Varget and the Dillon powder measure.


October 29, 2006, 02:34 AM
Over the past few months there have been a few threads about bridging and related problems with Varget and other stick powders in Dillon powder measures and small mouth cases.
I had the same problem with mine, so I set out to cure the problem. First came polishing the drop tube. Helped some, but still had an occasional mess to clean up. So I used a taper reamer to enlarge and smooth the drop tube followed by an extra fine polishing. Much better but still got a bridge about 1 in 250 rounds.
I worked at a place once that mixed chemicals. Mostly granular type stuff. They used shakers to keep the stuff flowing.
I used a small sealed electric motor and a piece of 1/2 in scrap steel mounted to the motor shaft like the one used on tumblers. This assembly was then mounted to the Dillon Strong mount and wired to a dimmer switch to control the shaking force.
Powders flow smoothly and more accuratly. And since the whole machine is vibrating there is some settling of the powder in the case, which reduces the old familiar crunch. Bullet seating seems smoother also.

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October 30, 2006, 01:19 AM
Any comments?

October 30, 2006, 01:22 AM
I think it's an excellent idea. I've been tapping my measure on the side to make sure all the powder falls, so I might rig up something similar to your device so I don't have to do that anymore.

October 30, 2006, 03:38 AM
Could you post a picture of the set up and how you mounted it to the press. Are you concerned about electrfiying your press? I use a power trimmer but when I use it there is no powder or primers in the press.

October 30, 2006, 04:04 AM
Sorry, no photos. I have not made it to the 21st century yet.

Very simple setup though. The motor is from McMaster-Carr, although I got mine at an auction for much less$, and is about 4 inches long and 2 inches in square.
With a little creativity, most any small AC motor would do the job.

It is mounted to the inside ( near the bottom of the press) of the Strong Mount with the shaft up.
The motor is grounded through it internals. My reloading bench, press and all the other necessary stuff is resistance grounded to avoid discharge.

October 30, 2006, 04:47 AM
I'll try the polishing first see how that helps. I have been useing IMR 4895 for 308 rounds and end up with some on the shell plate which will cause other problems, poor primmer seating or the shell not fitting into the shell plate in the number 1 position well. I think I may have a static problem as well, do you think vibrating the whole press will make any differance one way or another. I've heard dryer sheets can be helpful for static

October 30, 2006, 11:03 PM
I would be very reluctant to use anything but a totally enclosed (explosion proof if possible) motor for something like this. Just too many things to go wrong if sparks fly. Make absolutely sure not to use a "universal" (AC/DC) motor with brushes; they spark like crazy.

If having problems getting powder through an expanding die, you could also move the expansion step to the powder check stage, and modify a powder check die stem to work through the expander, assuming you are using a 5 station press like the 650 or the LNL AP. Either the Dillon powder die designed for 3rd party 7/8x14 threaded powder measures, or the similar unit from Lyman would work for this. Then drill out the drop tube on the powder drop as large as possible for your neck diameter.


November 9, 2006, 05:11 AM
This system is in place and operating. The drop consistancy at .1 grain.

November 9, 2006, 06:35 AM
I'm gonna add this to the "Useful things" sticky at the top of the fourm

I don't suppose you'd need this for ball powder, but I've had some problems with Varget bridging.

You ought to contact Dillon to see if they'd add it to their line.

I don't know if you guys have Harbor Freight stores in your area, but I suspect you could get small motors there cheap

November 19, 2006, 03:50 PM
There is a guy by the name of Bob Coval who is making what he calls the "Coval Device". It is exactly what you are describing. His intended use is to attach it directly to the powder measure to "settle" the powder and yield much more consistent powder weights. I have tried one and it rattles the powder measure too much for my taste but it does settle the powder. I'd bet that it would be just the ticket if attached to the strong mount as you described.

The beauty of the Coval Device is that it comes fully enclosed and sealed into a 1.25" diameter by 2.5" long plastic housing. Power is supplied by a 3VDC 100mA power adapter. So sparking should not be an issue. Bob does not have a web site and I don't have an email address. I just called and left a message. I'll post his contact information if he allows.


November 20, 2006, 10:42 PM
If it is a brush-type DC motor, it will spark, whether it is 3 volts or 300. The voltages generated by breaking the circuit on one winding, and connecting to the next can exceed the supply voltage for very short time, but plenty long enough to spark. Make sure it is fully enclosed and sealed. Or a brushless DC motor (electronically commutated).


November 21, 2006, 12:46 AM
Just yesterday I found the perfect motor for this application, and of all places I found it in my wifes' nite stand. It runs on 2 D cell batteries and has a brushless motor. On a side note, my press seems some how happier than I've ever seen it.:D

November 21, 2006, 05:42 AM
Kinda sounds like the wife may become more interested in reloading.

You Know since I installed the unit on my press, there have been no bridges or spills. See #5 for proper grounding of the unit. All the necessary precautions to avoid any form of sparking, arcing or other potential of danger have been taken into account.
I get nervous when I pick up a plastic container of powder and start to pour into a plastic hopper. Triboelectric potential is just waiting to get something started. Thus the resistance grounding of the machine and bench.

December 12, 2006, 11:36 PM
Hi guys,

Sadly, I found out that Bob Coval passed away unexpectedly last July. The Coval Device is currently unavailable and it is unknown if manufacturing will be picked up by another member of the family. I'll try to make contact and find out more.


December 13, 2006, 09:39 PM
I just received a phone call from Joan Coval. She has, needless to say, been very busy for the past several months. She continues to sell the Coval Device and has 20-30 available at this time. She has been running an ad in Handloader magazine (Dec 2006 page 86) but doesn't have a web site. Orders and inquiries are being taken by email at The cost of the Coval Device is $34.95. After the first of the year, she will be deciding what to do with the company.

That's all I know at this time. I'll be in touch with Joan in January and get an update on what she decides to do with the products.


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