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Old April 7, 2011, 10:03 AM   #1
tpcollins
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How consistent are powder throwers?

I reload for .380 Auto, .40 S&W, .204 Ruger, and .243. I haven't loaded any real volumes yet as I measure each charge on a RCBS 5-0-5 beam scale. I wouldn't mind getting a powder thrower if they were reliable from charge to charge.

I assume charge consistancy could be influenced by the granular size but are they reasonably consistant and is one brand better than the other? I don't bench shoot other than sighting in or finding a good load, so I'm not wanting to cough up a small fortune for my limited amount of reloading. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old April 7, 2011, 10:13 AM   #2
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Good ones with pistol rotors, a baffle and a consistent technique 0.1 is common.
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Old April 7, 2011, 11:37 AM   #3
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I used an RCBS Uniflow for about 40 years. It would consistently throw within .1 grain with pistol. With large stick rifle powders, I started trickling them up because I was going more than .2 grain. This habit stuck with rifle after a few chrono sessions. After the Lyman DPS3 came out, I entered a wonderful new world.
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Old April 7, 2011, 11:57 AM   #4
cracked butt
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I use a RCBS, Lee Perfect Powder Measure, and Lee Autodisk. They all work good enough for their intended purposes. If you are +/- 0.2gr in a 30-06 sized cartridge, you'll never notice the difference in accuracy from weighing every charge.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:04 PM   #5
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They all work very well for pistol powders. I have a Lyman 55, a Lee Perfect Powder Measure, and a Lee Pro Auto disk. The auto disk is only for the turret press but it works fine. For pistol powders, the cheapo Perfect Powder Measure is just as consistent as the Lyman 55 for about 1/3 of the price. They will all throw +/- 0.1 gr of most pistol powders, most of them are dead on. Unique powder doesn't measure as well with any of them, but it works good enough to get the job done.

Rifle powders can be tougher. The extruded powders common in rifles can vary on either of my measures. Naturally, the spherical powders made by Ramshot and Western meter extremely well. For some powders, the Lyman 55 works slightly better than the Lee Perfect Powder measure. For other rifle powders, it is the opposite. On a limited budget, the Perfect Powder measure is good. It is drastically better than not having any measure at all.
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Old April 7, 2011, 06:02 PM   #6
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
On a limited budget, the Perfect Powder measure is good. It is drastically better than not having any measure at all.
Having used a Perfect Powder Measure....

I have to say I'd rather throw all the charges by hand, than use a PPM again. Between powder leakage, galling of the rotor and body from plastic-on-plastic wear, powder getting stuck between the body and rotor, and the stiff throw, I find it to be a waste of money. It's more of an exercise in frustration, than time savings.

Powder measures should not be made of plastic.


Quote:
I assume charge consistancy could be influenced by the granular size but are they reasonably consistant and is one brand better than the other? I don't bench shoot other than sighting in or finding a good load, so I'm not wanting to cough up a small fortune for my limited amount of reloading.
Granule shape and size do have an effect on consistency and ease of use - for most powder measures. Since you're not a competition shooter, and don't want to cough up the extra cash for any of the specialty measures; the discussion is pretty much limited to piston-and-rotor type measures. Though the Lee Auto-Disk and Double disk are options, I don't like them; since you're stuck with fixed cavity sizes.

The RCBS Uniflow is generally considered to be the "entry level" metal powder measure. Mine does fine with most powders (+/- 0.1 gr). With the standard metering assembly (large, non-micrometer), I can adjust down to: 1.8 gr Unique. 2.0 gr HP-38/W231. And about 2.5 gr Titegroup. (I mention those powders, since you're reloading for .380.) At that low charge weight, accuracy is +/- 0.2 gr or better. With the small micrometer metering assembly, it is said to be much more accurate.

Long-granule extruded powders get cut, or cause resistance quite often. But, even with inconsistent lever throws, those charges are still generally within +/-0.2 gr (with anomalies of -0.3 gr).

