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Old October 22, 2007, 09:57 PM   #1
kjshank1
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Powder Problems

I've been reloading for a few months now, and the other day i was getting really agrevated because the rounds i'm making arent very accurate. So among other things I started checking every single charge with my scale. I'm using the lee perfect powder, and scale that came with the anniversary kit that i started with. I dont know exactly how inaccurate it was, but I'm thinking i was aiming for 3.2gr & was getting anything between 2.8 and 3.5gr. I'm using w231 to make some plinking loads for a .380 russian makarov. I'm using LRN bullets from either Meister or berrys that are 92 gr. Usually R-P brass. Tried CCI & Winchester primers. Winchester primers seemed to make it worse. Not sure what to do. The obvious things i can see causing this in my case are... Powder charge variations. Used brass. Crappy bullets. (bad aim may be a factor, but not all of it). I feel the most likely cause is the powder charge varying. I was hoping I could get some opinions on this. If powder charge is the problem, what would be a better way to do this. I was thinking about buying one of the powder dispensers with the digital scale. Mabey just a better powder dispenser. Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Old October 22, 2007, 10:35 PM   #2
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I read and reread you post and cannot figure out what press you are using and how you are metering the powder. Please list.

Yes, a variation of 0.7gr is a bit much and does not promote good accuracy, but other factors can be at play as well.

Ranier and Meister bullets are good quality. Just how are you crimping them???? I seat and crimp in seperate operations and the crimp is very light, because overcrimping casues inaccuracy.

Have you done a weight check of your scale??
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Old October 22, 2007, 11:05 PM   #3
kjshank1
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I'm using a lee turret press. I'm using lee dies & taper crimping separatly. I would say my crimp is pretty tight. I'll try backing off the crimp a little & see how they work. In case you haven't figured this out already, I'm learning how to load by trial & error. My process as far as the powder goes is... trial & error set powder measure to drop the amount of powder i want. Then I drop & measure several to make sure its right. Then I load rounds i want by dropping the powder into the pan that you use for the scale & dump it in the funnel on top of the expanding die. Which seemed to work ok for a while. The first few batches of cartridges I made were reasonably accurate. (most likely beginners luck) then i got 1000 of these lead bullets & started making them just to blast in the back yard. I've been making them probably 50 at a time. Then I figured i would try to make them shoot a little more accurate & started checking the powder charges & found it difficult to get consistent charges out of the "perfect powder". Thanks for your help again.
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Old October 23, 2007, 11:08 AM   #4
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The Lee Perfect Powder Measure has trouble with really small charges of powder, like most powder measures. You could try using the dipper that came with your dies. Weigh the charge you get from the dipper to see if it is within your specs. Or you could see if you can find a set of Lee powder dippers to measure your powder with.

Plated bullets are very soft, more like cast bullets than jacketed bullets. You may need to increase your powder charge.
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Old October 23, 2007, 01:17 PM   #5
brickeyee
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The Lee Perfect Powder Measure has trouble with flake powders and fine grain ball powders.
It is just NOT a very good measure.
The skinny stand it comes with allows way to much movement and results inthe powder packing excessively.
Like ANY volumetric powder measure it will perform better with a baffle to make sure the weight of the powder in the hopper is NOT on the metering chamber.

Somone gave me a Perfect powder measure once.
I tried it with a couple powders.
I then threw the measure in the trash.
You should esily be able to get any ball powder to +/- 0.1 grains.
The stick powders can be a little worse.
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Old October 26, 2007, 08:26 AM   #6
kjshank1
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thanks for the info guys, i really appreciate your help.
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Old October 26, 2007, 03:19 PM   #7
UGH
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If your thinking about a powder dispenser I can highly recommend the RCBS Chargemaster system. It doesn't get any better IMHO. I have used one for years. Very accurate and very fast.
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Old October 26, 2007, 08:24 PM   #8
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I have a Redding model 3 powder measure with the micro pistol meter, it will dispense small charges of W231 and finer powders very well but I have trouble with larger flake powders like Unique, and Trail Boss will bridge the metering hole I would like to find a powder measure with a .420" metering hole, I wish Redding would make one for the Mod 3.
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Old October 26, 2007, 10:21 PM   #9
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As noted above, the Lee system fails when you try to drop small charges. If you can justify the expense, a digital scale/dispenser unit will be the cure for the inconsistent powder drops. It will also speed up the loading process for all other cartridges, too. I like the PACT system because the scale and dispenser can be used separately, but the RCBS and Lyman systems are good too.
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Old November 12, 2007, 03:02 PM   #10
kjshank1
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I finally got to shoot a little today & I think you guys were right. My reloads now shoot straighter than I can. I shot 2 groups of 5. On both targets 3/5 were about 1 inch apart from 30-35 feet. I'm pretty sure those other 4 on my bad shot.
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Old November 14, 2007, 07:13 PM   #11
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I read more posts about people having problems with the Lee powder measures than ANY other type. Buy an RCBS Uniflow and get loading. I have been using the same measure for 35+ years and it still does the job right every time. Even the measure on my Dillon isn't as accurate, and Dillon sells a die that you can screw the RCBS measure or similar type into the charging die. Then you expand and charge at the same time. If I'm loading for extreme accuracy(the ONLY kind) the RCBS is it. CB.
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Old November 19, 2007, 01:04 PM   #12
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I am new to the loading world also. I loaded up some .222 50g V=max and 6.5x55 139g Lapua to test on Saturday. I was unhappy with both but there were a lot of negative variables going on; like time pressure, wind, the farmer started to put a gate on just beside me and so on....

