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Understanding the Lee Adjustable Charge Bar

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by deafsg1, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. deafsg1

    deafsg1 New Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Hello everyone!

    I'm just starting to get into reloading. Also, I'm trying to understand how you're supposed to us this charge bar in tandem with the Pro Auto Disk measure on the Lee Classic Turret press.

    Initially, I looked at the "standard photo" of this charge bar and wondered HNH you stand up something like that inside the Pro Auto Disk (seeing the photos here at THR shows you don't).

    Does that thing sit under the baffle, on top of ONE of the disks? It looks like you need to use the next smaller charge load on the one disk, and then use the charge bar to adjust upwards to the final charge amount you want via check weighing. That right?

    I would like to know if that is appropriate for reloading .308 ammo. It sounds like the charge bar is not intended to be used by itself, but with one of the disks that gives you your next smaller charge. I was like, "What, 1.6cc? That won't even give me a fraction of a full charge needed for .308 loads!"

    Also, is it true that when you place the order for the Classic Turrent press, you have to ask for the spring return arm instead of the chain drive (?), or do you have to order that separately?

  2. jfh

    jfh Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2003
    Maple Plain, MN
    Quick answers:

    1. AFAIK, you can't use the ACB in conjunction with rifle loading--it didn't have the capacity with my .223 / appr. 43-gr. charge loads.

    You do NOT use the ACB in conjunction with the Disks. (Maybe you could try--but I see no benefit. I stand corrected; see HJ857's comments below.

    2. Pistol charging, the ACB works just fine, typically above about 3 grains. The ACB does appear to span the nominal range of pistol cartridge charges--e.g., to 20 gr.

    3. For rifle charging, you want a "double-disk" kit. Read the Lee tables to sort out the .308 disk charge configuration--I've not worked with charges in this range, so maybe you even want / need a micro-disk set for fine tuning.

    4. If you are putting this on the Classic Turret, I believe the "kit" will come with the proper return arm. Confirm that with (Kempf, Graft, Midway, or the others) when you order.

    MORE IMPORTANT: Make sure you get the riser, and a swivel adapter, and you may want the rifle Powder Through die as well.

    Jim H.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2008
  3. HJ857

    HJ857 Active Member

    Jun 14, 2007
    The adjustable charge bar can be used in place of a disk, in either a double disk setup or as a single "disk". I could never get a true double disk setup to give me the correct amount of powder. So I use a standard disk on the bottom and the acb on top and adjust it as needed. It works very well in this configuration.

    On the bottom of the acb and the disks there is a slot and a pin to get the disks in proper registration, so there's really only one way to put it together.

    The standard pro auto disk only accommodates a single disk, so you must also get the double disk kit so you can use stacked disks, acb or not.

    It's been a while since I set up my classic turret so I'm a little fuzzy on the details now, but I'm pretty certain that the spring return/chain mechanism is specific to the pro auto disc. The chain is for use on a progressive press and the pro auto disc comes with all the parts for either system.

    I am fairly sure that the classic turret kit comes with the powder through die. I use the hand held auto prime, rather than the safety prime so I do not recall if the riser is part of the kit.
  4. Eljay

    Eljay New Member

    Mar 14, 2007
    A note when "double discing", make sure the larger hole is on the bottom, if set up the other way a shelf is created inside the discs and you will get inconsistant charges.
  5. RustyFN

    RustyFN Senior Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    West Virginia
    HJ857 thanks for the tip on using it with the DD kit. I'll have to give that a try.
  6. HJ857

    HJ857 Active Member

    Jun 14, 2007
    Eljay's note is important and to expand on that a little bit, I found stacked disks work best if the two cavities are pretty close to the same volume - even with the acb.

    So don't use a huge disk on the bottom and a tiny acb cavity on the top, you get almost the same problem that Eljay noted. I speculate that a small top cavity fills a large lower cavity in a mound, rather than filling the whole cavity level, so it becomes more prone to variances by settling.

    I tested a number of single cavities until I found the one that gave me a bit over half my intended charge, and then used that cavity on the bottom. Put the ACB on top and adjust until it measured out. You'll have to tweak a lot at first, but it settles in nicely.
  7. jrumsey

    jrumsey New Member

    Dec 21, 2004
    Michigan, USA
    Lee should make an adjustable charge bar the thickness of two disks and with the double disk riser it would be great for loads that need more volume.
  8. ForneyRider

    ForneyRider Active Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    Forney, TX
    I went with the double disk because I plan to do a little more tuning with my loads.

    AFAIK, the chain is the newer version, the spring is the old way.

    From lots of reading, the Auto Disk is very consistent and reliable. But you are getting speed and giving up precision. I have loaded about 100 rounds, not much, but each load has been solid and consistent.

    I don't think the disk setup can support .30-06 or belted magnum families' powder needs.

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