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Old June 29, 2012, 11:04 PM   #27
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,727
You can use the Quick Measure and its adapter. The inexpensive Lee Perfect measure does pretty well, too, and can also be adapted to progressive loaders using Lee's Universal Charging Die.

That said, stick powders don't always seem to need the same degree of weight consistency you get with sphericals. I pulled bullets from some Winchester Supreme .308 match loads once that used 748, and that powder was all dispensed within a span of 0.05 grains according to my lab scale. The .308 Gold Medal Match I pulled the same year had 4064 in it (they now use RL15), and the charge spread was 0.4 grains, but it shot more accurately than the Winchester load.

Hatcher's Notebook includes the information that choosing powder for the National Match loads one year, he tried two stick powders that he said both had a burn rate about what modern IMR4320 has. One was a short grain and would meter to a span of 0.6 grains in the arsenal loading equipment. The other was a long, coarse grain that could only be held to a span of 1.7 grains in the arsenal powder dispensers. Nonetheless, the loads that came off the machinery with that wide charge weight spread were consistently more accurate than those filled with the finer grain powder that metered weight more accurately.

There seems to be a phenomenon whereby, because they can pack to a wider range of bulk densities than spherical powders can, stick powders have some tendency to self-compensate for dispensed bulk density differences. It works better for some than for others, and better in some cartridges than others. Pack them tighter and the charge weight increases for a given volume, but the flame front then moves through the powder mass more slowly, slowing down ignition and vice versa. The bottom line seems to be that dispensing with the same volume rather than the same weight works just fine with many of them. Presumably, Hatcher's coarse grain powder was one of the better ones in this regard, given the bullet weight and case volume he was using. Anyway, you can but try before passing judgment.
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