The Firing Line Forums

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 29, 2012, 10:18 PM   #1
chris in va
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 12,638
Trust your powder measure?

I just picked up my first powder measure, having used makeshift dippers for three years.

So far I'm measuring every other charge on my scale, finding a .5gr variance despite tapping before and after. Sometimes it's right on for a few cases, but suddenly i get the odd charge. This is 30'06 for my Garand BTW, not handgun where .5 would be more critical.

At what point did you start trusting it?
chris in va is offline  
Old December 29, 2012, 10:54 PM   #2
shredder4286
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 13, 2010
Location: NE Washington
Posts: 361
Man, I don't think I'll ever trust mine. I've had a hornady lock and load for 2 years now, and it doesn't throw consistent no matter what I do. I measure AND trickle every rifle charge.
shredder4286 is offline  
Old December 29, 2012, 11:08 PM   #3
dyl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 31, 2009
Location: Virginia
Posts: 518
I trusted mine pretty quickly, it varies by .1 grains so I label high usually.

I have found that when something is off, it's my balance/scale - I have to tap the knife edge away from me or it'll be inconsistent. Also, could it be your powder doesn't measure well for you? Big flakes can get hung up.

I use a Lee auto disk and I'm surprised at the consistency. May have gotten lucky.
dyl is offline  
Old December 29, 2012, 11:15 PM   #4
Zekest Crowe
Member
 
Join Date: June 24, 2012
Location: WA
Posts: 36
I use the Lee Perfect Powder Measure. It does not vary more than +/- .1 grain from throw to throw, as long as you use it correctly.

You can expect it to malfunction if you slam the handle from stop to stop, or tap or rap on it like a crazy woodpecker. There are videos on the Lee web site explaining to not follow this incorrect usage.
Zekest Crowe is offline  
Old December 29, 2012, 11:16 PM   #5
Sevens
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 28, 2007
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 9,163
It's been my experience that it depends more on the powder than anything. After that, it depends on the measure. Then comes technique -- you seriously have to do it a particular way. Really, any way will work, as long as you repeat that method to the letter. Metering charges in to waiting brass in a load block gives you the most chance to repeat the same motions in a rhythm so that you are doing the exact same thing every time.

Another trick to getting a consistent charge is to take advantage of what you have. When I used my Hornady, before I changed measures, some powders simply worked better when I yanked the smaller diameter pistol device and replaced it with the much larger diameter rifle unit. And I'm talking handgun powders and handgun charges here.

With the Lyman 55 I use now, I use the large drum when metering large charges rather than sliding out the medium sized slider. I rarely touch the ultra-fine slider at all no matter what I'm doing.

If you are measuring something that is extremely difficult to measure (extruded, long grain rifle powder, for example) then there's likely to be a mechanical limit to how well you can do.

Because the lion's share of my handloading is for handguns, I've chosen a large bevy of powders that perform for me and are also metering-friendly. Leave your Unique and IMR-800X at the door, please. I run Power Pistol, Hodgdon Universal, Alliant 2400, and all of these are literally within less than a tenth-grain every single time I check, re-check and triple-check my work. Grab any of the Accurate numbered handgun powders and it's almost impossible to screw it up, they meter SO well.

In closing... I not only trust my Lyman 55, it's my favorite tool of anything I've got at the load bench. Really. It's the single piece I absolutely wouldn't give up.
__________________
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
Sevens is offline  
Old December 29, 2012, 11:26 PM   #6
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,297
You don't mention what powder you're using, nor what measure you're using.

A half grain variance isn't all that much (unless, of course, you're loading firewall loads) with a measure being used with IMR stick powders like 4064 or 4895.

The good thing is that IMR powders, while they may not measure tremendously consistently, are perhaps the most forgiving powders out there when it comes to things like charge weight variations.
__________________
"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 December 30, 2012, 12:13 AM   #7
Jimro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2006
Posts: 5,756
Powder measures measure volume. They are very consistent at measuring volume.

When you are near full case fill, a volumetric load is often just as accurate as a weighed charge. With a stick powder in a rifle case (and a 20" or longer bore) even a .3 grain spread isn't much to worry about most of the time.

Powder weight will vary depending on things like moisture content will change the weight of your charge, but not the volume. So if you measure by volume, and the weight changes due to moisture content, you would be better off not weighing the charge (as you would actually be short powder).

