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Drum Powder measure and extruded powder

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  • Drum Powder measure and extruded powder


    I'm new to reloading, and I'm preparing to do my fist set of 308s on my Hornady LNL AP. I've searched through this forum, but haven't found an answers that satisfies, so if this has been addressed before, I would kindly ask that you point me to it.

    In reading the Hornady handbook, I bought some IMR 4064 as suggested. Naturally, one of the first things I realized was that the Hornady powder drum doesn't measure well with extruded powder. So I'm hoping to census you fine folk and see how you handle this issue.

    Do you use the drum powder measure and just "power through" when the powder (pellet? grain?) binds in the drum? Or do you forego the measure all together, and "hand load" the powder? Or do you do something else entirely?

    I'm not reloading for accuracy, so I realize that I could go either way. But I was hoping to take a peek, so to speak, at how others deal with this.

    Thanks in advance!

    Cogito, ergo armatum sum.

  • #2
    I've loaded thousands of rounds using a drum measure and IMR 4895 which is a stick powder almost as long as IMR 4064. Most of this was .223 rounds for Prairie Doggin'. I just power through it. And make sure that I raise the handle quickly enough to cut the powder and "tap" fairly aggressively as the handle hits the stop. I also "tap" it fairly aggressively on the down stroke to settle the incoming powder into the drum. I get fairly good accuracy, but feel I can do better. I'm switching to a to a spherical powder for the .223. I will stick with the IMR 4895 for my 30-30, 30-40, and .308 Hunting loads.

    I should note that I am using a single stage press and hand operating my powder measure, a Pacific that was adopted as part of Hornady's acquisition of Pacific. This is virtually the same measure that you are using. You may have more variation in powder weights on the Lock and Load set up. The only way to know is to pull a hand full of cases off one at a time as you load and measure the weight and decide if the difference is acceptable. Compare your group sizes to group sizes of hand weighed charges and let that be your guide.

    BTW, IMR 4064 is a great powder and shot very well in a couple of calibers that I tried it in. I don't have any on hand right now as I use one of the 4895s in a lot of applications including my .308 and several reduced cast bullet loads. RD
    Every once in a while in life we need a policeman, a lawyer, a doctor and a preacher. We need a farmer three times a day, every day.

    Et Canis Manducare Canis Mundi


    • #3
      Thanks so much for such a thorough response! This was exactly what I was hoping to get back.

      Since I'm not (yet?) shooting out to 1000 yards, I _think_ that any errors induced by "powering through" are going to be within a tenth or two of a grain, and that would be "good enough." Of course, I'll verify this by spot-checking weights like you suggested.

      So my pressures are going to vary somewhat, but not to really matter for out to 300 yards. At least, I don't believe that it will. From what I've been reading, that tenth of a grain difference does count only when all else has been made constant.
      Cogito, ergo armatum sum.


      • #4
        Yeah a tenth of a grain on a 45 grain charge is insignificant. It may be a bit self-defeating loading extruded powder on a progressive. It depends on your efficiency needs. You may find a ball powder like BLC-2 to be the cat's meow. 4064 and Varget are both great extruded powders for 308. I always trickled my extruded loads and then one day I had enough Cabelas points that I ordered a Chargemaster, but I also load on a single stage. You'll have to crunch a few kernels but the loads will be just fine.
        If it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

        "Ammo and really good friends are hard to find in a gunfight so I bring them with me" E. J. Owens


        • #5
          Difficulty metering extruded stick powder is simply a fact of life, and very few measures dispense it "well", some do a little better than others it seems.

          Seems to me that many people say the Lee Perfect Powder Measure does the best, there is no way to set that up onto a progressive press.

          Shorter sticks measure better than longer sticks, thus why SOME powders are now offered in "SC" versions, 'Short Cut'.

          I generally prefer ball powders for it's better metering, and I have never felt "handicapped" by any "inability" to make equally accurate ammo using non-stick powders and "non-classic" recipes.

          With my currently-desired loads, I occasionally use a couple VV sticks, last winter fed the last of a pound of RL7 into a bunch of .223R to use it up, and am using (I THINK) H4831SC for my youngest daughter's .270 BAR for Deer Whacking.
          All my common-use .308W is 748 and BallC(2), MOST (not all) of my handgun loads are a spherical (Clays, Power Pistol, SP#2, International, and so on) with a few Alliant flakes in there too.

          MOST of my Rifle Ammo, for serious hunting or target use, is dispensed, weighed, trickled to exactness, and then loaded, by batch of 50(ish) on a single stage press, not on a progressive.
          Nic's (the 9 yr old's) Still Learning Basic Skills .223R ammo, can come off a progressive as-dispensed. Most of that though is a spherical powder.


