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Old June 16, 2013, 05:38 AM   #1
sharpenit
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Lee Perfect Powder Measure problem with WSF powder

I'm new to reloading and recently bought a Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I tried to use it to load .45 with Winchester WSF ball powder. I followed all the set-up directions including running three hoppers of powder thru the measure. I also have it mounted firmly on my bench, and I use exactly the same throw technique on every throw.

Unfortunately, I cannot get a consistent load from the measure. It might run five loads consistently, then jump as much as half a grain up or down. And over the course of 100 throws, the variation has gotten as high as 1 grain.

I also made a baffle for the hopper, but this didn't have much effect.

I'm weighing each load on a Hornady GS-1500 digital scale, and checking to make sure the scale is zeroed between every weighing.

I know that many people find the Lee Perfect Powder Measure very accurate and trustworthy, but I know that some powders meter better than others. So I'm wondering if the problem is the WSF powder.
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:05 AM   #2
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Have you tried adjusting the tensioning screw? It's a little phillips head screw above the operating lever. It holds the measure together. You can actually take that screw out and the measure will pretty much disassemble itself. While it's apart, look for burrs, rough spots, etc. Then reassemble and set the tension on that screw to your liking.

I can't help you with WSF powder. All I've ever run through mine are Unique and Bullseye. I know that if I have the tension screw set too loosely, it leaks Bullseye, so I've got to get it snug. Be careful when you're snugging that screw because it threads into plastic.
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:29 AM   #3
sharpenit
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Thanks, PawPaw. I did try adjusting the tension screw. Didn't seem to make any difference. Since I posted my first message, I emptied the hopper, wiped it out and then tried some IMR 4895, which is a very coarse powder (compared to WSF, which is pretty fine). Again, over about 40 throws, the weigh varied by as much as a grain.

I may try the disassembly you recommend.
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:38 AM   #4
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One thing that I did, ten years ago was to cut out the "stop" that halts the movement of the handle. That stop is put there to limit the rotation of the handle when it's mounted to a progressive press. When you cut that stop out, the handle can rotate the full 360 degrees. After I cut that little piece of plastic, I found that I could raise the handle to the full upright, let the metering chamber fill with powder, then rotate the handle to the full down position and fully empty the chamber. Consistency of the measure improved dramatically.

It's a simple little measure that I found works fine. Some will denigrate it based on the fact that it's largely made of plastic, but it's very simple and intuitive when you take it apart. It's simply a hopper, a metering chamber and a handle. I've used mine for over 10 years without any real issues. I use mine strictly for pistol loads. For larger charges of stick powder I use a Lyman 55, which I consider one of the finest powder measures ever made.
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:50 AM   #5
sharpenit
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OK, I did the disassembly. Everything looked smooth and shipshape. I wiped it out with an anti-static sheet and reassembled. Put WSF powder back in the hopper. At the setting I am using, weights varied between 12.4 grains and 13.2 grains. So the measure still sucks. Maybe most of these Lee machines work well, but mine appears to be a POS.
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Old June 16, 2013, 07:41 AM   #6
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Try rubbing all the moving parts down with powdered graphite, that will help the sliding fit and cut down on statuc charges.
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Old June 16, 2013, 08:01 AM   #7
sharpenit
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PawPaw: I filed off the little stop bar so that the handle now rotates all the way up. At first I thought it had worked. I would get five consistent charges in a row, then I'd suddenly have one that was half a grain heavier. For example, I was getting charges measuring 4.6 grains, then I'd have several at 5 or 5.1. Then maybe it would drop to 4.4 for a while. Just no consistency.

As for the suggestion that I try rubbing everything with graphite, I might try it if I can find some. But the Lee manual says that running several hoppers of powder through the measure should do the same thing, and I've now put about five hoppers of powder through the !$%#&! POS.

Anyway, thanks for the help JaguarXK120 and PawPaw.

I'm going to give it a rest now. I've got a headache from messing with this for the past four hours.
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Last edited by sharpenit; June 16, 2013 at 08:07 AM.
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Old June 16, 2013, 08:50 AM   #8
Dave P
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I often tap my measure to help keep it consistent: handle up - 2 taps; handle down - 2 taps.
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Old June 16, 2013, 09:19 AM   #9
David Bachelder
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I own and use a lot of LEE bullet casting equipment. I found that after clearing the learning curve it is a good buy for some pretty good equipment.

