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Newbie Question:Consistency of powder drop in Dillon 650

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TwoRavens, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. TwoRavens

    TwoRavens Member

    I got a Dillon XL650 for Xmas :)) ) and am totally new to reloading...(so be nice :rolleyes: )

    A friend of mine who has his own reloading business came over and helped me set up, so I think everything is built OK; but here is my issue:

    I'm reloading 308s with VihtaVuori N135 (and Hornady 168gr BTHPs), aiming for 38.9 gr of powder, however the drop seems to vary quite a bi: e.g


    Is this normal? Is it because N135 is extruded? Anything to check?
  2. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    The extruded powders will do that. The smaller grained powder and ball powders will be more consistant than the larger grained ones.
  3. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    i've got the 1050, but i think they use the same powder measure/die. the only problem i've ever had with variation, even with extruded powders, is when i over-lube bottleneck rifle cases and the lube builds up in the powder die, causing the powder to stick to it.

    take a pipe cleaner and shove it up the powder die and see if it comes out with powder on it. if it does, clean the die thoroughly and see if your variance settles down

    btw, extruded powders still meter pretty well, they just make a highly annoying crunching sound.

    and your variance there is "quite a bit" to say the least. definitely fix it before you shoot. also, it might be your scale, not your loader. calibrate your scale and try again
  4. georgeduz

    georgeduz Well-Known Member

    thats no good
  5. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    You need to do a number of drops, especially with extruded powder. Also, establishing a rhythm is important. With Varget, I don't get consistent charge weights until I drop maybe the first 10 charges or more. I don't even bother to weight them, just take the case and pump it right back into the hopper.

    Some guys complain that the Dillon makes the "clunk". I try to adjust mine so that it clunks pretty good so that the powder settles between charges.

    Keep the hopper mostly full. I assume you have the baffle in the hopper. I think it takes a number of cycles to get powder worked under the baffle
  6. TwoRavens

    TwoRavens Member

    Thanks for the replies!

    I found a few specs of powder in the die, so I cleaned it. For now, I think I'll switch to Win 748 for my first batch of 308, and try the ViHt later.

    I noticed that after my friend set up the hopper, it was pretty loose on the die, even wobbly. My friend said is worked best like that. Any comments...?
  7. Aneat

    Aneat Well-Known Member

    A wobbly powder measure doesnt sound good. On my 1050 I run my powder measure nice and snug. If there is any doubt call Dillon to verify.

  8. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    Yeah. If Dillon wanted it wobbly they would have designed it wobbly. You're probably not getting consistent movement. The little socket head screws are there to tighten, not leave loose

    I suspect Dillon designed it to clunk. Bench rest shooters usually tap the handle once or twice at the end of the stroke to settle the powder. I suspect the clunk does the same

    All I know is that, when mine's set right, it will stay +/- .1, and that's on several different units and that's with extruded powder
  9. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Well-Known Member

    I take the new powder measure's and add the double return springs around the charge bars from the original dillon setup. They'll give them to you for free if you ask. Seems to make the measure work better. (IMHO)

    FWIW - my powder measures don't wobble at all on my powder dies. Might double check that the little clamp thing on the measure is actually sitting down in the grove on the powder die. (Just a guess)

  10. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    i concur with the previous two... get rid of the wobble.

    i'm not sure what "clunk" you guys are talking about. maybe i never noticed it.

    oh, and probably a subject for a different thread, but i've noticed a lot of powder dispenser instructions say specifically to NOT tap the handle on the top or bottom of the stroke as it will make more variance, not less. it would be interesting to know how that tapping thing got started.
  11. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    If the cam retaining screw on the side of the measure is snug, the cam hesitates, then the measure drops down. If it's a little looser, the powder bar slides smoothly.
  12. YellowLab

    YellowLab member

    Volumetric measures will always vary with extruded type powders. The grains will never be the same in two throws, so you will always have a different number of grains in each 'volume'. Plus the length of extruded powders are not exactly the same etc etc.

    Ball powders will meter most accuratly.... a ball is a ball no matter how it 'lies' in the volume. Flake can stand on end or lay flat, or diagonal accros other flakes... so variation will be present. Extruded, well, figure it out....

    Taping the side of the measure will 'settle' the grains more or less, I'm not sure why that would be a bad thing.

    Definately clean the measure... as someone has already pointed out case lube and accumulate and cause issues... mainly bridging.
  13. 30Cal

    30Cal Well-Known Member

    I get +/- 0.2 or 0.3grs with extruded powders and a dillon measure (on a 550--I think it's the same measure if not similar). If you operate the press inconsistantly, it will throw inconsistantly (go figure). A smooth, repeatable stroke is what you're looking for. If you bang the press or jam a shell up against a die, then the next drop is going to be heavy by quite a bit.

    It'll take 3-4 drops after adjusting the powder measure before the charge weights settle in. When you're trying to dial it in, make sure you are operating the press the same way. If you're production run is charge then seat, make sure you are at least attempting to simulate--charge-charge-charge will give you different weights than charge-seat-charge-seat.

    I get most consistant results if I put only one shell on the shellplate at a time and size as a completely seperate operation (i.e. I size them all, then charge and seat). Rapping the side of the powdermeasure prior to running the shell up into the powder die also helps.

    FWIW, consistancy of charge weights is highly overrated. You can easily exceed factory match ammo with +/-0.3grs variation.

  14. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    I kinda do the same thing, but I take one piece of brass and run it thru the entire cycle and end up with one loaded round.

    If I do this, my charge weights are real close, even with extruded, and it's simple because I don't have to segregate my rounds between steps. When the rounds kicks out, it's ready to shoot.
  15. Rockstar

    Rockstar member

    Sounds like your friend erred in setting up the power drop. Tighten that mother up with those hex screws. If you'll use dry moly and coat your charge bars, they'll work smoother. I'd suggest that you review your entire setup, per Dillon's manual, considering the obvious lack of knowledge of your friend.
  16. BenW

    BenW Well-Known Member


    I can't find my link to it, but there's a thread on brianenos.com about this.
  17. 30Cal

    30Cal Well-Known Member

    I have to FL resize which seems to be pretty variable in effort depending on how much lube a particular case gets, so I get better results if I do sizing as a separate op. Also, I have to trim and clean primer pockets (gasgun).

  18. scott5

    scott5 Well-Known Member

    TwoRavens said:"I'm reloading 308s with VihtaVuori N135 (and Hornady 168gr BTHPs), aiming for 38.9 gr of powder, however the drop seems to vary quite a bi: e.g


    I have a 550B and my drops never did vary that little. In ten throws they always were up to two grains, scatered all over the place, and the powder would stick at the bottom of the hopper and crush my brass.:banghead: :fire:

    My solution was to size and prime every case then use the Lyman 1200DPS to dispence every charge then seat the bullet then crimp.

    When I called Dillon about my problem they just told me to use ball powders. Well I didn't have ball powders at that time, I still have a bunch of the stick powders to use up.

    Just my $0.02
  19. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    Dillon offers an adapter to use other manufacturers' PMs (manually activated) on their presses. Also, both RCBS and Hornady sell case activated linkages for their powder measures that screw into standard die holes. Hornady is even coming out with powder through expanders for their linkage (their linkage would work with rcbs too, and probably redding. Generally speaking, measures that fill from the end of a long cavity tend to do better on extruded powders than those that fill from the side (dillon). Whether even they work well enough is a matter of some debate.

  20. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    scott5, there's got to be more to that story. if dillon sold a measure that varried 2 GRAINS, i can't imagine they'd tell you to piss off like that.

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