Are High-End Powder Measures Worth the Price?


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Lawren5
July 25, 2013, 04:15 PM
Iím in need of a second powder measure. For the past seven years Iíve been using the Lee Perfect Powder Measure which has worked fairly well.

So, I'm looking at the RCBS Uniflow and Hornady LNL. They each run about $75, however, to reload for pistol, you need to purchase the small cylinder which runs about $30. On top of that, there is the stand which is also about $30 and then the drain insert which is another $10. In all, an RCBS or Hornady will run about $145. The Lee measure is only $25, handles both pistol and rifle loads, comes with a stand and doesnít need a drain insert because the hopper is detachable.

So, do the higher end measures perform that much better and are they worth the extra money?

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jcwit
July 25, 2013, 05:15 PM
Maybe--Maybe Not. It might depend what powder you are planning to use it.

Frankly I like my Lee, while my others sit in the drawer and on the shelf.

Lawren5
July 25, 2013, 05:31 PM
Good point. The Lee measures all powders well although there is some leakage with ball powder like H335. Also, small quantities of flake powder require that one uses a consistent technique while operating the measure to minimize variations in output. I suspect that the pricier units also experience this.

Steve C
July 25, 2013, 05:43 PM
"Worth the money?" depends if the measure does something better than the one you already have. I have 2 of the Hornady LNL's, one on my LNLAP press and one on a stand for use with my single stage reloader.

I have the smaller pistol meter for both and find these measures fill my needs for large rifle and small handgun charges. They meter all powders I've run through them well including the flake and stick powders. I bought the individual measure on sale at a good price from Midway so it was worth it.

Don't have the drain tubes, just take the measure off and pout the powder back out of the top. Already had a stand I had bought with my first powder measure purchased from Herters that I use for single stage. You can build your own stand for a few bucks with parts from the Home Depot using plumbing parts or follow one of the many plans available on the web.

SlamFire1
July 25, 2013, 06:17 PM
I have several measures, none of which are "high end". I have a Lyman 55, a Bonanza, and a Redding.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Reloading/Bonanzapowdermeasure.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/SlamFire/media/Reloading/Bonanzapowdermeasure.jpg.html)

What I have observed with the Bonanza is that the taller powder column shows more variation in throw weight (from top to bottom) than the shorter powder column of the Lyman or Redding.

Within the same column heights they throw about the same.

I do not have a Harrell, but a friend bought one. He had all the other name brand measures and he claimed, he could not tell a difference in charge variation between them.

There are different designs and I have not tried them all. I do recall a number of people being very happy with the cheapest powder measure Lee makes.

J_McLeod
July 25, 2013, 06:24 PM
I have a LNL, Lee Perfect powder measure and Lee Pro Auto disk. My favorite is the auto disk, with micro disk and adjustable charge bar. I use it for the pistol rounds on my LNl press instead of the LNL measure. The LNL measure seems to be more accurate with stick powders and I don't have a rifle charging die, so I use it for rifle rounds.

Shmackey
July 25, 2013, 06:52 PM
Hornady is fine but not really high-end. :)

http://harrellsprec.com/index.php?crn=49&rn=377&action=show_detail

Walkalong
July 25, 2013, 07:29 PM
It also takes consistency from the operator of any measure. Are they worth it? That is kind of like asking if they high end scope is worth it.

I can throw as consistent a charge with my BR-30 as I could with a Neil Jones. I love my 10X measure. My LNL measure is only used for .458 Win Mag and it throws well.

brickeyee
July 25, 2013, 09:01 PM
I'm looking at the RCBS Uniflow and Hornady LNL.

These are NOT "high end' Harrell's (and the bench rest measure) are high end.

http://www.harrellsprec.com/

rcmodel
July 25, 2013, 09:13 PM
$30 for a stand is highway robbery if you are half way handy.

Here are my three homemade stands.

And I don't have $3 bucks in all three of them.
Just some junque scrap iron.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/PowderMeasureStands_zps76a007ef.jpg

rc

matrem
July 25, 2013, 09:49 PM
My Lyman 55 & Lee "perfect" drop ball powder accurate enough to not be even close to the weak link in my handloading process.
Lyman, tens of thousands of drops.
Lee, thousands of drops.

splattergun
July 25, 2013, 10:22 PM
It also takes consistency from the operator of any measure. Are they worth it? That is kind of like asking if they high end scope is worth it.

