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Old August 11, 2009, 08:13 PM   #1
orionengnr
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W-296 powder drop issue

Nearly all of my reloading (a bit over a year and a bit over 2000 rounds) has been .45 acp using W-231. I recently bought a .41 Mag, and I found and tried a load with 231 available, they are a bit light.
Next I found a load for 296, bought some 296 and tried to load up some rounds with 296.
For the record, they shoot fine, but I ended up hand-ladling and weighing each charge.

I could not get my Dillon 450 to drop the 296. It would drop a charge, then bind up. Felt as if the powder dispenser was full of sand. I took it apart, cleaned each part scrupulously, no lube, re-assembled. It would operate smooth as glass without any powder, but after adding the 296, within a round or so it was buggered up again. That's when I went to hand-measuring the powder charges.

As soon as I cleared out the 296 and re-filled with 231, everything was back to normal. FWIW, the 296 was new, fresh powder, is not clumpy and shows no signs of abnormality. Flows like sugar out of the bottle...just not out of the powder drop mechanism of the Dillon.

Any ideas?
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Old August 11, 2009, 08:32 PM   #2
Farmland
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296 can bind the powder measure. I have had some problems. I know if your measure is well used it can be a bigger problem. I had called Dillon when mine really got bad and they sent me a new powder measure for free. That was a few years ago.

Oh I forgot to add the workaround it has been some time since I had to do this.The next time you empty the measure of powder, remove the small powder bar and spacer. Measure the vertical thickness of both. It should measure .357"-.359". You can build up or thicken the top of the spacer by putting a piece of tape on the top of the spacer. This will decreases the gap between the bar and spacer so the powder can't get between them.

Last edited by Farmland; August 11, 2009 at 08:46 PM.
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Old August 12, 2009, 12:08 AM   #3
Longdayjake
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I do not have this issue with my hornady powder measure when loading .30 carbine. I did find it to be a very fine powder though and I really like its smell. It sure is a different powder, and I have heard of some strange safety issues if undercharged or overcharged so you should really get that issue fixed before you do any loading with your measure. I don't think I could weigh each charge like you do. That takes patience.
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Old August 12, 2009, 01:58 AM   #4
Shoney
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orionengnr

Win 296 is a ball powder, a very fine ball powder. Unfortunately, as slide assembly on Dillon measures wear, they leak ball powders. Your analogy of sand is pretty accurate as to what the 296 does. At first it just gums up the working process, and as it wears more, it will start dribling powder all over.

As Farmland pointed out, it is not an isolated problem, it also happened with my 550 measure. Call Dillon they probably will do as they did with Farmland.

If you want to rid yourself of the problem forever, do as several other reloaders have done, install a case activated RCBS or Hornady measure if you have the money.

Good Shooting!
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Old August 12, 2009, 09:19 PM   #5
orionengnr
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Thank you all. So, I take it that the grains of 296 are smaller than the grains of 231...if so, that would explain it.
Think I'll start with Dillon, as the 450 is at least 20 years old and still working great (except with 296).
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Old August 12, 2009, 09:41 PM   #6
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296/H110 is fine and gritty. Start on a solution with Dillon. I don't know if they still have the manual measure slide operation option or not? I know on the self-operating one they did something to improve the slide mechanism at one point. My Dillon measures are all older than the improvement, though, and I don't recall what it was when I read about it?

They also used to sell an upgrade kit to make a 450 or a 500 into a 550B, so you could have the automatic primer feed and powder measure operation and finished round ejection and also the quick change toolheads.

Shoney's suggestion will give you a metal drum measure and it won't have any issues with 296/H110. If you prefer manual operation as you have on the 450, then some measures can be set up that way, too.
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Old August 13, 2009, 01:00 PM   #7
orionengnr
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Thank you once again.
Called Dillon this a.m. They no longer use a manual powder throw bar, but they said they would send me one of the newer models. I will have to drill and tap one hole to mount the manual push-pull knob.

In the mean time, I took some measurements. Then I dug out my roll of "speed tape", thin aluminum tape with strong stick-um, and added one layer to the top of the powder bar spacer, as suggested.

That snugged things up nicely in the vertical plane, but there is still an awful lot of side-to-side play (.025 or better). Two strips per side, inside of the powder measure body, took that down to about .005. Just snug enough to be a bit bind-ey at first, but ran through about 100 cycles by hand and it's smooth and tight. Ought to last until I can get the new one and find someone with a drill press...

Thanks again for all your help.
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Old August 13, 2009, 08:53 PM   #8
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The aluminum won't last well. If the thickness is about 0.010", you can get brass shim stock that is more rigid and still can be cut with sheers. It will slide easily. Soft steel or even stainless shim stock is another possibility and will last better but be less slippery. No stickum, though. They can usually be secured by bending a right angle on one end and drilling and tapping a hole to anchor it where it looks to be the best fit. $6 gets you 6" x 5 ft. No more expensive than the aluminum tape, really.
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Old August 13, 2009, 09:41 PM   #9
Gun 4 Fun
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This has nothing to do with your problem in general, but if 296 is new to you, be aware that it is the exact same powder as H-110. It comes from the same hopper when going into the different packages. Hodgdon will tell you so if you ask. I belive that it is also mentioned in some of their pamphlet loading manuals. 231 and HP-38 are the exact same also.

Hodgdon owns, and manufactures both powders. They made Win. powders for Win. before they took them over. They also own the IMR powder line.
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Old September 1, 2009, 05:45 PM   #10
orionengnr
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Update--good news/bad news.

Good news: as always, Dillon stepped right up and sent me parts from a 550...the 450 parts are no longer produced. The gent I talked with thought that if I could drill and tap one hole, I'd be all set. As usual, they sent parts quickly and free.

Bad news...the parts are not interchangeable The new part is about 1/4" wider than the old.

Maybe it's time to buy a 550 or a 650
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