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Old September 29, 2013, 10:37 AM   #1
BoogieMan
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Decent inexpensive powder drop

I am running a Lee loadmnaster with the disc style dropper. I am getting ready to load 460s&w and I dont feel I get a very consistent drop for loads up to 42gr of WIN296. In this case im running the press as a turret and can easily pull the cases off to drop the powder. I will probably use the same type of process for other larger drops like 30-06 and 8x56r. Im thinking of the Lee perfect powder measure but brand doesnt matter to me.
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Old September 29, 2013, 11:34 AM   #2
jonathon1289
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I couldn't say enough bad things about the Lee powder dispensers...they are not accurate at all IMO.
I use a RCBS Uniflow, it is more expensive but each drop is dead on with any powder I have ran through it.
That being said, I don't use a powder measure for my 30-06 loads - I hand dip and weigh every charge.
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Old September 29, 2013, 01:02 PM   #3
Unclenick
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The Lee Perfect has a patented wiper in it that causes it to do better than most with stick powders, though you do want to anchor it as rigidly as possible. With fine spherical propellants, like your 296, the Perfect is known to need some attention as the fine powder tends to leak out of the drum until you get it broken in, flashing removed, and drum tension correct. For ball powders I prefer the cast iron drum measures (RCBS, Hornady, Redding, etc.), or the horizontally adjusted drum measures. But if you are willing to spend some time and effort on the Perfect, it will come around. For stick powder for the .30-06, the Perfect is actually a pretty good choice, IME.

Next question is, just how inconsistent is the measure you have now?
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Old September 29, 2013, 04:38 PM   #4
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Distinctions should be made between precision rifle, often single stage and very precise powder measuring of each round, versus a progressive, which makes some compromises in favor of automation. The tolerance +_ some fraction of a grain or percentage for high quantities like your 42g, needs to be realistic. Otherwise, being obsessive as one might be with precision rifle is going to cost you far more than a simple Lee unit.

My Lee case-activated Auto-Disk Powder Measure has been dropping consistently 7.0g of SR4756 all afternoon, as I use that powder load on 4 different bullets in .357 magnum. The powder measure carries the Adjustable Charge Bar, which would not be applicable with disks or large caliber rifle charges.

All these slide-aperture-based devices vary in consistency based upon the type of powder, each of which may need to have its own consistency expectation. It may not be the equipment or the price of the equipment that makes the difference.

Last edited by Real Gun; September 29, 2013 at 04:48 PM.
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Old September 29, 2013, 06:12 PM   #5
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It is not necessary to remove the cartridge case from the turret press in order to charge with powder. The Lee Powder-Through die works as well with a simple funnel (with the standard funnel adapter) as it does with the Auto-Disk Powder Measure (with the measure adapter).

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Old September 29, 2013, 06:14 PM   #6
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Lee Perfect Powder measure... break it in, use it right, and you honestly cannot beat it.
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Old September 29, 2013, 09:30 PM   #7
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As mentioned above, Lee's little "Perfect" measure is as close to consistant as a powder measure gets for common tubular rifle powders. But, if it's not cleaned and assembled correctly it will dribble ball powders every time.

Thin flake powders will bind any measure. Ball powders measure like water in anything. Nothing is or can be highly consistant with coarse tubular powders. Poorly mounted - shaky - powder measures will vary more than solidly mounted. Varying lever operation will always produce varying drops.

The biggest problem with any powder measure is the loose nut holding the handle.
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Old September 30, 2013, 06:16 AM   #8
BoogieMan
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Some conflicting opinions here. I think I will take my chances with the lee PPM and take the time to clean up the flash lines and other little issues when I get it. If I dont like it im not out to much money at $22.
My double disc setup is dropping +-0.2gr with W231 on my 9mm loads. If I get a low load next to a high load I can definitely tell the difference. In that case we are only talking about 3.8-4.2gr. If we talking about 39.8 to 40.2 I dont think it would be so noticeable.
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Old September 30, 2013, 08:11 AM   #9
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I like the Lee Perfect - I've got a couple of them. But I've never been able to "tune" one to work with ball powders without leaking. There's no "flashing" in the system and the only adjustment is the pressure on the rotor. Too tight and you can barely move it, too loose and it tends to leak faster.

Excellent dispenser for the $ and I'd love to know the secret tune-up.
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Old September 30, 2013, 09:21 AM   #10
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There's a wiper in the Lee PPM that can wear down after a lot of use--especially if you use a lot of "scratchy" ball type powders.

You can replace this wiper--or do what I did and cut a shim from some clam shell packaging (thin piece of plastic) and put under the wiper... and it's good as new again.