I can throw as consistent a charge with my BR-30 as I could with a Neil Jones. I love my 10X measure. My LNL measure is only used for .458 Win Mag and it throws well.
Exactly.
Whichever your measure, whatever your technique, whether you tap every throw, no tap, full or 1/2 full reservoir... be consistent in everything from filling, and the same speed in each full handle stroke, both up and down. It won't take long until you find the 'groove' that works best for you and keeps your charges reliably consistent, and you will notice it when a charge is 'off'.

BullfrogKen
July 25, 2013, 10:30 PM
The RCBS Uniflow and Hornady measures are not high end. They are just good, moderately priced tools.

I hated Lee's Perfect Powder Measure for those same reasons - ball powders leaked and others wouldn't drop nicely. It works, but those others don't suffer from the problems Lee's does.

I like the other powder measure tools Lee makes, just not that one. I gave mine away to a new reloader here a few years ago.

Constrictor
July 25, 2013, 10:53 PM
Hornady is fine but not really high-end. :)

http://harrellsprec.com/index.php?crn=49&rn=377&action=show_detail
That's exactly what I was going to point out. Harrell is high $$$

morcey2
July 25, 2013, 11:27 PM
I use a LPPM and really like it. I don't use a lot of really fine ball powder, mostly stick rifle powder. Once I added a baffle made out of a prescription bottle lid, it started throwing varget at +- 0.2 gr from full hopper to empty. Prior to the baffle, it would start at 45 gr when full and closer to 42 when almost empty and the throws would vary +- 1 gr quite often. It's a good enough powder measure for me at the moment, but I check about every 15 throws depending on what I'm loading.

I've got some Big Game and H414 that I'm going to start using and we'll see how they do in it, but I don't know if they're considered 'fine' ball powders.

ETA: I also use the lee dippers when loading trail boss rifle loads. :) That's high-end for ya!

Matt

cfullgraf
July 25, 2013, 11:54 PM
I had a Lee Perfect powder measure for a short while about 7-8 years ago. It never worked for me.

I use a Redding 10-X for handgun, RCBS Uniflow for small rifle (223 Rem, 204 Ruger etc) and a Midway Indispensable for large rifle (308 Win, 30-06).

I get good results with all three but technique is one of the major keys. Operate the measure the same way with each stroke.

I like baffles in my powder measures.

6 to 9 months ago, I got a Harrel Precision Culver style measure. I like it very much. Operates smoothly, consistent powder charges, easy to change charges, repeatable settings. But, it makes a Redding powder measure look inexpensive.

I built a floor stand for my powder measures. Keeps vibrations from the bench getting into the measure. It is easy to move the stand out of the way when not in use. I also built a shelf stand to hold the powder measures not in use.

lightman
July 26, 2013, 12:12 AM
To me, high end means Neil Jones, Bruno's, Harrells, and the like. Are they worth it? I guess thats a personal thing. I have, or have had a Herters, RCBS Uniflow, Dillon, and a Harrells.They all work fine. They all depend on the operator getting the feel for them. All of these have been about equally accurate. The Harrells is so much smoother there is no comparison. But the real difference is in the adjustments. "X" number of clicks on the Harrells will be the same weight tomorrow or next week as it is today. You can bank on it! Not so much with the Lee, Hornady, Lyman, Redding or RCBS. This is no slight to any of these, just the way it is.

As far as stands go, one would be easy to make if you have any skill with tools. I've seen them made with everything from square tubing and flat iron to wood and sheet metal. Some of them looked very professional! A good example is in one of the above post. Lightman

John C
July 26, 2013, 02:15 AM
I used a Lee Perfect Powder Measure when I first got into reloading. It's a fine tool, and now that I've moved on to other measures, I haven't really found them to be more accurate than the Lee. The real advantage to the Uniflow, etc is the action. The lever on the Lee never moved that smoothly, as you would expect with plastic on plastic. The higher end, metal measures are very smooth, and that sped up my reloading. I sold my Lee to a friend, and it's still going strong.

I have a couple of Uniflows, a couple of Lyman 55's, and a JDS Quick Measure. For a mid priced measure, I prefer the Lyman 55 to the Uniflow, but either are excellent measures. Go ahead and pick up a Lyman 55 off ebay, and it will work well with ball or flake powder. Keep your Lee Perfect Powder Measure for stick powders.

James2
July 26, 2013, 02:36 AM
The Lyman 55 is the only measure I have ever had. Some 55 years of use on my bench and still does a good job. I have used quite a variety of powders in it. I have no interest in any of the "High End" measures.

stubbicatt
July 26, 2013, 09:53 AM
+1 on Harrells. I think the clicks in the adjustments make it easier to use consistently. Plus with the RL15, Varget, H4895 class of stick powders, one click is one tenth of a grain. That is pretty sweet. It doesn't digest H4350 very well, however. With ball powders, no leakage, like the Lee Perfect Powder Measure.