I have never owned or seen a LEE perfect Powder Measure. I have owned and use a RCBS and a Hornady. I'll have to say the LEE just doesn't stack up. It looked like plastic parts and cheaply made, it retails for $20.00 for crying out loud, LEE knows what it's worth. I doub't that I'd put a lot of value in it.

I suggest that you buy yourself a better piece of equipment, try RCBS or Hornady. Buy a tool that will last a lifetime.
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Old June 16, 2013, 09:31 AM   #10
caz223
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From what I know of Lee equipment, the PPM is for rifle calibers. The auto disk and auto disk pro are for pistol calibers.
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Old June 18, 2013, 06:51 AM   #11
sharpenit
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Graphite didn't help

JaguarXK120, I did as you advised and coated the mechanism liberally with graphite powder. I'm sorry to report that it did not improve the problem. At the current setting, I'm still getting inconsistent loads ranging from 5.9 grains to 6.7 grains.

Conclusion: My Lee Perfect Powder Measure is a POS. Time to find something better.

But thanks again for your suggestions.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:33 AM   #12
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I've used the Lee Perfect quite a bit for pistol loads with ball powder. It'll do and that's about it. I think they should have called it the 'Passable Powder Measure' instead.
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:13 AM   #13
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I currently use Auto-Disk and Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure and they are quite reliable and consistent with an advantage for the Pro version.
I have to admit that with Vihtavuori N110 powder the results were not so consistent.
The Adjustable Charge Bar for the same equipment was really a mess: each charge weighted different.
Just my experience with Lee equipment (which, all considered, I like).
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:22 AM   #14
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I've been using one of those type Lee powder measures, with a single stage press, for years.
It doesn't get all that much action, though.
Only for two calibers that don't get enough play to justify resetting the progressive press.
With the Hodgdon powders for pistol, like 231, Clays, and Titegroup, it meters those low volume loads very consistantly.
No complaint what-so-ever.
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Old June 18, 2013, 10:07 AM   #15
Rich/WIS
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Have a similar problem with the Lee with flake powders. Fine grain powders want to migrate out the sides of the Lee, tight enough not to leak and VERY hard to operate. Use mine with extruded, or larger grain size ball powders and it is fine and extremely accurate.
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Old June 18, 2013, 03:14 PM   #16
g.willikers
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You mentioned that you use the same throw technique with every load.
And for the rotating cylinder type of measure, that is very important.
It's also important to not go too fast and allow the cylinder to fill properly, each and every time.
Running the handle up and down too quickly can throw off even the expensive, steel measures.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:14 PM   #17
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I have used the Lee PPM for years on pistol calibers, I've run 2400, blue dot, 700x, power pistol, and bullseye through it. in charge weights from 2.5 grain's to 24 grain's. it does leak a little with the bullseye, but that is the only problem I've had and that's not enough to complain about. I learned that if I bang it at both ends of the stroke by stroking with more effort than one would think should be used it is very consistent. it has never varied more than 1/10 grn + or -. I do have an RCBS quick change powder measure that I use for rifle calibers and though it is better built, it is no more consistent than the PPM.
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Old June 20, 2013, 12:17 PM   #18
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It's not the powder measure it's the scale.

I have that exact same scale and powder measure. Finally bought a balance type scale and discovered that the variations I was experiencing were due to the inconsistent Hornaday GS 1500 scale. It's a decent little scale but it does vary by several tenths of a grain or more each time it shuts off and you have to turn it back on. I still use mine to set the initial amount of the powder but do all my checking after that on the Lee balance scale.

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Old June 20, 2013, 04:56 PM   #19
superspirit
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I was wondering if that might be the OP's problem, I personally have never used anything but an RCBS 5-0-5 balance scale. but have read of many problems with digital scales. but never having used one I couldnt say that is what was happening.
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Old June 21, 2013, 10:47 PM   #20
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I'll put in a good word for the Lee PPM, also. Mine is very accurate and consistent with every powder I've tried, so far. Let's see, that would be: Bullseye, WST, HP38/ W231, Titegroup, Green Dot and American Select. ( I think that's all.)

Anyway, my PPM works so well, sometimes I think it's more accurate than my scale.
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