          • #6
            Like Rockydog , I too have a Pacific measure made right after Hornady acquired them (I guess). I love it for spherical powder, better than my 2 RCBS measures. It is by far the most consistent with spherical.

            I shy away from using extruded powder on a progressive press. Just too much trouble cutting thru the sticks with everything else that is going on. While IMR4064 is a good powder, its "logs" are a p.i.t.a. Like Ozark Ed said, BL-C(2) is the "cat's meow" and was developed especially for the 308WIN.

            I batch load everything on my progressive press except straight-wall handgun ammunition:
            Starting with clean fired brass, 1st batch - Lube, decap/resize, case prep, clean again to remove lube and any trimmings.
            2nd batch with ball powder - Prime, powder charge, bullet seat.

            2nd batch with extruded - Prime first on press or by hand, then using an off-press measure, drop and weigh each charge, trickle to final weight.

            3rd batch - Seat bullet

            The lowly little Lee Auto Drum is incredibly inexpensive and the best measure I and others here have used for extruded powders. It is plenty fine for loading any cartridge with an extruded powder except serious target/long range use. And for that, you can drop and trickle extruded easier and faster with it than other measures.


            Yeah, they are out of stock, but there it is. Try another Lee online distributor or wait for this one.

            Damannoyed Yes the Lee PPM will not work progressive, the Auto Drum will. I really think "PPM" stands for "P*** Poor Measure" and obviously Lee does too since it has been discontinued.
            It's not that Democrats are so damned ignorant. Their problem is that everything they know is wrong.

            Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui

            He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.
            He who knows not and knows he knows not, is wise.


            • #7
              You can force the drum through the sticks, but when you cut the powder you affect the burn rate. Maybe not by much, but it does. Depending on what velocity spreads you want/need it may or may not be a factor. I have a 30 yr old RCBS powder measure that cuts long stick powder a bit too much for my taste as when you force it through it it doesn't throw consistent weights. Even when it all lines up and it doesn't cut the powder the drum just doesn't fill the same each time as the stick powder bridges and one fill has more airspace than the next. It works fantastic with ball powders though.
              For the long kernel stick powders I'd recommend you get a set of Lee dippers and a trickler. Dip up close to your target weight and then trickle the last grain or so in. Doesn't take much longer and you'll be happier with the results as you'll get much more consistent charge weights. You can make your own custom dippers by cutting down old cases and soldering a wire handle onto them too if you don't want to buy the Lee set.


              • #8
                The Lee Perfect and the Lee Deluxe are my picks to handle stick powders. I've compared them to the Hornady, RCBS, an early Pacific, and others. The Lees do better.
                "The fact that guns can kill another human being is the whole point. That\'s why they are so darn good at deterring violent criminals". Ann Coulter


                • #9
                  My first serious reloading set was a Pacific that was bought brand new and the ram on the press was for one size only. I got the one for the 30-06. If you wanted to load say 30-30, you bought another ram and made the change. About two years later Pacific came out with a ram that took shell holder like all presses do today. I bought one and made the change. I still have that press and the pacific powder measure that came in the set. The scale was a disaster waiting to happen. It came with little weights you used to set the charge you wanted to use and locked it so the balance wouldn't change. Things got weird with pressure using that scale. When I got a more modern scale I checked those weights use to set up the scale and they were so way off that it was pathetic. It's a miracle I didn't blow up my handgun.

                  Powders like 4895 weren't too bad to work with but 4831 was something else. Along about 1973 I bought a rifle chambered to the .308 Win. and looking in my load manual found H335 seemed like a good choice. That hooked me on ball powders and for years I used nothing but W748, W760 and WMR for my loads. When I finally got my Chargemaster I them went back to using extruded powders when they were the better choice.I wish those things were around when I first started reloading. Guess you could call this a plug for electronic powder measures because they're worth every penny IMHO.

                  Case in point. My son in law bought a .300 WSM and asked me to work up a load for him. Bullet was the 165 gr. Ballistic T Tip and the powder IMR 4831. It took several hours to build the first series and then I took them out the next day to shoot. When I went to run another series to tweak out a final load I ran out of powder and bullets. So off to Sportsman's Warehouse to get more components. The wife went along to look at clothes. As I was getting ready to check out I pointed out the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 and told her one of these days I'm gonna get me one one. She said why not today. I don't have to be told twice. That was a bit over ten years ago. A few weeks ago it stated acting up but I think I have it fixed now. I have the Chargemaster Lite as a back up. No way am I gonna go back to the old way of doing things if I can help it. maybe during a power failure or something like that but otherwise, no way no how!
                  Paul B.


