Difficulty measuring fine ball powder

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  • Last Post 20 August 2017
John Alexander posted this 06 July 2017

Tried to measure some Winchester 748 today for first time. I use a Lee powder measure most of the time because it is easier to change powders,  measures at least as well as the others, works better than my other measures for coarse powder, and is OK for most others.  But with this fine ball powder it was very hard to operate.  I assumed that adjusting the conical rotor might improve operation but was in a hurry to get to the range so grabbed my Redding BR measure.  The Redding was much worse and bound up bad enough that it was impractical to use.  Went back to the Lee and got the job done but very hard to operate the rotor. Charges I checked (a dozen) didn't very by .1 grain.  Haven't tried in in my elderly Lyman 55 yet.

Suggestions and recommendations welcome.

John

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 06 July 2017

John,

I have been using ball powders for years for handgun loads. I have always used a RCBS Uniflow and the Dillon measure on a XL-550 with no problems. It has been a long time since I used 748 specifically, but I don't remember having any issues with it. Many pounds of WW296 & H110 have never been an issue. 

I've read on other forums about a little leaking with fine ball powders, but I have never experienced this either, just lucky maybe. 

I do have a Lyman 55 I can test, just don't remember any specific uses with fine ball powders in it. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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jimkim posted this 06 July 2017

I've never had trouble getting W748 to meter in anything. I do run a pound, or more of powder through all of my measures, before I use them. Powdered graphite is good too, from what I've seen. I'd take them apart, clean them, then run some graphite through, to lube and smooth things out.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 06 July 2017

John,

Did a little bit of internet searching and found some comments about fine ball powders not metering through the Lee measure. Sounds as if it may be a common problem with them. However I did not see any solutions to the problem. 

 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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John Alexander posted this 06 July 2017

Thanks for all the good replies and suggestions.  I was puzzled because I had previously run a lot of Bl-C, and other fine ball powder through  both measures without problems but none recently. It sounds like I am overdue for some cleaning and adjusting that I was getting away without while using flake and stick powders for some time.  As I mentioned, the difficulty didn't affect consistency which was near perfect. Darn, I was hoping this would provide the excuse for one of those fancy powder measures. 

Thanks to all.

John

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frnkeore posted this 06 July 2017

Lee leaking, with fine grained ball powders, isn't fake news. I bought one new about 10 years ago, I never adjusted it and it leaked when used and when just setting.

For charges under 25 gr of most powders, I've used my Redding powder measure, with the 5/16" diameter pistol insert. It sometimes gets a little stiff but, working it a few times, with the powder in it, clears it up. I gave my wife one to use, when she started shooting, 6 years ago and she has near complained about anything. I believe the Redding's with the pistol insert, to be the best, all round measure out there, for the above mentioned charge range. The only one that beats it, for accuracy, with any powder, is the B&M. The Redding will beat the highly totted Harrel, with any of the stick powders, also.

You get dead accurate, return settings with the micrometer adjustment, too. There are many better measures out there and for most of your charges, you need to use a pistol size measure insert (less area to shear). The older measure are the best, in my opinion, like the SAECO, Hollywood, Lachmiller, Bonanza, Pacific, Hornady, RCBS (even the Lil dandy), Ohas and even some of the Herters. Those never wear out but, left w/o care, can rust.

I collect powders measures (and test them) and my most accurate one for larger charges (35 gr up) is Lachmiller, it loads vertical and dumps vertical but, doesn't have a micrometer.

I would highly suggest that what ever you get, have a miccrometer setting. I keep a book and have at least 20 powders listed in it and for those powders, I have mic settings for the range that I use. I've always loaded at the range and with it, I can go to any powder and charge I need.

One other thing, if your measure has a knocker, do not use it! Just learn to throw consistantly, the knockers won't make your charges better.

Ebay is your friend for powder measures.

