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Lyman #55 - how to get it consistent?

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  • Lyman #55 - how to get it consistent?

    Firstly, this is my first manual powder dropper. The other I have is on my progressive press. I have an RCBS electronic trickle charger but the friggin' thing drifts. Yes, I've tried all the fixes and am resigned to the fact that it'll get me close, but I have to trickle the last couple of grains. But I digress....

    So I got a new Lyman #55 for use with my 45/70, 308, and 460 Rowland (pistol) loading. I had high hopes for it, but it's been a couple of hours of frustration. As per the instructions, I took it apart for cleaning and boy did it need it. I first used Hornady 1-shot cleaner to get the heavy goop off and then Birchwood Casey GunBlaster (basically polymer safe brake cleaner) for a second go. I then took some 3" cleaning patches and used them to swab and dry a final wiping of alcohol. This sucker should be very clean. I still need to give it a wipe with an anti-static sheet, but that's about all I've not done.

    I put it all back together and noticed that there was a bit of extra resistance at about a half of the throw lever's travel so I pulled it apart, re-wiped with alcohol, and then put it back together again. Still the same. I then clamped it onto a shelf, popped in the baffle, and then filled about 80% full with Power Pistol. This is a small flake powder which drops very well on the progressive press (Dillon XL650) so I figure this is a good one to start with. I tapped the powder down with my knuckle on the side of the drop, set a random slide (small one) point and threw a dozen charges. I measured the last charge and it was 4.2grains. That's small, but what the heck, it should be able to hold it reasonably. I was getting variances upwards of +/- 0.4gr. I even had one that was almost a full grain over. That's not acceptable. I've tried tapping it, using the knocker, cleaned it again, etc. Nope.

    Anybody else have one of these contraptions? Is there something I'm missing? I'm wondering if I shouldn't just call Lyman and rattle their cages and see if they can "fix" it. Keep in mind this is a new one, so your 30 year-old one isn't comparable IMHO. This stuff was just built better back then. Any suggestions?
    ...keep your stick on the ice.

    Mark

  • #2
    Get a little tube of powdered graphite lube. Dump the whole thing into the measure after coating the drum on the outside for slick rotation. Coat everything with it. Store in a pill bottle till next time.
    I was raised in the 50\'s on jackrabbits and gunpowder.salt and pepper wooda made\'em taste better

    Comment


    • #3
      Imperative to establish a rhythm. Lift arm to top. Lower arm to bottom. Flip the knocker once. Tap, tap, clunk. Very smooth. Very consistent! Don't vary from the pattern. Tap, tap, clunk.....

      I use a No.55 from 1960 alot. Very accurate measure. I also use its daddy, a circa 1905 Ideal No. 5. All cast iron and brass. Über accurate! And its due to timing and consistent action.

      Also use the slides correctly. The top slide is not for fine tuning! Its for light pistol loads. The second is for heavy pistol to moderate rifle. When throwing 25gr or more, use the lowest slide, the big steel body part. Loosen both set screws and pull it out to set. There's no knob for it. Ya gotta move it by hand. Will take a little time to get the feel for it, but you can get closer to the mark in a while. Lots of drop and check on the scale stuff involved. When done correctly, it will drop IMR3031 with less than 0.10gr difference every drop.

      Raise, lower, flip.... Smooth and consistent. That's the key.
      "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

      John Lovell on upgrades.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kit Fox View Post
        Imperative to establish a rhythm. Lift arm to top. Lower arm to bottom. Flip the knocker once. Tap, tap, clunk. Very smooth. Very consistent! Don't vary from the pattern. Tap, tap, clunk.....
        Raise, lower, flip.... Smooth and consistent. That's the key.
        Kit Fox has 100% right!!!

        Additionally, if your unwilling to deal with powdered graphite turning everything it touches grey-black, you may try Powdered Mica, it'll work just about as well.

        GC
        "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes, the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."

        'Thomas Jefferson'

        Comment


        • #5
          Kit Fox and Wheezengeezer got it right.
          I do mine different though. I don't use the knocker. I lift the handle let it fill with powder and then lower handle to dump powder.
          Every time I am going to use it, I fill hopper with powder and dump around 20 throws, this helps do what wheezengeezer does with graphite.
          I will smooth down as graphite coats the inside of the measure.
          Like they both said, consistency is the name of the game. If you use the knocker do it the same way every time.
          Lyman 55 is a good powder measure.
          "The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

          "American by birthright… U.S. MARINE by the Grace of GOD!"

          "And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea!"

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          • #6
            I love my 55, since 1989 or so.

            For handgun ammo just lock shut the big iron rotor and forget about it.
            Use the medium brass slide to get close, .5gr or so, fine tune with the smallest slider.


            For rifles:
            Set the large rotor to throw within 5gr of desired.
            Set medium slider to within 1 gr or less of desired.
            ​​​​​​​Fine tune with the smallest slider.

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            • #7
              And yes, I use the knocker.
              raise handle, flip knocker.
              Lower handle, flip knocker.

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              • #8
                I disagree that anything beyond running powder through it is necessary. Run a pound through it using firm throws right back into the container. It will breakin an lubricate itself with the powder.
                Friends don't let friends shoot factory ammo.

                Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
                -Winston Churchill

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                • #9
                  I'll try running some powder through it for a bit for a 'break-in'. Be nice if it's that simple! Can't hurt to try the graphite or mica powder.

                  So that bit of additional resistance at about 1/2 of the handle movement....is that normal?
                  ...keep your stick on the ice.

                  Mark

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    After 114 years, I reckon this one is broken in 'bout now.
                    I clean it regularly as well. And twice a year I'll lightly "oil" it with Eezox giving it a super clean, but dry lubrication. It has never failed to drop an exact charge if my rhythm is going and such.

                    And those numbers on the slides? Black powder measurements. Real accurate too!
                    "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

                    John Lovell on upgrades.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by markthenewf View Post
                      I'll try running some powder through it for a bit for a 'break-in'. Be nice if it's that simple! Can't hurt to try the graphite or mica powder.

                      So that bit of additional resistance at about 1/2 of the handle movement....is that normal?
                      The resistance is often the measure's mounting clamp being overly tight, thus "springing" the measure's body making the rotor bind. Try backing the clamp off a bit.

                      And normal powder running through the device is plenty. No need for foreign powders in the measure. Simply run 20 to 30 fast drops into the original container as the recipient of the powder from the measure.

                      The plastic tube can be unscrewed from the measure. A quick wash with dishwashing liquid and water will halt the static. Also makes it easy to run a dryer sheet through it like a giant cleaning patch.

                      Keep it simple and don't over complicate things.
                      "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

                      John Lovell on upgrades.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The newer measures do not have 2"x 24 thread. They snap in.
                        I was raised in the 50\'s on jackrabbits and gunpowder.salt and pepper wooda made\'em taste better

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well isn't that cheezy of Lyman. No threaded powder reservoir..... Yup, cheezy...
                          Glad I got old stuff...
                          "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

                          John Lovell on upgrades.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            All mechanical powder measures have some degree of inconsistency even the expensive Harrel. The key is lubrication with graphite and consistent strokes UP and DOWN. With the up stroke remember this is the time when powder enters the powder disk. When you hit it hard to the top, it would probably give you more powder inside the disk. Try keeping it consistent and use a tickler to top it up. Just accept that this is part of accurate reloading.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wheezengeezer View Post
                              The newer measures do not have 2"x 24 thread. They snap in.
                              Yep, mine is only about 40 yrs old, orange, no threads.

                              After about 30 years, the hopper "took a set" at the end, and got loose.
                              J.B. Weld eliminated the issue.

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