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Dillon PM Drift - problem solved!

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Post by RoyDean Sun Oct 09, 2022 4:17 pm

OK, everyone now has my permission to call me a dumb-ass, or whatever!

Some time ago a High Master Reloader I know advised me to stop using my trusty 50 year old Lyman Beam Balance and switch to a good electronic scale - good advice! I bought a Gem Pro 250 and it is excellent.

Recently I have been struggling to solve a "drift" problem with my Dillon 650 Powder Measures. I've tried all of the recommended tricks, checked and tripled checked, polished this and that, swapped out the Arredondo Micrometer bar with a HMR supplied bar with a set screw to "lock in" the setting. All to no avail. I kept seeing 0.05 to 0.1 grain "drift" during the course of a session of about 400 rounds.

Today it dawned on me. It is not the PM drifting, it is the scale!

I had got into the habit of taking one shell and setting the scale to zero with that empty brass. Each time I want to check the drop I would put that "zeroed" piece of brass into station 2, pull the lever, take it from station 3 and measure the weight. Today I did that as usual, but something triggered me to check the zero again each time before I put my "zero" brass back in - the scale had "drifted" by 0.05 grains in just a few minutes. I zeroed the brass again, dropped, weighed, spot on. I repeated that about eight times through the course of loading about 400 rounds, every time the drop was spot on!

Aaaarrrggghhhh!!!!

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Post by BE Mike Mon Oct 10, 2022 9:38 am

RoyDean wrote:OK, everyone now has my permission to call me a dumb-ass, or whatever!

Some time ago a High Master Reloader I know advised me to stop using my trusty 50 year old Lyman Beam Balance and switch to a good electronic scale - good advice! I bought a Gem Pro 250 and it is excellent.

Recently I have been struggling to solve a "drift" problem with my Dillon 650 Powder Measures. I've tried all of the recommended tricks, checked and tripled checked, polished this and that, swapped out the Arredondo Micrometer bar with a HMR supplied bar with a set screw to "lock in" the setting. All to no avail. I kept seeing 0.05 to 0.1 grain "drift" during the course of a session of about 400 rounds.

Today it dawned on me. It is not the PM drifting, it is the scale!

I had got into the habit of taking one shell and setting the scale to zero with that empty brass. Each time I want to check the drop I would put that "zeroed" piece of brass into station 2, pull the lever, take it from station 3 and measure the weight. Today I did that as usual, but something triggered me to check the zero again each time before I put my "zero" brass back in - the scale had "drifted" by 0.05 grains in just a few minutes. I zeroed the brass again, dropped, weighed, spot on. I repeated that about eight times through the course of loading about 400 rounds, every time the drop was spot on!

Aaaarrrggghhhh!!!!
Could you please clear up something for me? Are you weighing the primed cartridge case and the powder charge, all at once?
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Post by RoyDean Mon Oct 10, 2022 10:43 am

Yes correct.


Last edited by RoyDean on Mon Oct 10, 2022 10:51 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by RoyDean Mon Oct 10, 2022 10:50 am

Yes correct. I take the (empty) primed cartridge case out from station 2, put it on the scale and zero it. Then return the case to station 2, drop the charge of powder and the press rotates the case to station 3. Take the case and weigh again, giving me the exact weight of powder actually dropped.

It happens that I size/decap and prime my brass off the press and so when a case is fed to station 2 it only gets mouth expansion and powder drop.

The mistake I was making was to keep one piece of pre-weighed brass and repeatedly putting that piece into station 2 to receive powder. I did not realise that the electronic scale has a tendency to "drift" over a period of time, hence the "zero" was not consistent. I now realise that I should take a fresh piece of brass from station 2, use that piece to zero the scale, return and drop powder, then weigh - follow that process each time and the "drift" is eliminated.

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Post by CR10X Mon Oct 10, 2022 10:57 am

Actually what you didn't realize is that a beam scale is perfectly ok. Weigh the pan and zero it. Drop 10 charges and weigh to get average powder drop. Check every 50, 100 or 500 rounds as you gain experience and confidence. Then use the extra time to dryfire. This is pistol, not benchrest. The biggest problem is behind the gun, not the powder weight variance.

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Post by RoyDean Mon Oct 10, 2022 11:05 am

Cecil, no doubt you are right. Especially for 45. My adoption of an electronic scale was driven by the very small powder charges in 32ACP, where 0.1 grains variation is a significant change. For long line match ammo weighing every single charge is a very tedious process (one of the reasons that I am not currently using my 32!).

Having got the scale, I then used it for 45 too, could not understand the "drift" and went on a wild goose chase. Ho hum!

