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Old March 29, 2012, 11:59 AM   #26
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In terms of accuracy ...a lot of things affect it ...mostly how the granuales or flakes of that particular powder meter thru your presses powder measure.

Most powder measures these days ...if you keep them clean and adjusted properly ...for small granular powders ..will drop within + or - 0.05 grain .../ maybe a little tighter depending on the powder you select. So accuracy has to do with your powder measure and the powder you select ....and your procedure as you operate ( does the press vibrate as you move handle up and down, is the bench top really firm, etc ...all can make a difference).

Today's electronic scales are accurate to + or - 0.1 grain ....but you can get scientific scales that are accurate to + or - 0.02 grain like a denver instruments MXX-123 scale...

Is + or - 0.1 grain ok ....yes probably .../ but it depends....

In the load this OP asked about the minimum published was 4.2grains ...and the max was 5.3 grains..../ so if you picked a goal drop for your load of 4.4 and were able to hold a tolerance of + or - 0.1grain or 4.3 to 4.5 you are still well within the min and max of 4.2 and 5.3 so you're fine.

The problem comes using a powder like TiteGroup ...where min and max is only 0.4gr apart on a lot of loads. TiteGroup is a pretty fine a good powder measure will probably drop within a + or - 0.02gr ... / so holding a goal ( where min be 4.4 and 4.8 max on a .45acp 230gr FMJ bullet using Titegroup.....if I set my target drop at 4.6 ...and 90% of the time, my scale said 4.6 but once in a while it dropped to 4.5 or went up to 4.7 I'm still ok with it ..../ especially if you have a scale that is only accurate to + or - 0.1gr ....the scale might be saying 4.6gr when its really 4.57 or 4.62gr ....

but in general, if nothing is going on ....and you're able to hold + or - 0.1 gr you're ok ....unless you're using a really hot powder ...where your margin of safety might be very small.

Its also one thing to be off 0.1 gr in a case that is really strong like a .45 acp ...and relatively low velocity ...where its hard to imagine you can get into trouble with a .45 acp case unless you get a really low drop - and a squib round ....or a really high drop - almost a double charge ...

...and its another to be off 0.1gr in a case like a .40S&W or a 10mm ...where pressures and velocity is pretty high...
but lots of factors here .....knowing your press...the little noises it makes ...making sure all the little springs are in place, the nuts are tight, that its clean, that its indexing properly, that the powder measure is not let drop below 50% full, picking the right powder, that no foreign material gets into the powder hopper ( like a piece of an anti static dryer sheet ...tearing loose inside the powder storage container ) ..../ all the stuff that can happen....and what you do when something doesn't feel right or sound right ...

my Dillon 650 press has a "powder check die" on it it alerts me, when there is a variation of 0.1gr ...and then I weigh the charge to see what the issue is ....maybe its just the way the powder stacked in the case...maybe something is wrong... ( Hornady, RCBS, etc have similar setups on some of their machines ) and even using that ...I still have a little mirror / that lets me see into a case...and see how the powder drop looks in terms of volume.../ but if I'm dropping 4.6gr eyes cannot pick up on a 4.4 drop or a 4.7 drop .../ so I depend on the "powder check" to keep me out of trouble ....and good procedures and a good scale.

As a routine...when I start the press...I dump the first 5 powder drops ...then I weigh the first 5 I intend to keep ...if they're right on the goal...then I run 10 rds ...and weigh 1 ...if everything stays ok ...I might only check 1 in 25 or so .../ or when powder check alarm alerts me. I'm looking for consistency ...and relative humidity in my shop, etc ...all affect that. Static elec is a problem ...powder stored in 8 # plastic kegs, powder measure hoppers are plastic, I use anti static dryer sheets ...wipe everything down get rid of static / if any powder flakes are sticking to the side of the powder measure cannister...there is static .../ if there is not any there ..its probably ok. I keep some dryer sheets in the powder storage container...( just be careful / a piece doesn't tear off and get into powder measure ( a buddy had it happen)...

I'm not saying you can't load good accurate and safe ammo on a single stage or on a press that doesn't have a powder check either ....but I think it is important to know, there are some presses out there ...that have a powder check option....and since many of us run, high volumes of ammo, on our progressive presses ...the powder check gives me another level of safety.

I did have an incident on my 650 press a yr or so ago ...where a nut on the powder measure was coming loose causing a flucuation of powder drops ....powder check alerted us to the issue. After 5 or 6 alarms in a row ...we knew we had an issue / shut it down / found the problem. But since I was loading about 3,000 rds for a big 3 day class coming up ....with the powder check gague ..alerting me, I also knew that the 1,000 or so rounds I had run ...had no issues / and were dead nuts on the mark for my powder drop goals ( because there were no alarms) ...and the only rounds that were suspect were the 5 I knew about ..../ made me feel good ...vs wondering, and having to pull a bunch of bullets ...just in case....

but all this little stuff matters ....for safety ...and consistency...

Last edited by BigJimP; March 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM.
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Old March 29, 2012, 03:27 PM   #27
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Like I said, you know your stuff.

I'm just learning the Dillon 650 and it has the powder check on it too, so I am much more comforatable now. We did a similar thing in checking the powder on the initial run and putting it on the scale. I just did not like the scale, but we were running .45's at the time and will do 9mm soon, so not too worried if I am + or - .1 grain as I would never push the uppper or lower limit of any load.

Just an aside on your dillon - I find the upward push a little difficult to tell if the primer has seated correctly - i can feel it on some but not all. Had a few that were not pushed all the way. Is yours noticiable or do I have something ever so slightly out of line? Maybe I just need to load more as I only did a few hundred at best between us.
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Old March 29, 2012, 05:45 PM   #28
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Happy to help - and thanks,

I doubt there is anything out of alignment on your press ...I think you just need to load a few more thousand rounds...and that primer seat will feel more normal.....but if at any time I don't like the way it feels ...I just pop that case out and take a look at it...

Some cases are newly once fired ...some may have been reloaded 19 times....and it varies a little by which primer you choose to use too. I like CCI primers...they're pretty tough ...and you can seat them a little more aggressively than you would ever do using Federal primers.

Using carbide dies don't have to use any case lube....but I'd recommend you use it anyway makes the loader run a lot smoother.

I use the Dillon lube....I spread a few handfuls of cases in a cardboard box lid ( 3" deep and 11" by 17" ) the top of a cardboard case, for office copy paper works real well. I spread the cases out - so they're flat... then spritz them with Dillons case lube...not too much ...roll them around ...flatten them out again ...and spritz them again lightly. Let them dry for 30 min ....then dump them in my case feeder...and run them.

It sounds to me like your procedures are fine ....drop me a personal note if anything pops up ...or if I can help you out, I'd be happy to. Be safe - and good shooting..
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