Polish the interior of the drum with 400 grit sandpaper if it gets rough after several thousand rounds. I thought I had worn my PPM out, and ordered a new one from Midway (for 25 dollars), and while I was waiting for it to come in, I went on and polished the inside of my old one, and shimmed the wiper... and W748 meters smooth as silk once again--with no leaks.

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Old October 1, 2013, 12:48 PM   #11
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Yes. It's tough to mold plastic into perfect geometry. Also, re flashing, I had some folded in from the edge of the drum on one of the two Lee PPM's I own. It may have been a fluke or an inspection failure. The other was fine. Just inspect for it.

The only measure I have that is more consistent with stick powder than the LPPM is the JDS Quick Measure. But it is less convenient to adjust and you can buy five LPPM's for the same money, so your choice is purpose-specific.


BoogieMan,

±0.2 isn't bad at all. You are correct that it's a smaller percentage of a rifle load than of a pistol load, but there are a couple of other factors to consider. One is that precision expectations from a handgun are less demanding than with a rifle. Short of benchrest or varmint class, if a rifle shoots under 1 moa at 100 yards, we tend to think it's pretty good, and at half an moa that it's doing exceptionally well. For a pistol the numbers are about 4 times higher at on fourth the range. A pistol that shoots 4 moa at 25 yards (about 1") seems to be pretty darn good, and 2 moa at 25 yards (about ½") seems exceptional. So, you get about sixteen times the load precision slack at the outset (sixteen times and not four times has to do with how group error sources add statistically, but I'm not going to go into that here). That is, a good rifle load can vary ±½% in charge weight without opening groups up substantially, and a handgun can usually handle more like ±8% load variation without seeing too much effect on 25 yard paper.

Don't take my word for this, BTW. Use a scale to load some 9 mm or .45 Auto rounds 8% low and some 8% high (not to exceed safe limits) and twice as many right inbetween. Shoot the inbetween loads into one group and shoot the others alternating high and low rounds and see if the results aren't still pretty close in POI. The main exception that comes to mind is when you get down too close to being unable to function the firearm properly.

Second, pistol barrels are short and rigid compared to rifle barrels. You usually find some minimum and maximum charge for best accuracy, but its often a fairly generous band that doesn't have a sharp tuning point like a rifle. This, again, has to do with statistical influence in the more generous precision expectation for pistol shooting and also lack of bending deflection.

Third, the ranges at which we use pistols are usually too short for difference in bullet drop due to shot-to-shot differences in velocity to greatly change point of impact. Instead, what affects point of impact most is the angle of elevation of the muzzle (firing angle) at the moment the bullet clears it. Well, for a given bullet, if you reduce pressure, the gun muzzle elevates more slowly, but at the same time the bullet takes longer to get out of the barrel, giving the muzzle more time to reach toward the same elevation angle at bullet exit. This tends to compensate for small load errors. It's not exact, but its close enough that I find point of impact at 25 yards is changed more by changing bullet weight than by adjusting charge weight, with heavier bullets impacting higher (because it takes a given pressure more time to move heavier bullets out of the barrel, resulting in higher muzzle elevation at time of bullet exit). In a rifle, though, due to barrel whip, going to a heavier bullet can result in either higher or lower POI.

Anyway, the bottom line is the pistol loads are a lot less sensitive to a given percent charge weight error than a rifle is. If you doubt what your powder measure can do, again, load some up by weighing individual charges and compare how they do with how your rounds loaded from the measure do. The nice thing about shooting is the target tells you when something matters and when it doesn't. No guesswork required.
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Old October 1, 2013, 02:28 PM   #12
BoogieMan
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Unclenick- Thank you very much for the information. Im not a bench rest guy and my rifles and pistols are of the hunting/sport ilk. Closer tolerance may not make any noticeable difference in my POI. My biggest concern is with the 460 already being so close to the limits of the revolver that being off the same percentage with a 40gr weight as I am with a 4gr weight will put me at +-4gr I could overpressure. I havent dropped big charges with the autodisc yet. When I do I will be weighing many of them to ensure Im within spec.
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Old October 2, 2013, 08:35 AM   #13
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In my experience, the way to adjust your Lee is to trash it and buy another brand. Lyman has given me flawless reliable service for decades.
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Old October 2, 2013, 09:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
In my experience, the way to adjust your Lee is to trash it and buy another brand. Lyman has given me flawless reliable service for decades.
The Lee does work, as many attest, so some upgrade can come later. The key word here is inexpensive, and the Lee would certainly qualify there.
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Old October 3, 2013, 06:40 PM   #15
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It seems that the powder measures are like pistols or cars. Some were made on a Monday, Friday, day adjoining a holiday, days leading up to a strike, a new person on a jig, to a part failure by another company that makes the parts suffering from the above. If you happen to get a part made on a Tuesday by some one who got lucky, you will have a great powder measure or pistol or car.
-
I have a Lee Pro Auto Disc Powder Measure that I wash w/ Dawn and let air dry (do not rinse). I then wipe it w/ a dryer anti-static wipe and then shoot some graphite in the tube and down the shoot. I did the same for the disk or bar pending on which I am using at the time. I also have a baffle placed in the tube (can buy one from another company RCBS or Hornady. Both will fit in the Lee Pro Auto Disc Powder Measure.
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Old October 3, 2013, 11:41 PM   #16
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I've got the Lee auto-disk and a Hornady LNL measure. They both work just fine with every powder I've used that wasn't "stick" powder. With stick powder, the Lee works better.

