How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

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How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by 44shooter »

I have a little experience handloading but have always scooped and tricked my powder onto a scale. I’m trying to set up my Hornady measure to throw about 6.0 grains of Unique so I can use it for several cartridges. I can get my adjustment close but no matter what technique I try I get too much variance in charges when I weigh them. I understand my electric scale has some imprecision and I can accept an occasional 5.9 or 6.1. I actually don’t care if I end up with a slightly different average input I want more precision. I sometimes get a 5.7 or 6.3. Seems like a lot for a moderately sized pistol case like 45 cap, 44 special, 40 or 357. Any suggestions?
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Ray »

9% difference sounds a lot but not too unusual with flakes as large as unique.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by AJMD429 »

I sometimes use something to tap the powder hopper each time, and I try to ‘throw’ the lever with the same vigor each time. That’s about it.

When the measuring cylinder can be changed a longer thinner one might be better than a shorter fat one, if the limiting thing is the ‘cut’ the measure makes; that’s just due to a given imprecision geometrically causing less volume change.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Sixgun »

I don't know about Hornady powder measures but RCBS measures used to come with 2 cylinders..rifle or pistol.....the pistol one will have a narrower chamber and thus, less surface area. I too, have used kegs and kegs of Unique over the years and that powder is "powder measure challenged". With the pistol cylinder I still get about a + or - one to 2/10ths of a grain but that's just the way it is.

Keep the same amount of powder in the hopper and don't let it run near empty before filling it. I always keep mine somewhere around 1/2 to 3/4 full and be consistent in the operation...if you don't have a powder measure baffle, buy or make one.....If your machine binds or your always using different pressures to operate the handle your charges will vary.

I've done a fair amount of competitive shooting, short range and long range out to 500 meters, especially with most handgun calibers and rifle rounds like the .223, .308, and the '06 and I do NOT measure every round....the charges come right out of the measure, even with stick powders on a progressive press.-----006
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Griff »

Some powder meter better than others... flakes are kinda halfway between the ball and extruded powders, but can still vary a great deal... I tend to used the "bounce" method on my RCBS powder measure. I throw the charge is a fair amount of energy and let the handle bounce once or twice at the upper end of the stroke... It becomes a challenge to do that consistently for more than 50 cartridges. So I take a break and do a reloading step on the next 50 cartridges...
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by piller »

Could be unneccessary, but after emptying the powder back into the can, I squirt a little bit of graphite into the powder measure and ryn it 4 or 5 times. It seems to make my powder measure work smoother and more reliably. Could be just my imagination, but it might be helping.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by 44shooter »

I’ve tried tapping twice on the intake and the dispense. It seems to help but I still get a flyer once in a while. I don’t think any of these charges are dangerous for what I might load but It seems like a lot of variance. Maybe a baffle or tapping the column with something each throw may help
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by AJMD429 »

Baffle is a necessity for sure.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by piller »

Baffles for powder measures can be made out of playing cards.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by GunnyMack »

Baffle for sure. I made mine from a soup can lid. A slight bend and cut a couple notches on the OD.
My RCBS also came with 2 cylinders, it is very accurate but I tend to use a firm UP and DOWN stroke- especially with a stick powder.
If you want 6.0 but are getting heavy throws try setting a tad lighter just to CYA for over charges that you know is going to happen.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by JimT »

Sixgun wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:04 pm
I've done a fair amount of competitive shooting, short range and long range out to 500 meters, especially with most handgun calibers and rifle rounds like the .223, .308, and the '06 and I do NOT measure every round....the charges come right out of the measure, even with stick powders on a progressive press.-----006
Hey Sixgun ... I've read of some competitive shooters who don't worry about their charges as long as they are within + or - .3 of a grain. They said that within that range (for their rifle) it did not make any difference in group size.

Years ago I ran a test with one of my accurate sixguns. I loaded a number of round and weighed each powder charge so they were the same. Then I loaded the same but I dipped the charges with a powder dipper. I got smaller groups from the cartridges I dipped the charges.

