Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Confused about weighing powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Kali, Feb 13, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Kali

    Kali Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Hey all,

    Brand new reloader here. I have a single stage lee press im trying to get my first batch of reloads through. I also have a lyman reloading handbook.

    It came with a "lee safety powder scale" which is a pretty cheap little balance scale. Im in the market for a better scale but tonight, its what im going to be working with.

    Heres my question. So I run my powder through the "lee perfect powder measure", and into the scale cup, ( I know the basics of working a beam type measuring device), measure the powder, adjust the screw, measure again, etc until its pumping out ~14 grains of powder every crank of the handle. Can I tighten the nut and use the lee perfect power measure and go ahead and do about 100 rounds or do I have to keep remeasuring every round?

    The reason I ask is I am finding this scale to be cheap, finicky, and generally a pain to use if I have to pour each measured round into the pan, weigh it, somehow pour it into the brass (getting all the grains off that stuck to the metal) without spilling and then repeat X100. How often do you guys recheck a device like the lee perfect powder measure?

    Im planning on 14 grains of 2400 for .357 with a 158 grain JHP.

    Any advice appreciated.

    -Ryan
     
  2. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    Heart of Dixie
    A general rule is to check every ten or so after you get it set to the weight you're needing. You really just need to do a spot check at an interval (whatever you feel comfortable with) to make sure your measurer is still throwing accurately.
     
  3. GT1

    GT1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    700
    Location:
    IL
    You don't have to check every round, I would spot check every 15-20 to make sure it was still throwing consistently.

    You are batch loading, you can see in the case if something doesn't look right after you know what a correct charge should look like. I make a point to always look in the cases.

    The Lee scale is as accurate as any, but as you found out a real PITA to manipulate.
    Most folks like the RCBS 505($80). I like the Lyman 500($50), plastic base but full size and same easy to use poises and agate bearings as any full size beam. I hot glued some weights in the base so it is 'planted' on my bench.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    +1
    Absolutely no reason to weight every charge.

    Get it set to throw 14.0 grains, Lock it down, then check a charge every 10 rounds or so.

    Then, set all 50 charged cases in a loading block.
    Then inspect the powder levels in all 50 before you even think about seating the first bullet.

    Any variation worth worrying about will be plainly visible when compared to 49 others.

    rc
     
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Messages:
    8,921
    Location:
    Hopewell Big Woods
    Till you get to know your measure well, check often. Run a lot of powder thru to condition the measure & settle the powder. I have a bullet marked at 158.7 gr as a scale check weight. Scale should be at 0 empty. Drop 10 charges into the pan for an average. Should be the same at the start/end. I check every 10th powder drop when the load block is full. On the progressive every 20th. Plus looking into each case before seating the bullets. I would not start at 14 gr. 14.8 is maximum.
     
  6. Kali

    Kali Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Thanks to all of you for the fast help.

    As to why I should not start near the maximum, is that because its dangerous to the reload process or that it just makes for a heavy recoil shot? Im no stranger to shooting heavy loads(purchased) out of this pistol, just brand spankin new to reloading them.
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    You should never start at MAX load data, because they didn't pressure test the data in your gun, with your exact bullets, powder, cases, & primers.

    A 10% reduction from Max, or starting with the starting load and working up to max or near max gives you a chance to spot any pressure defugilities before you blow yourself up or shoot your eye out.

    Your gun will thank you if you don't blow it up.

    Your mother will thank all of us if you don't shoot your eye out.

    rc
     
  8. 30Cal

    30Cal Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    2,293
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Max loads generate the maximum safe pressure. Has nothing to do with recoil.

    If 14.8 is max, then 14.0 is not where you should start. 10% below max is the standard place to start. It's called the "starting load."

    When you're near the max, you need to remember the behavior of your powdermeasure and make sure it's variations aren't going to throw you a load beyond the max.

    I'd weigh often until you have a good feel for how your measure behaves.
     
