Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

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Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by mikemyers on Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:48 pm

Since the early 1980's, at the end of any reloading session everything gets put away, powder gets put back in the original container, and everything is left ready for "next time".  

For those of you developing loads, or making sure your gun works well with the bullets you're making, is this what you do, or do you leave the powder in the powder hopper so you can quickly go back and continue what you were doing or make changes?


This is with the reloading gear set up in a comfortable and non-humid room, maybe air conditioned.  If you were doing this over the course of two or three days, would you leave things set up, or pack up each day?


(Last time I was trying to learn how to make bullets for my M-52, I bought a box of #515 bullets from Terry at Magnus.  It took a lot of time before the bullets looked good, no metal being shaved off, and they looked like they were seated no higher than the end of the case.  Terry's suggested load was 2.8 grains of Bullseye powder.  I loaded 20 rounds last year, went to the range, and they seemed to work.  This was September, 2017, and I am just now getting back to where I left off.  Everything was left set up, but the powder had been put back in the bottle at the end of that reloading session (which is what I'm used to doing).  I have absolutely zero experience at developing a load, so I plan to use the load that Terry suggested, and people here confirmed was good.  I am once again going to load 25 rounds to test, and if all goes well, over the next couple of days load maybe 100 or 200 rounds.)

(To add, I am maybe the world's slowest reloader.  I've got an RCBS Pro2000, but I spend forever trying to do everything perfectly.  This means lots of checking the powder weight, and peeking into every single round to satisfy myself that it looks good.  I used to use an RCBS Big Max reloader, but the Pro2000 seemed safe and efficient to me.  I didn't buy one of the newer models, because I'm not comfortable seeing a metal tube in front of me filled with primers.)
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Wobbley on Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:15 pm

If it is in your house or garage, you can leave powder in the hopper and/or in cases waiting opfor bullet seating for up to a week.  Just keep them covered.  A piece of paper over charged cases is all that’s needed.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by AllAces on Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:25 pm

I reload during the off season, Dec and Jan. Afterwards, everything gets stored for the next season, especially the powder. I make a list of things to stock up on at Camp Perry, powder and primers mostly, and rimfire ammo. I order bullets at this time.  As for the reloading process, it does help to be somewhat anal check things. Accuracy and consistency and checking for under or over powder charge is IMO, more important than speed.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Ed Hall on Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:47 pm

If you leave powder in a plastic hopper. it will react with the hopper.  The plastic deforms.  I contend that this must change the powder in some way, as well.  I have at least one picture on my site of my old Dillon powder hopper in which I did leave powder.  The new one shows no deformation.  But, I am also more anal than others.  When new powder leaves my original container, it never returns to it.  Any powder that has been in the hopper is emptied into a second container after the reloading session and subsequently only used for training rounds.

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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by USSR on Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:20 am

Mike,

Too bad you live so far away from me.   I teach the NRA's Basic Metallic Cartridge Reloading Course, and you would benefit greatly by it.   First, only have one powder cannister on your reloading table, and that being the powder that is in your powder measure's hopper.   When you are done reloading for the day, return the powder into it's original container.   Get into good habits and stick to them is the best advice I can give.

Don
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by BE Mike on Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:12 am

I've been reloading for a few decades. I leave the powder in the Dillon hopper between loading sessions. I haven't noticed much discoloration in the plastic. I put a wide piece of masking tape on the hopper with the brand of powder and how much it is set to drop. I don't use the first  drop to charge a case, as I found that the first charge will be over my desired setting, due probably to settling of the powder. I reload in the basement and have a dehumidifier, but during the cold months, here in Indiana, the air stays dry and the dehumidifier stays off. Having said all of this, the best way would probably be to empty the hopper and return the powder to the container. As an old man, I find that my reloading sessions are shorter, but more frequent, so many times I reload on successive days.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Bigtrout on Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:14 am

Very fussy reloading is an attribute.  Pouring the hopper powder back into the original container and tightly closing the lid is an extremely small % of the process (two minutes?).   When changing to a different powder I disassemble the measure and do a complete wipe-down of all surfaces the powder touches with a clean cotton cloth.  Time consuming but ensuring no cross contamination.  +1 for the container you're using as the only one on the bench.   FWIW.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Bullseye_Stan on Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:31 am

As a comment: when trained to work with chemicals, no chemical is ever poured back into the storage bottle.  Doing that contaminates (or potentially contaminates) the base chemical.  I am not saying: "thou shalt not pour powder back into it's jug", but there is a risk of contaminating the powder when doing that.  Having a separate container, such as Ed Hall describes, removes that potential for contamination.  I'm not sure it makes any difference in reloading.

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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by USSR on Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:56 am

Bullseye_Stan wrote:Having a separate container, such as Ed Hall describes, removes that potential for contamination.  I'm not sure it makes any difference in reloading.

It doesn't, and the NRA teaches to return it to it's original container.

Don
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Gary Wells on Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:59 am

I have 5 handguns, all .45 auto & I also load for a close friend who also has 2 .45 autos, 7 in all. My cases are all the same,R-P nickel ,non + P, all coming up on their 6th firing. I got tired of looking at the discolored plastic powder hopper extension and removed it. I load only about a box at a time & thoroughly clean any lube off of the loaded rounds and inspect OAL, crimp, & gauge. I use only 1 powder (BE) & generally only the same bullet. Powder stays in the metal portion of the hopper. Dillon 550B, about 25 YO, & the primer & powder warning removed.

