Is there a powder measure that will drop a charge of Varget .1 grains consistently.


September 11, 2011, 07:23 AM
I am currently using a Hornady. It works great with ball powders, with Varget not so much. In my initial testing several years ago it I was getting .2 grains. OK not great but
Yesterday I was getting .3 grains. :( I really think its time to tighten up. I dont think .03 grains in a charge of 24.0 grains (under 77grain SMK .223) is going to through me off target too far.
But a point is a point, and mentally its one less thing to worry about.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you my have.

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Kevin Rohrer
September 11, 2011, 08:32 AM
1. Belding & Mull or any of its clones

2. Quick-Measure

A B&M Clone (Vega Schutzen) is to the left, a true B&M is in the background, and the Quick-Measure is in front

3. Hollywood

September 11, 2011, 08:54 AM
0.6 (+/- 0.3*2) grains is 2.5 percent of 24 grains.

In a 3000 fps load this will give you a maximum velocity variance of
75 feet-per-second.

For the average shooter your impact point will vary more
from your breathing than this powder variation.

If you're married you should have learned to live with more
variation than this by now. Especially if you have kids.

Just my opinion.

All the Best,
D. White

September 11, 2011, 10:22 AM
When the slides are adjusted properly, and the operation of the drum handle and "knocker" used consistently, the Lyman #55 powder measure will provide the most accurate powder drops of any measure that I have used in my nearly 50 years of reloading.
From the long grains of IMR4064 to the dust of pistol and shotgun powders, the #55 will throw +-.1 grain consistently, something that the tube type measures cannot match.

Truth be told, consistent operation is the key to accurate drops with any type of measure, it's just not all measures are created equal.


September 11, 2011, 11:56 AM
I just went down to the basement and pulled out my Harrells Culver;
Dug out my remaining Varget which was sufficient fill the powder tube about 25% (worst case for consistency); threw a dozen charges to settle things out and then ten for record:

Lever arm UP
Pause 1/2 sec
Lever arm DOWN
Quick double TAP at stroke bottom to assure full drop


AVERAGE: 43.19gr
STD DEV: 0.07gr (yeah, I know it's a small data group)

I own two Harrells - the Culver above and the Pistol/Schutzen for small loads.
I just sent another pistol/schutzen measure to my son for his 30th Bday.
The gold standard. :D

September 11, 2011, 12:02 PM
This ".3 grains" conclusion is just as likely a WEIGHING-error as it is a drop-error.

September 11, 2011, 01:19 PM
Harrells are the best, and they will meet or exceed your +/- 0.1 gr. standards.


September 11, 2011, 01:24 PM
I get +/- .2gr form my RCBS measure with a charge of 38.5gr of Varget. I shoot this in my 6mm m700 target rifle and get average groups of 1" or less at 300 yards. I've tryed weighing each charge and it doesn't shoot any better than the dropped charges. If i load over 50gr of powder i use two half charges to get more consistant weights with slower burning powders. One question for the op is do you have a baffle in your powder measure?

September 11, 2011, 02:49 PM
I was having the same drop variance with some powders up to .2
Im using a RCBS uniflow II with a Baffle. I made the "slots" longer by about 3/8" and a little wider, this will allow more powder to be under the baffle which gives a better constant drop . With W-231 I can hold with in a half a tenth using the small cylinder drum.
drop .

September 11, 2011, 04:21 PM
Check out the Redding Benchrest measure, I have two of them. If cost is of no object check out the Neil Jones custom powder measures.
I am not familar with them in use but some of the automatic powder measures with built in trickler may be a way to go. RCBS and Pact and others make them but I have no idea if they are as precise as what you need.

September 11, 2011, 05:59 PM
"Truth be told, consistent operation is the key to accurate drops with any type of measure, .."

Roger that. Most powder measures are potentially a lot more consistant than the user's techniques allow.

Most serious High Power competitors use ammo they made on a progessive press, their charges aren't usually weighed and you can bet that the automated powder drops are not consistant to .1 gr. Nor are the charges in mass produced but high grade commercial ammo such as Federal Gold Metal all that precise but it shoots very well. (Okay, I KNOW all that but I weight my rifle charges anyway. Never weigh for pistol tho, that would be more fun than I could stand!)

