Lee Precision Adjustable Charge Bar.....Thoughts?


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Foto Joe
October 23, 2013, 10:42 AM
For a couple of years now I've been using a Lee Turret with and Auto-Disk powder measure system on it. It works good and generally I really don't have any major complaints with the system, it does what it was intended for but it isn't something that lends itself to critical adjustments.

Having said that I'm looking at retro-fitting my press with a Lee Adjustable Charge Bar and before I spend the whopping $20 that it will cost to get it to me I'm curious as to what other users of this think. Have you had good luck with it? Is it just a paper weight? And most importantly, is it better than the Auto-Disk system?

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/7-90792

This isn't a thread to bash Lee so if you don't care for Lee Precision don't try to change my mind about them, I'm not about to go out and spend a thousand dollars on a Blue press that's only a starter kit.

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Rule3
October 23, 2013, 10:54 AM
I have a charge bar for many years. I used it once or twice. ;)

Also have the rare micro discs and of course the double discs.

Just use the regular discs, I can adapt to what they deliver.

sexybeast
October 23, 2013, 11:46 AM
I also use the Lee Auto disc powder measure on my Loadmaster. I tried the adjustable charge bar to load very small amounts of 231 in .32 auto and it just was not consistant. Maybe with larger amounts but down in the 2gr area it was not trustworthy.

HJ857
October 23, 2013, 12:09 PM
I use them exclusively now after messing with the standard discs and double discs for years. But it depends on how much powder you drop and the type of powder. Small charges are a problem, flake powder can be a problem.

The smallest charge I drop is 4.5 grains of a ball powder and it's dead on every time. I also have two charge bars stacked like a double disc with both bars set at the same volume and they drop within 0.1 grains every time, also with a ball powder.

Since you're tweaking an existing set up, then yeah it's worth messing with. I find it to be far better than the standard disc system.

Potatohead
October 23, 2013, 12:15 PM
Im mixed on it. I had a thread illustrating my troubles named "Success With th Lee Charge Bar Attainable?" if you want any more details of my experience. The short version- I can get it to throw just perfect sometimes and sometimes not at all. I feel it is a bit powder finicky and it definitely doesnt like to throw little .32 or .380 charges. I am new though, so YMMV

Nordeste
October 23, 2013, 12:52 PM
It depends on what type of powder and the load you're targeting. It can be dead on consistent, or be very inconsistent.

With the damned Vectan BA9 I'm using (short strick, extruded form) I get very consistent charges if I set it over 4'5 grains. Any less and it starts getting inconsistent.

I'm currently using 5'4 grains of this powder (I know it sounds like too much, but any less won't make power factor) and it throws dead on.

It's worth buying it, for what it costs.

Potatohead
October 23, 2013, 01:08 PM
Nordeste nailed it

44vaquero
October 23, 2013, 01:27 PM
I own 2 of them in my supply box and have used them on occasion. They are not my 1st go to solution. I usually work with the disks 1st and if I am unable to get what I want then I move to the adjustable units.

It's a useful tool in the kit to have.

Potatohead
October 23, 2013, 02:07 PM
^^^^
I second that

RealGun
October 23, 2013, 02:27 PM
I use close to 5 grains or more on everything, so the charge bar is very useful. Less than 5 grains, maybe in the 3-5 range can be a problem.

I own multiple ACB units as my way of preserving a charge setting for a frequently used powder. It seems to be the cheapest duplication of equipment for different setups. I use a Lee turret for my revolver ammo.

I use the older style powder hopper, which used to be translucent red . My latest is transparent (colorless). I have the Pro powder measure on another press, but these older type, case-activated rigs work well for me.

I gather that some powders may cause leakage, but so far that has not been a problem for me.

These units can be preconditioned by using extra fine grit sanding on the mating surfaces, ensuring that the sanding is done against a dead flat surface.

Oldgoat03
October 23, 2013, 02:38 PM
I have a Lee Classic 4 hole Turret and Pro Disc powder measure. I the disks but use the adjustable charge bar for 95%+ of my pistol catrdige loading. It is accurate to .1 grain always and very easy to dial in for different charges. On the rare occasions that I load 380ACP I use the Lee micro disc because I too found the adjustable to be inconsistent below about 3.5 gr using W231/HP38.

I think for the small investment you will really learn to enjoy the simplicity of the adjustable charge bar.