I've heard of steps one can take to the rotor mechanism in the Lee which will make it not leak, involving JB and some pressure to lap the conical rotor into the recess in the measure body. I've never tried it though.:uhoh:

USSR
July 26, 2013, 12:54 PM
I have had good luck with my two Redding measures. For handgun loads I use a Redding #3 with the pistol meter in it. I throws consistant charges of 700-X, which can be a difficult powder to measure accurately. For rifle loads I use a Redding BR-30. Both measures have baffles in them.

Don

GLOOB
July 26, 2013, 05:53 PM
$30 for a stand is highway robbery if you are half way handy
That's nothing. I paid nearly twice that for my dispenser stand.
http://www.amazon.com/Proxxon-28606-MICROMOT-Drill-Stand/dp/B000209ZAE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1374871821&sr=8-2&keywords=proxxon+drill+press

http://s688.photobucket.com/user/gloob27x/media/SAM_0204.jpg.html?sort=3&o=16

That's a high end Lee Perfect Powder Measure.

W.E.G.
July 26, 2013, 06:00 PM
Micrometer-type measures are da bomb.

Once you know the micrometer-setting for the loads you like, you just make a note of it, and dial-in the desired setting the next time you assemble those loads. Saves lots of time and annoyance diddling with the measure to try to get it to "throw right."

Somebody will chime-in to say you "must always weigh to be sure."
Yeah, that's true.
But, I have NEVER had my micrometer measure give me a bad drop when I dial-in the micrometer-setting from my notes.

Diddle once, score over-and-over.

Walkalong
July 26, 2013, 06:56 PM
Yep, as long as you repeat everything the same each time, your setting will throw the right charge weight, until you change powder lot numbers, and then you have to start from scratch, although once in a blue moon it will be dead on. Still pays to weigh a couple of charges just to be safe though.

jack44
July 26, 2013, 07:40 PM
I do alright with my CHEAP lee perfect powder messure.

callenlee
July 26, 2013, 08:08 PM
I don't have experience with the other, more costly options. I've got the Lee Perfect Powder and it has worked great for what it is. As an earlier poster stated, it isn't the smoothest action, but has been plenty accurate. I just received a autodisk pro and the micro adjustable charge bar, but haven't used it yet. Charging cases is the slowest most tedious part of reloading for me. I'm hoping the autodisk helps expedite things. I'll be starting of very cautiously as I did with the perfect powder measure when I first began using it.

cfullgraf
July 26, 2013, 09:49 PM
To add to my previous post, I have a Dillon measure on my SDBs, they work fine on the Dillon SDBs particularly with 700-X.

I modified a Redding 10-X to run on my Hornady L-N-L. The Redding seems to work better with flake powder like 700-x and Unique than the Hornady measure.

I also like the micrometer adjusters on my powder measures. They do not improve the accuracy of the measure but they do make it easier to adjust and return to a particular charge weight, assuming you record the setting.

The Lyman 55 has a pretty good following, one of these days, I'll try one out.

stubbicatt
July 27, 2013, 09:11 AM
Cfulgraf, about that Lyman measure, my first "kit" back in the 80s was a Lyman, and it came with that measure. Perhaps it was my neophyte status, but I never was able to get that powder measure to throw consistent charges. Of a similar, "Culver", type, is the Harrell's I'm using now, which, while more expensive, is a very consistent performer.

Of course YMMV, but if your experience is anything like mine, I believe you will be happier if you buy the Harrells.

cfullgraf
July 27, 2013, 09:46 AM
Of course YMMV, but if your experience is anything like mine, I believe you will be happier if you buy the Harrells.

Yep, the Harrels are good, i already have one.

Hangingrock
July 27, 2013, 10:03 AM
I utilize a Belding & Mull powder measure. Some may find the powder charge dispensing nettlesome as opposed to unique. The design has fixed hopper, sliding secondary reservoir then a adjustable drop tube. Sounds more complicated then what it is. Accuracy of charge weights with IMR series powders is better than other measures I've used.

Clark
July 27, 2013, 04:04 PM
Bart Bobbitt, who posts at The Firing Line, says that shot to shot variation in powder charge does not matter much.
He has shot some great groups when the wind is not blowing.

Win. 70 in .308 Win., 40 shots at 600 yards, all inside 2 inches; 1/3 MOA.

