Powder Measure For Stick Powders


Maj Dad
February 28, 2010, 11:26 AM
What is the better powder measure for stick powders? I use a Lyman 55 and the Dillon measure (on my 550B), but I have always been aggravated by the shearing I have to do with the Lyman :cuss:. Is the RCBS any better, or another? I have used Lees in the past and don't particularly care for them, though I am sure they work fine for many. I usually trickle up to the charge with rifle loads but I still have to yank the handle to throw an underweight charge. I have fallen back on the Lee scoops and trickling up, but as an inveterate user of things mechanical, I have space on my bench for another tool... ;)

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February 28, 2010, 12:02 PM
I know you commented that you don't care for the Lee measure but, I use it with Varget, 4064 and 3031 with great results.

February 28, 2010, 12:03 PM
I really wonder if there is a "better" powder measure.

I have three, the Lyman 55 Powder measure, a Redding, and a 70's-80's vintage Bonanza. I also use the Dillion 550B measure.

The bonanza is taller and holds at least twice the powder of the others.

I have noticed that the average charge weight varies based on powder column height in the Bonanza. So maybe powder follows the fluid dynamic equation of Pressure equals Rho g H. Increase the height of the column and you increase the pressure at the bottom.

All these measures work on gravity. Stay in the same latitude and altitude, gravity does not change much day to day. It is gravity that fills the powder cavity. Maybe that is why the powder tubes in most powder measures are short, to give the illusion that the measure throws consistently.

Anyway, except for powder height changes, all of these measures throw about the same. Charges vary more based on technique than which measure is throwing them. My charges vary a lot if the measure gets bumped shearing powder sticks.

I have buds that have bought the most expensive powder measures out there, one of which is the Harrell. One guy told me that the expensive measure throws the same as the less expensive ones.


I suspect powder measures are like expensive watches. Guys have told me their mechanical Rolex is more accurate than their $25.00 Quartz watch. Which is absolutely implausible. http://www.chronocentric.com/watches/accuracy.shtml#quartzvsmech People associate price with precision.

I dump all my 308/30-06 short range charges (300 yards or less) with IMR 4895 and IMR 4064 on the Dillion. I stopped checking the thrown weights because the variations are at least half a grain, and it did not make any difference on paper.

Something as long as IMR 4350, the thrown variences are more than a grain and a half, and I don't have any powder measure that throws that well.

February 28, 2010, 12:30 PM
Check out this link, there is a lot of good info:


Jimmy K

Maj Dad
February 28, 2010, 12:33 PM
SlamFire, I am on the same sheet of music with you. I like the Dillon's cast-in baffle, and I made an aluminum baffle for the 55 to minimize the column-height issue, but my issue is the shearing (cutting the grains) necessary to turn the drum on the 55. I too stopped obsessing over the thrown weights with the Dillon; my experience mirrors yours. But I think I'm going to try a Uniflow just for the heck of it; I've got my eye on a used one with all the drums & measures and may pick it up today - what the heck. It's only another tool in the armamentarium, right? Dillon would like you to buy a measure for each caliber and mount it so you can swap calibers in a trice and not have to adjust it. Noble concept, if you've got the $$...

Maj Dad
February 28, 2010, 12:37 PM
Jim, you sold me. I'm getting the Uniflow. Don't know how I missed that thread, but it answered all my questions. Thanks!

February 28, 2010, 12:56 PM
Maj Dad, the sad but simple fact of the matter is that there are measures that are significantly more accurate than others, and more suitable for certain types of powders, especially stick types. The reason I say sad is because the good ones also happen to be quite a bit more costly than the ordinary "store brands." To better illustrate I'll attach some photos (or try to) of a Bruno measure, inside and out. Notice the finish of the interior, especially the elleptical shape of the opening above the drum. The minimizes stick cutting to a major degree and the deeper drum cavity exposes less surface area, further reducing chance of stick cutting as well as increasing dump to dump consistency. Of course how a measure is used has a lot to do with it's accuracy. If you can, go to a rifle range at a time when a major bench rest tournament is being held. Those guys are the most expert loaders on the planet and just watching them is an education worth the time and trip. You'll see some ways to throw powder most accurately but what you won't see are cheap measures. But at least you'll learn how to better use any type measure by actually watching people who know what they're doing.

February 28, 2010, 01:45 PM

Can you describe the methods you have seen the BR crowd use?

February 28, 2010, 02:57 PM
Lee scoop and Hornady trickler....

Most accurate way I've found for my IMR 4064 loads. Slow and tedious as heck thou.


February 28, 2010, 10:40 PM
Stick powder jsut by nature is hard to cut. I have a Hornady, RCBS and a Lee. None of them are that great for stick powder. They work great with a short stick like H4895

February 28, 2010, 11:21 PM
I've found that I'll cut one out of every 10-15 charges when using say IMR 4831 or IMR 7828. I just dump that charge back without wasting the time to weigh it because more than likely it'll be off. Every 20 or so, I check my charges on the scale. Of course I sight check all my case under a good light too. I don't think you'll find a measure that will not every so often cut a grain. The SC (short cut) and the SSC (super short cut) powders help, but not all powders come in that flavor.

I've though about polishing the inside of the casting(the funnel part) on my Uniflow, but I have no problems to speak of, so it may not be worth it .

Jimmy K

March 1, 2010, 01:30 AM
My Lee thrower does a good job with RL15 and slightly less so with Varget. I manipulate the handle the same way each time, and give the dispenser two knuckle knocks each time.

If you don't let the hopper drop below 1/4 full, this helps keep the throws consistently just below target weight. Trickle to finish.

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