OG03

Potatohead
October 23, 2013, 03:26 PM
I think for the small investment you will really learn to enjoy the simplicity of the adjustable charge bar.

No doubt-what is it like 10 bucks I think? Lee stuff is crazy cheap. I mean that in a good way.

wally
October 23, 2013, 04:07 PM
Doesn't work well at all with Unique (too much variation) and the charges I tried to adjust it to between a couple of the disk openings.


Its cheap enough to try, didn't work for me.

springer99
October 23, 2013, 04:13 PM
I use mine all the time for charging cases. I find that with Titegroup,W231 and HS-6 it's consistant and easy to adjust. I don't use it for charges below 4.0gr as the accuracy suffers. For 9mm,38Super and 45ACP, staying above that level isn't a problem. Well worth it AFAIC

Rule3
October 23, 2013, 04:40 PM
Don't forget they now have spray paint for plastic so if you spray it Dillon Blue it will be all the rage and everyone will want one!:D

I think most folks nailed it, It's fine for some powders not others and will not drop very small charges. I bought mine when I bought all the other stuff. Each to their own, you may find it useful, for the price it is no investment if you do not.

Now you got me thinking about it, I might pull it out and give it another try. As RealGun mentioned most loads are around 5'ish grains so it may dial in a little closer than the pre set regular discs.

1SOW
October 24, 2013, 03:33 AM
Same as said above.

The only good use for me is carefully tuning a load I like. If I find 4.1 grs is best, I modify a disk hole to privide exactly 4.1 grs and renumber the hole accordingly: hole # "49.1" means it added .1 grs to the chart in the powder I'm using.
It also works for any other powder by volume increase.

grogetr
October 24, 2013, 08:21 AM
Hello, I'm new to this but I used the adjustable bar and it seemed to stay real consistent at 4.3 g of w231 which I checked every 5th round trying to be very careful the first time reloading paying close attention to detail. The number on the charge bar did not match what the scale said so I went with the scale. I hope this was the right thing to do. Why would it be less consistent on a small charge than the disk. It seems like once you set it it would be good to go. Maybe the shape of the hole instead of being round like the disk. Thanks and I have been learning alot on here the last few months

Foto Joe
October 24, 2013, 10:52 AM
Don't forget they now have spray paint for plastic so if you spray it Dillon Blue it will be all the rage and everyone will want one!

I could retire on the money from GunBroker selling these I'll bet.:neener:

For years I used an adjustable charge bar on a progressive shotshell loader and I loved the thing. But of course with shotshells you're rarely dropping 3gr of powder.

My main reason for wanting to try this is that I've got some 45ACP load data that drives me nuts with the disks. For example: 160gr LRNFP on top of 5.3-5.8gr of 700X. That's a pretty small window for using the Auto-Disk system. And yes I know that those are itty bitty little boolits for 45ACP but they're wickedly accurate and will knock a golf ball a good 50 yards.

Anyway, the idea is to get shall we say "in the middle" of the data instead of the bottom end or into crash test dummy territory.

Rule3
October 24, 2013, 11:11 AM
Buy the charge bar, you have nothing to lose but a few dollars. As I mentioned I have not used mine enough to know wht powders will run through it the best. Just like the dics. Some ball powders are very accurate , flaky stuff not so good.

Potatohead
October 24, 2013, 12:39 PM
Don't forget they now have spray paint for plastic so if you spray it Dillon Blue it will be all the rage and everyone will want one!

+16 LOLs

Foto Joe
October 24, 2013, 01:02 PM
Well I guess we'll find out in a few days how this little thing works. I found one on Amazon and bundled it with something else that the wife needed for free shipping.

For now I'll cast up a few hundred .429 SWC's for 44-40 & 44 Special and by the time the charge bar shows up I should have 'em lubed and ready to go. Hopefully since I've got all my loads referenced to the Auto-Disk numbers I won't have to pull my hair out spending hours dialing in volumes to the correct weights. I should be able to set it using the disk numbers and adjust from there.

dickttx
October 24, 2013, 02:54 PM
I bought a half dozen of them on sale about three years ago. I have only used one. I only use HP38 and set one up for a test load in-between the disk holes. It was just as consistent as the disks.
However, when I moved my Lee four die sets and the PAD to my LnL it would not adjust because the metal is thicker on the LnL than on the Lee turrets.
For the disk or the ACB to work consistently you need to screw the die in or out to align the drop hole with the hole in the disk/ACB. Could not do this on the LnL, so I just adjusted my load to the nearest disk cavity.
My idea was that they are so inexpensive I would set one to a between the disk hole setting and loctite the screw in place.

frankenstein406
October 24, 2013, 03:03 PM
Didn't work with flake powder so it sits on my shelf.

