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Do you hand weigh your powder charge for each cartridge?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by mastiffhound, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Then you should never shoot factory ammo.
     
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    And watch out for sunspots. etc etc
     
  3. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    The manufacturers take the time and effort to make a consistent powder. After all that, it is a shame to weigh out each charge, individually.

    Is a powder perfectly homogenous? No. Each flake or kernel can vary to some degree in size and shape. But then weighing does not make up for this difference, either.

    Larger/heavier/rounder kernels of a ball powder will burn slower. They may also be denser. So a carefully weighed out charge containing more of these kernels can burn slower than the same mass of powder from another part of the container.

    A volumetrically thrown charge filled with said flakes might weigh just a fraction of a grain more. But it might burn/perform closer to the norm than the carefully weighed charge.

    Of course this works both ways. A flat, flakey powder like Unique can break into smaller particles that are denser and burn faster. That gives the volumetrically thrown charge a double-whammy in the wrong direction.

    I'm sure there are many powders that can give better accuracy/performance when every charge is weighed to be of identical mass. Then there are some that, by design, will be just about equivalent whether you weigh or measure by volume (read up on H380). But until I've seen it on paper in a manner that counts, I wouldn't bother weighing each charge, personally.

    There are LOTS and lots of other, possibly more important, factors that can allow handloads to achieve superior accuracy over factory ammo for your specific guns. Projectile, powder, primer, seating depth, crimp, neck tension, neck reaming, weighing brass and/or measuring water capacity... and the list goes on. If I ever got down to weighing each charge, you can be sure I'd have chased a good many of those other factors, first. Specifically the ones that can be over and done with in one go. I am not even close to worrying about handweighing individual charges, yet. It would take years for me to figure out all that stuff as it correlates on paper. That's miles of walking back and forth to get your targets to measure your groups and keeping careful records... neither of which I'm particularly fond of doing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  4. BigJimP

    BigJimP Member

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    I guess the issue here - is whether you trust whatever kind of powder measure you're using on your press....( or off the press if you're a single stage loader ) ...

    I use a progressive press - with a powder measure installed - on all my metallic / and whether it was rifle or pistol it wouldn't matter.

    I'm also using a Dillon 650 with a powder check die installed and adjusted so it'll alert me to any 0.1 up or down from my goal drops. ( other presses have them as well - LNL, RCBS, etc have similar options on some of their presses.

    My procedure is:

    a. When I start the press - I know what my "goal" is for a powder drop and I want the powder measure to drop dead nuts on the "goal" but there is always a little bit of variation - but no more than 0.05 gr plus or minus, hopefully less.

    When I start the press....I dump out the first 5 drops ( I just use 1 case - recycle powder back into powder measure ). Then on each of the next 5 cases, I weigh each drop before it goes into the powder check die ...just to see what it is before I run it thru (and seat bullets in the next station, etc if the powder drops are all on goal).

    b. At round # 10 - I weigh the charge again ...making sure its still right on.

    c. Then I only weigh one in about every 25 rounds....but - The Powder Check Die ...will also alert me to an issue....
    ---------------------
    I will typically run 800 rds or so thru the press in about an hour....case gague everything as I box it up ....and I usually call it a day for reloading. Any more than an hour at a time...and it gets kind of tedious. But a good press makes it real easy to get 30 or 40 boxes stored up for my range days.

    I like reloading...customizing my rounds to my guns / wants ...but I sure like it a lot more when I can get 800 - 1,000 rds an hour off a good press....rather than do 50 rounds in an hour...if I had to check every round.
     
  5. BigN

    BigN Member

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    jcwhit - you're exactly right, haven't shot factory ammo in decades, no need to.
     
  6. ADKWOODSMAN

    ADKWOODSMAN Member

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    as huntershooter said:
    Long guns: Yes
    Hunting ammo in revolvers: Yes
    Auto pistol match/practice ammo (IPSC, IDPA, SASS): No
     
  7. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    Do you supose the factories loading big game cartridges, are stuck using the same powder little measures that we buy???

    I weigh all of my rifle hunting cartridges as they are near top end loads. For handgun loads, (i don't load near max) i only weigh one every once in a while, to make sure nothing has changed.

    DM
     
  8. 10 Spot Terminator

    10 Spot Terminator Member

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    I had to split hairs to the nearest .01 gr. on all of my load developements and cant trust any powder thrower to do that for me every time, so yeah, I weigh each and every one.
     
  9. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    The supposition that its fine to meter handguns but not "top" rifle loads is completely contrary to the facts.

    A tenth of a grain for a 6g handgun charge is a far larger percentage than for a 50g rifle round.

    Handguns particularly automatics do not have the overpressure margins of a rifle.

    The fact of the matter is if you're OK throwing high volume handgun rounds you're already proved you're fine with doing rifles that way too.




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  10. Nanook

    Nanook Member

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    I use a powder measure and leave the charge short of the desired amount. Then I trickle in the remainder.

    That's for precision rifle rounds, like 6BR or .223/.308 bolt guns. Really, for any bolt guns I trickle the last few grains in.

    For the AR and handguns, I use the Dillon and check every ten rounds or so, until I'm satisfied in the accuracy of the powder dropped.

    The Redding 3BR measure is very accurate in my experience. I've heard good things about the RCBS Uniflow as well, although I don't own one of those. I've been eying one of those Chargemaster setups, but have no experience with them. Intriguing, I must say.
     
  11. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    For my rifle hunting a precision target shooting loads yes.

    For handguns and 223 bulk loads no. I use powders that meter well like Universal Clays and H335/WC844. I typically load 300-500 of these rounds at a time and weighing each one would suck.
     