 

Frank

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OU812 posted this 06 July 2017

John, It sounds like powder is getting trapped in rotating assembly causing it to bind. I would disassemble, clean it out and try again. Try coating assemble with graphite or moly

I do not have that problem with the  RCBS Uniflow (part# 9002) measurer with smaller pistol insert The smaller 1/2" diameter  well is perfect for smaller powder charges up to 50 grains. The larger version is what most people use and it has a larger 11/16 diameter well.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/917289/rcbs-uniflow-powder-measure-cylinder-assembly-small

I have been experimenting with LBT grease cookie and 748 powder. Barrel is clean as a whistle, no powder fouling afterwards, but I believe it is too clean to achieve best accuracy. Maybe just one fouling shot using grease cookie would work and prevent powder fouling sticking to barrel for remainder 9 shots.

Holder tite,

Keith

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Westhoff posted this 06 July 2017

I use an old (VERY OLD) Herter's powder measure, which I bought new, mail order, somewhere between 1962 and 1969.  I scale check every rifle round (I used to shoot a lot of Bullseye competition, and for that I used a couple of Star Loaders - and seldom if ever - checked powder after making sure I had the right insert installed).  But to get back to my Herter Model 40 powder measure, I don't really have any complaints, even after an awful lot of years and many thousands of rounds of rifle ammo, from .22 Hornet up to .375 H&H.  One thing I have noticed, and this is true for both types of powder, stick as well as ball;  if I'm loading more than 25 or 30 rounds (say 50 to 100) I'll start with an almost full reservoir of powder and a properly adjusted setting for the load I want. After around 40 - 50 rounds my charges will start throwing just a little light and I'll have to start using the trickler.  When that happens, I make a tiny adjustment with the powder measure settings and continue throwing charges.

I think perhaps my satisfaction with my old Herter powder measure is good in part because after all these years I have learned how to use it.  Maybe it taught me, rather than the other way around!

Wes

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GP Idaho posted this 07 July 2017

John: I own several Lee powder measures. My Perfect Powder Measure has made it in and out of the trashcan more than once. I tried the new Auto Drums and liked the first one so much that I bought two more and extra rotor inserts so I'd have dedicated set-ups on my Lee Classic Turret (great little press) Unlike the first Auto Drum the next two leak fine powder like a sieve. I've had all the measures apart and can see nothing that stands out different about them. I've removed the insert drum from the non-leaking measure and put it in one of the leakers and it still leaked powder. This leads me to believe the problem is with the drum housing and not the insert (Lee's use of C.P.S. instead of metal) My solution to all of this is to just find a powder that both I and the Auto Drum like and go with that. If I don't use fine ball powder like True Blue and go with VV 3N37 the problem is solved and the drums measure spot-on. For the fine grain powders I just use one of my RCBS Uniflow measures. Gp

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 07 July 2017

... i can't help but notice that there are several handloaders that are not using a belding & mull visible powder measure ... i use mostly ballc and h380 ball in my louder loads and i will have to be alert to see if those powders are going to cause any problems in the next 100 thousand loads ...

 they didn't seem to hang up in the first 100 thousand drops from my B&M ...

ken

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JSH posted this 07 July 2017

The first measure I bought was a Hornady/ Pacific,not came with small and large bushings. I thought it was a good one until 4831,4350,4198 and H1000 started seeing use at the bench. They all worked well enough that I stayed with them. I did drop lite, then trickle to the load. I shot more and more of the H1000 and it became a pita to say the least. I started chasing measures. I tried them all for the most part. All I have left ar the Hornady/Pacific, Redding BR3, a modified RCBS, and two B&M's. I do have a couple of the Lee measures for progressives. After a lot of looking and tinkering I got them to spill very little "fairy dust". One I did not see mentioned was the Forster. It is built like the Lee only of machined cast. I myself would be interested in reports from folks that have used them.

As the old saying goes "fast-good-cheap" pick two. In my book, the BM is it. Good and cheap, but excellent craftsmanship. Jeff

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frnkeore posted this 07 July 2017

I did mention the Bonanza (now owned by Forester). They are excellent measure but there only draw back is the venier scale. veniers aren't totally repeatable and you must weigth before loading.

I load at the range, useing repeatable micrometer setting on my Redding or I would have switched over to it.

Bonanza's are a very unique design and there isn't anything like them. The Lee's design is more like the SAECO measures. As you can see in the pictures, it shears better than all of them and the gap is adjustable.

Here are pictures of it. The standard one looks just like but, I removed the verier scale from mine , to install the micrometer head but, it isn't quite finished yet though.

