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Old February 11, 2013, 09:05 PM   #1
leadchucker
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Alternatives to the Lee Auto Disk

I load pistol rounds on my Lee Classic Turret press. The Lee Auto Disk powder measure with the adjustable charge bar meters Unique pretty well on charges over about seven grains, but it is totally useless with smaller charges. Accuracy all over the place. I've already read all the threads here about this. I understand, it's the nature of the beast.

Win 231 does fine for all those smaller loads. But I like Unique. It works well on my larger loads, and I was hoping I could figure out a way to auto meter it better in small quantities.

I might try the Micro-Disk, but before I do anything, I thought I would throw out this question.

Is there some other maker out there that makes a powder measure that does better with small charges of Unique? And if so, would it be something that could be grafted onto the Lee powder through die?
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:33 PM   #2
lee n. field
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There's an autolinkage that will let you use other makers' powder measures. Ex. RCBS Uniflow.

The downside is there's no way to integrate it with the powder through expander. Thus, it takes up a turret station. You won't have room for a separate crimping station.
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:42 PM   #3
ScottRiqui
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Do you have the Auto-Disk or the Pro Auto-Disk? I have the Pro Auto-Disk and just made up a bunch of .45 ACP using 5.0 gr of Unique with very consistent metering. I think that was using the .66 cc hole, and Lee makes disks that go down as low as .30 cc. If you'd like, I could throw some smaller charges of Unique and see how it does.

I think there's a coating on the lower half of the Pro that's missing on the standard, and the brass nuts on the Pro do a better job of holding the halves together.
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Old February 12, 2013, 12:20 AM   #4
Lost Sheep
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Good news/Bad news.

I've got good news and bad news.

The bad news is that the micro-disk is (reported to be) no longer in production. The dies got damaged somehow and replacing them is more money than the consumer demand justifies.

The good news is that it is not that hard to make one of your own.

The depth of my Auto-disk is .452" A piece of plastic that thick and 2.3" wide will slip into an auto-disk in place of the disk. Once you drill a hole in it just the right size and cut a notch to accommodate the actuating arm you will be able to make your own auto-disk insert of any size you want. If you make two half-height inserts, leaving one stationary and the other sliding back and forth you have just made a micro-disk.

It is something I have been working on in my spare time.

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Old February 12, 2013, 02:08 AM   #5
GTOne
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Quote:
The depth of my Auto-disk is .452" A piece of plastic that thick and 2.3" wide will slip into an auto-disk in place of the disk. Once you drill a hole in it just the right size and cut a notch to accommodate the actuating arm you will be able to make your own auto-disk insert of any size you want. If you make two half-height inserts, leaving one stationary and the other sliding back and forth you have just made a micro-disk.

It is something I have been working on in my spare time.
I hope you can post a discussion about this with pics when you have that ready. Please.
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Old February 12, 2013, 04:57 AM   #6
MEATSAW
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I just did 100 rounds of 45 ACP @ 4.8 gr of unique and only a few didn't throw 4.8 gr on the first try. I think my charge bar is set to .635 cc.

I have also metered as low as 4.3gr of unique consistently with the adjustable charge bar. I guess I'm just lucky.

I use the regular auto-disk with pro conversion kit.
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Old February 12, 2013, 09:12 AM   #7
leadchucker
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Quote:
The depth of my Auto-disk is .452" A piece of plastic that thick and 2.3" wide will slip into an auto-disk in place of the disk. Once you drill a hole in it just the right size and cut a notch to accommodate the actuating arm you will be able to make your own auto-disk insert of any size you want. If you make two half-height inserts, leaving one stationary and the other sliding back and forth you have just made a micro-disk.

It is something I have been working on in my spare time.
I too would be interested in this. I have considered upgrading to the Pro Auto Disk for all my regular larger loads, and trying to modify my existing Auto Disk measure. I was thinking of grinding down the hopper mounting bosses and the charge bar to create a "half-disk" measure. Same effect as a micro-disk.

My hat is off to all you guys who can get this measure to throw a consistent 2.9 grain charge of Unique.
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Old February 12, 2013, 10:34 AM   #8
DannyAbear
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Auto disk

Simply pick the size hole that throws slightly more than you need; drill & tap a hole into that disk (from the side) so that you can screw a 1/4"-20 set screw into the hole making your own micro adjustable disc. I have done several and they work very well.
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:23 AM   #9
leadchucker
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Quote:
Simply pick the size hole that throws slightly more than you need; drill & tap a hole into that disk (from the side) so that you can screw a 1/4"-20 set screw into the hole making your own micro adjustable disc. I have done several and they work very well.
I would bet that trick works very well with Win 231. Very similar in theory to the adjustable charge bar.

Those smallest holes in the auto disks are long and narrow. The same is true of the adjustable charge bar when it is turned down to a very small opening. A powder with larger flakes, like Unique doesn't fit well in these long narrow spaces. A half height disk such as the micro disk somewhat addresses that problem by making the holes more evenly proportioned with regard to length versus width.

Still, your idea might help. I hate futzing with changing those disks!
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Old February 12, 2013, 07:26 PM   #10
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With the disks, and particuliarly the ACB, it is imperative that the entire hole be directly under the hole in the bottom of the hopper while it is filling. It is also necessary for the disk hole to be directly over the drop tube when dispensing the powder into the powder through die. The latter is adjusted by screwing the die in or out of the turret. If both of these are not on, then there will be a ledge that may keep the disk from completely filling and emptying. This is especially true with flake type powder. Unique is unique is unique. If you want to use it you have to work with it.
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Old February 13, 2013, 04:23 PM   #11
Machz93
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New poster, long time reader.

I ran into consistancy issues using the adjustable disk with unique and light charges. It got better with the fixed volume disks, but I still had "flyer" charges that would be a little lighter. Lee's q&a website section lists static in the plastic as a possible cause for this. With that in mind I made an aluminum bushing that had the I.d. I wanted for my charge and an O.D. That was a light press fit in a larger volume disk orifice. Much better plus after making a couple more I can have in-between loads I couldn't get to with the standard lee disk sets.
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Old February 13, 2013, 04:36 PM   #12
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I did what Danny did also on several I had as spares. Works well
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Old February 13, 2013, 04:56 PM   #13
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Here's an alternative that you may not find to be helpful or popular, but I'm just offering a suggestion. A decent alternative to Unique is Hodgdon Universal. It's not the same powder and the load data is not interchangeable. But I believe it was designed to be a modern alternative to Unique. And it absolutely meters better.

It'll never be as popular. But Unique has a following and legend that far exceeds it's ability. It's a tired and over-used term...but in handloading, it seems like folks either love Unique or they hate it.

Typically, I'm a traditionalist in most things. Almost always in gun stuff, for sure. But not when it comes to Unique. I've been handloading a couple decades and the choices I keep in powder are, well, ridiculous. I keep on hand (and routinely use) a more dizzying array of handgun powders than any normal hobbyist has a genuine need or reason to do. It's like an addiction gone wrong.*

But I hate Unique. I don't like the way it meters and I can do anything Unique can do with different powders. In my world, it's completely unnecessary. And I do not say that specifically to annoy or anger the folks who love Unique. As I said, I'm a traditionalist (usually) and I understand the people who love their "good old stuff." I'm happy it works for them and they have MORE of it because I'm not buying any of it.

*I currently have 15 different handgun powders (including Unique) and I regularly dip from at least 10 of those. That's nuts, I don't recommend it, but it is kinda fun if you like to goof around.
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