Powder measure for really small charges.

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Apr 20, 2007
Bonita Springs, Florida
Since my usual supply of W231 or #2 have dried up, I have been struggling to load my .38 Special 148 grain wadcutter bullets with Bullseye. The preferred load is 2.7- 3.0 grains. None of my powder measures will do this accurately. I have Redding, Lyman, and RCBS powder measures. Is there a powder measure that will do these small charges of flake powder (BullsEye or Unique) accurately and consistently? So far, the most consistent and accurate way to use these powders is the Lee dippers which are somewhat slower, particularly when I need to load 1000 rounds!
Lets see--- I think the dipper method can be quite fast when done correctly.;) I have a Lee funnel and it is screwed to the shelf next to the measure I use most. I pick up a primed brass with my left hand and set it under the spout and dip the charge with a custom sized home made dipper at the same time. then pour the charge at one side of the funnel and it will swirl down without sticking in the neck. I also use a batch process of empty inverted cases in a loading block to the left and charged ones in a loading block to the right. This has served me well for years and the scoop never goes out of adjustment. I also use 700X with this method with great results. If you want an accurate measure for small loads a Lyman 55 is my other method and you can be fairly consistent with it also when correctly adjusted for that certain propellant. The basic rule is whatever method you use to do it consistently each time--boringly so I might add for accurate drops.:)
Lee Pro Auto Disk with this mod will drop Bullseye consistently down to 1.5 gr - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=9318360#post9318360

Lee PPM. Cheap and works very consistent for me. I use it to load a 2.2 grain 32 s&w load using HP-38. The lee handles flake and flattened ball powders much better than the fine ball powders like the HP in my experience, so I'd think the flake will do just fine.
You don't mention what sort of press you're using or if you're charging from on the press or using a stand alone powder measure.

I found with my Dillon 550 that the stock adjustable powder bar was rather wide and that when using small charges of this sort I was getting inconsistent charge drops. With the bar closed to the small size I needed the opening was like a narrow lenticular shape sort of like looking at the edge of a magnifying glass lens. I reasoned that the powder was not filling the small corner well and that was the cause of the inconsistency.

Having a metal working shop I "simply" made my own powder charging bar. I used a narrow enough slot and follower that the shape it has for low charges is far more likely to fill the bar with more consistency. And by using a 3/16 mill I ensured that the slot and follower have no sharp corners to trap powder or prevent it filling consistently. The new bar works well for small charges of such powder from just a little under 2gns and on up to around 8gns. After that I switch back to the smaller of the two charge bars that came with my Dillon press.

So depending on your powder measure you may need to look at an option which is small charge friendly.

If using dippers then the biggest inconsistency comes from the way it heaps on top and how you shake off or otherwise disturb the top heaping shape. Before I got my progressive press I used to use a dipper. I put the powder into a half height tin and poked two holes in the rim so that I could put a wire through the can at the rim and use that as a wiper to scrape the top of the dippers off level. Either that or try to achieve a consistent heaping "crown" by holding the dippers more level with consistency.

This. I've been using a Uniflo for forty years and loaded tons of .38 wadcutters with 2.7g of BE with no problems. You can't do it with the large rotor. RCBS use to sell it as a kit with both rotors; don't know why they still don't.
As the previous poster mentioned get the pistol chamber for your Redding powder measure. It will handle small charges with great accuracy.
If you have a Lyman #55 powder measure?

It will measure Bullseye powder in small charges till the cows come home if you set it right.

Break out the instructions and read about the three separate measure adjustment slides, and how to use them.

For small charges, you want the black steel slide closed completely.

Then get close with the middle brass slide.
Then dial it in with the small brass slide.

Then use the little tap hammer the same way each time the lever goes up, and comes back down.

That keeps the flake powder settled the same each throw.

BTW: that's all I have used for pistol powder for 50 years.
I have three of them, and it don't get no better for flake powders.