  9. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Messages:
    8,921
    Location:
    Hopewell Big Woods
    The 14.8gr maximum comes from Alliant's Powder Guide 2013. Different Components = Different Pressure. As already said, work up the powder charge for safety.
     
  10. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,776
    Starting low and working up is for your safety. In addition, you will often find the best accuracy at the lower end. You increase in small increments looking for the accuracy with the componets you are using. How frequently you check your charges depend some on how consistent both the type of powder and powder measure are that you are using.
     
  11. splattergun

    splattergun Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,670
    Location:
    Utah
    I dispense the powder into a small plastic scoop( something I got out of an Oxyclean tub) 1st, not directly into the scale pan. Then I pour the powder into the scale pan. The reason being, some powders like to bounce out of the pan as it's being dropped, which can throw off your weight. (sometimes mistaken as leakage)

    Next, if powder is sticking to your scale pan, the pan could be dirty or oily. Clean it.

    Last, use a shell block and a powder funnel. That will alleviate much of your pain. Or, as I do sometimes, put the mouth of the shell under the dispensing tube, charging the shell directly.

    Once I've adjusted the PPM, I weigh every 15th charge on the scale to verify. THis is my pistol proceedure. When loading rifle, I measure every charge.
     
  12. Kali

    Kali Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Got it. Im just gonna go 12 to be safe. You're right also about not being able to trust this scale right now, if I move it 1/4 inch, its off.
     
  13. GT1

    GT1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    700
    Location:
    IL
    Never move the scale around the bench(Any scale) after you've set it.
     
  14. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Messages:
    8,921
    Location:
    Hopewell Big Woods
    Starting at 13.3 gr would be -10% of the maximum 14.8 gr.
     
  15. ngnrd

    ngnrd Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    984
    Location:
    South Central Alaska
    Undercharged loads can be just as dangerous as overcharged loads. Please, for your own safety, step away from the reloading bench at least long enough to read the reloading manual you have... and maybe a couple more.
     
  16. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,833
    Location:
    Lassen County, California
    Use a dryer sheet to wipe out your funnel and pan to keep the powder granules from sticking. It takes a little practice for beginners to get their powder measures to throw accurate charges. Work on consistent motions.
     
  17. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    5,305
    Location:
    Manitowoc, WI
    IF it's dropping the same consistent weight.
    Once I have my powder measure set, I weigh every 10th charge.
     
  18. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    Heart of Dixie
    +1 what ngnrd said.

    Take your time to study another manual or two. Then check reputable references for load data and stick to the specifics. Guessing starting loads and setting your load at max right from the start isn't the most ideal way to go.
     
  19. Searcher4851

    Searcher4851 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Illinois
    Another +1 to what ngnrd said.
    Reloading is only as safe as you are willing to be. There's guessing, and there's educated guessing. The educated guessers tend to retain their fingers longer. One should read and understand what's involved in proper reloading before dropping the first charge of powder. Reloading is one area where the old adage 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing' can be so true. An improper load can be just as dangerous to anyone around you when shooting, as it is to you.
    Safety first can make reloading an enjoyable hobby in itself for a long time to come. Haphazard reloading practices can end your reloading endeavor in a heartbeat.
     
  20. mdi

    mdi Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    1,902
    Location:
    Orygun!
    Your Lee scale may look cheap, but it's prolly as accurate as any beam scale around (for reloading). I have 2 beam scales (lyman, RCBS), a digital scale, and a Lee Safety Scale. All scales will weigh to within .05 (half of a tenth of a grain) of each other. The big difference is the Lee scale uses a vernier type poise anf the other beam scales use a weight in a notch type. Many fellers can't/won't learn to use the vernier poise so they consider it junky. One plus for the Lee over other scales is the locking feature; you can lock the poise on a designated weight and it won't change if the pan is replaced a bit too hard or the scale bumped (my Lyman/Ohaus will jump 2/10 gr. if I remove the pan too quickly). If you don't like the Lee scale then replace it, but you won't find one more accurate.

