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Checking charges during a loading session.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Keith G, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I don't have to worry about that. I hand throw every charge with Lee Dippers; I choose the one just under a full charge weight, dump a full scoop, then scoop up another full scoop and 'sprinkle' it on like salt from a spoon until I achieve the charge weight. I do check the zero and weigh a check weight every hundred or so. Usually not needed. Another advantage of doing this is I don't have to worry about whether the powder meters or not. Not as fast as a Dillon 550, but very consistent.
     
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  2. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    Also using the LCT and auto-disks. Always use HP-38/Win 231 which gives VERY consistent powder drops. I'll confirm the charge weight a few times before starting to load ammo, once I;m running a session I check every now and then to confirm it's still correct on the scale.

    I DO visually check the powder level in every case as I'm setting the bullet.
     
  3. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    I will throw enough charges to feel comfortable the measure has settled in then check every 10 or 20 for the first 50 then maybe every 50th one after.
    I am using a RCBS lockout die which with my current load will lock on a bout a .2 or .3 gr swing, and the load is light enough than even a .3 gr heavy charge is still under MAX.
    When loading close to MAX I like to check A LOT more often or every one.
     
  4. TheDomFather

    TheDomFather Member

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    One key thing that was mentioned in the comments is this is not a race. You will see many youtube videos and people who comment about making 500-1000 rounds per hour. Pay careful attention and go at a pace you feel comfortable at. Dont feel like you need to break some rounds per hour reloading record that will for sure screw you up.
     
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  5. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    I also load pistol on a Lee Turret press in batches of 25. I weigh the first and 13 charges and pull every one off the press and look down into it for a visual check.
     
  6. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Every 100, I refill the primer tube and weigh a charge.
     
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  7. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    On my Dillon 650 presses with the 650 powder measures, and the handgun powders I favor I never check once dialed in. I only check at the beginning of the session. IMHO, when using the correct powders, with the Dillon measures it's a time wasting practice to check the loads.

    I've found the Dillon measures to be accurate to the limits of my scales. Less than .1 grain +/-.
     
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  8. daboone

    daboone Member

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    I have 9 different PMs. Each has a it's own rhythm requirements and favorite powders and powders it just doesn't behave well with. There is a learning curve that a PM and the powders you use will teach you as learn to work together. Even after you get acquainted it's necessary to check the first 10 either cumulative or one at a time to assure your memory of how they, the powder and the PM, are behaving together. As said being cautious is being SMART!
     
  9. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    I use a lot of w296/h110 which meters really well, i throw a few charges and dump them back in the hopper. Then confirm the charge, then every 10th case if im loading at or near max. Every 25 if im some place in the middle and dont double check really at all if im loading low velocity plinkers. I visually check every single case. If loading 338 lapua for accuracy i weigh every charge, but thats the only one i measure every one. I use dippers for trailboss cause it doesnt meter well with my setup and im just plinking with that powder anyway. I agree with the guy who recomended keeping your hopper more than 1/3 full, some powders are more sensative to this than others. Ill use h110 or 2400 as much as possible because it just meters well and is consistant with my setup, yours may differ (i mainly shoot 357 mag, and 454 casull , these are great powders for magnum handguns). Be cautious, be patient and think of loading as a hobby in itself - i do. Im not the guy trying to make 5000 rd of 9mm , if i want bulk standard ammo i just buy it. I mainly load calibers that will run $1 or more per shot, the others i just dont do cause im a busy guy.
     
  10. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    When I am using a scoop, I weigh the charges until I am confident that I am scooping the correct amount each time and then load a batch of 100 or more. The scoop will not change volume. When I am using an adjustable volumetric measure I throw 10 loads and measure, dividing the result by 10 for my average throw until I get the throw I want. Then I measure once every row (10 throws) until done. I then tilt the loading block 40* and look at all the charges with a bright light. They should look identical. I will re weigh any that look off.
     
  11. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Right.

    I frequently get gigged on the internet forums for not using a progressive press as designed. I resize, decap, then clean cases at one time shortly after shooting them and then at some time in the future reload the cases. I even, a sacrilege, prime cases off the press.

    The bottom line is, the way I run a progressive press I still load more ammunition than I can shoot. I'm happy and I get several hours of enjoyment reloading ammunition at a pace that I'm happy with.

    So, why do I need to fight with my presses just to make a few more rounds per hour.

    Other folks have different constraints on their time and may desire the maximum rate per hour that could be obtained. That is fine but not everyone needs to break production records to make enough, good ammunition to shoot.

    What ever floats your boat. But what ever floats your reloading boat may not float mine.

    That's great and the way it is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  12. Riccochet

    Riccochet Member

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    Depends on the powder for me. With ball powder using the Lee Auto Disk I check and dump the first 5 charges. If they all are within .1 gr I'll roll with it for 25 rounds and check again every 25 rounds. With stick powder I use a Lee PPM or dipper and then trickle up to target weight.
     
  13. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Keith -
    Let me go at this from a slightly different angle... In my experience, novices that stop their process to check their weights are far more likely to produce a squib round than those that don't. Simply put, interruptions to the process are a larger issue than variations in powder weight. So YES, you want to know your equipment, but NO, you do not want to stop the process.

    A better method might be to sit down with your powder measure, and simply drop 100 loads and weigh the results. Don't build cartridges, just make "powder drops". If you write down your results you'll learn a great deal. First thing you'll learn is that the first 10-15 "drops" have the most variation. After that, the powder measure settles down and powder variations will be small, but acceptable until the powder level runs low.