It could be that I was more "settled" down by the time I shot groups with the dipped charges, but what it showed me was that consistency in whatever you do seems to work.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

It may be the way the Dillon slapps the powder measure each time in the same way, or I may be not terribly picky, but I haven't noticed the inconsistency issues that other people seem to have with Unique. I don't question that they have these issues, I just wonder if it matters?

I don't push the raw edge of power, and particularly not with a powder like Unique. Its my go to workhorse powder and I burn several pounds of it every year.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Grizz »

on my heavy for caliber loads i weigh every charge. not for accuracy, just to be sure.

45 ACP, and 387 and 44 standard weight bullets I use the rcbs powder tosser thing
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Malamute »

Ive noticed the charges get slightly heavier and slightly more consistent when the hopper is 1/2 to 1/3 full. Not sure why. Ive never used a baffle but they make sense.

Some things seem to help, like when adding powder or starting I throw 6-8 charges into the scale pan and dump it back into the measure hopper to settle the powder in before checking measure setting or charging cases. I also use the measure so the measuring cavity is down when at rest, meaning it only allows powder in when the handle is used. if it sits with powder in the cavity, anything going on on the bench can settle more powder into it. I only want powder going in when I cycle the handle. You can rotate the measure so the handle is up or down as desired when at rest. I like it down at rest, it helps me keep track of where the measure cavity is.

I used to be neurotic about charges HAD to be perfect, then started loosing up some over time. An old NRA loading manual mentioned that target shooters didnt start worrying about weighing every charge until 300-600 yards, thats when they could start to tell a difference. Little or none of my shooting is that level of precision, and in most levers or revolvers, the payoff for weighing every charge just isnt there. I check charges every 10th one on rifle stuff, and before and after charging a loading block of shells for pistol powder, and unexpected variation and I start back checking to see where it went bad or dump the entire tray and start over if the lock nut came loose or an unexpected variation turns up and is unexplained. I pull and check every 20 or so rounds on the dillon 550. I can comfortably run around 300 rds/hr, after that i feel like I have too much chance to miss something gone wonky. Ive never had an uncharged case, no primer, badly seated/double bullet etc on the dillon or single stage, it sort of baffles me how people can do that, but I guess many people cant be bothered to pay attention to details when reloading.

When loading magnum level pistol shells I check every charge from the measure and dump any questionable ones back in, but dont try to throw light and trickle up, its not as time expedient as just checking and dumping bad ones back, most magnum level pistol powders seem to measure fairly well.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by stretch »

I've got an old Lyman # 55, and it has both a baffle and a little wee knocker to make sure that all of the
powder is dispensed from the loading tube. A wee bit fussy to set up, but VERY consistent and accurate.

Make sure that you are using the same speed, force, and motions for each charge. Consistency rules
here.

I've also had terrific results with Lee's Pro Auto-Disk on a Lee Pro 1000 loading 45 ACP. That measure is
AMAZINGLY consistent. (Primer feed on that press not so much - but I LOVE the powder measure!)

We've got to be consistent in action with these. There's a fundamental disconnect here - we're measuring
weight, but the powder measures are dispensing volume....... :shock: :lol:

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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Sixgun »

JimT wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:24 am
Hey Sixgun ... I've read of some competitive shooters who don't worry about their charges as long as they are within + or - .3 of a grain. They said that within that range (for their rifle) it did not make any difference in group size.

Years ago I ran a test with one of my accurate sixguns. I loaded a number of round and weighed each powder charge so they were the same. Then I loaded the same but I dipped the charges with a powder dipper. I got smaller groups from the cartridges I dipped the charges.

It could be that I was more "settled" down by the time I shot groups with the dipped charges, but what it showed me was that consistency in whatever you do seems to work.
Ya know Jim.....you are very knowledgeable in ballistics so you can grasp simplicity from a simple minded person like me..... I've tried to tell people over the years that minor variations in powder weight are more minor than other variables such as wind, your hold, temperature, position of powder, and especially the bullet you are using......people assume that because Sierra has an excellent reputation for accuracy that their own personal M-24 .308 is gonna punch cloverleaf at 1000 meters.

