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Old May 21, 2013, 06:51 PM   #26
Mike Irwin
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I can get very consistent results with dippers, even with stick powders.

One needs to employ very consistent techniques. if you just jam the dipper into the powder and give it to shake your going to get pretty wide variations.
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Old May 21, 2013, 07:13 PM   #27
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I hate them. They are the most annoying contraptions I have ever used.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:03 PM   #28
Miata Mike
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I have a full set of Lee dippers, but may have only used them with a scale to get really close before dropping a few more flakes of powder to get desired weight.

Having said that, I live by Lee powder measures that drop strictly by volume and find all three of them quite consistent! If you are very consistent in your dipping method, I am sure you will be OK with a lighter load.

I also have an RCBS Loadmaster 1500 that is great for testing and double checking the charges dropped by my powder measures.
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Old May 21, 2013, 11:44 PM   #29
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Re read the section on the dippers in my Lee manual. I have a better understanding of it now. Just need that damn scale!
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Old May 22, 2013, 09:36 AM   #30
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Do I trust a dipper? I have home made dippers, I have dippers that were made long ago at someone else's home, I have dippers that are adjustable that were made long before 1-800 xxx xxxx, somewhere around 1890. Point? I also have scales, I also have tricklers, it is not uncommon for me to dip powder with a dipper then finish off with a trickler.

Trust? the old adjustable dipper can be adjusted to reduce trickle time, then there are the old cowboy type dippers with the soldered-on handles, the diameter of the dipper matches the diameter of the case, the height of the dipper matches the powder column in the case.

F. Guffey

Then there are Uniflow powder measures, Little Dandy powder measures, Dillon Powder measures with the changeable powder bars and Herters, there are not many Herters I do not have, I also have Ohaus powder measures, like the quality of their scales, not easy to beat their powder measures, and Hollywood Gun Shop, cutting grains of powder? The Hollywood powder measure is 'tuff' enough to cut wood chips, adjustable? It has a micro adjustment.

Last edited by F. Guffey; May 22, 2013 at 09:39 AM. Reason: add tuff
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Old May 22, 2013, 12:08 PM   #31
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When I first started I used the dipper that came with my Lee loader but after I got a scale I found the load was so light that even if I heaped the dipper it was still lower than the chart says it was. I never was any good at getting consistent loads with the dippers but I like them for filling the pan on the scale then I trickle the load from there.

This is only for rifle loads with extruded powders, I use my Lyman powder measure for handgun loads. I bought a Lee perfect measure to use with extruded powders but I haven't tried it yet. I'm picky about rifle loads and I'll likely toss loads into the pan on the scale and trickle it up from there like with the dippers.

I guess the sort answer is no, get your scale fixed or replaced...

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Old May 22, 2013, 12:16 PM   #32
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I weigh every charge

That is me

All load manuals have weight not volume

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Old May 23, 2013, 02:28 PM   #33
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I started out loading using the lee dippers and loaded alot of plinker quality ammo that way . I now use a digital rcbs and have one of there beams on the shelf as a back up . If you want better than plinker loads it requires a scale along with some more precision equipment
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Old May 23, 2013, 03:28 PM   #34
Mike Irwin
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"All load manuals have weight not volume"

That is correct.

It's also correct that a specific weight of a specific lot of powder occupies a specific volume.

Hence, volumetric measures like the Uniflow or Lee dippers.

Weight is simply the easiest and most precise way to verify that a particular load should be safe in your firearms.

Once you've verified the weight of a particular charge of powder, you can go to volumetric measure with high confidence that you're going to be pretty close to that weight every time.
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Old May 23, 2013, 05:14 PM   #35
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@mike- It makes perfect sense to me. I don't know of any shotgun reloading press that does not incorporate charging with volumetric bushings. I'll be messing with those dippers for fun when I get my scale situation worked out!
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Old May 25, 2013, 12:31 PM   #36
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I use dippers a lot when doing batch loads. But, I also need a scale to verify that the COMBINATION of MY dipper and MY TECHNIQUE are giving me the charge that I intend.

By being sloppy with my technique, I can easily get weights that vary be several tenths of a grain, which is too much for a lot of my handgun loads.

The technique that I settled on for myself is as follows: fill a container with powder so that it is deep enough to scoop the dipper down into it (like scooping ice cream) and come up near vertical, with powdr heaped above the rim of the scoop. Tap the scoop handle twice gently on the side of the container to settle the powder in the scoop. Then run the scoop under a straight-edge suspended over the powder container to level it, with the extra falling back into the container. I can usually throw 10 charges in succession that are ± 0.1 grain of the intended charge. But, I have modified my scoops to adjust their volumes to specific intended charges USING THIS TECHNIQUE. If I use this technique with scoops from Lee, it does NOT throw the charges listed in Lee's tables. It CAN throw over-charges because of the settling taps in my technique.

