Powder measure/thrower in kits, are they accurate?

#1
I've been looking at kits and reading about reloading ahead of actually getting set up later this year. I notice that many kits (primarily the Lee kits) come with a powder measure than goes on the loading press and dispenses powder directly into the case. I was wondering how accurate these tend to be as everything I've read suggests getting a good beam scale and weighing your load carefully. Obviously this doesn't happen with the powder thrower.

Could the thrower be used separately to throw an underweight charge and then use a trickler to bring it up to correct weight on the scales or are they only useable on the press?

Thanks.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
#2
I've been looking at kits and reading about reloading ahead of actually getting set up later this year. I notice that many kits (primarily the Lee kits) come with a powder measure than goes on the loading press and dispenses powder directly into the case. I was wondering how accurate these tend to be as everything I've read suggests getting a good beam scale and weighing your load carefully. Obviously this doesn't happen with the powder thrower.

Could the thrower be used separately to throw an underweight charge and then use a trickler to bring it up to correct weight on the scales or are they only useable on the press?

Thanks.
Well, a good beam scale is a must regardless of the powder dispensing unit. And whether or not you weigh and trickle each individual charge will depend on how well your thrower (powder measure) works. I have about all of them and some work well with some powder and some don't. You'll need to see how accurately it tosses a charge and decide if it's accurate enough for you. I used (and still use) Lee Dipper son occasion and have produced great loads with them. The closer you decide to run to maximum, the more demanding you are going to need to be of your measure/weight set up. Coarser powders are the hardest to dispense accurately with any measure. I think I have saved a zillion hours of spare time by acquiring a Neil Jones Precision powder measure. It will toss IMR 4350 to +/- one-tenth of a grain when it varies at all. IT is a very expensive measure ($550 US) but it does what it says it will do. Once I set the measure using a scale, it will throw charge after charge with boring accuracy. Harrel is another good measure. IT costs about half of what the Jones measure costs. Oddly, it costs less than the Redding BR-3 "Precision Match" measure I have @ $294US. This Redding is horrible. I'd take the Lee over it any day. I do like the Lee's. A bit of a break-in period but once they are working, they are as good as most, and better than some.

Yes, You throw underweight charges and trickle up. That's how it's done. The Lee comes with a bench mount stand.~Muir
 
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Southern

Well-Known Member
#3
If you are going to weigh every charge, anyway, get the set of Lee scoops and find the right one to throw just under your current charge, then trickle the last increment.
 

kev.rem700

Well-Known Member
#5
I've been looking at kits and reading about reloading ahead of actually getting set up later this year. I notice that many kits (primarily the Lee kits) come with a powder measure than goes on the loading press and dispenses powder directly into the case. I was wondering how accurate these tend to be as everything I've read suggests getting a good beam scale and weighing your load carefully. Obviously this doesn't happen with the powder thrower.

Could the thrower be used separately to throw an underweight charge and then use a trickler to bring it up to correct weight on the scales or are they only useable on the press?

Thanks.
I use a powder thrower on my press. I drop a slight under charge of the powder into a small glass jar then pour It into the powder pan on the beem scales then trickle up to the rite weight. The reason for the jar is when you drop it into the powder pan some usualy bounces out.

Regards Kev
 
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25 Sharps

Well-Known Member
#7
I've just started loading and have one of the lee kits that I bought SH and upgraded the scales to some RCBS 505s.

I think as has been said a lot will depend on the powder, so far I have loaded .22H and .223 with Lil' gun and Tac respectively the powder metres well for the Lil' gun but for the Tac, which is a finer powder, it seems very accurate indeed. Most of the literature I have read states that even when throwing powder accurately every 5th or 10th throw should be weighed as a safety measure. At the moment I am weighing every other 1 just to be sure!!
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
#8
I have started using a lee powder chucker thingymabob

I find it very easy to weigh a case (digital scales), tare/zero it, throw the powder straight in and weigh again
gives me the powder charge

I would say 9/10 times its bang on
odd one under but very rarely over
 

Woodlander

Well-Known Member
#11
My Lee powder thrower is very inconsistent. I weigh and trickle every time and would never consider not doing so.
A good set of beam scales and a trickler are a must, whether you use a powder thrower or a scoop.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
#12
My Lee powder thrower is very inconsistent. I weigh and trickle every time and would never consider not doing so.
A good set of beam scales and a trickler are a must, whether you use a powder thrower or a scoop.
What powder and how inconsistent??~Muir
 

JDR

Well-Known Member
#13
If you're using a powder measure, go with Lyman, RCBS or Redding. They're more expensive (a lot more expensive for Redding, but worth it). Hornady's powder dispenser is pretty good with spherical powders but can be as much as half a grain off with flake powders.

