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Old December 29, 2010, 05:54 PM   #1
overkill0084
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Finally bought a decent Powder Measure, kind of a review.

Today I was trying to load some .40 S&W using Accurate #5 and my powder measure was binding up and just generally giving me a hard time. The measure in question is a Lee Perfect that came with my kit. Up till now I was doing fine with it, but it has been more fussy lately. I think that it's past it's sell-by date. So, I head on over to the friendly neighborhood Sportsman's warehouse with a RCBS Uniflow on my mind. Oddly enough after I broke the "Don't Open the Boxes" rule I was sort of let down, the Uniflow didn't have that cool micrometer feature. Heck, even Lee made the effort with theirs. Further down the shelf there was a Redding #3BR Match Grade model (Universal Micrometer Unit version). So I tear into the box (that rule again). I found it had the cool (though probably unnecessary in the grand scheme of things) Micrometer feature. The downer was that it was noticeably more than the Uniflow, even factoring in the RCBS need for a separate purchase of a stand. I ended up saying screw it, the last time I bought a Redding device (my scale) I was quite happy with it. So Home I went, with my new toy.
This thing is the real deal. It's built like a piece of 50's equipment, I mean that in the best possible way. Cast iron & machined steel. The only plastic is the reservoir & the drop tube. The Micrometer feature feels very precise and can be locked into place. It throws my AA#5 consistently and even does OK with Unique (haven't tested any other powders yet). Overall it feel like a piece of precision equipment. It's like going from a Yugo to a Mercedes. Worth noting: The Universal Micrometer unit is supposedly good for charges as low as 5 gr & up to 100. I found that it throws as low as 2.5 gr of AA#5, but I didn't check consistency. I haven't tried other powders, if the low end becomes a problem, I may need to order Pistol micrometer unit. We'll see. For those in the market, it's worth at least a look. The only thing I miss about the Lee is the ability to remove the hopper for easier emptying.
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Old December 29, 2010, 06:57 PM   #2
Doodlebugger45
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I also upgraded my powder measure. After using the Lee Perfect Powder Measure for a few thousand rounds I convinced myself that a more expensive measure would work better. I got a Lyman #55 and right aaway started playing with it. It works OK, but realistically, it is no better than the Lee Perfect measure. Dure, it's solid iron and brass for all but the hopper, but it doesn't do any better as far as consistency goes. The Lee never had any problems with pistol powder or ball rifle powders. The Lyman does fine with pistol powder. It didn't do as well with W-780 though or Ramshot Hunter or Big Game rifle powders. The Lee was always spot on with those, but the Lyman varies by +/- 0.1 gr all the time with an occasional deviation of 0.2gr. It might be slightly better with Varget than the Lee was, but it still varied by +/- 0.3 gr, so I need to trickle that anyway.

But it does look pretty cool on my bench now and I don't have to hang my head in shame when I admit to owning a lowly Lee Perfect measure. Oh, and the really cool thing about the Lyman is that it has a neat "whacker" device built onto the side to tap the base to get rid of the bridging with rifle powder. Just in case tapping it with your finger is too complicated. But it needs it because it bridges rifle powder 10X worse than the Lee ever did. Needless to say I have not thrown my Lee Perfect powder measure in the trash just yet.

On my new Classic turret, I have the Auto Disk Pro, and I am elated by the way it works.
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Old December 29, 2010, 07:15 PM   #3
jepp2
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I used a Lyman 55 for many years. To be honest I really never adjusted it correctly (used too much of the top adjustment instead of the bottom bar). But I parted ways with it and bought the Redding 3BR with both the pistol and universal micrometers. That was over 20 years ago.

I couldn't be happier than I am with the Redding! It is a quality piece of equipment. Accurate, repeatable (I record settings and grains by powder and plot them in Excel) and works great even with long grain powders that shear.

