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Basic
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Posted: 7/8/2010 1:48:43 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/8/2010 2:20:59 PM EST by jlow]
I got another Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure today. I brought it to help me speed up the loading of Varget for my setup involving LC brass/CCI400/77 grain Nosler CC BTHP. The powder weight that works best for me is 22.5 grains of Varget. I understand that this setup does not measure the extruded Varget powder well, but that is OK since I only intend to use it to get me close, with the idea that I will hand adjust the powder on a digital balance.

Since Varget was not one of the powders listed on the Lee instructions, Can someone suggest a combination of Lee double disk that would get me close to 22.4 grains? BTW, I just need to get close, am willing to do some trial and error testing.

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Link Posted: 7/8/2010 5:47:12 PM EST
The VDM for Varget is .07310

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Link Posted: 7/8/2010 6:25:49 PM EST
My experience with the double disk was terrible, very inconsistent. YMMV, but I had to weigh every charge. The Lee disk powder measure is great for pistol charges. I finally broke down and bought a Redding powder measue, loaded 1000's of rounds of 223 and it's never off over 1 tenth of a grain. 97-98% its dead nuts.

Benny

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Link Posted: 7/8/2010 6:30:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By benny57:
My experience with the double disk was terrible, very inconsistent. YMMV, but I had to weigh every charge. The Lee disk powder measure is great for pistol charges. I finally broke down and bought a Redding powder measue, loaded 1000's of rounds of 223 and it's never off over 1 tenth of a grain. 97-98% its dead nuts.

Benny


Which one did you get? the 3BR?

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Link Posted: 7/8/2010 6:52:44 PM EST
Well if the .07310 VMD is correct... according to the Lee instructions...charge in grains XVMD = Volume CC. .07310 X 22.5= 1.63744 1.64 CC you need 2 of the .82 openings(double stack) The 1.57 opening will get you about 21.47gr (CC/VMD= gr)1.57/.07310=21.47gr
That's kind of close. Make darn sure you weigh your charges! And feel free to double check my math....
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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 3:41:44 AM EST
I have not had good luck using the Double Disk kit with Varget, it is extremely erratic. Even if you are hand weighing every charge, there are very large weight variations. The Lee Perfect Powder Measure is probably one of the best to use with Varget. I can generally get within .2 gr or less, using the PPM. It feels cheesy and fllimsy; but it works.

G

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 4:17:10 AM EST
Thanks everyone for your input, for the VDM and starting double disk - much appreciated!

Yes, from reading the post here, I got the general feeling that the Lee Pro Auto-Disk setup with double disk is not a good way to go to get accurate measures of Varget. I am only hoping that it will get me close i.e. within one grain and my intent is to use the digital balance give me accurate weight for each charge before bullet seating.

My intent is to start with the two 0.82 as azlester suggested and see what comes out with my digital balance and adjust the disk as needed.

If this does not work, will try the Lee Perfect Powder Measure as suggested.

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 6:03:58 AM EST
If you weigh your charges with the Lee double disk you would be good to go. If you go with the Perfect Powder do not over tighten the lever. I did and it wore it out. To the other poster asking about the Redding it was the 3BR.

Benny

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 6:16:35 AM EST
I, too, found the Lee double disk to be seriously lacking for my 5.56 loading. I sold it to somebody else.

Get the RCBS ChargeMaster and smile.

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 8:56:39 AM EST
OK, so I took the info you guys supplied and did some testing. What I basically did was tried a number of disk combination with the Varget powder and weight two sets of 10 powder throws, and calculated average powder weight and standard deviations.

I started with the two 0.82 disk as suggested and it was quite close with the two averages being 21.99 and 21.90 grains and SD = 0.11 and 0.09 respectively. Good close start and so good advice. Since I was shooting for 22.50 grains, I also tried the two next higher double disk combinations i.e. 0.95/0.71 and 1.02/0.66. The second combo was a winner with an average throw of 22.52 and 22.51 grains and SD = 0.09 and 0.12.

Overall, I am very pleased with the performance of the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure in the double disk configuration. For example, out of the 20 throws in the “optimal” disc configuration, the highest throw was 22.66 grains and the lowest being 22.38 grains. Being an extruded powder, I am doubtful that any powder thrower could do significantly better as I am sure most of the deviation was due to uneven packing of the powder which I think is intrinsic to its shape. I only had one “powder leak” from the measure (red square) but I am sure that was because I did not wait for the powder to drop completely into the cartridge before lowering the ram. All operation was smooth and I did not feel any grittiness or “cutting” of powder.

My plan is to use this to do the “starting throw” for each cartridge and adjusting up or down by hand to get the exact powder weight I need.

Thanks again!



