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Old August 8, 2005, 08:25 AM   #1
Superhornet
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Lee Powder Dippers

Is anyone using the Lee Dipper set to load ammo ?? How does it work ??
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Old August 8, 2005, 08:31 AM   #2
Zekewolf
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Even if you use the dippers, you still need to verify your charges with scales..
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Old August 8, 2005, 09:33 AM   #3
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I occasionally use the Lee dippers. The way they work is that they are carefully calibrated, as to volume, by design. To use them, you need to have information as to the volume of your chosen powder, per unit of weight. The Lee dippers are calibrated in cc's....and Lee provides a chart, included with the dipper set, that shows the relative volumes of most of the powders on the market. The Lee loading manual "Modern Reloading", also has this information. Once you have the volume, in cc's per grain, of your chosen powder....the math is easy. Then, you choose the appropriate scoop. Often, there is no scoop which will exactly provide the charge you need....especially if it is and odd amount like, say "47.6 grains". But, using a combination of scoops....for instance, whichever scoop works out to be closest to 45.0 grains (with your chosen powder)....plus whatever scoop works out to be close to 2.5 grains.... you get a total of 47.5 grains (for example). Obviously, it is easier if your load works out to be about "1 dipper" - with whichever one of the dippers is appropriate. It is NEVER a good idea to use a dipper which is LARGER than your chosen charge - because of the possibilty of exceeding the charge weight inadvertently. Always choose a dipper that is at or below the volume actually needed.

The trick to the Lee dippers is to fill the dipper fully, completely to the top...but level with the top. Some powders (like ball powders) work very well for this, but tubular powders, like most of the IMR ones, are not so easy. So, you see, there is some room for error...and technique does make a difference. However, used carefully, it IS possible, with most powders, to come within 0.2 grains. As long as you are not using a load that is at the edge of the danger level....you will never be unsafe with the Lee dippers.

In my experience, the Lee dippers are pretty accurate...as I said, usually within 0.1 or 0.2 grains....as long as your technique is consistent.

Lastly, the Lee dipper set is a cheap alternative to weighing each charge separately....or purchasing a powder dispenser. They can be quicker to use than other means, as well (especially once a consistent technique is developed).

I hope that this info helps you. If you think the Lee dippers might be for you, then I'd suggest trying them. At only $6-7 for the set....how can you go wrong ?
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Old August 8, 2005, 10:47 AM   #4
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The Lee Dippers work very well indeed. They are not for max charges, and they are not for experimenters, but they are consistent. Pick the one that falls in the range of 5-10% under max for the powder and case you are using. The most accurate technique is to push the dipper straight down into the powder, lift straight up, and strike off the surplus with a credit card or something similar.
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Old August 8, 2005, 10:49 AM   #5
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They are surprisingly accurate, but man are they slow to use and still feel safe! LOL I solved the problem by getting a used clamp-on Lyman measure for when I want to load in a different room with the hand press.

Randy
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Old August 8, 2005, 11:15 AM   #6
Dave R
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When I first got into reloading, they were all I used, along with a scale and a trickler. I would drop a dipper full in the scale, then trickle up to the weight I wanted. Accurate but tedious in high volumes.

Then I got a powder measure. Speeds things up noticeably. However, it does take a few tries to dial in the right charge on the powder measure. So...

I still use the dippers for reloading smaller numbers. Like under 30 rounds.
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Old August 8, 2005, 12:21 PM   #7
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All I used when I started reloading for 12 ga., .38spec and .44 mag. Always worked for me. Quantrill
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Old August 8, 2005, 06:28 PM   #8
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I used them a lot when I first started out. Still do once in a while with a convinient load.

Olaf's advice on 'em is good stuff - dittos to him.
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Old August 8, 2005, 08:22 PM   #9
impact
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With ball type powder they work fine! Anything other than that you really need to check each load. I'm the kinda of person that wants a charge that is exact! Not + or - a tenth or two.
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Old August 8, 2005, 08:30 PM   #10
drinks
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Lee dippers

I have been using them since they had numbers, not volume measurements.
Anyone who does a little practicing can keep any powder within .1-.2 grains at the worst, no one with good sense gets that close to a max load with any kind of measure.
I use them for speed and convenience with less tham maximum loads in small batches, larger batches, I spend the time to adjust the powder measure, anything even close to a max, I weigh all of them.
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Old August 8, 2005, 09:04 PM   #11
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I HAVE used them.

