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Old June 14, 2005, 09:09 AM   #1
Superhornet
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Lee Powder Dipper Kit

Does anyone use these dippers to load ammo.?? How well do they work for accurate ammo ???
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Old June 14, 2005, 09:15 AM   #2
Mal H
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Quote:
Does anyone use these dippers to load ammo.??
Yes, I use one or two all the time as powder tricklers. Better than a real trickler and much easier to control than other methods such as a spoon.

Quote:
How well do they work for accurate ammo ???
If you mean how well do they work alone without using a scale with the emphasis on accuracy, the answer is an unequivocal - they don't.
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Old June 14, 2005, 09:41 AM   #3
Mike Irwin
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The dippers work just fine, as long as you have a scale to know exactly how they're performing, as Mal notes.

Think about it...

A dipper and a powder thrower like the RCBS Uniflow both use the same, exactly method for measuring powder, volumetric measurement.

The only difference is that with the dippers you have to do the leveling, where as with the throwers you simply pull a handle or operate the press.

You can produce VERY accurate ammunition using volumetric measurement.
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Old June 14, 2005, 09:50 AM   #4
Coltdriver
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I started reloading with the dippers. They work fine as long as you are not trying to get to a critical maximum load.

I only used them for .223 loads which usually fill the case anyway. I would not use them for some of the smaller pistol loads where a half a grain could cause a serious problem.

After enough agonizing about not knowing precisely what was being loaded I picked up a used redding scale. Testing the dippers against the scale revealed that you could easily come up a half a grain off, especially with the powders that were cylindrical or pellet like, and that half a grain would ususally be on the plus side.

Now I use them to get to my scale measured load with a single dipper and a few grains from the trickler.

Just use your common sense and stay on the conservative side of the loads you are creating.
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Old June 14, 2005, 11:01 AM   #5
Leftoverdj
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There is nothing wrong with the dippers. There is no need to use a scale with them. There are only a lot of people who do not read the instructions.

To properly use the dippers, put powder in a small container, push the dipper down until the powder overflows, lift up, and strike off the surplus with an old credit card or something similar. You will get amazingly uniform results, and they will be on the low side of the Lee chart.

They will actually be more uniform over time than scaled charges because volumetric charges are not affected by humidity. Powder can pick up and lose water to the air so that some of what you are weighing is water rather than powder.

I don't really care if a rifle charge is a half grain lighter than the dipper specs. All I need to know is that it is within the safe range and gives good results.
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Old June 14, 2005, 11:49 AM   #6
Mike Irwin
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"There is nothing wrong with the dippers. There is no need to use a scale with them. There are only a lot of people who do not read the instructions."

Yes, yes there is.

A scale does a number of things for you, the most important of which are:

1. Helps make sure that you didn't grab the wrong dipper out of the box. Not so hard to do, as they're all the same color.

2. Makes sure that the dipper you've chosen throws the charge closest to the one you want. Powder formulations, and densities, change from lot to lot and over the years. Sometimes those changes can be pretty large.

3. Helps you "even out" your dipping methods to that you have roughly the same powder charge every time.

Loading with a scale is prudent.


Also, I'm interested in your comment that smokeless powder can change weight due to variations in humidity.

It's my understanding that smokeless powder is waterproof (nitrocellulose is similar to a plastic) and totally impervious to changes in humidity.

Black powder, on the other hand, is very hygroscopic and will change its weight significantly depending on the ambient humidity.
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Old June 14, 2005, 01:33 PM   #7
Steve Morgan
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dippers

I found that I couldn't operate a dipper better than about +/- 0.3 grains. This made a big difference in cartridges that hold less than 5 grains...not so much in big cases like the .44 magnum. As you may have read in my other post, I bought a powder thrower and my consistency problem with my .38 snubby went away. It's much faster too.
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Old June 14, 2005, 02:37 PM   #8
Leftoverdj
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Read a test long ago, Mike. It's easy enough to repeat at home if you are interested. Fellow weighed a dozen or so charges from a new sealed can, and left them in petrie dishes for a few days of high humidity. Reweighed them and they weighed heavier. Likely varies from powder to powder how much.

