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Old May 21, 2013, 09:44 AM   #1
mattL46
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do you trust the lee dippers?

So my scale is currently biting the dust. (I've got a scale thread on here too) but haven't had the time to go purchase/ order one. But I do have some dippers in my die sets... I've been dying to load but just can't bring myself to use them without a scale I trust to check them against...my scale isn't dead but its began to drift severely and lose zero and need constant calibration...what are your thoughts?
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:00 AM   #2
jmr40
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If they are used correctly they are quite consistent at delivering the same charge weight. But I don't like them. I started loading with them BTW and got pretty good results. My issue is that you can usually only use 1 size dipper for each powder/bullet weight combo. This is typically going to be near the starting load which is going to be pretty slow, and probably not the most accurate load. The next larger size dipper will usually be over a max load. I don't believe in loading hot, over max loads, but don't want to load my 30-06 down to 300 Savage levels either.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:04 AM   #3
Mike Irwin
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Yes.

Essentially they are a fixed chamber powder thrower.

You need a scale, though, to verify the weights that each dipper is throwing.

YOU CANNOT DEPEND SOLELY ON THE CHART THAT IS PACKAGED WITH THE DIPPERS.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:05 AM   #4
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"My issue is that you can usually only use 1 size dipper for each powder/bullet weight combo."

Unless you're using the smallest dipper, you can almost always work up in between loads using a combination of two or three dippers.

I've done it many times.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:11 AM   #5
higgite
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I would trust them to deliver the volume of powder marked on each dipper. But, I wouldn't trust the weight to agree with Lee's chart that accompanies the dipper/die sets without a scale to verify it for myself.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:17 AM   #6
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That's what I was thinking. I'll just have to suck it up and wait to replace my scale...hurts but I think I'll make it through...
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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Thanks guys!!!
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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@mike Irwin this is off topic but I really like the quote concerning the gift of dogs. Really cool! I'm a dog guy!
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:33 AM   #9
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+1 Mike Irwins post

Used to use the dippers all the time back in the old days. You can even grind a little off to get the correct volume.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:39 AM   #10
David Bachelder
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I do not own a set of dippers, LEE or otherwise. So based on absolutely no data at all, I'd have a hard time depending on a volume measurment when I'm striving for weight.

I'm a scale freak ... no dipping for me.

On the other hand I like to think of myself as a reasonable, semi intelligent fellow. I feel like volume measuring would have a narrow margine of error. Probably good enough for straight wall pistol loading. I'd think, each dipper would have to be calibrated for the powder being used.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
So my scale is currently biting the dust. (I've got a scale thread on here too) but haven't had the time to go purchase/ order one. But I do have some dippers in my die sets... I've been dying to load but just can't bring myself to use them without a scale I trust to check them against...my scale isn't dead but its began to drift severely and lose zero and need constant calibration...what are your thoughts?
Electronic scale?

Without a scale to check with, I would not stray from Lee's charts.

When I bought my dipper set, I measured through the range. 10 dips with each dipper, recorded and cross checked with a scale. My recollection is, there was not much variation, but (as Unclenick notes here) charges tended to be slightly below what Lee's chart listed for weight.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:54 AM   #12
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I use them all the time in my 45-70. They never throw a consistent charge. Since I load in low volume I don't mind dumping the powder on the scale after dipping and using the powder trickler to bring it up to where I want. I only do this because I spend a lot of time using different powder and different bullets trying to find good loads. I have a very good powder measure but don't feel like setting it up for half a dozen different loads of very small lots. My experience with the Lee's is that they are close but never close enough for me.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:57 AM   #13
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powder is often as consistent measured by volume, as scaling... I use an RCBS powder measure, when I'm loading a tested load ( that's a volumetric powder measure ) & with most powders, I check weigh one in 10 or one in 20 charges, & normally load 100's of rounds with no changes needed... that said, I do use a scale when developing loads...

& as a safety check, Lee has shipped me the wrong powder dippers with dies I've ordered in the past... in my case ( I don't specifically remember the caliber ) but it was like the biggest powder dipper in with a small case set of dies, something like 9mm or 22 Hornet... the dipper held more powder than the case... I have a complete set of Lee dippers, so if I wanted to use a dipped charge, I only needed to find the correct size... just be sure if you are going to dip, that you got the correct size dipper... if they were 1-2 sizes too big, the results could be pretty bad... in my case, it was obvious, as the case wouldn't hold that much powder...