The above is just my opinion and in addition a smart guy never uses top loads in hot weather.....you know, "have a solid background" in ballistics before doing what an experienced person does....at our long range half scale silhouette matches the guys all show up with their 6.5 Creedmores with 36 power Nightforce scopes, Lapua brass, hand weighed charges, neck turning, indexing, blah, blah, and will usually anywhere from 32-38 " hits out of 40...in five years there has only been two 40x40's.....I consider all that WORK and as I'm retired and simple minded, I use a Colt AR 15 .223, completely stock with progressive machine loaded ammo, (77 grainers) and while I don't get the top scores I usually beat most of the guys.......

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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by 44shooter »

Thanks for all the replies and I know that each charge doesn’t have to be and cannot be perfect but I’m getting variance that spans from starting to maximum in some cartridges and a little over or under in some. Nothing really unsafe but exceeding recommended loads for soft lead and such.

I looked into it and the newer hornady measures include a baffle and also mine came with a kit and only includes a rifle rotor and measure. Hornady is sending me a baffle for free. And I will purchase a pistol rotor and meter combo. The pistol rotor has a smaller hole in the drum and is designed for sub 15 grain charges. I think both will help.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by flightsimmer »

Here's my method.
I use an RCBS powder measure, I take the lid off and set a small funnel in the top and then pour in the powder until the funnel starts to fill up after filling the powder measure tube, this keeps the powder at the same level in the tube. Now all you need to do is keep the funnel from running dry as you proceed to fill cases, this keeps the powder colume at a constant weight.

Now, I set the adjustable screw to roughly the volume you think you'll need, then I throw 10 charges into the scale pan and weigh it, your looking to get a weight 10 times of the weight you want in each case. Example, you want to fill the case with 7gns of powder, so 7 times 10 is 70gns, this is the number your shooting for. After you achieve this you want to throw 10 more to varify it throws 70gns again.

Now your ready to fill cases. My method is to dump and bump, that is I dump a charge and raise the arm slightly and bump again, then I raise the arm and bump the top stroke twice, this settles the powder for the next drop. So it goes like this.
Bump the top stroke twice, dump the powder and bump.
It sounds like this, tap, tap dump, tap, tap fill, tap, tap dump and so on, you'll quickly get use to it.

I get very, very accurate measures this way. Good luck.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by marlinman93 »

In general the easier it is to work the charge handle on a measure, the more consistent the charges will be. Powders that are tougher to move the charge handle are that way because they're cutting grains usually, which means they wont be as accurate.
Not all powder measures are made the same either. I've got RBCS, Lyman 55, Pacific, and a Harrell's Precision measure. All do well for me when I've used them, but the Lyman 55 did better than most. The Harrell's is a cut above all the powder measures I've ever owned, and it is the most repeatable, and accurate measure I've ever owned.
I put the Harrell's in a class separate from all the others I own. It's just got features the others don't and I love it. A lot more money than the others, but in my opinion it's worth it.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Blaine »

With a little practice, Lee Dippers will throw as good as you need. Shooting over a Chrony proved it.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by 44shooter »

I noticed I could scoop better most the time just not at the charge I want. The laboratorian in me wants to weigh everything until I’m convinced I have accuracy and precision. I think I’m on the way to improvements with the add ons
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by piller »

I use a Lee powder measure most of the time. Lubricating the drum after each use by a light dusting of graphite and working the handle 4 or 5 times seems to have fixed every issue I ever had. I verify weight every tenth load after it is set. Unless I am loading small cases where there is not much difference between minimum and maximum load, I do not recall having any real troubles.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Sixgun »

stretch wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:17 pm
The biggest problem most folks face looks back at 'em in the mirror every morning.... :o

Shooters are no exception, eh Sixgun?! :lol:
-Stretch
I tell ya Stretch...you said that pretty well.....

In the beginning no one knows anything...we read and talk to others but nothing beats experience and then, even with experience you have to focus.....it was hell in my early days as I'm self taught in whatever I've done....I'd be yanking on that powder measure with one hand and a joint in the other, with a beer somewhere close. :D

Seriously.....that's all anyone has to do to learn how to properly work a measure is to close the door, shut off the radio, and focus........get the type of powder you use....let's pretend you like Unique....get it set to a weight...say 10 grains......drop 10 charges in a little container using one method and weigh it...do it a half dozen times.....write everything down.......then try another method......try every method you can think of...write it down.........

