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Old December 7, 2011, 07:44 PM   #1
Dan44149
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Hornady LNL Powder Measure Problem

While loading some rounds for my .40 the other day, I noticed (cuz I'm still new and don't trust the equipment) that my powder measure is dropping an inconsistent charge. Varies +/- by as much as .5gr.

It is still new. I've loaded a total of 95 rounds with it, but I always throw a low charge, put the brass on the scale, and use the trickler to get it up to proper weight.

I am using Alliant Power Pistol powder.

My question is, did I not clean the powder measure well enough when I assembled it? Is Power Pistol a difficult powder to meter? Or is my Hornady powder measure crap?

It really sucks having to add over 1gr of powder to some cases and .3gr's to others... took me an hour to charge 50 rounds.
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:18 PM   #2
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I am not familiar with that particular powder, but I do know when I first started reloading I was having a similar problem. A friend suggested trying a different powder and that solved the problem. I now use Bullseye for loading my 9mm & .38 Special and it measures out extremely well. I doubt it is your powder measure unless you some how set it up wrong.
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:26 PM   #3
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Thanks. I also lean towards it being the powder.
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:39 PM   #4
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Power Pistol meters very well. If your measure is NEW and you cleaned it per the instructions, fill your powder measure and set as large a powder charge you can and cycle the measure until you empty the resevoir. This will coat the inside of the powder measure with a light coat of graphite. Run at least 1 pound through your measure and you will find your powder will drop very consistently.
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:41 PM   #5
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Nice... I will try that.
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:43 PM   #6
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Another thought...are you using the Hornady reloading manual? The powders they list should work in their powder measure.

I am buying a Hornady LNL progressive press tomorrow. My Christmas present...so I am interested in what you find out. Got tired of my single stage RCBS
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:44 PM   #7
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Power Pistol is not a bad metering powder. It's not the best but it's not bad. My Lee Pro Auto-Disk keeps it +- .1

There are many things that can affect powder dispensing.

One of which is that some measures just don't seem to work with some powders. I know nothing about the measure you're using.

Another factor can be the level of powder in the hopper. There are baffles you can make/buy to equalize the weight on the powder.

Yet another is static. Many people suggest running a pound (or more) of powder through the brand new dispenser (after cleaning to remove and grease/oil/crud). This gives the dispenser a coating of graphite which helps with the powders actual movement and also reduces static.
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:48 PM   #8
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Forgot to add. Consistency in powder charges with depend on what kind of powder your are using. "Ball" and "flake" type powder runs thru the powder measure the easiest and is very consistent. You should get +/- .01 gr with just about any pistol powder.

"Stick" type powder like IMR 4350 or IMR 4831 used in loading rifle cases, is lucky to give +/- .5. HOWEVER, based on the amount of powder used per charge a .5gr variation is about the same percentage as a .01gr variation in a pistol case.

Plus/minus .01gr to .02gr per pistol charge is acceptable. UNLESS YOU ARE RIGHT AT THE MAXIMUM.

Plus/minus .5gr to .7gr per rifle charge (30.06, 270, etc.) is acceptable. UNLESS YOU ARE RIGHT AT THE MAXIMUM.

I have a LNL press and powder measure. I get +/- .01 variation with PowerPistol powder
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:51 PM   #9
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Another important factor is consistency in how you throw your powder. If you are using a bench mounted powder measure and throwing it manually, you have to try and do it exactly the same, with the same amount of upward and downward force every time. It is amazing the difference you can make just by throwing a little harder or softer.
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Old December 7, 2011, 08:52 PM   #10
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I am going to guess that you may the the large drum instead of the small drum. The small drum works best for pistol measures and using the baffle helps with consistency too.
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Old December 7, 2011, 09:07 PM   #11
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I use Power Pistol in my Hornady LnL and have excellent repeatability with the small rotor and without a baffle. It flows freely and repeats within +/- 0.1 grain no problem, more like +/- 0.05 grain. IMHO this is close enough for pistol rounds. I can't imagine how any volumetric powder measure can give you +/- 0.01 or 0.02 grain repeatability.
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Old December 8, 2011, 01:19 AM   #12
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Are you using a digital scale? Or beam scale?
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Old December 8, 2011, 08:04 AM   #13
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Are you using the correct powder rotor and piston. The stock measure comes with a rifle rotor and piston. You need to purchace the pistol rotor and pistol piston.
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Old December 8, 2011, 09:01 AM   #14
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+1 on the Baffle idea. Another idea I heard tossed around a while back was using a dremmel to polish the metal funnel parts. While I haven't personally done this, the person who did said it worked great and the powder throws withing .1 gr. That said I've never had any issue with my RBCS drop. It consistantly throws .1 gr+-
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Old December 8, 2011, 09:50 AM   #15
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I see know one caught his statement that he was putting the BRASSon the scale.Please stop doing that.You WILL K-boom your gun doing that.All brass varies in weight,your measure is probably dropping consistant charges and your seeing the difference in the case weight.Try dumping the powder out of the case onto the scale and see how your readings are coming out.
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Old December 8, 2011, 11:34 AM   #16
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Yep. I wondered why no one had commented about weighing the brass and powder together. I've not heard of that. Weigh powder alone.

I like Power Pistol because it meters very consistently in my Uniflow set up with the small cylinder.
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Old December 8, 2011, 11:41 AM   #17
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Hmmmm. I was making an assumption based on my own practices. I have weighed brass, zeroed the scale, added powder and weighed brass/powder to verify charge. I do that because it's easier than pouring the powder out to weigh it and then back into the case.

