speer 100 gr btsp.

Interspersed with these rounds I was testing rounds in 204 Ruger, and the chronograph measurements were very much appropriate for those loads.

My assumption is, these results indicate ignition issues. What say you?
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Old January 23, 2021, 10:40 PM   #2
Marco Califo
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Barrel length? They used 24"
Rifle & type of action?
It is a ball powder, but other reports have been that it delivers the published velocities.
I have heard nothing about its temperature insensetivity.
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Old January 23, 2021, 10:40 PM   #3
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if you have access to several flavors of primers you can always load a few using each flavor of primer and find which works the best for you. Plugged some velocity numbers in though and if you are shooting 300 and less for hunting the power is above 1000 ft pounds either way. If you want to get to 400 though you need the extra speed
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Old January 24, 2021, 12:54 PM   #4
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The velocities from 39.5 gr. on up were essentially within a range of 100 fps. and inadequate for the intended use, mule deer hunting at around 3000 ft of elevation and in rolling hills in corn fields. Finding a critter in harvested corn stubble can be nigh impossible so around 1200 ft. lbs. of terminal energy at 350 yards was what I hoped for. Temp stability is a factor that intrigued me. If primers were available would magnum large rifle be worth a try?
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Old January 24, 2021, 01:09 PM   #5
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And I was thinking this was a 6.5 caliber, how many danged powders are they going to come up with?

Ok, note to self, if I find 8 lbs buy it, maybe no one else knows about it either and I get lucky like I did with R17 a few years back !
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Old January 24, 2021, 02:39 PM   #6
Marco Califo
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What drew my attention to Staball 6.5 was the results obtainable in 7mm-08:
BULLET WEIGHT120 GR. NOS BT
ManufacturerWinchester
PowderStaBALL 6.5
Bullet Diameter0.284"
C.O.L.2.800"
Starting Load
Grains46.6
Velocity (ft/s)2,839
Pressure39,000 PSI
Maximum Load
Grains53.0C
Velocity (ft/s)3,201
BULLET WEIGHT130 GR. SIE HPBT
ManufacturerWinchester
PowderStaBALL 6.5
Bullet Diameter0.284"
C.O.L.2.800"
Starting Load
Grains46.1
Velocity (ft/s)2,843
Pressure45,600 PSI
Maximum Load
Grains51.2
Velocity (ft/s)3,125

http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/rifle
Just my opinion, but, go BIGGER, or go home.
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Old January 24, 2021, 03:12 PM   #7
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I agree with Marco, I would be looking for a rifle in 6.5 cal at least if not a 7mm
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Old January 24, 2021, 03:21 PM   #8
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Bigger caliber for longer shots

Probably. The above load won't do the job. Next powder up is Hybrid 100V. Hornady load data has info for that. Dang, I had high hopes for Staball.
If 2950 fps is unattainable there is a 6.5 CM that worked really good last fall. Its interesting to try different stuff, and sometimes it doesn't pan out.
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Old January 24, 2021, 09:28 PM   #9
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hybrid and 6.5 staball are nearly identical in burn rate. https://imrpowder.com/wp-content/upl...rate-chart.pdf
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Old January 24, 2021, 10:19 PM   #10
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CAUTION: The following post (or a page linked to) includes loading data not covered by currently published sources of tested data for this cartridge (QuickLOAD or Gordon's Reloading Tool data is not professionally tested). USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assumes any liability for any damage or injury resulting from the use of this information.


Colorado Redneck,

You still haven't mentioned barrel length. I would expect 30 fps/inch for each inch shorter than 24 inch. Add in a different seating depth and a chamber that isn't SAAMI minimum to the nearest half thousandth like the test barrel is, and you could probably find the velocity difference there. Also, keep in mind powder burn rate tolerance is about ±3%, so if you got a slow lot you might need another grain and a quarter to match the test load.
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Old January 24, 2021, 11:55 PM   #11
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Sorry, barrel is 22 inch Howa 1500. I fully understand that book velocity is unlikely but the chrony numbers are a head scratcher to me. As for Hybrid powder, I have tested rounds in this rifle using Speer 100 gr. Btsp and achieved over 3000 fps with less than book recommended max load.

