We’ve individually tested all three powders in Hodgdon’s Winchester StaBALL line. Now, we’re comparing them!
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About Winchester StaBALL
StaBALL ball powders are designed to be temperature insensitive with progressive-friendly metering. Ball powders are typically more temperature sensitive than stick powders, which makes StaBALL especially appealing.
There are currently three powders in the StaBALL line, StaBALL 6.5, StaBALL Match, and StaBALL HD. We’ve been using StaBALL 6.5 for several years, but StaBALL Match and StaBALL HD are new to the line this year.
These flattened ball powders have a wide burn-rate range and integrated copper fouling reduction agent.
Burn Speed Overview
If you look at each of the individual powder stories, you’ll find a more detailed burn rate chart. (In the burn rate chart I use, the lower the number, the faster-burning the powder is.)
In short, StaBALL Match has a medium speed burn rate similar to Varget. StaBALL 6.5 is slightly slower, similar to H4350 and ideal for the Creedmoor cartridges. StaBALL HD falls in the slow, magnum burn-rate range. It is similar to H-1000 and Retumbo.
Under the Microscope
I compiled a few different microscope pictures to show what the granules look like. StaBALL Match has a combination of spherical granules, flattened discs, and granules in between. StaBALL HD has larger, more-consistent flattened balls.
Each of these powders have a wide range of suitable cartridges. StaBALL Match is great for Varget-speed cartridges including .223, .308, 6GT, .30-06 and more. StaBALL 6.5 is ideal for 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, 270 Win and more. StaBALL HD is intended for 300 PRC, 7mm PRC, 300 Win Mag and more. We’ve tested each of these powders in multiple cartridges and gotten really impressive velocities.
26.5 grains of StaBALL Match with a 55 grain Sierra HPBT in a .223 yielded an average velocity of 3,161 fps. 48.5 grains of StaBALL Match over a 155 grain Hornady A-Max in a .308 yielded an average velocity of 2,893 fps.
We had great results with 25 Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. Using a 131 ACE bullet and 43.6 grains of StaBALL 6.5 in the 25 Creedmoor, we observed a 2,914 fps average velocity, 6.8 fps standard deviation and a 13.0 fps extreme spread. This load was particularly accurate.
We had two sets of stellar results with the 6.5 Creedmoor. 45.0 grains of StaBALL 6.5 with a 135 grain A-tip bullet had a 2,839 fps average velocity, 4.3 fps standard deviation and 8.0 fps extreme spread. A 140 grain hybrid bullet with 44.0 grains of StaBALL 6.5 yielded an average velocity of 2,757 fps, a standard deviation of 4.7 fps, and an extreme spread of 9.0 fps.
71.1 grains of StaBALL HD under a 175 grain Hornady ELD-X yielded an average velocity of 2,848 fps with a 13.8 fps standard deviation. 2800 fps out of a magnum with a 22” barrel is quite impressive.
We seated a 212 grain Hornady ELD-X bullet over 81.1 grains of StaBALL HD in the 300 PRC to get an average velocity of 2,952 fps with an 8.6 fps standard deviation. This particular load would be both a fine long range and hunting bullet.
We have done a decent amount of load development and testing with StaBALL 6.5. I expect when we conduct more in-depth testing with StaBALL Match and StaBALL HD, we’ll get even better results than what we’ve currently observed. Winchester and Hodgdon have crafted an especially unique and versatile line with their temperature-insensitive, progressive-friendly powders.
On that note, we have more 6GT content planned, comparing ammunition loaded on a progressive and single-stage at 1,000 yards!
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