Lee Adjustable Charge Bar?


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keroseneburner
September 1, 2011, 06:22 PM
The wife got me a Lee Classic 4 hole turret press for our anniversary.:D I've ordered a Pro Auto Disk charge thrower to go with it. I understand the concept of the disk system, however, sometimes my OCD kicks in and I want a little more precision in my powder charges. Does anyone have experience using the Lee Micrometer Adjustable charge bar with a 4 hole turret press? Thanks

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AlliedArmory
September 1, 2011, 06:31 PM
I had one for a short while. Lots of people love it, but for me I couldn't get a consistent charge with it. It kept spilling W231 all over the place.

ljnowell
September 1, 2011, 07:13 PM
I have used one for a few years. I havent used a disk since I bought it. The only thing I will say is that mine is not consistent on tiny charges. I have a hard time throwing less than 3gr of any powder with it, even fine powders like AA#2. However, that doesnt really affect me much, as I dont load anything under 3.5gr now. As far as using it, its nice because you dont have to mess with the screws on the hopper to change disks. It is also just as consistent as the disks for me, at least above 3gr.

keroseneburner
September 1, 2011, 07:14 PM
Thanks. I use 231 more than anything. I may just have to deal with the disk system or go on meds.

ETA: lj: I think I'll order one and play with it. Luckily it won't break me if I don't like it.

J_McLeod
September 1, 2011, 08:29 PM
Here's a recent thread about it.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=601504

I also use 231 more than anything else, and my pro auto disk is +/- .1gr with it.

jfh
September 1, 2011, 09:03 PM
I have four Pro-type auto disks, all set up with adjustable charge bars. I load pistol cartridges, and .223, on both a Lee turret and a Load-Master.

My experience is exactly what ljnowell reports--they work fine, save for small loads--under 3 gr. I will mention that they work better with Pro-type hoppers; if your experience with them is leakage, then it may be that your hopper is worn or that you need a new seal.

Jim H.

oldreloader
September 1, 2011, 09:33 PM
They work fine for me. I have a pro auto disc on both my 9MM and 45 ACP dies and seldom ues anything but the adjustable charge bar..

wingman
September 1, 2011, 09:41 PM
I use the adjustable charge bar only works great never use the disk.

Jeff H
September 1, 2011, 10:01 PM
I would suspect it might work fine for some powders at small charges, but on HP-38/Win 231, you can't load down to 3.5gr or so without issues. Larger charges are fine. I use the disks mostly, but there is a place for the ACB; especially if you only have the single disk and want to load magnum powders to a specific weight.

john16443
September 1, 2011, 10:38 PM
I use the Pro auto disk with W231, Bullseye, Titegroup and WST. No leakage of any kind from any of these powders, and I think the teflon wipe on the Pro makes a big difference. There are all sorts of reports about leakage out of the regular style auto disk.

I also have good success throwing small charges of Titegroup or Bulleye, and I believe you will too if you take the time to run a couple hoppers of powder through the entire system with various microbar openings. That will coat the surfaces with graphite from the powder and make things flow smoother.

chhodge69
September 2, 2011, 12:34 AM
I couldn't get the charge bar to work with Unique - had to go back to the disks.

ljnowell
September 2, 2011, 12:43 AM
I'm not surprised it doesnt work well with unique. I tried to use it with corn flakes, excuse me, I mean 700x. It didnt work well there either. I like to use Accurate Arms powder like AA#2, it works great there, just not under 3gr. I also use it to weigh out 2400, anywhere from 12 to 21gr, it does well there.

ants
September 2, 2011, 03:43 AM
I've used one for about 4 years, mine works great with all powders, including W231 and Power Pistol and Unique. But I had to work and fiddle with it to make it flawless.

You can make it work down to about 3 grains of most powders if you understand that 'bridging' is not the problem with this adjustable disk. The problem is keeping the cavity directly below the hole in the hopper. That's why some guys say it works for large charges, but not small ones. When set for large charges, it always puts the cavity directly below the hopper port and it fills the cavity fully. But adjusting it down very small moves the cavity forward until it's not below the hopper port any more, so it fills the cavity unreliably. Take it apart, work with it until you can get a small cavity below the port and it works great.

That's the problem with some of the equipment in the Lee line. It works, but only if you know how to fiddle with it until you correct all the bugs. Once corrected, the machines load tons of ammo as well as any other. But finding all the bugs and tweaking the corrections is like chewing on a leather tit.

Leakage: Adjustable disk leaks badly with the old (obsolete) Auto Disk. The new Pro Auto Disk with the teflon seal leaks no more than any other powder measure on a progressive or turret, unless you have it assembled incorrectly. Incorrect assembly leaks every time. Correct assembly with the teflon seal, and it leaks a total of 5 to 10 granules onto the shellplate during a run of 100 rounds. That's about the same as my Dillon with the same powders, it's good but not perfect.

wingman
September 2, 2011, 09:22 AM
That's the problem with some of the equipment in the Lee line. It works, but only if you know how to fiddle with it until you correct all the bugs. Once corrected, the machines load tons of ammo as well as any other. But finding all the bugs and tweaking the corrections is like chewing on a leather tit.