My Hornady (which is almost identical to the RCBS) with "pistol" rotor works just fine with those small charges. Either get one of these http://www.midwayusa.com/product/91...-cylinder-assembly-small?cm_vc=ProductFinding for your Uniflow or if you have the Lyman #55 adjust it how rcmodel suggested. The RCBS sounds like it's easier to adjust but I can't speak as to how easy to use or consistent the Lyman may be.
My thanks to all for the great variety of information. I do have the "small" rotor for my RCBS Uniflow, if just I can find where I put it 10 years ago. I am using a single stage press so time saved in charging is appreciated. The comparison of the powders was instructive. I am of the belief that W231 "flows" better due to the shiny coating (graphite?) but maybe I just kidding myself. I suspect the high humidity in my reloading room has some effect on flow rates. Its summer here in Florida where 80% humidity is the best we get with the AC on.
another option is an electronic trickler like the rcbs or lyman ones. THey trickle to charge while you're swapping brass. Supposedly pretty quick about it too
I ordered a Dillon powder measure with their X-small powder bar, hoping that will work for my 32SWL loading on a Lee turret. The Hornady measure works on my 32 H&R turret but I was short of having a complete turret setup for the S&W Long and was looking for a powder measure more compact and lighter, deciding to try the Dillon because they offered that little powder bar. Hornady BTW does not offer a powder through expander for 32. I don't need the expander but spill less powder if using the PTX w/o belling.
Ohaus 7200 duo measure or Uniflow duo measure.
The best powder measures. Its can do since 0.8 gn charges with vectan ba10 powder.


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Set the tumbler on the bench next to your press & see what happens , also an extra teaspoon of powdered graphite per lb. won`t hurt a thing , just mix well !

I use any large flaked powder this way & found no ill affects of the graphite. I also use the Lee auto disc exclusively for handgun ammo. Coat the discs with a #2 pencil, it`s just compressed graphite.

A Belding & Mull measure drops down to (2.1) Grs of Bullseye consistently at the number 2 slide setting. But then Belding & Mull ceased manufacturing in decades past. The unique operating sequence of the measure some would find as an impediment to a rapid reloading procedure.
As a postscript to my earlier post about a Dillon measure with the X-small powder bar, I need to return it to Dillon because I didn't catch that it was not a spring loaded return and so not well suited to turret rotation. Also, by the time I realized I was missing the 32 caliber powder funnel and would pay shipping again, it was all more money than I had in mind.

I ordered the microdisk set from Custom Cast. I only need smaller than standard Lee apertures to get 3.5 gr AA#5 for 32 H&R. I am getting 2.8 gr Bullseye for 78 gr CLRN 32SWL with the .32 aperture disk. 3.0 is the max from the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, but the .34 aperture yielded 3.1. First I will test the load with 2.8 Gr.

I did make one of mod disks with the screw adjustment. I am pretty confident that AA#5 is fine enough to run accurately with it, but we'll see.
I received the microdisk from Custom Cast today. Won't try it until the additional powder die and powder measure set arrives, maybe Friday. That little bit of patience is better than disturbing the belling adjustment on my 32 SWL turret.

I was thinking of getting out my old three hole turret, because I only need to size, powder drop/expand, and seat/crimp. These die sets don't usually include a separate crimp die, nor would the extra handle pull really contribute anything (I need) with revolver cartridges. The nicety with a 4-hole is I can more easily set the degree of belling that I want, using a separate expander die station. I might play with that for the 32s, which share the same sizer but have dedicated seat/crimp dies and powder measure belling adjustment (powder dies).
Got all the components for the dedicated turret for 32 H&R today. I have it set up and tested and am getting right on my target of 3.5 gr of AA#5, using the Lee Autodisk with the Custom Cast MicroDisk.

I had to use the .21 aperture with the set screw all the way clear to get the weight. The chart called for .24, which gave me 3.8 instead of its rated 3.4. Test drops showed no variations, but I didn't run a lot of them after I kept getting the same result.
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