Either Bart or Unclenick mentioned in a recent thread the phenomenon associated with short col. due to deeper seating. There is evidently a millisecond after ignition where the brass has expanded allowing gas to pass between the case neck and the bullet before the bullet enters the rifling. The col recommended by Hornady is 2.630 inches, which is 0.070 shorter than the test loads I made using the Speer bullet. I wonder if fiddling with col may improve performance.

ps I'm sure y'all are aware this is just musings of an armature hand loader.
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Old January 25, 2021, 04:51 AM   #12
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I bought staball when it first came out and did find it produced exceptional velocity and accuracy for certain loads--but I can't remember which ones and will have to dig around to find them. Off the top of my head I think it did very well for me in 6mm creedmoor and 270 win. Varget remains my go-to for 7-08.
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Last edited by stagpanther; January 25, 2021 at 05:04 AM.
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Old January 25, 2021, 07:34 AM   #13
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Try RE16 for high velocity if that’s what your after. But watch for pressure, in my Savage 12FV my primer pockets in new Starline LP brass blew out the primer pockets and was getting slightly hard to extract at mid load and was hovering right around 3000 FPS. If you’re using SP brass might get away with a slightly lower load and still be over 2900 FPS. This was with the bullet seated .020” off the lands, 140gr Hornady ELDM bullets.
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Old January 25, 2021, 08:10 AM   #14
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Hodgdon listed charge weights I've found are sometimes on the "optimistic" side--I approach their max charges with more caution than usual.
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Old January 25, 2021, 10:38 AM   #15
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Again, the Hodgdon loads are from a SAAMI type 24" test barrel. These have tight minimum chambers. The reason for the tight chambers is precisely because they tend to produce the worst-case high pressures (but also highest velocities) so the person creating a load in one doesn't have to worry his load will go overpressure in a gun that happens to get made with a chamber on the tight side of average. This chamber difference and the throat difference can be large. I once fired a bunch of LC NM 30-06, loaded in a tight test barrel to 2640 fps measured at 26 yards (78 feet). This would be about 2682 fps at the SAAMI 15 foot measuring distance. Firing it in some of the beat-up old club Garands, I got 15 foot velocities as high as 2611 fps and as low as 2495 fps. That's a 187 fps difference. Nothing got close to the pressure gun number.

In your case, for a 42-grain charge, if the pressure gun barrel was cut down to 22", the expected velocity comes down to 3020 fps. Reducing burn rate 3% takes you down to 2986 fps. If I take 187 fps off of that, as I saw with the Garands, I get 2799 fps, which is below what you got. All of this is to say, you are not outside the realm of the kinds of variation that come along from gun-to-gun. As I mentioned in my previous post, you can probably use more powder if you are careful.
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Old January 25, 2021, 11:00 AM   #16
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Thanks for the feedback. I will try to post results from the test loads with Hybrid. I am a bit skittish about increasing the powder if in fact there is an ignition problem, and 75 degree temperature might improve performance. Thus, there are several variables to fiddle with, COL, primer, temperature of the ammo. And I thought there wouldn't be much to keep busy shooting this winter.
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Old January 25, 2021, 11:21 AM   #17
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Staball is really good stuff IMHO--burns pretty clean and seems tolerant of compressing without drastic pressure spiking in my limited experience with it. I may run a test load in my 7-08 BLR just out of curiosity. The only thing I don't like about it is that it's not in the quick load database.

BTW, I use 42.2 grs of varget with a 140 gr pro hunter at a COL of 2.795 and it has always shot very well, even in different rifles, Relatively soft felt recoil to boot.
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Old January 25, 2021, 02:46 PM   #18
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I just got back from a "quick and dirty" test of staball in 7-08 to see if there is anything useful to contribute to the conversation. Conditions were 30 degrees temp, winds 18 to 22 from about 11 o'clock very dry humidity and shooting at sea level. In other words, I was shooting in high air density conditions.

I was able to duplicate Hodgdon's specs for a 162 gr sst/a-max at a col 2.875 with a start charge of 42.5 grs. The only issue was browning is not generous with their COL tolerance on their magazine, so I had to hand feed my BLR--which BTW has a 20" barrel. Even in 20" barrel my results were very close to Hodgdon's test result of 2,490 fps for a 24" barrel. Being a low-end charge, though, accuracy was not spectacular, I was at about 1.75 MOA at 153 yds, but that could have been me since I always have a hard time holding the very slim profile of the BLR steady.