Foto Joe
October 24, 2013, 03:11 PM
Didn't work with flake powder so it sits on my shelf.

I'd say sell it to me but they're so cheap you'd almost have to give it away to beat what you can buy them for.

frankenstein406
October 24, 2013, 03:19 PM
I'd say sell it to me but they're so cheap you'd almost have to give it away to beat what you can buy them for.
Yea I think I paid $7 from natchez but it would probably cost 3-4 to ship usps then you add in gas and I'm better off keeping it sorry man.

Rule3
October 24, 2013, 05:31 PM
Well I guess we'll find out in a few days how this little thing works. I found one on Amazon and bundled it with something else that the wife needed for free shipping.

For now I'll cast up a few hundred .429 SWC's for 44-40 & 44 Special and by the time the charge bar shows up I should have 'em lubed and ready to go. Hopefully since I've got all my loads referenced to the Auto-Disk numbers I won't have to pull my hair out spending hours dialing in volumes to the correct weights. I should be able to set it using the disk numbers and adjust from there.

All it is a adjustable hole or semi circle. It just makes the semi hole larger or smaller. Still a volumetric measure,
In theory you should be able to write down the setting but that will only get you close.

As mentioned forget flake powder like Unique. It has the same quirks as the regular discs.

JRWhit
October 24, 2013, 05:44 PM
Haven't seen it mention unless I skimmed over it, if nothing else the kit is worth it for the hopper. You can shut powder flow off and remove the hopper with thumb screws if you get the full upgrade kit. I assume that's what ur refereeing to for 20$. It also screws into the expander die without rotating the whole hopper so u don't have to remove the seating die to take it off. It hate flake powder but I have found great use for it.

Foto Joe
October 25, 2013, 10:49 AM
That's one of those items that I would put in one of my wife's C.R.A.P. (Collectables, Rare and Precious) sales that she has once or twice per year.

Foto Joe
October 28, 2013, 03:54 PM
So the Lee Adjustable Charge Bar showed up on Saturday. Today the wind is blowing like crazy and being outside sucks so I figured I'd finally set up a turret for 44 S&W Special to feed to my '94 Marlin, a great excuse to set up the ACB.

I can see why these things don't cost a ton of fun tickets, there ain't much to 'em is there? On the other hand, after getting the charge dialed in, the thing is extremely consistent. It took me probably 5 minutes of fiddling around with it to dial in for 5.0 gr of TrailBoss (1.15cc btw) before I trusted it to start loading. The first 20 rounds I weighed each and every one of them simply because I wasn't real trusting yet. Every one that I weighed was spot on at 5.0, no +/- .01 etc., just dead on 5.0 which is more than I can say for the disks which are usually +/- .01 on a good day. After weighing the first 20 I slacked off and only weighed every 5th one and still the thing never dropped anything other than what I had originally set it for.

Obviously I haven't tried 700X, AutoComp or Universal in it yet but it looks like this little gizmo might just come in kind of handy.

hentown
October 28, 2013, 05:36 PM
I never tried the adjustable charge bar for small charges, but for 6-10 grains, I found them to be accurate. Of course, that was back when I was loading tediously on a Toadmaster. I even adapted an adjustable charge bar to stack in a double-disc kit, for loading .223s.

The design of the Loadmaster is so poor, that I found it impossible to approriately bump the shoulders of my .223 cases.

I'm drinking the blue koolaid now, so things are going a lot smoother for my reloading efforts.

Potatohead
October 28, 2013, 07:00 PM
there ain't much to 'em is there?

Nope

kostner
October 28, 2013, 07:43 PM
Got one years ago but have never used it. Have good results with the disk on most powders. Never could get the double-disk to work for rifle some use a Hornidy off press powder dispenser.

TrueTexan
October 31, 2013, 04:42 PM
Something's I do to get a consistent charge first wipe down the inside with a used dryer sheet. Tap the hopper gently after each drop, some people have setup a way to vibrate it. Consistent pull on the handle and don't short stroke. Keep the hopper over half full. Clean the drop tube after each frequently or at least before a heavy reload session.

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