Powder Measure Accuracy?

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Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Smokey99 on Thu May 24, 2012 2:49 pm

Currently loading action pistol on Dillon 550B - Clays, WSF. Wish to return to Bullseye shooting and would like advice on Powder Measurer - more than likely load Bullseye Powder. Would the regular Dillon measurer throw with enough accuracy - say plus or minus .05 gr? I do have a Dillon 450 powder die and would only need to purchase the Dillon adapter to use a measurer that has 7/8 x 14 threads - but what 7/8 x 14 measurer to get? Back in my younger days, I used a hand held Bonanza BE measurer - perhaps I can some how mount this over a 450 powder die? Thanks!!

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by DavidR on Thu May 24, 2012 3:38 pm

Most dillons come with 2 charge bars, rifle and pistol, or small and large, the small one works fine with most any powder used in bullseye.

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by BE Mike on Fri May 25, 2012 9:16 am

My Dillon powder measures throw + or - .1 grain of Alliant Bullseye. That is plenty accurate enough for accurate loads.

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Snobal on Fri May 25, 2012 6:13 pm

I have no experience with a Dillon powder measure, but....

...Based on my experiments with light target WC and SWC loads, I have found that +/- .2 of a grain of Bullseye gives very little or no change in POI at 25 yards. I can see the difference with my chrono, but not with the group-size....

...but then again, that is shooting from sand bags at only 25 yards where I expect a good load to produce 10-shot groups in the range of about 2", c-t-c.

I'm still using the RCBS powder drop that I got in the early 1970's. I quickly learned to drop 10 charges, weigh the total of the 10 charges, divide by 10 to get an average charge-weight, and don't worry about the minor, drop-to-drop variations which will occur with any powder.

JMHO - YRMV

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by sixftunda on Sat May 26, 2012 7:18 am

Snobal wrote:... I quickly learned to drop 10 charges, weigh the total of the 10 charges, divide by 10 to get an average charge-weight, and don't worry about the minor, drop-to-drop variations which will occur with any powder.

JMHO - YRMV


Doing this right here has been the one thing that has really improved my handloads.

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Bryan Coyle on Sat May 26, 2012 2:44 pm

I don't consider that adequate insurance of accuracy. Five drops that are 0.5 under and 5 drops at 0.5 over will yield a perfect "average" yet are not what you want to be shooting.
I use the mean of a number of consecutive drops to get the measure roughly settled in but, before loading any rounds, I like to see 5 cases in a row within a tolerance. On a pistol round the tolerance is most often +/- 0.1 ... on rifle rounds using Lincoln Log powders like 4064, I'll usually settle for +/- 0.4.

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Jack H on Sat May 26, 2012 10:27 pm

I trust my scales and reloading technique that I only check weigh 3-4 individual drops. I use the M5 scale. I have two M5 scales and they always agree. I start with a leveling and a zero check. Then a 5 gr standard check. Then the 3-4 drops check. If they all read good with my technique learned over 50 years of loading, it's good enough for me. And I always recheck at least 1-2 drops if my routine changes or sits idle for a while. Oh, and this is using a 550 press and measure. Recently obtained a L-n-L AP. We'll see well how it works.....

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Smokey99 on Sun May 27, 2012 1:33 pm

UPDATE!! Using a beam scale to weigh individual throws, I got:

550B - WSF powder: 3.90, 3.85, 3.87, 3.85, 3.90

Bonanza BE measurer - WSF powder: 4.85, 4.83, 4.83, 4.82, 4.82

550B - BE powder: 3.23, 3.25, 3.20, 3.20, 3.22

Bonanza BE measurer - BE powder: 4.00, 4.00, 4.08, 4.02, 4.03

In conclusion (at least with these two powders) it appears the Dillon 550B is fully capable of accurate throws comensurate with my hand held Bonanza BE measurer that I always depended on!

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Scott Carroll on Tue May 29, 2012 11:00 am

My experience with the Dillon 550B has been really great. The measure on that machine is capable of excellent repeatability, if the press operator is also very consistent ins his/her process. Any measure can be somewhat erratic if the operator varies their firmness and/or speed in operating the mechanism. Same, consistent handle operation results in same powder charges.
I had always used a Redding Bench Rest measure for my match rifle ammunition, so I was concerned when I started using the Dillon 550B. I quickly learned that it was more than capable.

