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Necessity of a powder check die vs a bullet feeding die

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by arizona_cards_11, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Well-Known Member

    Hi all,

    I've had a Hornadly LNL Progressive for a couple of years now & have always resized/deprimed, primed, flared, charged, seated, and crimped in a single cycle.

    Since getting a SS tumbling kit & having a desire to clean the primer pockets to a shine, I do all of the resizing & priming in a completely separate stage.

    This opens up a die space & I'm trying to decide which route to take.

    1 - Powder Check - RCBS Lock-Out
    2 - Bullet Feeder (jerry-rigged with a die & rigid tubing)

    I primarily reload 45acp on my progressive & wouldn't normally consider a powder check necessary. Unfortunately, over the past couple hundred rounds, I've had a problem with my hornady powder drop mechanism sticking at the top.......meaning I've loaded a few squibs.

    After a thorough cleaning, I'm still not confident that I won't miss a charge somewhere along the way.

    I have been loading the cases & bullets by hand, which may be contributing to my inability to consistently monitor the charges being dropped. A Hornady case feeder is on the way to fix this problem.

    But I still have my dilemma, manually inspect every powder drop OR manually place each bullet.

    All opinions are welcome.

  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Personally, I would never ever place a bullet in a case if I hadn't already somehow confirmed there is the right amount of powder in the case first.

    So, it would be a lock-out die for me for sure.

  3. joed

    joed Well-Known Member

    I started progressive life with a Dillon 550B. What got me to sell and move to the 650XL were 3 squibs. I currently have a 650xl and 1050, both presses equipped with powder check dies.

    Anyone even thinking of buying a progressive gets my talk of "I won't own a progressive without powder checking dies". It's now "If" you get a bad charge but "When".

    I won't even operate a progressive without a check die.
  4. dmurdach

    dmurdach Well-Known Member

    I reload a lot of 45ACP on a lee Loadmaster, i put a little clip on light over the station where the bullet seating die is (right after the powder drop) and this makes it very easy to check to see that each case has a powder charge as I place the bullet. Still a very fast process, so I would say neither and buy more supplies!
  5. SC_Dave

    SC_Dave Well-Known Member

    I have a LnL AP and have the RCBS L/O die and the bullet feeder too.


    1 Size and decap
    2 Flare and charge
    3 L/O die
    4 bullet feeded
    5 seat/crimp

    Could you, or, would you want to do it this way?
  6. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, I'd need to buy a new set of dies to do it that way....unless the hornady powder drop die can flare as well?

    Currently, my setup looks like:

    1 - N/A
    2 - Flare
    3 - Powder Drop
    4 - Seat
    5 - Taper Crimp
  7. jjjitters

    jjjitters Well-Known Member

    I make my own powder check die with an alarm that goes off if over/under charged on my LNL. Just really nice to second check for correct charge weight.

    Yes your powder die should have a PTX in it so you can flare/expand and drop powder in one. I make those also, what size/s do you need?
  8. SC_Dave

    SC_Dave Well-Known Member

    Arizona, you can flare and charge in the same station with the Powder Through Expander. (PTX)

    Looks like jitters might can help.

    Also here. http://youtu.be/h2rtPkTcMkI
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  9. Spammy_H

    Spammy_H Well-Known Member

    Check out http://powderfunnels.com/ - it's a universal PTX die for the LnL. I use it for various calibers, and can change the flare adjustment by swapping out the PTX linkage (1 per caliber).

    My stages look like this:

    1 - resize
    1.5 - Prime
    2 - open
    3 - charge / expand
    4 - Powder Cop
    5 - seat / crimp

    I'm leaving a stage open for the bullet feeder (one day).
  10. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your help.

    Hey Jitters, I primarily reload 45acp on my progressive. Do you have an estimated ship date/wait time for an order of your ptx?
  11. jjjitters

    jjjitters Well-Known Member

    PTX's I keep in stock, especially 45, & multiple sizes

    PM sent
  12. hAkron

    hAkron Well-Known Member

  13. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Well-Known Member

    The RCBS Lockout Die is a must for me as an added safety precaution. You can free up another station by using the Hornady PTX expander in the powder measure to expand case and drop powder thereby eliminating the expander die.
  14. choppinlow

    choppinlow Well-Known Member

    A lock out die is one of the cheapest pieces of insurance around. You won't regret buying one.
  15. vtail

    vtail Well-Known Member

    A Powderfunnel and Lock Out die are both must haves.
  16. john wall

    john wall Well-Known Member

    A fellow near me commercially loads and has a bullet feeder in place of the powder check die on his Dillon.

    He regularly blow up three or four guns a year. His fault, not the press.

    I can make a Dillon 1050 double charge two ways. Take the charged case out and weigh powder, pour it back in case, stick case back under powder measure. Or, short stroke the press just right, and you get a double charge. The powder check works.

    Leave the powder check die in and hand seat bullets.
  17. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Well-Known Member

    When you purchase the Hornady bullet feeder die the powder through expander is included with it.
  18. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    With the exception of one of my tool heads all of my bullet fed calibers also have powder check.
  19. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Well-Known Member

    I see no need for a powder check die. A flexible LED light to shine in the cases between station 2 and 3 so I can visually see the charge works just fine. For the cases that I can't see in a flexible mirror adjusted along with the light lets me see the powder charge. The LnL has two great slots in the casting at the back of the press to hold the light and mirror with a elastic strap, I used a magnetic wrist strap from Harbor Freight without the magnetic tray attached. My mirror is one with a screw driver handle, flexible shaft and about a 2 inch round mirror. I did have to shave down the handle so the primer feed would clear it when raised. Light, mirror and elastic strap came from Harbor Freight.

    I don't have a pic of the press with both tools attached.




  20. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Well-Known Member

    Well, I've ordered the RCBS powder lock-out die.

    I can't seem to find a Hornady Bullet Feeder die in stock anywhere, so that may have to wait for a bit. I'll make due until I find one.

    Thanks again for all of the responses.

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