Win. 70 in .30-.338 Win. Mag., 30 shots at 1000 yards, all inside 5 inches, 1/2 MOA.

And that is with a .3 gr spread

Old usenet posts from 20 years ago, before the WWW had gun forums.

http://yarchive.net/gun/ammo/reload_multistage_press.html

Hondo 60
July 28, 2013, 12:58 AM
My observations:

Different measures are best using different powders.

I have a blue progressive press.
The Dillon PM that came with it works best with
Tite Group, Universal, AA #5 & Varget.
All are usually +- .05gr (not 1/2 a grain, but 5/100th of a grain)

It does NOT work well with Unique, Lil Gun & 2400.

My Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure works GREAT with Lil Gun & 2400.

My Uniflow, works well with all except Unique.

(I don't have a PM that works well with Unique - so I have to hand weigh each charge)

Peter M. Eick
July 28, 2013, 07:10 AM
To add to the post above, I have observed that the wear patterns matter a bunch. I have 3 different uniflows. One has done about 300,000 rounds, one has done about 40,000 and one has done about 1,000.

The difference smoothness is dramatic. I don't have a cross over point, but somewhere between 40,000 and 300,000 it seems to stop getting better. But the difference between 1,000 and 40,000 is dramatic and the difference between 40,000 and 300,000 is quite noticeable.

My primary uniflow on my pro2000 will dispense 800x to +/- 0.1 grns routinely. This is a notoriously bad powder for dispensing. My new uniflow is more like +/- 0.5 grns in the same setup.

Ridgerunner665
July 29, 2013, 03:12 AM
Who needs a powder measure stand?

I have had mine mounted directly to the bench for years...works just fine.

Here it is on the new bench I just built...I finally got moved into the bigger room and out of the cubby hole I was using as a reloading room.

http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc137/Ridgerunner665/IMG_20130729_021441_zps6ad37391.jpg

The old room...

http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc137/Ridgerunner665/127_2794.jpg

GLOOB
July 29, 2013, 03:17 AM
Your stand doesn't adjust to the perfect height to throw powder directly into the cases while they're still in your loading block. :)

Ridgerunner665
July 29, 2013, 03:24 AM
I only use it for rifle rounds (30-06, 270, 243, and such)...rarely load more than 20 rounds at a time...I just do it by hand.

The only thing I use a block for is holding empty brass...once I pick up a case, it gets loaded before I pick up another one.

I'm a "one at a time" loader....each round is a work of art unto itself :D

And doing it that way breaks up the monotony of weighing and trickling every powder charge.

Off topic...I'm anxious to load a few rounds in the new room, I've been working all year and haven't loaded a single round since last October...thats gonna change in about 10 more days.

fguffey
July 29, 2013, 01:19 PM
then there are the old Ohaus powder measures, twofer one, or all-in-one, rotate the rotate for a small drum, turn it over for the large drum. Then there is the large Hollywood gun shop measure.

Expensive? The little dandy by RCBS is a large investment with 25+ rotors.

F. Guffey

cdb1
July 30, 2013, 12:40 PM
Am new to hand loading and have the Lee Auto Disk that came with the kit I bought. It will not throw the very small charges needed for .380 in some powders and will not throws enough powder for 30-06, .270 etc.

Two weeks ago I purchased the RCBS Chargemaster Combo. It cost as much as the kit I bought, but after using it several times it is worth every penny. Money is super tight right now, I had to sell a firearm to purchase the Combo. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

cdb1
July 30, 2013, 01:00 PM
Am new to hand loading and have the Lee Auto Disk that came with the kit I bought. It will not throw the very small charges needed for .380 in some powders and will not throws enough powder for 30-06, .270 etc.

Two weeks ago I purchased the RCBS Chargemaster Combo. It cost as much as the kit I bought, but after using it several times it is worth every penny. Money is super tight right now, I had to sell a firearm to purchase the Combo. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

stubbicatt
July 30, 2013, 08:17 PM
cdb1, congratulations on your RCBS chargemaster. The concept is super. I had one in the late 90s. I sold it when I got the cancer. I think you will really enjoy it.

taliv
July 30, 2013, 08:31 PM
i have the harrell and would not buy another. but i still use it about every day.

if you want to get crazy "high end", do a search for prometheus. i think they're $3000ish when you can buy them.

Zcarp2
July 30, 2013, 08:43 PM
Belding & Mull for extruded stick powders. I am very impressed. Dillon for all the pistol and flaked powders. Never had an issue with the charge weights once set.

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