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Inconsistency measuring Lil'Gun powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by DragonFire, Oct 21, 2005.

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  1. DragonFire

    DragonFire Member

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    I am going to work on some new .357 loads, and was looking for a powder that would fill the case more than what I had been using. (My current loads are with HS-6).

    After searching this (and other) forums I decided on Lil'Gun. So I picked up a pound, and 16gr (the low end of the recipe for 158gr bullet) does fill the case nicely. I set up my Dillon SQB press to throw 15.5 gr (that's below the starting load I figure I'd start low and work my way up to a medium hot load).

    While adjusting the powder level using the small powder bar, the press suddenly became almost impossible to cycle. Taking it apart, I found powder had jammed it. I cleaned it out and switched to the larger powder bar.
    I then threw about dozen loads of powder, adjusting the powder level, and the last 3 or 4 loads were consistantly 15.5.

    But when starting to load a few round, I doubled checked the powder weight as I was loading and discoverd that it was threw 15.7 for the first round, 15.9 for the second, 15.8 for the third. I ended up weighing a dozen loads and got 3 at 15.7, 6 at 15.8 and 3 at 15.9

    While of course I've experienced some variation in powder weight while loading other powders, I've had nothing like this. I figure I'll try again tonight. I'll readjust the press, and see what I happens, if the loads are more consistent. But what can I do if they're not?

    Do I just figure that Lil'Gun doesn't work in my press? I'd hate to have to weigh every round I load with it (which I might have to do to use up the pound).
     
  2. griz

    griz Member

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    To me that sounds like the measure was averaging 15.8 grains and had only plus or minus .1 gr variation. That's not bad.
     
  3. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    Love HS6 for 357 mag! .2 gr makes a big difference when using clays! JDGray
     
  4. pcf

    pcf Member

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    Using a Lyman powder measurer I get .1 grain variation. It doesn't have any effect on the end results. Lil'gun requires a consistent technique when throwing charges (it no where close to 800x but....)

    Things that I've found helps:
    -Consistent technique
    -Throw at least 15 charges before setting the measurer, the powder usually settles about a 1/4".
    -Keep the hopper at least 1/2 full. Don't know why but at about 1/3 full, my charges start to get .2-.3grs lighter.
     
  5. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    SPEED of press operation is not the goal here, CONSISTENCY is. Try slowing your cycle down just a touch, it should help.

    Also, as noted above, allow enough cycles for the powder to settle before locking in your measure setting.

    Pcf: They get lighter because you have less weight above packing the powder tightly into the measuring area, causing a less dense(lighter by weight) charge.

    You may want to try a powder baffle in the hopper tube, this will keep the pressure in the measure equal, by keeping a consistant amount of powder pressing on the measure.
     
  6. DragonFire

    DragonFire Member

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    I went back to reloading bench tonite. After rechecking everything I again adjusted the press to throw 15.8, then 16.1 and then 16.3. Each time, the press kept a pretty consistent throw, mostly exacty weight or +.1 gr. with an occassional - .1 gr.

    However when I went down to 15.5gr, the throws became very inconsistent with +2 gr or more variations. I guess I'm concluding that the minimal powder weight for this powder while using the large powder bar is 15.7

    Lil'Gun seems like a very heavy powder. It doesn't seem to take very many granulars to increase the weight by 1/10th of a grain.

    I've never heard of a powder baffle, but I guess I can guess what it does. The question is, where can I get one?

    I sort of understand why less powder in the hopper would mean less pressure pushing the powder into the bar, but why haven't I seen this with the other powers I've used?

    I've loaded up 50 or so rounds of a range of powder weights, and I'm off to the range tomorrow to see how they shoot. I'll let you all know.

    thanks to everyone for the replies.
     
  7. pcf

    pcf Member

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    I have a powder baffle, Lil'gun is the only powder that I have this problem with.:confused:
     
  8. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I believe the 550 measure should have a baffle in it. Little upside down sheet metal "V" thingy right over the charge bar. Maybe there's another one avalible besides the stock one. Dunno

    IIRC, you can loosen and tighten the screw that holds the crank arm for the charge bar. If you tighten it just right, the charge bar "clunks" as it comes back. This settles the powder much like tapping the handle on a free standing powder measure. Worth a try.

    FWIW...I was doing some experimenting during the last loading session with Universal Clays. I've got a Hornady (RCBS) rotary measure and the Dillon 550. The Dillon was nearly always on, but the rotary would vary by .2-3 IIRC
     
  9. Hobie

    Hobie Member

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    Sounds to me like you're just being lazy. It is no great chore to weigh 437 charges.

    Why did you go less than the recommended starting load with this powder? What benefit is there?

    Some powders just don't work well in some mechanisms. Lil'Gun is a flattened ball powder and is bound to bind in a sliding charge bar type set-up with just the wrong space between the moving parts. Apparently you've got just the wrong dimensions.

    BTW, 18 gr. (the book MAX) works very well with 158 gr. jacketed bullets in my .357 Mags.
     
  10. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    He was looking for a new powder....as in, from here on out I'm going to use this

    And, maybe I'm lazy too, but I got a progressive press to be, well, progressive. If I wanted to weigh and individually load, I'd have gotten a single stage

    My son-in-law and I shot up over 600 rounds today. I'm not gonna hand weigh each one
     
  11. 444

    444 Member

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  12. DragonFire

    DragonFire Member

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    Redneck2 said it. I got a progressive press so I don't have to weigh each round.

    What I'm looking for is a mild .357 load, more like a .38+P, but I want to use .357 cases. While I'll also develop a true .357 load from the same powder, I shoot way more mild loads than I do hot ones.

    I'd also like the powder to fill up the .357 cases more than my half way. And of course, I'd like the powder to work in my Dillon press.

    My Lil'Gun rounds proved very accurate, but recoil was a bit stiff. Not terrible, but more than I'm looking for. I think I'll give the small powder bar in my press another shot, but I don't think Lil'gun is going to be the one for me.
     
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