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Old December 9, 2012, 06:54 PM   #1
leadchucker
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Powder measure question

The little yellow measure that come with Lee die sets. I haven't even figured out why Lee includes them with their dies. Given all the variations in powder and charges, how can they possibly be of any use?
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:05 PM   #2
oldmanFCSA
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IF, big IF, you decide to use them, use to rough charge the pan, then trickle to final weight.

Otherwise give to wife as measuring cups (?????).
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:14 PM   #3
tkglazie
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Its an oldschool thing. You can make some great ammo using a dipper. You will find some guys on here who swear by them (Lost Sheep stills dips I believe, at least for some calibers). Most of that crowd will fashion their own dippers from an empty case trimmed to the correct length, affixed to a length of stiff wire as a handle.

I have great respect for reloaders who make quality ammo with simple tools. I am all for those who use a chargemaster to throw the perfect charge too, but there is something to be said for simple techniques. If the S ever HTF, simple is better
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:27 PM   #4
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Read the chart for info on the die instructions that have the load information. There is line in the info with the c.c. volume listed. If you use a dipper of that c.c. with the powder listed it will give you close to that charge. If you work on doing it the same way each time you can get pretty close measurements each time.

Note I only use the dipper with Trail Boss powder in rifle loads. I have a couple of home made dippers made from cut down shell cases with a piece of wire soldered on.
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:28 PM   #5
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I've been using those little yellow measures since they were red (1969). With a little practice, those dippers can be very accurate and repeatable. Some powders don't work well in my drum type powder measures so I'll use a dipper. Works great for me...
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Old December 10, 2012, 09:29 AM   #6
Edward429451
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They're good for range ammo where it throws below max. With practice they can throw pretty darn consistent.
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Old December 10, 2012, 10:08 AM   #7
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Because they work, I have a set of red ones, been useing them for 40 years.
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Old December 10, 2012, 11:00 AM   #8
F. Guffey
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I have a set of red, a set of yellow and a set of black dippers, I have 2 adjustable dippers, I have dippers that were made from old cases with soldered on handles.

And I have R. Lee’s book on modern reloading, R. Lee developed loads at the range with dippers then went back to his shop and measured the dipper full with a scale to convert to grains, by design his dippers measured both minimum and maximum as in starting and maximum loads. Lee started with machined dippers and were marked in cubic inch, then he went metric as in cubic centimeters, a universal standard. Not a problem but R. Lee publishes his loads in volume and grains, he could not understand why other manufactures stamped their drums and bushings with meaningless numbers known only to the manufacturer. RCBS uses terms like ‘big drum’ and little drum, or is that small and large?

http://www.rcbs.com/downloads/instru...structions.pdf

The Little Dandy rotors are stamped with a number, the meaning of the number is known only to those with a chart. even if RCBS had made an attempt to please R. Lee by stamping the rotors in cubic centimeters reloaders would still be required to convert the CC to grains if the published data was printed in grains.


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Old December 10, 2012, 11:09 AM   #9
F. Guffey
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I measure powder in volume, Little Dandy, Dillon, tiny, small, medium, large and larger powder bars, Herters, Ohaus, Redding, Lyman, RCBS, etc., powder measures, most are adjustable, some with dials, others with cams then there are the collet with limited adjustment and slides. Again, I have three different sets of Lee powder measure, black, red and yellow, and I have Lee powder measures that are aluminum.

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Last edited by F. Guffey; December 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM. Reason: change c to v and change n to an e
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Old December 10, 2012, 11:22 AM   #10
F. Guffey
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Measure before and again after still applies when using a dipper, dip the powder then measure with a scale. Fixed dippers are adjustable.

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Old December 10, 2012, 11:25 AM   #11
Mike Irwin
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"Given all the variations in powder and charges, how can they possibly be of any use?"

If you read the materials that come with the die set, you'll see that the included scoop generally throws in the mid to lower power range for a particular cartridge with a variety of powders.

That makes it useful for those powders that are listed in the Lee data sheet that comes with the die set.

When you get right down to it, many of the powders that are suitable for a particular cartridge have similar densities and similar charge weight ranges, and thus are listed in the data sheet for use with that scoop in that particular cartridge.

Those powders that fall outside of a useful charge with that particular scoop in that particular cartridge are NOT listed.

The scoop is nothing more than a volumetric measure, not unlike every mechanical powder thrower now on the market.

As with any other means of measuring powder, a scale should always be used to verify that what you're expecting is actually what you're getting.
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Old December 10, 2012, 12:01 PM   #12
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To echo what Mike said, take a look at the Ramshot and Accurate powder web sites. Western powders distributes both (which is why they look so similar) and they include bulk density and both mixed unit VMD's (same as Lee's; cc's per grain) and metric unit VMD's (cc per gram). But unlike Lee, they list a bulk density tolerance. For some powder's it is as high as ±5.6%. That means the charge you throw from a specific volume measure could be as much as 11.2% different from one lot of powder to the next. So double-checking the weight is important to knowing what you are actually shooting.

Mr. Guffey's comments remind me to suggest you can use the dippers to learn what a powder measure's arbitrary scale means. You set the measure to throw the same weight the scoop does. You then change the scale numbers by some number of units and weigh the new charge weight it throws. Divide the first weight by the second weight and multiply by the number of cc's on the scoop handle by this number to see how many cc's the powder measure changed when you adjusted it. Then divide that result by the number of graduations you changed the measure setting to learn how many cc's per graduation your powder measure changes. Inversely, divide the number of graduations you changed the setting by the cc calculation result to learn how many graduations you need to change your measure to equal one cc.

