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Inexpensive powder measure

geeguygeeguy Member Posts: 1,047
I am starting a new reloader out and no longer have any used powder measure units for him. I use a Forster Bench rest unit myself, and may recommend that to him. I have not had a lot of luck with the RCBS (hate the drum changes) or the Lyman #55. They're OK.

Although not a big Lee fan for most things, they are making some good stuff lately. He will be reloading rifle and pistol.

Questions:
1. Anyone using and opinion of the Lee unit.
2. Recommendations for other inexpensive units that are easy and accurate?

Thanks for any input (even Lee haters).

Comments

  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a duel drum and a little dandy from rcbs. Both work fine if you learn to run them correctly.

    For my new reloader's I make them a dipper out of the cartridge case and a soldered on section of brazing rod for a handle, they are loading. Using a watchmakers screwdriver I scratch the data on the case. I put an index card with all the data in the die box.

    added You can use nails. Bend the head a little to sort of form a wide "V" after dressing it with a file to clean the surface..

    I weigh the charge, dump it in the case. Look at the level and mark a line to cut it off close with a hack saw. The solder on the handle and file down until it throws the correct weight. Oh and I have them do this as it get them in practice.
  • victorj19victorj19 Member Posts: 3,644 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Charlie,

    I don't have access to brazing rods and don't wish to buy a whole package for one or two rods.

    Is there any other suitable handle material in your opinion? Making one for each caliber would be nice when I just want to make up a few rounds.

    While it might be obvious to some, making the dippers will take some time filing down the case and weighing the powder until the correct size is obtained.

    Jim
  • Maxx424Maxx424 Member Posts: 719 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Lee works okay for rifle powder but my leaked like crazy on fine handgun powder. Had to put a cookie tray under it to catch all the powder. I guess I could have sent it back to Lee but just got a RCBS unit instead.
  • DPHMINDPHMIN Member Posts: 816 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The Lee dipper set works pretty good for reloading. Just verify on a scale what the dipper is actually throwing. I used a set for years before getting my first powder measure.
  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,493 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The Lee powder measure unit (not the dippers) works well, best with the larger stick/flake powders and a bit messy with the tiny ball powders. It is a piece of cake to change the charge weights, and I mounted mine to a small pine board to make it more stable. I have used mine for rifle/handgun loading for years without a hiccup.

    I recommend he also get a digital scale with whatever measure he uses. I got a Frankfort one that was very inexpensive. It is a lot easier/faster to use than a beam, and will show exactly what the measure is throwing..as well as the variables in the powder measure from charge throw to charge throw, individual bullet and case weight variances, etc.

    I think using an electronic scale and measuring these things brings a more technical thought process to what I think is a truly technical art...rolling your own ammo safely and consistently.
  • geeguygeeguy Member Posts: 1,047
    edited November -1
    Rio:

    This is almost another topic, but I never recommend a new loader to use a digital scale, always a beam scale. Not that I have used alot of digitals, but the two I own do vary slightly due to temp and moisture inside the house. I can zero both with the weight and get up to 1 grain difference (on over 200 gr. bullets) between the two digitals and the beam scale. So whenever I'm using a scale for powder I always use my beam scale, it is by far the most accurate (I do have a very good beam scale, not a cheap one). For general "fast use" I use the digitals.
  • rsnyder55rsnyder55 Member Posts: 2,626
    edited November -1
    I use a 22 casing with a braised rod for loading 38 specials (after verifying the weight it was throwing) I also have a set of Lee dippers. This is how I started and they worked well.
  • MobuckMobuck Member Posts: 12,678 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Considering the cost of a set of LEE dippers, I certainly wouldn't go to the effort of making such an item.
    The LEE "Perfect" measure does quite well. I have and use 3-4 of them since they're cheap enough to keep a couple set for charges I use often. They will wear out at some point. They don't like stick powder very much. They tend to dribble fine grained ball powder. None of these little quirks is earth shattering(for me anyway).I've loaded thousands of .223 using one unit and it still plunks out charges within 0.05 grains every time.
  • Okie743Okie743 Member Posts: 2,153 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by geeguy
    Rio:

    This is almost another topic, but I never recommend a new loader to use a digital scale, always a beam scale. Not that I have used alot of digitals, but the two I own do vary slightly due to temp and moisture inside the house. I can zero both with the weight and get up to 1 grain difference (on over 200 gr. bullets) between the two digitals and the beam scale. So whenever I'm using a scale for powder I always use my beam scale, it is by far the most accurate (I do have a very good beam scale, not a cheap one). For general "fast use" I use the digitals.