True but normally easy to "fiddle" with my auto disk required buffing, used
very fine emery cloth on mating parts of charge bar, then ran graphite powder
(couple hoppers) through and no more problems used about 4 years now.

dickttx
September 2, 2011, 10:13 AM
What Ants said.
Also, the opening in the charge bar (or disk) needs to line up directly over the hole in the base. This is adjusted by adjusting your powder die in or out. If it is not directly over it there is a ledge that will catch some powder.
I keep a tube of graphite on my bench and puff it on the base and on the bar/disk everytime I take the hopper off.

Hondo 60
September 2, 2011, 10:37 PM
I had an adjustable charge bar that worked great for about 6 months.

Then one day the powder bridged & after that it was wildly inconsistent.
Even after switching to another Lot number of the same powder.
It didn't get wet (I reload in a spare climate-controlled bedroom)

Never did figure out why it went whacko.

germ
September 3, 2011, 12:23 AM
Scroll down to the 6th post, the one with the photos.
http://forums.loadmastervideos.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=582

I tried it, and yes this fix does work.

Fishslayer
September 3, 2011, 12:44 AM
The auto disc is very consistent. Just make sure you run several cycles after filling the hopper. The powder will settle and make for a bit heavier charge.

ALWAYS check the charge weight with a scale. The spread sheet provided is a guideline and will get you in the ballpark. Once you have it dialed in it should be very consistent. Coarser powders, of course will make for more variance.

As for the charge bar. It is known to not work well with very small charge weights. Lee sells a different disc for those. I use the charge bar to throw 14gr of 2400 & 5gr of Bullseye. The cavities in the discs aren't close enough. At those levels I've had very consistent result.

However, if I can find a disc cavity that is close, I go that way.

bds
September 3, 2011, 11:11 PM
I understand the concept of the disk system, however, sometimes my OCD kicks in and I want a little more precision in my powder charges.
I buy extra disk sets ($10) and drill out in-between or custom size holes.

As germ posted, some have reshaped the adjustable charge bar chamber to drop more accurate charges.

Some reported success using Bondo to reshape the charge bar chamber and I even thought about gluing a piece of plastic to reshape the chamber.

keroseneburner
September 4, 2011, 05:47 PM
Thanks, folks. I went ahead and ordered one. I don't generally load anything below 4 grains. I'll find some disk positions that work and then i'll try the charge bar. I think that i enjoy tinkering with this stuff just as much as shooting the ammo.:)

keroseneburner
September 11, 2011, 02:01 AM
OK. I got my Pro Auto Disk in and set it up with the Mic Adjustable Charge Bar. Worked out the formula for Win231 looking for 5.5 grains (5.1 on the mic). Initially, I got 4.6 grains (plus/minus .1) consistently for 20-30 cycles. I adjusted the mic to get the 5.5 grains consistently. When I ran a full cycle on the press I (deprime/resize/reprime, expand/powder) I got anywhere from 6.9 grains to zero grains dispensed. I got impatient and found a couple of disks that would work and loaded up a few work up rounds with them. I'm not giving up on it yet. I'll mess with it when I have more time to waste but I'm not impressed right now. I have read a couple of threads since I originally posted that give me a couple of things to try.

higgite
September 11, 2011, 11:22 AM
I drop 4.5 grains of W231 consistently +/-0.1gr with my Pro-auto Disk, with no modification, on a Lee Classic turret. Are you sure the ACB is making a full stroke each time? Not you or the press, but the charge bar itself. Your zero to 6.9 variation sounds sorta like it's not resetting all the way each time. Just a thought.

I also found that you have to be very consistent with each stroke of the press or you get more variation, but I've seen no more than +/-0.5 grain, and that was purposely seeing how far I could throw it off. I also keep the hopper at least 1/4 or more full. Hope this helps.

bds
September 11, 2011, 12:48 PM
I have two adjustable charge bars (yes, I gave it a benefit of doubt and bought another one) and they have not dropped consistent powder charges on my Pro Auto Disk using W231/HP-38 in 4.3-5.0 gr range I usually use for 9/40/45 calibers. It will occasionally throw very light charges and I fully cycle the ram lever to prevent short stroking. Acceptable variation in charge weight for W231/HP-38 is +/- .1 gr for me using the disks. Light charges have been up to 1.5+ gr in variation, which is not acceptable even for plinking loads.

As many posted, consistent movement of the charge bar with the chamber sliding fully under the hopper lip and over the drop hole seem to be the key for consistent powder drops. But I have not been able to achieve this with the two adjustable charge bars I have. I know that those using larger powder charges with different powders have gotten consistent charge drops, but I use W231/HP-38 primarily and would be nice if I can make the adjustable charge bar work with the powder charge range I use.

I have been using extra modified disks with drilled out hole sizes that will consistently drop the powder charges I want, but looking to modify the chamber shape of the adjustable charge bar either with Bondo or something else.

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