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Discussion Starter #1
I loaded up 50 rounds of .357 using my new Lee Turret Press Kit. There is NO WAY I am going to shoot these.

The Lee Modern Reloading book 2nd Edition calls for a start of 7.2 gr for Unique. The Auto Disk measure listed is the .76. Using the .76 disk only gives me 5.8 gr. To get to 7.2 gr I have to go to the 9.5 disk. I don't know enough to trust going up 3 disk sizes over the book recomendation.

I am getting inconsistant throws when charging the casings. I charge a spent case w/primer then pour the powder in the scale pan. Normally it is only 1 or 2 tenths gr but larger variations at times. I cannot produce enough repeatable powder weights to have any confidence in a finished round.

Being completely new at this I have no idea of the alowable paremeters. When using volume measure, with periodic weight checking, how close should the charges be?

Even though I am working in the mid-powder charge range, Lymans book ranges from 6.4 gr to 8.3, I want to start out doing things right and right now I feel I am pretty sloppy. This is very frustrating.
 

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Well I can't answer your question because I'm a step behind you in reloading, but try not to let it frustrate you to much. I know it's hard sometimes, but it's a learning experience. You'll have it all together in no time. Relax and take it a step at a time. No hurry. When I get my press kit, I'll stress enough for the both of us. How's that? Lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What "stresses" is not being able to repeat things exactly coupled with not knowing what is acceptable and what is not.

I know many thousands use turret and progressive presses that measure by volume with no problem. I guess I would just like to know how they do it. I'm sure I'm either missing something or injecting a confussion factor that is not there.

I tried to call Lee today, but they had left for the Holiday so will have to wait to talk to them. Since I have to deviate so much from Lees directions to get the proper results I just don't trust what I am doing and how I am doing it. I can get the powder weight by the scales but it sure isn't by the book or the "Lee Auto-Disk Powder Measure" directions.
 

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I would start over on the disc measure.
Empty it, remove the disc and verify the .76 is the one in the proper position(i've messed up there before). Also inspect the cavity for anything wrong.

Re-assemble and again verify that the .76 is in proper position and it is the cavity that is dropping the powder. Work it a few times by hand while it is empty and verify the .76 is the cavity that is making the drop. Fill the hopper and make 5 throws dumping the powder back into the hopper. I always like to "cycle" the disc a few times after filling the hopper before i start reloading with it. Around the 6th throw, start weighing on the scale and see what kind of consistancy you are getting. Don't let the hopper get too low in powder, when 2/3rds empty, fill her up.

Double check your scale as well. Take say 5 or ten primers and weigh them over and over and over. Make sure the scale is set up properly and giving consistant readings.

Here also is a page from the lee FAQ section concerning the disc:

Auto Disk consistency

Make sure that when measuring charges thrown by the Auto Disk measure, that it is done out of the normal loading sequence. It is important that the measure work consistently in the amount of force used to move the disk to the drop hole and return. This is accomplished through consistent press lever operation every time.

You may want to "condition" the measure by either using powdered graphite on the disks or running the equivalent of a pound of powder through the measure. If you find that inconsistencies still exist, you may want to wash the disks in warm soapy water, rinse and let air dry. This should help eliminate any static that may have been present.

Lastly some powders do not meter well, Unique powder is one example that meters with "casual uniformity". You may find the same symptom with small flake powder in small quantities.



Lee also has this to say about the disc:

Powder cavity tolerances

The powder manufacturers allow themselves a 16% tolerance in the density of their powder, from lot to lot. We have to calibrate our chart to show the high side of that tolerance, so you should never get more than what the chart indicates, but you will sometimes get less. Believe the scale. If your measure consistently throws less than what the chart indicates, try going up to the next larger cavity. If the powder measure throws more than what the chart indicates, please let us know!


A 16% difference means that if a .76 disc says 7 grains by the chart, then substract 16% off of that and you get 5.88 grains on the bottom. A 16% difference is a bunch in volume measure. Of course, the next can of powder may be from a different lot number and the powder in that can may fall anywhere in that 16% range.

That is also why it is important to always "start over" when you go to a new can of the same brand powder---especially with rifle loads but pistol as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lastly some powders do not meter well, Unique powder is one example that meters with "casual uniformity". You may find the same symptom with small flake powder in small quantities.

Sounds as if they are saying Unique is not a good powder to use in the Lee Auto Disk. I read that a couple of days ago and was wondering what exactly they meant.

Just went out and tried again and this is how I went about it.

Zero Scale
7.6 disk in proper position, cleared and aligned
Powder filled 3/4+
Cycled 10 times

Results: 6.1, 6.1, 6.1, 6.0, 6.1, 6.4, 6.0, 6.2, 5.9, 6.1, 6.1

I did not cycle through all 4 dies for each test. I left the shell holder under the charging die and cycled the ram up, put in a new casing and ran the ram up again.

If it is, indeed, the Unique causing the problem I have no loyality to it. If another powder will repeat itself I'll change in a second.
 

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The quote of 16% tolerance from powder makers in the volume of their powders---lee is building the discs to allow for this difference and staying on the safe side, so with your canister of powder, it may take going up two sizes in discs to get the amount you want---always check with the scale.


You are not at the top end. The ammo should be good for the range. I doubt a B-27 target during a ppc match or a combat match can tell the difference between the 5.9 and 6.4 grain load during a string of fire.

