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lee pro auto disk powder measure driving me nuts

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by SPU, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    So I picked up a used Lee classic turret press for a decent price. It is working after some tweaking of this and that. I ran it through it's paces until I was sure it was working.

    Then I installed the riser on the powder through die and the Lee Pro powder measure with micro adjuster. I get a dribbling of powder some charges and correct throw every tenth or so. Using Bullseye and pistol cases. I adjusted everything again and now I always get a dribble of powder (.1 to .2 grains). When I took it apart there was a little pile of powder sitting on top of the micro adjuster under the hopper. Mechanically it seems like it should be working. Hopper is "on", the micro adjuster bar moves forward over the dispensing hole, just little to no powder. No leaking or mess.

    I can't seem to get this thing working at all.

    Anybody who uses this have some tips on what I am doing wrong? The instructions s*ck.

    TIA
     
  2. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Shortly before I "retired" my Lee Progressive I gave the micro adjust powder "bar" a try. I too found it to be a PITA. It's not so bad if you have the right powder and aren't trying to load small charges. All I could figure was that it was just sloppy enough in the mechanism to not line up properly each time. I tossed in a box and went back to the old Auto Disk system. Shortly thereafter I decided to do what I should have done in the first place and bought a Dillon XL-650.

    All I can recommend is make sure that the cavity in the bar is moving fully under the hopper port to get a good charge of powder. Also, it may be necessary to add a baffle to the powder measure. Here is a site that has some templates for various diameters of hopper. Powder Measure Baffle Templates (When you go to this site it will download a PDF. Just print it out and select the template you need)This takes some of the pressure off the port and allows the powder to flow more uniformly. Even if there is a baffle molded in the hopper, a second baffle at right angles helps even more. Stops any packing of the powder and allows for more uniform charges.

    Welcome to the world of Lee. Where you spend as much time working on the product as you do loading ammo;)
     
  3. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    Thanks Deadshot, wish I had saved my money on the Microdisk. I found an autodisk that threw almost exactly the charge I wanted (less than it supposedly should have). I have some confidence in it after weighing a couple dozen charges thrown, and then eyeballing every charge while weighing every 5th or 6th charge. I wish I had the money for a better system -- but I'm all in for now. Thanks for the validation. I think I may, when I feel ambitious, try the microdisk after rubbing it down with a #2 pencil and see if that helps, along with limiting the amount of powder in the hopper.
     
  4. dakaham

    dakaham Albany, Oregon, United States Active Member

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    The disks always seem to throw a lighter charge than published. While i agree dillons are great for the money you really cant go wrong with the lee. If you can find a pro 1000 get it i have 3 on my bench for specific calibers and loading is as easy as adding primers powder and brass. It takes a bit to fiddle to get the initial set up done but once its done loading is fast and easy!

    I have added 1 more press to this since photo was taken.

    2011-10-11_12-58-25_63.jpg
     
  5. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    If your're going to buy a press for each caliber you load I guess the Lee is attractive. When you take into consideration the cost of several Lee's vs one Dillon that can load more rounds per hour with less hassle the attraction wanes, at least for most people.

    For those who think it takes a long time and it's too much trouble to change calibers on a Dillon, it's like the old saying about "making whoopy". If you don't enjoy it, you're probably doing it wrong:)
     
  6. dakaham

    dakaham Albany, Oregon, United States Active Member

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    While I will never question how nice Dillon's are most average Joe's on a budget just can't justify the costs. Personally for me and my shooting habits(200rds a week) lees are great. One of the big misconceptions about lees is that u constantly are fiddling around with them. Just not true. Once you get one set up they just run. Yes you need to b mindful of the primers and how close you are to getting low but other than that they are great machines for the money. I have a press for 38'sthe 45's and 223. I'm into my presses for $450 with case feeders for all but .223. What would that run on a Dillon? Now if your shooting 1000rds a week buy a dillon but then again if you shoot that much you can afford the Dillon anyway.
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Your experience with Lee Progressives is atypical of that most users have experienced. At only 200 rounds per week one could do that on a single stage. The fact that your "round count" is low might explain the lack of need to "fiddle" with your press.

    If it were ONLY the primer feed that was the issue for Lee Progressives it wouldn't bee so bad.

    As for the cost of a Dillon, under $400 gets one a 550B. Yes, the case feeder is another $200+ but the difference is like night and day.
     
  8. dakaham

    dakaham Albany, Oregon, United States Active Member

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    Well what i was trying to say in all these post isnt that lee is better! It is a great starting point for someone getting into loading that is on a tight budget. Its like someone that has a mercedes telling someone with a hyundai that they bought a POS. yes the benz is a great car but if you cant afford it you cant afford it. So by your logic if you cant afford a dillon you shouldnt even buy a progressive. Unfortunately your responses to any thing other than dillon are quite typical of most dillon users. Its almost like dillons have become fasion statements and a status symbol in the reloading world. Done trying to get my point across to smurfs! Im out!

    33eivep.jpg
     
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Apparently you overlooked the main point of MY post(s). I won't argue that Lee progressive's are inexpensive. My experience, backed by numerous posts on many forums, is that they require lots of fiddling.

    Take into consideration that people who are going to load relatively high volumes of ammo, yet want to do it on the cheap will read how someone has had "great results" with their Lee Progressive and not take into consideration the mechanical skills or reloading experience that individual may posses. They'll jump right on one and then, in the end, be nothing but disappointed, eventually buying a LNL, Dillon, or RCBS press. They'll spend more money in the long run, sometimes in the form of gun repairs if their press does one of those dastardly double charges which are far more likely on Lee's than on others.

    Let's just say, I own a Dillon, only because I wanted one. Not because the RCBS or LNL are poor choices but because the Dillon does exactly what I want. Just remember, it's not how much you pay, it's how often you have to pay it. THAT's the message every beginner, or person on a budget should take into consideration. I went down the Lee road for a progressive press and found it to be lacking in several areas. Those who like them are welcome to them.
     
  10. OldGrayDog

    OldGrayDog San Juan County New Member

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    Back to the original question, here are a couple things to consider:

    First, if you're only getting a partial fill on some cycles it probably means the disk or the charge bar isn't retracting all the way. Watch it for a couple of cycles and you'll probably see that the spring return lever snags on that sharp corner of the riser casting. Round that corner off with a file and clean up the bottom of the stamped spring return lever. That should take care of the retraction problem. Be sure you don't have the hopper on so tight that it's binding up the retraction.

    Second, if you're trying to use the adjustable charge bar, they don't work as well with the Pro hopper as they do with the original Auto-Disk hopper. It helps to round the front edge of that rectangular hole in the original hopper. Use your Dremel tool to round it to match the front curve of the charge bar. Careful, it doesn't take much, only a 32nd or so.

    Finally, the adjustable charge bar doesn't work very well for small charges unless you're using very fine powders like A#2 or True Blue. With the Pro hopper you're better off to find a disk or a micro disk size that gives you a load you want. For Bullseye, 0.30 or 0.32 will drop about 2.8 or 3.0 grs, good loads for a .38 wadcutter.
     
  11. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    Thanks OldGrayDog, I'll look at those suggestions carefully. It sounds like a voice of practical experience.

    FYI, I was trying to throw 0.34 of Bullseye and ended up finding a disk hole that threw a little hotter 3.4 grains of powder for a RNFP; which was a charge I had previously tested and found was not optimal due to extra recoil but worked well without signs of stress. I think your suggestions are next to try, and a microdisk will be in my XMAS stocking. Many thanks to all for taking the time to help and inform.