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Any tips on cheap and cheerful powder measure use?

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Old 09-07-2006, 09:07 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Blighty
Posts: 638
Any tips on cheap and cheerful powder measure use?

I must start by admitting that I find reloading an absolute chore...and virtually weep tears of boredom whilst doing it.
My 'powder dipper and weigh every charge' technique is effective, but numbingly slow. I don't shoot enough to justify an automatic measure to myself.

In the hopes of speeding myself up, I've just ordered a Lee Perfect Powder Measure. Other than "you've bought the wrong one" [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] I'd be grateful for any tips on maximising its consistency.....my aim here is to increase my production rate whilst still producing accurate 500yd ammo.

-any machine operation 'technique tips'(to maximise consistency)?


- any employment tips (ie deliberately throw light charges and trickle up on a balance scale, aim for exact weight and just check every 5th throw, or anything else)?

many thanks!
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:29 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,856
Re: Any tips on cheap and cheerful powder measure use?

Well asside from buying a better unit like Harrells here is what I used to do with my old RCBS thrower which filled the powder weight measure on the down stroke.
throw several loads to get the weight you want then fine tune , but when you come to the stroke that fills the chamber tap the handle a few times this will allow the powder to settle a little bit and make for a more consistan
load each time. I use to tap the handle three time ever time the lever came to the bottom then wioth one fluid motion drop the charge , even if you feel the powder hanging up or being cut keep the motion if you stop 99% of the time it will cause an off weight. typicaly your weight soulden't vary to much , less than a half a grain and that is gonna be about as good as you can get with a cheaper thrower.
OR , you can set it up to throw a charge a couple grains less than you want then use a trickler to add the rest to make a perfect charge.

I personaly use a Harrells and love it , charging cases that have been set to a certain weight and charging those that have been weighed each time have shown no differance in accuracy , but again its a $250 powder measure. I gave the electronic throwers some though but they are far slower than the Harrells and from what I've seen their no more accurate.
Using a baffel in the powder hopper will somtimes help with the powder no packing so bad in the charging chamber
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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Old 09-07-2006, 03:37 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Blighty
Posts: 638
Re: Any tips on cheap and cheerful powder measure use?


Thanks! I'll bear those tips in mind.

To date, I've always expended mind numbing time/effort getting every charge to (as best as I am able to judge on my scale) 1/10 of a grain. I imagine with a low grade measure I'll have to 'throw and trickle'to have full confidence in my loads.

Off the top of your head, any idea what effect (in MV or vertical dispersion at the target) a +/- 0.5 grain variance has?
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Old 09-07-2006, 05:01 PM
Bug Bug is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Deep East Texas
Posts: 34
Re: Any tips on cheap and cheerful powder measure use?

Brown Dog,
Not to be obvious, but just shoot factory!

I too found charge measuring a pain, but was anal enough to weigh each charge for rifle loads, and even some handgun loads. I think some of the best money I've ever spent to be on the Pact powder scale & dispenser. It definitely removes a good chunk of the drudgery. I can't recommend it enough. I think someone (Midway?) recently had them on sale for a bit over $200 for the set. I don't know of anybody that hasn't liked theirs -after the fact. Some did grumble about the initial cost, though. HTH,,,,,,,,,Bug.
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:56 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 878
Re: Any tips on cheap and cheerful powder measure use?

Techique... don't tap it like you hear. This measure don't need it. Other than that, just crank the handle at the same speed each time, make sure that the powder adjustment area is not allowed to set open to the powder hopper area while you do other stuff, and it will be fine.
Ive got a harrels 90 special... is that whats its called? special 90? whatever... with ball powders the harrels is head and shoulders above any other. The lee is more consistant with stick powders. Especially long ones. I just wish that the lee had a "click" adjustment like the harrels, though, then it wouldn't cost $20 either.
You bought the right one.
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:36 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Blighty
Posts: 638
Re: Any tips on cheap and cheerful powder measure use?



Took delivery of the measure earlier today; conditioned it as specified in the instructions..........it now seems to be consistently throwing within about 1/10 grain [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] I'm stunned and pleased. .....I hope I can maintain that level of consistency!

PS...tapping; I found that following the 'dump' stroke a few taps would always displace a few additional grains. So I reckon my particular measure needs tapping.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 09-08-2006, 11:34 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,082
Re: Any tips on cheap and cheerful powder measure use?

I too use the Lee Perfect Measure. I weigh every load and I don't think that that takes any real time.
I drop the load into the weigh pan and place on scale, place funnel on case, the scale has settled by then, if within 1/10 grain then I pour it into the funnel.

I would say that 8 out of ten are within the tolerance, if not I trickle in or scoop out a couple of granules.

As long as I keep the powder at about the same level in the Lee it will stay pretty consistent, IMO.

Would I like a $300 electronic combo....sure, but I would probably put it toward a new rifle barrel or scope first.

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