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Old June 7, 2019, 07:34 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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New software tool

A recent thread in Reloading brought mention of what I assume is a new(-ish), free reloading calculator named Gordon's Reloading Tool. It was mentioned here:
https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...3&postcount=19

Being interested in such things, I immediately downloaded it and started playing. Naturally, there are no data for my favorite bullets (which I buy from Berry's Bullets), so my first step after downloading and extracting the program was to add three projectiles to the projectile database.

It's a bit of a clunky process because the program comes from Germany and the units are millimeters. They do include a pull-down unit converter but I found it easier (for me) to just use a hand-held calculator.

The bigger problem came when I discovered that their database of propellants doesn't include any of the American powders. No Winchester, no Hodgdon, no IMR, no Ramshot, no Alliant, no Western. So the best I could do as a test for my standard plinking load in .45 ACP was to do two runs, using two Vihtavuori powders that neatly straddle Winchester 231 on a powder burn rate chart. Not perfect, but I figured if I average the results I should be close.

The program, of course, spits out the velocity in meters-per-second, so for that I did use their drop-down unit converter. But ... the results I got were 896 fps for N320, and 849 fps for N330. So the average would be about 875 (okay, 872.5, but ...).

The sticky wicket is that my velocities with Winchester 231 aren't anywhere near those numbers. Those numbers are higher than standard military 230-grain ball ammo. When I chronographed that load I got somewhere in the mid 700s.

So I ran another check, using a different Berry's bullet. This is the one I refer to as my "Geezer load." In my tests, this load averaged 671 fps. Using Gordon's Reloading Tool, the calculated results were about 100 fps higher.

The program looks very impressive, but now I'm going to have to chronograph a couple of my other loads (which I have been meaning to do anyway) and see how the program's output matches up with real world results.
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Old June 7, 2019, 11:24 PM   #2
74A95
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What numbers (bullet weight, powder charge weights) were you using for your calculations? It's hard for us to make sense of your results if we don't know the numbers.

And what burn rate chart did you use?
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Old June 8, 2019, 12:45 AM   #3
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I downloaded it and ran some quick numbers, as well.
After my mention in that thread of having quickly 'thrown some numbers into QuickLoad', I received a message inviting me to participate in the beta for GRT.

The lack of standard units is annoying, but I assume there will be automatic conversions in the future. (Such as the current automatic detection of operating system settings for language localization.) At the very least, I expect to get the option to select 'real' units, instead of imaginary ('metric' ).

I'm sure the database will grow, but I ran into a few speedbumps for practical use, as well.
Most notably, there were only two (really one and a half) powders in the database that I currently own, use, and have verified data for. However, the loads that I have for those powders use cartridge/bullet combinations that are not possible with the current databases.

So, the best I could do was run some numbers with .300 Blackout, Hornady 208 gr ELD-Ms, and Lovex/Explosia D063 ("old" Accurate 1680). This still, however, isn't really an accurate comparison to my real loads, as I use Shooters World SBR-SOCOM - which is a derivative of Explosia D063, but not the same.
It should come as no surprise that the output was way off.

I am extremely busy with some home maintenance work. As such, I don't currently have the time to look into adding cartridges, bullets, etc. So, I didn't. But I do plan to look into it as soon as I get the time.

Another annoyance was the lack of case capacity data for every cartridge that I selected (before discovering the extremely limited powder list). I'm sorry, but I don't know the exact case capacity of every cartridge that I reload. Why put it in the list/database, if the data doesn't default to an average capacity?

That being said, I do want to remind people:
Remember that the program is in its infancy. It will evolve, and hopefully mature (eventually), and the databases are likely to continue to expand (and have the blanks filled in).
It is, after all, a beta test.


I do have one complaint that I saved for last:
I noticed that the bullet data included some spelling errors (not differences attributed to translation or language, but spelling errors), as well as dimensional errors and data omissions, that are exactly the same as errors/omissions in the QuickLoad databases. While I can not say that the QL database was "ripped off" to build the GRT database, it does appear to have been "ported" or at least strongly leaned upon as a reference. Feels like cheating, to me. But I don't know if it was done by the developer, or by early testers that thought they were just "trying to help"...


My bottom line: It's a beta test. The program is young and still in development. It is not ready for prime-time for US reloaders. But, with time, it can evolve.
And, did I mention that it's FREE? There's no $150+ buy-in, like QuickLoad.
Give it time. Help with the beta testing and database building, if you are capable, and it may turn into something great. But if you want a plug-and-play program that's proven, (relatively) easy to use, and ready to rock and roll, drop the $150 on QL.
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Old June 8, 2019, 02:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 74A95
What numbers (bullet weight, powder charge weights) were you using for your calculations? It's hard for us to make sense of your results if we don't know the numbers.