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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 12:44:43 PM EST
By the way. According to Lee... to get the VMD for any powder take an even hole and throw 1 measure of the powder. Then weigh it on a scale. take the weight of the throw and divide it by the number on the hole you used. the result is the VMD for lot of powder. Lee recomends that you do this with every lot of the particular powder. some mfg's have up to plus or minus 16% difference from lot to lot.
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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 12:58:58 PM EST
Thanks for the useful info on the VMD. I would also say that the number you get is really approximate, regardless of whether it is a calculated or published one and one must verify using a good scale.

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 2:10:49 PM EST
Top disk should be the smaller cavity of the two. If the larger cavity is on top, a shelf is created by the lower disk with the smaller cavity. Would not lead to an over charge but would (could) cause inconsistent drops. This from Lee.

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 3:33:14 PM EST
Yes, thanks! That instruction is pretty clear from Lee and I followed it.

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 6:08:01 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/9/2010 6:20:43 PM EST by 1911smith]
Using double disk with Varget I find the disks pick my charge. Back(ass)wards. The disks are nice for loading turret in progressive mode. Or loading progressive in progressive mode. Not a consistent way of loading rifle anyway. Consistency as we all know translates to repeatability. Have experimented with various powders just to experiment. Found using two like disks have consistent drops, provided I did my part with consistent stoke rhythm. Consider it reloading ram-masturbation.

Ok.... that said. If your loading blaster ammo for .223, Varget's the wrong powder I think. A2230 is better in progressive mode on turret. If your loading precision I drop to within 2/10ths and trickle single stage. When experiencing conversation with Lee reloaders, find majority to be on a reloader budget or hard headed salty dogs like myself. For blaster I use A2230 single disk, progressive turret . Precision using hopped up PPM. Forster. You can as someone suggested in another thread, " drill " your charge in.
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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 6:17:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By jlow:
Yes, thanks! That instruction is pretty clear from Lee and I followed it.


Okay. The table you showed had the opposite.

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Link Posted: 7/10/2010 3:57:44 AM EST
I should clarify, I am not loading “blasting” or “plinking” 223 ammo, I am interested in precision shooting and brought the second Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure to help me speed up the initial powder weighing i.e. weigh first with the Lee and adjust with a digital scale.

223Pitbull, you are right, I forgot that I labeled the two disk “top” and “bottom”, but just put the two numbers in without putting them in the right location in the table. They were correctly placed in the measure.

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Link Posted: 7/10/2010 10:49:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By dnix:
Top disk should be the smaller cavity of the two. If the larger cavity is on top, a shelf is created by the lower disk with the smaller cavity. Would not lead to an over charge but would (could) cause inconsistent drops. This from Lee.


Even then you often have to tap the drop to get all the powder into the case. I am trying the "charge bar" maybe today.
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Link Posted: 7/10/2010 11:46:03 AM EST
I did not have any luck using the Lee Auto-Disk Adjustable Powder Charge Bar for small amounts of powder i.e. around 3 grains using Titegroup.

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Link Posted: 7/10/2010 2:44:28 PM EST
There is only one way I would use Lee's disk, double disk for precision. Assuming we are talking plus or minus one tenth a grain to be precision. That would be if drop were set stationary in single stage set up. If there is movement it allows for compaction and unacceptable variances.


Lee Auto and Pro disks are all I have used, except for Lee PPM that I gave my son that he uses to load 1000 meter precision .308 loads. I moved up to the Forster a few months ago and to be honest. With exception to ball powder I miss my PPM. Forster doesn't leak like PPM did with certain powder. PPM meters Varget well.

If your insistant on using Auto Disk you might try using a baffle. For the smaller charges you mention I used PPM for .32acp.
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Link Posted: 7/10/2010 3:27:28 PM EST
OK, I am going to have to call a time out! LOL!

I do appreciate the desires from everyone to help me load accurate ammo with Varget, but I think some of you have missed what I have written a number of times already in this thread – so one more time, I am not trying to use the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure in the double disk configuration to get me to accurate ammo in a single step.

What I am trying to do is to load accurate ammo faster. Previously, I have been using a scoop and a digital scale to get me close to 22.5 grains of Varget, this is then followed by using a Redding #5 Powder Trickler and a pair of very fine tweezer to get me to exactly 22.5 grains.

The new plan is to use the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure in the double disk configuration to take the place of the scoop to get me close to 22.5 grain, once the approximate weight of grains is dispensed into the brass, I will weight it to figure out how close I am to 22.5 grains and adjust it again with the powder tricker.

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Link Posted: 7/10/2010 4:09:55 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2010 4:15:40 PM EST by 1911smith]
I think I'm following you fine and using some very low key hints. Please keep us posted. I'm most curious to see and try your finished product if it can be duplicated.

