Do you vibrate your powder measure?


September 17, 2011, 11:51 AM
I've been reading the threads on this, and it looks like some people have great success with using a fish tank aerator or other vibrating device to keep the powder settled. I'm curious to see how it polls out. I'm also planning on making up some loads using Unique and then chrono one batch with vibration, and another without. Science at work.

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Steve C
September 17, 2011, 12:03 PM
I have 2 Hornady powder measures, one on a LNLAP and one on a stand for the single stage. There's enough vibration when operating the automatic and the single unit to keep the powder setteled after a couple throws that additional vibration is not required.

September 17, 2011, 12:19 PM
I see no advantage to vibrating a powder thrower.

The problem becomes one of uniformity, or duration for each throw. Testing of both methods would be necessary to find out duration and consistancy of both methods.

I built my bench to be very solid, heavy, and then bolted it to the wall. Adding 400 pounds of lead to the lower shelf makes it even steadier. All this to eliminate vibration that could affect powder measure inconsistency. I doubt I would ever consider vibrating the measure, wasting all that effort.

September 17, 2011, 12:38 PM
I don't currently vibrate my powder measure, but I've been thinking about it. I have a Dillon 650, with a strong mount, and it would be easy to attach a vibrating device to it.

I've delayed this idea because I'm concerned about the cases being moved out of their proper position on the shell plate.

September 17, 2011, 12:48 PM
Yes & No.

I use mostly one of three Lyman-Ideal #55 measures.
And I do use the little hammer doohickey each throw.
So I suppose that counts as using vibration?

I also cut off an Oral-B Pulsar toothbrush handle and replaced the battery in it last winter. Thinking I would tape it to a powder measure hopper and see if the vibration made any difference.

But that was then, and so far, I haven't got a Round Tuit.

I also made some aluminum baffles last winter and tried them.
I got more variation with them then without them using Unique & Red Dot powder.


Dave P
September 17, 2011, 01:03 PM
"I haven't got a Round Tuit."

You are in luck, RC: I happen to have a couple of spares, although they may be slightly out-of-round. Let me know!

Jim Watson
September 17, 2011, 01:08 PM
I put a vibrator ($6 aquarium air pump) on my S1050 when I wanted to produce powderpuff .45 ACP loads with flake powder like 700X, Clays, and Solo 1000. It improves consistency with all but is essential for reduced loads of 700X, else you will occasionally get one grain instead of 3.3. (I never got a complete bridge and a zero powder stuck bullet "squib" but the time I had a .38 wadcutter hit the B27 about a foot and a half low was embarassing.)
I have a supply of 700X and seldom load shotshells these days, so am trying to use it even though it takes an extra gadget.

September 17, 2011, 01:42 PM
Following is the data I collected using a Lee Perfect Powder Measure with and without vibration as measured on a 505 scale modified with a needle indicator for more accurate reading (down to 0.05 grains). 40 throws each method.

Powder used: Titegroup
Vibration source: Micro vibrator from Radio Shack
Vibration method: Micro switch activated at top of throw

Without vibration:
Average throw: 3.958 grains
Max spread: 0.2 grains
Std dev: 0.053 grains

With vibration:
Average throw: 3.99 grains
Max spread: 0.1 grains
Std dev: 0.026 grains

May not be needed, but I'm happy to add 10 bucks worth of equipment to the Lee PPM to make it into a +/- 0.05 grain accuracy powder measure.

September 17, 2011, 04:52 PM
Did you ever try using the vibration continuously, or only at the top of each activation of the powder measure?

September 17, 2011, 05:37 PM
i vibrate mine... by flicking it

September 17, 2011, 05:50 PM
I mainly use a Lee powder thru die & Make sure to "bump" the handle on the down stroke .

I have done the tumbler on the table thing for measuring HERCO & IMR 800X.

So I have to vote yes.

September 17, 2011, 05:53 PM
I used to rap mine at the end of the stroke. I consider that vibration. My consistency of charges was good.

About 15 years ago, I decided that having the powder measure mounted to the bench was getting undue vibration from the operation of the press. The vibration would alter the density of the powder column and the charge weights would increase over the reloading session. I would charge a bunch of cases then seat the bullets. When I returned to charge more cases, the powder charge had increased.