Folks who can't read the numbers on the dippers probably should not be reloading. They can't read the scales, neither. We've had two posters in the last couple of months saved by volume. One posted a picture asking why his "6 grains of Unique" filled his .45 ACP case. It was visually apparent that there was over 10 grains of Unique in the case and that he had misread the scale. Another asked why his AutoDisk charges were so far off. He had not zeroed his scale.

I've never seen a volume difference change in powder that would make a dangerous difference. I have seen burning rate changes that did so whether the powder was measured by weight or volume.

I have scales. Use them. Hard to do load tuning without them although Richard Lee and Dean Grinnell did so. But if all the scales in the world disappeared, I'd keep right on loading safely with volumetric measurement.
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Old June 14, 2005, 02:56 PM   #9
Mike Irwin
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"Read a test long ago, Mike. It's easy enough to repeat at home if you are interested. Fellow weighed a dozen or so charges from a new sealed can, and left them in petrie dishes for a few days of high humidity. Reweighed them and they weighed heavier. Likely varies from powder to powder how much."

Interesting.

I'm going to have to give this a try.

If I turn my dehumidifier off for more than 24 hours, my basement turns into swampthing's lair this time of year.

Could I dry the powder out in the over after I'm done?



"Folks who can't read the numbers on the dippers probably should not be reloading."

Accidents akin to grabbing the wrong dipper out of the box are SELDOM about comprehension problems. They're about unusual occurences or odd happenstances, or simple inattentativeness. That's why they're called accidents as opposed to "I see where Jimmy the moron blew off two more fingers and his left ear not paying attention while reloading... that only leaves him with half an ear and 3 fingers. He'd best quit while he's ahead."

I also wasn't claiming a safety issue for point two. There may be specific, gun related reasons why you want to stay in a narrow charge weight band, instead of creeping up .3 or .5 grains on average. Keeping your POA is a good reason.


Once again, using a scale allows you to fine tune your feel for using dippers, and is a good checksum procedure that any prudent individual should be interested in.

Oh, and there's one other reason why using a scale with a dipper is a good reason, espeically if you're working in new or unknown territory...

Loading manual typos.
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Old June 14, 2005, 03:03 PM   #10
Edward429451
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Interesting thoughts on powder absorbing humidity. I believe it does but am open to learning if I'm wrong...


Many times when reloading I'll knock off for the night, and if I know that I'll be back at it the next day...I don't empty the measure. (I know I should, but don't) I come back, reconfirm zero on the scale and recheck my measure setting. It's almost always a little heavy from what it was the night before. I have been reducing the charge back to my target weight to be on the safe side and because I'm no scientist so will err on the side of caution. I know its the humidity though. Anyone else ever experiance this?
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Old June 14, 2005, 03:12 PM   #11
Leftoverdj
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Quote:
Oh, and there's one other reason why using a scale with a dipper is a good reason, espeically if you're working in new or unknown territory...

Loading manual typos.
Neither a scale nor a dipper is gonna catch a typo. Only thing that catches those is crosschecking or enough experience to know when something just ain't right.

If you decide to run those tests, try WW 748 if you have a fresh can handy.
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Old June 14, 2005, 03:19 PM   #12
Mike Irwin
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"Neither a scale nor a dipper is gonna catch a typo. Only thing that catches those is crosschecking or enough experience to know when something just ain't right."

I disagree, especially when it comes to the experience factor.

If you've been reloading for awhile, espeically with the same powder, you'll immediately recognize, once the powder hits the scale pan, that either the dipper or the listed charge is wrong if you're expecting 5.5 grains of a powder and you come up with 6.8.

In nearly 30 years of reloading I've seen a ****pot load of typos in loading manuals of all types.


It's interesting though, that you mention cross checking loading manual data, but seem to believe that cross checking the actual powder charge with a scale as being unnecessary.

