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Old June 18, 2011, 10:40 AM   #1
Eazmo
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powder check dies? do you use them ?

Hi guys,

I'm getting geared up for .223 and was wondering about powder check dies.

1. How many of you use them?

2. Are some better than others?

3. Waste of time/money?

Thanks for your input and recommendations.
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Old June 18, 2011, 12:41 PM   #2
Crunchy Frog
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If you are using a single stage press you don't need a powder check die. Buy a reloading block or two. It is easy to visually inspect the powder level of your charged cases under a good light.

I decided to get one when I bought my first progressive press after hearing stories of squibs and overcharged handloads.

After some research I chose the RCBS lockout die. It does not require that you watch the die to determine the powder level. If it detects an improper level (too low or too high) it will STOP your press whether you are watching the little indicator rod or not. The first time it "worked" it surprised me. Turns out a .357 case had gotten mixed in with my .38s. The powder level was OK but the die "realized" the case was too long.

RCBS and Hornady make a die with a rod that indicates the powder level (RCBS is a Powder Check die, Hornady calls it a Powder Cop die). Midway had the Hornady on clearance last time I was on the website. Both are OK but they depend on the operator watching the die as the charged case goes through.

Dillon makes a powder checker but I'm not sure it is suitable for non-Dillon applications without some modification.
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Old June 18, 2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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I have the Hornady Powder Cop, and I like it. You do have to keep your eye on it. It saves me from having to lean over the press and look in the case, and I trust it.

The Lock Out Die seems to be popular, but I would be nervous to not watch it.
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Old June 18, 2011, 01:44 PM   #4
Eazmo
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thanks guys,

how does the RCBS Lockout die stop your press?

does it only work on RCBS presses?

thanks again
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Old June 18, 2011, 04:48 PM   #5
RWNielsen
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Powder Check

I load on a Dillon. I have a powder check alarm on each tool head. You can't miss it when it goes off, very loud. Works on both over and under charged cases. Also....it's right in front of you for a visual as well.
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Old June 19, 2011, 10:15 PM   #6
Nosparetime
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I use them on my Dillon 1050's..

If you have an open station on a progressive press I see no reason the dillon system with an alarm would not work. It comes with a powder die that you need.
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Old June 20, 2011, 02:20 AM   #7
Guy B. Meredith
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Not sure of the mechanism in the RCBS lockout die, but I ALWAYS use one and it has saved my bacon two or three times in the 25,000 or so rounds I've reloaded. That shows how often I've actually needed it, but those 2 or 3 errors could have been the fatal ones.
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Old June 20, 2011, 08:29 AM   #8
CherokeeT
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I load a Dillon 650 and use their powder check alarm die setup. Works great.
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Old June 20, 2011, 08:30 AM   #9
Rifleman1776
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No die.
My powder check is a bright light and my eyes.
I do use a powder dropper die, very handy.
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Old June 20, 2011, 09:26 AM   #10
jmorris
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Quote:
If you have an open station on a progressive press I see no reason the dillon system with an alarm would not work. It comes with a powder die that you need.
It will only work on the 650 and 1050 unless you drill a hole in the press. The Dillon alarm has to contact the top of the ram to work. I use them but if you find a load that winds up being compressed you can use your eyeball. I use them mostly for small charges of fast powder that you can't see.
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Old June 20, 2011, 09:32 AM   #11
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If you look close you can see the extra rod and knurled knob that contacts the ram.


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Old June 20, 2011, 12:20 PM   #12
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My Hornady Powder Cop has been retired since I got my RCBS Lock Out die. Works great, no longer have to worry about keeping one eye on it and the other on something else.
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Old June 20, 2011, 01:15 PM   #13
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If you are reloading on a progressive then it makes sense, especially to check for no powder. But in .223 many of the powders will nearly fill the case. Varget for instance pretty much goes above the shoulder and nearly to the case mouth on most loads. I can't think of a powder that would NOT overflow on a double charge in .223, so that would be obvious.

The concern would be no powder and a possible squib. With most powders it would be full enough to easily see on a single stage or turret press. But on a progressive you probably want one so as to slow down for inspection of powder.
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Old June 20, 2011, 09:14 PM   #14
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I use the RCBS lockout die on a Hornady LNL AP. It works great. I will never load without one.

The link below is a video of how the RCBS lockout die works.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0OGD8oIYzU
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Old June 23, 2011, 01:30 AM   #15
Nosparetime
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jmorris: The powder check system on my 1050 is different than what you have on your machine. My rod goes on the outside of the toolhead and has a washer that contacts the shell plate.
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