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On Powder Level Checkers

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Eddy19, Feb 2, 2020.

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  1. Eddy19

    Eddy19 Member

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    Thinking of getting either the Hornady Powder Cop or RCBS Powder Check (not lockout) Yes, I certainly do check the powder level of each case as it comes around to the seating die but want to play with a checker, I'm a gadget freak.
    I do have a question: due to the compressible nature of powder won't the indicator rod on the checkers show a erratic reading?
     
  2. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

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    No. They apply very little pressure to the powder column.

    Also, get the Lock-Out die. The other ones require to to watch the indicator rod EVERYTIME. The Lock-Out die stops the press.
     
    BiknSwans and Dudedog like this.
  3. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Powder check dies are not used to confirm powder charge to the grain, they’re simply a tool to confirm 1) a charge has been thrown, and 2) a double charge has NOT been thrown. There’s also little to no compression of the powder by these dies.
     
  4. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    Lockout for me.
     
  5. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    I’m a big fan of the RCBS Lockout Die. It’s only for use with straight wall cases.
     
  6. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I use the powder cop die, pistol and rifle. I mainly use it for rifle loads where you can't see down in the brass. Pistol rounds you can see into the mouth before you set the bullet. If you sort brass by mfg can can detect 0.1 gr change in pistol. At one time I had one show high, so I pulled it and dumped into a pan to weight. What I found was some corncob media in with the brass. Started checking and my brass feeder was scooping the media up that was collecting in the bottom of the bowl. Added a small drain and that problem went away.
     
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  7. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    Great tool for pistol.....not so great for bottle neck rifle......

    The Dillon buzzer version is okay, but the last I saw it requires a hole drilled in the casting of non-blue presses.
    The Hornady or RCBS versions for rifle require you to look at the little rod and on a long progressive run, you may forget to look.

    So I made mine with a cheap chinese bore snake camera and a 5" monitor....more... "in my face" where I couldn't "not look.";) That's a .308 case with powder to the bottom of the neck. Obviously in that case... no worries about "no charge", and a double charge would overflow and make a big mess.

    IMG-2870.jpg

    IMG-2858.jpg
    Pretty self explanatory: sorta threaded a 7.62(308) case, cut it, epoxy puttied around the camera and slid the case piece over it. When dried just screwed it into the old RCBS sizer barrel. (12 volt power cube)
    IMG-2865.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
    Zendude and Walkalong like this.
  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I have the powder cop. I like it
     
  9. HDMontana

    HDMontana Member

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    RCBS lock out die works for me.
     
  10. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    With just short of 40 years of reloading under my belt, I'm confident that my drum style powder measures throw consistent powder charges. But they do have a "hic-cup" now and again.

    So, on my progressive presses, I use a Hornady powder cop die. My main purpose is to check that powder has been dispensed in the case at near the appropriate level. If the indication is way to much or way too little then I do something. If the powder cop die indicates that powder charge is near correct, then I know that the powder measure has dispensed the appropriate level.

    Personally, I do not what a die that "locks" up the press during operation regardless the reason.
     
  11. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    tightgroup tiger likes this.
  12. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    My Dillon ones are sensitive enough that they can detect the internal volume difference between regular and stepped cases.



    If a die only works if you are looking at it, I don’t feel it would be as good as one that locks up or provides an audible notification.
     
    tightgroup tiger and Texas10mm like this.
  13. Eddy19

    Eddy19 Member

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    Thanks everyone! that's a interesting device GW Staar. In considering how I work the press, all I want is a second simple visual method, no lockup for me at this time. I've been looking into each and every case for close to 30 years and I prefer it that way, I believe in developing the senses to be able to recognize things that aren't quite right, powder level is one. I can't work a progressive without knowing every second what's going on in the rotation, never take my eyes off of it. No radio or TV close by, or people or any other distractions. Ordered the Powder Cop and should be arriving today. I'll mount it in one of two free stations but will still visually look into every case.
     
  14. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Ahhh! I didn't see your post until now (5:15PM) . I would have gave you one, very slightly used, if I knew you were serious about buying one. I can't stand them.

    No, the die may, but the movement will be so subtle you won't notice it.

    I can set up my lock out dies, either RCBS or Hornady lock out, to pick up .3gr of variation and lock up the press on .3gr of an overcharge. That is the way I use them. I can't see that with a powder cop die unless I stop everything and measure the o-ring height above the top of the die body with a dial caliper.

    You may be able to, but I think you will drive yourself nuts trying to let a Powder Cop die govern whether your powder charges are acceptable.

    My lockout dies will also stop the press with a no charge as long as you are within the .3 gr variation of your target charge. If I set it for around +or - .3gr of my target then they will by default pick up a no charge due to the fact that there is no cartridge that only take .3gr of powder for it charge.

    I wish I would have known you were ready to buy one. Rats! I run a Hornady LNL-AP and the charged case is front and center to the operator on that press so if the operator is going to look down to look at the powder cop die you may as well just look in the case and save the station on the press for another type of die.

    What type of press are you using.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
    Dudedog likes this.
  15. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    I use a powder cop when loading 38 special because I can’t see the powder in a long case. It has saved me from a squib a couple of times when the powder bridged in the thrower.
     
  16. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I adj the body so the o-ring is setting at or just above the base for my reference. It can detect different mfg of case since all have a slightly different volume.
     
  17. Eddy19

    Eddy19 Member

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    Thanks tightgroup tiger, I appreciate it just the same.
     
  18. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    That is about what I see with both my RCBS and Hornady lockout dies.
    Sometimes + or -.2.
    I like that you don't need to watch them.
    I have a powder cop and it is useful for rifle cases but for me it is as much trouble to watch it as it is to eyeball every case.
     
  19. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    The lockout die comes with two “feet”, one large and one small. It helps distribute the actuator rod force across the powder in the case. That rod also projects above the die body. It goes up and down for each cartridge, assuming the powder charge is correct. You can have your cake and eat it too!
    I look in each case and verify powder before placing a bullet, however, there are times when I’ve caught myself zoning and really wondered if I have visually checked. It’s at these times when I quit reloading for the day and appreciate the lock out die even more.
     
  20. Eddy19

    Eddy19 Member

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    Got the Powder Cop yesterday and been playing with it, it does seem to work well enough, it'll be a nice addition to looking in each case. After the shoot this week, I'll have a bunch more to load so will give a it real time workout. I'm sure the lockout (press stopping) die is a fine item and with the way things go in a equipment heavy field like reloading, I just may try it sometime, today I'm trying the powder cop. I'm one of those who has to actually, physically, try something whatever it is, I learn by working with the item. Do believe in KISS (keep it simple) and rely on the senses rather than have a robot take over anything much as possible.
    Thanks all for the tips and replies.
     
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