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How often are you checking powder charges?


Smeeg
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If its a dedicated powder measuring I'm using I'll check at the start then a second check at 50 rounds. If no issues I usually check every 100 rounds or so.

If I'm swopping powder measures from one toolhead to another I'll probably double my first couple of checks until I'm satisfied it is dialed in then go every 100 or so rounds.

I used to check a lot more often than this but it wasn't really necessary. The trick is getting it dialed in at the start and then not adjusting it. I usually actuate the powder measure about 10 times to get the powder hopper and funnel filled then measure out 10 charges and figure what the average charge weight is. Once I get that done and adjusted to 10 round average it is usually right on the money.

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If you have it set up right you only have to verify at the start of a session. Other than that set it and forget it. With these machines that are meant to crank out ammo the more you stop to check things the less consistent the ammo will be

Edited by Sarge
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If you have it set up right you only have to verify at the start of a session. Other than that set it and forget it. With these machines that are meant to crank out ammo the more you stop to check things the less consistent the ammo will be

That is exactly what I do for practice ammo. But, since I have to fill up the primer tube every 100 rounds, it only takes a few seconds to check a charge and move on.

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True but in all these years of reloading, my measure has never been off after the initial check (I do 5-10, all have to be the same or I start over) and then one stop check at 100. If everything is good, then I'll go several hundred rounds without weighing. I still visually verify each drop in the cases but stopping and weighing too much will cause errors also. Analysis Paralysis is what ensues...don't over think it and if you are checking that often, then something is wrong with your powder feeder. Oh, I also do one last check at the end of the session.

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If you have it set up right you only have to verify at the start of a session. Other than that set it and forget it. With these machines that are meant to crank out ammo the more you stop to check things the less consistent the ammo will be

That is exactly what I do for practice ammo. But, since I have to fill up the primer tube every 100 rounds, it only takes a few seconds to check a charge and move on.
To each their own but I don't distinguish between practice ammo and match ammo. I just make one kind. Once it passes the gauge it's ready for any level of competition, or for practice.
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I check my powder before I begin loading. I've been known to check the powder a second time during a large batch of loading (1000+) but it always stays where I put it.

One thing I do that's not a "recommended step" is to "tamp" the powder down if the powder measure is being filled from empty. Basically I use a one pound powder container and tap/tamp on the top of the powder measure (I don't actually touch the powder).

I do this because years ago I noticed that loads would start light and then get heavier by the end of the loading session. This was especially true when I started with an empty powder measure. What I've found is that the powder will somewhat compact over a loading session due to the natural "tamping" action of the powder measure. The Dillon powder measure dispenses by volume and after a bit of compaction the volume stays where I want it.

Again, I'm not recommending my practice to anyone but it works for me. I've seen some guys use an aquarium pump to vibrate the powder measure during a loading session. This is similar to what I do with the exception that I do it at the beginning of the loading session when my powder measure is empty. If my powder measure is more than a third full from a previous loading session I don't tamp... the press seems to take care it on it's own.

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chronograph rounds from a new lot of powder.

Extremely good advice! I once loaded several rounds after opening a new jug of AutoComp. Same lot number, everything. Took about .3 more grains to make same PF as the old jug!

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I check every 50 rounds or so, but it never varies by more than .2 grains so it's probably not really necessary. This is on a lee turret press so it's not like I'm interrupting the loading process much to check real quick.

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I check every 50 rounds or so, but it never varies by more than .2 grains so it's probably not really necessary. This is on a lee turret press so it's not like I'm interrupting the loading process much to check real quick.

That sounds like a large variation. What powder are you using?
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If you have it set up right you only have to verify at the start of a session. Other than that set it and forget it. With these machines that are meant to crank out ammo the more you stop to check things the less consistent the ammo will be

Hey Sarge,

Can you explain to me how checking a charge will cause more errors? I'm not being a smart ass. I run 3 different 550s and I fail to see how verifying a charge weight will cause errors.

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Can you explain to me how checking a charge will cause more errors? I'm not being a smart ass. I run 3 different 550s and I fail to see how verifying a charge weight will cause errors.

For me it's "flow", no stopping, removing cases messing with other stuff. Shouldn't be a problem for folks that can walk and chew gum but anything that interrupts the process is a distraction.

That said, for all of you "often" powder checkers, how often do you have to change your charge and what measure are you using?

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To each their own but I don't distinguish between practice ammo and match ammo. I just make one kind. Once it passes the gauge it's ready for any level of competition, or for practice.

+100, if it's not good enough for a match then it's not good enough to shoot. Maybe you have a preferred projectile for major vs local matches? That I'd understand.

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If you have it set up right you only have to verify at the start of a session. Other than that set it and forget it. With these machines that are meant to crank out ammo the more you stop to check things the less consistent the ammo will be

Hey Sarge,

Can you explain to me how checking a charge will cause more errors? I'm not being a smart ass. I run 3 different 550s and I fail to see how verifying a charge weight will cause errors.

Can you explain to me how checking a charge will cause more errors? I'm not being a smart ass. I run 3 different 550s and I fail to see how verifying a charge weight will cause errors.

For me it's "flow", no stopping, removing cases messing with other stuff. Shouldn't be a problem for folks that can walk and chew gum but anything that interrupts the process is a distraction.

That said, for all of you "often" powder checkers, how often do you have to change your charge and what measure are you using?

jmorris got it right. Whenever we read of somebody having powder drop consistency issues or oal issues often it can be traced back to pulling the handle, checking, pulling the handle, checking. You can't replicate the same exact stroke every time you pull the handle but these progressives seem to produce much better ammo if you just get it set and keep pulling the handle. This to me is why weighing ten charges for an average works best if you pull the handle as close to normal loading speed as possible for those ten charges. Most Dillon powder systems will throw a heavier charge if you let it set for even a minute. Ever notice if you walk into your press and just drop a charge and weigh it, it will be heavier than what it was set at? Same for oal. Want to go bat shit crazy trying to get a consistent measurement? Keep checking every time you pull the handle! I set my oal and get it very close then I run 20 rounds and catch one right off the chute for a good idea of what the press is really producing.

I think these presses are meant to run at a cadence. It doesn't have to be 1200 rounds an hour but it should be your personal comfortable speed that is fluid.

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I visually look at every case but I certainly don't stop and start to weigh them. When first setting up a new press or new calibre. I'll check a few. I also usually cycle the measure 5 or more times and dump those first 5 charges. But once it's setup and I'm loading I leave it alone. Unless something funny shows up in a chrono check the measure stays left alone.

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Once it is set I will visually check the cases with a recheck of the charge every time I start a new session. Balance beam scale is set to the correct charge so I will pull a case and dump it on the pan. If it does not balance correctly (which has not happened yet) I can then I can see what has changed and try and figure out why it changed.

Once I am cranking rounds out I do not stop and check it again, I just get the rhythm going.

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I leave powder in the measures and if I haven't loaded that caliber in awhile I'll run out 4 or 5 cases full, dump them back in the measure, and then load. I check the weight if a new batch of powder, otherwise not.

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