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lee dippers vs. lee safety scale, made an oddly loud BOOM!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 1858rem, Nov 13, 2008.

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  1. 1858rem

    1858rem Member

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    ok, so i had been loading .45 colt 255g rmfp using the lee dippers, i thought i was throwing 8.5g of unique, but after zeroing in my new lee safety scale and checking my throw weights, it was actually only a 5.9g charge! when i checked what i thought i was throwing 3.5g of titegroup turned out to be only 2.6g! the scale is dead zero, i was wondering if anyone had a lee(the 20$ beam scale) that was off, or if it was just the dippers.... oh yah and "5.8g" trailboss was more like 4.5g. the loads shot pretty well and accurate, descant recoil, but only once in the .38 and once in my .45 the shot was MUCH louder, first i thought i overloaded a case mebbe, guns were fine an i more thoroughly double checked powder level in the cases from then till now, but could it be i actually undercharged the cases? :confused:
     
  2. cobra2411

    cobra2411 Member

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    My lee scale is dead on. I don't use the dipper, I use the auto-disk. Unique does have some issues metering through the AD, so I do tend to check weights very often.

    Make sure the scale is level and take time to zero it before you start.
     
  3. ants

    ants Member

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    The dippers are notorious for being short.

    Nevertheless, read the manual that came with your scale and make certain you know how to use it. If set up properly, the scale is plenty accurate. The dippers are not.
     
  4. jhansman

    jhansman Member

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    I use the Lee dippers, but I also check them for weight. I have made several 'custom' dippers for specific powders, which I also check. Being able to charge cases with the Powder Through Expander die without having to weigh every charge is a great convenience, but only if it is safe.
     
  5. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Member

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    There's a certain amount of skill needed to use dippers safely. The first skill is filling the dippers consistently (pushing it down into the powder and letting the powder fall into the cavity, then leveling with a card instead of scooping the dipper through the powder). The second is knowing how and when to check your charge weights. Neither is very difficult.

    The key rule, though, is to NEVER USE AN UNCALIBRATED DIPPER. You have to check the charge weights on a scale with EVERY new batch of powder to make sure it's consistent.

    Anything less is unsafe.
     
  6. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Never had a dipper that would throw as much as the chart said it should. The weights listed for the dipper by Lee must be the absolute largest amount of powder that can be crammed into and heaped up on the dipper. It does make sense to list things this way but for reloading with a precise level of powder you need to scale what's being thrown from the dipper. Weigh several throws until you can get a consistent charge throw to throw. The scale will be accurate if zero'd to start with and there's no air blowing on it from a vent or fan.
     
  7. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Fireflyfather quote: "There's a certain amount of skill needed to use dippers safely."

    Yup...There sure is...The best skill is knowing that you would be better of using a scale instead. I still have my Lee dipper set that I bought when I first got started. I used them for a month, bought a RCBS 5-0-5. Discovered just how inaccurate the dippers were. Now the dipper set plus box is used as a spacer in one of my die set drawers...
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    The dippers are handy when using a filler. Other than that, they are hit and miss. A scale gives you so much more control and peace of mind.
     
  9. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    Have both old and new dipper sets and use them regularly. Am currently loading a batch of 223 w/55 gr. Yellow dipper 1.6 throws exactly 24.8 gr. of AA2230, easily repeatable within .1 every time, makes loading soooooo easy. Love the dippers for almost 40 years, but, check yourself. the dippers don't change but the operator does.
     
  10. 1858rem

    1858rem Member

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    how much difference will level-ness of my bench make IF i have the scale perfectly zeroed already. it looks pretty level but i dunno about the floor (80+ yr old farmhouse)lol :D an i currently cant find my level:eek:
     
  11. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Member

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    zero is zero,regarless of how level the surface is that it sits on..within reason of course.

    yep,them dippers AND the bushings for my loadAll always throw light.
     
  12. 1858rem

    1858rem Member

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    cool, just wanted to be sure cause' a whole grain+ off seemed ridicules to me! starting at min load what i thought was near max and working up still... well time to start over lol...... eh, mebby my groups will shrink a bit more now!
     
  13. paperpuncher49

    paperpuncher49 Member

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    IMO, dippers are best used when weighing individual charges for rifle rounds. I typically choose a dipper that is lower than but close to my desired charge weight, dump it into the scale pan, and then use a trickler to bring it to the proper weight. Used in this manner, they at least get close to the desired charge.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Regardless of how unlevel your house or bench is:

    You can easily make a scale platform out of a piece of 1 " x 4" white pine or oak.

    Drill and tap it for three 1/4"x20 screws, two on one end, and one on the other. Attach the scale to it with tie-wraps.

    Then level it to the work surface with the screws.

    Unfortunately, you will have to find your level to do that!
     