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Post by PhotoEscape Mon Oct 10, 2022 11:57 am

CR10X wrote:Actually what you didn't realize is that a beam scale is perfectly ok.  Weigh the pan and zero it.  Drop 10 charges and weigh to get average powder drop.  Check every 50, 100 or 500 rounds as you gain experience and confidence. Then use the extra time to dryfire.  This is pistol,  not benchrest.  The  biggest problem is behind the gun, not the powder weight variance.

Cecil,
NO questions, you are correct on your sentiment regarding dry-firing and problem being behind the gun.  However, IMHO, it is different subject.  As for averaging 10 charges, and then loading big batches of ammo (even for pistol) - not a good method, IMO.  Roy is absolutely correct - there are number of reasons for powder charge to drift.  The rudimentary one - powder level in the hopper.  More complicated - lose threads and other equipment issues, loading cadence, etc.  With that said, beam scale is fine in general.  However not for in-line checking loaded case with powder dropped.

So, from where I stand, dryfire is for dryfiring, and ammo load is for loading.  Both are important, and rather compliment each other as opposed to one substituting another.  And as long as we are on dryfiring.  I've been devoting a lot of time to it lately, using SCATT.  I CAN NOT consistently dryfire for more than 50 rounds.  20-30 rounds is rather the sweet spot, especially for 50Y drill.  The good thing is that my dryfire shooting point is right next to my presses.  I can have dry fire session and loading session side by side, and concentrate on both is due time without sacrificing the quality for both. 

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Post by BE Mike Mon Oct 10, 2022 12:29 pm

There are plenty of very accomplished bullseye pistol shooters (I'm not one) who either have left this forum or who don't post because they feel like they are being ignored or contradicted by those with less or no experience in the sport. If one wants to advance in the sport, one should pay close attention to those who have achieved a high level; especially those who have risen to the pinnacle of the sport, like CR10X. I know that this type of gracious, free advice helped me along the way. That being said, do what you want to do. Don't be surprised if someone who has "been there and done that" posts their advice and it is contrary to yours.
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Post by RoyDean Mon Oct 10, 2022 12:36 pm

Whoops!

BE Mike & CR10X please accept my apology if the tone of my response came across as ungracious. That was definitely not my intention. I was trying to explain my progression and reasoning and the realization of my mistake.

I have read most of what CR10X has posted here and very, very much appreciated his sage and very polite advice.

Sorry if I have inadvertently caused any offense.

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Post by CR10X Mon Oct 10, 2022 1:01 pm

I thought this was a discussion forum. No offense taken or given on my part. However I do have one question. How do we know that 0.1 variance is an issue, even for .32 ACP?

We are shooting pistols with one hand so do not overlook the barrel time, recoil effects, velocity variances (+/-) on the actual group size and more importantly bullet impact on the target. Some or all of these can mitigate delta velocity effects when shooting pistols, especially with one hand.

Any way, load up a bunch of loads with heavier loads and some with lighter loads, or even better do a whole series of incremental loads. Fire them all in sequence from a Ransom on the same target, from the same gun for the complete series. I bet you'll find the series will show smaller or larger chances inimpact point until you find a node, then keep a pretty consistent group for a while and the begin to change in average point of impact again. Pick a load in the middle of the cluster and then the worries about a tenth or two can hopefully be put to rest. (Pun intended) And this is how I select loads for every new gun / replacement barrel.

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Post by CR10X Mon Oct 10, 2022 1:02 pm

I thought this was a discussion forum.    No offense taken or given on my part.   However I do have one question.  How do we know that 0.1 variance is an issue, even for .32 ACP?  

We are shooting pistols with one hand so do not overlook  the barrel time, recoil effects, velocity variances (+/-) on the actual group size and more importantly bullet impact on the target. Some or all of these can mitigate delta velocity effects when shooting pistols, especially with one hand.  

Any way, load up a bunch of loads with heavier loads and some with lighter loads,  or even better do a whole series of incremental loads.  Fire them all in sequence from a Ransom on the same target, from the same gun for the complete series.  I bet you'll find the series will show smaller or larger chances inimpact point until you find a node, then keep a pretty consistent group for a while and the begin to change in average point of impact again.  Pick a load in the middle of the cluster and then the worries about a tenth or two can hopefully be put to rest. (Pun intended) And this is how I select loads for every new gun / replacement barrel.

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Post by RoyDean Mon Oct 10, 2022 1:10 pm

Thanks Cecil, good advice as usual. I will follow that plan when I resume loading 32ACP..

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Post by BE Mike Mon Oct 10, 2022 5:10 pm

RoyDean wrote:Whoops!

BE Mike & CR10X please accept my apology if the tone of my response came across as ungracious. That was definitely not my intention. I was trying to explain my progression and reasoning and the realization of my mistake.