Scott

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Jack H on Tue May 29, 2012 11:34 am

Accurate powder delivery is one thing. Powder characteristics another. At least with 231 powder, I found in 38 spcl that it is position sensitive in the case. Powder forward against the bullet, Powder back against the primer, or just sustained with a resulting powder position, each gave me a different chronographed* velocity range. So if you tip the gun up for the first shot, or leave it tipped down, might make a difference. I say might.

*I have the data filed somewhere.

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Smokey99 on Tue May 29, 2012 11:54 am

Jack H wrote:Accurate powder delivery is one thing. Powder characteristics another. At least with 231 powder, I found in 38 spcl that it is position sensitive in the case. Powder forward against the bullet, Powder back against the primer, or just sustained with a resulting powder position, each gave me a different chronographed* velocity range. So if you tip the gun up for the first shot, or leave it tipped down, might make a difference. I say might.

*I have the data filed somewhere.

Very True! Tite Group exhibits that velocity variation (action pistol shooting, so 3" at 20 yds is "good enough" - LOL!) as even 3.9 gr in my 9mm demonstrates. Now that I'm back to Bullseye for .38 spl, I should probably test for vel change but especially as it effects accuracy.

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by Andrew2 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:48 am

I think a digital one is best because you can easily get accuracy up to 0.05. And there is low chance of error in that scale because you can easily set these scales to zero that help you in getting accurate measurement


Last edited by Andrew2 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:48 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by james r chapman on Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:54 am

and I believe an old beam is better. always more sensitive than a non laboratory digital. .1 is fine .

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:47 pm

I've weighed thrown charges from a buncha measures, and here's what I have found with the Dillon slide powder measure:

If the machine skips a shell (like you forgot to put one in), the next one after cycling the handle WILL BE .2 grain or sometimes more heavy. That is with pistol powders using the short charge bar.  With rifle charges, it can be up to a whole .5 grain heavy after a deadhead handle cycle under the powder measure.

So I always throw a charge by cycling the handle before charging one for a bullet.

I also see no need to get too obsessive about charge weight variations unless the powder, in that some (like 4064 in .308 size charges) is pretty tolerant of weight variations.  Percentage of charge variation is also very important. The 5% drift of being .1 grain off of a 2.0 grain charge is a lot more important than being .6 grain off on a 40-grain charge...IF the powders behave proportionately with those bullets and barrel lengths.

Still, there's nothing like how the load performs on target at the distance(s) you want. No substitute for testing the stuff. As I recall, reliable NRA testing of 5, 5-round groups at 25 yards with handguns often shows that the load with the tightest velocity spread and/or standard deviation is NOT the most accurate load.

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:55 pm

Oh, another thing--I've read stuff from people who report greater charge weight consistency by introducing "jitter" or vibrations into the system. One posted a picture of a vibrator (um, yeah, THAT kind) duct-taped to the Dillon's powder hopper and claimed it helped a lot.

I had some limited success with rifle charges from a consistent three raps on the measure body when the bar was in pickup position. But the old Lyman Ideal powder measure with its door-knocker was a bust. Whether I did two up and drops at pickup position or powder drop position or both, it was actually more consistent when I left the knocker alone.

I believe that the reports of good results with the Star Reloader's slide powder measure and small charges of really puffy, flaky, hard-to-meter powders is that it drops every throw of the handle, AND it introduces very consistent jitter on every powder drop because of a series of little cuts on the actuator bar, top and bottom. That little 12345 click at the top and bottom of each stroke of the handle is part of the charm of those old machines.

Edit to correct--the Star measure is 4 clicks at the top of the stroke (up and then down), and only 2 at the bottom. Misremembering sux.


Last edited by GrumpyOldMan on Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by DavidR on Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:27 am

One of our bullseye guys now makes a powder measure weight system to put downward pressure on the powder says it makes more consistent charges, I bought it but then realized that most all powder hoppers have a baffle that keeps the powder weight off the powder under the baffle, horndy,rcbs,and others the baffle drops in, Dillon is built in, any thoughts on if its better to use a weight with or without the baffle?

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Re: Powder Measure Accuracy?

Post by james r chapman on Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:06 pm

David, I've seen the weight in shot shell loading. Supposedly works well.

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