Ball powders are always easier to meter in a powder measure, but short-granule extruded powders are pretty friendly, as well. Flake powders are hit-and-miss. I can meter Unique perfectly well with my Dillon measure (sliding-bar, adjustable cavity type), but my Uniflow chokes on it and sees a lot of deviation in the 3.0-7.0 gr charge range (even though 1.8-2.5 gr is consistent). Yet, many other reloaders here say that their Uniflows meter Unique perfectly well, but have issues with powders that do fine for me.

Usability with different powders can depend on the charge weight, type of measure, density of the powder (hardness), and the guy that happened to polish the parts when it was made.

From good, to better, I would rank the common measures as follows:
RCBS Uniflow
Hornady Lock-N-Load
Redding Model 3
Lyman 55
Redding Match/Competition

You need to consider mounting methods, while shopping for a powder measure, though. Each company has their own type of mounts/stands, and expects you to use the measure a certain way. Some offer different types of powder measure stands or mounts, but it usually requires a separate purchase. Most of the common powder measures use the standard reloading press/die thread pattern of 7/8"x14, which means most of their mounts and stands can be used with any other brand of measure (or screwed into a reloading press).

For example:
I have been considering getting a Redding 3-BR powder measure.
My personal preference for stands/mounts, is the RCBS "Advanced Powder Measure Stand" (a stand they created for use with their Uniflow trickler system). So, I would be using the RCBS stand with a Redding measure. But it's not a problem, since the threaded portion of the Redding measure is long enough to go through the RCBS stand, and they're both designed for 7/8"x14 threads.
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Old April 7, 2011, 07:47 PM   #7
tpcollins
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Thanks FrankenMauser, very well put. After doing a lot of research today the Lyman 55 kept coming up as one of the better choices as does you list suggest. That one is moved to the top of my list for them moment.
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Old April 7, 2011, 07:54 PM   #8
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I say that's a good move. I had been using a Hornady measure for the last 10 or so years and picked up a used Lyman 55 last summer at a gun show because it was a screaming good deal.

I haven't used my Hornady since, not even once. Not sure if/when I will again. I love the Lyman 55.
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Old April 8, 2011, 08:47 AM   #9
MADISON
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How consistent are powder throwers?

How consistent are powder throwers?
3 OR 4 TENTHS OF A GRAIN
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Old April 8, 2011, 09:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Having used a Perfect Powder Measure....

I have to say I'd rather throw all the charges by hand, than use a PPM again. Between powder leakage, galling of the rotor and body from plastic-on-plastic wear, powder getting stuck between the body and rotor, and the stiff throw, I find it to be a waste of money. It's more of an exercise in frustration, than time savings.
You must have gotten a bad one, which sometimes happens with any lee equipment. (I've gotten bad Lee dies, moulds, etc in the past).
I currently have 3 LPPMS- they are so cheap that I can set'em and forget'em on different turrets. I only use them for extruded powders, they work astoundingly well with IMRs/Varget/RL powders, but not so good (in fact, often miserably) with ball or flake powders.
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Old April 8, 2011, 12:29 PM   #11
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I run the Lee Pro Auto disc for 9mm and .223. For 9mm I run just a micro adjust charge bar and throwing Winchester Super Field, which you may think would not meter all that well, however it throws the same amount every time without fail and doesn't leak. I find it hard to imagine a better system.

For .223 I've been running TAC which "should" meter very well, but I can get a wild throw of +.5 grains every now and then. I run close to a max load so I don't trust it and weigh every charge. I run the double disc kit with a fixed cavity on the bottom and a micro adjust bar on the top, and it does leak a bit. I wouldn't mind a better setup, but it hasn't been in the budget priority.
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Old April 8, 2011, 01:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
How consistent are powder throwers?
3 OR 4 TENTHS OF A GRAIN
A really bad measure or bad technique.

I have not had any problem getting Uniflow to less than +/- 0.1 with a baffle and good technique for any powder.

Either large or small rotor in their range.
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Old April 8, 2011, 01:36 PM   #13
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Lyman 55 very consistent. But, that also depends on your wants/needs and daffy-nition of 'consistent'. When I was anal about one hole groups from the bench for competition I weighed on the scale down to single granules. For everyday shooting and/or hunting that is not necessary.
I like the 55 for pistol and rifle and all kinds of powders, excepting, of course, real black powder.
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Old April 8, 2011, 01:47 PM   #14
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Why not real black? The smokeless loads are based on bp weights so real bp can be weighed the same as smokeless. The subs are a different story.
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Old April 8, 2011, 02:24 PM   #15
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check eBay

I just bought an older Lyman 55 on eBay for about $40 shipped. They come up quite often there.

