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Powder measure advice needed

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tcoz, Mar 21, 2018.

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  1. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    For pistol cartridges I’ve been using a Lee Auto Drum for the past two years. I’m not completely unhappy with it but I’m wondering if it might be worth changing over to a Hornady, RCBS or Lyman unit.

    The only pistol caliber I load is 9mm and my preferred powder is HP-38/W231. Since the first day I started using the Auto Drum a couple of years ago, it has leaked a few granules of powder with every throw. This probably isn’t a big deal but I’m working on carpet so I spread a large towel over the area and dump it after every 200 or so rounds. Is this common with all powder measures? I’ve thoroughly cleaned the drum and housing a number of times, tightened the drum with various amounts of torque and treated everything with powdered graphite more than once. Nothing seems to have an effect.

    The Auto Drum is accurate to plus/minus 0.1 grain 90% of the time and plus/minus 0.2 grains the other 10% but fine adjustments are difficult because the plastic screw adjustment is pretty coarse. I weigh every tenth charge.

    All in all, I could continue to use it but wouldn’t object to changing to any one of the other units although the Redding is more money than I want to spend.
    Also, I’m unfamiliar with the way in which the various units would attach. I’m using a Redding T-7 turret and I have a couple of open die spots on my pistol turret. The press is attached to an Inline Fab quick change plate which has some screw holes at the rear. Screwing the dispenser to my “bench” isn’t an option because my reloading bench is actually a very nice wooden desk in the guest bedroom and I don’t want to start drilling holes in it.

    Any thoughts that you can contribute and information, recommendations or testimonials for any of the other units would be appreciated.
     
  2. drband

    drband Member

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    It should not be leaking with w231. Have you contacted Lee?
     
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  3. ponchh

    ponchh Member

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    The autodrum will run leak free, I have three and bought a set of 4 drums under $20. If a powder leaked with one drum, try another and it would stop leaking. Don't really know why it is like that, but it is what it is.
     
  4. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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    The newer drums appear to have been machined/turned to round them out, after molding.
    If yours don't look like that, look like "as molded", then they are the 1st version of drums that were prone to leaking.
    If that's the case, just buying the latest version of the drums sold now would solve the leaking problems you are having.
    https://www.titanreloading.com/lee-...nt/lee-powder-handling/lee-quick-change-drums
    https://leeprecision.com/quick-change-drum-set.html

    jmo
    :D
    Edit: A call to Lee might get you updated drums for free.
    I'd advise you to spend the time and effort needed to get the Lee sorted out before changing to something different.
    The measures you mention are outdated designs with clap/trap linkage added to use on a progressive :uhoh:.
    um, still jmo
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
  5. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    For pistol size loads I have and use both the RCBS Uniflow and Hornady LNL measure and I have another Uniflow and Redding for rifle (and a RCBS charge master). No question about it they are nice well made machines. However they are money. For pistol you will need pistol (or small) metering drums, so if you go that route make sure you get the right drum. Also, if you want to mount on the press and have the powder auto-dispense you will need a case activated lower unit. If you want to flair your case mouth while dropping the powder to save a station, then you will need a PTX die. You might also need a baffle.

    So, the question is, is it worth it? Depends. I personally would not get too upset about a few grains of powder in the carpet. I have more than a few grains on the floor of my garage, different situation but still. Losing a few grains of powder is not in my opinion a reason to ditch an otherwise working tool. No question about it the above mentioned upgrades are true upgrades but it isn't cheap. If your loading on an entry level press such as the LCT then it probably isn't worth it unless you have plans to upgrade the press also. But if that is the situation then most if not all of the better progressives come with the powder measure you are asking about. If loading on a single stage not mounting the measure on the press then the cost is more manageable. I personally view this as a hobby and as such I'm not always looking at how much something costs or saving money rather do I have a use for it as long as it's not overpriced?
     
