TESTED: Winchester StaBALL Match (Varget Speed Powder)

Hodgdon released two new powders, StaBALL Match and StaBALL HD at SHOT Show 2023. Today, we’re taking a closer look at StaBALL Match


Ultimate Reloader LLC / Making with Metal Disclaimer: (by reading this article and/or watching video content you accept these terms). The content on this website (including videos, articles, ammunition reloading data, technical articles, gunsmithing and other information) is for demonstration purposes only. Do not attempt any of the processes or procedures shown or described on this website. All gunsmithing procedures should be carried out by a qualified and licensed gunsmith at their own risk. Do not attempt to repair or modify any firearms based on information on this website. Ultimate Reloader, LLC and Making With Metal can not be held liable for property or personal damage due to viewers/readers of this website performing activities, procedures, techniques, or practices described in whole or part on this website. By accepting these terms, you agree that you alone are solely responsible for your own safety and property as it pertains to activities, procedures, techniques, or practices described in whole or part on this website.

About Winchester StaBALL Match

StaBALL 6.5 has been a staple in the Ultimate Reloader reloading room. We’ve used it in multiple cartridges and it’s consistently proven to be a great performer. 

Winchester StaBALL Match has a unique blend of attributes that make it especially appealing, particularly for progressive reloaders. It is a double-base spherical powder, is temperature insensitive, has a copper fouling reducer and is ideal for high-BC, heavy-for-caliber bullets. The hallmark of the StaBALL series is temperature insensitivity in a ball powder, something more traditionally found with stick powders.

From Hodgdon

Winchester® StaBALL™ Match is a temperature-insensitive, double-base, BALL® Powder, stable in extreme-hot or -cold conditions. This powder provides optimal loading density in cartridges appropriate for the burn speed, which is ideal for high-BC heavy for caliber bullets in 223 Remington, 224 Valkyrie, 22-250 Remington, 308 Winchester, 30-06 and many more. Typical of a BALL powder, precise metering contributes to consistent velocity and pressure with lower standard deviations, ingredients that are paramount to match grade accuracy!   

This REACH-compliant, “environmentally green” propellant has copper fouling reducer additives, which contribute to shooting sessions without cleaning the bore. Velocity levels obtainable, depending on the cartridge, are 50-75fps greater than other propellants in its class. Thus, the StaBALL family provides Stability, Precision and Speed. 

Available in 1 lb. and 8 lb. canisters.  

StaBALL Match is in the .223/.308 burn rate, especially comparable to Hodgdon’s incredibly popular but currently hard-to-find Varget.

Varget is a tried-and-true, versatile stick power and highlighted in our Basic Rifle Reloading series. I’ve used it for 6GT, 6 Dasher, .223, .308, and more, and found it often had the tightest groups I’ve shot from those rifles. That said, I’m sold on this burn rate. However, Varget’s greatest detractor is it doesn’t meter well out of a progressive press powder measure. Enter StaBALL Match. 

StaBALL Match Ideal Cartridges: .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, .22-250 Rem, .308 Win, .30-06

This new powder is ideal for .223 Remington, .224 Valkyrie, .22-250 Remington, .308 Winchester, .30-06 and many more. Hodgdon has a wealth of information available on their reloading data center


I commenced my StaBALL Match testing with 6GT. This cartridge has been top of mind since my recent custom Cerakote job on my full-custom 6GT build. I started with a 35.5 grain charge weight (below max) and did three other different charge weights—36.0, 36.5, and 37.0 (maximum). Sierra’s 107 grain SMK topped off each cartridge. 

I measured velocities, SD, and group size. (Keep in mind that these are very small samples so numbers will vary. I have more testing planned in the future.) My velocities were all at or over 3,000 fps, almost 100 fps higher than my Varget loads from the same gun. I fired these rounds through a 28 inch barrel, so velocities are also higher than what you would see from a 24 inch barrel.

All of my groups measured approximately half MOA. 

Kyle Shields testing Winchester StaBALL Match.

Kyle Shields, another member of our Ultimate Reloader team, loaded up some .223 and .308 rounds to chronograph.  Velocities of 3161 fps for the .223 and 2893 fps for the .308 with standard bullet weights were solid. Kyle loaded a .22 cal 55 grain Sierra HPBT over 26.5 grains of StaBALL Match and a .30 cal 155 grain Hornady A-Max over 48.5 grains of StaBALL Match. 

None of the above is  in-depth load development, but an overview and first thoughts using the powder.

Under the Microscope

L to R: StaBALL Match, Varget, Winchester 760, CFE 223

Taking a closer look under the microscope, we compared StaBALL Match to Varget, Winchester 760 and CFE 223.

All vary in texture, color and size. Varget is definitely the largest, with StaBALL Match and Winchester 760 showing standard flattened ball powder parameters. CFE 223 had the smallest diameter at 0.022” and the most spherical shape. 


Looking forward, I have plans for successive group tests and larger sample sizes. I also want to experiment with charge weights, seating depth, and an EC tuner

Stay tuned for our test of StaBALL HD and a comparison of all the StaBALL powders

Get the Gear

Find Winchester StaBALL Match directly from Hodgdon and keep an eye on sites like Midsouth Shooters Supply. This powder is currently in high demand. 

Sierra’s 107 grain SMK is available at Creedmoor Sports and Midsouth Shooters Supply. 

Don’t miss out on Ultimate Reloader updates, make sure you’re subscribed!

Gavin Gear

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *