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Old April 6, 2012, 10:09 PM   #1
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**New guy** Powder Issue

Okay, So I am very new to the reloading scene, luckily I have a friend that has been reloading for a couple years. However, we have come across an issue that has halted my reloading since I am a anal retentive prick. I now have a RCBS Uniflow powder measure and a cheap hornady digital scale. I use HS-6 powder and the majority of my reloading is done in a non-heated/ac garage. I keep ammo, powder and primers inside. Scale and powder measure stay in the garage. I mention all this because I think it may have some bearing on my issue.

-- I am getting very inconsistent throws out of the Uniflow and the scale seems to jump +/- .1 or .2 grains or more depending on each throw. My intial though is that the digital scale is wonky since it is left in the cold and that may truely be where my issue lies. Another thought is maybe its the powder and my uniflow that aren't seeing eye to eye. Here are some examples:

Throw one 6.8
Throw two 7.0
throw 25 7.3

So I figure that maybe since the scale is warming up from the heater being on I am seeing the effects of the cold/heat on the metal digital scale??

Hopefully this made a lick of sense because its hard to put it into words with out getting ****** off. I want to spend my precious free time reloading and I want consistent throws within .1 or .2 through a batch of 200 rounds.
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Old April 6, 2012, 10:20 PM   #2
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Good scales are not cheap. Cheap scales are not good.

No bench is complete without a nice beam scale to compare the digital against.
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Old April 6, 2012, 10:46 PM   #3
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.1 or .2gr off is not really a problem. When you are throwing powder by volume, its always going to vary a bit...

Also, scales will have an operating temp range. I reload in my unheated basement, and on the really cold days my scale would act really wonky, checked the manual and its only rated down to 55F.....
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Old April 6, 2012, 10:49 PM   #4
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If memory serves, and it does not very well anymore, I used HS-6 years and years ago for some kind of reloading. As I remember it I never got anymore because it did not meter very well through my Uniflow. The most consistent powders I have ever used in my Uniflow are all ball powders. I have since got a Chargemaster and oh what a difference it makes.

I think there could be something to what you think is causing the scale issue. I don't know how cold it gets in your garage but I do know electronic scales can be affected by extreme cold. You may want to contact Hornady and see what they have to say about it.
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Old April 6, 2012, 10:50 PM   #5
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A couple of points.

!. Let your scale sit for an hour before using (need to warm up the sensors)

2. Shake your powder can 10 times to make sure powder is not sticking together.

3. Wipe down your powder measure with a used dryer fabric sheet to eleminiate static cling on all plastic parts of the powder measure.

4. Do not clean the graphite off the inside of the powder measure.

5. Store your powder in a heated enviornment.

6. Turn off your heater, the fan will effect the readings on the scale, or at least make sure there is no drafts accross the scale. (AC or Heating).

7. Make sure your scale is not on your bench, it should be on a shelf by itself and make sure it is level.

Probably more but I can't think of them at this time
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Old April 6, 2012, 11:34 PM   #6
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You guys rock. I will have to look for a beam scale at the gun show tomorrow. I will start keeping my digi scale inside and but it on another location other than my bench.
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Old April 7, 2012, 08:29 AM   #7
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beam scales are a must--but for handguns i just use dippers that throw lower to mid on the chart. Unless you're planning to shoot competitive, the variance on .1gr to POI is likely less than you will notice. DO get a good beam scale though.
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Old April 7, 2012, 08:46 AM   #8
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How much of a temp change happens when you go to reload? If you use a heater, or something to cool off the area you reload in. Once the area is at that temp let the scale sit at that temp for half an hour at least. Temperature changes can make a big difference with digital scales.

Oh and .2 grains is nothing to worry too awful much about if you are not on the threshold of the maximum charge. Some powders do not meter very well regardless of the brand of your powder measure. If it is a real big deal for you set the measure to throw a little bit under, then use a powder trickler to trickle up to the desired the weight. With handgun rounds I do not go to that much trouble. The gun and loads can shoot better than I am capable of anyway.

For rifle loads I use a Hornady Auto Charge. I get to within .1 grains with every charge. For my shooting that is more than good enough. The loads in my rifles shoot better than I can. Every one of them will give sub MOA groups. My .223 rem, and .221 Fireball will give sub half MOA on a crappy day with my worst loads.
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Old April 7, 2012, 08:59 AM   #9
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There's nothing at all wrong with a decent electronic scale. I started with an RCBS 1010 beam scale and used it for 25 years or more. Then a son-in-law got me a good PACT electronic scale and I started using both scales and checking one against the other. Then I finally decided to make the move to the electronic scale. It'll do everything the beam scale will do and it will also quickly weigh cases for weight sorting. This Christmas I moved up to a Lyman 1200 DPS, which throws, trickles, and weighs. What a wonderful piece of gear that is. You want a beam scale? Come to central Texas and I'll sell you that RCBS 1010. I don't need it anymore.
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Old April 7, 2012, 10:32 AM   #10
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My experience - electronic scales go bad and you may not know it unless you have a good beam scale to check it against. YMMV
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Old April 7, 2012, 01:41 PM   #11
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Also, do not forget the locking ring on the powder measure. I could not figure out what was wrong, because my loads kept creeping up.