Fact is, not much ammo will ever notice any difference on target with a charge spread of .3-.4 gr. and it's very unlikely any measure will do much better than that with coarse grained tubular powders. Fine grained powders are easy to dispense accurately but it's physically impossible to put a consistant amount of coarse particles into a fixed space, the way it packs into the small measuring chamber is simply to random for that.

The presumed value of a 'bench rest' measure for most reloaders is misplaced. All the high cost measures offer is consistancy of the click adjustments. Most BR guys don't weigh charges, all they want from their measure is the ability to turn a specific number of clicks and know (from previous tests) what effect the change will have on target. And no BR measure I know of will drop charges large enough for most big game hunting cartridges anyway.

Lee's little "Perfect" plastic body measure is likely the most consitant available for coarse grain powders because of it's unique internal wiper design.

September 12, 2011, 12:54 AM
This thread is pulling the (virtual) scales from my eyes.

September 12, 2011, 01:06 AM
MY uniflow set up to dump on the downstroke may not do + - .1 but it will stay under .2 with varget or even courser powders easily. IME technique has as much or more to do with your meter's accuracy than the equipment itself.

Like other posters have noted I've not been able to find a discernible accuracy difference betwixt thrown and metered charges in my heavy bench rig which is good for .4" and under with thrown charges of IMR 4064

and of course this assumes reloading scales are accurate to +- .1 to test any of this which of course they're NOT.

Mike Kerr
September 12, 2011, 01:37 AM
You know, I am glad you asked that question. This thread:

1. Provided a lot of useful information regarding what some high dollar, and highly regarded equipment will purportedly do.
2. Provided some food for thought as to whether or not such small differences are really measureable with the equipement most of us have.
3. Provided a few wise comments that technique had as much to do with results as the equipment much of the time.
4. Provided at least one other person other than me who has found that even the least expensive and most maligned measure will provide incredibly consistent results with certain powder and a repeatable operator technique.

Thanks and regards,

September 12, 2011, 05:13 AM
Much thanks to all

I understand its probably not a huge deal. I am just trying to eliminate any possible problems so I can concentrate on shooting.

Mike I think you just about covered it.

Just one more question. More than 1 response mentioned that most powder scales are not accurate to .1 grain.
I realize a powder scale is not an expensive lab scale. Just how accurate do you believe them to be?
In checking out my little scale with check weights and by reweighing charges I have not noticed any changes in the weights.
I always assumed that it meant that I was OK to .1. OOPS :confused:

Again, thanks for the help

September 12, 2011, 07:36 AM
Pact states that their Precision Powder digital scale is accurate to 0.1 grains up to 1500 grains. I am sure competitive scales would have similar accuracy.

The beam scales should be accurate to at most 0.1 grains, the smallest gradation on the scale.

Operation of the scale can affect repeatability though.

As a note, a 0.3 grain difference in a 30 grain load is only a 1 percent difference.

September 12, 2011, 07:41 AM
no BR measure I know of will drop charges large enough for most big game hunting cartridges anyway.

Sure they will.

You just set the knob to throw HALF the amount required, and pull the lever twice.

September 12, 2011, 08:56 AM
Harrells makes one that does 120 Grs. Harrells are pricey, but very, very, good.

I bought a Niel Jones many years ago, but could not do any better with it than my Redding BR-30.

Technique, technique, technique..... and unless you are shooting a precision rifle at 600 yards or better, you will never notice +/- .2 Grs on paper. There are too many things that make a great deal more difference. :)

September 12, 2011, 09:44 AM
I've noticed some Bench Rest shooters now using the RCBS Chargemaster while loading at the range. Just use a battery pack. Every load dropped is weighed.

No more dropping 5-6 loads and pouring them back into the reservoir just to make sure the powder hasn't settled.

September 12, 2011, 09:56 AM
"More than 1 response mentioned that most powder scales are not accurate to .1 grain. I realize a powder scale is not an expensive lab scale. Just how accurate do you believe them to be?"

Good question. There are two kinds of accuracy. First is absolute accuracy to a specific amount along the full range of the scale. That's nice but, within reason, it's basically meaningless for reloading. MUCH more important to reloading is the accuracy of repeatability; ie, will we get the same reading for a given weight every time it's used so we can precisely duplicate a load tomorrow or ten years later; THAT MATTERS!