Here's the labradar data:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg staball 7-08 test load.jpg (67.7 KB, 138 views)
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Last edited by stagpanther; January 25, 2021 at 03:04 PM.
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Old January 25, 2021, 03:17 PM   #19
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CR,

A magnum primer might help, too, especially in cold weather, though you want to start the load work-up over again if you try it. Look for decreased velocity SD as proof the primer is being helpful. Also, make sure you seat your primers firmly:
"There is some debate about how deeply primers should be seated. I don’t pretend to have all the answers about this, but I have experimented with seating primers to different depths and seeing what happens on the chronograph and target paper, and so far I’ve obtained my best results seating them hard, pushing them in past the point where the anvil can be felt hitting the bottom of the pocket. Doing this, I can almost always get velocity standard deviations of less than 10 feet per second, even with magnum cartridges and long-bodied standards on the ’06 case, and I haven’t been able to accomplish that seating primers to lesser depths."

Dan Hackett
Precision Shooting Reloading Guide, Precision Shooting Inc., Pub. (R.I.P.), Manchester, CT, 1995, p. 271.

Here's what I get for your data. Because you have only 3 samples where I figured the SD, I used a low sample bias elimination method of calculating it, and these numbers are about 13% bigger than you will get if you use the standard SD formula which is what your chronograph will use, but are more likely to be accurate.

What you can see is the standard deviation is really high at 41 grains but shrinks as you get toward 42 grains. The velocity seems fairly level for the last four points, but with the high standard deviations, you can't really be sure that's not random happenstance. The bottom line is you would need to shoot more rounds to narrow the error.



So, what is causing such a wide deviation? Your suggestion of irregular ignition is one candidate. The chronograph not handling the temperatures is another. While cell phones and computers and more complex automotive electronics have changed it some, a lot of consumer-grade electronics still aren't rated to operate below freezing. When they get there or too close, errors can occur.

Another factor can be batteries. Alkaline and carbon-zinc batteries lose a lot of their output ability in the cold. Lithium batteries do much better, and I recommend those for cold weather.

Finally, you can check your chronograph roughly with a 22 rimfire rifle. Because 22 rimfire has such a huge expansion ratio, all its powder is gone by the time a bullet has gone 20" or more down a barrel. Beyond that, the bullet is slowing down in the bore, albeit very gradually. This fact eliminates a lot of the effect of chamber variation. So if you buy match-grade 22 rimfire ammunition and have a rifle with a 20"-26" barrel, you will find it shoots within 50 fps or better of the velocity claimed by the manufacturer for the round. So if you shoot ten of the match rounds over your chronograph, it should behave quite well and the reading should be within that 50 fps limit if the chronograph is working as it should.

Another approach: If you know someone who will loan you a second chronograph, you can shoot over both of them in series, one right behind the other, and make sure they agree pretty well.
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Old January 25, 2021, 10:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Try RE16 for high velocity if that’s what your after.
He is working with a 243 Win rifle. I checked Alliant an R16 is NOT what he needs for his 243 100 gr bullets.
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Old January 25, 2021, 10:20 PM   #21
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Unclenick
That info is interesting. I only have regular large rifle primers, but do have CCI, Remington, Federal 210m, and of course WLR. Trying different primers is an easy job.

At this time, any smokeless powder in local shops is unobtainium. Reloder 23, according to Alliant, is a good propellant for 243 with 100 gr. bullets. I also have Reloder 22 on hand, but for cold weather that is reputed to go anemic.

Thanks to all for the time and effort to find info about Staball. I loaded 3 rounds at 41.5 gr and 0.03 inches off the lands. Next range trip, they will be compared to the previous data, which were loaded 0.08 inches off the lands. And the Hybrid loads are in the truck cooling off to ambient garage temperature....lol.

Last edited by Colorado Redneck; January 25, 2021 at 10:41 PM.
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Old January 25, 2021, 11:07 PM   #22
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Stepganther,
The results you shared are heartening. I would be really happy with 2950+ fps. at 35 degrees. That may be attainable with some tweaking. Thanks!
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Old January 26, 2021, 03:48 AM   #23
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Quote:
Stepganther,
The results you shared are heartening. I would be really happy with 2950+ fps. at 35 degrees. That may be attainable with some tweaking. Thanks!
Glad to help, truth is you gave me an excuse to go shoot something. 243 win is one of the few mainstream cartridges I don't have, unfortunately. Don't give up on staball, it's a really "groovy" powder IMO. Another of it's virtues is that for comparable higher velocities it doesn't seem to kick as hard as other powders I've used.
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Old January 26, 2021, 09:55 PM   #24
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I'm having good results with Staball in 338 Win Mag with 225-grain bullets. The velocity tracks with Winchester's load data, and I'm getting a 1" group at 100 yds.
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Old January 27, 2021, 08:34 PM   #25
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Good to hear that. Hope to go shoot again tomorrow.
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