And what burn rate chart did you use?
I ran it once for Berry's 230-grain plated round nose, and again for Berry's 185-grain plated round nose/hollow base. I load both with 5.3 grains of Winchester 231. The 230s I load to a C.O.L of 1.270, and the 185s I load to 1.250.

The powder burn rate chart I used was this one:
https://www.hodgdon.com/wp-content/u...rate-color.pdf
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Old June 8, 2019, 02:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
I ran it once for Berry's 230-grain plated round nose, and again for Berry's 185-grain plated round nose/hollow base. I load both with 5.3 grains of Winchester 231. The 230s I load to a C.O.L of 1.270, and the 185s I load to 1.250.

The powder burn rate chart I used was this one:
https://www.hodgdon.com/wp-content/u...rate-color.pdf
What were the charge weights of the N320 and N330 you used? Did you cross check their charge weights with published data and their measured velocities?

Honestly, I think it was an error to think you can extrapolate data from Vihtavuori powders to a completely different powder (231).

The second problem was thinking that one can use a burn rate chart to make assumptions about charge weight. This is compounded by the fact that different burn rate charts rank the powders differently. For example, the Western Powders and Vihtavuori burn rate charts put 231 (HP-38) between N310 and N320 in burn rate.

Your results of things not fitting your expectations was likely due to unreasonable expectations.
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Old June 8, 2019, 07:55 AM   #6
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Regarding units of measure, this is what I have discovered playing around with it. On the data input section of the screen, there are white icons to right of each value. Clicking on them will change back and forth between metric and Imperial units. In the results tabulation section, clicking directly on each value will do the same. Clicking on the graph will then change its units to whatever is in the tabulation.
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Old June 8, 2019, 08:29 AM   #7
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I used it with some of my “not in books” loads I have worked up in the past using vihtavuori powders and it was very close.

The metric/standard conversion is the little ruler looking icon to the right of each entry spot.

I agree, it would be much more useful with other powders we come across in the USA, that’s its real limitation. It is free though.

FWIW N310 and N320 are both faster than 231.
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Old June 8, 2019, 10:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorris View Post

FWIW N310 and N320 are both faster than 231.
According to . . . ?
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Old June 8, 2019, 10:59 AM   #9
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I down loaded the program, but am having problems getting it to work. Not very user friendly and very difficult to bring up and cartridge data. I'll play with it more before I delete it...
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Old June 8, 2019, 11:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 74A95
What were the charge weights of the N320 and N330 you used? Did you cross check their charge weights with published data and their measured velocities?

Honestly, I think it was an error to think you can extrapolate data from Vihtavuori powders to a completely different powder (231).
I used the same 5.3 grains that I use with Win 231 for the actual load, of course.

I am fully aware that data for one powder cannot be transferred to another. I'm not working up a load, so pinpoint accuracy wasn't called for. I was trying to evaluate the progrem. As I explained, the problem here is that the program's powder database doesn't include either Winchester or Hodgdon (HP-38 is the same powder as Win 231), so just to get a sense of what the program would do I chose two powders that bracket Win 231 fairly closely and then averaged the results. I know it won't be spot-on with that approach, but it should be in the ballpark.

If you have Quickload, try it using Win 231 and then those two Vihta Vuori powders and let us know how close the average of the two VV powders comes to the Win 231 result.
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Old June 8, 2019, 11:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorris
FWIW N310 and N320 are both faster than 231.
That's why I used N320 and N330.
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Old June 8, 2019, 11:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by higgite
Regarding units of measure, this is what I have discovered playing around with it. On the data input section of the screen, there are white icons to right of each value. Clicking on them will change back and forth between metric and Imperial units. In the results tabulation section, clicking directly on each value will do the same.
Thank you. I'll try that.

Maybe I should have read the user manual before just jumping into it. I was looking for an overall configuration setting that would allow a one-time toggle between English/Imperial and metric units. It never occurred to me that they might toggle each field independently.

Sheesh.
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Old June 8, 2019, 11:30 AM   #13
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From what I am gathering from the thread is it sounds like a little polish on the front end and some data base expansion is needed. Easy fixes. A useful tool option might be a way for users to upload their own tests for verification and updates. Does that sum it up ?

I will be playing with that Grendel when I get my upper back and sounds like this might be useful. I might as well download and look at it anyway. Thanks for the heads up Aguila
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Old June 8, 2019, 11:32 AM   #14
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Has anyone tried saving a new load you created? If you close out of the program and then come back, is the load you saved there when you click on "File ==> Open"?

