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Lee dippers

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by General Tso, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. General Tso

    General Tso member

    I'm new to reloading (no primers yet) and after reading many things about auto-powder dispensers, I think I'm going to start by using the Lee dippers. Any thoughts, please?
  2. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Well-Known Member

    I started with the dippers. They work fine as long as you are not trying to get to a maximum load. I personally would never try to load pistol rounds just because I don't trust myself. When you are dealing in 3 or 4 grain loads and a grain is the difference between ok and too much the dippers just don't give me a good feeling of confidence.

    They work really well if you just want to fairly accurately knock out a number of range rounds. Lets say you figure out that a full measure of the 2.2 cc dipper is well under max for your rifle round. You can take the dipper and a funnel and scoop away and in a few minutes you can load up 50 cases.

    I got a scale shortly after starting with the dippers. First a beam then a digital. For extremely precise work I only use the beam. I figured out shortly after getting started that a max load is rarely the most accurate load. But once you get a load dialed in for a particular rifle a couple of tenths either way can result in a less than optimum charge.
  3. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Regardless of which powder drop/charge method you use, I highly recommend you weigh some samples to check consistency. For pistol powder charge of 3-5 grains, 1 grain difference is too much and may lead to unsafe overpressure.

    Charge-to-charge weight variance of 0.1-0.3 grain is ok for plinking/range practice loads, but variance beyond that will begin to significantly affect accuracy.

    I get less than 0.1 grain charge-to-charge variance from Lee Auto Disk using W231/HP38 (small flattened ball powder and my match shooting powder). Larger flake powders may give variance of 0.2-0.3.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    They work!!!!!! they work well, but follow the directions explicitly, do no interpolate or extrapolate in any way. Use them as directed and your ammunition will serve well. I've been using them for over 40 years and the man that spent so many hours showing me how to do things(I learn Hard!)right had a set he made for himself long before WW2. He instructed me in using them and they work. It don't git no gooder!!

    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    I use them when I want to throw just a tad under the weight I am after into the scale pan, then trickle up to zero.

    I also have a powder measure with the micrometer adjustment and use that the same way - throw the charge that is a bit under into the scale pan, then trickle up several granules until zeroed.
  6. gandog56

    gandog56 Well-Known Member

    Dippers work better with ball powders than flake or extruded types.
  7. mcdonl

    mcdonl Well-Known Member

    I did a test last night. I wanted to load a couple hundred 9mm's, and I had 200 cases sized, expanded and primed with magnum primers so I wanted to be right on.

    The load was from Lymans 49th

    Bullet - Cabelas 115g plated RN
    Powder - Universal 4.6g (Minimum load in the manual was 4.5....)
    Cases - Mixed Brass

    So, my Lee Perfect Powder dispenser is less then perfect with this powder, so I end up weighing every round because I cannot get 2 to dispense the same.

    So, the test - I took the .5cc lee dipper, which for the universal clays powder is 4.6g and every scoop I took was on the button with my Lee Perfect Powder Measure.

    The maximum load was 5.0, so I felt very safe using the dipper and busted through 200 9mm in less then 1.5 hours on a single stage press.

    Shot the loads today and zero malfunctions out of a Smith 659 and Hi Point 995ts.

    I like the dippers for this particular powder.
  8. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Well-Known Member

    Lee dippers generally throw a lighter charge than they say they do. I also advise checking them against a scale. You can be very consistent and produce good ammo with them if you take care.

    I still use them at times.
  9. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    If you can...Get a scale to go with those dippers. Yes. They start out throwing light, but after a time you start fudging and they start to throw heavy.
  10. lgbloader

    lgbloader Well-Known Member


    I used dippers and a 510 scale for a long time. I trickle charged using the dippers. Later I got my first Uniflow and RCBS trickler, then another Uniflow and yet another. I have 3 Uniflows & 2 RCBS tricklers (it's amazing how much crud you can collect over time) and then a few years back, I got the RCBS charge-a-ma-thingy combo.

    Through it all, I still did the dipper & 510 thing, trickling with the dippers to exact charges. Just last Wednesday, I made 5 strings of cartridges (trying a new OAL) for the 7.62 Russian to chrony and all I used was a 1.6cc dipper and a 510 scale. Some old ways are just hard to stop.

  11. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    As long as you are consistent with charges, you will get accurate rounds - regardless of the method of powder charge used.

    Definitely +1 for the scale to make sure your charges are correct/within range.
  12. Pistola

    Pistola Well-Known Member

    Used lee dippers for years, packed small foil pieces in bottom to get exact charge needed, of course verified with scale.
  13. jmortimer

    jmortimer Well-Known Member

    I only use Lee Powder Dippers to charge. You only need to weigh your first load to make sure you are using the right powder. I hate using scales and weighing charges. Some powder containers are mislabeled or it is possible to mix up powder by dumping back wrong powder in the container. So you have to check the first load or so with a scale. For me I only use Unique for .45 Colt and .38/.357 so if I get 8 pounds of Unique I will weigh out first charge and then the scale gets put away for a year or longer. There is no safer method to reload and the dippers are cheap and no moving parts. Saw one reloader who pushed a shell into a dipper and modified it for a specific charge. You can modify the dippers by removing material or as indicated above putting in a filler to get exact charge. It is not a scoop. You use them by pushing the bottom down first and letting the dipper fill up and then striking it off with a card or small straight edge. There is no safer way to reload especially if you are not loading to the max.
  14. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    Is there a scale or list somewhere that I can get that tells you what each dipper gives you with different powders.
    I got a .7 cc dipper with my .45 Colt dies. I checked it with a couple of powders. Trail Boss takes two dippers to get 6 grains. I was wandering if there was some sort of list or chart.
    Didn't mean to steal the thread Gerneral Tso, but figured this would be helpful to you as well.
  15. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    I used dippers when I started. The charts are not so accurate. Best to get a scale to check.

    A year ago I got an extra scale on ebay for just under 16 dollars shipped. They aren't so expensive, and you will use it all your life.

    If you're using dippers, here's a old trick for safety:
    Put all the empty primed cases upside down in your loading block (or lay them flat on the table if you don't have a loading block) and leave them that way until your dipper is full. Then set one case upright and pour the powder, leaving it upright when you're done. So all the upright cases have already been charged. As you proceed, you will never accidentally double charge a case because you only charge the cases you have to pick up.

    One or two of the above posts may have some curiously worded information. If you're a beginner, better get double confirmation on everything just to make sure.
  16. chris in va

    chris in va Well-Known Member

    No need to run out and buy dippers...make your own from some stiff wire, glue/solder and shell casings (fired, with primer still in).

    For example, say you're loading 3.5gr of Bullseye for a 9mm load. Weigh it on your beam scale, dump it into a 9mm case and mark off approximately where you see the level is inside. Cut it down with a vise and hacksaw, file down accordingly until you can dip perfectly 3.5gr every time.

    I do this with a few different powders. Works great.

  17. General Tso

    General Tso member

    I ordered a set of Lee dippers, Paul. It comes with a sliding calculator/chart. I haven't got mine yet so I'm not sure how it works.
  18. TexasShooter59

    TexasShooter59 Well-Known Member

  19. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    That's exactly what I am looking for. Thank you very much. I'll be printing that baby.
  20. thorn-

    thorn- Well-Known Member

    I know people do use them, and they are happy with them. They shouldn't be used without a scale. Personally, I wouldn't use dippers... and if that meant I had to put off reloading to save up for a dispenser, that's the route I would take.

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010

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