Beam scales are simple balances and are driven by gravity, it never changes. We move weights on one end to balance the weight we hang on the other end. Thus the absolute precision of beam scales depends on how the notches for the poise weights are cut and that's usually quite well done. I have three beam scales of widely varying age and price, the variation between them does not exceed .2 gr over the max range of the calibation. I can zero anyone of them and KNOW my readings will be well within any range for safety and also good enough to duplicate any cartridge I may have developed with one of the others. But, even if a scale is "off" a full grain somewhere in it's range it won't matter to its user so long as he uses the same scale to duplicate previous loads developed with it.

I have read reports of some fairly wide errors in precision weighing but I doubt they're correct as stated, beam scales that are very far off would have to suffer physical damage that can easily be seen. I bought my first beam scale in '65, it's as accurate and sensitive today as then and seems ready to go at least that much longer! No digital scale will do that.

I do NOT trust electronic scales with my powder; they simply drift and wander too much for my tastes. Fact is, electronic stuff WILL fail, it's just a matter of when and how. If it just quits that's a safe failure, but if it changes by driftng in an unnoticed way it can get me hurt. So, I limit my use of digital scales to bullets and cases; even if it's wrong I won't lose an eye.

September 12, 2011, 03:34 PM
I don't have experience with the real high dollar measures. I have a Lyman 55 and a Lee Perfect Powder Measure. The Lyman costs about three times what the Lee does. When I bought the Lyman I thought I was "upgrading" so I tucked the Lee under the bench. A few months ago I brought the Lee out of retirement because I was tired of dealing with the drop tube bridging with long grain powders like 7828. I had forgotten how well the Lee did with extruded powders, so it is back to being the starter for extruded rifle powders. The Lyman does better when I use W-780 or Hunter though in my rifles.

Anyway, to answer the question, the other night I was loading up 25 rounds for my 22-250 using 36.0 gr of Varget. From past experience I have found that variations of over 0.2 gr definitely innfluence the accuracy. Maybe not absolute velocity, but it does the accuracy. So I weighed every single charge thrown using the Lee. Out of 25 charges thrown, 16 of them were right on the money. Exactly 36.0 according to the Chargemaster scale. 8 of them were off by +/- 0.1 gr. Only 1 was off by 0.2 gr and I threw that one back. Maybe I am just lucky, but the cheapo Lee does a good job with the extruded powders if you know how to use it.

September 12, 2011, 03:46 PM
Do you have a baffle in the reservoir?

That and consistent operation are the real drivers.

September 12, 2011, 03:55 PM
>>I am currently using a Hornady. It works great with ball powders, with Varget not so much<<

I had a similar problem.

I charged about a dozen .223 cases with varget to weight them as a check for consistency. The idea was to pour the powder out of each case into the scale. There was so much bridging while trying to pour the varget from the case onto the scale that the case would usually not empty without tapping it on something.

As a result, I'm saying that the problem is more due to the nature of varget than it is due to the Hornady powder measure.

BTW, I have switched back to Win 748 for 223 for this reason.

Miata Mike
September 12, 2011, 04:20 PM
I would guess the Chargemaster 1500 would be that consistent. Might have to take a kernel of powder out here or there.

September 12, 2011, 04:28 PM
Don't have any varget, but I'm +/- .1gr on my lyman for extruded powders. I can get you one for 55, plus shipping.

September 13, 2011, 10:55 AM
I gave up on rotor-based powder drops for extruded powders. Got a Chargemaster 1500, did the drinking-straw mod, reprogrammed it for speed, and now it spits out exactly the right weight as fast as I can charge a case and seat a bullet.

September 13, 2011, 04:02 PM
"You just set the knob to throw HALF the amount required, and pull the lever twice. "

Golly, never thought of that. Maybe I don't need a shovel to plant my wife's new shrubs, I can do it with a spoon. ? ;)

September 13, 2011, 04:38 PM
Forgive me if I repeat something here. The OP's charge variance is only 1.25%, and there are probably a half dozen other factors that vary more than that and are not under a handloader's direct control: case capacity, bullet length/weight variance, scale inaccuracy...

When I started loading it was counterintuitive to me that the powder measure meters on the upstroke, not the down. (I know, silly.) So making sure you lift that handle the same way every time is key.

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