It'll take you some time....

Then change powder cylinders along with varying levels of powder in the hopper.......yep, another whole hour!

Oh! Don't be wondering to yourself when a month later that the weights are changed....yep, humidity and time of the year ..
.AND......lot to lot can bring changes. ..that's why I buy 8 pounders to get the same lot.

I have an index card box with cards for every type of powder I use.....with detailed notes as to where to set the cylinder adjustment thingy. I double check before the actual weights get dropped.

You will know you finally have it made when you get repeatability in your weights....

Have two or more scales....ALWAYS....

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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by piller »

Old saying: Those who cannot do it are the ones who teach it.

In order to truly learn, you must do it and take notes.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by horsesoldier03 »

I used a Lee powder throw for the longest. After I got a digital scale, I realized how much variance I was getting. I upgraded to a RCBS Competition Powder Measure and it fixed my issues.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by OldWin »

Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:33 am
It may be the way the Dillon slapps the powder measure each time in the same way, or I may be not terribly picky, but I haven't noticed the inconsistency issues that other people seem to have with Unique. I don't question that they have these issues, I just wonder if it matters?

I don't push the raw edge of power, and particularly not with a powder like Unique. Its my go to workhorse powder and I burn several pounds of it every year.
I'm a big Unique user too. Like you, I wouldn't say I get a huge variation in my charges. Most times it is within .1, and never more than .2 on my Dillon.
For singles, I use an ancient Lyman that can be a little quirky, but it is with everything. I usually weigh them all from it anyway.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Blaine »

......And, get a Chrony. And, read everything you can. Only fools don't read. Those Load Books might larn ya sumpin if you're not careful.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by piller »

The books are typically published with information for every level of experience. Do not think you can ignore them. Well, if you want to be known as Old 2 Fingers, sure! Go ahead!
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by CowboyTutt »

I asked a Shootist friend who lives in CA (there are 2 here) what mechanical powder drop he liked the best over Christmas Break. He indicated that despite each manufacturer saying they made the best one, in real life they all operated with pretty much the same accuracy. Consistency in your stroke and powder weight in the tube are extremely important, especially as you approach a maximum load in your cartridge. When at max, drop ten loads, and measure all ten. Figure out your accuracy + or -, and reduce so you don't over-charge as I think someone stated. This has been important for me in the 454 Casull in my guns which runs the ragged edge of pressure. Each gun is a little bit different in what it can handle at the ragged edge. My maximum loads in my 454 Casull Raging Bull using Lil'Gun worked fine for me, but had sticky extraction in my best friends BFR in the same chambering. I have more faith in the electronic powder droppers although they are more expensive and slower. But when your at the ragged edge, it matters and even in mild "match grade" home rolled ammo like in my 11mm Mauser with Blue Dot, that powder drop is critical. At least it has been for me. I'm only very, very average handloader but maybe getting better, but I have found the powder drop accuracy is critical, at least so far. I buy the best brass I can so I don't have to uniform it so much. Time is money. Cases of same length. With Lapua and Norma brass, had no issues of doing any of this. Even the primer pockets are beautiful. Sometimes undersizing your expander die is useful in straight walled cartridges for varying brass manufacturers. Consistency is the key word here in your brass, powder charge, even the density of your powder load drop which gets us into a whole other problem of load density. Swirl charging can be helpful here as it aligns your powder grains more densely and consistently. Not needed in many cartridges, but in compressed loads (not a bad thing as it prevents your powder charge from shifting and locks the powder grains into the case) at near max loads in some cartridges, is useful from what I have learned. -Tutt
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by marlinman93 »

I can ask any friend who owns a Harrell's what load he uses for a particular powder, and how many clicks of his Harrel's measure that relates to. Then go to my Harrell's and dial in the same number of clicks, with the same powder, and it will drop the same weight charge as his does. And every Harrell's powder measure will do this.