As always, your results will be more accurate if you average a number of throws rather than take just one, and if you let the measure settle for several throws before starting and after making the adjustment.
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Old December 10, 2012, 12:25 PM   #13
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you can make some pretty accurate dippers using a old case (I like 30 - 06) and a tubing cutter. I cut the neck off then weighed the charge and dropped it in, marked the case with a sharpie then cut it to that height. I would tweak the length it till it measured a couple of tenths short and trickle to weight. I made one for each of my pet charges that used a stick powder.

I used that method until a week or so back when I broke down and bought a Chargemaster. I still have my dippers though, can't never tell when electronics might go south on you. That's why I still check every few charges against a beam scale
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Old December 10, 2012, 01:05 PM   #14
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If I have my perfect powder measure tied up on a long run like .223 for example, I'll use my dipper set and scale to throw powder for a shorter run.
This week I wanted to load a few .45 Colt, so out came the scale and the dipper set. Just so we are clear, don't use the dipper without the scale. The powder dipper info they send with the kits tends to be conservative, but powder weights can vary enough to make big problems. Get a scale and use it, if you want to dip powder. Otherwise loads can be too light to cycle, or too hot to extract, or worse. Either condition can be dangerous.
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Old December 10, 2012, 01:22 PM   #15
polyphemus
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Quote:"Measure before and again after still applies when using a dipper, dip the powder then measure with a scale. Fixed dippers are adjustable."
If they are"Fixed"then how do you adjust them?
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Old December 11, 2012, 10:37 AM   #16
F. Guffey
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Little Boxes

"If they are"Fixed"then how do you adjust them?"



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONEYGU_7EqU

http://math.about.com/library/blcirclecalculator.htm

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Last edited by F. Guffey; December 11, 2012 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Add the question.
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Old December 11, 2012, 12:24 PM   #17
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I have a couple sets of dippers and a bunch of home made dippers and customize some, but it's trial and error. To lighten the charge I make the capacity of the dipper smaller (a drop or two of epoxy in the dipper will lighten the charge a grain or two. Shorten the sides of the dipper will also lighten the charge. I glued a BB into the bottom of one dipper to lighten the charge). To increase the charge, just increase dipper capacity; drill or ream interior carefully. Or on dippers made from a case, swage the case (stretch it ) with a tapered punch or the like). Drill (or glue or cut down) then measure with scale. You can get real close to a chosen charge with care...
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Old December 11, 2012, 01:49 PM   #18
hounddawg
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I like to fine tune the loads at the range with a Lee hand press so I made one a few minutes ago for my .204 to dial in seating depth and action screw torques for my new load.

Turns out a 38 sp case holds appx 21.5 grains of RL10. So I epoxied a short piece of coat hanger wire to it for a handle. I figure my end load will be around 22.5 to 23 grains so that will get me close enough for trickling. I could have used a .357 and used on of the methods described above to get another grain but this is close enough.
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Old December 11, 2012, 05:11 PM   #19
polyphemus
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Wouldn't modifying dippers lead to measurement errors?They are graduated for
volume so they are powder specific altering the volume could cause the weight
to change unpredictably and render them practically useless.They come in sets of fifteen so they are pretty flexible but if your amount falls in between then
a scale is in order and weight is the rule not volume,some loads are very finely
tuned I guess,if you work at an extremely precise charging then weight is the
only way to go.
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Old December 11, 2012, 05:57 PM   #20
dwhite
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" I've been using those little yellow measures since they were red (1969). With a little practice, those dippers can be very accurate and repeatable. Some powders don't work well in my drum type powder measures so I'll use a dipper. Works great for me..."

Ditto.

I can dip Unique far more accurately than I can drop it from a powder measure.

Dipping requires a lot less setup than the powder drop also. They don't have to settle in and don't require measuring every tenth drop. Can't beat them for convenience.

All the Best,
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Old December 11, 2012, 06:10 PM   #21
tkglazie
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Quote:
Wouldn't modifying dippers lead to measurement errors?They are graduated for volume so they are powder specific altering the volume could cause the weight to change unpredictably and render them practically useless.
Come again? A dipper is a dipper. If you modify it, it is still a dipper, just a different volume dipper. Why would the charge weight change unpredictably if you use a dipper that has been trimmed down a few thousandths vs the same dipper in stock form?

There is a disconnect somewhere, I am not sure what you are trying to say.
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Old December 11, 2012, 06:16 PM   #22
hounddawg
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Quote:
I can dip Unique far more accurately than I can drop it from a powder measure.

Dipping requires a lot less setup than the powder drop also. They don't have to settle in and don't require measuring every tenth drop. Can't beat them for convenience.

All the Best,
D. White
on stick powder that is for sure. Just played with the one I made today and every dip was plus or minus .1 grain. I will be dialing in these loads with a scale and a trickler but still the dipper gets me to the 95% mark real fast and accurately. If this was for hunting once I had my load dialed in I would just make another one that would dip whatever load I decided to call good and throw it faster than my chargemaster
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Old December 11, 2012, 07:35 PM   #23
polyphemus
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Quote:"There is a disconnect somewhere, I am not sure what you are trying to say"
It's very simple,I wrote that dippers are powder specific,different powders have different Vol.to Weight ratios for instance .5cc may weigh as much as 7.8gr or
4.2gr so when you modify the dipper in any way you have no way to accurately
tell what you have done unless you weigh the load after the fact,guess work.
Hence the scale,my point:use dippers as they are intended to be used or use a scale for common sense operation.Come to think of it there's a third option:whatever.
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Old December 11, 2012, 07:42 PM   #24
rebs
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How close is close enough ?
When using a dipper or a powder dump how many tenth's of a grain can you be off and still shoot good groups ?
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Old December 11, 2012, 07:57 PM   #25
the led farmer
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^^That depends on how anal you are^^

You won't know until you load em up and see how exacting you want to be.
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