<eta> I basically recommended what you describe in my last post. You can powder drop in single stage. Then trickle up. That's the way we do it with any type of drop. Except when loading blaster ammo in progressive mode.


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Link Posted: 7/10/2010 5:38:48 PM EST
Hey thanks! Glad to see that we are on the same page.

To be honest, I am not totally convinced of this method one way or another at this point, but wanted to give it a try. There is probably a number of ways to do this, some of them I am sure I have not yet thought off.

One would be to just dump the powder out onto the digital scale and adjust after the drop – this is the most direct way, but I am not sure how much more efficient this would be?

Another would be to pre-weigh the brass (which I always do anyway) and have the spreadsheet automatically calculate the proper target weight, and see how close it is. If it is short, tickling powder in might be possible although I would probably have to shim the tickler. The tricky part would be if it is over as getting powder out without dumping it all out might be hard…well perhaps I could tickle out of the brass the excess; perhaps not...

About the only way to know what would work or not is to try it and see what gives good efficiency and weights that are close. Will keep you posted one way or another. I figured I have little to lose since I only have a few pounds of Varget but brought some of that TAC that is now on sale at Midway that you guys alerted me to, and since that stuff is modified spherical powder, I figure it would meter reasonably well in the Lee. Even if it does not work, I could use it as “parts” for my Titgroup metering which I know does work well.

Thanks again!

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Link Posted: 7/10/2010 6:14:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2010 6:14:59 PM EST by 1911smith]
Suggestion: Being's how the Lee Auto disk is case actuated. Powder drop into case. Then drop into pan that''s been zeroed on scale. Meaning with empty pan on scale, empty case with powder into pan to weigh. Weigh, then empty pan back into case using funnel.

I zero scale again after each weigh with empty pan. Your idea with case will work too if you zero empty case placed on scale, powder drop, weigh loaded. Either way works. Case weights differ by at least tenths, so it's important to zero each case. I find trickling into pan easier than trickling into case.
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Link Posted: 7/11/2010 3:43:22 AM EST
Was thinking about the same thing this morning, and I am leaning towards your first suggestions. The good thing about this setup is that you can really get close to the target weight fast and pouring it out on the scale/trickling/pouring it back allows me to do the double check after the whole thing comes back together.

The only hitch comes when the dispense powder weight is significantly over the target, say greater than 22.70 vs. 22.50. When this happens and I have to remove quite a bit of powder off the pan, the resultant powder weight, even though it says it is what I want on the scale, is usually a bit more than what I am happy with when I weight the powder+case combo – could be something like 22.56 grains which I don’t like to see. When I manually dispense powder by hand onto the pan and this happens, I usually dump the the whole thing back into the bottle and start again. In this case, I suppose I could dump it back in the hopper and do another throw using the Lee…

Trickling directly into the case with powder already in it would be a bit tricky due to the small opening. I suppose I could fix that with a small paper funnel that I hold over the opening with a small clip and stand. The one thing I don’t like about this setup is that it does not give me a second weight check– that always makes me a little nervous….

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Link Posted: 7/11/2010 6:57:33 AM EST
Most of us drop our charge to usually within 2/10ths of grain short of desired weight. Taking an empty pan from a zeroed scale we drop charge and place pan back on scale. Let's say we're loading 40 grains of RL15. Your drop is set for 39.8 grains. Dropping 39.8 into pan and placing pan on scale to a reading of 39.8. We then trickle to 40 grains. There really is no need to double check. I get where your coming from with need to double check. When using balance beam scales I check, recheck and re recheck. That's a common paranoia associated with use of balance beams. You can buy a cheap digital scale from Midway and alleviate some of the paranoia. Balance beams are more accurate than most reloader digital scales. You'd need to move up to pharmaceutical grade scales to get + or - 1/10thgrain repeatability on digital scales. The truth of most digital reloader scales from my experience has been closer to + or - 2/10 grain repeatability. Just some more thought for fodder to digest. Your over thinking this to some degree but all of us are guilty of same. Acculabs is my next soon to be scale. See, your in good company.
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Link Posted: 7/11/2010 9:06:59 AM EST
Yes, I think that is the best strategy. Looks like if I back off to using the slightly smaller disk (0.95/0.71), I will be about 2/10 grain short of the target weight, that way, there will be significantly less chance of over shoot.

As for the recheck, I actually have a pretty good digital scale made for jewelers and it is relatively consisten, but I am sure that it is the OCD in me that has me doing the double check. Thanks again for the advice and dialog!

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Link Posted: 7/11/2010 9:41:55 AM EST
One option is just to test various methods on a target.

