January 25, 2003, 07:40 AM
I'm loading my first batch of .357 magnums. Using Unique and 125grain jhps. Using the Alliante and Speer reloading specs, max. charge is 9.6grains and the suggested 90% starting charge (my targeted load) is 8.6 grains. I have a RCBS scale, zeroed out, and also a set of Lee dippers.

By the Lee dipper chart, the nearest dipper to the desired charge is a 1cc dipper. Their chart indicates the 1cc charge should weight 9.6 grains which means I should be using less than a full dipper. To get the 8.6 on the RCBS scale, it takes a little more than the 1cc dipper - does not compute. Can the data with the dippers be that far off or am I missing something? I weighed a couple of the 125 grain bullets on the scale and they come in very close to 125 grains they are supposed to weigh. Also weighed a sample charge of some rifle powder and compared to the theoretic Lee dipper weight and it was pretty close (just a hair on the heavy side).

I'm going to buy a new can of Unique today, just in case the powder has somehow gotten lighter with age. Before I make a 30 mile trip to town, any suggestions? Is this a common thing to those of you who may use the dippers? I do intend to weigh each charge, but this difference has worried me. Help!

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Jim Watson
January 25, 2003, 10:45 AM
Those Lee dippers are not very closely calibrated, and they have got to have all their tolerance on the low side. Doubt your Unique has gotten lighter with age.
You can load by weight to get the exact charge you want.
You can load by dipper and take what comes out, it will still shoot.
You will soon get tired of that. Consider a powder measure. Or save up for a Dillon.

January 25, 2003, 01:15 PM
Thanks. I will eventually buy a powder measure, but right now am trying to build confidence in my ability to reload. I feel more comfortable measuring every charge. Will probably tire of it soon and that's when the powder measure will be purchased.

I took my 15 round sample batch out to the range a little while ago. Every one went "boom". The 90% load is fairly mild with the GP141. Will load about 100 this afternoon and go back to the range to try my hand at steel plates with them. Will also take along my model 60 and see how these loads feel with the snubby.

As far as a Dillon is concerned, not for awhile. I know Dillon is reputed to be the top of the line in reloading equipment, but I bought a Lee 4 hole turret, used, for $40 w/a spare plate and 'inherited a RCBS Rock Chucker a couple of days after I bought the Lee. For now, I have the Lee set up with a 4 die set and am using it as a single stage, will use it as a 'progressive' after I build some confidence. For now, I want a visual on powder levels on all charged casings, just for safety. That's one of the reasons I'm starting with the .357 instead fo the .38 or .40cal, it's very easy to detect a double charge with the magnum.

So much for now, probably bored a few folks, and have some stuff in here that didn't need to be. Thanks for input JW, and someday, I may graduate to the Dillon 650, but for now, I need to keep it manual and simple.

Mike Irwin
January 25, 2003, 01:44 PM
It's also very likely, if you've had those dippers for more than a couple of years, that the powder volumn has changed due to different lots.

When Herc. sold to Alliant, there was also come reconfiguration of the powder formulas, which would also change the volumn.

January 25, 2003, 02:04 PM
I would use the dippers to get a gross charge on the scale then fidgit the remaining powder on with a spoon to get you desired weight .

January 25, 2003, 10:18 PM
If you are trying to build confidence in reloading, you'll toss those dippers in the garbage, get yourself a powder measure and a good scale. By doing things correctly and safely, you'll gain confidence, not by "guesstimating" you powder charges with a glorified measuring spoon

January 26, 2003, 12:54 AM
I'll 2nd Zero's advice!

January 26, 2003, 07:05 AM
3rd. Lose the dippers.

Swamp Yankee
January 26, 2003, 09:40 AM
Suggest spending $20 and getting a Lee Perfect Powder Measure. They're not RCBS Uniflows, but should be more than acceptable for what your trying to accomplish.
Take Care

January 26, 2003, 10:00 AM

Please do yourself a favor and loose the dippers and spend a few bucks and get a scale atleast . Doing it safer is alot more peace of mind and can save body parts . A scale is alot lot cheaper than your weapon also. And believe me about 90% of the people I know that started reloading get the bug and love it so no money wasted just a good start. Boon

Mike Irwin
January 26, 2003, 11:11 AM
Well, I disagree with a number of people here.