So, I don't think it is wise to simply substitute dippers for a scale withoout being able to chek what they throw, unless you are sure that your dipper will throw charges close to "start" loads. And, that will probably be too limiting to be satisfying for long. But, it can get you started, as it has with many folks who started with the Lee "whack-a-mole" loaders over the years. But, even Lee says you should get a scale.

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Old May 25, 2013, 01:26 PM   #37
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SL1 - no offense intended, but that is not the correct technique. By scooping down into the powder you are packing it in and getting more than intended. The right way to do it is to push the closed end of the dipper down into the powder and let the powder cascade into the dipper from above until it is full, then withdraw the dipper and level it off if you desire by tapping it or using a card.

Using this technique, I have not been able to over-charge a load (checked by weighing), but with some powders the Lee chart overstates the amount of powder you will get in a scoop, particularly AA#2 and Unique.
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Old May 25, 2013, 03:15 PM   #38
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Do I trust the Lee dippers? Absolutely! Do I believe the chart? Of course not, it's just a reference to help me find a starting point. I can't imagine using dippers without a scale but I guess it's possible. I used them for years along with a powder trickler and scale until I finally got a Chargemaster. I still use them for BP loads.
I feel that when properly used dippers may just be more accurate than weighing every charge. Black powder shooters have been saying that for years and it may be true for some smokeless powders as well.
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Old May 25, 2013, 06:16 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacecoast
SL1 - no offense intended, but that is not the correct technique. By scooping down into the powder you are packing it in and getting more than intended. The right way to do it is to push the closed end of the dipper down into the powder and let the powder cascade into the dipper from above until it is full, then withdraw the dipper and level it off if you desire by tapping it or using a card.
Is there a "correct" technique? I know Richard Lee specifies the method you describe (but without the tapping, but only striking off the mounded up powder with a straightedge).

But I have always thought it that was really the right way, he should make the dippers with bottoms pointed and the handles vertical instead of horizontal. And if the handles were longer, you could dip directly from the powder bottle instead of transferring to a bowl.

I developed a method similar to SL1's (but without the compaction) and am able to get 0.1 grain consistency and feel that I am doing less mechanical grinding to the powder than pushing the flat-bottomed dipper into it.

When I have the time, I plan to do some experiments on the four different dipper-use techniques I have identified and see how consistent each can be.

But whichever one works to deliver adequate accuracy (to my mind) is correct.

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Old May 25, 2013, 06:35 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXGunNut
I feel that when properly used dippers may just be more accurate than weighing every charge. Black powder shooters have been saying that for years and it may be true for some smokeless powders as well.
TxGunNut, there is considerable evidence that what you suspect is true. I don't have references to most of it, but here are a couple:

http://forums.accuratereloading.com/...2918#924102918

quoted by wboggs
http://www.gun-tests.com/performance...adrecipes.html

Rat Motor jagter and wboggs

http://www.shootingsoftware.com/loadens.htm

And a way you can test it yourself:

Load 10 cartridges using a scale and ten cartridges using good volumetric technique. Have someone other than yourself mark them as "one" and "two" without telling you which is which. Using a rifle of proven general accuracy with a variety of loads, fire the cartridges, alternating between ones labeled "one" and "two" at one-minute intervals (to allow uniform barrel cooling) at two targets marked one and two. Cartridges labelled "one", of course to target one and cartridges labelled "two" to target number two. Compare the two groups.

It might be a good idea to fire the rifle a few times at another target (also at one minute intervals) as "fouling" shots and to warm the barrel so it is at a steady state for the experimental shots.

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Old May 25, 2013, 09:38 PM   #41
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Quote:
Is there a "correct" technique? I know Richard Lee specifies the method you describe (but without the tapping, but only striking off the mounded up powder with a straightedge).

But I have always thought it that was really the right way, he should make the dippers with bottoms pointed and the handles vertical instead of horizontal. And if the handles were longer, you could dip directly from the powder bottle instead of transferring to a bowl.
The fine-grained powders are easier to push through than the coarse ones, but the dippers are rounded on the edges and I don't really have any problems pushing down through the powder, even with the dippers made from brass cases.
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Old May 26, 2013, 07:43 AM   #42
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The "correct" technique is any method that gives you the REPEATABLE results for which you are looking.

Most of these dippers tend to weigh light, so pushing the mouth of the dipper down into the powder and packing it in will give a heavier charge, but it will also tend to give a more uniform charge with irregularly shaped powders because of the packing effect.

