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Lyman 55 Issues

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Digger, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. Digger

    Digger Active Member

    I'm getting back into the hobby after a 15yr hiatus. This time, I'm starting out with a used, but in very good condition, Lyman 55 powder measure. I started to work up some 9mm loads. It seemed to take a LONG time to get the measure set where I wanted it, where it would throw a consistent charge.
    Well, I thought I finally had the setting, went to load 25 test rounds, to make sure everything was GTG. I noticed that every 8th or 10th charge was light. Sure enough, only throwing about 1/2 the charge. This was before I seated a bullet. So, went back, made sure settings and charges were OK, found no problems. I dumped the squids out and started over on those. Everything looked OK.
    Went out to finally test the loads. Out of the 25, I had about 5 really light loads that wouldn't cycle the slide on my Sig.
    I was using the tapper hammer on the Lyman and also gave it a light tap with a screwdriver as well. What am I doing wrong here? Any advise would be appreciated!
  2. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Well-Known Member

    I'd take it apart and clean it well with denatured alcohol or whatever. Then run some graphite thru it so it runs smothly. Also I think that one has a plastic powder holder? If it does, take a small (Note the Small) amount of detergent and rub it on the OUT side of it. That will kill any static for quite a while.
    If those steps don't take care of it, then I don't have much to add.
  3. mbopp

    mbopp Well-Known Member

    I'm back reloading after a 25 year haitus. On my Redding measure I buffed powdered graphite over everything internal to cut the static. I've heard wiping the measure with a dryer sheet helps also.
    I also found some patterns to make your own powder baffles, haven't tried it yet though.
    The smallest caliber I used to load was .30 so I drilled out the drop tube to help prevent powder bridging in it. Don't you know now I have a .22 to load. Thanks Redding for sending a replacement drop tube gratis!
  4. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    I don't know what type of powder you're dropping, but I once had a Lyman 55 powder measure that used to "bridge" small charges of cylindrical(rod) powders. unless I adjusted the measuring slides to a wide position instead of deep and narrow. Just something else to check.
  5. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    loadedround mentioned what I was thinking, and that's not to use the large drum section at all. Keep the large drum closed completely and it's binding screw locked, and use the top slide or slides for dropping pistol charges. That's the key to using the M55 measure and why they are one of the most accurate measures that you can buy.

  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I agree.

    Only use the large black steel slide for large charges of rifle powder.

    Use the medium brass slide for rough setting, and the small one for fine tuning when loading small charges of pistol powder.

    As for static?
    I keep a can of Static Guard on the bench.
    You can find it in the laundry aisle in the grocery store.


    Works great on any reloading equipment, packing peanuts when you open a box, and truck seats in the winter that knock your socks off every time you get in & out.

    But best of all, it keeps my slip from clinging. :eek:

  7. Digger

    Digger Active Member

    I wondered about the bridging issue. Mine doesn't have a baffle and I see the new ones do. I'll try to close up the large drum and recalibrate with the smaller ones.
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    You can make your own powder baffle out of a beer can.

    Go here for instructions & templates for different sizes courtesy of Shoney.

    I doubt they will help much though.

    I would suggest you lose the screwdriver you used to beat on the Lyman.

    The little hammer built into the measure does all that needs to be done to settle the powder each throw.

    Just get in a steady rhythm, and trip the hammer when the handle goes up, and again when it comes down.

    The exact same way, every time.

  9. glicerin

    glicerin Member

    Some powders like 800X meter poorly. Only use small and medium slides for small pistol loads. Make sure small slide doesn't pass medium slides, and be very consistent with tapper. Use larger powder funnel for flake powders. good luck
  10. James2

    James2 Well-Known Member

    I have used a lyman 55 for many years. Here is what I have found.
    For small loads of fast burning powders, just use the top slides. Completely close the main slide. Use that only for rifle loads.

    If you have two drop tubes, use the one with the larger hole to prevent bridging. This measure used to come with two drop tubes. You only need the smaller one for 22 cal casings.

    The way that you operate the machine makes a big difference on how consistent the loads will drop. Here is what works for me. End each load drop with the handle in the down position. When you have the empty brass in position, raise the handle rather briskly to up, then wait for the powder to fall. Do NOT use the knocker or any other vibration to compact the powder. Just let it fall. Now bring the handle down to cut the charge and drop it. Now, with the brass still at the drop tube, is the time to use the knocker to make sure all the powder dropped out of the drop tube.

    Using this method, I have found the 55 to throw pistol powders very consistently. Even Unique, which many have said won't meter well in some machines. It will throw most powders I have used in rifle loads within .1 grain. You have a good measure there. Enjoy.
  11. James2

    James2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, by the way, if you decide you don't like the Lyman, I will take it off your hands. :)
  12. Superblackrifle

    Superblackrifle Active Member

    you need to take your drum out and clean each slide. There is a small gap in between one of them accumulating powder and then dumping causing your problems. after you clean them assemble the big to the middle to ensure full closure then you can put the thin slide on.
  13. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Well-Known Member

    here's how we got our Lyman to throw really even charges;
    tap the hopper twice,lightly,with a knuckle before dumping the powder,then with the handle in the dump positon,flip the flipper.
    made ours go from always erratic to always perfect dumps.This was with pistol powders btw,we don't do much rifle,but guessing the same would work for stick powders.
  14. chinacave

    chinacave Member

    Trouble with the tension / Retainer screw on the left side

    I am generally pleased w/ the Lyman #55, but the small black screw on the left side that holds a large retaining washer is always loosening and causing the charge to drift ( heavier)

    Is this a place to use some loctite?

    Any other suggestions?
  15. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Well-Known Member

    Loctite is a miracle drug - just don't use the red stuff (not the container, the Loctite) and stick to the blue. I use it on my Garand gas cylinders and it works like a charm - dope up the splines and there it stays. I am reluctant to beat them up to make them tight until there is no other way...

    But I digress... My 55 will do that unless the cavity is about square - like several folks said, use the top 2 slides only for pistol loads (i.e., small charges) and avoid the long & deep approach. And like they also said, disassemble it, clean it very well, then wipe it down with graphite and dust off the excess. Reassemble, and try again. I raise the handle with a bit of a "bump" as it hits top, then drop with another "bump" and tap the clapper (not the Copper Clapper :neener: ), usually once, but you can do it twice as long as you do it the same number of times for each load.

    Rc makes the single most important point in consistent loads in operating the measure:
  16. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Well-Known Member

    + 1 on what dad said. That's pretty much what I do with mine.
  17. dogrunner

    dogrunner Well-Known Member

    Pull and thoroughly clean the drum and screw assemblys. USE that knocker and be sure that each powder throw cycle includes it's use at approximately the same lever of force.

    I have a 55 that I've owned and had success with for nearly fifty years and the singular issue that's ever created a problem was the use of flaked powders (BE or Unique) that tended to cake in the hopper when cycled. Keep it clean and that's not an issue.........that knocker is a great aid in assuring your pickup and drop volume is the same each and every time!!!!

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