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Old August 5, 2011, 09:42 PM   #1
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New Loader Question

Hey folks. I'm new to the forum and new to reloading. However, not new to guns. (retired military)

I have an inconsistancy that has me concerned. I just punched out my first batch of 9mm with 115gr copper plated round nose with Unique and cci primers.

Could not (useless story goes along with how I ended up with Unique) find loading data for this combo until I contacted the bullet maker. They gave two bits of info:

1-use recipe for jacketed bullets

2-go with 5.6gr mol 1.139

Now that you have the facts, here's the real question.

I use the Lee disc system to dispense powder. I used disc .53 which is supposed to dispense 4.9gr.

I checked this with the Lees bar scale and it weighed 3.9gr.

I also used the Lee scoop .5 (this is listed in the Lee recipe) and it also scaled at 3.9gr.

Which one should I believe? Does it matter?

I would appreciate any info from you experienced loaders.

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Old August 5, 2011, 09:47 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, you'll find lots of great help here.

My 2 cents on your particular situation is that Unique does not consistently dispense well through Lee auto disk measures. I have a good amount of experience with both Unique powders and Lee auto disk measures and my conclusion is that the two should never be used together...

either switch powders or use a different dispenser. Its odd that the dipper is light too though, are you sure that the scale is zeroed?

Hope this helps
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Old August 5, 2011, 09:51 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. Scale is zeroed per the instructions. Any recommendations on powder that feeds well in lee equipment?
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Old August 5, 2011, 10:01 PM   #4
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Universal, Bullseye, W231...
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Old August 5, 2011, 10:13 PM   #5
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Weight it and use it.

Welcome, and thanks for asking our advice.

Lee dippers are notorious for weighing light. Same for their Auto-Disk and the chart that accompanies the Autodisk and the dippers.

The way to use the dippers or Auto-disk is to measure out several charges and observe what the average weight is. If it is lighter than your desired weight, pick a dipper or a cavity that does deliver what weight you want.

Always make sure your technique is consistent and delivers consistent charges. This is the biggest difficulty in using any powder measuring device.

I have used Unique for decades in most of my pistol rounds (357, 9mm, 45 ACP 44 Mag for mid-range light recoiling loads, and recently, 45 Colt and 454 Casull for light loads. The accuracy of the Auto-Disk has been acceptable. I have been re-evaluating my powder choices lately, though and will revisit my thoughts on the matter, however.

If you want to go with the chart and the cavity recommended, I suggest you load 5 founds at that charge weight and see if there is enough oomph to cycle your action. I put some of my lightly loaded .357 rounds through my friend's Coonan and none of them had the juice to cycle the action. I used to load my 45 ACP right on the edge of being able to cycle my Gold Cup Colt 45. If I held the gun very tightly, it would cycle. If I held it the least bit loosely, I would get stovepipe jams every time. Cool, clearance drills at the range at will.

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Old August 5, 2011, 11:31 PM   #6
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Awesome input. Quick and on point. Thanks for all the info. Glad I joined.
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Old August 6, 2011, 10:42 AM   #7
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Short answer - use Win 231

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Old August 6, 2011, 11:30 AM   #8
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my answer would be to get or if you do , to use a beam scale and get what youre looking for from your dispenser. Not the dippers, Screw the dipper method. And I also like Unique very well.
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Old August 6, 2011, 12:11 PM   #9
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When Unique was giving me fits with my Lee Perfect Powder measure, I switched to AA#5. Measures very nicely. I don't use Unique with my 115 gr (Rainier) plated. 4.0 gr of Bullseye works well in my CZ. HS-6 is very good for hotter jacketed stuff.
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Old August 6, 2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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If you visit the Accurate web site, you'll see they list VMD's for all their powders, plus give a tolerance for how accurate those numbers are. ±3% is common and some are over ±5%. I wish Alliant and the other makers gave that information, too, because it give you some sense of how accurate your dippers and disks or Perfect CC settings can be expected to be.

Lee's table seems to make sure you won't over-charge by being on the light side with most powders. So don't be surprised if you need to go up a size. Just weigh the result to be sure.

Hodgdon Universal will do most of what Unique does, and it meters better, as already mentioned, and it also burns cleaner, which I like. Typically its charges are maybe around 5% lighter than Unique to reach similar peak pressures. 231 will meter well in most measures, but you can't load it safely to quite as high a velocity as Unique because of its faster burn rate. If you want something that meters about like 231l but reaches higher load performance while still at safe pressures, take a look at Alliant Power Pistol.
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Old August 6, 2011, 01:34 PM   #11
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Get an adjustable powder measure. Powders will vary in weight depending on relative humidity and lot to lot differences. It's very difficult to say xx ccs of Unique from 1989 weighed in Oregon will be the same as xx ccs 2010 Unique measured in So. CA. I made some custom dippers for my powders/loads when I lived in So. CA in the early 90s which weigh differently now in rainy Oregon. My suggestion would be to get an adjustable powder measure and set it each time you use it, checking it against a beam scale...
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