Are Mechanical powder measures fading in popularity?

AbitNutz

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I guess they are fading just because of progressive presses but assuming you're not running a progressive press, do you still use a mechanical powder measure, or have you moved to an electronic powder dropper/scale? I've always used one of the drum styles, Redding, RCBS, or Hornady, and weighed every 10th charge. I've acquired an RCBS Chargemaster Lite and find myself weighing the charge more and using the powder measure less.

I'm not sure I'm doing myself any favors here, based on actual accuracy and speed. Maybe it's like playing pinball and I just like to see the thing run.
 

TheOfficeT-Rex

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    I have a progressive. Sure, the mechanical measure drops ball powders pretty well.... But the ATv3 drops ball powders and stick powders to +-,02gn almost as fast as I can index and put a bullet on for seating. Why would I sacrifice that kind of accuracy to load a few more rounds an hour?

    Maybe if/when I load pistol I'll use the mechanical measure again. Filling the damn primer tubes is usually the limfac anyways.
     

    Wiillk

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    At our son’s home, I use his electronic scale and then weigh it on a beam scale. At our home, I use an RCBS powder throw and then move it to the beam scale and trickle if necessary. Using a progressive on pistol loads, I check every tenth load on the beam and IHMSA loads, every fifth load unless the powder thrown on the progressive is not giving consistent readings. Then I will weigh every charge on the beam scale.

    That said, the old mechanical powder throws are much quicker than an electronic scale /electronic powder throw, when using ball powders. Using extruded powders is a turkey shoot, some times they work great, other times they cause the reloader to finish the work of male hormones in removing hair from the top of a male head.
     
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    AbitNutz

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    So now I check every 10th throw against my Chargemaster Lite and then I check my ChargeMaster Lite Against my RCBS 1010. Are we sure this is progress?
     

    Aftermath

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    What about the zombie apocalypse when no one has electricity lol
    Well, that is the reason I still have ALL of my old FUDD stuff....
    My old electronic charge thrower recently bit the dust. The digital scale still works....and I still have a couple of beams. If I had not hung on to the RCBS thrower, I would be down to using a scoop or something. As it is, I throw short and trickle up while wait for the Auto trickler
     
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    Ledzep

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    I only weigh ELR loads. All my PRS/NRL match ammo is charged directly from the thrower.
     
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    AbitNutz

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    After I broke in the Redding 3BR it is stupid consistent, even with stick powder it's not bad. It has 2 chambers you put in depending on what you're loading, 1 to 10 and 10 to 100. It's more accurate, especially with stick powder than the Dillon I have, and doesn't it leak very fine powder. Over 10 throws with most powders it's right on, or at most, plus or minus a 10th of a grain. I've never seen it go crazy and be off a couple of gains.
    I've seen a friend of mine's Lyman electronic dispenser go bonkers and be off by more than a full-grain. I've seen him take the pan off his electronic Lyman dispenser and routinely put it on another electronic scale....?
     

    ceekay1

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    I think mechanical powder measures might have a resurgence and become more popular again if/when more temp-stable ball powders (similar to Sta-Ball) hit the scene.

    I've been using Sta-Ball, dropping charges straight into cases for a while now. Powder for 100 rounds takes ~10 minutes and it's so consistent that I likely couldn't get any better unless I got a $6k Prometheus... and even then, it'd definitely take longer, and the difference might not really even show up down range.

    JMHO, but I've noticed a lot of guys tend to exaggerate and pontificate on this subject without having really seen their results down range (some of them to justify the fancy $$$ gadgets they bought)... shooting out to and past 1000yrds, wind is a bigger factor than pretty much anything else, and most guys can't shoot the difference between +/- 0.1gr (and almost shouldn't be able to if they're actually in a node).

    Now, if one is using a stick-powder (ie: H4350, Varget, etc), using a mechanical to drop straight into cases is no bueno, it can be off by +/- a whole grain or more... have to drop a few tenths low and trickle up or else get out that CC...
     
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    Crabcore

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    Chargemasters for the PRS ammo, or hunting ammo.

    Mechanical powder thrower on the Progressive for 9mm, and a bench mounted Lee Perfect for doing bulk 223.

    I will occasionally load some AR ammo with the Chargemasters, but only when I have all matching brass and it is for something specific. With mixed headstamp brass, there is already too much variance between cases. I have a safe load, which isn't right up to max for that.
     

    MarshallDodge

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    90% of the ammo I shoot uses a mechanical measure and most of that is on a progressive.

    Like others, if I am going for ultra precision then I get out the digital trickler.
     

    flyfisher117

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    Due to my current reloading bench set up it was a hassle for me to trickle into a beam scale. I got a Chargemaster Lite and quite enjoy it for my precision rifle reloads. Deffinately not very fast and it does struggle with Varget some days. But my consistency is better than it was.