Jimro
__________________
"Gorsh" said Goofy as secondary explosions racked the beaten zone, "Did I do that?"

http://randomthoughtsandguns.blogspot.com/
Jimro is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 12:39 AM   #8
chris in va
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 12,638
It was 4895. Like I said not too worried about the large '06 case, but concerned about an overcharge with my 9mm.
chris in va is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 08:26 AM   #9
hooligan1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 18, 2010
Location: Independence Missouri
Posts: 3,438
Ditto what Shredder said, I like to dump and trickle each and every load, it's just what I do.
__________________
Thanks for coming!
hooligan1 is online now  
Old December 30, 2012, 08:43 AM   #10
Rifleman1776
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 3,309
My ancient Lyman 55 is very accurate and consistent. Still, I check with balance scale about every 50 rounds.
Rifleman1776 is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 09:21 AM   #11
Bart B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 5,375
Most measure will throw charges of ball powder more consistant in weight than extruded powders. But even a 3/10ths grain spread with extruded/stick powder's good enough to produce 1/2 MOA accuracy at 600 yards in decent handloads from good rifles. Sierra Bullets' gets 1/4 MOA from such charge spreads at 200 yards.
__________________
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master
Bart B. is online now  
Old December 30, 2012, 09:31 AM   #12
jcwit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2007
Location: Upper Indiana
Posts: 605
I have and use a Lee Perfect powder measure, Lyman #55, and a Hornady Bench Grade Lock & Load. I trust them all but then I see nor have no reason to charge rounds at or near max. This is true whether 30/06 or 32 ACP. I load for accuracy, but for those that need to load to the limit, then I suppose you need to weigh.
__________________
U.S. Army Veteran
NRA Certified Range Officer
jcwit is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 09:58 AM   #13
LE-28
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 24, 2012
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 384
Quote:
At what point did you start trusting it?
You never start trusting it. Stick powders don't meter that well in powder measures, Pistol powders meter a whole lot better. I have tried to use a Uni-flow but between cutting sticks and running really rough I use a dipper and a trickler for all my rifle loads.

For pistol, depending on which machine I'm using, I will drift some "static guard"down into mine before I start and let it dry. Any of my three measures usually behave very well then. I can usually get them to throw at or +.1 without trying to hard. I've found that the Hornady on my LNL-AP and the stand alone Uni-flow are more static prone than the pro-auto disc that is on my pro1000.
It doesn't matter how consistent they are running, with pistol powder, I check every 10 or so cases to make sure nothing changed.
They hardly ever change but now and then static will cause me as much as .3-.4 gr at the start of a run. I usually dump the first 10 to 15 charges back into the measure to get things settled in the measure. You may notice that even with a baffle, they sometimes lighten up .1 of a grain as they get empty.
If you are using Unique, good luck.
Most all the fine grain or flake pistol powders are easy to dial in to the +or- you are looking for without a lot of trouble and usually run well and cause very little trouble.
LE-28 is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 10:55 AM   #14
buck460XVR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2006
Posts: 2,282
Quote:
Powder measures measure volume. They are very consistent at measuring volume.

When you are near full case fill, a volumetric load is often just as accurate as a weighed charge. With a stick powder in a rifle case (and a 20" or longer bore) even a .3 grain spread isn't much to worry about most of the time.

^^^this. A powder thrower is no different than the dippers the OP had been using. Basically it's just an automated dipper. Lots of folks dish Unique because they claim it meters so lousy. But it meters to volume quite well and in my own personal tests of weight vs volume loads, those charged by volume were more consistent than those charged by weight. This was with both velocity and accuracy. Now powder that bridges in the drop tube or is hangin' up in the hopper due to static cling is another story.
buck460XVR is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 11:07 AM   #15
rclark
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2009
Location: Butte, MT
Posts: 1,687
Quote:
but concerned about an overcharge with my 9mm.
You'll be using a different finer powder. You'll find it will vary much less. Still never 'trust' it. But you'll find you can test every 10th load or so.... usually .
__________________
A clinger. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes improperly referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. Ok.... the .44Spec is growing on me ... but the .45 Colt is still king.
rclark is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 11:13 AM   #16
Ozzieman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 5,027
I have several measures and all 3 throw accurate loads to several tenths of a grain. Where the accuracy falls off is when the reservoir gets bellow ½ full.
I load one tray (50) at a time, checking at each 10. Then I do a visual inspection of all 50.
I always fill the measures after each set of 50. I then dump 10 charges into the scales, divide the weight by 10 and you have an accurate average of the charge.
Call me over cautious, yes I am. But having one gun blow up beside me due to reloading mistakes, yes I am.
__________________
“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.” – Thomas Jefferson.

Politician's are like diapers.
You need to change them often,,,,, for the same reason!
Ozzieman is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 02:35 PM   #17
Kevin Rohrer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2010
Location: Medina, Ohio
Posts: 509
I don't use anything I can't trust. My Hollywood is dead-on. My B&M clone, Quick-Measures, and Dillons are accurate to .10gr.



__________________
Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA--Life, Varmint Hunters' Assn., ARTCA, American Legion, & South Cuyahoga Sportsmen's Assn.