I saved two loads, and they've disappeared into cyberspace.
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Old June 8, 2019, 11:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hounddawg
From what I am gathering from the thread is it sounds like a little work on the front end and the bullet and powder data needs to be expanded. A useful tool option might be a way for users to upload their own tests for verification and updates. Does that sum it up ?
You can add bullets to the local bullet database, and the authors encourage users to submit bullet data to them for inclusion in future releases. The bigger problem is that adding powders requires a lot of technical information that the average home reloader simply doesn't have, and probably can't get.
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Old June 8, 2019, 11:45 AM   #16
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The save function is working for me if the data doesn't have any errors.
If there's an error, such as "Improper bore diameter" or "invalid case capacity", the file seems to save, but is not present in the "loads" folder.

Quote:
The metric/standard conversion is the little ruler looking icon to the right of each entry spot.
I wondered what that ruler icon was for ... because it does nothing with my installation.
When I attempt to mouse over the icon, it vanishes. Clicking where it should be still does nothing.
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Old June 8, 2019, 12:40 PM   #17
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And for me the ruler for unit conversion works, but the Save As doesn't. It seems to save ... but then I look for the saved load later and it doesn't exist.

I may wipe out the whole thing, unzip a fresh copy, and start over.
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Old June 8, 2019, 04:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
According to . . . ?
My experience with them and

Hodgdon

N310 #2
N320 #25
Hp38 #28
W231 #29

https://www.hodgdon.com/wp-content/u...rate-color.pdf


Ramshot

N310 #2
N320 #15
Hp38. #19
W231 #22

http://www.reloadammo.com/ramshot-burnrate2.htm

Eabco

N310 #2
N320 #25
Hp38 #28
W231 #29

https://www.eabco.com/BurnRates20152016.pdf

https://loaddata.com/Article/BurnRat...-Chart-NEW/159

N310 #3
N320 #28
Hp38 #35
W231 #36


Doesn’t rate by numbers but others that list them in the same order.

https://www.lhs-germany.de/fileadmin..._Feb._2018.pdf

https://www.reload-swiss.com/media/e...e_Chart_dt.pdf

Last edited by jmorris; June 8, 2019 at 05:06 PM.
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Old June 8, 2019, 07:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorris View Post
My experience with them and

Hodgdon

N310 #2
N320 #25
Hp38 #28
W231 #29

https://www.hodgdon.com/wp-content/u...rate-color.pdf


Ramshot

N310 #2
N320 #15
Hp38. #19
W231 #22

http://www.reloadammo.com/ramshot-burnrate2.htm

Eabco

N310 #2
N320 #25
Hp38 #28
W231 #29

https://www.eabco.com/BurnRates20152016.pdf

https://loaddata.com/Article/BurnRat...-Chart-NEW/159

N310 #3
N320 #28
Hp38 #35
W231 #36


Doesn’t rate by numbers but others that list them in the same order.

https://www.lhs-germany.de/fileadmin..._Feb._2018.pdf

https://www.reload-swiss.com/media/e...e_Chart_dt.pdf

But not according to . . .

Vihtavuori: https://www.1967spud.com/wp-content/...rate-chart.png

Your Ramshot table is really old and out of date. Newer versions (from 2010 on) show 231 between N310 and N320.

http://www.ramshot.com/wp-content/up....0-Web-REV.pdf

Burn rate charts don't agree, and they are made by the professionals who know more than most forum posters. That's why one can't put too much faith in burn rates when powders are close together on burn rate charts.

Some of your resources are simply repetitions of the same burn rate charts. Trying to fool people with numbers?

How has your experience proven their burn rate? How are you measuring burn rate?
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Old June 8, 2019, 08:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Burn rate charts don't agree, and they are made by the professionals who know more than most forum posters. That's why one can't put too much faith in burn rates when powders are close together on burn rate charts.
This is true.

That first one you linked to is the only one I have seen that lists titewad as the fastest powder, interesting.

It has been my experience that smaller charges of faster powders, in non compensated pistols, have less perceived recoil and muzzle rise at the same velocity vs larger charges of slower powders.

Side by side or mixed into the same mag, I can tell you what round had N310 or N320 in it, if they are both loaded to the same velocity and all else is identical. I bet you could too.
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Old June 8, 2019, 08:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorris View Post
It has been my experience that smaller charges of faster powders, in non compensated pistols, have less perceived recoil and muzzle rise at the same velocity vs larger charges of slower powders.