    For my bulk .223 and 9mm I just throw directly into the case. Usually check every 10th case or so. Some day ill have a Dillon.. 9mm on a single stage is brutal..
     
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    mcfred

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    Tools that permit a superior level of quality are nice, but in reality, at pracitcal ranges, they're probably not really neccessary.

    IMO, here on Snipers Hide, there's an over-emphasis on to-the-kernal powder measuring and "temperature stability" of powders. I seriously doubt most members here have access to ranges exceeding 500 yards. At sea level 50fps difference in velocity nets less than 2.25" of drop at 500 yards or about .5 MOA. I don't think most people here compete in any steel/hunting style matches where ±.25MOA extra would legitmately be a handicap for less-than-remarkable shooting skills.

    For the mid-capacity cartridges I shoot, 50fps is about half a grain difference in powder charge. The drum-style powder measures will dispense short kernal stick powders well inside that, at least my RCBS Uniflow does.

    If your shooting discipline requires .5MOA at extended ranges then weigh to the kernal in your favorite fashion.
     

    wadebrown

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    I'll count out 2240 Varget kernels by candle light.

    *6 hours later*

    One case loaded, 99 to go...

    I don't have nearly enough fingers for that method, and having the open flame around powder might cause me to lose a couple.
     
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    slowworm

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    Tools that permit a superior level of quality are nice, but in reality, at pracitcal ranges, they're probably not really neccessary.

    IMO, here on Snipers Hide, there's an over-emphasis on to-the-kernal powder measuring and "temperature stability" of powders. I seriously doubt most members here have access to ranges exceeding 500 yards. At sea level 50fps difference in velocity nets less than 2.25" of drop at 500 yards or about .5 MOA. I don't think most people here compete in any steel/hunting style matches where ±.25MOA extra would legitmately be a handicap for less-than-remarkable shooting skills.

    For the mid-capacity cartridges I shoot, 50fps is about half a grain difference in powder charge. The drum-style powder measures will dispense short kernal stick powders well inside that, at least my RCBS Uniflow does.

    If your shooting discipline requires .5MOA at extended ranges then weigh to the kernal in your favorite fashion.
    While this is very true, it can also be applied to the rifles themselves. Many of us own rifles that shoot better than we do. And do you really need a $3000+ S&B of even a Vortex Razor Gen 2 when a strike eagle works just fine?

    Sometimes it as just a case of the enjoyment and appreciation of owning and using fine tools far more than realizing any material benefits. Isn't it the case that he who dies with the most toys, wins?
     

    ceekay1

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    Tools that permit a superior level of quality are nice, but in reality, at pracitcal ranges, they're probably not really neccessary.

    That's the thing right there ^^^. Except, arguably, it doesn't even really matter that much at even somewhat "non practical ranges" (say 1000 yards).

    I've heard guys say shit like "If your powder is even a a couple tenths off at 1000 yards you might as well not even bother because you might be off by 35 feet..." - That's bullshit: if one is missing like that it's far more likely they've got more going on than that, and just needing a fancier powder measure is probably the least of it.

    Besides, the best powder measure in the world can't make it less windy.
     
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    TSphens

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    I really do not think so, because for pistol or pew pew rifle loads they’re still the fastest option.
     

    ceekay1

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    While this is very true, it can also be applied to the rifles themselves. Many of us own rifles that shoot better than we do. And do you really need a $3000+ S&B of even a Vortex Razor Gen 2 when a strike eagle works just fine?

    Sometimes it as just a case of the enjoyment and appreciation of owning and using fine tools far more than realizing any material benefits. Isn't it the case that he who dies with the most toys, wins?

    This is true IMO.

    While this long range shit certainly isn't cheap... the days of "more dollars = more performance" are long gone.
     
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    mcfred

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    While this is very true, it can also be applied to the rifles themselves. Many of us own rifles that shoot better than we do. And do you really need a $3000+ S&B of even a Vortex Razor Gen 2 when a strike eagle works just fine?

    Sometimes it as just a case of the enjoyment and appreciation of owning and using fine tools far more than realizing any material benefits. Isn't it the case that he who dies with the most toys, wins?

    Oh, I totally agree! I've been weighing to the kernal with a lab-surplus Sartorius milligram balance for 25 years, and I have the Autothrower/trickler/A&N scale combo, the $3000 glass, and custom M700 clones, boutique barrels, custom dies and reamers... I hardly ever need a justification to buy another nice tool. It makes me happy. My drum/mechanical measures aren't going anywhere though. (y)
     
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    Texasflyer

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    I use a hornady digital powder scale. I like to tare each case and then weigh powder in the cases, i feel like its more accurate. I have a mechanical scale, but its put away for the time being.
     
