weighing powder question

This is a discussion on weighing powder question within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I'm new to reloading and have been gathering the necessary equipment to start to reload .40 cal. ammo I'm at the point where I will ...

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Thread: weighing powder question

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    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    weighing powder question

    I'm new to reloading and have been gathering the necessary equipment to start to reload .40 cal. ammo I'm at the point where I will soon be measuring my powder using the lee powder discs. Now when I weigh my charge on the scale and it reads something like 7.045 or 7.102 or whatever and it calls for just7.0 grains would the extra 10th or hundredth make a big deal? I know ideally 7.0 on the nose would be best because that is what it calls for but how accurate does it need to be and still be safe, I'm afraid if I am over just a bit I could harm myself or do I just need to worry about double charges? Thanks a bunch for all your help I am learning a lot on this forum with all the knowledge everyone has.

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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    auto and manual powder drops read some what high/lower after you set them. the different is not much and it will not make any different in the load. the only way to get them all the same is to weight each one on a scale. takes a long time to do this. so drop on and be happy. nothing will go wrong.
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    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    thanks for the quick reply. I plan on weighing every15 rounds or so would that be good or overkill? better safe than sorry.

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    Most reloading scales are only accurate to about 0.1 grains, so just ignore any number to the right of 0.1 on the scale. Hopefully you're not shooting super-magnums that are on the brink of dangerous pressures, so just load away. Overall, repeatability is what you're after, more so than absolute knowledge of the charge weight out to 'n' decimal places.

    Benchrest shooters will take things probably to the second decimal place, but you and I don't need to worry about that.
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    Every gun is a law unto itself but it isn't likely that one tenth of a grain over of even super-fast burning Bulls-Eye will ever grenade a gun and the slower the burning rate of the propellant the more insignificant the tenth becomes. One may always claim that there's always the "straw that broke the camel's back" but a tenth of a grain of propellant powder matters less than any of several other possible handloading variables that could be considered such as: excessively deep-seated bullet, excessive crimp, excessive cartridge overall length, differences in cartridge case volumes, even variables in different primers. This isn't even considering factors such as chamber dimension anomalies, tighter than standard bore diameters or even a coating of oil or grease left in a bore. Any one of these has a larger effect on a load's relative safety than a tenth of a grain of powder does.

    What can sneak up on a handloader is when several of these variables occur simultaneously just when the handloader is "taking a walk on the wild side," playing with max or near max loads. Results could be "interesting."
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    Distinguished Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    It depends on what you're doing. I'm sure some will disagree, but for pistol ammo I'd set it and forget it. If your gear is good you'll be fine. Launching a projectile consistently out of a barrel is not like trying to hit lunar orbit with a rocket. A powder dispenser is designed for consistency, and most do a good job. Measure at intervals till your mind is at ease. Reloading should be relaxing, not stressful!

    The only situ where I weigh every charge is for long range rifle apps using a single stage press. 99.99% of people can out load their shooting ability. Very few who breathe could tell the difference out beyond 300yds if they're not still clocking >2000fps. I know allot more guys who are making match grade .308 and 30 o 6 than I know who can shoot it at <1 moa at that range. You are wasting your time with it if your powder isn't very high quality, and you're not buying precision projectiles.

    Just my opinion and $00.02.

    Or, what he said!
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    I relish consistency over absolute accuracy. I can live with every drop being .1 grain over. I can't deal with every drop being +.1, -.1, +.12, -.15, +-.05, etc. Some powders are more consistent than others. With my preferred HP-38 powder, Once I set my dropper, I check every 25th drop, and I find that very seldom varies as much as .1 if any.
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    When I start a reloading session I measure the first round after cycling the powder drop 3-4 times and back into the hopper. If all is good, off to the races. At round 100 it gets measured and if within .1 of required load, all is good. After that every 100th round gets measured in a loading session. Never had large differences across 100 rounds. YMMV.
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