  6. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    Mine worked fine at first then continued to be inconsistent. Like you I torqued it more then less over and over and could not get it right. Then it started leaking, and that is when I bought a Hornady powder dispenser and never looked back. Yes, it is a little slower but I was constantly fearing a squib load, now I know there's the right powder in every load.
     
  7. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    I'm very happy with my Uniflow. When I got it, it was good. Then I polished the interior cast portion to get rid of the texture it had, and added a baffle. Now it's great!
     
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  8. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    I forgot that the unit came with a large drum with an insert that I’ve never used. I'll give that a try before anything else and if that fails I’ll call Lee.
     
  9. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    i too have leaks with that powder. I use a autodisk. No other powder leaks. Bullseye, reddot, bluedot, h110, 2400 Power pistol, unique all come to mind -no leaks at all, but HP, makes enough of a mess I would worry about a fire if not for the concrete floor it falls on. I would recomend another powder over another measure, unless your committed. Where HP38 works, Bullseye works, and of course, the Lee measurements are set to Bullseye, so its always easy to find a charge volume. FWIW H110 leaks badly from my Lee perfect measure.
     
  10. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    W231/HP38 is my go to pistol power, and I use a fair amount of it. I do not have leaks with my Auto-Drum. I'm sure there are better built powder measures out there, but for price and function I'm not sure you could do better.

    -Jeff
     
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  11. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Member

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    New auto drum and hasn't leaked at all. It is my favorite measure now and will be retiring my leaking PPM (old style) and dependable but limited Auto Disk. I think it is worth trying the new drums since they are cheap and maybe free from Lee as a solution.

    But, if you go with another measure I really like my Uniflow except for larger stick powders. Varget is marginal on crunching sticks, and IMR 4064 is like having tree limbs go through it. That is why I like the Auto Drum so much. Be sure to research any other measure to be sure it will handle the types of powders you plan to use now and in the future. If you get the Uniflow (or any similar one) then be sure to get a powder baffle (cheap) and a micrometer metering adjuster. I think I have the smaller size and it is fine for small pistol cartridges through at least .30-06.
     
  12. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    I wouldn’t be using it for any stick powders since it’s only for 9mm pistol. I use a Chargemaster for rifle powders.

    I might be asking too much of it since there are probably only about 50-100 granules of powder sitting on the towel after loading 100-200 rounds and it really is consistent. Seldom do I get an overthrow of 0.2 grains and never more than that. Underthrows are never more than 0.1 grain. Unfortunately I’m a perfectionist and anal to a fault in my handloading although it’s served me well during my years.
     
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    My favorite powder measure for hand gun cartridges is a Redding 10-X. I have two, one has been modified to use on my Hornady L-N-L and RCBS Pro2000 progressive presses.
     
  14. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    I purchased a new Auto Drum that came with the machined drums. They leak horribly. I think Lee machined them because they were junk, and it didn't rectify the situation. Since then, I purchased a drum kit and they were not machined. But they also don't leak in the same measure that leaks badly with the machined ones.
     
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  15. D Rock

    D Rock Member

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    I really like my Auto Drum and don't have any problems with Win 231 now.

    I did have a slight leak at the start. It was nice and tight but I noticed, with no powder in the unit, that when the drum was activated (empty case, ram up) the cavity had only about 2/3 exposed to the powder drop hole. With the ram up, empty case in the holder, I loosened the screw and shifted the drum so the full cavity was showing, then re tightened the screw. No leaks after that.

    Dave
     
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  16. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Mine does not seem to leak HP38 or even AA#2.
    Sounds like something is not right with it.
    I would give Lee a call or submit a problem ticket online and see what they say. Lee CS has always been good to me.
    I have the Hornady measure on my LNL and use and like it, but I think you can get the autodrum straightened out.
    (I use the auto drum on my LNL sometimes as well)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  17. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Member

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    I agree with this. I run fine ball powders like H335 and CFE223 and BL-C2 through the Auto Drum with no leak at all. Since you have already tried disassembling it and trying different torque settings on the rotor screw then I would call Lee C.S. and see if they can help.
     
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