I haven't had a chance to use it yet though.

If you are not in a hurry and don't mind buying used I think that's the way to go.
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Old April 8, 2011, 02:50 PM   #16
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The powder measure that comes on Dillon presses is easily accurate to 0.1grn and less when using ball powders. Polished, they also be that accurate using powders like Varget.

I get very consistent results using all of the following powders: TiteGroup, Power Pistol, H110, 296, TAC, H335, WC 844, BLC-2, etc.
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Old April 8, 2011, 03:24 PM   #17
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I have a Hornady LNL.
Meters very well with spherical powders.
Extruded stick is another story...

Our fave is Varget, as it fits all three of our calibers (.223, .308, 7.62 x 54R) perfectly. But because powder throws meter by volume, and not weight, the charges can be frustratingly inconsistent for "precision" loads. I typicall get .3 gr. variance, and have seen up to .6- rarely even more. If I'm loading with a grain of a tested max load, I check every throw.
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Old April 8, 2011, 03:26 PM   #18
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I have been using a Lee PPM for over a year. Yes it leaks a little with fine powders. Not a whole lot. I put a sheet of paper under mine, and weighed to see how much leaked out after a loading session with Bull's Eye which seems to leak the most. 400 charges thrown. It leaked a little over 1.5 grains. I would buy a different powder measure, but mine still works well. It meters Varget to within two tenths of a grain, usualy being closer to dead on most times. Pistol powders like H-110, Bull's Eye, TiteGroup, and Acurate#9 meter to dead on every throw. The only powder I have used that does not meter well from it is Hi-Skor 800x which is known for not metering well from any volumetric powder measure.
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Old April 8, 2011, 04:20 PM   #19
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I have the RCBS Uniflow, but also I dump every charge into my digital scale and trickle up to my desired weight. It takes longer but I'm old and don't care!!!
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Old April 8, 2011, 04:20 PM   #20
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The best I've used is the Dillon. I even have one mounted on my RCBS progressive press!
The next best would be the Lyman 55. I sold mine years ago because they don't work well on progressive presses but they are great powder throws.

I think that powder choice is one key to getting good consistant powder charges. Ball powder always meter better that stick powders.
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Old April 8, 2011, 05:12 PM   #21
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I use a RCBS Uniflow measure and it totally depends on powder type and technique consistency to how consistent it throws. Each new can of powder that I open gets 10 charges thrown & recorded and the avg figured and this paper is taped to the can of powder for reference of what to expect.

If there is a significant difference from the last can, a formulation change may have happened so it's time for a batch of start loads to be sure. If the new can is dead nuts on the old can then I keep loading.
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Old April 8, 2011, 06:09 PM   #22
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Quote:
You must have gotten a bad one, which sometimes happens with any lee equipment. (I've gotten bad Lee dies, moulds, etc in the past).
I currently have 3 LPPMS- they are so cheap that I can set'em and forget'em on different turrets. I only use them for extruded powders, they work astoundingly well with IMRs/Varget/RL powders, but not so good (in fact, often miserably) with ball or flake powders.
I found that to be true. My Lee ppm throws varget very well but not H380 ball. Go figure.
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Old April 8, 2011, 06:51 PM   #23
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My two 'upgraded'* Ohaus Duo-Measures are very consistent with everything but the long stick powders. Those get the B&M.

*A MEC powder baffle was permanently affixed to the housing, and MEC powder bottles are employed now.
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Old April 9, 2011, 08:44 AM   #24
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I'm semi-anal about reloading so I don't use/trust powder throwers. I use a spoon and a trickler. I admit, it is a slow process but by doing it this way I'm confident that each load is as close to being the same as I can get it. I check scale every 5 loads.
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Old April 9, 2011, 09:41 AM   #25
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I got a dipper with my Lee, 7mm rem mag dies, but i have'nt used it because I like to "throw into and empty case and dump it into my new Lyman digital scales!!
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