As for W748, I never use it.
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Old June 14, 2005, 09:11 PM   #13
Leftoverdj
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Quote:
"Neither a scale nor a dipper is gonna catch a typo. Only thing that catches those is crosschecking or enough experience to know when something just ain't right."

I disagree, especially when it comes to the experience factor.

If you've been reloading for awhile, espeically with the same powder, you'll immediately recognize, once the powder hits the scale pan, that either the dipper or the listed charge is wrong if you're expecting 5.5 grains of a powder and you come up with 6.8.

In nearly 30 years of reloading I've seen a ****pot load of typos in loading manuals of all types.


It's interesting though, that you mention cross checking loading manual data, but seem to believe that cross checking the actual powder charge with a scale as being unnecessary.

As for W748, I never use it.
Reread it, Mike. We agree on experience catching errors. We also agree that plenty of typos get into loading manuals. The typos I have seen have all been by weight. Nobody but Lee gives charges by volume; they are well aware of the hazards, and are always on the low side.

Weight and volume are both valid powder measuring systems. Benchrest shooters frequently give recipes in Culver settings. PPC shooters sometimes use Lil' Dandy rotor numbers. Most of us are used to using weight, and there are advantages to doing so. That does not make accurate volumetric measurements invalid. Since I established long ago that Lee Autodisk cavity .30 throws the right amount of WW 231 for extraordinarily accurate 148 WC .38 Specials, I don't need to check that against a scale again. Cavity size ain't gonna change, and I've got 5-6000 rounds left in that keg.
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Old June 15, 2005, 09:14 AM   #14
Zekewolf
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Using a powder measure to throw charges isn't loading volumetrically.
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Old June 15, 2005, 09:42 AM   #15
Mal H
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It's not??? Then what method would it be called?
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Old June 15, 2005, 09:51 AM   #16
Edward429451
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It would have to volumetrically, but we check it with a scale. The cavity is so big and holds so much powder.

What someone needs to do is to do the test, load some rounds with fresh out of the can powder and then let some powder sit and absorb some humidity checked with a scale to show definitive increased weight, then chrono both sets of loads to see any differences. Then off to the pressure testers?

Humidity shouldn't shoe increased pressure or velocity, I think.
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Old June 15, 2005, 12:44 PM   #17
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Using a powder measure for throwing charges is charging by weight, not volume. Volumetric powder measuring is estimating (usually more of a guestimate) a correct charge based on density information provided by the powder manufacturer for approximating a charge weight by volume.

I can't imagine that anybody'd use a powder measure that hadn't been adjusted by charge weight. That's not volumetric charging. How would you possibly compute volumetrically using a powder measure in which you have no idea what the volume of the cavity is at any setting?
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Old June 15, 2005, 03:10 PM   #18
Mal H
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Ok, I see your point, Zekewolf. However, a powder measure is a volumetric delivery system even though the volume of powder is accurately weighed to be sure it is the correct amount required.

I do contend that loading with a powder measure is indeed loading volumetrically, with the given that the cavity volume is first determined by the weight of the specific powder it holds. Thereafter, the volume of powder is the measure of each load (with an occasional weight check if necessary).

If every single charge were weighed before loading into a case, then your contention would be correct. In that case the powder measure is merely a powder dropper, a fairly accurate one to be sure, but the volume of powder is not the measure of the load, the weight is.
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Old June 15, 2005, 04:15 PM   #19
Leftoverdj
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Zeke, not all powder measures are variable, and some of the ones that are variable are micrometer equipped to exactly determine the volume at any given setting. The Lee dippers and disks are factory calibrated in CCs and come with conversion charts for common powders. Shotshell reloaders use volumetric charge bars or bushings and often do not own scales. Mighty few sacred black shooters use anything but volumetric.

Those of us who load extensively with surplus powders very commonly establish burning rate volumetrically. Just set the measure to a charge known to be safe, and work up in half turn increments watching for pressure signs and chronographing as you go. Time enough to worry about the weight when the signs and velocity tell you to stop.
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