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Are High-End Powder Measures Worth the Price?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Lawren5, Jul 25, 2013.

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  1. Lawren5

    Lawren5 Member

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    I’m in need of a second powder measure. For the past seven years I’ve been using the Lee Perfect Powder Measure which has worked fairly well.

    So, I'm looking at the RCBS Uniflow and Hornady LNL. They each run about $75, however, to reload for pistol, you need to purchase the small cylinder which runs about $30. On top of that, there is the stand which is also about $30 and then the drain insert which is another $10. In all, an RCBS or Hornady will run about $145. The Lee measure is only $25, handles both pistol and rifle loads, comes with a stand and doesn’t need a drain insert because the hopper is detachable.

    So, do the higher end measures perform that much better and are they worth the extra money?
     
  2. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Maybe--Maybe Not. It might depend what powder you are planning to use it.

    Frankly I like my Lee, while my others sit in the drawer and on the shelf.
     
  3. Lawren5

    Lawren5 Member

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    Good point. The Lee measures all powders well although there is some leakage with ball powder like H335. Also, small quantities of flake powder require that one uses a consistent technique while operating the measure to minimize variations in output. I suspect that the pricier units also experience this.
     
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    "Worth the money?" depends if the measure does something better than the one you already have. I have 2 of the Hornady LNL's, one on my LNLAP press and one on a stand for use with my single stage reloader.

    I have the smaller pistol meter for both and find these measures fill my needs for large rifle and small handgun charges. They meter all powders I've run through them well including the flake and stick powders. I bought the individual measure on sale at a good price from Midway so it was worth it.

    Don't have the drain tubes, just take the measure off and pout the powder back out of the top. Already had a stand I had bought with my first powder measure purchased from Herters that I use for single stage. You can build your own stand for a few bucks with parts from the Home Depot using plumbing parts or follow one of the many plans available on the web.
     
  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have several measures, none of which are "high end". I have a Lyman 55, a Bonanza, and a Redding.

    Bonanzapowdermeasure.jpg

    What I have observed with the Bonanza is that the taller powder column shows more variation in throw weight (from top to bottom) than the shorter powder column of the Lyman or Redding.

    Within the same column heights they throw about the same.

    I do not have a Harrell, but a friend bought one. He had all the other name brand measures and he claimed, he could not tell a difference in charge variation between them.

    There are different designs and I have not tried them all. I do recall a number of people being very happy with the cheapest powder measure Lee makes.
     
  6. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    I have a LNL, Lee Perfect powder measure and Lee Pro Auto disk. My favorite is the auto disk, with micro disk and adjustable charge bar. I use it for the pistol rounds on my LNl press instead of the LNL measure. The LNL measure seems to be more accurate with stick powders and I don't have a rifle charging die, so I use it for rifle rounds.
     
  7. Shmackey

    Shmackey Member

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  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    It also takes consistency from the operator of any measure. Are they worth it? That is kind of like asking if they high end scope is worth it.

    I can throw as consistent a charge with my BR-30 as I could with a Neil Jones. I love my 10X measure. My LNL measure is only used for .458 Win Mag and it throws well.
     
  9. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    These are NOT "high end' Harrell's (and the bench rest measure) are high end.

    http://www.harrellsprec.com/
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    $30 for a stand is highway robbery if you are half way handy.

    Here are my three homemade stands.

    And I don't have $3 bucks in all three of them.
    Just some junque scrap iron.

    PowderMeasureStands_zps76a007ef.jpg

    rc
     
  11. matrem

    matrem Member

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    My Lyman 55 & Lee "perfect" drop ball powder accurate enough to not be even close to the weak link in my handloading process.
    Lyman, tens of thousands of drops.
    Lee, thousands of drops.
     
  12. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    Exactly.
    Whichever your measure, whatever your technique, whether you tap every throw, no tap, full or 1/2 full reservoir... be consistent in everything from filling, and the same speed in each full handle stroke, both up and down. It won't take long until you find the 'groove' that works best for you and keeps your charges reliably consistent, and you will notice it when a charge is 'off'.
     
  13. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

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    The RCBS Uniflow and Hornady measures are not high end. They are just good, moderately priced tools.

    I hated Lee's Perfect Powder Measure for those same reasons - ball powders leaked and others wouldn't drop nicely. It works, but those others don't suffer from the problems Lee's does.

    I like the other powder measure tools Lee makes, just not that one. I gave mine away to a new reloader here a few years ago.
     
  14. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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  15. morcey2

    morcey2 Member

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    I use a LPPM and really like it. I don't use a lot of really fine ball powder, mostly stick rifle powder. Once I added a baffle made out of a prescription bottle lid, it started throwing varget at +- 0.2 gr from full hopper to empty. Prior to the baffle, it would start at 45 gr when full and closer to 42 when almost empty and the throws would vary +- 1 gr quite often. It's a good enough powder measure for me at the moment, but I check about every 15 throws depending on what I'm loading.