I'd load anywhere from 30 to 50 rounds with the double disk kit and just load them up without weighing each charge and trickling up. Just accept whatever variance/SD the double disk kit exhibits. Your last combination seemed to be closest to the desired 22.5g weight so I'd use that.

Then load the same number of rounds where you go through the hassle of throwing light, weighing, and trickling up to exactly 22.5 grains. No variance in these loads, these are as perfect as you can control.

Try to keep other variables constant –– use new or once fired brass, same primer, etc.

Then shoot how ever many 10-shot groups you loaded up and measure/compare between the two powder charging techniques. Assuming the throwing light and trickling up technique offers the better accuracy, then decide if the accuracy delta is worth the effort.

BR shooters don't charge to the exact weight, they throw a charge and charge by volume. A good load will still shoot pretty good if off by a tenth, it has to do with barrel harmonics and hitting a node at the end of a whip cycle when barrel motion is comparatively small.

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Link Posted: 7/11/2010 10:13:15 AM EST
At least from my own perspective, if you are loading for plinking, the method you describe might work as long as you know for sure that the variation of weights will never go above or below a danger zone in terms of powder weight.

In my case, I am trying to load accurate and precise ammo i.e. trying to shoot under 1 MOA. With this goal in mind, I hear what you are saying, but I must say that I am doubtful that I will be able to achieve this with powder weight that range between 22.38 and 22.66 grains which (is what I got) would be a 0.28 grain spread. When I load manually i.e. using a trickler, I usually strive to have a grain spread of 0.04-06 grains max.

I have read what you have written, but it seem odd that BR shooters would not strive to load exactly the same weight of powder in each round if they spend so much time and effort trying to make everything else exactly the same. If you look at what we are doing, i.e. weighing powder, unless we are talking about powder compression, the volume of the powder (which is a rather crude measure) would appear to be much less accurate than the actual weigh of the powder which seems to me to be a much more precise measure of the amount of combustion material.

Frankly I am very surprise to read what you have written and I actually find it quite interesting. Is there any hard data to support this view?

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Link Posted: 7/11/2010 3:35:29 PM EST
Go to any BR site and pose your questions there. You will find out what charging techniques BR reloaders use. They don't load progressively, many reload on-site and have set ups they drag along with them. Culver-style measures are popular as are Redding measures. But the key is they load by volume for loads they've worked up and they don't bother weighing. They also use short grained extruded powder (e.g., H322) that meters pretty consistently. Varget grains aren't that much bigger so I wouldn't expect it to meter all that poorly.

Also, I've read on HP sites that guys just throw their charges for their 200 and 300 yard loads, and hardly anyone gets serious about weighing charges until the 600 yard loads come into play. That's just another point of reference.

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Link Posted: 7/11/2010 5:22:52 PM EST
Thanks for the very interesting info. I learned something new today! My background is the pharmaceutical area and so you can imagine having worked predominately with laboratory milligram ranged scales, I am pretty anal about weighing accuracy, which of course carries over to reloading – LOL!

I looked up “Culver-style measures” like Harrell’s Precision Schuetzen/Pistol Measure and these looks like extremely fine and accurate powder measures i.e. with 0.03 grain increments! Should probably have never shown me this as it appeals way tooo much to the OCD in me – LOL! Time to lock up the credit card quickly!

With this type of precision, and the fact that this type of measure is not sensitive to wind etc, I can now easily understand why BR reloaders who reload on site would find this the method of choice.

Still, returning back to reality for a minute with my Lee measure, it of course is in a completely different league with approximately two orders of magnitude difference in accuracy – Not knocking Lee since it is a find instrument for what it was designed for, but I am still skeptical about the possibility of using throws as they come out of the measure. Not dismissing what you say, but need to test to be completely convinced one way or another.

The other factor in here is the size and shape of the powder. You mentioned H322 being a short grained extruded powder, according to Hodgdon it “flows through powder measures with superb accuracy”. So it looks like the physical characteristics of this powder is optimal for measuring by volume. I wonder how Varget compares in terms of physical and flow characteristics?

Actually, this test appeals to me quite a bit as it would tell me the relative importance of exact powder weights. Might incorporate this into a side-by-side test against an OCD hand load sometime. When I do, I will report back.

Thanks again for the input!

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Link Posted: 7/13/2010 5:58:59 PM EST
Here is an interesting discussion from some folks describing their experience with Harrell’s Precision Custom 90 Culver Measure. I don’t personally have any experience with the Culver type measure, but their conclusion make sense to me, and is in line with what I would guess knowing the properties of extruded powder grains and the difficulties associated with measuring them. Comments?

http://www.predatormastersforums.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1411476

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