    Depending on the powder, weigh every charge for the first dozen or so then one out of 5 or 10 once the measure has settled down and throwing consistant charges within your tolerances. When I'm working up a new load I like to keep powder charges to .1 grain, and with some powders and my spiffy new C-H powder measure, it doesn't happen, so I weigh them all...

    Always start with the "starting charge" listed in your manuals. As noted by the fellers above, the loads listed were tested in a known good/solid firearm, or a universal receiver with a test barrel. Your gun may not be of the same quality/strength/tolerances as the test fixture and rarely is good accuracy obtained at max. charges.

    Go slow, double check everything, and enjoy one of the most satifsying aspects of the shooting hobbies...
     
  21. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,369
    +1 on getting a funnel, the Lee will cost you all of $4.00 and directs your powder into the case. The other inexpensive item of help is a powder trickler that allows you to add small amounts to your scale pan until balanced.

    Keep the measure 1/2 full if possible and throw 10 charges after any adjustments. Dump those back in the tube and measure the 11th and 12th. With spherical powders both of my Hornady measures and the Dillon won't be off by more than .01

    There are plenty of other opportunities for bad things to happen beyond powder charge so another +1 on studying. The best way to start is IMO to find an experienced person to help.
     
  22. dickttx

    dickttx Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    954
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Don't know if it is only terminology or not, but I NEVER try to WEIGH anything on a beam scale. After you zero it on a solid surface (not your loading bench, or it will move and lose zero everytime you run a round through your loader) you should set your target weight on the beam. When you dump your powder set it on the scale and it will be light, heavy, or, hopefully, right on zero. Keep adjusting your powder measure until you pretty much get zero everytime. When you develop confidence that the measure is throwing consistently, then weigh about every tenth round to see that nothing is changing. With a new scale or measure it may take quite a few rounds for me to develop confidence.
     
  23. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,775
    Location:
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    if you're using a disk type powder measure, you have to change the cavity sizes in ~.4cc incriments.... so you often can't achieve the desired load to the exact number you want.

    So us Lee auto disk users do indeed have to weigh the charge, by adjusting the poise to zero the scale. Then you chose the disk that gets you the closest to your target.

    if you use the adjustable charge bar, you can do it exaclty as dicktxx described.

    I've been tinkering with vernier scales for ages an have no problems with the Lee safety scale. I have a $500 lab scale in my office and when weighing a specific penny and dime (my economy check weights) the scale is always spot on to the nearest tenth or better. Hard to tell beyond that, as the lab scale flutters around quite a bit at the .01 grain increment.... If someone opens the door across the room, the air current will make that scale jump.
     
  24. dickttx

    dickttx Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    954
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Yeah I am a PAD user too, but he said he was using the Lee Perfect Powder Measure.
    So far I have been able to find a good and safe load just using the disk. I use my Lee dies and PAD on my LnL AP, along with a lock-out die. Don't have to worry about two stations to expand/flare, and drop powder, or buying the part that is required for each caliber if you want to combine. Without the turning, banging, etc. that happens on my LCT the PAD is even more consistent. Wish my Safety Prime would work on the LnL too, instead of using those primer pick-up sticks.:D
     
  25. HighExpert

    HighExpert Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    496
    Location:
    Daytona
    I don't know if you have noticed, but 2400 is a rather powerful powder. The pressure range from minimum to maximum more than doubles. I would start at about 13grainstead of 14gr. This will give you a little more headroom to make a mistake with seating depth or your scale. My Lyman shows the max charge at 14.9gr and some manuals show it at 14.8. I don't think you will notice a whole lot of difference in the shooting between 13gr and 14gr but your gun will. If you intend to shoot lots of rounds of any magnum cartridge the gun will last longer and stay tighter with slightly reduced loads.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page