The short answer is, use whatever method you want as long as it gives the results you want every time.
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Old May 26, 2013, 07:58 AM   #43
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I have two sets

I have used dippers since 1976.

I also use powder measures (currently down to only nine).
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Old May 27, 2013, 03:15 AM   #44
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Dippers are fine if you practice your technique a lot and check your results with two scales to get a good feel for what your actually doing. Most people are too impatient nowadays to be able to learn to use them with effectiveness. Don't start out with dippers without a scale. Especially if you're the impatient type.

Try different techniques of scooping & leveling until you find what works best for you (meaning consistently consistent). Weigh 1000 charges while you practice with them and understand that different types of powders will have a different inherent tolerance (variance) because of the design of the flakes. Take notes of which dipper, which powder, which technique, and the expected average variance. Different types of powders may take a different technique.

There's no reason you can't get consistency with a dipper, even with stick powders if you pay attention to these things. Also, look at the load book and understand how close to max you are, what your variance is expected to be, and consider the intended use of the cartridge it is to be loaded in. Then load a batch or three with dippers, and some more with hand weighed charges and put 'em on paper to see if it really makes that much of a difference for you with the intended gun/ammo/use combination that you are trying to achieve...You may be surprised at how easy it can be.

Handguns are generally what? 50 yards max range? A little variance there isn't going to have as much of an effect as it may if you're loading for your 1000 yard prairie dog rifle, so load accordingly for the use of the ammo/gun/use combination.
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Old May 27, 2013, 09:11 AM   #45
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thought I'd enhance your statement slightly

Handgun shooters generally have a 50 yd max range.




I keep a pair of LEE smash-kits in me poop-fan bag. They have dippers.
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Old May 27, 2013, 11:15 AM   #46
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Quote:
shooters...
Agreed! Some may never shoot past 25 yds. At that distance, pfft. almost everything works. Dippers are worth the effort for this. Might not have a scale some day.
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Old May 27, 2013, 04:21 PM   #47
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When I have the time, I plan to do some experiments on the four different dipper-use techniques I have identified and see how consistent each can be.

This has been done, with a selection of powders in the old-style dippers (which were graduated in cubic inches). The results were published in the 8th edition of Handloader's Digest. IIRC some of the pistol and rifle ball powders came within 0.1 grain variation of the average - in other words, within the limit of resolution of the Redding beam balance that was used as the gold standard - and the greatest variation was 0.5 grain above or below average for some of the coarse stick rifle powders (though larger scoops did better).

That being said, I think it's probably worth repeating this experiment given how long ago the article was written (the scoops are now metric among other things) and how many new powders we've seen come on the market since then.

I guess it's up to the individual shooter to decide whether he or she can live with those variations, but given the author's other observation - that these scoops tended to throw "under" - anyone using them in a Lee Loader probably wouldn't come to grief unless they did something else stupid.
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Old May 27, 2013, 08:00 PM   #48
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Another thing to consider is that many powders aren't sensitive to a slight variation in powder at moderate loads. Unique and Universal are two I've run into. Consistency is great but a few tenths may no make much difference.
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Old May 28, 2013, 11:17 AM   #49
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I didn't get back to this thread for a while, so I see that most of the points have been covered.

It is correct that tapping the dipper handle compacts the powder and can lead to an "over-charge" if the loader is relying on the Lee chart. That is why I mentioned it. The OP is an inexperienced powder dipper, so HIS technique could vary HIS results by quite a bit. That is why I told him that he NEEDS a scale unless he is staying well away from max loads when using dippers.

As others have already pointed out, how you push a dipper into/through the powder in a container can significantly change the weight of powder in a leveled dipper. That is what can lead to variability from charge to charge. MY experience using the "push vertically into the powder surface and let it fill the dipper by falling over the edges" technique verses the "dredge it through the powder and then tap it to settle it before leveling" technique was that it was BOTH faster and more consistent to do it with the tapping.

But, of course, if the volume-to-weight chart supplied with a commercial dipper is based on the "verticle" method, then my method will lead to higher charge weights than indicated on the chart. I have always wondered if Lee didn't recognize that some people were likely to "dredge" the powder with his dippers no matter what the instructions say, because his charts always seem to over-estimate the weight of powder for a given dipper by a little.

But, that is no reason for ASSUMING that you can't get more than the chart indicates no matter what you do.

With my tapping technique, I am much more likely to throw and under-weight charge than an over-weight charge. I think that has a safety advantage.

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Old May 28, 2013, 03:33 PM   #50
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The first thing I did with the slider that has all of the supposed "loads" for each of the dippers with all of the different powders?

Ignored it.

I knew it wasn't going to be of much, if any, use.
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