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Old September 22, 2009, 09:47 AM   #1
dbomb
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Powder measure not accurate

Ok so I finally got all my gear to start reloading my 300 win mag.
I have a hornayd lnl powder measure , Hornady single stage press and redding dies.

Everything was going smooth but when it came to measure the powder (68gr- H4831sc) it seemed that it was always off but alot. Some times I was taping the powder measure which I think that was part of the problem, but this made me very insecure and ended up measuring each load on the scale before pouring it in the case.

I have loaded .45 pistol before I didn't have this problem. every 20 rounds or so I was always rechecking the powder drop with the scale to make sure it was till accurate.

Can anyone shine some light into this. For this rifle I dont mind individually measuring each load but want to make sure nothing is defective.

Thanks
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Old September 22, 2009, 11:16 AM   #2
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Is there a powder baffle in the reservoir?

Uniform technique (like bumping the same at the top and bottom of each stroke)?
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Old September 22, 2009, 11:17 AM   #3
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What do you define as being "a lot"?
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Old September 22, 2009, 11:26 AM   #4
dbomb
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I was trying to get to 68 gr. but this were the varying difference

66.4 67.4 68.2

Toward the end I was just dropping it without tapping it on the up stroke and I was getting more consistent results like 67.4 -67.5 . I have the stock adujst knob, not the fine adjust one which I will get .

When I was loading my .45 I was taping it, and it seemed pretty consistent. I think it was the powder.

The first tries I think I over shot it (h4831sc) because I realized the powder was not dropping all the way, so I took the bottom piece then the powder just dropped without going through a funnel. ( I hope that made sense).
Thats the reason I started to tap it on the way down as well to make sure all of it dropped.

That was my first try. I cant wait this weekend to try another batch, but wanted to see if I was doing anything wrong.
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Old September 22, 2009, 11:45 AM   #5
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Actually, if you pull military surplus ammo, you often see large charge extreme spread of a couple of grains. People talk about staying within .1 grains, but they use that same number whether they are throwing 2.7 grains of Bullseye in a .38 Special wadcutter load, or if they are using a magnum rifle case holding 70 grains or more. Obvious, as a percentage, there is a big difference. A rifle will let you see smaller percentages of variance on a target than a pistol will, but if this is a hunting rifle, I think you'll find at the load levels you are using, if your charge has an extreme spread of .5 grains, you'll be hard put to tell the difference from one charge to the next on paper. 0.1 grains may matter to a bench rest shooter, but those of us shooting service rifles or hunting rifles just can't see those small differences when shooting from positions that don't include a bench. Besides, outdoor conditions constantly change. You don't really want a load so touchy you can see .1 grains difference in charge. I like Dan Newberry's load development method that identifies charge-insensitive loads on purpose.

That said, you'd still like to do better than nearly two grains, ES in charge weight, I'm sure. With a stick powder, tapping is not a good idea, IME, unless you have some way to make it extremely uniform, such as a motorized vibrator like a fish tank pump that has a timer to operate it exactly the same amount of time for each throw. It is too easy to make stick powder settle at different bulk densities. Try using a long drop tube some time to put powder in a case, as compared to no drop tube. Even if you put two identically weighed charges in, the drop tube charge will not come up as far inside the case. It has packed down its bulk density.

Powder baffles, indeed, two of them at 90 degrees to one another, seem to do best for me. You can download a set of instructions and templates for making them for different ID powder hoppers at my file repository.
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Old September 22, 2009, 12:47 PM   #6
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I don't see why a powder measure would have that much spread. My RCBS Uniflow measure with a micrometer stem stays +/- 0.1 grain whether it is WW231, Unique or Varget. I would imagine the Hornady measure should have similar consistency.

Being new it may not be fully "lubricated" with graphite or whatever is in the gunpowder. I would run a full measure through first, then adjust for desired throw weight and check consistency.

Might be something is assembled wrong or loose. It would be worthwhile to disassemble the adjusting stem and drum to see if everything is fitting properly. It should be a pretty simple design, just a round hole in the drum and a plug that adjusts in and out.
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Old September 22, 2009, 12:50 PM   #7
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The measure has that much spread because what it sounds like is that you filled the measure and immediately started pulling charges.

The powder is going to continue to settle for some time after you fill the hopper, and as it settles and packs more efficiently, it's going to give heavier and heavier charges.

You need to pre settle the powder before you start pulling charges.

I tap on the side of my powder hopper with a screwdriver handle and then cycle the press about a dozen times.