I have numerous hoppers for mine since they unscrew. I take them off and leave the powder in them with the lid screwed on. I write the powder type, and number of clicks for various charges I commonly use. So when I change powders I grab a hopper and install it on the measure. Then I reset it to zero, and dial in the number of clicks for a certain charge. Then I check the first charge on the scale, just for fun and it's exactly where I wanted it to be.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by CowboyTutt »

Thank you Marlinman, I will look into one of these. I suspect the Redding units might also be that accurate, but not sure. -Tutt
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Old Savage »

I have tried, God knows to straighten Tutt out but ... he won't listen ;-)

Now the original question revolves around what level of accuracy are you looking for.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by 44shooter »

So I got a free baffle from Hornaday and ordered a handgun rotor and meter for my measure. Today I worked with it some and the consistency is much better. There still is some variability and I noticed I got more precise as it went. I have 50 cases of 45 auto with 5.9 grains of unique waiting for bullets. I noticed dispensing into a case and then pouring onto the scale was more accurate than dispensing into the scale pan before putting into the case. I was probably more tentative with the latter method as to not spill the charge. I am still getting 5.8, 5.9, 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, but 5.9 and 6.0 mostly. Hoping to get better to where I can QC maybe one of ten charged cases on the scale.

The goal is one charge for 45 lead and jacketed, 44 Special lead SAAMI, 357 lead midrange for now, possibly 9mm and 40 later

The other rotor just has too big a hole to measure consistly on the low end. Probably more appropriate for 60 grains than 6.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Grizz »

i try to have the higher swings coincide with my max load, pressure wise, and accept the ones that are short a tenth or two as being a little lighter. no harm, no fowl, and no deer have ever noticed the under charges. :wink: :lol:
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by CowboyTutt »

Grizz wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 7:45 pm
i try to have the higher swings coincide with my max load, pressure wise, and accept the ones that are short a tenth or two as being a little lighter. no harm, no fowl, and no deer have ever noticed the under charges. :wink: :lol:
That has to be the case with my 454 Casull loads as they are already on the ragged edge before you get sticky extraction in your particular firearm. Seen this before when my 31 grains of Lil'Gun worked great in my gunsmithed Raging Bull with polished chambers but was overly sticky in my friend's BFR in same caliber. When I am running for every last FPS, a digital powder measure is the only reasonable option or to weigh every charge by hand which I would find tedious. -Tutt
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Grizz »

i usually weigh every powder charge for the 45/70 shooting heavy for caliber. i threw charges for 44 mag because i was shooting a lot of it for a while, and because i was shooting far below max pressure for the SBH. by the time i had a chrono i was a hobby shooter and my kids were the harvesters.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by CowboyTutt »

Thank you Grizz. Hand-loading was a bit indifferent to me prior to me getting a chronograph. I couldn't really "see" the results. Once I had the chrony, things got much better and very much more interesting and fun too! Its only a Pro Chrony and many scoff at its accuracy now. It's a typical visible light chrony and you need to know how to set it up for optimal results. There are better products available now, some very much more expensive, but I tend to think the older ones still offer some benefit, but you have to be aware of their weaknesses too and how to set them up for best results. -Tutt
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Scrumbag »

I have been using Unqiue in 44 magnum and have struggled to get a conistent volume throw.

I hear Universal is much more consistent so tempted to give it a try.

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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by 44shooter »

I think next time I will directly charge a few cases in a batch then weigh them. seems like it would be easier to get consistent technique and minimize variation in settling. If it proves to be precise and accurate enough I can start charging a whole batch and weighing every tenth or so. Either way the equipment upgrade alone has made a big difference
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Florida_Cracker »