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    supercorndogs

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    I only weigh ELR loads. All my PRS/NRL match ammo is charged directly from the thrower.
    I guess I should have asked what powders too. I use an RCBS, but I have one of the Lee perfect powder I have never used. I use a charge master for some powders, but 8208 throws just fine, and ball powders meter very well too. Varget, 4831SC, h4350, 7977, 4166, RL15, in medium sized cases I like to run on a charge master. 300wm, I am back to throwing charges, the nodes seem wide, and the capacity seems forgiving, Sd and ES seems fine with most loads I have worked up.
     

    AbitNutz

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    That's the thing right there ^^^. Except, arguably, it doesn't even really matter that much at even somewhat "non practical ranges" (say 1000 yards).

    I've heard guys say shit like "If your powder is even a a couple tenths off at 1000 yards you might as well not even bother because you might be off by 35 feet..." - That's bullshit: if one is missing like that it's far more likely they've got more going on than that, and just needing a fancier powder measure is probably the least of it.

    Besides, the best powder measure in the world can't make it less windy.
    A couple of 10th and off by 35 feet? It's hard to explain people shooting Finnish M39's with open sights and ringing steel at 1000 meters. I'm certainly not saying that hitting anything at 1000 meters is easy but it's not akin to manufacturing microchips.
     

    Ledzep

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    I guess I should have asked what powders too. I use an RCBS, but I have one of the Lee perfect powder I have never used. I use a charge master for some powders, but 8208 throws just fine, and ball powders meter very well too. Varget, 4831SC, h4350, 7977, 4166, RL15, in medium sized cases I like to run on a charge master. 300wm, I am back to throwing charges, the nodes seem wide, and the capacity seems forgiving, Sd and ES seems fine with most loads I have worked up.

    Everything. Varget, H4350, RL16, RL17.

    I weigh RL26 for 300 PRC ATIP loads.
     
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    supercorndogs

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    Interesting. I think maybe the biggest reason I started weighing charges is because I was running on the ragged edges. It might be time to go back and revisit some old methods. I sure like throwing over waiting for a charge master. Although its still pretty good for loading up an OCW.
     
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    AbitNutz

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    You know how the Dillon powder measures seem to leak fine grain powder from...I don't know where... just about everywhere? I saw a video where a guy found that the tube coming out of the bottom of the measure itself wasn't pressed in all the way and left a gap. The powder then collected in that space and was pushed out by the slide action.
    He fixed it by heating it up with a heat gun and then tapping it in till the gap closed up. By the way he wields that hammer I don't think he was a novice.
    I didn't think I would find that in mine but I stripped it down anyway. What do you know? There was a gap there, bigger than the one in the video. I'll be performing a little surgery here soon. Here's the video link.
     

    Ledzep

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    Interesting. I think maybe the biggest reason I started weighing charges is because I was running on the ragged edges. It might be time to go back and revisit some old methods. I sure like throwing over waiting for a charge master. Although its still pretty good for loading up an OCW.

    I've run a few 50-shot tests where I weighed to the 0.02gr and where I've thrown charges, and it nets about 1 or maybe 2 fps worse for the SD, maybe 5-10FPS on the extreme spread of 50 shots. Performance is better weighing to the kernel, both in ES/SD and VERY slightly in accuracy over the 50 shot tests, but not enough to be worth the time IMO. The accuracy side of things is in the ballpark of a 0.95 MOA group weighed and 0.98 MOA group thrown (again 50 shots).

    0-800 you have a hard time proving it's any different one way or the other. 800-1000 maybe maybe not. 1000+ yes, you start to see it if you pay attention. However, most of the PRS/NRL targets are 400-800yd, and those that go past 800 usually fairly generous on size. Very very rarely do I miss targets for elevation, even the long balls. Very often I miss because of wind :)

    The biggest benefit is I loaded 1200 rounds of match ammo in 2 afternoons and likely won't have to mess with it again until this fall/winter.
     

    ceekay1

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    Interesting. I think maybe the biggest reason I started weighing charges is because I was running on the ragged edges. It might be time to go back and revisit some old methods. I sure like throwing over waiting for a charge master. Although its still pretty good for loading up an OCW.

    A different topic entirely (don't want to derail the OP's thread but I guess it's related): IMO if you want to have success just throwing charges, you'll need to find a wide/forgiving node, so might want to take a hard look at that whole OCW thing... because it probably won't get you there.

    I don't want to get into an argument about whether the OCW method is legit or not, I know a lot of guys still use it and swear by it. But personally, I think it's just a Rorschach test: guys see what they want to see.

    After playing around with bullet-jump and seating depth, I don't really think powder charge weight has nearly as much to do with group size as has been perpetrated.

    IMO, no matter how one goes about it or how many rounds they choose to burn, finding a node just means shooting some rounds over a chrono and looking for "flat spots" where the velocity doesn't change much/any as the charge weight fluctuates. I shoot my rounds into a berm, because I don't care what the groups look like and I don't want any lucky/unlucky groups to persuade me either way or affect my decisions; I just look at velocities, because that's what matters.

