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Old August 10, 2002, 09:03 PM   #1
Edward429451
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Powder Sticking in Hopper???

Very un-cool. I go to reload some .308's today for my range trip tomorrow and I go to empty my RCBS Uni-Flow of Power Pistol, and I got a even layer of sticking powder all around the inner circumferance of the green plastic hopper. Disassembled, dry brushed, no good. Soaked assembly in soapy water for a few hours, scrubbed, 90% came out. With more scrubbing its slowly coming out.

The inner surface of the hopper where the powder had stuck has taken on a crystalline textured appearance not unlike a chemical reaction to the plastic has taken place. Tried to scrape it off with a knife blade thinking it may be a residue and cleanable, but apparently not, its in the plastic itself.

This powder measure is around 17 yrs old and I have never had any problem with powder sticking in it before. I have left different powders in it before for probably up to a year, just keep topping it off and no powder has ever stuck appreciably in it before, minor flakes which are easily brushed out with a dry rag.

This is the first time that Power Pistol has been in this hopper/measure, and records indicate its been in there 3 months. Basement, cool and seemingly dry but no actual humidity measurements.

Any ideas on what's going on? Bad lot of Power Pistol? Typical lot of Power Pistol? (This is the first time I've used Power Pistol too) High dose of humidity? Any similar experiences by you all?
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Old August 10, 2002, 11:09 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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Yep. The chemicals in the powder were reacting with the plastic in the hopper. Smokeless powder is chemically stable, but it is not chemically inert.

I've seen it happen before.

I THINK that RCBS has a new hopper that you can get that is a lot more stable than the older plastics.
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Old August 10, 2002, 11:42 PM   #3
Edward429451
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Is my hopper replaceable or do I need a whole new one? I judiciously checked it out to see if it is removeable but I don't think so, so I left it alone so not to break it.

Are certain powders more susceptible to this happening than others?
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Old August 11, 2002, 12:06 AM   #4
Mike Irwin
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Ed,

Sorry, I really can't answer either question.

The easiest solution, though, is to simply remember to empty your hopper after each loading session.

This only happens over extended lengths of time, not in a few minutes.
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Old August 11, 2002, 08:59 AM   #5
sricciardelli
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First of all, you don't leave powder in a plastic (or any other hopper) for three months!

Secondly, instead of worrying about the effect it had on the hopper, have you even considered the effect on the powder?
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Old August 11, 2002, 11:52 AM   #6
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"...Secondly, instead of worrying about the effect it had on the hopper, have you even considered the effect on the powder?..."

Amen.

Sam
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Old August 11, 2002, 03:29 PM   #7
Edward429451
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Well, yeah. I threw the powder out. Thats a given.

I've left powder in hoppers longer than that with no problem. Just toss a pillow case over it so no light or dust gets to it.

Ah, well. You live and you learn.

RCBS'll probably replace it. I'll start emptying hoppers in the future.

(That's what's great about TFL. The set ya' straight quick here.)

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Old August 11, 2002, 10:30 PM   #8
tstr
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It doesn't take three months to scar the plastic of an RCBS powder measure with Power Pistol powder. It did it to mine in less than three days.

I, like you, had never had any other problems with any other powder. But I was suprised to see what the Power Pistol did to my plastic. It etched it good.

I really like Power Pistol, but it does not get along with RCBS. I dunno what to say beyond that.

tstr

P.S. my powder measure is only about three years old.
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Old August 11, 2002, 10:44 PM   #9
Edward429451
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Hmmm. Now that is interesting. Wonder what it is in the Power Pistol that makes it do that.

This is my first pound of PP, I haven't shot enough of it to decide if I like it or not yet. Its headed negative pretty fast now.

Well, theres always 231. Old reliable with no suprises.
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Old August 13, 2002, 08:07 AM   #10
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Powder Sticking in Hopper

ALWAYS empty the hopper when you are through loading. I use a pencil to "tap" the inside of the measure, to loosen any granuals that want to stick because of static. Call or E-Mail RCBS.
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Old August 13, 2002, 08:59 AM   #11
bullet44
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Light does funny stuff too gun powder,
eat the bottom off my lyman hopper in two days with titegroup, so always empty, tap,
cover hopper with black cloth, I use a
heavy black sock.

Suppose that is the reason it's shipped in
black cans.??(smile) anyways after 35 years
I should have known.
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Old August 13, 2002, 09:32 AM   #12
Jim Watson
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Ed,

Probably the nitroglycerine in a double base powder like Power Pistol is what is attacking the hopper. It is a plasticizer for some types of thermoplastic.

There is no excuse for their using a non-resistant material for a powder measure. Most powder is now shipped and stored in plastic containers, it would cost them little if any to make the measure hopper out of something that would stand contact. It may have taken three months for the Power Pistol to attack your hopper, but I have read of much faster attacks.

I always empty my Uniflo after loading single stage with it, but my Dillon and MEC progressive loaders stay filled and ready. My C-H discolored rapidly, so I made a glass liner for its hopper.

If Dillon wants me to empty their measures between uses, they are going to have to make them a lot easier to dismount and dump.
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Old August 13, 2002, 10:18 AM   #13
sleeping dog
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Call RCBS Customer Service and explain what happened. They may provide advice. They may also provide a new hopper. They are generally outstanding.

