Loading 204 ruger on Dillon 550


April 7, 2006, 07:24 PM
I loaded some 204 Ruger on my 550 press using IMR-4895. Seemed to work fine for 10 or 15 shells than it would throw one charge light and than the next would dump a charge and than some. This is the first time that I have had this type of a problem. I load 223, 22-250 and 243 with no problems like this. Any one have a clue?

AnyRacoon, from Soledad, CA

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April 7, 2006, 11:30 PM
This sounds like powder bridging. Part of the powder charge gets hung up in the powder funnel causing a light charge. The next charge knocks this powder loose which in addition to the regular charge thrown causes a heavy charge. It is most problematic with large grain powders trying to fit through small caliber cartridge necks.

I don't have a ready solution. I use my 550 for pistol loads, but I have experienced this problem with the RCBS Uniflow I use for small volume loading.

April 8, 2006, 06:14 AM
I imagine what "scotty" says about covers it. I expect it's not too different than the problems on my Dillon loading .223.

1) Be sure your Dillon powder measure is set up according to directions: with the handle completely down, and the ram up, the little white block in the powder measure slide must be all the way against the back of the slide to ensure proper case charging.

2) Hold the handle in the full down position for a longer time than you do when reloading pistols. This will give the powder charge a chance to get through that tiny neck.

3) With the .204, which has an even tinier neck than the .223, you may end up having to go with a ball powder in order to load progressive. I couldn't pretend to give a suggestion here, since I don't load for .204, but I expect there are plenty of published loads.

A quick perusal of the Hodgdon site shows loads for many bullet weights using such ball powders as BLC-2 & H335. I've used these powders in .222 and .223 with success, along with Win 748, so I expect you'll have little trouble finding a satisfactory load.

April 9, 2006, 06:02 PM
Make sure the inside of the powder funnel is polished as smoothly as possible. Still may not solve the problem.


April 9, 2006, 06:13 PM
Mr Racoon: It's the same problem we all have trying to load a small caliber on a progressive press with extruded powder. I have had the same problems with my 22 Hornets, 223's and now the 204. The only answer is to swith to a suitable ball or spherical powder or charge the cases manually. I personally like Hodgdon's Varget in the 204 and it meters beautifully.

April 10, 2006, 01:34 PM
Out of curiosity, what is the charge weight for your load, and what variation are you seeing?

I use a 550 and 4895 for 308 and find .2gr variations the norm, which is OK when throwing over 40gr of powder.

Keep the powder hopper full when using an extruded powder on the 550.

April 10, 2006, 07:57 PM

I was loading 28 grains. What happened is powder dumped all over, filling the case and than spilling over. What I now know is the powder bridges and does not all dump into a case. The next case the bridge of powder breaks free along with the current charge and dumps to much. I quess I'll go to Varget or a ball powder. These with the 4895 I'll just have to fill them by hand.

Thanks to all who helped out with advice and suggestions

April 10, 2006, 09:53 PM
I was having this problem with my 243 on my Dillon 550. Its that stick powder. I need to buy some spherical powder too. :)

April 10, 2006, 11:45 PM
I had a 'smith at our club machine out the powder drop funnel for loading .308 and it now works beautifully with 4064 & 4895. I will be loading .223 shortly and will probably have him do the same to that funnel.

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