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Lee Loader Powder Dipper

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Bing, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. Bing

    Bing Salem (Independence) Member

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    Noob here - how accurate is the load data for the dipper in a Lee Loader? I am loading 38 SPL and 357 MAG with Alliant American Select and the 38's I've shot from my GP100 have been very accurate with low recoil and show signs of a light load, using Lee's load data on the Loader's data card. I weighed the load of the .5cc dipper, and it came out at 4.1 gr.,just what is recommended by Alliant. So I picked up some 357 MAG shells and loaded 40 of them using Lee's .7 cc dipper before I looked at Alliant's data. Doing some math makes me think the .7 cc dipper will load my magnum cases with an additional .2 cc, or 5.74 gr., and Alliant says max load is 3.9 gr. with a 125 gr bullet. Is this a misprint from Alliant or what am I missing?

    jim
     
  2. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    Richard Lee outlined his allegedly perfected method of using dippers with accuracy in his book Modern Reloading, which is a worthwhile tome to have handy. You might also be interested in the method of calculating powder density using his dippers, once you have the dipping perfected.

    Being a natural born skeptic, I double checked his methods and they work quite well, but are too time consuming for me--except the density thing is worth doing, in my opinion, especially if you buy your powder infrequently and one pound at a time since you won't be getting the same lot of a given powder every time you buy.
     
  3. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    Here is the problem with what you are after:
    VOLUME & GRAINS are only connected by a reference. Does your powder company give you it's Nominal VMD? It's Nominal BD? It's Nominal BR? Did you take the card as fact, or do you feel comfortable with your lots measured VMD? If you do feel comfortable, then the VMD can be referenced against a listed weight of powder, but you MUST load volume identically each time (why I like the PPM, takes me out of the equation). But constantly weighing a volume well give varying results.
     
  4. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    Not really answering your question but, I only use the dipper to move powder to my scale. I don't trust the dipper alone. For whatever reason I just need to know a more precise repeatable weight to be comfortable shooting light or hot hand loads. A chronograph is another good tool to check your work against.
     
  5. Bing

    Bing Salem (Independence) Member

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    Really?
    Does anyone have any idea why Alliant reloading data calls for a 4.1 gr load for a 38 SPL shell and a 3.9 gr load for a 357 M shell using the same powder, primer, and bullet?

    @DARRKER: What? :confused:

    :)
    jim
     
  6. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    Think of it like this:
    When you age making cookies, the recipe calls for cups of flour, NOT grams of flour. Weight and volume are not the same thing.
     
  7. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Ok... first, take the lee dippers and either throw them away or forget that there's numbers printed on them and you're just using them as a powder scoop. I have seen too many people hurt, and too many guns destroyed by poor reloading practice. Go buy a $20 frankford arsenal scale and weigh your charges. There is simply too much variance in the scoops to count on them for anything.
     
  8. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Jim
    Glad to see you are expermenting and asking lots of questions.

    "how accurate is the load data for the dipper in a Lee Loader?"
    Lee's powder dippers measure volume, not weight. They are not precise tools.
    When I scoop ten scoops as precisely as possible, their weights are not identical.
    The chart below reflects the average of multiple scoops, measured in grains.

    LeePrecision.com Instructions
    Down the page to Powder Handling, then 7 lines down to
    Dippers - Lee Dippers - (dark line is powder dipper number)
    Reloading Lee dipper chart for AmerSel.JPG

    How does a reloader confirm the load recipe?
    I use a chronograph. It tells me the bullet speed. Walmart, Midway, Optics Planet have them.

    A .38 Spl will safely fit into a .357 chamber.
    I would concentrate on reloading your .38 special recipe.
    Regards
    Rick Benjamin
     
  9. Bing

    Bing Salem (Independence) Member

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    Hi Rick! Thanks for the help.
    The Lee Dippers are really not my problem now. I have taken to trickling loads on my 505, but man, the way I shoot, a half a grain isn't gonna make itself known to my shooting skills.
    I'd sure like to know if my load is right for my 357s though.