I called RCBS and the lady I talked to asked me to make sure the measuring screw locking ring was tightened. Never had a problem afterwards.

It is probably the electronic scale, but also check this.
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Old April 7, 2012, 02:15 PM   #12
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A year ago I broke my 5.0.5. RCBS beam scale, so me and my sons ran out to the Bass-Pro and bought a Lyman 1000, can't remember the cost exactly but after we worked with it alot and got used to it, made sure it was on level surface no electric static around it and kept it calibrated.... Recently I sent that old Beam scale to RCBS and before a week went by I had a brand new scale no charge,, RCBS, so now I use the beam scale and verified my loads against the digital scale and found there is a difference in weight.0.02 grns difference with the beam scale being - to the electric being + 0.02 grns. So I went back to my 5.0.5. because it's not finicky first of all, and it's accurate, and it's a heck of alot faster!
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Old April 7, 2012, 02:32 PM   #13
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It's odd that HS-6 wouldn't meter well through a uniflow. It's an Olin ball powder like 296 and 231 and should, because of that, meter fairly well. At least I'd think so.
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Old April 7, 2012, 03:53 PM   #14
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No one has said anything about technique. You have to learn to double tap the handle on the up stroke to make certain the measuring chamber gets filled with powder and then double tap on the down stoke to make certain all of the powder drops out. It takes practice to be consistent in how you are handling the measure. Also are you using a baffle in the powder tube? That will also help.
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Old April 7, 2012, 08:03 PM   #15
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It's odd that HS-6 wouldn't meter well through a uniflow.
Like I said it was a long time ago but as I remember it was sticking together and that was the main cause of the problem. I was young then and just that issue turned me off of that powder.
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Old April 7, 2012, 08:45 PM   #16
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You don't need a balance scale to check a digital scale if the digital is a good quality scale. Good quality scales come with their own check weights that you will use to calibrate the scale after it warms up before each and every use.

An unheated garage sounds to me like a garage that probably is a lot more exposed to shifts not only in temperature, but humidity. Hopefully your equipment and powder and primers are not stored there 24/7/365. If they are--this little scale adventure is only the beginning.................bugs, mice, smartass neighbor kids.............

I also used HS-6 for years with no problems and in the same same powder measure, too. Like someone said if you drop powder by volume, it's going to vary, and a .2 gr variance does not really matter a whole lot until unless you are loading something like a .380 near max. The nice thing about the digital scale/dispenser combo. is that they work like tricklers and you get the weight you want without a lot of hassle. Still, I don't know if you can blow the grips off a .380, even if you somehow double charged it, the case is so small.

In addition to closely following the instructions that come with a good quality scale, as mentioned in a reply above, there are two other things you might want to consider doing:

1-work on an anti-static mat. Bench sized mats are cheap these days and can be bought online. You'll need a good ground to attach your mat to (to which to attach your mat?) If you're in the garage, the inlet pipe on your water heater might be an easy hook up if you don't trust the ground jack on your outlets. This is a good practice whether you use a digital scale or not.

2- get a line filter. This is really just a strong magnet laid on the power cord three to six inches from of your scale and/or dispenser if you have the combo. If your scale runs on battery, the magnet is not needed, obviously. If you do not have access to a good magnet, there is an essay on the site in the tech section that gives a source where magnets made for this purpose can be bought. Again, the magnet must be fairly strong--most refrigerator magnets will not do.
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Last edited by amamnn; April 7, 2012 at 08:51 PM.
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Old April 9, 2012, 09:10 PM   #17
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So I keep all the important stuff like primers, powder and primed brass inside, All other stages of brass is kept in sealed containers.

I picked up a beam scale at the gun show and started keeping the digital scale inside and my issue seemed to resolve itself. I started throwing w/in .2 even after 100 roungs. Hopefully I can continue to crank out this pistol rounds and when I am more confident in my set up I will start on .223 rounds.

