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Old March 28, 2014, 10:49 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Lee PPM and VV. A match almost made in heaven.

Gents/Ladies. Have you ever had a girlfriend/boyfriend that you could not stay away from even though you never saw eye to eye?

I ask this as I am experiencing the very same complications with my chosen reloading set up: VV powders being the only ones I can buy here and Lee products as they are the best value.
They are thrown together, but can't get on.

Some may remember my exasperation with the Lee Auto-disk Pro, never getting it to meter VV powder consistently, other than consistently badly. Some blame Lee for their design, although one could blame VV for making stick powder, not ball....

Well, on advice from the board, I ordered the PPM, hoping for the best.

I have since spent my day off, playing with different tapping, turning and prodding techniques to get consistent charges.

To put it simply: it works!!

Well, almost...

So to those of you who have stick powders, a budget and a little patience, look to the PPM.

I used the VDL value for N135 to calculate the likely CC setting for my charge weight of 40.9 and after lots of different methods, I found that a firm tap of the finger on the side of the valve body, followed by a positive turn of the lever gave me charges of about 40.7-41, but mostly 40.8/40.9, all based on the predicted setting according to the VDL chart.
The strength of the "tap" is crucial. Too strong and I could get 41.3/4gr, too light and I'd only get 40.4, so still not ideal.

By comparison, first a turn of the lever followed by 3 taps of the charging tube could meter out as much as 43.5gr!!! Clearly VV powders cling to the walls like glue.

So, how does this compare to the auto-disk?

Well, firstly they both suffer from using the same design and materials for sealing off the charging system. Flawless with ball, but less so with flake of stick. Despite this, the PPM seems to suffer with less variation in charges. A point to the PPM, but undermined by the fact that the variations are still too great to charge with confidence without first doing a scale check.

Next there is that metering system. The auto-disk uses pre-set apertures, whilst the PPM is infinitely adjustable and easily. A further point to the PPM.

The other difference is that the auto-disk mainly charges on the press, the PPM mainly independently. Because neither meters stick very well, the fact it is not on the press works in the PPM's favour, IMO.

I use it in conjunction with the Safety Scale: meter a charge, tip it into the scale tray and check the weight. Depending on my tap technique, I may be spot on and so I can tip it straight into the case. Otherwise I just need to add a few granules of powder and I'm there.

I had hoped to be able to squirt out a charge then seat on the turret press and be done in seconds. That is not going to happen, but it does mean that charging cases is much faster than before with 97% of the powder needed dumped in one go with a few seconds of trickling to get it right.

I charged 20 cases with 40.9gr of N135 ready for the last of my Amax's and it only took me about 25 minutes. Previously it would have been closer to an hour. The only adjustment so far is tightening the bevel screw so the metering action is quite firm, but still smooth. This prevents any powder seeping between the two halves.

Under the circumstances, I am happy.

If you have read up to here without falling asleep, then I hope this insight is useful!!
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Last edited by Pond, James Pond; March 28, 2014 at 05:20 PM.
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Old March 28, 2014, 01:06 PM   #2
totaldla
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IMO, the Lee Perfect Powder Measure is a very good product for short cut powders. So I really like it for H4350, H4198, H322. It doesn't work any better than any other measure with long stick stuff (IMR) as it still tries to cut. The Lee PPM also works very good with flake powders.

But all ball powders will leak from it eventually. H335 takes a while whereas AA#5 dribbles out immediately. This is just the reality of the design and I've never found a way to correct it. BTW, this is common with other dispensers as well.

Joe at RealGuns did a comparison of powder dispensers a couple years ago and he used the PPM to show how a $20 tool stacked up against the $200+ stuff - the Lee did very well.