As others have noted, a powder baffle will also help.
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Old September 22, 2009, 01:11 PM   #8
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+1

I never completely fill the hopper. I don't have a baffle and so try to keep it filled about 1/4 - 2/3 of the way. Also, when first filling with powder I run 20 cases through (dump into case and pour back into hopper) before even trying to measure.
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Old September 22, 2009, 01:14 PM   #9
dbomb
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Great advise.! I think I will look into the powder baffle. it makes sense.

Im getting there with all my gear. Now if I can only find the time to reload more oftern
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Old September 22, 2009, 01:29 PM   #10
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One other thing to take into consideration. The Hornady L N L powder Measure is shipped with a coating of oil on everything. In side and out. If you did not get it all off that will gum things up.
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Old September 22, 2009, 01:41 PM   #11
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Clean it first

Did you take it all apart, then de-grease it? New powder measures have some preservative oil all over the metal parts. That has to be removed.

Then as said, you should fill the hopper with any powder, then run ALL of it through til it's gone. Powder has graphite on/in it. It helps the powder slide against itself. Some of the graphite will rub off on that freshly cleaned powder measure, it WILL meter much more uniform charges after you run some powder through it. OR if you have some plain black graphite, you could toss a teaspoon full into the hopper, shake it around and get some on/in the drum. Then dump what's left.
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Old September 22, 2009, 02:01 PM   #12
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Powder

Dont' know about LNL but I was using the Lee Perfect Powder measure and when I initially installed it, I didn't get the die set up right to get the full swing in the up position. This caused the "dumping rod" to allow some powder to cling to the inside. Tapping would cause any clinging about to come out, but not tapping would leave some in.

Readjusted the die to do a complete motion and everything worked fine.
Then I remove it and replaced with an electronic scale since I was only doing rifle at the time and wanted to be able to see the powder level. I'll use it for my .40 S&W when I get back to that.
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Old September 22, 2009, 03:15 PM   #13
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I usually weigh each for rifle loads. Had same issue with a Redding and found you must be consistent in procedure; same motion and amount of 'weight' on handle/banging
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Old September 22, 2009, 03:44 PM   #14
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IIRC, there was an article in a shooting mag years ago about this problem. As the powder level drops in the measure, the charges will get lighter. To maintain consistent level , place a funne lin the top of the measure. Fill the measure with powder thru the funnel and fill the funnel. As the powder level drops, keep adding powder to the funnel. This will keep the level consistant in the measure. Just make sure the opening in the funnel is large enough to let stick powder pass thru easily. Hope this makes sense. I work 3rd shift and I'm having my wakeup coffee.
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Old September 22, 2009, 04:50 PM   #15
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I never liked powder measuerers(is that a word) for rifle cartridges for the fact that I got into reloading 35 years ago because I wanted better than I could buy ammunition.To get there I had to reload and to reduce the variables I weighed each of my charges from the powder measure and corrected them to the desired weight.There are but a few powders that will throw the same charge consistently(the same exact weight) from a powder measure.Most pistol powders are small granuels,flakes or balls and meter well,most rifle powders are spherical rods and there is where the problem with a powder measure comes in.When operating the lever to dump the charge you will be cutting the extruded rod shape powder on some throws of the lever.There will be a little jerky motion that further compacts the next charge which will be heavy. No getting around this, thats why if you want really good accurate reloads weigh each charge.Use your powder measure to get close then dump the charge on scale and adjust.Otherwise you are defeating one of the best reasons to reload,accuracy.If you have powder charges that are .1-.3 gr different how will you know which is more accurate, reduce the variables.
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Old September 22, 2009, 05:40 PM   #16
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I use the cheap plastic thing from Lee. When I first started I too had issues.

As stated above in a round about way you have to prime the tank. I found that If I crank through 15 or 20 drops before I start loading it gets all the 'static stick' where it's gonna be.

Also, I'm a tapper..... once when filling the piston then once when charging the brass.
I've actually tested no tapping and had some minor variance.... but still always less than .1gr.

I have so little variance charge to charge it won't even move the balance pointer off the center mark.
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Old September 22, 2009, 06:48 PM   #17
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The Lee Perfect measure, which is what I expect you are referring to, typically does better than average with stick powders because of it integral wiper. I have to, and one almost never cuts a grain, while the other cuts every fifth throw or so. Its only drawback is fine ball powders tend to leak into the drum and hang it up. You do need to anchor it solidly to the bench, though.

The funnel idea is a good one. Power baffles do the same thing, but maybe let you run a bit more powder before you have to refill.

