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Lee Auto Disk - what powders work well?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by hAkron, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. hAkron

    hAkron Senior Member

    Dec 11, 2010
    Akron, Ohio
    I have a Hornady LnL progressive press. I have been buying (at $25 a pop) a separate quick change powder die for each caliber I load. It's been working out well for the most part. Just for fun though I bought a Lee Auto Disk powder measure. It is case activated and you screw it on to a Lee powder through expander die. For about the cost of the Hornady powder die I could potentially have an entirely separate powder measure for some of the calibers that I load....assuming that I have a lee expander die for that caliber. I set it up for my 357 magnum as a test. I'm using H110 (or Winchester 296 if you prefer). The disk metered out the correct amount of powder, but it leaks a bit. H110 particles are pretty small compared with some of the other powders that I use, and the hopper on the auto disk is a bit small for the necessary 19gr of H-110. I'm thinking of testing it with HP-38 which is a bit bigger. If I can put this thing into duty for my .380, .38 spcl, or something then that would be great. Anybody have experience with the auto disk and various handgun powders?
  2. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Senior Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Peidmont/Triad, NC
    You will find out if you cycle the press to fast the disc will throw out some powder when it slides forward and the LNL-Ap will also throw some out from the shell plate rotating to fast and coming to a sudden stop when the detant catches it.

    Try slowing down on the cycle speed and concentrate on smoothness, you will have more consistent results.

    I've really never had any problems to speak of with any pistol powders except with unique but if you work with it, you can get it within .2gr at worst case.

    I hand load all my rifles shells so I can't speak of how rifle powder works in them.

    I'm using the pro auto disc.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  3. cberge8

    cberge8 Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Houma, la
    The only two powders I have ever used with mine (4 separate measures) is Bullseye and H110.

    Bullseye meters like a champ in it, with no mess to speak of.

    H110, like you have found, does tend to be a bit messy, but still meters very well.
  4. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Senior Member

    Jun 30, 2011
    It tends to leak ball powders. There is a fix posted on Lee's website. Mine drops H110 all over the place while with W231 I end up with a few flakes every now and then. The smaller the granules the greater the chance it will leak.

    Brought to you by TapaTalk.
  5. joecil

    joecil Member

    Apr 12, 2012
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Lee equipment is all I use so with that said here goes. I have converted the 2 Lee Auto Disk powder measure to the Lee Pro setups on my Lee Classic turret press and use the single disk, micro disk and double disks. I use a spreed sheet written by Ranch Dog (available on his site) called the VDM Calculator to not only find the real VDM of a powder on hand (rather than the posted VDM) as well as put together which disks, combinations or even scoops will work best. Since going to this method I have gotten consistent round that don't deviate from what I want to load regardless of the powder or type of powder.
  6. DanTheFarmer

    DanTheFarmer Member

    Sep 24, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Hi All,

    I've got the Lee Pro Auto Disk system.

    I've had good luck with all ball powders I've tried (rifle - H414, Hunter, BL-C(2), pistol - Titegroup, AA#7) as well as Bullseye, a small flake powder. Blue Dot, a much larger flake powder, hasn't measured so consistently for me. The extruded rifle powders (IMR 4064, Reloder 19, H4350) work o.k. but you have to be vigilant to be sure they don't bridge.

    With the Lee system the chart that is supplied to show the weight thrown by a given disk should be used as a guideline. For me it tends to throw a lighter charge than stated. It is, however, very consistent so a small amount of experimentation before a loading session has worked well.

    That's my $0.02.

    Good Luck.

  7. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Senior Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    the following powders have all dropped very consistently in the Pro Auto Disk for me...

  8. tglazie

    tglazie New Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Also VV N320 (and I hear other VVs)
  9. 1SOW

    1SOW Senior Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    South Texas
    The LEE Powder Disc system likes:
    Win 231/HP-38 (Small flattened ball)
    Accurate /AA powders (ultra small particles)
    Vihtavuori (small rods)
    These have worked very well for me.

