The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 12, 2006, 04:45 AM   #1
mjrodney
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2006
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 435
Powder dipper - actual measured variance

Every once in a while, I recall those threads that deal with the subject of powder dippers and their inherent in-accuracies.

Depending on the poster, variances range from the mild to the catastrophic.

I keep telling myself that I ought to look into this, since I use a powder dipper for .38SPL and .45ACP handgun loads. I suspect they are ok, since I use the powder dipper regularly, but hey, let's check anyway.

So, this morning, on a whim, I thought I would apply "scientific controls" to the process by spending some time with 3 different powders, a homemade dipper and a check weight calibrated, 3 poise, RCBS 505 scale. Photo of dipper is attached.

The powder fills a short & squat Old Fashioned glass. The routine is Dip, Tap the handle ONCE on the edge of the glass to level the powder, and Dump.

The dipper is an empty 9mm shell, filed to length until the desired volume was obtained and soldered to a brass rod for use as a handle. It is my dipper of choice for Clays and .45ACP/200g LSWC.

Here's the recorded results of measuring 30 Dips and Dumps for each powder:

Clays (Ordinary): 3.9g - 3.85g - never more than max, always less, mostly exact.

Bullseye: 5.5g - 5.4g - Same dipper, never more than max, always less.

Titegroup: 6.7 - 6.55 - Same dipper, always less, again.

The X.X5 half of one tenth of a grain was used when the poise didn't fall into a tenth notch on the scale. We just called it in the middle.

Two other experiments that were tried was 1) tapping more than once, and 2) tapping harder than "normal". Both resulted in less powder, although I didn't record the amounts. I didn't bother to adjust the scale to see how much less on these.

If you are a dyed-in-the wool and competitive bullseye shooter, this variance might not be acceptable to you, but for low volume handgunners like me, who always reload to the middle of the min-max range for any given powder, it seems to work just fine.

Eventually, the plan is to get a Dillon set up, but for now, this will have to do.

FWIW.....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Powder dipper 001.jpg (135.7 KB, 130 views)
__________________
Proud supporter of the NRA
mjrodney is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 09:41 AM   #2
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,307
Yep, you've proven that, unless you're a drunken monekey, you can get good results with dippers.

Consistent, repetitive handling of the dipper is key to getting repeatable results.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 09:42 AM   #3
Smokey Joe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 14, 2001
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 2,064
Dip-de-dip-de-dip...

Sorry, refrain from a '50's tune.

re dipping: I used a Lee Loader for .30-'06 for years before going mechanized, and after acquiring a powder scale, checked the dipper for accuracy, against my new (used) powder measure. My notes on that are long gone, but as I recall, dipping accuracy depended more than anything else on ROCK SOLID CONSISTENCY of dipping technique.

I used a 3x5 index card to scrape the excess powder off the top of the dipper, not a tap to level the powder. As I recall it worked quite well, if it was done EXACTLY the same way each and every time.

But, a modern powder measure does do a more accurate and easier job, and they aren't all that expensive, especially if you buy used. You still need to use the same technique for every measurement, to get the best accuracy.
__________________
God Bless America

--Smokey Joe
Smokey Joe is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 01:07 PM   #4
Buckythebrewer
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 15, 2006
Location: Jefferson, ME
Posts: 700
I agree,and found the same results in my limited use of the dippers(Yes I have the full set).A very good product IMO.I don't usually use them mostly because I wan't a more tuned charge for my 77gr 223 handloads for my ar15(Use the Lee ppm).BUt for anybody wanting a good reliable way to just get good quick charges(though not nearly as fast as the Ppm) I love the dippers and the way Lee makes it easy+safe to use them with there load data..
Buckythebrewer is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 01:55 PM   #5
brickeyee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2004
Posts: 3,342
Never had problems with dippers and used them for many years.
I made a lot of them for a specific charge in a specific cartridge.
The problem is not consistancy, it is the value you get from 'standard' volumes.
You may not be able to adjust a load by a few grains if you are using a standard set. If you are rolling your own dippers you can always get out the file.

Powder measures are volumetric devices also, and require technique (and a powder baffle) to get the best performance. The biggest advantage I see is adjustability and speed.
brickeyee is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 01:55 PM   #6
Rimrod
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 19, 2005
Location: Behind enemy lines
Posts: 1,309
Dippers measure by volume just like the Lee PPM, RCBS uniflow and many others meters. The only difference is they are a lot slower to use. And with both consistancy is critical for ultimate results. I have used them and gotten very good accuracy. One thing I did different was that I didn't tap at all. I dipped and scraped.
Rimrod is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 02:14 PM   #7
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 11,532
Before I got a powder measure (1975), I used a set of Lee powder dippers to load everything, pistol and rifle. I still have them. For the rifle, I used to throw the powder into the powder scale with the dippers and trickle the rest. As I recall, it always took about the same amount of powder to balance the scale. Never weighed the dipper charges, but the dippers seemed to work very consistently. If I didn't have a couple of powder measures now, I would still use them.
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 04:43 PM   #8
Buckythebrewer
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 15, 2006
Location: Jefferson, ME
Posts: 700
Rimrod,I got into a good method without tapping that worked really good for me too.Im sure both ways work well when you get into a consistent method.
Buckythebrewer is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 04:58 PM   #9
TimRB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Posts: 1,029
One neat trick I read about (here, probably) for home-brew dipper makers using fired brass is to make an adjustable one: pop the primer out and then drill and tap the primer pocket. Insert a screw with a locknut, and voila!

