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New Lee Auto Drum Powder Measure

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by eliduc, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. eliduc

    eliduc Active Member

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    As soon as I saw the Lee Auto (case activated) Drum powder measure on line I had to have it. $46 with free shipping from Titan. The measure fits right onto a progressive or turret press without an expensive adapter. In a few days it arrived. Pretty straight forward machine. It has the same on and off hopper as my Auto disk. Nothing sticking out to interfere with the Auto Safety Primer. I unscrewed the Auto Disk from the riser and screwed on the Auto drum. It comes with the small drum already installed. My Classic Turret press is set up to load 38 special. It has the RCBS Lock Out Die in the third hole and the RCBS Cowboy Combo seat and crimp die in the fourth hole. I have been loading 5.1 grains of WSF under a 125 gr cast bullet.

    All I had to do is fill the hopper, turn it to the right to open it and pull the handle on my press to charge a case. The drum has an adjustment key on the side that adjusts how much powder falls into the charging chamber.

    What a disappointment! After running 50 cases through the turret the measure was dropping from 5.26 grains of WSF to 6.83 grains and everything in between. I spent hours trying to figure it out to no avail. Adjusting the drum did not help.

    I called Lee. The tech tried but was of no assistance. Perhaps it was the powder. WSF is a medium sized flattened ball powder. I figure it should work. Well, it was the powder. I emptied the hopper and filled it with True Blue without adjusting the drum. Right away I was getting consistent 7.1 charges +/-.01 or .02.

    In hindsight I did some online research and discovered that most of the drum measures are temperamental with flake and stick powders. But I was using a ball powder. I have never read complaints about WSF not metering well. True Blue is kind of like black talcum powder that will probably flow through anything. What was really scary is that the measure would throw four or five consistent charges of WSF and then start throwing charges .5 or more heavy. Can I even trust it with a fine ball powder?

    I should mention the Safety Disconnect that is fastened to the activation rod on the press. It is meant to prevent double charges. However, on the turret press it requires depressing a little lever on the measure before pulling the ram handle on the press for every charge. This adds another step to the process and makes the term "Auto" a misnomer. It's no different pulling a handle to rotate the drum on other models. Since not depressing the lever does not prevent the case from rising into the powder die, failing to raise it invites a squib because the drum does not drop a charge. That said it's easy to disconnect it. Since I have the RCBS lock out die I don't have to worry much about double charges or squibs.

    I seldom see any pistol powder on our local shelves. When I do it is usually one of the flake shotgun powders. We are forced to buy what's available and it's probably not going to get better with Berni Barak & Hillary preaching all kinds of gun control from the pulpit. Have I just bought a powder measure that is going to be useless....or did it come that way? The following is a list of consecutive charges with WSF. 5.34 5.28 5.42 5.48 5.30 6.46 6.61 6.83. The Auto Disk is back on my press.
     
  2. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40 Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    There are other reviews on the new drum powder measure out there. Sounds like there are two things to look out for. First is having the drum tight enough. The other is that the wiper may be leaking. You can do a search and get quite a few reviews. Here's one that I thought was pretty good since it showed the results with different powders: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?288119-Lee-Auto-Drum-Review

    Edit: here are a few more reviews: http://ingunowners.com/forums/ammun...ee-auto-drum-powder-measure-quick-review.html
    http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=221491
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  3. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks for that review.

    I saw theM last night and wondered. I think I'll stick to the pro disks, after all I have 6 already.

    Considered this powder drop for my single stage but maybe I'll stick with the perfect powder measure (x2) mounted on the shelf. I don't think the varied powders I use would be good to have to be worrying each time I change powder.

    Again. Thank you!