I think you will be very happy with the Redding.
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Old December 30, 2010, 12:58 PM   #4
johnjohn
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I'm real happy I've got the Redding and the Lyman 55!
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Old December 30, 2010, 01:07 PM   #5
Doodlebugger45
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Johnjohn,

Do you notice that you get powder cutting on basically every drop when using the Lyman 55 on extruded rifle powder? I get a noticeable "binding" feel when I first pull the lever down on just about every powder I have tried so far. It actually takes a fairly high amount of force to cut those grains and get the lever to go down. Shoot, I even noticed it on my Ramshot Hunter powder and that's a ball powder.

I am just wondering if I'm doing something wrong. The instructions said for rifle loads (I was experimenting with throwing about 45-50 gr of powder with all the different powders) that you should basically adjust those with the big cavity first, then use the next sized cavity for fine tuning rifle loads. Following the directions, I only pulled out the big cavity alone, basically making a "tall" cavity rather than a "wide" one. It would stand to reason that doing that would minimize the powder cutting and bridging as much as possible, but I am somewhat disappointed by the results so far with the #55.
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Old December 30, 2010, 01:57 PM   #6
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I've tried a lot of measures over the years. Currently, for rifle, I use a Redding 30BR for spherical propellants and a JDS Quick Measure for stick powders. These are for when I'm loading more volume than I want to do with the electronic dispenser (racing to get ready for a match, for example). I have several other measures I've collected over the years, but those are doing best for me currently. Handgun loads are less picky, so the Dillon's own measures do fine for that.


Doodlebugger45,

The JDS Quick Measure is the only one I've ever tried that never cuts grains. That's it's main design purpose. Everything else, including the Lee Perfect with its wiper, will do it at least sometimes. It's more trouble to set up, but I've never seen it drop a charge that was off by more than 0.2 grains even with long grain stick powders.

For any measure, double powder baffles can help. I've got templates in a PDF file for making your own. It's attached to my post #4 in this thread.
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Last edited by Unclenick; December 30, 2010 at 02:05 PM.
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Old December 30, 2010, 11:33 PM   #7
pmeisel
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I never could get my Lyman 55 to work like I thought it should. I used a little dandy for awhile, but now use my Lee Perfect for everything.

I may look up a Redding someday, but the Lee is OK right now....
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Old December 31, 2010, 04:34 AM   #8
troy_mclure
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i went all out and upgraded to the rcbs chargemaster 1500.
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Old December 31, 2010, 05:17 AM   #9
misskimo
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I get my lee just under my load and slap it on the beam scale and then trickle the rest , Might be time consuming. But what is wenter for. I been thinking about get one of those 350 buck deals that weighs it and trickles it. But I just don't trust a digi scale
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Old December 31, 2010, 12:58 PM   #10
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Are long posts with no puncuation worth reading?
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Old December 31, 2010, 01:51 PM   #11
Sevens
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I think we all have our own road and travel it a little bit differently.

I started with Lee dippers. They are what they are... and nothing else.

Next for me was the Lee Perfect Powder Measure. For the money they cost, I think it's nuts to start out with anything less. I considered the auto-disk and I can see why some folks like them, but in my opinion, they are nothing more than a streamlined fixed cavity measure. To put it another way, they are just a compact, slick version of using those old powder dippers! With a fixed cavity measure, you are slave to the size of a cavity rather than being able to SET that cavity. So... not for me. But for the cost of the Lee Perfect Powder Measure, you can really speed up any handloading operation and it costs about what you can dig out of the couch cushions.

I used it for a few years before I fell in love with a Hornady measure that I bought at Camp Perry in the mid-1990s. It worked no differently than the Lee, but it was made of real metal and it felt like it. I was quite happy and with it, I loaded tens of thousands of rounds.

Until this summer when I found a hardly used Lyman 55 at a gun show. I got it for peanuts -- 20 bucks! And since I mounted it to the bench, I haven't used the Hornady even once. It's been a few thousand rounds since I started using the Lyman and I love it. It's more consistent than the Hornady and there is more access under it.