My .222 at about 100 yrds were group like shot gun hale. The 6.5 within a big inch. Both sets of load were the lowest or starting power ranges.

I also use a Lee Turet press and Dillon scales. I was unhappy with the crimp as in the 6.5 I can move the bullet with my fingers

I have the Lee Delux dies. The are 3 dies in the set. As I understand them, please someone confirm or correct me, one resize the neck and pops out the old primer in one go. There is another full case resizer that you only use if the brass has been shot from another gun????? and finally there is a 3rd die that you can adjust to seat the depth of the bullet and I assume crimp too.

When setting the OAL of the cartridge and bullet (ready to fire) I took an empty cartridge, partly mounted a bullet head and measured it, then chambered it and gently bolted up the gun. On release the bullet had been pushed back into the cartridge neck and this gave me a better fitting cartridge. I beleive this all help accuracy. On the .222 I gave some clearance (.002) if that is how you state imperial, but I didn't make any other adjustment to the 6.5. The manual seem to give even a longer finished cartridge so i must be OK.

I hope some of my point and more to the point replies will give you some new accuracy ideas too.
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Old November 19, 2007, 01:33 PM   #13
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The Lee delux set for rifle comes with three dies. A full length sizing die a collet or neck sizing die and a seating die. I have found some of the Lee collet dies don't close the neck enough for a proper fit. Try the full length die I think you will get much better neck tension. If you trim your brass every time you can use the seating die to crimp. The case length is critical to getting this to work. put a case in and with the ram in the full up position, run the body of the die down until it touches the mouth of the die without a bullet in it. back the ram down and adjust the die down another 1/4-1/2 turn to get the crimp you want this will take some tinkering. Now your ready to set the bullet seating depth. follow the directions that came with the dies. to get the neck tension you want with the collet die you will need to reduce the diameter of the decapping pin.
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Old November 19, 2007, 01:40 PM   #14
Jim Watson
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BigDog,

I do not crimp bottleneck rifle cartridges. (Except for tubular magazine lever actions.) Lee claims an advantage for it, but I and the target shooters I flock with do not do it. At all. Full stop.

On the other hand, the bullet must be snug in the case neck and you should not be able to turn the bullet. If you are using the Lee collet neck size die, you can get more purchase on the bullet by polishing down the mandrel rod to a smaller diameter. Or use the full length sizing die and see if the bullet seats friction tight after that.

The "jump" from the case neck through the throat and leade to the rifling is one variable in handloading. Some bullets in some rifles benefit from a jump to the rifling, some are more accurate when "jammed" into the rifling. Light contact with the rifling as you determined is seldom the best. (I think it is just a pity that the British Isles metricated, don't you? Not to mention decimal money. What is wrong with shillings and pence, I ask you?)

Back when the .222 was the king of benchrest shooting, it was thought to shoot better loaded "hot." Work your loads up toward the listed maximum and see if that helps.
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Old November 19, 2007, 08:05 PM   #15
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BigDog: you didn't say what bullet you were using so I can't help much. Some rifles like the bullet ogive kissing the rifling; some don't. A lot of rifles don't care as long as the bullet jump isn't excessive to the lands (long freebore). I CAN give you some loads for the 222; I've been shooting one or another for 40+ years. 50 gr. Speer over 21.0 of Reloder 7 with an RP 7 1/2 primer, WW case. Set the seating die with a factory RP 50 gr. cartridge, and lock the die to seat to the same depth as factory ammo. The 52 gr. flatbase Speer HP over 24.0 of BLC2 and same case& primer. 52 gr. Sierra MK BTHP same data as the Speer. 55 gr. Speer spitzer over 23.0 of BLC2 same case and primer. These should keep you in the black for now. If you uniform the flash hole, and cut the primer pockets to a uniform depth, you may cut another inch or more off your groups. Help the farmer get the gate up and he may find other chores to do. Enjoy. CB.
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Old November 20, 2007, 04:36 AM   #16
Big Dog
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Thanks guys. This is all helpful. I wish I had someone close by to sit down with and practically work through this stuff. I have a good head knowledge of it but I am old school. In my early days I served my time as a carpenter, I value the apprenticeship model that seems to be a thing of the past these days; at least in NI.

I will load up some variation tonight and shoot them off Saturday and post results.

The bullet used are:

Hornady 50g V-Max - Power Varget

Lapua 139g S - Power H4831

Winchester brass (saved from Super X factor loads)

Talk to you soon
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