I think the dippers are a perfectly fine method of measuring powder, if you use them correctly and take the time to develop a consistent method of measuring powder with them.

Remember, folks, that just about every powder measure currently on the market "weighs" powder in the exact same way as those dippers -- not by weight but by volumn.

I loaded quite a few thousand rounds of handgun and rifle ammo with a Lee loader and one of these powder scoops.

A few minutes with a scale to make sure that my powder charges are within what the book says they should be, and I was off at the races.

I still have all my fingers and toes, both eyes, and I never blew up a gun.

January 26, 2003, 04:49 PM
I use the dippers allatime when developing new stuff; used to throw 'close' into the scale pan.

Get Lyman Deluxe four-die set and RCBS / Redding / Hornady powder measure, and mount the PM on the Lyman flare die and mount the whole mess on your RCBS press.

January 26, 2003, 09:47 PM
I seem to have miscommunicated the practice I used/am using.

I used/am using the method contained in Coonan357s reply. When I said I 'measure' each charge, I really should have said that I 'weigh' each charge and intend to continue to do so for some time. My production will probably not exceed 400 rounds a month, once the 'new' wears off, so delaying the purchase of a measure for a while shouldn't hurt.

And, I do appreciate everyone's concern. I need all the help I can get right now.


January 27, 2003, 12:08 AM
A big AMAN to Mike,I like dippers for some loads.:)

Mike Irwin
January 27, 2003, 01:56 AM

Drop the spoon, head to your reloading suppliers shop, and get yourself a "powder trickler."

This will allow you to get the final amount of powder you need to get to the weight you want.

January 27, 2003, 01:57 AM
I use the dippers also. Consistency in dipping is the key. I find "scooping" doesn't work for me. I use a deep bowl for the powder & sink the dipper into the powder with the dipper upright & strike off the excess with a card. I tried different ways(checking with a scale) & found this to work for me. I use the dippers with the lyman tong tool mostly. The loads from the tong tool is light to med. plinking rounds & a little variation in the charge is ok. I measure each charge on a scale if working towards the high end of data however.

Bill Adair
January 27, 2003, 04:26 AM
I loaded many hundreds of rounds with Lee dippers, before buying an RCBS Uniflow. Still have my original set of dippers, but they haven't been used in over twenty years.

Now there are inexpensive pistol powder measures available that do an excellent job, so there is no excuse to put yourself through all the pain of trying to dip accurately. :D

Hornady and RCBS also make excellent pistol powder measures, and if you look around for bargains, the bushings and rotors are reasonable. The Hornady comes with several bushings, so you shouldn't have to buy many more to get the sizes you need.

I traded for an RCBS Little Dandy measure recently, and have been adding rotors (bushings) as I find bargains.

Quite surprisingly, it seems to measure certain powders more accurately than my Uniflow, and it's much faster moving the measure from case to case in the loading tray, than picking up each individual case, and moving it to the Uniflow and back.

The RCBS rotors are higher priced than the Hornady bushings, but I've never paid more than $4 each for mine, and more often $2, or $3 each.

The Uniflow is still an excellent powder measure (as are the other major brands), and you can't go wrong with any of them, if that's what you prefer.


January 27, 2003, 04:08 PM
I have to second the vote for the Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I got my first one in a kit and wasn't very happy with it at first. But Lee says you need to run a pound or so of powder through it before it's really broken in and danged if they ain't right!
I load .38 Special and .357 Mag too, and my powder measure consistently throws charges of Unique within 1/10 grain. I check about 1 in 10 charges to make sure nothing bad has happened and, so far, everything has been just fine.
I bought another Perfect for rifle loads and, just like the first one, it was all over the place at first. After loading a few hundred rounds it started settling down and now it's usually within 1/2 grain of XMR4064. I make up the rest with a dribbler but the more I use it, the less I have to dribble.

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