A few years ago, I used a Lee dipper to dip 100 charges of a given powder (I don't remember which one, something I was using in .30-06) and weighed each one. They were FAR more accurate than my RCBS powder measure.
They are not versitile. But they ARE accurate and very very usable.
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Old August 10, 2005, 09:39 AM   #12
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zekewolf---if the dippers disperse a known quantity of specific type powders as per Lee instructions, why would you need to verify with a scale ?? That would seem to defeat the whole purpose of the dippers. If you are exceeding the dipper loads, of course you would need a scale..IMHO
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Old August 10, 2005, 11:34 AM   #13
444
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From my own experience, I was always unsure of myself until I had the opportunity to weigh a charge on a scale and confirm it was accurate.

I started handloading with a Lee Loader that came with one of those dippers. I had no idea what a correct powder charge looked like in the case, and I was nervous about handloading to begin with. I had never seen it done, had no one to ask questions, didn't own a loading manual, and this was years before Al Gore invented the internet. I went ahead with it and of course there was no problem.
If you had the dippers and a scale you could also use charges other than the one the dipper throws by using the dipper and then trickling the rest of the charge.
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You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
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Old August 10, 2005, 09:20 PM   #14
impact
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Superhornet! There is no way I would cap off a round without putting the charge on a scale first! Dipper chart or not!
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Old August 10, 2005, 09:36 PM   #15
Leftoverdj
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Quote:
Superhornet! There is no way I would cap off a round without putting the charge on a scale first! Dipper chart or not!
Just because, Impact?

I've shot tens of thousands of volumetric charges over 45 years without incident and trust volume more than I trust weight. Seen scales miscalibrated or misread far too often.
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Old August 11, 2005, 06:01 AM   #16
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Impact-----I will fess up--I posed the question originally to see what everyone thought of using the dippers. I have loaded thousands of rounds using the dippers, which of course, load below the max on just about every round or caliber you can think of loading. Calibers include 22 Hornet to 45-70 and every caliber in between including pistol. Harvested many whitetail using a 30-30 with W748 and a Hornady RN 150 grain...Lee dipper used throws right at 29.5-30 grains, well below any max......it is very accurate and crimped with a LFCD. I won a Glock 17 shooting in the GSSF at Ft. Benning a few years ago. Handloads with Lee CC Volume dipper. I have loaded over 350,000 rounds, still shoot 800 rounds a month. For any load that I want to load that does not fall into the parameters of powder manufacturers data-----I use a scale to make a Home Made dipper, that throws the desired charge....I have made many and they all throw by Volume. I do have a scale....the best one evermade...Ohaus...IMHO
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Old August 11, 2005, 06:39 AM   #17
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I used the dippers way back when I reloaded .44Mag. (Late '70's). I don't remember which way the scoop I used was marked, but it dropped a very consistant 11.85 Gr of Unique. IIRC, it was the third from the left in the box of 10 or 12 dippers.

I verified the charge weight on 2 different scales. I think the scoop that came with my "Lee Loader" threw about 10 Gr. of Unique
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Old August 11, 2005, 08:16 AM   #18
Olaf
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Excuse me, gentlemen - but there is NO point in getting upset and screaming at each other as regards the dipper/ no dipper issue. If you like the dippers...and trust them, as many of us do, then use them as intended. The world will not come to an end. If you don't like or trust them...and want to weigh every charge....that's fine too. NEITHER position is wrong.

It's a matter of choice - that's all.
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Old August 11, 2005, 08:31 AM   #19
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A dipper really isnt different from a regular rotary powder measure with the exception that it isnt so easily adjustable. Both measure the same exact way. Both can be screwed up by operator error, either by not having a loose level scoop or by not consistantly pulling the handle. I cant really see either one being more accurate than the other in theory anyway. Muzzle loader users have used volumetric metering only since the beginning of firearms. They dont seem to mind. Use whatever you wanna use and if you do it right you wont notice a difference.

Randy
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Old August 11, 2005, 10:17 AM   #20
MADISON
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Lee Powder Dippers

Lee Powder Dippers are better than nothing.
You need a set of reliable scales to verify the dipper's load[s].
I addition, a powder measure would be a tremendous help to you.
If money is an object and you can not afford $ 100[?] for a new measure, check out:
www.ebay.com
under "reloading"
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Old August 11, 2005, 12:15 PM   #21
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I had a bit of spare time this morning, so, thinking about this thread....I decided to run an informal "scientific experiment".

I set up my powder scale....zeroed it carefully...then checked it's accuracy against my set of check weights. All was okay.

Then, I set up to run 30 test weighings, using an appropriate Lee dipper and my favorite powder....which is IMR-4064. For those of you who've never used this powder, it's a tubular, extruded powder...and notoriously difficult to meter through powder dispensers...(or even through a powder funnel, for that matter). I chose this powder because 1) it's all I use now (it gives me great results)...and 2) it IS notoriously hard to meter.