Frank

 

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frnkeore posted this 07 July 2017

This is a nice Pacific measure, not often seen.

Frank 

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JSH posted this 07 July 2017

Is the micrometer head made for that or is this a head from somthing else?

It does well with the big stick powders I take it. Thanks Jeff

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frnkeore posted this 08 July 2017

The micrometer head, is a standard Starrett 1" micrometer head. You can buy them new or find one on Ebay. I adapted it to the Bonanza, by reaming the ID of the handle to .500.

Yes, it works well with long stick powders, probably second to the B&M. B&M is the most accurate but, slow to use.

Frank

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BigMan54 posted this 08 July 2017

Lyman 55.

It meters small ball powders cleaner than anything else I've tried. Hornady old & new LNL, RCBS UNIFLOW & the old DUO-MEASURE,  The old Hornady  used to lock-up with WIN 296 & 760. When I bought the dillon 450 when they 1st came out , dillon warned me not to use WIN 296 in their measure. Both my HORNADY L-N-L powder measure & RCBS Uni-Flow "leak" a fine dust on the shell plates of my progressive loaders when using TiteGroup.

Lyman 55, the only powder measure I've used that doesn't "leak" fine ball powder. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 08 July 2017

When using fine ball powders I have always gotten a "little leakage" with all measures. It does not amount to much, but it does happen. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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OU812 posted this 08 July 2017

I have never encountered any leakage with Redding or RCBS powder measures. Few years back 748 was my go to powder when shooting the 55 gr. Nosler ballistic tip (moly coated) in the 223 Remington.

Maybe John has a different lot of 748 powder that is finer grain?

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Ross Smith posted this 08 July 2017

John: I like my Belding and Mull so much I bought a second one. One for black powder and one for smokeless. Just a quirk about about mixing the two. 

They seem to measure anything equally well.  I know that doesn't help fix your Lee. Get 'em on evil bay for less than 100. Most sellers think they're worth more but be patient.  Ross

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Sawfish posted this 10 July 2017

I have used a Dillon Case Actuated measure on a Hornady Progressive and a single throw Pacific measure on the bench.  No problems with fine grained powders.  I have used many pounds of Accurate #9, Hornady H-110, and most recently Ram Shot True Blue without leakage.  I had an early Lee Turret measure and it could not handle these ultra fine grain powders. 

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." Rudyard Kipling

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John Alexander posted this 10 July 2017

It seems that powder measurering is a popular topic for discussion.  Very interesting.  But back to my powder measure woes with W748 that I have never encountered with other ball powders.

 Taking your advice about maintaining PMs properly, I carefully read the instructions for the Lee measure. (Remember this measure handled 748 satisfactorily and dropped uniform charges but was extremely hard to operate -- several pounds of force on the handle.

 I emptied the Lee and without any adjustment to the tension measured the force needed to operate the empty PM with my trigger scale.  I was surprised, several tries all read between 16 and 17 oz. just as Lee Precision and Gary recommended.

 I then took it apart and cleaned the rotor and seat with rubbing alcohol.  Under 20X there was obvious damage both upstream and downstream at the edges of the measuring chamber probably caused by cutting grains of powder, but the elastomeric wiper seemed in good shape

 I then reassembled the measure and adjusted the tension to 16 ounces of force needed to work the empty measure.   First I ran a hopper full of flake powder to provide graphite lubrication as recommended by Lee and tried it with 748 again. The measure worked beautifully throwing uniform charges with about one pound of force needed to operate -- for 20 or 30 charges.  Then the resistance to rotating the chamber started to increase and within a couple hundred drops it was back to 4 pounds plus of force needed to operate. It was still possible to throw uniform charges but nasty to operate. It also leaked a small amount of powder.

 Then I disassembled the Redding which is the one with the small diameter “pistol” metering chamber and cleaned with alcohol. Everything seemed to be in good shape so I reassembled.  It then dropped uniform changes of 748 with the greatest of ease – for about a dozen charges and then “locked up” as before.  It seemed to be stuck tight.

 The next step is to try this powder from hell in the Lyman 55 and then unpack the B&M.

 John

 

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