Redding's system has a very carefully ground reservoir that is sharp enough to cut through extruded kernels and flakes. They are pretty much always bang on to a tenth of a grain. With all dispensers though, you need to use exactly the same hand/arm movements each time. So, if you tap the handle at the top of the stroke, make sure you always do so.

I've heard good things about the Lee dippers. A lot of guys use those. Again, just like all the dispensers, be consistent in the way you handle each charge of powder. If you wipe a card across the top of the scoop, do the same every time.

Then there's the Targetmaster machine. As I understand it, this is more accurate than most electronic dispensers. It works with a set of beam scales and is just ingenious in the way it works. Alan's video shows it in action: Targetmaster machine

Jon
 
#14
Right in a word most powder throwers are +-.1 grain the manual throw will throw more conistantly the more consistant you throw the handle i.e. if you smash it back and forth thats ok but doit all the time

the electronic can be more delicate and more prone to third party effects i.e. flourescent lights , mobile phone radieos etc but are well capable of the +-.1 the more modern ones usually come with a certain ammount of sheilding to stop the third party effect
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
#15
Redding's system has a very carefully ground reservoir that is sharp enough to cut through extruded kernels and flakes. They are pretty much always bang on to a tenth of a grain.

I can't trash all Redding Measures but as mentioned earlier, the BR-3 Match is worthless. Mine performed so badly that I disassembled it to see if there was a problem. All that I could see is that the measuring reservoir is at such and acute angle that it leaves a large air space in the upper front of the chamber (closest the operator) This angle helps facilitate the shearing you spoke of, I'm sure. When using small charges of fine powder this all doesn't seem to be a problem, but with standard charges of extruded powders this causes a variance of a couple of grains. That dead space makes you wonder what the micrometer attachment is for. I have about eight different measures , including Lee Dippers, and this is probably the least accurate. I have it set for fine pistol powder for my 45acp. It's the only justification I have for keeping it.~Muir
 

JDR

Well-Known Member
#16
How very odd. It sounds like it needs to go back to Redding, or at the very least write to them and let them know. If you want me to follow this up for you, I know someone there that I can ask. I certainly wouldn't settle for that - it sounds shockingly bad.

The 10X I had was just wonderful. I wish I'd never sold it on, but a friend needed a dispenser so away it went. I've got one of their other ones on the go at the moment; I think it's the BR-30 and that meters OK like the old 10X did.

Anyway, let me know if I can help.
 

JDR

Well-Known Member
#18
My Lee thrower can be .3 or .4 gr different with every measure with Vit N130.
Yes they're not renowned for being really accurate but to be honest all of them seem to have their down side: Muir's Redding machine above a good example (although admittedly unusual in Redding). Just recently, I thought I would try a Hornady powder dispenser but was disappointed with the results. It was up to half a grain wrong when it was metering flake powders, but worked like a charm with spherical ones. I'm now selling it for quite a bit less than the new price, because there may be someone out there who uses mostly spherical powders who'd like it.
 

sikadog

Well-Known Member
#19
Sporting rifle did a test of powder measures a couple of years ago the tried about a dozen measures from expensive benchrest measures to the Lee perfect
The Lee came second.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
#20
Yes they're not renowned for being really accurate but to be honest all of them seem to have their down side: Muir's Redding machine above a good example (although admittedly unusual in Redding). Just recently, I thought I would try a Hornady powder dispenser but was disappointed with the results. It was up to half a grain wrong when it was metering flake powders, but worked like a charm with spherical ones. I'm now selling it for quite a bit less than the new price, because there may be someone out there who uses mostly spherical powders who'd like it.
I have never loaded N130 but inside +/- a half grain is usually very good accuracy from Hodgdon-type extruded powder and if the VV offering is the least bit coarse and you're getting .3 -.4 grains, I'd say it's doing a fine job. Pin point accuracy in powder quantities is highly overrated, unless all other aspects of of case prep /load uniformity are attended to in the N'th degree, or if you in a very sensitive situation, pressure-wise. This is why some extremely fine handloads have been assembled using Lee Classic Loaders and the attending scoops. FWIW, I also read the article that Sikadog mentions and yes, Lee did take 2nd place. I use one still and consider it a good measure for all but the finest, dust like powders. The bottom line is that if you buy a measure expecting to get exactly the same charge time after time, with all powders, you will be disappointed time and time again.

As to my BR-3 and it's inaccuracy: I have a friend who uses this exact same measure and he says that with extruded powder he also gets +/- 1 grain at best but he always trickles so, as he puts it, "A teaspoon would suit me just as well." With fine powders -like the Accurate Arms #7 I load in 45ACP -my BR-3 is dead on every time. I bought it second hand but still NIB for a mere $50 at an estate sale so I can afford to keep it around just for pistol powders. As was mentioned, the maker has little to do with powder accuracy. ~Muir
 
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