Tim
TimRB is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 05:48 PM   #10
rem33
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 31, 2006
Posts: 1,528
Bought mine over 25 years ago and still use them if loading only a few. Gets very close to what I am wanting in the scale tray. Close enough that I really wouldn't need to weigh loads that are not max, rare to be over a couple of tenths off, and thats not being careful scraping etc.
Scoop, weigh, then a tap in a bit and I will be right on almost as fast and easy as setting up the powder measure or the trickler for just a few.
rem33 is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 08:40 PM   #11
Rimrod
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 19, 2005
Location: Behind enemy lines
Posts: 1,309
Bucky,

I found that by not tapping I got better results because I didn't have to tap the same way each time.
Rimrod is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 09:14 PM   #12
Bill T
Junior member
 
Join Date: September 19, 2006
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Posts: 298
I have had a set of Lee Powder Dippers for years. I use them now for speeding things up with my Lyman DPS 1200 Electronic Powder System. Rather than letting the machine fill the entire charge, I'll select a dipper that throws about 5 or 7 grains less than I want, then let the machine top it off exactly. It's amazing how close of a charge the dipper throws if you get a consistant method. Bill T.
Bill T is offline  
Old October 12, 2006, 11:44 PM   #13
Buckythebrewer
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 15, 2006
Location: Jefferson, ME
Posts: 700
Rem33,I have done that as well with some rounds I through together and they worked great in my ar15(everything does).

Rimrod,,I would use my Red plastic Lee die cover and throw some powder in it (usingh335 because I hated how it leaked out of my PPM).Then just get into a rythm and consistently dip into the powder and scrape with a credit card..I got so I could do that while I was moving my funnel from cartridge to cartridge with a quick and consistent rythm..I have also scraped out one of my extra dippers to enlarge the charge a little for my 223 load(All Ive been loading for years now)..I just like my ppm so much now from using the same h4895 powder with great results.Its the $20 precision reloading tool that I can't live without now .
Buckythebrewer is offline  
Old October 13, 2006, 09:13 AM   #14
Rimrod
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 19, 2005
Location: Behind enemy lines
Posts: 1,309
Buckythebrewer,

I've known lots of old timers that made specific powder dippers out of brass cases like mjrodney did. They would then trim the case until it would get the amount of powder they wanted. The Lee dippers are a new angle on an old idea. If they had made a handle that could be attached and removed from several cases they would have made a good invention, but they would have sold only one to a customer.
Rimrod is offline  
Old October 13, 2006, 07:18 PM   #15
cochise
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 2, 2001
Location: Orlando
Posts: 299
my only beef with dippers is that they never seem to have the proper size for the powder type I choose.
__________________
Jim
cochise is offline  
Old October 19, 2006, 10:22 AM   #16
Plastic Cowboy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: September 21, 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 9
on a side note: even quality powder measures require consistant operation to provide consistant results

ie: the lever must be thrown at same speed each time and the measure tapped with the same force each time to ensure consistancy.
Plastic Cowboy is offline  
Old October 22, 2006, 01:18 PM   #17
Buckythebrewer
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 15, 2006
Location: Jefferson, ME
Posts: 700
Plastic Cowboy,I agree about being consistent with the measure.I don't tap it but I do throw consistent charges by pushing up with the same force+speed,pausing and then pushing down and pausing with the same speed+force..It works well for me and the charges weigh well within 1/10 of a grain according to my scale..they shoot good to at least 600yrds
Buckythebrewer is offline  
Old October 22, 2006, 06:12 PM   #18
brickeyee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2004
Posts: 3,342
A baffle is really needed for any powder measure to work well.
Without a baffle the weight of the powder in the hopper bears on the cavity.
With a baffle a consistent angle of powder from the baffle openings to the measuring volume is created. The powder falls in the same way no matter how much powder is in the hopper as long as the baffle is covered.
RCBS makes a nice one, but I have been cutting them from flashing for as long as I can remember.
brickeyee is offline  
Old October 24, 2006, 01:10 AM   #19
amamnn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 13, 2006
Location: WA, the left armpit of the USA
Posts: 1,323
It's amazing how long a negative statement or opinion will hang around and how hard it is to correct a misconception once the "big lie" has taken hold... Even in politics................

There are still people today in who will tell you horror stories about using powder dippers that they heard from someone who knew someone who knew someone who was within five miles of the guy who got blown up using a dipper.

The dippers got a bad rap during the transition from black powder to smokless powder. Some tightwads or maybe just plain fools used their black powder dippers to load smokless powder, with the (to them) unexpected and horrifying results we've most all heard. This was especially spectacular when the shooter loaded up a shotshell and fired it in a damascus barrel.

My grandfather was one of the tightwad group, and also one of those who persited in blaming the dippers until his dying day. I had the blown up Parker Brothers he learned his lesson with and I still have the L.C. Smith (made for smokless) he bought right after that. I don't have the scale he bought, though.
__________________
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal
amamnn is offline  
Old October 24, 2006, 07:12 AM   #20
Bill T
Junior member
 
Join Date: September 19, 2006
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Posts: 298
All a powder measure is when you strip everything away is a big, adjustable dipper. Powder measures in general are very accurate. Remember bench rest shooters use measures. They don't weigh every single charge. Bill T.
Bill T is offline  
Old October 24, 2006, 04:20 PM   #21
amamnn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 13, 2006
Location: WA, the left armpit of the USA
Posts: 1,323
I hate to be contrary again, but there are those of us who actually do weigh each and every charge of each and every round we use during benchrest competitions. Certainly the guys who load on the tailgate tend to use volume measure to save time, and problems with the wind on a breezy day, but the use of battery operated digital scales is changing that somewhat. Still, you can rest assured that any benchrester worth his salt has weighed those dipper or measure drops over and over at home before he decided to trust them at the match.
__________________
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal
amamnn is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12070 seconds with 10 queries