    Once you find/pick a speed, jump/seating-depth does the rest and tightens up the groups. I've even done jump/seating-depth first, before powder and finding a speed, and surprisingly, as long as you've got a healthy jump going (usually a bunch more than the traditional .020" off the lands, more like .060"+ of jump territory) that works too. Some people do both the velocity and jump testing at the same time (like Scott Saterlee's method), which is how I'm kind of leaning going forward with my next barrel/load dev (not sure yet though, because keeping the processes separate for me has worked great without really burning up a ton of components)...
     
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    supercorndogs

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    Shooting over a chrono and looking for "flat spots" does not find nodes. This entire chronograph ladder method was based upon a misunderstanding. Now people are using it to claim OCW is bunk, while they look for random over lapping SD and pretend it is load development. Priceless.
     
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    918v

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    Shooting over a chrono and looking for "flat spots" does not find nodes. This entire chronograph ladder method was based upon a misunderstanding. Now people are using it to claim OCW is bunk, while they look for random over lapping SD and pretend it load development. Priceless.


    So how do you find nodes?
     

    ceekay1

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    Shooting over a chrono and looking for "flat spots" does not find nodes. This entire chronograph ladder method was based upon a misunderstanding. Now people are using it to claim OCW is bunk, while they look for random over lapping SD and pretend it load development. Priceless.

    Huh? Misunderstanding? Random over-lapping SD's?

    I know a lot of guys disagree with me on this, but it's only because they're wrong. OCW goes in to the same category as barrel break-in: more monkey-see-monkey-do than any actual repeatable science or cogent explanation. C'mon dude.
     
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    918v

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    OCW. You?

    I do a velocity ladder at 50 off 20 off 100 off and play with the charges until I get a decent group, then tune it with coal. Many times the node is too narrow at any one jump length range. Sometimes 20 off produces a small node. Sometimes 100 off produces a wide node. It’s fun playing with it.
     

    supercorndogs

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    I have started testing long jump along with .02 off or little more. I usually find something between .02 and .04 that works. I usually try some stuff from .06-.09 where its feasible. Some of my chambers like my .308 would have me inside of 2.7 turing to get .1 off. Some like the factory 308 barrel I shot out couldn't get with in .02 and stay in the case. I always had good luck with it and the 300wm factory barrel I shot out jumping in the .2 range. I have a 22-250 barrel I can't push a 70RDF deep enough into the case too. I need a throating reamer.

    So what is your thought on POI shift based on powder charge?
     

    ceekay1

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    So what is your thought on POI shift based on powder charge?

    The shift is due to the change in velocity, how/when the projectile's ogive contacted the rifling, and the twist of the barrel. If you could lock a barreled action in a vise and feed it ammo at different speeds it'd make a group, not a single hole. It's not really a better vs worse situation if it's repeatable.
     

    supercorndogs

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    What you mean is barrel timing causes the POI shifts. So how does a chronograph tell you where it is?
     

    ceekay1

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    What you mean is barrel timing causes the POI shifts. So how does a chronograph tell you where it is?
    Where what is? and what is "barrel timing"? I didn't say anything about "barrel timing"...
     
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    918v

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    I have started testing long jump along with .02 off or little more. I usually find something between .02 and .04 that works. I usually try some stuff from .06-.09 where its feasible. Some of my chambers like my .308 would have me inside of 2.7 turing to get .1 off. Some like the factory 308 barrel I shot out couldn't get with in .02 and stay in the case. I always had good luck with it and the 300wm factory barrel I shot out jumping in the .2 range. I have a 22-250 barrel I can't push a 70RDF deep enough into the case too. I need a throating reamer.

    So what is your thought on POI shift based on powder charge?

    I usually see poi shift at one end of the node just before it scatters. So if for example the node is 77.0 to 77.4 grains either 77.0 or 77.4 will be off center. And the remaining powder charges will hit dead center.
     

    supercorndogs

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    I usually see poi shift at one end of the node just before it scatters. So if for example the node is 77.0 to 77.4 grains either 77.0 or 77.4 will be off center. And the remaining powder charges will hit dead center.
    You can reliably pick where the POI shift will be from chronograph data?
     

    918v

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    You can reliably pick where the POI shift will be from chronograph data?

    Not poi shift. If I choose a powder charge range range that I believe to be a node based on a velocity flat spot, a .1gr change in powder charge will be undetectable on the chrono. Like you said, earlier, the sampling is too small: one shot per charge weight. In the earlier example say 77.0 makes 2880 FPS, 77.5 makes 2889, and 78 makes 2809. And 78.5 goes to 2940 FPS. Going from 77.1 to 77.0 grs could produce 2880 or 2890 FPS and there is no way to tell from the velocity if it’s going to shift or scatter.