My "experiment" charge was 42.0 grains, chosen because, as it happens this is exactly my preferred load for my 8mm Mauser cartridges. This is a mild load, entirely safe (in fact, at least 17 -18 % below the safe limit)...but which is very accurate for me...and gives me all the "oomph" I need for my purposes.

I chose a Lee 3.1 cc dipper, as this dipper works out to 41.6 grains, with the IMR-4064 powder. It would have been silly (and incorrect) to use a dipper larger than that.

So, on to the test. As I was trying for 42.0 grains, I loaded the dipper to slightly "heaping"....then tapped the handle lightly, exactly TWICE each time, with my index finger. I then immediately weighed the charge....dumped the powder back in the bowl....and repeated the test - keeping a tally of the results.

The results were as follows :

Of 30 tests.....

7, or 23.3 % were spot on (exactly 42.0 grains)
2, or 6.7 % were under by 0.1 grain (41.9 gr.)
3, or 10 % were under by 0.2 grain (41.8 gr.)
14, or 46.6 %, were over by 0.1 grain (42.1 gr.)
4, or 13.3 %, were over by 0.2 grain (42.2 gr.)...........

What does all of this prove ? It conclusively PROVES nothing....but it does INDICATE, especially when the load in question is well into the SAFE range...that the Lee dippers are pretty accurate (and definitely safe), even when not used exactly as intended. At least the 3.1cc dipper, anyway. Notice I was trying to load the dipper a bit beyond it's capacity (41.6 grains)....to simulate "real world" conditions. I do think that the error would likely have been more like +/- 0.1 grains, if I had struck off the powder even with the top of the dipper (thus attempting to get 41.6 grains).

This result matches my "real world experience" with the dippers, with all of the powders I've used. Obviously, ball powders work better in ANY type of metering/ scooping device - but good results can be obtained with the extruded powders...and a little care, as well.

Finally, I should point out to those who can't stand the idea of their charges varying by even 0.1 grains....that, in MY particular circumstance, this is unimportant. My rifle, by actual testing, will shoot loads with 41.8 grains, as well as 42.2 grains, just as well as 42.0 grains. In each of these cases, the rifle and the targets never know the difference.

This certainly does NOT mean that the Lee dippers are satisfactory for ALL handloading scenarios. Certainly not. I would NOT depend on them if I were pushing near the safe limit for my loads. Likewise, I probably would not depend on them if I needed an odd charge weight....say 43.6 grains (unless I could find a dipper that by actual, verified measurement, could produce a charge consistently within 0.1 grain or so). It goes without saying, also, that if one does not choose to use the dippers...or does not trust them - then he/she should not use them. That is a perfectly valid choice. We all have out own "style". Each individual should choose whatever technique works for him/her - period.

Since this discussion is ongoing, I just thought that you guys might like to hear about this "experiment".

Best wishes to all.
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Old August 11, 2005, 01:55 PM   #22
cuate
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Lee Dippers

I began reloading with that Lee thing you had to have a mallet with, then a 310 tool, always using dippers, never a bit of trouble. Today an eon later with a fancy six hole press and a couple of highly publicized powder measures I still weigh each and every charge on an RCBS electronic scale, thus each bullet impacts within i/2" at 100 yds. with a 03A3. I think I shall order a Lee Powder Measure set for old times sake!
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Old August 11, 2005, 02:28 PM   #23
Leftoverdj
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Quote:
You need a set of reliable scales to verify the dipper's load[s].
Why, Madison? People keep saying this, but no one ever tells us why. I could just as easily claim that you need a set of dippers to check your scales, but I don't.

Both volumetric and weight measurement provably work.
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Old August 11, 2005, 03:23 PM   #24
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Safety first? Make sure you grabbed the right dipper? Make sure you grabbed the right powder? To verify there isnt a typo on the chart of how much powder each dipper throws? To make sure your dipper is actually the size it says it is? To make sure you are not "packing" small ball powder in as tight as it will fit? Because my load book tells me to always verify my powder charge every so often? I check it cuz it's easy to do and a scale is less than an ambulence ride... I dont check every charge, because I believe in voilumetric metering. But I do check every 10th or 20th charge or so.

I would think many of your dipper users are new loaders or people that do small enough volume that they go some time in between loading sessions, so as responsible adults we should be encouraging safety, even if in reality it is a bit overboard. I verify my Uniflow or L55 every time I come back after leaving the room, even if it's just for a minute. Why? Sh- happens...

Randy
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Old August 11, 2005, 05:07 PM   #25
Olaf
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I agree with you, mOntels. It is unwise to depend solely on one means of measuring charges - without an occasional bit of cross-checking. Whenever I use my dippers, I do verify about every 10th charge (or so) with my powder scale. This is NOT to check the dippers (they NEVER change) - but to check my technique.

Last edited by Olaf; August 12, 2005 at 07:47 AM.
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