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Started to reload

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by IheartGUNS, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. IheartGUNS

    IheartGUNS WaCo Well-Known Member

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    Whew! I just loaded my first 100 rnds of 9mm, and it only took me about 12hrs Lol !! I think I wasted half a 1lb bottle trying to make some ammo. Setting up everything took awhile, reading and watching youtoob video really helps. Question: How many of you use the hornady lnl to reload? How consistent is the powder drop or measure or whatever? I have mine setup to drop 4.4gr and each time I would weigh the powder it would be 4.3, 4.6, 4.5, 4.2 and so on. Is that normal? I'm kinda worried shooting my reloads. Dunno what to expect... I'm also using a lock out die, and that crap is either not working right or I'm using it wrong. I read the instructions x amount of times and watched youtube for couple hours trying to figure it out but still the same. Its a good thing I bought a powder cop die for backup.

    Reloading is fun, can't wait to reload more.
     
  2. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Powder weight variations are not unusual, especially when getting started. In order to get uniform "drops" it's essential that the press be operated in the same manner, with the same amount of "push", "pull", and vibration so the powder flows into the metering cavity with the same uniformity.

    Practice and experience will help. Also, if you powder measure doesn't have a substantial powder baffle in the hopper, make one. Google "Uncle Nicks Powder Baffle Templates". This guy has posted a pdf of some templates for you to make your own. Cut them out of some aluminum roof flashing. Takes about 15 minutes and the results can be amazing. The baffle only allows so much powder to stack up over the metering orifice so it flows more uniformly.

    Just remember if you want uniform results then you have to do the same thing every time and this includes how you move the lever. If you stop for a while, especially when setting up, it's best to manually operate the powder measure a few times to remove any compressed powder at the bottom. Get it flowing again.
     
  3. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    Also, some powders 'settle in' quicker than others. The key is a consistant 'settling' of the powder in the tube (baffle is desired). Keep powder measure above 1/3 full or so, and dump 10 rounds, weigh, divide by 10 to see your average drop.
    Oh, if you are a "weigh every charge" reloader, you don't need ball powders, and Don't buy a progressive.
    Personally, I'd rather be shooting.
    I just ordered 4000 bullets this week. All will be loaded without caculalating SD , MAD, or YMMV.
    I even found a top of the line, powder measure. It will hold +- .2 gr with powders such as IMR4350.
    Don't have to slow the progressive loading of rifle cartridges either.....
    48yrs ago I bought a single stage C press!
     
  4. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I weigh ever single charge. This is one of the reasons I suggest people new to reloading start with a single stage press and work in batches. nothing wrong with progressives but the learning curve is so much steeper. But I have only been reloading for 42+ years now.
     
  5. coosbaycreep

    coosbaycreep 9 miles South of Roseburg Active Member

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    I've weighed every charge of every round I've ever reloaded. The RCBS powder measure I had was generally within .1 or .2 grains more or less, but sometimes it would vary more than that, and on small pistol rounds, that can make a difference between a safe load and a squib or missing fingers.
     
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    The amount of charge variation you have depends greatly on the grain size of the powder. In general ball powders always meter better than flakes or IMR type stick powders. Depending on the powder, I will accept variation of as much as 1gr for large loads of big stick powders, however 1gr doesn't matter that much when you're dumping 230 of them into each load.

    In general, I will tolerate variations of between +/- .1gr for most pistol loads. This is true for titegroup, HP-38. I find both of these powders meter great, and charge variation usually isn't even much of a problem, or even a likelyhood.

    Having a good even stroke is a must to maintain consistency of ammunition, when I'm doing bulk loading on the 1050, I will even stop if the case feeder misses a spot, or for some reason the CF becomes jammed I will insert a case just to make sure I'm going to have a consistent stroke, and eliminates the need to either stop and inspect, or ignore a beep (who knows, you could be ignoring the beep of a double charge!!!).

    As far as the LNL goes, it's a great little press, like anything it has it's quirks, but is fairly well thought out, and I enjoy using mine. However, I highly recommend starting out single stage for neophyte reloaders. There is simply so much that can go wrong, and go wrong very quickly, but the LNL does a better job than the 550 in making sure your experiment doesn't end up in a destroyed gun.

    For factory loaded ammunition we usually tolerate +/- .1gr for pistol loads, +/-.3gr for large rifle loads, and length variations of +/-.003" primer seating depth variations of between .003 and .007"
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    A baffle will solve the issue of having to keep a reservoir full. With one in place, the "powder column" below the baffle is all that the metering assy sees.

    As for checking loads by dropping 10 and then dividing for an average, that's a lot like standing with one foot in a bucket of boiling water and the other in a bucket of ice water. In theory, the average temp is comfortable.

    If your powder is dumping wide spreads of load weights, an average will show just fine but individual loads can be extremely low or worse yet, extremely high.

    It's best to drop 10 loads weighing each and then calculate ES, SD, or even MAD (Mean Absolute Deviation} which is the amount above or below the average that the loads vary. If your powder measure doesn't drop consistent loads, change powders, change measures, or just weigh every load.
     
  8. IheartGUNS

    IheartGUNS WaCo Well-Known Member

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    Damn it sucks weighing each load on a progressive. Slows down the process. Hmm I wonder if its my scale that is off rather than blaming the press???? I just notice earlier that after I zeroed out my scale, it went up .2 gr not right away though but after I dumped some powder into the case and about to pout it on the scale. I have to repeatedly zero out the scale to get an accurate reading.
     