I'm keeping the Hornady, but I have no immediate plans to use it. I may end up using it as a fixed charge measure (that I never change) for something I use a lot of, like maybe my 9mm 125gr LRN load or some such thing.

I am sorry to hear multiple posts in this thread of folks who don't care a lot for their Lyman 55, but of the three I've owned, it's my favorite!
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Old December 31, 2010, 04:22 PM   #12
FM12
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Rather than dicking with setting up a measure and the trials and crap, I've gone back to the Lee dippers and trickeling to the exact charge. Unless I'm gonna do like 100 or more. Hate powder measures and getting them set up to the right charge weight.
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Old January 6, 2011, 01:56 PM   #13
johnjohn
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Yes the Lyman 55 does cut some stuff like IMR 4831 to name one so throw it a little low and trickle the rest.
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Old January 6, 2011, 03:13 PM   #14
NWPilgrim
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I like the Lee Pro Auto Disk measure for handgun cartridges. I like the RCBS Uniflow with the optional micrometer stem for larger throws (most rifle) and when I need an exact weight of powder, such as for 15.0 gr of W296 for the M1 Carbine. No doubt the Redding is a beauty!
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Old January 6, 2011, 03:51 PM   #15
Rifleman1776
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The 55 is designed to cut the grains. That is one way it throws accurate measures.
IMHO, the measure argument starts and stops with the Lyman 55.
All others are just wannabes.
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Old January 6, 2011, 07:54 PM   #16
wncchester
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"This (Redding) is the real deal. It's built like a piece of 50's equipment, ..."

That's what it is. Ditto Lyman 55. Very slight changes to either of 'em since.
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Old January 7, 2011, 05:18 PM   #17
dwhite
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I've got a Lee Perfect powder measure and have been quite pleased with it. Got it about two years ago for loading pistol rounds. It's very accurate with most of the powders I use; Universal, Clays, Blue Dot, 700X. I've had issues with leaking with AA#7. I just bought some Unique but haven't tried it yet.

For most of my loading though I go back to my Lee dippers. They throw correct loads for most of what I reload. They're easy to use and very consistent.

Sometimes the old way is the best way.

All the Best,
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Old January 7, 2011, 06:06 PM   #18
mbopp
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Been using a Redding 3 with both micrometers for years.
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Old April 5, 2011, 10:01 AM   #19
overkill0084
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Bit of an update...

Yeah I know, Zombie thread...
But it's an update.
The one problem I had was that with the universal chamber the Redding didn't like light charges of Bullseye. That is to be expected actually as per the instructions. Small charges of Unique were problematic as well, but wasn't really any surprise. Unique is always fun anyway.
Anyway, I finally ordered the Pistol Chamber for it. The results were very nice. It doesn't choke on tiny Bullseye charges anymore and it's easier to hit the right amounts. It throws small charges Unique quite well also. Average spread appears to be less than 1/10th of grain. Quite a nice change.

Lesson learned: Order the appropriate part and things work better.
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Old April 6, 2011, 12:53 AM   #20
45ACPete
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Powder measures

Have three--Lyman 55, Uniflow, and a Belding & Mull. The Lyman, set for a light charge of AA#9, stays in a range box that accompanies my Schuetzen rifle on trips to the range. The Uniflow is mounted on a Piggyback setup atop a Rockchucker for pistol loads. The B & M gets the most use--about a hundred rounds a week of cast bullet loads in (mostly military) rifles.
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Old April 7, 2011, 09:02 PM   #21
jhansman
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I gave up on my Lee measure and am using dippers for all my handgun loads. They work fine, but I think about switching back from time to time, so I'm keeping an eye on this thread to see if there is a consensus.
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Old April 9, 2011, 09:38 AM   #22
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I have a Hollywood very old, works great,
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