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Need recommendations for measuring rifle powders...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Davo, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Davo

    Davo Participating Member

    May 23, 2005
    Riverside County, **********
    Can I get decent powder throws with Varget? What measures do you recommend?
    I have just started reloading, and I can tell that measuring charges is going to be the most tedious part. Right now I reload only for .308 match loads. I hope to soon compete in F-class matches with a tactical rifle up to 1k. I am still looking for a load my rifle will like. I will likley settle on the 175 SMK pushed by 43-45 grains of Varget. I figure I will load up 300 rounds at a time (3 boxes of bullets, and 2 lbs of powder-should last me 2-3 months)
    Right now I weigh each charge, and trickle up to the desired charge. Using a RCBS 505. This is accurate but slow.
    Im considering an inexpensive Frankford Arsenal Micro Reloading Electronic Scale which I would essentially do the same thing with. Speed of measuring would probably be about the same though.
    Ive also looked at powder measures. Ive heard of mixed results with Varget. Im looking to keep variations down to a minimum, but I am not loading bench rest ammo.
  2. ocabj

    ocabj Senior Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    Believe it or not, I hand weigh powder for each round when accuracy is a concern. I use a Lee dipper to get just under the load I am looking for. Then I trickle powder to get to the desired weight. Then I dump the powder into another dipper and then quickly reweigh it. It's tedious, but I know every round is going be what the scale says it weighed at. I currently use the Pact Digital Precision scale.

    I keep thinking about getting a Harrell Precision powder measure, but I keep thinking I'll end up using it in the same manner I am weighing now. Throwing powder charges right under the load I'm looking for and trickling up.

    Considering that I've noticed a difference in .1 or .2 gr in the loads that I need accuracy in do not account for much difference in muzzle velocity, I may eventually take faith in a high quality powder measure and just throw for the desired weight and weigh every 5 or 10 throws to speed up my reloading.
  3. Matt-man

    Matt-man Member

    May 6, 2004
    Well, you have a couple choices here. One is an electronic dispenser like the RCBS Chargemaster. Mine works well with Varget but you have to keep an eye on it - occasionally it throws a charge that's over the set weight by a couple tenths. Advertised accuracy with these is usually within 0.1 grain, and most of the time they do that. These aren't cheap, and they're not real fast either. However, you can leave them to dispense a charge while you're doing something else, like seating a bullet over the previous charge.

    Another choice is the good old powder measure. Most powder measures have a tough time with extruded powders like Varget. My Hornady measure, which is similar to a RCBS Uniflow, does okay, usually showing +/- 0.3 grain consistency. The Lee Perfect Powder Measure is the inexpensive choice; the one I had was actually a little more consistent than my Hornady. I didn't have any luck trying to rig it onto my progressive press though. I currently use a Quick Measure, which works a little differently than most powder measures, and so far I think it's the fastest & most consistent way to measure rifle powders. There's an ongoing thread about the Quick Measure in this forum, so check it out if you're interested.
  4. P0832177

    P0832177 member

    Jun 8, 2003
    Here is a decent idea. Get a powder measure ie, Uniflow or Redding BR3. Then develop a consistent stroke of operation. Set the measure to throw a charge slightly short of the target charge. Then dump the charge into the scale pan, and then you use a powder trickler to come up to the desired charge wt. This can be rather quick once you get into a good pattern. I did this for a long time, and then changed out the beam scale for an electronic one, and then I evolved to a CM1500.
  5. redneck2

    redneck2 Mentor

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    My PACT is way faster than a balance beam. I have one of the tricklers that's shaped like an hour glass. Throw a charge that's about .2 short and trickle up.

    Refer to the sticky at the top about "Little Tips & Tricks" to add an electric motor to vibrate and settle charges. Made up specifically for Varget.
  6. USSR

    USSR Mentor

    Jul 7, 2005
    +1. Having shot 1,000 yard F Class Competition for 4 years, I have yet to find a better way. Guys have been having alot of problems with the electronic dispensor/weighers, and I have zero confidence in them. A good balance beam scale will give you the consistency you will need to give you low ES and SD numbers. Believe me, with all the horizontal dispersion you will have due to wind, you do NOT need to worry about vertical dispersion.

  7. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Participating Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    SW NH
    For Varget I've had great luck using the simple, cheap Lee Perfect Powder measure. Seriously. Out to 600 yards, I don't weigh my charges, and they rarely vary more than 0.1 gr when I check them (every 10th round).

    I tend to agree with the theory that loads have a sweet spot, and once you're in that zone a tenth up or down isn't going to affect it too badly. Usually I dose up a batch of test rounds, varied by 0.5 gr, just thrown with the measure. If something shows promise, I go back, load up a bunch more and take it through the course.

    Oh yeah, I'm a Highpower shooter with an AR-15.
  8. msgrep

    msgrep New Member

    Nov 7, 2006
    Calhoun, Louisiana
    I have been using my RCBS Uniflow for some time now with no problems. Like everyone else, set your charge a couple tenths under and trickle the rest. Yes it is a little slow but you are ensured the same charge each and every time. Using a consistant stroke each time will help out alot. Usually I dont reload a whole bunch (100's) of rifle at a time so being a little slow does not bother me at all. Rather be slow and accurate rather than fast and sporadic.......
  9. 30Cal

    30Cal Senior Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    Albany, NY
    I sometimes weigh charges for 600yds (and I shoot Varget, 4895 and 4064 from time-to-time). I use a beam scale when I do this. That said, my best scores at 600 have been fired using charges that were not individually weighed.

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