Side by side or mixed into the same mag, I can tell you what round had N310 or N320 in it, if they are both loaded to the same velocity and all else is identical. I bet you could too.


Yes, this is well documented.

https://www.shootingtimes.com/editor...n-recoil/99442

It's related to charge weight, not necessarily burn rate.
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Old June 9, 2019, 11:06 AM   #22
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Look at table 1 in your link and compare it to the burn rates here

https://www.hodgdon.com/wp-content/u...rate-color.pdf

And here

https://loaddata.com/Article/BurnRat...-Chart-NEW/159

With the exception of long shot and the table one puts N320 and TG equal in recoil (same as I have found, though N320 is cleaner), they are listed in the order of their burn rates.
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Old June 9, 2019, 02:53 PM   #23
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The problem with relative burn rate tables is how they are created. Norma's site includes a burn rate chart here developed by running the same amount of all the powders tested in the same .308 Winchester cartridge with the same bullet, and comparing the peak pressure developed by them. It means they don't determine actual burn rates but rather the "performs as if" burn rates that result if you pretend the powders all have the same energy content. In reality, smokeless powder energy content varies from around 3500 J/g to 5200 J/g, with the differences due to whether or not the powders are single or multiple-base and upon what portion of each powder's weight is comprised of the deterrent, stabilizer, fouling reducer, flame reducer, or impurities. So, some portion of the pressure reached is due to energy content and not burn rate. Norma explains how this affects results:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norma
When comparing different burning rate charts, one will notice variations in listed propellant ordering. Still, each such chart tells "the truth". Ranking differences result from use of different criteria. For example, a certain powder type can act slightly quicker than some other powder type, when used in 308 Winchester loads; however, when these powders are used in 7x64 loads, evident burning rates might reverse. Relative burning rate charts can never provide absolute data because too many factors are involved in how propellants burn within a cartridge chamber.
So all those charts are based on "as-if" assumptions to get a relative pressure result and the ranking varies with the specifics of how that is done.

Interior ballistics predictive software already takes energy content into account, so what it needs is the actual burn rate factor as determined in standard tests used by the powder manufacturers and not a relative burn rate. And even when you get your burn rates from a powder manufacturer, you can bet they haven't paid to test someone else's product. Hodgdon told me that to have a lab run a full battery of such tests using standard methods to determine all the input properties used by QuickLOAD (and now GRT) would cost over $50K for each powder, so they don't do it. (They don't need to. They specify the nominal burn rate and tolerance and a bulk density and tolerance for each lot of powder they order made. That and the MSDS information is all they really need. They aren't in the interior ballistics software business.)

Only the actual powder manufacturers (not the distributors) can provide detailed technical information about a powder, some of which they may prefer not to publish. For QuickLOAD, Hartmut Broemel purchased his own lab equipment and runs his own test on purchased samples of powders. He developed an approach to deducing all the salient properties from one vivacity bomb test, and he buys samples of different powders and puts them through that. The limitations of the approach are there is a significant cost to creating and maintaining the database and that it is based on purchased powder samples without any way of knowing how close to average the powder the sample was for its type. It also means his tables are part of his copyright and GRT can't just crib from them. That hard-won data is part of what your QuickLOAD license entitles you to use.

Ed Dillon at NECO (U.S. I.P. representative for QuickLOAD has given permission for occasional publishing of data from it. So here is an example. Both of the powders involved are St. Marks OBP231 in canister grade (tighter burn rate tolerance than bulk grade). You can see the samples were purchased at times when the lot numbers didn't match by looking at the slight property differences. Different lots of some other powders will have bigger differences. The sample here is random and does not indicate the range of of variation occurring at times.

Attached Images
File Type: gif 231&HP38 properties.gif (110.8 KB, 285 views)
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Old June 9, 2019, 03:59 PM   #24
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For my purposes, since it is generally taken as gospel that Winchester 231 and Hodgdon HP-38 are the same powder, I guess I'll just average the values for each and plug them into GRT.

Thank you, Uncle Nick. I'll use this for my trials with GRT, but (unlike my bullet dimensional data, which I developed) I won't send it on to GRT for their database.

Question: Is Hodgdon a manufacturer, or a distributor? Does Hodgdon make powder for Winchester, or does Winchester sell powder to Hodgdon?
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Old June 9, 2019, 04:37 PM   #25
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After all that, I'm still not able to enter Winchester 231 into the propellant database. With the data provided by Uncle Nick, I'm still missing the following, and GRT won't allow me to save without entering values for all the parameters (which is a good thing):
  • Isentropic exponent (k)
  • Transition limit (z2)
  • Bulk density
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