Two tricks to get the auto-disk to drop consistently:

1. The first drop you make after filling the hopper should go right back into the hopper because it's usually heavier than anything you'll get going forward. Do the same thing if you re-start your loading process after taking a break. If the measure sits a long time the charge in the disk will compress slightly.

2. If you use a disk, or disk combination that you haven't used before, run half a pound of powder through it before you load with it. That seems to solve any static electricity problems that could lead to inconsistent drops.
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Old October 5, 2013, 09:32 AM   #17
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Here are a few other static charge sources: polyester clothing, rug for bench top, some air filters, dryer in reloading room. Another strange and some times source is a metal bench w/ a piece of glass or some other dielectric acting material as the cover, then other conductor items (think capacitors in parallel) on top of glass. The potential buildup of micro charges w/ humidity could possibly exist. You become the link to xfer a charge from the table to the hopper or your finicky electric scale when grabbed. While some of this is a non-issue, some of it may be just enough to cause the unknown quirks of static buildup. In the world of thousand dollar circuit boards, some of the charge threats came from strange sources. We had to wear a de-zap strap. I don't know, but in the high humidity of the deep south, may be that might be an idea.
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Old October 5, 2013, 10:19 AM   #18
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It's actually low humidity that promotes static build-up. High humidity tends to bleed charges down like the anti-stat chemicals do. Same reason: ions conduct electricity, and moisture tends to ionize things because water is highly polar.

You can buy an anti-static mat made of conductive plastic and that you ground to a water pipe, and work on that if the problem is severe. Most find the clothes dryer sheets alone are adequate, but leaving detergent on something has the same effect. It tends to attract enough moisture to remain ionized. You can buy a cheap anti-stat wrist strap and ground its wire and put it in a powder hopper or around the metallic parts of your press. These just offer a high resistance path to ground that bleeds static charges off without allowing current to get high enough to cause a hot spark. It's not easy to get one hot enough to light powder, so it's more about precaution and "just in case" to use the high resistance ground path. It certainly stops a spark from being painful. You can wear one of these straps, too, to help stop static on your body from affecting scale readings.
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Old October 6, 2013, 07:09 AM   #19
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All....

I am new at this and was using an old Redding Side Dial measure. It was good enough for BP cartridge the way I shoot, but now I am starting to load .45 ACP smokeless for a 1911. Charges much smaller and consistent precision is more important. (I think).

So now I am looking at a new measure and the RCBS Uniflow and Hornady Lock n Load are the ones I am considering.

I bought a clone of the Lee Perfect and unfortunately it is designed in such a way that consistent repeatable measurements are problematic.

I am an embarrassing tightwad, bought a measure off of eBay for ten bucks, figuring I couldn't lose, only to find out that the measure is only worth about ten bucks.

I am very happy to read this thread.
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Old October 6, 2013, 09:49 AM   #20
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Will the Lee PPM throw loads of 69-71gr? Is it's capacity that high?
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Old October 6, 2013, 10:07 AM   #21
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Obviously we have lots of Lee fans here. ...

Frankly, I would spend my time with a Hornady, RCBS, Redding or Lyman. All of these with a baffle in it and the right drum will give fine performance...people with these measure don't even know the words bind, leak, dribble, rebuild as it relates to powder measures. There are other brands like Harrels for really precise throwing of BR type rifle powders.

Frankly though, I like dispensers for rifle rounds, except for really high volume rifle..in that case my LNL does fine!
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Old October 6, 2013, 10:13 AM   #22
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Nathan - I'm not a Lee fan as much a fan of things that work. Years ago Joe at RealGuns compared powder dispensers and found the $200+ ones no better than the $50 ones which were no better than the Lee. And why do you think fine ball powders don't leak out of the others?
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Old October 11, 2013, 12:12 AM   #23
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The high humidity in the south results in running of the air conditioners hence the higher static. I left that part out, my bad. But you are right.
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