    Vitually all powders that "drop in and fill" the disc cavity without much airspace or "bridging" between powder particles will work well.

    Large flake powders will bridge in the disc hole and not fill consistently.

    The disc's rotation and jostling by the handle pull is what settles the powder in the disc hole. Some reloaders TAP on the disc with a wooden dowel to help settle the powder more evenly in the hole. A PITA that doesn't always work as advertised, depending on the particle size/shape..
  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    I have had good results with any ball powder and I don't get the leakage some people report. I'm not sure why my Auto-Disk doesn't leak but I'm happy about it!

    Like I said, all Ball Powders or Spherical Powders meter well for me, very well.
    (W231/HP-38, W296/H110, AA#2, AA#5 and so on)
  11. jfh

    jfh Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2003
    Maple Plain, MN
    OK, good summaries of Lee experience; mine fits in with what others have said. The only powder I have that tends to leak consistently is AA#5. I find the leakage minimal and easy to live with, so it is NBD. FWIW, I load handgun cartridges (with a touch of .223), and my main powders these days are True Blue or No. 5 (.38S), or Power Pistol (.44 Spl).

    However, we have avoided comments on the ACB--Lee's Adjustable Charge Bar. I know some can't get it to work--but I have no trouble using it and one is installed in three of the four Lee measures I own (the 4th is an old aftermarket large-capacity ACB that handles H-335 for me consistently in .223 reloading. Using one, of course, makes infinite charge adjustment easy, so I haven't looked at the various volumetric charts for years.

    The extra cost of the "Pro" (chrome-plated base) is well worth it for long-term durability and for the additional features (hopper shut-off, elastomer wiper).

    One last caveat--I use mine on a (original) Turret, in progressive mode nearly always, as well as on a Lee Load-Master progressive. On the latter, I use ONLY the mechanical activation linkage as I am usually trying to run 400+ RPH when I load on this machine. IOW, I had the odd, exceedingly-infrequent hangup of the spring-loaded activation lever. Discussions of this phenomena show it is exceedingly rare, and that no obvious cause is available--but it does happen.

    AFAICT, this problem occurs when the components (disk / bar / hopper) have worn enough to bind or they have NOT been routinely maintained. The key maintenance is probably cleaning the powder-through expansion die and double-checking the tightness of the hopper screws. Remember that the PTE is deliberately made with a 'rough' finish to shake the dispenser slightly, and that roughness tends to collect brass from the cases and / or hang up new / unused cases. Cleaning that off always solved the hangup problem for me.

    Lee users tend to be problem-solver types who are process-oriented and not just goal-oriented. If you are primarily goal-oriented, you may not want to learn the routines here. Otherwise, go for it.

    Jim H.
  12. dmurdach

    dmurdach Member

    Oct 2, 2012
    Du Quoin, IL
    Unique can work

    I only recently started reloading, but i have done about 2000 rounds of 45 with LRN bullets and 5.0gr of Unique and find it to be consistent, but as was stated before the actual weight thrown is less than what is stated it should be according to the disk number, so be sure to weigh the charges until you get an appropriate weight. then just to make sure it is being consistent I weigh one powder charge in every 15 to 20 rounds.
  13. ATLDave

    ATLDave Senior Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    I use a Lee Pro Disk thing on my Lee turret. As others have noted, it meters pretty consistently with small powders, whereas the Alliant flake powders have bigger variances. With those, you've definitely got to pick a charge weight that gives you some room on both ends, and do a lot of weighing (I tare weigh the primed cartridge) to learn the variance. With the AA powders, the variances have been much smaller.
  14. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    No powder lot is exactly the same as the lot before it or after it. The chart provided by Lee are a guideline as to where to start when metering powders. Set it up and then weigh the charge and an average of 5 charges. If the charge weight isn't what you're aiming for then go up or down with the disk sizes to achieve the charge weight you're looking to use.

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