     
  10. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I've been using the Lee dippers for pistol loads for a long time, the data supplied is a good reference point but is not perfect. I dip and scrape off the excess with a business card then weigh 10 charges to get my baseline. Generally +/-.2 of a grain is good enough for me. Any dips the look different are dumped back and done again. Rifle loads are each trickled to exact tho I do use the dipper to get close.
    As for the load data being suspect, I'd look at other data sources like the powder manufactures site and see if it jives with what you've got.
     
    rick benjamin likes this.
  11. Bing

    Bing Salem (Independence) Member

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    I actually emailed Alliant about their data. I got a kinda snotty answer telling me I wasn't comparing apples and apples. He said the data I asked rez: 357 MAG for was for a cowboy load, which is not true, and the 38 SPL was ok. What it all boils down to is I am going to shoot the loads I already have, which means my 38 load will be 4.3 gr and my 357 MAG will be 5.7 gr. This is, in case people forgot, using Alliant American Select and 125 gr JHP. I think I'll spring for a Chronnie and verify some of this data.
     
  12. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Ah, I see the problem, after looking on the Alliant site I see only cowboy 357 loads using American select powder. Here's my take on that, The powder is made for light 12 ga loads so a low pressure powder and will work in other low pressure applications like cowboy action shooting. It's not designed or tested beyond that or if was tested it didn't preform as it was wanted to. Will it work as you want? Maybe, or maybe not. As you are a self professed noob, I would caution you against getting out there in the twilight zone with no data or experience to back you up. If you want to make full house 357 mag loads there are lots of powders out there for that application, my favorite is Accurate Arms #9, tho H-110, W-296, and Alliant 2400 are good choices as well.
     
    Mikej likes this.
  13. Bing

    Bing Salem (Independence) Member

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    Thanks Mike. I have shot some of the 357s I loaded and they are harder kicking than the 38 but not terrible, hence the chronograph idea, to see. I don't need much in the way of 357 anyway, so I'll finish off the Alliant in the 38s. Do you have any thoughts on HS6? I know it is also shot shell stuff, but I have a pound of that too. At least they show loads for both shells. I am kinda leaning toward light loading, too, which I feel begs a crony.
     
  14. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    a 'cowboy load should be loads using cast lead bullets,not jacketed,fyi. We are only allowed to shoot cast,not jacketed.
     
  15. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My go to target load for the 357 is7.0 grs of HS-6 behind a hard cast158gr SWC.
     
  16. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    Wrong!
    I use the Lee scoops for thousands of rounds of 5.56 to shoot my AR and they work fantastic. The 1.6 scoop loads about 22 grains of IMR 4064 and I've never had and issue.
     
  17. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    I see you have found my secret as to how to deal with alliant powder:

    Buy Hodgon or Winchester or IMR --are we sensing a pattern here? I have had a lot of success with hs-6 in these two cartridges and several more the past. These days I am using N-340 for .357 mag 158 gr.FP and also for 200gr. FP .44mag loads and HP-38 for the .38spcl 148 gr.WC target load.


    BTW some of us survived the bad old days when scoops were all we had .. and we walked to school 6 miles in the snow uphill both ways through the dinosaur swamp ........really:p
     
  18. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Bing looked high and low for any powder to begin reloading his .38.
    He bought IMR4831 on the advice of a clueless salesperson who was told "38 Special revolver".
    Store wouldn't accept it back.
    Early January Bing and I traded his 4831 for my lb of American Select.

    When I read snark, I just feel tired. There's no fixing SNARK.
    Stupids shut up.jpeg
     
  19. Bing

    Bing Salem (Independence) Member

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    For the most part all replies were helpful. When I decided to start loading my own shells I didn't think powder would be so much of an issue. After I get the Am. Sel. and HS6 powder shot up (probably not in my lifetime) I will shop for strictly pistol powder with genuine data.

    Thanks guys

    jim
     
  20. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    Bing- if you go to the websites of the manufacturers of the powders you named, you will find reloading data. The data is free, but it is measured in grains.............not scoops. Truly the reloading world seems to be slanted toward grains (weight)--until or unless you go crazy and get into point blank BR shooting----then it's clicks..............