For the Hornady, the above advice to clean it is good. I use mineral spirits because they dry slowly enough not to attract a lot of moisture. I have also taken, with my metal drum measures (I have the RCBS Uniflow and the Redding BR-30), to buying a tube of graphite powder at the hardware store, and once the measure is clean and dry I wipe the inside of the hopper with a dryer sheet to kill static, and run the graphite through the measure several times. That saves having to run a lot of powder through it to get the graphite coating in the drum.
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Old September 24, 2009, 10:08 AM   #18
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Powder measure not accurate

...been reloading since 1970.
Experience has taught me that powder measures will give you within 3/10 of a grain.
I have said why pay $300+ for an inaccurate powder measure?
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Old September 24, 2009, 11:01 AM   #19
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As long as charge weights are within about half a percent spread of the total charge weight, few if any people will notice an accuracy difference up through 400 or 500 yards. That's 3/10ths grain for a 60 grain charge weight.

Most powder measures will meter that well with most powders providing two things are done:

1. After filling the hopper, tap it a few times with your hand to settle the powder in it.

2. Meter 4 or 5 charges using the same movement of its handle then pour 'em back in the hopper.

During powder throwing, check every 4th one for charge weight to ensure it's within specs.
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Old September 24, 2009, 09:05 PM   #20
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I've never reloaded a single bullet in my life (Dies come tomorrow) but I've been researching and reading...

This may be of interest, from ammosmith... Throwing charges...

http://www.ammosmith.com/general-rel...rt-series.html
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Old September 25, 2009, 02:18 AM   #21
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Hornady Powder Measure

Dbomb, I have a Pacific brand press that was probably the fore runner of your Hornady press. It also cannot be relied on to throw an accurate some powders are worse than others but with all of them it will throw smaller loads as the level in the reservour decreases. I have learned to live with it and what I do is use the measure to throw a lighter charge and use my powder trickler and scales to top up the load.
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Old September 25, 2009, 07:03 AM   #22
Mike Irwin
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"with all of them it will throw smaller loads as the level in the reservour decreases."

That's what the powder baffle is for, to prevent that from happening. The baffle keeps consistent powder pressure in the measuring chamber, which greatly enhances consistency of throw loads.

I was recently given a Belding & Mull measure that has a built in baffle chamber. B&Ms are known for their extreme consistency.
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Old September 25, 2009, 07:26 AM   #23
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With my old Uniflow, I'd throw at least 10 charges before loading and neve let the level in the measure get to halfway. I also bump the handle sharply on the down stroke. With slow burning powder and mag calibers I weigh each charge.
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Old September 25, 2009, 04:00 PM   #24
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I have never had a problem with any powder measures though I'm not saying others have not. I have used ones made by Lee, Hornady, RCBS and Dillon.

I would guess the problem that people do have is the result of the type of powder they are using combined with not repeating the same throwing action. Of course some powders just plain measure better than others.

In any event I may be lucky because most of the powders I use are known to be easy to measure with the powder measures I use. Secondly I clean mine prior to each use with alcohol and make sure they are dry. By luck I have never had any static problems. I do use a baffle and my lever strokes are uniform and repeated.

I will note that I did polish the inside metal parts of each powder measure, except of course the plastic Lee powder measure. I can run the powder down to the baffle with no changes. The baffle does appear to make a difference.

On setting everything up I throw about 10 charges prior to weighing the first charge. I then weight the next 5 charges. After that I will spot check every 50 throw. I do use a powder check to catch any large problems such as no charge or an over charge when using my progressive press. This is easy to catch by eye when doing single charges by hand so there is no need for the powder check when loading with my single stage press.

Here is an example of a recent spread with my Dillon powder measure using RL 7. My target was 20.1 and my charge ranged from 20.1 to 20.3 which is acceptable for general shooting - 55 gr FMJBT 233 - AR 15.

The 20.1 figure is the min charge weight and works well with my rifle in this combination. I checked the first 5 then every 50 for a total of 600 rounds. I used a powder checker for no charge or over charge. No checked charge ever went lower than 20.1 or higher than 20.3. I did check the first 10 charges for this reloading and all ranged in this area with over 70% at the 20.1 figure.

My procedure when operating my 650 is to cycle slowly with a full 1 second stop on the up stroke. I do not bang the lever on either the up or down stroke. I use a fully cleaned and polish Dillon powder measure with out an added baffle since this measure has one built into it by design. In addition when using the RL 7 an added baffle makes no difference even when running this powder low.

The powder funnel is cleaned with alcohol and dried prior to use. The powder bar is set for full travel when activated by the case.

In any event this works well for me though I use a different method when using my RCBS which is mounted in a stand and each throw is done by hand.
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Old September 25, 2009, 10:34 PM   #25
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Powder Measure

Over the years I have tried all of the above except the powder baffle but same result every time, on talking to other reloaders with the same measure it is just a problem with those measures. Pacific Later became Hornady and the latest Hornady measure externally doesn't look too different from the Pacific one that I have.
I have become so accustomed to weighing every powder charge that it is no longer a problem.
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