I am also considering finding some indoor space to reload so I am not freezing or sweating my ass off.
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Old April 10, 2012, 02:02 AM   #18
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If there were no batteries or electricty what would we do??
Easy answer- beam scales!!
They are magnetically dampened so keep them away from electronics & wind!!
As for powder throwers I would only ever use them to roughly dispence powder & top up with a trickler on the beam scale!!
They are way to inacurate in my opinion!!!!
I have never had a charge master etc & although would be far faster than the beam I would trust the beam first!!
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Old April 10, 2012, 03:51 AM   #19
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Sounds like electronic scales are slow and finicky unless I get an expensive one.

The Dillon one is twice the cost of a beam scale (i have an old beam one that works, but want a quicker digital one).

How much would I have to spend on a good one. The Dillon said accurate to .1 grain, but that does not sound like it would accurate enough as being on the line of + _ .1 grain.

Also just read mixed reviews on Lyman 1000xp - some hate it, others say it is good but very very sensative.

So the OP's problem is directly related to placement - no vibration, solid table, no fluctuation of temp. and humidity etc. A very scientific instrument.

Last edited by bitttorrrent; April 10, 2012 at 04:07 AM.
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Old April 10, 2012, 06:02 AM   #20
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The RCBS ChargeMaster has become The Standard for electronic scales (and companion powder auto dispenser.) Not "cheap," but you get everything you pay for -- and then some. But before you get another electronic scale, I'd consider getting a high-quality/used balance-beam scale as your go-to backstop for reference check when your spider sense says something might not be quite right.

I would ordinarily say it impossible that HS-6 could "clump" as its very manufacturing process/fine spherical shape leaves a powder that measures like water. (Then again, I've also seen pigs fly in an Oklahoma tornado.) Try keeping powder/scales/ and case-filling inside the house under constant temp/humidity to remove any possibility of that affecting the outcome.
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Old April 10, 2012, 07:49 PM   #21
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As for powder throwers I would only ever use them to roughly dispence powder & top up with a trickler on the beam scale!!
They are way to inacurate in my opinion!!!!
I guess that depends on what you consider "accurate"..... I use a lee perfect powder measure to consistently get 3/4 - 1 moa out of my savage edge, a bottom rung rifle.... Thats accurate enough for anything I'm going to do... Is it "match" accuracy? maybe not, but then, neither is my rifle, or bullets for that matter (hornady sst). plus I use a lee FCD, so you KNOW I dont shoot matches, right?

My handloads using thrown charges are certainly more accurate than any of the factory stuff my dad or brother shoot.....

Speaking of "factory" most if not all factory "match" ammo is done by volume, not weight....

Many matches have been won by people throwing charges with a measure, even beating out people weighing every charge.

Weighing every charge is overrated. If you are unable to be consistent enough to get your powder measure to throw consistent charges, thats not the fault of the powder measure.... An expensive and/or slow fix is a scale and trickler, a cheap and easy one is to learn to be consistant. double tap up, double tap down, get a powder baffle and keep the hopper filled to the same level.... I use a scale and trickler for load development only... (ok i dont have a real trickler, I use a spoon to trickle, lol)
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Old April 11, 2012, 03:37 AM   #22
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Glad that seemed to fix your issues. I have only used my RCBS 1010 beam scale but am thinking of getting a cheap electronic one for quickly weighing bullets, brass, etc.

One thing I did was to add the optional micrometer stem to my Uniflow measure. It is much more precise and stays where you put it. It consistently throws within 0.1 gr total variation with ball powders like H335, BL-C2, W231, AA5, W296, Power Pistol, etc. I also like my Lee Perfect Powder Measure on its own stand (just cannot get it to work well on the charging die mount), but for pistol cartridges I prefer the Lee Pro Auto Disk as the most reliable and repeatable measure.
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Old April 11, 2012, 08:58 PM   #23
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I had the same problem with mine. I just set it to drop just under and trickled to weight. I think it is the "human" factor with that measure.
Some throws it drops nice. Some throws it doesn't.
Changing powders made a difference also.
Since I went to progressive I haven't had any problems.
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Old April 12, 2012, 10:29 PM   #24
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I want to earn my stripes on on a single stage press for a few years before I can justify the cost of moving up to a progressive press.

I had a lee auto disk but sold it because I initially thought it was the sources of my inconsistent throws. The biggest issue I have had with the Uniflow is the stupid lock nut seizing and causing me to spend extra time unf**king it. I am looking forward to the weekend and I can spend some time reloading and shooting.
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Old April 13, 2012, 03:32 AM   #25
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mrawesome22: Good scales are not cheap. Cheap scales are not good.

No bench is complete without a nice beam scale to compare the digital against.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^CORRECT ANSWER^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The problem is most likely not the Uniflow, it's the scale.

A good digital will start around $100.00, a good beam will start around $80.00.

If funds allow only one at this time I would recommend the beam first.
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