                  • #10
                    For loading on a Progressive I started with H4895 in .308/7.62 & .30-06 because that was what I grew up with.
                    The Hornady Projector I started with in 1988 did not have an Auto Powder Drop System. You simply moved the drum handle to drop a powder charge. Since the Press was securely mounted and the Powder Measure was securely screwed into the Press it was the same as actuating a Powder Measure locked into a Bench mounted stand.
                    Charges thrown; varied by less then 1/2 a grain.

                    When Hornady came out with their 1st version of an Auto Powder Drop, the variation increased by 1.0 grains. Still this did not effect accuracy in my Garand or M1A Standard as those 2 Rifles were not Accurized.

                    The latest version of the Hornady Auto Powder Drop is more accurate. So the dropped Charges on the Hornady L-N-L AP Press I now have, vary by no more than a half grain, once again.

                    I only Load Rifle ammo for Semi-Auto Rifles such as the those already mentioned and the Mini-14/AR-15 in .223/5.56.
                    Powder Charges used are just enough for reliable cycling of these Rifles. So are below maximum.

                    All other Rifle Catridges are loaded on a Single-Stage Press and use a Lyman Auto-Powder Dispenser/Scale.

                    Fine accuracy is not expected with these rifle/ammo combinations.
                    Groups measure 1 1/2" for 3 shots. Which is all I expect.


                    • #11
                      Some things are just what they are. IMR 4064 is a "log" powder that is much more difficult to meter than many other powders, especially ball powders. I have uses a lot of IMR 4064 for my 30-06 Garand loads, and there is always the inevitable "crunch" when some grains are cut. Along with my C-H 502, I also use a Lee PPM and for some powders it is just as consistent often better than my C-H 502. My method is to go slower when metering IMR 4064 and allow the powder to "settle" a bit before the final throw of the handle. I also do my very best to make every throw as close to preceding throws as possible. These cut down on the variations, but there will always be some variations in charges...
                      I\'ve learned to stand on my own two knees...


                      • #12
                        Thank you all for your posts! They've been incredibly helpful. I have now a plethora of ideas to experiment with, including the possibility of using other hardware, e.g. Lee Auto Drum, and see which combination(s) work best for a given goal and tolerances.
                        Last edited by w3gOWUO9; 08-15-2019, 21:18.
                        Cogito, ergo armatum sum.


                        • #13
                          they make scales for a reason.
                          use your dump, then trickle to weight.
                          yeah slow and tedious, but it is the proper way.


                          • #14
                            Have you completely disassembled the unit and thoroughly cleaned all parts with alcohol? If you have not cleaned it well, search for the following video. "RCBS® FAQ: Disassemble and Clean RCBS Uniflow™ Powder Measure" Once it is clean adjust the screw as far out as it will go, and run a pound of powder through the measure a couple times to coat the inside of the measure with graphite/powder residue, this will help with proper powder flow. Once it is cleaned then coated as described, it becomes a matter of trying to throw your loads as close to the same as possible each time. With practice the uniformity from throw to throw gets better. When I first set up a new measure, after cleaning it, I put the drum and parts in a bag with graphite to thoroughly coat the parts. John Deere part number TY26253 is a one pound can of graphite that sells for about $5.00, it will last forever, and makes a great case neck lubricant. If you buy the graphite, do not completely fill the measure with it and try to dispense it, as it will compact and plug within the measure.

                            If you do clean it with alcohol, before filling it with powder the first time, try rubbing a dryer sheet around the inside of the hopper, this helps prevents powder from sticking to the plastic.

                            Last edited by CJWinWA; 08-16-2019, 10:48.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Charley View Post
                              The Lee Perfect and the Lee Deluxe are my picks to handle stick powders. I've compared them to the Hornady, RCBS, an early Pacific, and others. The Lees do better.
                              I suspect those work so well with them because Lee's tenancy to use "elastomer wipers".

                              The soft plastic surface that separates the charge from the measure column disturbing the powder charge less than the crunch-cutting of the sticks at the hard edge of all-metal "conventional" measures.

                              The Deluxe:
                              A soft elastomer wiper strikes off the metering chamber rather than cut the powder. You'll be surprised at how smoothly the rotor operates. More importantly, you will enjoy the most uniform of charges.
                              The Perfect:
                              Includes many of the features of the Deluxe Perfect Powder Measure, but the body is molded from an engineering grade polymer.
                              Rotating micrometer adjustable metering chamber and elastomer wiper to prevent powder cutting.
                              All the Deluxe is is a Perfect with a Brass body, really, also that uses the Pro Auto Drum drums (so you can buy a bunch (cheap) pre-set them, and never adjust them, just swap out).