"Gunnery, gunnery, gunnery...all else is twaddle!" --Admiral Sir John Fisher, RN
Kevin Rohrer is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 02:43 PM   #18
CrustyFN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 4, 2006
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 2,257
I use the Lee perfect powder measure, Lee pro auto disk and Dillon measure. All three throw very consistant loads. It didn't take long to trust them all. I would recommend to stop tapping the measure and see if it doesn't throw more consistant drops.
__________________
I don't ever remember being absent minded.
CrustyFN is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 02:55 PM   #19
Bart B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 5,375
Geez, if we should not trust powder measures to throw charges capable of shooting accurate, we should all gang up on the benchresters that do that setting records in the ones at 100 yards and threes at 300. And parade around Sierra Bullets with signs condemming their practice of doing that producing 1/4 MOA groups at their 200 yard indoor range near Sediala, MO.
__________________
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master
Bart B. is online now  
Old December 30, 2012, 03:00 PM   #20
golfnutrlv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 5, 2008
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 1,347
I started out with the RCBS Uniflow with my first press, a single-stage rockchucker.

I then added an RCBS Chargemaster 1500 for higher speed, accurate charges. The Chargemaster is a great unit, I love it to death. Load all my rifle rounds with accurate, consistent charges on my single stage press.

I also have a Hornady Lock-and-Load Auto Progressive for handgun. I have found their powder measure to be quite accurate with the small pistol insert. Since I load maximum 6.6 grains in one of my pistol rounds, it works.

All charges are verified visually, and with an RCBS Lockout Die. I also do charge checks with my scale, probably more frequently than I need to, but i'm just fine with that.
__________________
ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
VIGILIA PRETIUM LIBERTATIS
"The price of liberty is vigilance"
America is at an awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.
golfnutrlv is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 03:12 PM   #21
oldpapps
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 22, 2011
Location: Middle America
Posts: 473
I don't trust anyone or anything, including myself. That's why I am obsessive about checking and rechecking.
As for my powder measures. The old Lyman 55 is the best of what I have. The newer Lees with the disks or the adjustable disk are acceptable for the most part. But then, I do have 4 scales and check one against the other.

Be safe,

OSOK
oldpapps is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 04:57 PM   #22
jepp2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 24, 2008
Location: Loveland, CO
Posts: 1,369
Quote:
So far I'm measuring every other charge on my scale, finding a .5gr variance despite tapping before and after. Sometimes it's right on for a few cases, but suddenly i get the odd charge. This is 30'06 for my Garand BTW, not handgun where .5 would be more critical.

At what point did you start trusting it?
To me there is a big difference in trust and acceptable variation. Regarding variation, I wouldn't accept .5 gr variation. I'm not saying it is unsafe. For a max load in a 9mm case it might be (but you stated 4895 so you aren't loading for pistols).

Regarding trust, depending on the powder and measure I use, I throw several charges to get everything settled. Then I start charging cases. I always try and check often enough so I don't have a big issue if something changes. It never has been with my measures (Redding 3BR, Dillon 550 measures and RCBS Chargemaster). But I still spot check often enough so if I did find a change it is manageable. My feeling is that is the key. Do you want to pull 1000 rounds down? If not check often enough that to what you feel comfortable with. For my Dillon (handgun only) I have excellent lighting and can see the charge in every case during loading. For rifle I use loading blocks and visually verify before I seat bullets in rifle.

My philosophy is I cannot afford a single mistake that could prove catastrophic. A double charge would meet that definition.
jepp2 is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 06:30 PM   #23
tobnpr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 1, 2010
Location: Tampa Bay
Posts: 3,203
I'm in the middle of a big internal debate on this one...
On the one hand, I load for myself and my two sons- usually about 100-150 rounds each, once monthly trip to the range...

400 rounds of long-range ammo is tedious. Stopped being fun long ago- it's a chore.

As everyone mentioned above, stick powders meter inconsistently (and that's what we use- exclusively), dependent largely on press vibration. If I get a "stubborn" case in the sizing die- that shakes the powder drop- I KNOW that the charge lying in the meter is going to compress and be a few tenths over what I want.

So, the trade-off for me, is more time....or knowing that I'm likely to be dealing with 50 fps or more variations in velocity that will have at least some effect on my poi at 1K yards...

I'm considering an electronic dispenser, and using a funnel adapter where the powder drop goes to dump in the charges.

If anyone else has done this, I'd be interested in your comments, including how long these dispensers take to meter a charge...
tobnpr is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 06:52 PM   #24
hikingman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2004
Location: Indiana
Posts: 249
Yes, with Hornady Lock-N-Load Power Measure.

Of course, I weigh 2-3 out of ten. An eyeball test of the group-then adds to the QC aspect.
__________________
Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem. Ronald Reagan, 1985
hikingman is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 07:43 PM   #25
Crankylove
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 8, 2008
Location: The land of green Jello and vanilla icecream
Posts: 1,321
"Trust, but verify"

Once I get my measure dialed in for the load, I will scale the first 10 or so charges to make sure it's consistent, then every 10th case (approximately) till done loading.
__________________
The answer to 1984 is 1776
Crankylove 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 05:26 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 0.12677 seconds with 9 queries