The one thing I think Lee should've done with the PPM is to add some counterweight to the throw mechanism. The extra mass would smooth out the stroke.
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Old March 28, 2014, 01:23 PM   #3
bedbugbilly
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I'm using the Lee PPM as well for my pistol cartridges - I have an adapter that screws on and slides in to the top of the expander/powder thru die and it really works slick for me. But, I'm only using BE at this time. I'm anxious to try it on some other types of powder but imagine it will do well for those too. I couldn't be happier with it.
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Old March 28, 2014, 04:52 PM   #4
MEATSAW
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Its very easy to use some lapping compound and lap the mating surfaces of the rotor and drum. It took me all of about 10 minutes start to finish and now it will not leak even A#5 or TAC. The PPM is a fantastic powder measure!
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Old March 28, 2014, 05:42 PM   #5
totaldla
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MEATSAW - how do you "lap" plastic? I'm kindof clueless on this and would appreciate some tips on how to go about it.
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Old March 29, 2014, 12:50 AM   #6
MEATSAW
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I used 400 grit diamond lapping compound and applied to both surfaces. Rub them against each other in equal arcs. Didn't take long for the 2 pieces to be perfectly mated. Clean off all the compound and you're good to go.
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Old March 29, 2014, 01:33 AM   #7
Pond, James Pond
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Is that anything like the compound used to grind the valve seating surfaces in an engine?
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Old March 29, 2014, 07:10 AM   #8
Toolman
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When I first started reloading I bought the Lee anniversary kit because it had everything you need equipmentwise to get started. The Lee powder measure worked ok on stick powder but leaked on ball, even after tightening the bevel screw. Over the years I wasted a lot of powder due to the leaking.
I finally got a micrometer adjustment Redding measure & it runs all powders with no leaking, cling to the poder tube and no bridging.
Should have done that 10 years ago, but when you're just starting out you don't know these things. Now, I only use the single stage press for load development. My repetitive runs are made on two Dillon RL550B's, one for large primers, the other for small primers.
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Old March 29, 2014, 02:27 PM   #9
MEATSAW
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You can absolutely used valve lapping compound.

I've even lapped all of the mating surfaces of my Lee pro auto-disk because it was the biggest leaker of them all with the fine ball powders -- now it is leak free too!
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Old April 2, 2014, 06:56 PM   #10
gman3
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Yes James Pond, I did have that girlfriend...have been married to her for 15 years now. But to the matter at hand, I read your praise of the Lee PPM and went and bought one that same day.

I ran the hopper of powder through it as suggested in the instructions, then set up for my charge of IMR 4320 and ran about 20 charges and tested them on the Lee Safety Scale that is so reviled by many.
I then proceeded to load 50 rounds of .308 WIN.

On Monday the 31st, I went to the range to see how they shoot. The first five shot group was .549 at 200 yards, yes that right, 200 yards.

This was with full length sized Federal Brass. I then repeated that ten times shooting all 50 with similar results, a called flyer here and there.

So, the PPM appears to also be a match made in heaven with IMR 4320 as well.
I'm sold.
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Old April 3, 2014, 02:50 AM   #11
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
I read your praise of the Lee PPM and went and bought one that same day.
Wow!
I don't think anyone has bought something on TFL based on my advice before!!

As you will have read the PPM makes life easier but cannot justbe used to dump and charge with my stick powder choice.

Based on your post, it seems that IMR 4320 meters accurately straight from the funnel. Is that the case? (excuse the pun...)

I am very pleased that it has worked for you.
I am hoping to soon determine the correct dial setting for my various .44Mag/Spl and .38Spl charge weights so I needn't bother with my little case dippers anymore!
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Old April 3, 2014, 07:04 AM   #12
gman3
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Yes indeed, straight from the funnel into the case with the IMR 4320. BL-C(2) also works really well, spot on every time. The accuracy was not as good, but that has always been the case with that rifle/load combination. I did not experience any of the leakage with the small spherical powder.

Going to try some H4350 next. If it doesn't like it, I can always switch to H414 or WIN760 for .30-06. Also use Supreme 780, I think that will do well in the PPM.

