Lyman # 55 Powder Measure Question ?


Steeltown Joe
September 16, 2009, 07:50 PM
Just got a Lyman # 55 powder measure and was wondering. What slide does the best job for small pistol loads ? I know the directions say to use the top small slide for small loads but do any of long time reloaders use it differently ?
Is the small slide the most consistant ? Does a small opening in the Med. or large slide meter better ? 3.0 grains of Clays for 38 the load in question.
I will also be going 4.1 for 44 Sp. CAS loads.


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September 16, 2009, 08:33 PM
Joe: I had a Lyman 55 Powder Measure many yeasrs ago and it was a very accurate measure. I always set it per the instruction manual and never had any difficulty with light target pistol loads using Bullseye powder. If you have the time and an accurate balance, why not experiment with the different setting and your powder of choice to see where the most accurate seting would be. :)

September 16, 2009, 08:58 PM
"What slide does the best job for small pistol loads ? I know the directions say to use the top small slide for small loads but do any of long time reloaders use it differently ?"

You can trust that Lyman knows what they are telling you.

D. Manley
September 16, 2009, 09:14 PM
I have'nt used mine in more years than I'd like to remember but seems to me, it depends on the powder characteristics. IIRC, I never used the top slide only for pistol and seldom all three together...for what I was loading, the top two used in conjunction covered my needs pretty well. It can actually be very accurate, I'd suggest just experimenting with the powders you use.

September 16, 2009, 11:09 PM
i also use the top 2 slides mostly , the narrower the "knife" edge the less "choppy" it feels .

of course if consistentsy is compremised i use the top slide only .
I mainly use the lee AD but there are times the 55 comes out !!

& i don`t use a powder tool until i treat it with powdered graphite !!!

CLAYS is my goto plinking powder also

September 17, 2009, 12:47 AM
I find it works most consistently if I get as close as I can with the large bar and make fine adjustments with the smaller ones. As GP100man said, a smaller opening shears less powder and drops smoother. This is most apparent with extruded powders.

David Wile
September 17, 2009, 01:10 AM
Hey Joe,

The Lyman 55 was my first powder measure, and I would guess that I have had it nearly 50 years now. My second powder measure was an RCBS that I got not too many years after my Lyman 55. My third measure is the Hornady case activated measure that came with my Hornady L&L AP progressive press I bought in 1997.

I like all three of them, and I still use all three of them for different applications. The Hornady measure is used strictly on the progressive press, and the other two are used for doing work done on single stage presses. The Hornady and the RCBS kind of work in a similar fashion with their "screw plug" thing to adjust for powder desired.

The Lyman 55 is really a different breed of measure in how it adjusts for powder charge size. Like the others, there is a rotating drum, but the adjusting mechanism is quite different on the Lyman 55. It actually has three adjustable sliding parts incorporated in its rotating drum.

I know some folks say to use the smallest slide for the smallest loads, the medium slide for medium loads, and the largest for the largest of loads. I think that idea may be somewhat misleading. I would never advise opening the smallest slide all the way before beginning to open the second slide to increase charge weights.

My recommendation is to open the slides together with the idea of ending up with a "charge hole" that is nearly square in shape rather than having a "charge hole" that is real wide and very shallow. I hope my description makes sense as I have written it. I would also recommend that no slide should cover any open part of the slide under it.

In other words, if your charge was sufficiently large to warrant opening all three slides, the middle slide should not be cover any part of the larger opening of the bigger slide, and the small top slide should not cover any part of the midlle slide. And hopefully, the resulting charge hole should be pretty close to being a squared off shape rather than an oblong shape. This makes for the smallest opening required for a given charge and less edge for powder to be cut as the drum is turned.

I would think this may sound a bit confusing to folks who never saw the inside of a Lyman 55, but I hope it makes some sense to those who actually have seen them. I think the 55 is a pretty good measure, but if I am using extruded powder, I will generally use the RCBS because it has less of a cutting edge than the 55 when dropping large charges.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

September 17, 2009, 11:13 AM
I use three of them.

Best measure ever made IMO.

For small pistol charges, try to use the middle slide to get close and the small one for fine tuning that last 0.1 grain.

For large rifle charges, use the big black slide to get close and the middle brass one to fine tune it, leaving the small one closed all the way.

As David Wile said, try for a square opening.

In otherwords, don't create a crack with the big slide for pistol powders.

Don't use the whole measure surface to shear off rifle powder by only using the middle one cranked way open..


Steeltown Joe
September 17, 2009, 01:07 PM
Thanks all,
I'll give it a try ! Using the small slide only just feels choppy ! But 8 of 10 were right on and the other 2 were just .1 and .2 off !


September 17, 2009, 04:23 PM
For pistol loads I use the top two slides (two smaller slides) only. I back both out together to get just under the desired load and then use the screw adjustment to fine tune to load wt.

I spent hours one day experimenting with different stroke procedures to see what throw method was most consistent for me. I found that a full up and 1/4 back and up tap then full moderately slow motion down gave me a very consistent charge. The 55 will hold +/- 0.1 grain most of the time.

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