Some good stuff here, but one thing that I didn't see mentioned is the precision of the scale used. As near as I can tell from reading specifications, virtually all of the digital scales and mechanical balances are plus/minus 0.1 grains. With pistol loads (my 38/45 loads were less than 5 grains), that is a lot and the only way to overcome it that I am aware of is to measure a lot of throws to get a solid estimate of the standard deviation. I load on a Dillon 650 and like others have reported, I start by throwing 10 times (manually operating the powder die without using the lever) into a spice jar and measure/average (divide by 10) the throws. I typically do this 2-3 times to let the powder grains settle down in the reservoir/powder bar. If the last reading is pretty close ( +/- 0.1 grains of desired) I run 5 fired trial rounds (with used primer intact) through the rotation and discard. I'm trying to settle down everything to my cadence/vibration/movement while mimicking actual reloading. Only then do I start recording each throw (again fired rounds with spent primer intact. I remove the de-primer to re-size and run the inert cartridge up to the seating die where I remove it and measure the powder charge thrown. If the results are stable after about 7-10 rounds then I begin to reload for real. All of this typically takes less than 5 minutes with a tool head already set - and then I make a bunch of rounds. I'm able to get coefficient of variation (CV = sd/mean) of about 2-4% with this technique. Dillon Blue Press recently had a more sophisticated comparison between the Dillon powder measure and a more sophisticated/expensive digital trickler alternative. See July 2020, page 58 at this url https://www.dillonprecision.com/blue-pr ... tml#bp2020

Previously when I was working up loads, I would increment by 0.2 grains (pistol loads) and test for group. Then I had one of the DUHH!! (slap forehead) moments when I realized that I could not resolve the difference between a 3.4 and 3.6 grain load because my scale 'might' give me that same reading for a 3.4 grain (+0.1) or for a 3.6 grain (-0.1). So I switched to incrementing in 0.3 or 0.4 grain differences to get beyond the scale limitations.

Speaking of scales/balances. I am a retired chemist, so previously I had access to analytical grade balances with a readability of +/- 0.002 grain and I was able to make my own check weights of copper wire with precisely known weight. I still use those weights before/after each weighing on any of my digital or mechanical balance beam scales. I highly recommend regular use of check weights near the desired throw weight for verification. With verification, I have no issues with digital scales.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by 44shooter »

The electronic scale is rated accurate +/- 0.1 grains which I'm very comfortable with for any application I may load for. My 10 g check weight reads 154.3 grains every time. I haven't tried a lighter standard. I don't really care if my 5.9 charge is really 5.8 or 6.0. What I didn't like was variance spanning or exceeding the range of loads in the tables. Looks like I have decreased that variance through equipment upgrades mainly and somewhat through practice and learning. Finished some loads last night. Lead round nose 45 ACP in moon clips look pretty cool. Ruined a couple first one seated way too deep and one crimped way too hard and seated the first few just a little short. Got to get some more lock and load bushings as I had that seater perfect before. Took it out last fall to load a few 38s
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by AmBraCol »

piller wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:30 pm
I use a Lee powder measure most of the time. Lubricating the drum after each use by a light dusting of graphite and working the handle 4 or 5 times seems to have fixed every issue I ever had. I verify weight every tenth load after it is set. Unless I am loading small cases where there is not much difference between minimum and maximum load, I do not recall having any real troubles.
That's the measure I find myself reaching for when running a batch of pistol ammo. I set it for "x" grains of powder (Unique, 231, 2400 are some of the most commonly used in my loading) and then weigh every 10th charge on a balance beam type scale. The Lee system seems to give me more consistent charges in pistol calibers than the Lyman does. When running rifle ammo I'll weigh every charge, just because CDO (that's OCD arranged alphabetically as it SHOULD be). But for handgun charges the Lee does a great job. I've done the dipper route and one way around the charge weight issue with dippers is to make up your own. Choose a small caliber cartridge that's close to the size you need, wrap a bit of copper wire around it (you can solder it if you care enough - see CDO note above) and then file it down until you're getting the charge weight you're looking for. Voilá! You've got a custom powder dipper for your chosen powder and charge weight. Years back I sold a batch of ammo loaded with a dipper and a Lee Loader "whack 'em" type loading setup. The customers told me it was the most accurate ammunition they'd ever had. Hmmm... I've got a reloading session coming up this year, maybe I need to revisit the whole dipper scenario again.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by piller »