I have weighed every charge on a beam scale for years, and necked sized brass, so I am really surprised at the accuracy results that I had doing something much easier and faster with full length sized cases. I didn't expect the results that I had throwing charges.
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Old May 11, 2014, 07:04 PM   #13
pathdoc
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Bought one of these just yesterday, based on what I have seen here & on YouTube, and I have noticed a few things.

On the pro side, it is very, VERY fast (I have previously been using Lee scoops to get close and then trickling up), and I like the practically infinite (or at least, stepless) adjustability. The ability to turn the powder flow off, pick up the entire hopper and dump it back into the bottle is also a huge asset. Cases (I have tried .303 British) pushed against the dispenser nozzle receive the powder charge with no spillage. Also it keeps the powder contained and eliminates the risk of spilling the container from which I am scooping all over the place if I make a blunder.

On the con side, contrary to what the manufacturer claims, this dispenser can and does shear long-grain powders (I tried it out with Varget, because it's what I'm currently loading with and because it's a fairly common powder). The one thing it seemed not to do when compared with experiences I've observed on YouTube is bind the thrower at all; the granule would shear, but the throw wouldn't lock up and dispensing proceeded fairly smoothly.

In addition, trying to dispense into a pan (whether the one from my RCBS beam balance scale or the one from my Frankford Arsenal pocket digital) generally resulted in spilled powder everywhere. Is there a trick to this that someone can recommend to me?

(I settled for dispensing into a fired .303 case that hadn't been deprimed (easy and mess-free!!) and then pouring into the pan on the scale (Frankford Arsenal digital), which led to almost no mess except when I was careless pouring the powder out of the case.)

Based on several hundred throws, eyeball rather than recorded and taken at various charge weights, I was getting variations of minus 0.2gn and up to plus 0.3gn for individual charges. However, dumping multiple charges onto the scale usually gave the same total weight within 0.1-0.2gn, so I think the issue is with my digital scale (or the cold weather, or its batteries, or all three) rather than with the measure. The load to load consistency as measured (with the caveats above) is still better than I would get from scoops, and demands less operator effort to achieve.

The acid test is going to be to load up ten straight, using the scale only to be sure I'm staying within reasonable charge-weight limits, and then shoot for group & see what sort of vertical stringing I get. I already know what my rifle will do with meticulously weighed charges, and if it turns out that the variations are within the limits of accuracy of my shooting then I'll have found the perfect reloading tool.
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Old May 12, 2014, 07:28 AM   #14
stubbicatt
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I have 2 or 3 of the PPM I used for years, with the usual complaints of ball powder leakage. I have owned the Hornady, Redding, Lyman, RCBS, Lee Autodisc and now a Harrell's. None has been repeatable within .1 grain other than the Harrell's.

Using Ramshot TAC, it is spot on, at least for those charges I double checked with the powder scale.

Maybe I just have a good one or something. I have not tried it with pistol powders, however. Also, it doesn't leak.

I only wish I had the money now which I spent on those other measures before settling on the Harrell's.

One can get the PPM to work well, and it is suitably accurate using a technique that one can develop to get it to do so. I found that using the short stick powders, and the die setup that Lee sells to adapt it to your press to dispense powders on the upstroke, it was probably most consistent, especially if you raised the ram slowly to (it seemed to me at least) help prevent bridging in the spout/nozzle/funnel on the bottom.
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Old May 22, 2014, 06:06 PM   #15
pathdoc
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Update - upon switching to an RCBS beam balance scale, I am getting variances of no more than 0.1gn from charge to charge either side of the mean. Since the scale can't read more finely than this anyway, I'm content to call the PPM dead-on within the limits of measurement accuracy available to me. It might take a bit of tweaking to get from one load to another, but once it's there it's trustworthy - if anything, the only significant mis-throws it makes are on the low side (when I'm too hasty about letting the micrometer reservoir fill). I have a couple of rounds ready to go that are loaded to maximum, but they got thrown short and trickled up - I don't care how good a thrower is; THOSE loads get weighed individually.

I love this thing. I'm kicking myself for not having bought one years ago.
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