And as Lee stated, Running a pound of powder thru the disc measure to break it in and a smooth consistant stroke during operation of the disc---from round to round---may tighten up the consistancy.........

Unique is a good "jack of all trades" powder. Perhaps as your disc measure gets broken in she'll do better. The important thing is to stay with it and don't get discouraged.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Deputy

Not discouraged at all, just frustrated in not knowing the limits I have to work within. This helps a bunch, answers my primary question and eases my mind.

I read the FAQ but didn't completely understand some of it Will go back to it again and it will probably make more sense since I have made some of the mistakes and you have cleared up much of what was confusing.

Am sacrificing myself to make Bountyhunters life easier (lol).
 

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Chance, I'd suggest to bump up to the next sized disk and see how that throws. You are on the low end with the 7.6 throwing 6gr Unique. I'm not real familiar with the Lee Turret, but Unique has been a good powder for me. A couple tenths on either side of what you expect is no big deal unless you are loading match ammo or are near max recommended loads. I doubt you'll ever see the difference.
I prefer the RCBS rotary powder measure and check every 15 or 20 cases for consistency. Usually spot on if I do my part.
 

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Lee does include thier volume/grain chart with the powder dispenser. I've always found the discs to be undersized for the required weight of powder. That said, Ive been using the Auto disc for Unique/Bullseye/2400/296 for the last twenty years. I'm wanting to up-grade to the newer wiper design but I'm too stuborn.

When you charge a pistol case, stand-up and look down through the disc. Is the cavity at least 80/90% over the drop chute and EMPTY ???

If not, you will have to screw the die further into the press for a longer throw,(resulting in maybe too much flair), or go to a larger disc. And above all, you must be very consistant with your stroking of the loading lever on the press.

I'll go check my press, but I'm pretty sure I'm using disc #.76 for 6grs of Unique.
 

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I've got the #.76 disc in place, and cardbord note in hopper says 6gr-Uniq. My disc notes say #.82 is for 6.5grs Unique. It's a pain, but you really should start noting down the Disc# and resulting powder charge for your own future reference. But again, this is only a ball-park guide to get you started when you open a new can of powder, or start a new loading session.

I'm working with an old Pro-1000 and I zero my scale, weigh 5-10 charges and then 1 every 50 or so as I'm loading. I also recheck the zero before I cover the scale at the end of the loading session.

You can't be too safe when building ammunition.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
jimbo

I have bumped up 3 disk sizes to the 9.5 which gives me 7.4 gr which is right where I want to be according to the loading manual. The more powder I run thru the Auto-Disk the more consistant it seems to become as deputy suggested. My pull is probably becoming more consistant also.

Note taking is getting better too. Looking at the notes from the first 50 rounds I am not sure what, exactly, I did. Will pull the bullets on those and do them over. This time taking better notes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
2late45

I was getting 6.0./6.1 from the #7.6 disk. I am being very aware of making each pull the same and that seems to be helping. I did back out the flare die because it was putting to large a flare on the case. Didn't think about the affect that would have on the powder throw. With your guy's help this is starting to make sense. Without your help I would probably to a babling idot by now.
 

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Lee disk powder measures almost alway throw lighter charges than their charts show. Best to have a scale to check. There are variations from lot to lot of powders but Lee uses not only a safety hedge, but a CYA hedge as well. Maybe a bit irritating to some but knowing how some people approach reloading, it is really maybe not such a bad thing after all.:)
Baker
 

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Sounds like it's coming to you. It'll get easier as you work with it more. I like the adjustable powder measure so I can get just what I want. I will start a new reloading experiment with a certain powder and set of components, usually at the lower third of the recommended powder weight and then load up 5 or ten cases, depending on caliber and powder, then bump the powder charge up a certain amount, load some more, increase the charge, etc until I get the max range I want to test. Then as I fire them at the range note the accuracy, fps, deviation of each loading as I work up. If I reach any signs of overpressure, I stop and evaluate what is happening. I seldom see an excessive pressure problem when following the basics. I have had pierced primers and flattened primers, hard ejection in some cases well before reaching what is listed as a max load, especially in the slower powders.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I did it. Today finally made it to the range and shot the first group of 50 rounds of .357 Mag. Then 30 more I made in the second group. All went well, all body parts still in tact, and I could really tell the difference in the second group of 30 as far as consistancy is concerned.

Only one actual problem. 3 rounds did not have the primers seated enough to allow the cylinder to turn. I used both the GP100 and NMBH. Checking I found the OAL variations I had been observing [and worrying about] were caused by the depth the primers were seated.

Besides the 80 rds I loaded I also shot up 137 factory loads. What a difference. Having little shooting expierence I was surprised how noticeable the difference was. Went out to the car and picked up the extra ammo can and discovered I brought the .38 spls instead of .357. Didn't let it bother me and chowed thru 178 rounds of those and then 150 22LRs in the 22/45.

Have ordered more bullets and can't wait for them to arrive. After shooting my own ammo and surviving the confidence level is much higher and I know I can do it.

3rd of January 68 degrees and no wind on the Range, life is pretty good. The help you all have provided made this possible. Thanks muchly.

Okay Bountyhunter your turn in the barrel.
Chance
 

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Excellent!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Always run your finger over the base of the cartridges after seating primers. That will let you feel if any are not seated properly. Should be just below case base. Observe you are not exerting too much pressure and flattening the primers. If in doubt, put a case base down on a hard flat surface. If it rocks or wobbles, the primer is too high.
Congratulations on your success.
 
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