  9. Sheldon

    Sheldon California Member

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    What scale are you using? I had a LEE scale that drove me nuts with how it gave different readings. You have to be careful not to damage the blade the beam balances on or it will not read correctly or consistantly.
     
  10. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like you have a scale problem. Take a good look at the agate bearings that the beam rests on. If there is any dust or crud there it will cause the beam to hang up. If it has a "damper" which is usually a vertical blade of metal that travels between two magnets, make sure you don't have a sliver of metal on the magnets that interferes with the free movement of the damper. I learned this the hard way after using my scale on my workbench. Ended up with a shaving from my drill press in there and it hung the scale up bad.

    When your scale is zeroed, with no weight on it, tap the end of the beam. It should travel freely and after a couple of swings should always come the center.

    Clean the bearing surface, clean the slot for the damper blade, and then inspect the "Knife Edge" surfaces on the beam pivot. Use the strongest magnification you have when doing this. The slightest nick will cause the scale to be erratic. Even the best scales with popular names can have these problems.

    Lastly, make sure you don't have a ceiling furnace vent that's blowing on the scale. That can lead to "traumatic baldness" (where you end up tearing all your hair out) while trying to figure things out.
     
  11. speedtriple

    speedtriple Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    Although I did read through the replies quickly, I did not notice anyone mention using the pistol rotor for the L&L powder drop. It is much better suited to smaller charges. You can also add a micrometer adjuster to the pistol meter.

    I used to be very frustrated with the powder drop. Two things fixed that for me. Getting the pistol rotor, and getting a high quality scale that gave me repeatable measurements. Now I check every every 50 rounds or so, and keep an eye on the powder cop die EVERY round by. I also find turning on the electronic scale at least 1/2 hour before using it helps it stabilize.

    For precision rifle, like my .308 rounds for 600 yard shooting, I measure each charge and use a single stage press. For most of my 5.56/.223 I use the progressive press along with the case activated powder drop. For longer range 5.56/.223, I measure each drop just like for the .308
     
  12. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I didn't see any mention of the type of scale, but the two most important issues: keep the scale away from stray air currents (having a fan on somewhere will certainly make you crazy like Deadshot said). The other one, if you are using electronic scales, especially the kind that plug into a wall-wart make sure you have clean well grounded power going to the scale. Some years ago I was doing a run of proof loads, and each round had to be weighed, so I used my auto-trickler, it took me about 3 days and 300 rounds (of a 10,000 round order) to figure out that every time the case feeder spun up, it would affect the power supply to the scale, and the scale would get out of calibration quick. After putting a UPS on to clean up the power no more issues were had.
     
  13. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    I have the pre LNL unit called the Hornady pro 7.. it has done a yeoman's job over the last 25 years but it's not my only progressive now. Pretty much now use it for lower volume target pistol loads. No real complaints except the auto primer feed is a joke and I removed it and get my cases prepped and primed elsewhere before I use the Pro 7 for the final loading stages: Powder/bullet seating/crimping
     
  14. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Most of those use DC power from an adapter. Neither the adapter or the power cord provide a ground to the scale so the outlet is moot.

    If you have any "static" issues merely wipe the scale down with a dryer sheet. Makes for a nice clean scale too.

    Also, take a look at the Dillon D-Terminator. It has a "Pan" cover that uses a static bleed off plate. The cover has a plate with a hole in it that you can pour the powder through. The plate in turn is "grounded" to a ring around the weighing platform that bleeds off any static that affects weight readings.

    If you want to further ground your electronic scale should you have high static/interference problems, tape a strip of aluminum foil around the sides of the scale. Lay the foil flat and cover with some clear wide packing tape. Then attach a "jumper" with alligator clips to it and a good ground source. I've used a replacement cord end with a ground lug. Just run a wire from the green screw inside and let it hang out when plugged in. Makes a good ground point for other items too.
     
  15. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    The older PACT and RCBS scales were AC, and used AC for timing. Strange I know, but that's how it was. I think the PACT scales still use this method, but it depends a lot on the different load cells. Either way, any stray voltages that get into sensitive equipment like a digital scale, can cause calibration problems. Early on we had problems with our lights dumping too much RF and causing problems when taking measurements from a ballistic transducer. We had to get new cables that had an extra layer of shielding, and then eventually simply replaced the florescent lights with incandescent to remove the interference.

    The fact that you can buy an electronic device for under $100 that can measure 1/70000th of a pound with any repeatability is damn near amazing to me.
     
  16. GuyBMeredith

    GuyBMeredith Salem, Oregon Active Member

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    I have an early model LNL which was my introduction to reloading. You will definitely want to use a pistol insert for the small loads and rifle for the larger. The early models came with both. I don't remember at the moment whether all the inserts have the micrometer settings, but that is what my model has.

    I find the powder measure boringly consistent. I usually weigh a couple of loads after setup and then a random load or two through the run.

    Purely anecdotal, not tested, but my perception is that all powders settle as the unit thumps along with each round so I tap the measure hopper on the side when setting up and run a number of rounds without bullets to presettle the powder.

    As others have said, different grains meter differently. Ball powders are the most consistent which is fortunate for me as I load primarily .38 spl with a few .357 magnum thrown in here and there.