Also, I've read that occasionally wiping the inside of the hopper with an anti-static sheet of paper (borrowed from the clothes dryer area) can keep it from sticking so much. I've done that, it didn't seem to make much difference. If the sheet has gunpowder on it, don't use it in the dryer

Regards.
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Old August 13, 2002, 02:07 PM   #14
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Well it’s not a problem because of its age. I bought an RCBS progressive with the Uniflow about 3 months ago. Left Titegroup in the hopper for about two days and it etched it pretty good. The hopper was removed by prying around the base with a screwdriver. It chipped the rim in a few places, but I intend to replace it anyway. I sanded the diameter down a little to make it easier next time.

My plan is to buy one of the Sinclair bottle adapters. That should eliminate cleaning the hopper as much as I have to now.
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Old August 13, 2002, 04:44 PM   #15
Edward429451
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OK, RCBS was very nice about it. Offered to replace it immediately. Just break the old one out, clean it up, and tap in the new one with a 2X4 laid across the top. Friction fit.


Quote:
There is no excuse for their using a non-resistant material for a powder measure.
Yeah, you'd think that would be a given. So it was my fault, but, was it really my fault? I mean, it is made for gunpowder.

I've got 3 Dillon conversions too. I obviously dont empty those and the oldest one is darkening some but there's no sticking or etching. Its had some level of 231 in it at all times since it was new. Maybe I'll ask Dillon about it too. See what they say.

RCBS ROCKS (I'll stay away from Titegroup.)
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Old August 13, 2002, 07:29 PM   #16
Peter M. Eick
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I had the same problem with PowerPistol. RCBS gave me a new hopper, but for the short run, what the heck. I just kept using the old hopper and empting when I am done. It has now gotten dark enough at the bottom that the only way I can tell the powder level is with the top off. It does not seem to effect the operation of the measure though.

Anyway, this is only through the use of a lot of PowerPistol and emptying after every use.

Too bad they cannot find some plastic that works though.
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Old August 13, 2002, 08:03 PM   #17
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Powders are PLASTIC

nitrocellulose powders are extruded thru use of a solvent to soften it and make it plastic for processing it..Acetone, or ether, mainly.

You KNOW what acetone does to polystyrene plastics

Nitroglycerine-augmented nitrocellulose powders (double-base) involve even more solvents to introduce the EXTRA nitro into the guncotton

No wonder powdermeasures , plasticized during their manufacture with the same solvents, misbehave. My Dillon Hopper-baffles are "wilting" from Hodgdon Clays but I still get
+ or - 0.1gr accuracy.

it's important to use antistatic laundry tissues to prevent sticking of granules to the hopper but removal of powder to native container is essential.

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Old August 16, 2002, 08:51 PM   #18
Edward429451
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Dillon said "Empty the Hopper"

I said, "But isnt the hopper made for gunpowder?"

Dillon said "No, its not"

OKayyy. Glad I cleared that up.
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Old August 17, 2002, 08:12 AM   #19
Khornet
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Rinse the hopper

in water and diswashing soap e.g. Joy, then let dry without rinsing off the soapy liquid. I do that ONCE before using any new plastic powder vessel...hopper, funnel etc. and have never had sticking or etching with ball, flake, or extruded powder.
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Old August 19, 2002, 12:31 AM   #20
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Powder Sticking in Hopper

If you have Powder Sticking in Hopper, You have been leaving powder sit in the hopper. I have 2 solutions you might try:
[1] Contact the manufacturer and tell them you need a new hopper and see if they will replace it.
[2] Meausre the outside diameter of the hopper. Go to Lowes, Home Depot or a hardware and buy a short piece of WHITE plumbing pipe. Drill the necessary holes and you are all set. The disadvantage is you need to remove the top to see how full the hopper is.
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Old August 19, 2002, 02:55 PM   #21
Edward429451
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Quote:
Nitroglycerine-augmented nitrocellulose powders (double-base) involve even more solvents to introduce the EXTRA nitro into the guncotton
Bingo. Did some reading in the Speer #11 manual last night and there it was just like you said.

Somebody mentioned something about lining the hopper with glass...According to the Speer manual, glass is very bad for powder, don't do it.

I've since dumped all my other hoppers.
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Old August 19, 2002, 03:15 PM   #22
Jim Watson
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Glass is bad for powder?
I doubt it, but ultraviolet coming THROUGH the glass is bad for powder, just as it is for plastic and rubber. So cover it up when not in use.
Star used tempered glass hoppers on many of their progressives, those that didn't have metal hoppers, because when they were the only choice in progressives the usual powder was Bullseye which contains the most nitroglycerine of any powder still being made, and there were no common plastics resistant to it.
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Old August 19, 2002, 04:01 PM   #23
Edward429451
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I dug out the Speer book and reread it and you are correct. Its not that the glass itself is bad, its that it lets light in which accelarates the decomposition of the powder. Sorry for the mixup.
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Old August 19, 2002, 04:07 PM   #24
Edward429451
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So whats so special about the black plastic jugs that some of my powder comes in? Why don't it decompose in the jug? WW-231, BLC-2, 2400, Power Pistol, H-110, Unique, all those come in plastic.
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Old August 19, 2002, 04:56 PM   #25
Jim Watson
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Hodgdon, AA, and Alliant plastic powder containers (I haven't got a plastic Winchester on hand.) are all code 2, HDPE = high density polyethylene. The same material as milk cartons except dyed black to prevent UV from deteriorating the plastic and the powder. One of the most common and cheapest plastics on the market. But not as cheap as what RCBS and Dillon use, I guess. Or maybe it doesn't mold as smooth as their stuff.

With Dillon selling an electric powder level monitor, the hopper wouldn't have to be transparent, would it?

I wonder if there would be a market for a Dillon bottle conversion for those of us who keep our machines set up?
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