I have never used a dipper. I have several of the Lee dippers. Using them should work fine for me. All that I have read on them is that using a consistent method is necessary. Fill the dipper the same way each and every time.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by AmBraCol »

piller wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:24 am
I have never used a dipper. I have several of the Lee dippers. Using them should work fine for me. All that I have read on them is that using a consistent method is necessary. Fill the dipper the same way each and every time.
That's it right there. Consistency. It's been a while, but my technique was to submerge the dipper into a container of powder (I'd pour it into a glass glass, then pour it back in the can when finished) to the same depth each time. Raise it straight out, dump into the cartridge. Rinse, repeat. (that last is figurative, not literal). Every so often I'd top off the container from the can to keep angles and depths consistent. I think it was George Nonte's book on reloading that taught me about using a 22 LR case with a wire handle soldered to it to throw a load of Bullseye for use in the 38 SPL. I did the same with Especial de Caça powder (roughly the same burn rate as Bullseye) under a Lyman wadcutter, lubed with stingless bee wax. That was a very accurate load in my Rossi 6" stainless sixshooter. Consistency of method is the key with dippers.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Ray »

" I am still getting 5.8, 5.9, 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, but 5.9 and 6.0 mostly. "

This is as good as can be expected from volumectrically measuring that size/shape of flake/granule/kernel.....

Individual kernels vary somewhat in both size, shape and density so, by the laws of science, any two throws that weigh exactly the same is just an accident.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by 44shooter »

I still can't resist putting the charges on the scale and flicking off a few flakes of the higher charges. If it reads 5.8-6.0, I pour it back in the case. It truthfully probably doesn't make much difference. We're talking practice, plinking ammo. I would like some accuracy though
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by Griff »

It's been over a year since I loaded any cartridges on the RCBS Rock Chucker... and that was 3 or 4 boxes of 150gr .30-30 with the Saeco #316 gas-checked bullet. But... in the interim, I've loaded about 3,000 rounds between the 45ACP, Cowboy45Special and 45 Colt. These are all loaded on the Dillon 550. (recently rebuilt & upgraded to the 550C by Dillon). The 45ACP gets either a 200 HP or a 200FP pb. But I seldom load more than a couple hundred of the HP, vastly outnumbered by my use of the 200 pb bullet. I'm using one of the Dillon measures I got with my 2nd 550B purchase around 10 years ago. (I have a total of 3 Dillon powder measures, two with rifle bars and one pistol. One of the rifle bars measures is strictly used for BP pistol cartridges. Either the 45 Colt or 44WCF.) I changed out the standard Dillon adjustment knob for the Uniquetek "micrometer" marked one. I follow the same setup procedure no matter which cartridge I'm loading for, even my BP rounds! I use an RCBS 10-10 scale, and weigh dummy charges until I get repeatability within 1-2 tenths for 5 rounds. I then set a dead primer case under the powder position and throw a charge, dump it in the balance pan, and repeat 9 times. Weigh the total amount and divide by 10. If equal to or +/- .1 of my target weight, I start loading cartridges. I don't mark or write down the setting for any particular load, as I know that I'll then take that shortcut to begin the next reloading session... I have more confidence in my handloads when I follow ALL the steps that have given me success in the past.
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by CowboyTutt »

The serious work just requires a digital powder dispenser, that is a combination of a computer controlled rotational powder trickler linked to a digital scale. They are not as fast as a mechanical drop, although they do have a fast feed mechanism in most of them now, that makes them faster. For the critical work, max loads in high pressure cartridges, as Grizz mentioned, or competitive shooting, you need to have one of these digital powder dispensers in you arsonal. -Tutt
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Re: How do you get consistent throws from powder measure?

Post by doulos1 »

44shooter wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:01 pm
I have a little experience handloading but have always scooped and tricked my powder onto a scale. I’m trying to set up my Hornady measure to throw about 6.0 grains of Unique so I can use it for several cartridges. I can get my adjustment close but no matter what technique I try I get too much variance in charges when I weigh them. I understand my electric scale has some imprecision and I can accept an occasional 5.9 or 6.1. I actually don’t care if I end up with a slightly different average input I want more precision. I sometimes get a 5.7 or 6.3. Seems like a lot for a moderately sized pistol case like 45 cap, 44 special, 40 or 357. Any suggestions?
Unique is one of the tougher ones for sure. I have my results in my Uniflow with a baffle. Definitely more consistent than than without one. If you dont have one in the Hornady I would try it.
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