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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by SSgtG on Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:20 am

Seeing the huge difference in the way people do things seems like it is really up to whatever you are comfortable with. Me, I reload .45s all winter, which is still hanging on here in Iowa this year, I leave Clays in the hopper from November until just last week. Reloaded roughly 8k and I'm confident they are all Xs waiting to happen. I've adapted a Lee Autodisk powder measurer to my Hornady LnL AP. No discoloration and no issues. However, as an NRA reloading instructor this is not recommended as standard practice. And one I do not follow during other reloading sessions of other calibers and lesser quantities. One powder on the bench at a time is always best.

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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by dronning on Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:24 am

My 1050 has a "continuous" hopper going.  I haven't emptied it in over a year I just keep adding WST powder as it gets below 1/2 full.  It takes 1-2 weeks to go through a hopper.  I do powder weight checks (and round measurements) every time I drop in a new tube of primers to make sure things are OK.  My loading room is on it's own climate control, if it wasn't I'd be more concerned.

There hasn't been any discoloration of the hopper, maybe some powders have more interaction with the plastic than others, or maybe newer hoppers are using different plastics.
- Dave

One of my "controls" is that I label the hopper using 2" wide blue painters tape what ever I'm loading, WST in big letters.  Powder container goes back on the shelf after topping off the hopper.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Aprilian on Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:57 am

dronning wrote:One of my "controls" is that I label the hopper using 2" wide blue painters tape what ever I'm loading, WST in big letters.  Powder container goes back on the shelf after topping off the hopper.
 I do the same but also add the throw weight (I'm using different amounts for different bullets).

N310 doesn't seem to degrade the RCBS green plastic when it sits in it for a few weeks at a time.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by mikemyers on Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:06 pm

Thanks for all the advice.  A bit more information....

I only have one bottle of powder out at a time, and for now, I'm only using Bullseye for everything.  Until today, when I finished reloading, the powder went back in the bottle and that went into my safe.  Today I only loaded 25 rounds, for testing, and will continue tomorrow if they work well in my model-52.  As USSR said, get into good habits, and stick with them.

After all of today's hassles, I have a few more questions, but I'll put them in a different thread.

For the future, maybe it's not necessary, but unless I'm going to continue loading the next day, I'll put everything back where I keep/store it/them.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Chris Miceli on Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:16 pm

Constantly moving power from press back into cannister ? Might as well mix all your bullseye power together
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by mikemyers on Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:49 pm

Chris, I don't understand.  I am only using Bullseye, and if goes back and forth every day, what would be the problem?  I only have one bottle of it; when that gets low, I'll buy more.  

I live in Florida, and even though my apartment is air conditioned, it just seems wrong to me to leave the powder sitting there in the plastic tube, with only the loose cap sitting on top of it.  

There may be no perfect answer, but other than convenience, what is the problem of returning it to the original container?  What am I missing?
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by cdrt on Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:48 pm

Nothing wrong with returning it to the original container, especially in a humid climate.  I never leave it in the powder reservoir in my Star presses since it tends to discolor the plastic and I use either Bullseye, WST or IMR Target, so it makes sense to empty it each time.

I would not recommend storing it in a safe, which I think you mentioned earlier.  Most recommend storing in a wood container, e.g. cabinet or storage box.  I have an old Navy wood aviation parts chest that I store it in.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by mikemyers on Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:15 pm

Hmmm.....    never thought of that.  Anything wrong with storing it on a shelf?   I have two bottles, Unique and Bullseye.  Until now I keep my ammo and these two bottles in my gun safe.  I guess I could clear out a shelf and some drawer space in my closet/workshop.  That would be easiest I guess.

Where do you guys store things like this?
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:44 am

Ed Hall wrote:If you leave powder in a plastic hopper. it will react with the hopper.  The plastic deforms.  I contend that this must change the powder in some way, as well.  I have at least one picture on my site of my old Dillon powder hopper in which I did leave powder.  The new one shows no deformation.  But, I am also more anal than others.  When new powder leaves my original container, it never returns to it.  Any powder that has been in the hopper is emptied into a second container after the reloading session and subsequently only used for training rounds.

I do the same.  I keep a smaller 1 1b container to dump any excess powder in to avoid contamination.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by james r chapman on Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:30 am

JayhawkNavy02 wrote:
Ed Hall wrote:If you leave powder in a plastic hopper. it will react with the hopper.  The plastic deforms.  I contend that this must change the powder in some way, as well.  I have at least one picture on my site of my old Dillon powder hopper in which I did leave powder.  The new one shows no deformation.  But, I am also more anal than others.  When new powder leaves my original container, it never returns to it.  Any powder that has been in the hopper is emptied into a second container after the reloading session and subsequently only used for training rounds.

I do the same.  I keep a smaller 1 1b container to dump any excess powder in to avoid contamination.
+1
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by gregbenner on Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:06 pm

Not sure I understand the concern?  I always leave powder in my various Dillon hoppers (I load several different calibers), and they ARE slightly discolored.  Never had any deformation.  Other than the discoloration, what is the real concern?  I reload in Southern California, humidity is around 50%.  If the powder has been sitting for long I will sometimes pour in out and back in just to eliminate possible clumping. 

I tend to reload some probably very other day, either on the Dillon or the Star.

I completely understand OCD, but not understanding why some discoloration is going to affect the loaded cartridge?

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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Bigtrout on Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:37 pm

Our summertime humidity can run very high here on the Left Coast of New England.  I also keep an open pan of water on the wood stove during the winter so I feel compelled to keep the powder in a tight container such as the 1 lb. plastic jug it came in.  The cover for the RCBS Uniflow is very loose.  Not sure my efforts are rewarded but I feel much better.
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Gary Wells on Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:16 pm

There is a website where a person is designing, building a package with the tube in Pyrex. I will see if I can chase it down.

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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by jglenn21 on Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:18 am

Dramworx.com
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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

Post by Gary Wells on Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:24 am

Many thanks, Sir, for posting the addy up.

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Re: Powder in the Powder Hopper and other thoughts

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