I have since built floor stands for my powder measures to isolate them from the bench. As I throw charges, I try to vibrate the measure as little as possible. I get good results with my procedure.

Also, I use a baffle religiously in my four powder measures. In my L-N-L measure on my progressive, I have been experimenting with two baffles with results better than one baffle. I cannot eliminate the bouncing and bumping of the powder measure on the progressive so I tried another solution.

I know that other procedures work. The trick is to operate the measure the same way every time to get consistent results.

September 17, 2011, 09:27 PM
i have tried tapping on the hopper and check a few but i think it was worse.

i just try to keep all motions consistent and i check weight fairly often.

September 17, 2011, 09:32 PM
Did you ever try using the vibration continuously, or only at the top of each activation of the powder measure?
I tried a constant vibration, but since I'm a slow loader, the powder tends to get packed and eventually it will become inconsistent again. I found it to be the best just to vibrate at the top of the throw.

As a matter of fact, I just loaded 50 rounds and measured 20 of them randomly. All 20 throws the needle point stayed within the width of the main level line on the 505 scale...I am guessing it's probably within 0.025 grains.

September 17, 2011, 09:54 PM
I manually operate mine, so I give it a solid double tap at the top and a double tap at the bottom of the stroke. Even big flake powders meter reliably that way.
Baffle placement also seems to make a difference, very low for Clays, up about 1-1/2" for Universal and other powders.

September 18, 2011, 06:31 PM
I use one on my Dillon 550B for loading my powder-puff cowboy action loads. I feel its needed only when using small charges of bulky powder like TrailBoss in my situtition. When loading small charges, if you would happen to get a lighter charge than what you want, it will most likely cost you, in that you will have a plugged barrel in a match that you were wanting to do well at. IMO it works well for me. LM

September 18, 2011, 06:42 PM
A consistent bump at the bottom every time.

Kevin Rohrer
September 18, 2011, 08:09 PM
My two main measures B&M clone and a Quick-Measure don't need them.

September 18, 2011, 08:36 PM
No fore-play required.

September 20, 2011, 08:51 AM
Not right now I don't. I'm getting .1 gr variance on 30 throws so there isn't a need. I'm only using H4895 right now... I may have to consider it when using a diff. powder.

September 20, 2011, 02:08 PM
Wife got one of those $10 foot massagers. I've tried it a couple times, really helps settle the powder under the baffle at first. Didn't notice much diff after that. Problem is when I turn it on, she wants her feet rubbed.

Hondo 60
September 20, 2011, 07:36 PM
Haven't tried a vibrator on either of my powder measures.

I have an RCBS Uniflow for rifle rounds & a Dillon PM for my progressive for handgun rounds.

Both of 'em only vary +-.1, so no need so far.

September 22, 2011, 06:47 AM
While this may be an interesting academic exercise, the bottom line is the size of the group you are shooting. Over many years of experimentation, I have found that bullet choice has a far greater effect on group size than does a tenth of a grain of powder either way. Shooting 45 colt in my ruger super redhawk, one bullet may shoot 4 inch groups at 100 yards and another may yield something that resembles a shotgun pattern.

Having said that, I find the powder measure on my Dillon XL 650 gives pretty consistent results to a tenth of a grain with both Universal and 231. My RCBS uniflow gives similar results with H110.

Red Cent
September 22, 2011, 03:59 PM
As a dedicated user of the vibrator:evil:, it is not meant to provide a tenth or less of a gr accuracy. The device is used to prevent flake or rod powders from bridging. Some may use it for consistent throws. I would think it would be a waste used on a manual powder throw. If you are going that slow, a few pecks on the hopper would suffice.
Between the vibrator and the case powder check on my Dillon, I am not at the least concerned. I shoot Cowboy and PCCA. I use the cowboy loads in PCCA. Both require fast and furious shooting , usually close and big. Supreme accuracy not necessary

September 22, 2011, 10:46 PM
I don't use flake or large rod powders in my pistols.
My turret press jiggles and jostles the powder hopper. I have used a dowel-hammer and it made no difference.

September 23, 2011, 03:56 AM
No baffle no vibe no problem

But I have my uniflow set up to dump and cut grains on the downstroke where I have the weight of my arm into the motion.

With this setup I can meter big old Lincoln log looking imr5010 well within .2 grs +-

September 23, 2011, 06:11 AM

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