    What did we learn ?
    Never use the first 10 "drops" from a powder measure to build cartridges.
    ► It's not the PM that is settling down, but rather the powder inside the PM that is settling. The vibration of operating the PM settles the powder within the hopper, thus allowing consistent powder weights.
    Vibration is a good thing. Metal transmits vibration better than plastic, and so your plastic Lee PM may take longer to settle down than another brand. That's OK as long as you are aware of it and account for it.
    Always fill the PM hopper at least 3/4 full so that the level never runs low.
    ► One last lesson. Plastic is highly susceptible to static. Your issues with static will be largely dependent upon the season of the year, where you live, and where you place your reloading equipment. Winter in Montana is going to produce more static than spring in Georgia. So the number of static precautions your situation requires is going to be dependent upon many factors which are unique to you.

    Hope this helps.
     
  14. fotheringill

    fotheringill Member

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    Electronic drop like RCBS Chargemaster which also weighs the throw?
    What powder? Some meter very well and some, like Varget, very poorly?
     
  15. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    It pays to be paranoid. And, it pays not to trust your electronic scale. I had a very bad experience with my PACT scale drifting in cold weather. Even though the thing is never turned off, it is temperature sensitive and I don't trust it anymore when temps are 50 F or less. However, gravity is only affected by mass, and I don't have an ammo can filled with black holes, or dark matter under the reloading bench. So, in the cold, I am back to using this wonderful Redding #2 scale. It is so sensitive, a fly fart will move the beam! This is an older one with agate bearings.

    N6ixH7V.jpg

    The only problem I have, is double checking the major graduations. They are in five grain increments, and I managed to crank out 20 rounds of 54 grains AA4350, before I realized that I wanted 59.0 grains.

    Be paranoid. Don't trust yourself: you are an idiot, and when you will figure that out, you will dismiss the revelation. Because you are an idiot.
     
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  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Amen. My Pact kept drifting so bad I got rid of it (It was free, my Dad gave it to me with the press) and went back to what I started loading with over 40 years ago, an RCBS 505.
     
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  17. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    If you use a beam balance, regardless of the "brand name" make sure it was manufactured by the Ohaus Scale Company.
     
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  18. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    How often I check depends on the powder, dispenser, how close I'm working to max, etc.

    But, especially on the LCT, there is a very fast way to do the checks with a digital scale. First, size the case and put in the new primer. Pull the empty case off the press, put it on the electronic scale, and re-zero. Put the case back in the press, drop the powder. Put the charged case on the scale - whatever shows is the charge weight (subject to scale accuracy issues, as always). No dumping of powder back and forth. Put the case back in the press and resume loading it.
     
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  19. Keith G

    Keith G Member

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    This makes perfect sense, and I am most cautious when I stop to check a load. Here’s what I do:

    1. Drop the powder.
    2. Pull the case without rotating to the next stage.
    3. Check the load and pour it back into the hopper.
    4. Replace case
    5. Drop load.
    6. Look inside case for visual inspection of powder
    7. Finish the cartridge.
     
  20. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Note: if you do this on a Lee turret the charges will be lighter than you get when "shaking" the measure by rotating the turret/seating bullets/resizing cases.
     
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  21. Bat Rastard

    Bat Rastard Member

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    After I have established trust in my dispenser, on every 100 I check the 1st, the last, and one in the middle of every hundred.
    I visually check every one.
    I top off the powder measure every 2-3 hundred rounds.
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    With the machines I use to load the bulk of my rounds, I check every charge.

    Sometimes they even alert me to different case volume, even though the charge is right on.

     
  23. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    As has been said, there's nothing wrong with your process, it's OK to be cautious and this isn't a race.

    Also as said, the frequency of checks will depend on the powder and measure you're using. I'll be 100% honest, if I'm loading pistol ammo with W231, 2400, Power Pistol, Universal, W296 or a similarly easy-metering powder, I'll run 10-12 powder drops to settle powder hopper, then measure 3 or 4 in a row. If I'm in the target range, I'll proceed with making however many rounds I was planning to build. This is on Lee Pro1000 press with the Autodisk powder thrower too. While the Lee stuff is frequently bemoaned and maligned, I can't find enough fault in it to warrant switching.

    With short-stick rifle powders loaded single-stage, I'll check more regularly, maybe every 20-25 charges once set. Again, I use an inexpensive, plastic Lee Perfect Powder Measure. It meters Varget and H4895 perfectly fine, within 0.1gr when I check the weights. Which is more than acceptable to me, as I absolutely refuse to load anything where a 0.1gr variation is the difference between shooting well and shooting horribly. And if 0.1gr of a slow stick powder makes the difference between a safe load and an overpressure event, you've been off the ragged edge for a while and just been lucky. I used to shoot Service Rifle matches, and the last EIC match I shot I distinctly remember shooting a 196-10X prone at 600 yards. One shot was in the 8 because I forgot to pay attention to my front sight. That means of the other 19 shots, 10 of them went into a 6" X-ring. To this day I feel no need to change my loading practices.

    Other powders and measures will give you different results. I've never loaded with true long-stick rifle powders like IMR 4064, but I imagine one simply adopts a practice that gives suitable results for confidence and safety. Which is really the important part.
     
  24. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    That's a great sub-process. The only thing wrong is that you need to stop the main loading process to execute it ! And, it's that interruption to the main process that's going to get you in trouble. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Don't answer the phone. Don't scold the kids. Don't go take a smoke. And don't weigh the powder in the middle of a run.

    The proof of what I'm saying is in your own measurements. When you take your measurements of powder "drops", exactly how many times have you had to readjust the powder measure ? None I suspect.

    If you'll simply do the 100 drops so that you can fully understand the behavior of your powder measure, and then add a visual powder height inspection inside the case before you seat the bullet, that will cover all your bases.

    Hope this helps.
     
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