I have read most of what CR10X has posted here and very, very much appreciated his sage and very polite advice.

Sorry if I have inadvertently caused any offense.
No apology is needed. I didn't mean to direct this to you in particular. I meant it as an in general. We've lost a lot of the "brain trust" in the sport. Some because of conditions beyond our control, such as illness and death. That is natural, but losing it because of people blowing off those who have dedicated themselves to achieving the highest levels and are willing to share their knowledge is preventable. I apologize for taking your thread in another direction.
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Post by PhotoEscape Mon Oct 10, 2022 8:14 pm

BE Mike wrote:There are plenty of very accomplished bullseye pistol shooters (I'm not one) who either have left this forum or who don't post because they feel like they are being ignored or contradicted by those with less or no experience in the sport. If one wants to advance in the sport, one should pay close attention to those who have achieved a high level; especially those who have risen to the pinnacle of the sport, like CR10X. I know that this type of gracious, free advice helped me along the way. That being said, do what you want to do. Don't be surprised if someone who has "been there and done that" posts their advice and it is contrary to yours.


No apology is needed. I didn't mean to direct this to you in particular. I meant it as an in general. We've lost a lot of the "brain trust" in the sport. Some because of conditions beyond our control, such as illness and death. That is natural, but losing it because of people blowing off those who have dedicated themselves to achieving the highest levels and are willing to share their knowledge is preventable. I apologize for taking your thread in another direction.

IMHO, both Cecil and Roy are class act.  BE Mike...........?  "I meant it as in general...."  Can you name accomplished shooters, who left forum because of feeling ignored or contradicted?  I am not known for being "politically correct".  With that said, I'm not sure that excerpts from above posts belong here or on the forum IN GENERAL!  As Cecil stated: "I thought this was a discussion forum."  I think, we should keep it that way without suppressing opinions of shooters less accomplished then Roy and Cecil............., even when posted by another Mike!  Nah..... I personally blocked that Mike, but have nothing against him posting! Dillon PM Drift - problem solved! 1f605

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Post by chiz1180 Mon Oct 10, 2022 8:19 pm

PhotoEscape wrote:
BE Mike wrote:There are plenty of very accomplished bullseye pistol shooters (I'm not one) who either have left this forum or who don't post because they feel like they are being ignored or contradicted by those with less or no experience in the sport. If one wants to advance in the sport, one should pay close attention to those who have achieved a high level; especially those who have risen to the pinnacle of the sport, like CR10X. I know that this type of gracious, free advice helped me along the way. That being said, do what you want to do. Don't be surprised if someone who has "been there and done that" posts their advice and it is contrary to yours.


No apology is needed. I didn't mean to direct this to you in particular. I meant it as an in general. We've lost a lot of the "brain trust" in the sport. Some because of conditions beyond our control, such as illness and death. That is natural, but losing it because of people blowing off those who have dedicated themselves to achieving the highest levels and are willing to share their knowledge is preventable. I apologize for taking your thread in another direction.

IMHO, both Cecil and Roy are class act.  BE Mike...........?  "I meant it as in general...."  Can you name accomplished shooters, who left forum because of feeling ignored or contradicted?  I am not known for being "politically correct".  With that said, I'm not sure that excerpts from above posts belong here or on the forum IN GENERAL!  As Cecil stated: "I thought this was a discussion forum."  I think, we should keep it that way without suppressing opinions of shooters less accomplished then Roy and Cecil............., even when posted by another Mike!  Nah..... I personally blocked that Mike, but have nothing against him posting! Dillon PM Drift - problem solved! 1f605

AP
AP, 

Look at the list of high masters that competed at Perry last year, then compare to the regular contributors here. I have seen several give people advise that if followed would be extremely helpful if followed completely ignored. 

off original topic but fits with some of the discussion here.
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Post by BE Mike Tue Oct 11, 2022 9:14 am

PhotoEscape wrote:
BE Mike wrote:There are plenty of very accomplished bullseye pistol shooters (I'm not one) who either have left this forum or who don't post because they feel like they are being ignored or contradicted by those with less or no experience in the sport. If one wants to advance in the sport, one should pay close attention to those who have achieved a high level; especially those who have risen to the pinnacle of the sport, like CR10X. I know that this type of gracious, free advice helped me along the way. That being said, do what you want to do. Don't be surprised if someone who has "been there and done that" posts their advice and it is contrary to yours.


No apology is needed. I didn't mean to direct this to you in particular. I meant it as an in general. We've lost a lot of the "brain trust" in the sport. Some because of conditions beyond our control, such as illness and death. That is natural, but losing it because of people blowing off those who have dedicated themselves to achieving the highest levels and are willing to share their knowledge is preventable. I apologize for taking your thread in another direction.