follow the instructions fully if / when using the dippers, & you should be fine... ( provided you're using the correct size dipper & the correct powder for that dipper )
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Old May 21, 2013, 11:02 AM   #14
lee n. field
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BTW, if you're looking at loading handgun loads, look into the RCBS Little Dandy. It uses a fixed cavity rotor. You buy the rotors you need. If the powder throw is right, you're good to go. (2 rotors, for me, cover my usual loads in .38, 9mm, .40S&W and .45 ACP.)
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Old May 21, 2013, 11:17 AM   #15
g.willikers
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As I youngster, that's all I could afford.
Used carefully and consistently, they worked just fine.
The usual range day was trying to hit water filled bottles at up to 100 yds, with our trusty sixguns, mostly in .357 and .44 mags.
With loads made on a single die press and with Lee dippers, it was no problem doing so.
They worked quite nicely and I still keep them around for loading small amounts of ammo, where it's not worth the trouble to empty and refill the ones on the presses.
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Old May 21, 2013, 11:52 AM   #16
David Bachelder
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I do not own a set of dippers, LEE or otherwise. So based on absolutely no data at all, I'd have a hard time depending on a volume measurment when I'm striving for weight.

I'm a scale freak ... no dipping for me.

On the other hand I like to think of myself as a reasonable, semi intelligent fellow. I feel like volume measuring would have a narrow margine of error. Probably good enough for straight wall pistol loading. I'd guess, each dipper would have to be calibrated for the powder being used.
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Old May 21, 2013, 12:25 PM   #17
Mike Irwin
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Every cartridge you buy from any of the major manufacturers is loaded by volume, not weight.
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Old May 21, 2013, 01:15 PM   #18
NoSecondBest
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Quote:
Every cartridge you buy from any of the major manufacturers is loaded by volume, not weight.
I think most realize that. However, not all volume throwers are equally consistent. My powder measure is remarkably consistent charge after charge. My Lee dippers are not. They are both volume but they are not equal. Apples and oranges are both fruit. They just aren't the same kind of fruit.
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Old May 21, 2013, 01:20 PM   #19
Magnum Wheel Man
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I find dippers plenty consistent with everything but stick powders...

your powder measures are repeatable because the mechanical motion is very repeatable... if the person "spinning the crank" is inconsistent, even the best volumetric powder measure can be thrown off...

if powder dippers are used with the same thought to physical consistency, dippers can be "really close" to as accurate, with ball of flake powders ( certainly close enough to be safe, if the dipped powders are lower on the charge weight )
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:38 PM   #20
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A dipper cannot vary in volume. Using one is simply being able to repeat an action (dipping) with consistency. It's all up to the user! When I was using dippers/scales a lot and got into a rhythm, I could keep my W231 or Universal charges within .1 grain. If I were concerned about weight vs volume, I'd just see what a dipper full of my specific powder weighed today, and use the appropriate dipper and/or dribble. Also the volume of a dipper can be altered (customized) to hold a specific amount of powder, easily.

It ain't if you can trust dippers, it's if you can trust yourself...
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Last edited by mikld; May 21, 2013 at 02:44 PM.
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Old May 21, 2013, 03:04 PM   #21
mattL46
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Good way to put it mkld...I guess a better question is do you trust them with out a scale?
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Old May 21, 2013, 03:17 PM   #22
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I've loaded over 18K rounds with dippers, both Lee and homemade using a variety of shell casings. It's important to check them with a scale (for instance, take 30 dips and divide the aggregate weight by 30). With some powders (Titegroup, H110 as I recall), I found the Lee chart to be pretty much right on, other were off (light) by as much as 20% (Accurate #2 IIRC). You can use a cheap electronic scale as long as it's accurate to 0.1g and you know how to mathematically convert from grams to grains.

In the case of the dippers being light, that means the dipper delivered 20% less powder than you thought you were dipping. So it's probably safe, but may not be up to expectations.

The charge weights may also vary slightly by powder batch, so be sure to re-check from time to time.

It's easy to be consistent with the proper technique, as mentioned below I've never had a problem with a hand-loaded round.
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Old May 21, 2013, 04:29 PM   #23
NoSecondBest
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Quote:
take 30 dips and divide the aggregate weight by 30).
That will only give you an average, not a range. Mark Twain once said that if a man had one foot in a bucket of ice water and the other in a bucket of boiling water, on the average he'd be quite comfortable.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:33 PM   #24
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Quote:
Every cartridge you buy from any of the major manufacturers is loaded by volume, not weight.
True...practice makes perfect.
I have checked weights to insure I am using my dipper correctly. After so long My weights were consistent.
Quote:
A dipper cannot vary in volume. Using one is simply being able to repeat an action (dipping) with consistency. It's all up to the user!
Also agree.^^^^
Unless you are loading for competition or precision rounds for say a Lapua,
volume is all you need after you master the technique of using a dipper .

I also have never, nor do I plan to load a hot round. If I wanted +P or +P+ I would purchase factory rounds.
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Old May 21, 2013, 06:35 PM   #25
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That will only give you an average, not a range
True, but it's a heck of a lot better than weighing every charge. I'm slow, but I'm not THAT slow. I firmly believe that my charges are accurate to +/- a couple of % even at the lowest weights. 18K rounds is a fairly reliable indicator that I'm doing something right.
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