  15. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Scale set up

    You can buy test weights to check your scale. I use 1 158gr jacketed bullet as my scale checker. When scale reads 0 at start, i then weight the bullet, it should always be exactly 158.7 gr. Then i know the scale is OK. I always put the scale on the same 4 legged stool in the same location. The area is marked with Magic Marker where the scale sits and the stool is located. No resetting to 0 evertime i use the scale.
     
  16. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    I use the dippers to throw the charge into the scale pan only. The only dippers I throw directly into the case with are the ones I calibrate, or make with used brass.

    As previously posted, dippers are designed to throw short to start with for safety.
     
  17. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    243winxb. How do you know that bullet weighs 158.7 grains?? What did you weigh the bullet on? When was the reference scale calibrated last?
     
  18. 1858rem

    1858rem Member

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    the lightest bullet i would mind using as a check weight is a 124g.... max scale load is only 110g though, i could pull apart a .22 mag 40grn'er but they are $.25 each!:D:what:
     
  19. NC-Mike

    NC-Mike Member

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    Well OK, I'm about to start reloading and I bought a set of lee dippers.

    My plan was to find the dipper that throws the right charge using a scale and then use that dipper to throw the charges.

    What are folks complaining about here? That the dippers do not throw the list weight or the dippers are not repeatable?

    I would expect the dipper to be very repeatable but I'm thinking it would also be common sense to weigh the charge the particular dipper throws.
     
  20. RugerBob

    RugerBob Member

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    I was loading 8 grs Unique with my Lee beam scale. At the last shoot I was at (SASS) some of the other shooters thought my loads were a little hot, as I knocked a few targets down. So, I bought a digital scale. Turns out that 8 grains from my beam scale wieghed 7.7 on the digi scle. So, I checked my 30-30 loads. Beam scle said 33.5 (w-748). The digi said 32.5. Guess my loads weren't hot after all. Just my 2 cents. Bob
     
  21. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    The dippers can have air pockets, pack a bit tighter from dip to dip or be a bit looser. Level to the top may vary even with your eyes from dip to dip. Or as you go along you may subconciously allow more doming of the powder in the dipper or start worring subconciously and short the powder in the dipper. A properly set up balance scale or electronic scale doesn't cheat. Or lie.
     
  22. evan price

    evan price Member

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    The dippers will throw light because the density of the powder changes with humidity and temperature. Lee calibrates them so worst case (most dense) you will not exceed maximum. Thus, most of the time, they are quite light.

    My Lee scale is right on with the digital I checked it on.
     
  23. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    all new dimes weigh 35 grains. At $.10 it's the cheapest test weight you can find.
     
  24. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Hummm...I just weighed a group (10) of (new) dimes. They weighed from 33.8 gr to 35.7...
     
  25. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Member

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    OK, there's some BS being spewed here.

    Dippers GENERALLY are as consistent as the person using them. However, even a mechanical powder measure can be shortstroked, or otherwise mishandled to produce an inconsistent load.

    Dippers are meant to be used ALONG SIDE of a scale. If used consistently, the variance will be minimal, as long as you are using THE SAME BATCH OF POWDER. It's not so much moisture/temperature that affects the charge thrown by a dipper as it is different batches having a slightly different density (as anyone who uses a volumetric powder charging device should know). You have to test the dipper with each batch of powder, (just like VLD test for the Lee perfect powder measure, for example) but once you've established the density of that batch, any variation with the dippers is human error. Basically, if you are relying on what a dipper "should" throw, instead of what it does with your particular batch of powder, you are engaging in either fuzzy math, wishful thinking, or intellectual laziness. Instead, rely on the scientific method: Find out what it DOES throw, and then see how that can be useful to you (move up to next size and test that, use the dipper as is, trickle up from a dipper charge, etc...).

    Yes, the charge that the dipper throws may be a little less than it says on the chart, but the mileage your car actually gets is just a little bit different than what the government rates the car as getting, isn't it? You'd be a DANGEROUS FOOL not to check the dippers against real powder before loading with them. Better that the dipper be a wee bit short than a wee bit high, given that powder density varies, and people's level of skill varies. I don't see what the problem is with that, since the need to hit an EXACT powder charge off of a set of dippers that vary by .3cc per size is at best unrealistic.

    A scale without dippers or other calibrated powder dispenser is almost as useless. What, are you going to use, a spoon? That's even slower and less accurate. If your complaint about accuracy is that the charges from the dipper didn't match the chart, then you misunderstand some of the basic principles of smokeless powder. See above.

    Also, be aware that not everyone needs .1 grain precision for what they do. It's nice, but if your reloading goal is simply cheap plinking ammo, it will probably be served just as well with dippers as you would be with an expensive powder dispenser. It just depends on what you are trying to do. For truly accurate long range rifle ammo, you're going to be trickling anyway, so why not use a dipper to get you up into the right ball park off the bat?
     
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