If that's NOT what the OP is doing, he's in for bad things happening. Those rounds DEFINITELY need to be disassembled.
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Old December 8, 2011, 02:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
I see know one caught his statement that he was putting the BRASSon the scale.Please stop doing that.You WILL K-boom your gun doing that.All brass varies in weight,your measure is probably dropping consistant charges and your seeing the difference in the case weight.Try dumping the powder out of the case onto the scale and see how your readings are coming out.
I weigh the brass, zero the scale, charge the brass... I work daily with precisions that have tighter tolerances than reloading... I'm not an idiot.

I'm loading for consistency... not to get cheaper rounds. I allow for NO variation whatsoever in anything. If I'm charging 7.0gr... every shell has 7.0gr in it... not 6.9... not 7.1... but 7.0gr. It's also weighed multiple times. Every OCL is 1.125" +/- .0005".....

If I weigh in the powder holder or I weigh in the case... it makes no difference because I have to account for the weight of either holder of powder.

So, I weigh it in the case to eliminate any powder missing the casing... I don't want a single flake of difference.
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Last edited by Dan44149; December 8, 2011 at 02:52 PM.
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Old December 8, 2011, 03:32 PM   #19
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I should have said that I’ve not heard of weighing brass and powder together when using a progressive press in full bore progressive mode. With the OP stating a LNL press, there was the question about the weighing procedure. Now that’s been answered.

Just for kicks and giggles this past August I measured and weighed 20 each of four different head stamps of 40S&W cases and found the following weight variances between Max-Min: Winchester 2.1 grains; Blazer 2.1 grains; Remington 2.2 grains; Federal 5.9 grains. It would get even worse if mixed brass was in use because the Max-Min difference was 7.4 grains over the forty piece spread. That’s plenty of powder difference to bust something, but a moot point given your method of weighing the brass first.

The stated +/- 0.5 grains variance, is too small for 40S&W brass case variation, but too much for a tuned, consistently operated powder measure using Power Pistol (my opinion). With only 95 rounds loaded, I wouldn’t think the lack of a baffle would be significant as the powder column weight shouldn’t have changed but about 10 percent.

I found Power Pistol measured very well through my Uniflow large cylinder and was even better through the small cylinder. If the thorough cleaning and running a pound of powder through the measure doesn’t help, then the small cylinder may be something to consider.
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Old December 8, 2011, 04:17 PM   #20
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I do have a baffle in there... but there are a lot of options above for me to try to correct the problem. I'm leaning more towards that I am using rifle equipment for a pistol job.

.5 +/- is definately too much to let go in the .40... .6gr is a difference of 100fps in a 155gr XTP... and can push a next to max load to the max load. Being as I just started loading the .40 recently, I've been staying away from max. The most I have loaded up with the 155gr XTP's is 7.6gr and I loaded up some 180gr Win TC Flat noses the other day with 2 different loads. Trying to find a load that my M&P likes, but so far the best groupings are still with the Federal American Eagle 180gr factory loads. The XD likes the 155gr XTP's with 7.0gr the best.

As mentioned in the post above... I have only loaded in Winchester brass so far, with Winchester WSP primers. I saved my Federal brass from the factory loads I fired off, and saved my buddies CCI Blazer brass as well. Though I deprimed and sized them all together, I keep them seperated by manufacturer. Is it necessary? I'm not sure. I think I'm just that anal about it.
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Old December 8, 2011, 04:35 PM   #21
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As mentioned a few times...small pistol rotor and meter insert.
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Old December 8, 2011, 04:38 PM   #22
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Reloading is going to be a frustrating hobby for someone who allows "NO variation".
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Old December 8, 2011, 04:49 PM   #23
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Reloading is going to be a frustrating hobby for someone who allows "NO variation".
I know... but I'm not loading a lot of rounds at a time as of yet. What is acceptable variation? .1gr +/-? ...and is acceptable variation in the eyes of the person making the exception?

Added: If the quality control isn't there, then what's the point? Why not just use factory loads? I'm not trying to be facetious, but isn't that the point of handloading? To eliminate the lack of quality control, and to eliminate the "acceptable variances" allowed by the factory?
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Old December 8, 2011, 04:50 PM   #24
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Quote:
As mentioned a few times...small pistol rotor and meter insert.
Yes, I am aware and that's one of the options I'm looking at
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Old December 8, 2011, 05:44 PM   #25
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Quality control is one thing. "NO variation" is quite another.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just want you to be realistic in your expectations.

Case internal capacities can (will) vary from brand to brand. Bullet lengths will vary, even in the same lot, by a few thousandths. Powder burn rates can vary by 5-10% from lot to lot.

I'm a little "OCD" myself when it comes to reloading but you've got to know the limits.

If powder variation really bothers you that much, and you've got the cash available, I highly recommend the RCBS Chargemaster Combo or the Hornady LnL scale/dispenser. They're pricey, but absolutely fantastic, especially for rifle rounds.

I personally do not weigh every charge for handgun rounds but, if you do, one of those units would be a god-send.

Also, you might try measuring and then pulling apart some factory ammo to weigh the charges. I don't expect your own rounds to be THAT... sloppy... but it will give you an idea of how little that "variance" can matter, within reason.
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