powder measurement all over the place

This is a discussion on powder measurement all over the place within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I loaded up some 45 acp rounds tonight, I used hodgdons HS-6 with a 230 gr. lead round nose bullet. Im dropping powder with my ...

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    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    powder measurement all over the place

    I loaded up some 45 acp rounds tonight, I used hodgdons HS-6 with a 230 gr. lead round nose bullet. Im dropping powder with my lee turret press using the powder charge bar. I was trying to drop 7.5 grains but my measurement were constantly up and down by a few grains whenever I checked them on my hornady electronic scale the lock and load model. my load data manuals say not to exceed 8 grains and a few of them were pushing that limit. I would check a weight and it would say something like 7.4 then check it again right away few more times and it would be like 7.3, 7.2, 7.7 and then load some more then check and again it would be like 7.8, 7.9 7.3 all over the place. is this a problem with my scale or charge bar? don't know why im all over the place. I would make sure my scale would be properly calibrated and zeroed often. any ideas? and if I go over the max data by a 10th or two grains it shouldn't be a problem right? I would just like to have consistent powder drops.

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    New Member Array Muggsy's Avatar
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    If the scale repeats with a known weight the problem is in metering the charge. If the scale doesn't repeat with a known weight replace your scale and then recheck your charge weights.

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    Senior Member Array CWOUSCG's Avatar
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    I'd guess the charge bar.

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    Senior Member Array ntkb's Avatar
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    I haven't used any HS6 powder but it may not want to meter well. Some flake powders seem to be a problem for me. The cleanest and most frugal powder I have used is Hodgdon Clays and meters well.
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    I'm thinking you have a Lee charge bar issue with that powder. But like Muggsy says, weigh a known weight or even a dime 10 times. It should weigh the same very time. If not, your scale has failed. I don't use HS-6, prefer HP-38 instead and once I set my powder dropper, it will weigh the same on every drop.
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    1) Lee adjustable charge bar: the drop hole in the measure does not line up with the cavity in the ACB until the ACB is almost fully open. Even then, the powder has to somehow flow forward to fill the cavity. Try the fixed cavity disks. At least your charge is within the region where the ACB actually does work to some degree.
    Personally, I have not found a single "magic charge" for a handgun where a load several thousandths of a grain up or down is not just as good (after shooting say 10 groups with each charge), so the disks work well for me. I can get 7.0gn or 7.6gn of HS6 using the 0.49 or 0.53 disks.
    If you must have 7.4gn, then either bore out the 0.49cc cavity to give you what you want, tap the 0.53cc and put a bolt in to get your 7.4gn charge, or buy a powder measure from Hornady, Dillon, or RCBS.
    2) Just in case any of this is news to you, to operate a measure, consistency is quite important:
    a) when you fill the hopper, shake the measure a little to settle the powder
    b) when you adjust the charge, drop 10 charges before you even begin to measure the charge weight
    c) some days, every measure just won't do its job right. Walk away and come back later. Punishment will teach it to obey.

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    Good advice from noylj.
    Are you running in a single stage method or are you indexing the turret and making a complete round. When the turret is spinning it can really effect things. I've found that orienting the auto disk so the hopper is centered on the turret and adding a simple baffle in the powder hopper makes for more consistent charges on a turret press.
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    Interesting discussion. I suspect some non-repeatability in the way the charge bar is filled, per post #6. And different powder shapes (ball, flake, etc.) meter differently.

    But based on Richard Lee's excellent intro in his loading manual, the greatest consistency in loading will be achieved by controlling the volume of powder, and not the weight. We use weight as a secondary or 'transfer' standard because it's a lot easier to independently confirm the weight of a powder charge than it is to confirm its volume. I've found nothing in my research to disprove that.
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    Ahhhhh to have some powder or the hope of getting any so I could go ahead and set up my reloading room. Tons of brass, can find everything else, but alas only rifle powders and one bottle of shotgun powder that was gone by the time I realized I could use it to load 9mm and 40cal. Then I could worry about charge weights LOL.
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    Member Array Jaybm's Avatar
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    And that friends is why I no longer use the Lee charge bar and balance scale.
    Instead use a dipper ( one in every set of dies ) and RC digital scale.
    Slow but accurate.
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    I've got the same problem after switching to a flake powder for .44 mag. I just suck it up and measure each load. Prior to that Bullseye and H4895 were within 1/10 gr.

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    All the measurements you mentioned are within 1/2 grain or less. With some powders using a drop this may be the best it's going to do. Try a few different powders through it and see what variations your seeing. A lot of the time the way you pull the press handle can effect the way your powder drops. A slow easy pull will generally throw a lighter charge than a heavy handed slamming of the handle up and down. You need to be fairly consistent in the way you pull the handle on your press every time to make a powder drop meter as close to the same every time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvmy40 View Post
    adding a simple baffle in the powder hopper makes for more consistent charges on a turret press.
    It amazes me in this day and age that a company makes a hopper without a baffle. Just cheap, I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWOUSCG View Post
    I'd guess the charge bar.
    Thirty years ago when I reloaded with my MEC Jr I didn't know about powder scales and just used the charge bar exclusively. I never had any short or heavy charges and never a lick of trouble. As CWOUSCG said I'd change out the charge bar too.

    Beyond that if the charge bar is at fault you're set it sounds like. If it's something else you might need a new charge scale or new weights. I am not the guy to ask for this issue. If it were me I'd STOP reloading with that particular rig until I could really nail down the problem and get it handled.

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    Well, at $37.00 it really is cheap. And by that, I mean economical.

    I made my baffles from scrap pieces of coil stock but thin cardboard or plastic would work as well. Do I really need a company to make such a simple device for me? At what additional cost?

    The baffle isn't really even necessary on anything but the turret presses. I do use them in my progressive presses as well but it's not as critical. Making sure you do everything exactly the same way with every round is more critical than the baffle. The baffle is just another added measure for repeatability.

    If I paid the asking price for a Dillon or Hornady powder drop(do either make one that works on a turret press?) I would expect the baffle to be included, and it probably is.
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