  12. idoono

    idoono Member

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    I weigh each load. Doesn't matter if it is for revolver, pistol, or rifle. I do not do it because I do not trust my powder measure since I have tested it and it is fairly constant. I do it because I personally want to make the best ammo I can. Is is OCD? Maybe but I enjoy the feeling of knowing it is exact. Thats why I load on a single stage and not a progressive. YMMV

    Idoono
     
  13. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Before gas got so expensive I used to shoot 1 to 2 thousand 45, 9mm, 30 carbine, or other calibers a week. I can see myself weighing each and every charge???????????

    My last trip to the range 2/3 weeks ago I shot over 400 rounds, and no I'm not going to weigh all those reloads either.

    But hey, if others like fussing with a scale, have at it, myself, I'll spend the time casting, reading, or any other enjoyable activity.
     
  14. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    Guys, use a good powder measure correctly, load some with it, load some by weight, shoot groups and make up your own mind. I shoot thousands of rounds a year through my prairie dog guns, all are loaded by dropped charges. There are other things that affect accuracy more than the weight of charge. I was converted to this by an old BR shooter. He loaded his with an old, filed down 45/70 case with a wire handle soldered to it. The volume is more important than the weight. But if it makes you feel better to weigh each one, keep doing it. Accuracy requires confidence.
     
  15. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    This would be true ONLY if you was using the same powder for BOTH rifle and handgun! And you don't!

    Many rifle powders don't run through a powder measure as nicely as handgun powders.

    Try some H4831 through your measure, then try some unique...

    Yes, some guys use ball or some other small grain powder in rifles, but most of us guys that have bigger hunting cartridges like the 30-06, don't.

    DM
     
  16. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    For rifle loading YES

    For handgun loads NO. I weigh before I start, weigh again while loading and once more when I'm finished. Not once has my Uniflow ever deviated from the original setting as I tend to lock it up pretty tight.

    Still don't completely trust digital scales though and still use balance beams. ;)
     
  17. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    The converse is also true. The fact remains that 1/10 of 5 is much greater than 1/10 of 50 on a ratio basis.
     
  18. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Member

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    Heck no.
    Any more, I don't bother. Rifle or handgun.
    I set my powder measure up, throw a bunch of charges until I'm satisfied with any deviation, and lock it down.

    I used to throw, weigh, replace and seat.
    Bah. Takes too long for the accuracy results I, myself, am capable of.

    Then I weighed every fifth. Then ever tenth. Then the first, twenty-fifth and fiftieth.

    Now I get the measure throwing consistently, it may be a tenth-grain short of the intended load.. but how much is that usually? Three, four kernels of powder?

    If your electronic scale only shows to the tenth-grain, that's a two-tenth possible variance.. heck, a Lyman 5-0 or RCBS Uniflow and a beam scale is that accurate.. $80 bucks that can be spent on primers, as far as I'm concerned..

    A smokeless powder's standard deviation is greater than those three meticulously weighed kernels are gonna cause/make up for, anyway.
     
  19. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Member

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    Ball C2 and H414 in my .303 British..
     
  20. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    +1. And yet, I'm still waiting for someone who weighs every charge to state the difference in their group size. I can't believe people go through this fuss without even verifying it is an improvement.

    As a bench rest shooter, I am guessing he put a lot of rounds on paper. I wish he could have given specific measurements and standard deviations between the two methods with specific powders; it would be interesting to see after all this theorizing.

    Seems like if it weren't such a bother, someone would have done this. Since it is a bother, and I haven't seen any actual data, I wonder how many people are weighing each charge for no other reason than unsubstantiated faith?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  21. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    Nope. I adjust my powder measure until I get it right to what I want on the scale, then I'll throw 10 charges into the same pan and make sure it weighs out at 10x what I expect it to.

    After that I just go from the powder measure. I do charge 50 cases at a time into a loading block and when done I do a quick scan to see if any look any lower/higher than the others.

    This has proven perfectly safe for me for many thousands of rounds. Granted, I don't do any extreme accuracy shooting. My loading is 95% for action pistol competitions and 5% for hunting.
     
  22. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    I've compared Lincoln log imr5010 to hs6. The margin for error on throws remains remarkably similar. Using the dump on downstroke I can cut n meter 5010 with less than a .2 extreme spread low to high

    But even if it was three times greater the ovrall variation is still a great deal larger with the smooth metering pistol charges than the course rifle rifle.

    Fwiw unique meters like crap amongst handgun powders. Especially at very low volumes. H4831 is cake especially the SC variety. You should try metering vs weighed on targets ill wager if you tested blind you'd be astonished at the lack of difference.




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  23. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    The issue here is how much charge weight deviation makes a difference to the accuracy and precision of a load. My personal experience is that 0.5gr can DEFINITELY make a difference with any of my rifles capable of shooting around 0.5 MOA consistently. If I haven't found the "best" load, 0.3gr can make a difference. If I had a powder measure capable of +/- 0.1gr I would use it with confidence assuming I had good technique.

    How accurate are the powder measures used by successful BR shooters?
     
  24. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    Except that we aren't using handguns to hit a 5" circle at 1000 yards!!
     
  25. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    Define accurate?

    Accurate by the assumption that slight variation in weight matters in anything but long range guns capable of deep sub .5moa performance

    Accurate by a very precise measure of volume

    Or just accurate on that piece of paper downrange.


    I've spoken with some accomplished benchrest shooters extensively and I was always surprised at just how little charge and powder despensing was stressed. They were all far more focused on things like case prep and bullet runout






    posted via that mobile app with the sig lines everyone complaints about
     
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