    Right on about non digital powder scales and measures for new reloaders. Beam type powder SCALES for new reloaders can be had very reasonable priced, even good used ones with careful shopping from ebay. A Beam scale will last for years if not abused and kept out of a dusty environment and just weight a bullet every once in awhile to check the calibration. I think RCBS still has a lifetime warrenty on their Beam scales even the used ones. I also have a digital that I bought from midway (after I got familiar with reloading) when I want to measure at a faster pace but I also have the Beam scale set-up right beside the digital so as I can check the digital reading quite often to make sure it's not gone astray. Measuring powder CORRECTLY is the most important SAFETY factor in the reloading process.

    For POWDER MEASURES I have used a number #55 lyman for pistol and Rifle powders for several years with very good results.

    I also use a midway battery operated powder trickler. (uses two AA bats)
  • bigoutsidebigoutside Member Posts: 19,443
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by charliemeyer007
    I have a duel drum and a little dandy from rcbs. Both work fine if you learn to run them correctly.

    For my new reloader's I make them a dipper out of the cartridge case and a soldered on section of brazing rod for a handle, they are loading. Using a watchmakers screwdriver I scratch the data on the case. I put an index card with all the data in the die box.

    added You can use nails. Bend the head a little to sort of form a wide "V" after dressing it with a file to clean the surface..

    I weigh the charge, dump it in the case. Look at the level and mark a line to cut it off close with a hack saw. The solder on the handle and file down until it throws the correct weight. Oh and I have them do this as it get them in practice.


    That is one of the best descriptions of how a "Mentor" works.
    What an awesome thing you do!!

    Those "dippers" are going to be treasured for decades. And hopefully NOT passed on to the next generation.
    Hopefully, the next generation will get some custom made by those you have taught.

    And on and on...

    Beautiful!!!
  • victorj19victorj19 Member Posts: 3,644 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Had wanted to make a dipper for each caliber. Saw a few home made ones years ago that used wire twisted around the case and then soldered on. Using nails sound great; cheap, on-hand, would prefer not to use galvanized even if cleaned off since the torch heat will travel.

    I can anneal the case too![;)]
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    I have a Lee perfect powder measure, an RCBS uniflow, a Lyman 55, and a Lee auto-disc. Thoughts on each.

    1. The lee perfect powder measure is great with stick powders; no binding, accuracy to plus or minus .2 gr. Leaks fine ball powder and some flake badly, causing the rotor to bind.

    2. The RCBS and Lyman both work great with fine ball and flake powders, but chop and grind with stick powders.

    3. The auto disc has much the same issues as the perfect powder measure, but has a low volume; I don't recommend it.

    So I keep the Lee and RCBS both on the bench. The lyman is one of their black powder ones, identical to a standard 55 except for materials, I use that mostly just for black powder.

    Both the RCBS and Lyman units are prone to internal rust binding the rotor in moist environments.
  • gunnut505gunnut505 Member Posts: 10,290
    edited November -1
    I've got a Redding and a Lee Perfect measure, and the most-used one is from Lee.
    I bought a PACT scale back when they were twice as pricey as anything nowadays, but I had 505 as a backup.
    I'm seriously thinking about throwing away the Lee Disk Automatic measure, because it's got no vinyl wiper on the charge cavity, chops the stick powders with lots of scary noises, and measures heavy on the ball and short-stick powders. I'd hate for anyone to wind up with it, or I'd have a GAW; I wouldn't want the winner to pop the powder reservoir with 1/4 lb. in there.
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