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Precision of scoops

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by GLOOB, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    Recently I started reloading 223, and I used scoops.

    I only shot one group, because I didn't have a spotting scope and it was too hot to check the paper. But the rocks were having a bad day! When I finally checked my 5 shot group, I was pleasantly surprised. The distance was 60 yards. The target was a plain pistol IDPA/silhouette target, and I was using a 1.5x optic. I just aimed for the center of the head. 4 shots could be covered by a quarter. The one high shot brought the group to about 1 1/4".

    I fired over 200 rounds of reloaded ammo and I had no problems.

    Anyone else using scoops for rifle? I've heard some bench rest shooters measure by volume. I assume that means a powder dispenser. But compared to a scoop, what's the difference?
  2. jfdavis58

    jfdavis58 Well-Known Member

    I've got a set. Loaded rifle for years with it. Then loaded pistol for a while too.

    Given a good smooth consistent 'dipping' there is no difference from scoops to the typical volumetric powder measure.

    It does pay to 'calibrate' your scoops against a good scale!
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nothing wrong with scoops. A measure is nothing but a scoop. If you are consistent with the way you fill your scoop, it will work very well.
  4. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    You can always weigh some of your "scoops" to see how consistent scooped powder weights are.

    BTW, what powder are you using?
  5. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Well-Known Member

    if yu are worried about variation in charges then weigh three lots of 10 charges each and average them.when done correctly dippers work well and are uniform.i used them for years but have got in the habit of dipping and weighing each charge.
  6. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    I used scoops I made from old cartridge cases with very, very good results for cast bullet rifle shooting. Good, consistent technique is the key, and accuracy is as good as any other type of volumetric measuring. I liked to plunge the scope into the propellant, letting it fill w/o packing, then strike the edge level.

    I like scoops, and after some practice they are very fast to use.
  7. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I've had few powders ever scoop within an acceptable range of what they are supposed to weight. Won't use them or any other volmetric measuring device without having first checked them against a scale, and then only with slow burning powders.
  8. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    I shot two different loads using H335 and Varget. I got the Varget because it's popular. I got the H335, because I heard it meters well.

    I think I'm going to stock up on the Varget. It doesn't leave any crumbs on the bench. :) I'm using a .357 case for a scoop, calibrated with a trimmer and a scale.

    I do the same, but I leave it heaping. I figure I can't accidentally pour too much if I calibrate for a heaping scoop to begin with. If it doesn't mound up just right, I dump it and try again.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  9. Doug b

    Doug b Well-Known Member

    I loaded some very accurate ammo at the kitchen table using Lee's nut cracker press and dippers when i was between bench set-ups.A scale is a must to establish consistancy as others have said.
    If your looking for ubber, ultra, max balls to the wall velocity, every ounce of energy you can get out of your firearm this is not the way to go.
  10. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    I use the scoops for both rifle and pistol. I will also make mine out of old shell casings. I make mine on the larger size and calibrate by putting some 5 min epoxy in the bottom. After it cures I use a drill bit of the closest size to casing to gently remove the epoxy till the scoop volume is correct as checked to weight. I label the charge weight/bullet/cal and use it. :D Yes consistency in your methods is the key to repeatability when using a scoop. I load for my 270 and at 200 YD I can put a dime over 5 rounds shot into the target regularly. This is plenty good enough for me.:D
  11. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    Gloob -
    2 things come to mind....

    • Any volumetric measure is only as good as the density of the matter being measured. For that reason you never believe the first several "drops" coming out of even the best of powder measures. You want the inherent vibration of the PM to bring the powder to a consistent density. That's the only way for the weight to become constant. So dipping the same way, time after time can be harder than it sounds.

    • Owing to the density issue and the resulting possibilities for variation, it might be wise to confine the use of dippers to the lower half of the loading range. Say, starting load to half way.

    • Before you announce a certain dipper volume to be equal to any set amount, Ridgerunner gave you a great piece of advice. Average the results of numerous scoops rather than just one to get a more accurate picture of what your rounds are receiving.

    Just my 2 cents!
  12. longdayjake

    longdayjake Well-Known Member

    The first two years I handloaded were done with dippers. I loaded .30-06 and .223 by the thousands that way and .25-06 by the hundreds. Some of those .223 loads were the most accurate loads I ever made. That said, the only reason I use my powder measure now is because it is faster.
  13. Doug b

    Doug b Well-Known Member

    Longdayjake I was going to put in my reply also some of the best loads I have ever made for 45 ACP and 9mm were with dippers and bullseye and AL5 respectively.
  14. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    Advantages of dippers over powder measures

    Powder measures can cut or crush powder granules. Dippers cannot.

    Vibration "settles" powder in the hopper of a powder measure, contributing to "packing" density differences. That is not an issue with a dipper, as the powder is unsettled with each pass of the dipper through the powder.

    Dippers never go out of calibration. They are the same volume every time.

    The vertical "dip" described by Galil5.56 above is the method recommended by Richard Lee. Independently, I developed a consistent method of passing my scoop horizontally through the powder which seemed to me to be less abrasive to the outer coatings of smokeless powders. It has proved (through many measurements) to be accurate to the tenth of a grain, the limit of my scale's accuracy.

    You will never run out of powder in your powder measure and assemble a squib load without being aware of it.

    Scoops or dippers are highly favored among benchresters, I am told, even more so than mechanical measures, with the possible exception of the Harrell.

    I have been told that if you take a bag of cartridges assembled by powder weight (and otherwise identical to another bag of cartridges assembled by volume) and fire them through the same rifle, alternating shots so that barrel warming, fouling, air temperature and other variables are removed from the factoring, that the group fired on target 1 (from the volumetrically loaded bag) will be smaller than the group fired on target 2 (from the weighed charged cartridges). That would seem to prove the theory that volumetrically measured cartridges are superior to the avoidupois measured cartridges. Furthermore, this is a challenge issued annually at a symposium of loaders (sorry, I don't know where any more) But food for thought.

    Lost Sheep
  15. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Well-Known Member

    Last summer I loaded a few rounds for a .30/30 T/C using Lee dippers (too lazy to set up powder measure) The result was several one hole ragged groups. This was the only time I've used the dippers and I'll have to admit I was impressed.

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