    I've got some Big Game and H414 that I'm going to start using and we'll see how they do in it, but I don't know if they're considered 'fine' ball powders.

    ETA: I also use the lee dippers when loading trail boss rifle loads. :) That's high-end for ya!

    Matt
     
  16. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I had a Lee Perfect powder measure for a short while about 7-8 years ago. It never worked for me.

    I use a Redding 10-X for handgun, RCBS Uniflow for small rifle (223 Rem, 204 Ruger etc) and a Midway Indispensable for large rifle (308 Win, 30-06).

    I get good results with all three but technique is one of the major keys. Operate the measure the same way with each stroke.

    I like baffles in my powder measures.

    6 to 9 months ago, I got a Harrel Precision Culver style measure. I like it very much. Operates smoothly, consistent powder charges, easy to change charges, repeatable settings. But, it makes a Redding powder measure look inexpensive.

    I built a floor stand for my powder measures. Keeps vibrations from the bench getting into the measure. It is easy to move the stand out of the way when not in use. I also built a shelf stand to hold the powder measures not in use.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  17. lightman

    lightman Member

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    To me, high end means Neil Jones, Bruno's, Harrells, and the like. Are they worth it? I guess thats a personal thing. I have, or have had a Herters, RCBS Uniflow, Dillon, and a Harrells.They all work fine. They all depend on the operator getting the feel for them. All of these have been about equally accurate. The Harrells is so much smoother there is no comparison. But the real difference is in the adjustments. "X" number of clicks on the Harrells will be the same weight tomorrow or next week as it is today. You can bank on it! Not so much with the Lee, Hornady, Lyman, Redding or RCBS. This is no slight to any of these, just the way it is.

    As far as stands go, one would be easy to make if you have any skill with tools. I've seen them made with everything from square tubing and flat iron to wood and sheet metal. Some of them looked very professional! A good example is in one of the above post. Lightman
     
  18. John C

    John C Member

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    I used a Lee Perfect Powder Measure when I first got into reloading. It's a fine tool, and now that I've moved on to other measures, I haven't really found them to be more accurate than the Lee. The real advantage to the Uniflow, etc is the action. The lever on the Lee never moved that smoothly, as you would expect with plastic on plastic. The higher end, metal measures are very smooth, and that sped up my reloading. I sold my Lee to a friend, and it's still going strong.

    I have a couple of Uniflows, a couple of Lyman 55's, and a JDS Quick Measure. For a mid priced measure, I prefer the Lyman 55 to the Uniflow, but either are excellent measures. Go ahead and pick up a Lyman 55 off ebay, and it will work well with ball or flake powder. Keep your Lee Perfect Powder Measure for stick powders.
     
  19. James2

    James2 Member

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    The Lyman 55 is the only measure I have ever had. Some 55 years of use on my bench and still does a good job. I have used quite a variety of powders in it. I have no interest in any of the "High End" measures.
     
  20. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    +1 on Harrells. I think the clicks in the adjustments make it easier to use consistently. Plus with the RL15, Varget, H4895 class of stick powders, one click is one tenth of a grain. That is pretty sweet. It doesn't digest H4350 very well, however. With ball powders, no leakage, like the Lee Perfect Powder Measure.

    I've heard of steps one can take to the rotor mechanism in the Lee which will make it not leak, involving JB and some pressure to lap the conical rotor into the recess in the measure body. I've never tried it though.:uhoh:
     
  21. USSR

    USSR Member

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    I have had good luck with my two Redding measures. For handgun loads I use a Redding #3 with the pistol meter in it. I throws consistant charges of 700-X, which can be a difficult powder to measure accurately. For rifle loads I use a Redding BR-30. Both measures have baffles in them.

    Don
     
  22. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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  23. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Micrometer-type measures are da bomb.

    Once you know the micrometer-setting for the loads you like, you just make a note of it, and dial-in the desired setting the next time you assemble those loads. Saves lots of time and annoyance diddling with the measure to try to get it to "throw right."

    Somebody will chime-in to say you "must always weigh to be sure."
    Yeah, that's true.
    But, I have NEVER had my micrometer measure give me a bad drop when I dial-in the micrometer-setting from my notes.

    Diddle once, score over-and-over.
     
  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, as long as you repeat everything the same each time, your setting will throw the right charge weight, until you change powder lot numbers, and then you have to start from scratch, although once in a blue moon it will be dead on. Still pays to weigh a couple of charges just to be safe though.
     
  25. jack44

    jack44 Member

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    I do alright with my CHEAP lee perfect powder messure.
     
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