IMHO, both Cecil and Roy are class act.  BE Mike...........?  "I meant it as in general...."  Can you name accomplished shooters, who left forum because of feeling ignored or contradicted?  I am not known for being "politically correct".  With that said, I'm not sure that excerpts from above posts belong here or on the forum IN GENERAL!  As Cecil stated: "I thought this was a discussion forum."  I think, we should keep it that way without suppressing opinions of shooters less accomplished then Roy and Cecil............., even when posted by another Mike!  Nah..... I personally blocked that Mike, but have nothing against him posting! Dillon PM Drift - problem solved! 1f605

AP
I can name names of accomplished shooters who left the group, but without their permission, I won't. I don't advocate suppressing opinions, but apparently you think my posts should be. No sweat; I have a thick skin. I personally consider the source and carry on. Although I'm long retired from the sport, I find keeping up with it interesting and I learn things all of the time. You do what you do.
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Post by PhotoEscape Tue Oct 11, 2022 10:53 am


BE Mike wrote: I don't advocate suppressing opinions.

There are plenty of very accomplished bullseye pistol shooters (I'm not one) who either have left this forum or who don't post because they feel like they are being ignored or contradicted by those with less or no experience in the sport.
That is exactly how I read your post.  And this is exactly, what I believe, triggered Cecil starting his response from: "I thought this was a discussion forum.    No offense taken or given on my part."  I am way less accomplished shooter than Cecil.  However I know a thing or two when it comes to reloading.  I do not hesitate to learn from shooters of Roy and Cecil level.  And I also do not hesitate to share what I know in the areas where I feel my knowledge can be beneficial to others.  So, you can do whatever you want to do, but, please, don't twist my words 180 degrees accusing me of something that you, in my opinion, rather stated in highlighted.

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Post by chopper Tue Oct 11, 2022 11:23 am

I'm no master or high master, back to your drift question, seems like you solved it. Personally my approach to checking powder weight is I pull the case at station 3 and drop the powder in the zeroed pan and weigh it. I also tap on the case so no powder gets stuck in the primer crevices. I gave up on electronic scales after 2 of them, beam Ohlhause for me.
 A chronograph tells a lot about the load if you want to do that also, assuming you developed your accurate load already. Just the way I do it, I haven't tried your way.
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Post by RoyDean Tue Oct 11, 2022 11:26 am

Stan,

Thanks for bringing the thread back "on topic". Appreciate your comments.

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Post by RodJ Tue Oct 11, 2022 1:00 pm

Roy, I had a relatively expensive tape measure once that, unbeknownst to me, was fat 1/16” off.  The doohickey (tab hook) was one thickness but the “slot” it rides on the metal tape was not allowing the tab to move exactly 1/16”.

Only when, on one frustrating day, that 1/16” actually mattered and I got sick of thinking that I don’t know how to cut a board, I got to looking at my so-called “impartial referee” and found that he favored one team over the other when calling pass interference.  It’s the reason I keep both a beam and an electronic scale around.  

To tell the truth, I somehow often find an odd joy, or chuckle to myself, when I figure out something like that.  Confirms that I’m not always incapable of serious scrutiny and problem solving!
Dillon PM Drift - problem solved! C1011ef3-bbae-40d2-b1a1-d74fbbcd0438

Congratulations!

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Post by John Dervis Tue Oct 11, 2022 7:26 pm

Hey Roy,

  If you’ve had that scale for a while, you might try and change the battery.  When they start to fade, goofy things can start to happen. Might be worth a try to see if it’s the scale itself or just a simple fix.

Glad you figured it out before it caused a big issue.
John

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Post by RoyDean Tue Oct 11, 2022 7:38 pm

John,

Only had it for about 8 months and it is plugged in to the mains. But I will check that too.

Thanks,

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Post by chopper Tue Oct 11, 2022 10:10 pm

Roy, I used to load in a basement room that has a ceiling register and when the furnace or air would run it created a draft that would fluctuate my electric scale and the beam scale sometimes. I built a new bench away from that area and haven't had a problem since, just another variable in our quest for accurate loading. 
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Post by john bickar Tue Oct 11, 2022 10:49 pm

RoyDean wrote:OK, everyone now has my permission to call me a dumb-ass, or whatever!

Is this offer still on the table?
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Post by Wobbley Tue Oct 11, 2022 11:01 pm

While accurate powder measuring is important, variances of +/- .2 grains can be tolerated wel. At least in 45.  In my testing, the velocity only goes up 8% (50 fps) for .4 grains of bullseye.  So 10% charge variance can be tolerated very well. There also isn’t a big shift in impact, at least at 25 yards.  So load using a progressive and powder measure.  Powder charge variance is overshadowed by bullet variances.
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