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Effects of tiny weight variations
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Hello again!
How much variation in muzzle velocity/accuracy can be expected from small (0.1 gr or so) variations in powder weight? I ask because a friend of mine uses a Lee powder scoop to measure charges... and it seems that there would be slight weight variations when using this method. I asked him, he told me he doesn't know if it affects accuracy or not, he's never weighed charges to have a comparison point!
Thanks!
 
Posts: 75 | Registered: 14 February 2008Reply With Quote
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It is better to throw powder charges by constant volume and not by constant weight. Weight variations in the tenths mean nothing, but volume variations are to be avoided. I have not loaded by weight for more than ten years now. Use a good powder measure. Mixing explosive with cups and spoons can only lead to heartache.
Wink
 
Posts: 2671 | Location: Charleston SC - USA, Port Elizabeth - South Africa | Registered: 12 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Depends on how much powder he's trying to measure out, look at it as a percentage.
On a 5.0gr load, .1gr is 2% or a fairly large percentage, but on a 100.0gr load it's only .1% or a fairly small percentage.
The other thing to consider is where in the "Min-Max range is his load? If his manual calls for 4.0 to 5.0gr, and he's loading 4.5gr with a +/-.1gr variation, while maybe not good for accuracy it's not dangerous.
 
Posts: 2113 | Location: Whittemore, MI, USA | Registered: 07 March 2002Reply With Quote
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For most rifle cartridges, it would be impossible to tell any difference, same with having a .1 gr difference in bullet weight, or case weight/capacity.
 
Posts: 225 | Location: south carolina | Registered: 05 March 2005Reply With Quote
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What variation?

When I first started reloading, I used Lee powder scoops and trickled each powder charge up to the desired weight. Painstaking, but I managed.

Then I tested the powder scoops and found them remarkably accurate.

Here's how I do it.

I pour my powder into a wide, shallow bowl 3/4 full. I take a scoop of powder. I scoop precisely the same way every time, the same distance across the bowl, with the same speed and do not try to "settle" the powder, but just gently shake any mounding off the top. When the bowl gets about 1/2 to 1/3 full, I replenish to 3/4 full. I get VERY much the same weight each time.

I used to weigh them all at first, then decided that was a waste of time and just weighted every fifth one, then every tenth one. Now I weigh every 25th or 50th (the first of a box and the last of a box and maybe one in the middle).

Just like shooting at a target, if you do your part, your tools will do theirs. I found my little scoops to be consistently more accurate than my powder thrower. Just harder to adjust if you want a weight that falls between two scoop sizes.

Larry (Lost Sheep)
 
Posts: 308 | Registered: 02 February 2008Reply With Quote
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WOW, I'm shocked at the answers here.

I find that your results depend on the powder when you volume measure. There are textures of powder ranging from flakes to tiny balls; needles to say, anyone can imagine that flakes will be most affected by the chance of how the flakes fill a measuring volume, even when tapping or vibrating to compact the volume measured.

That being said I can’t imagine anyone thinking volume measure is superior to weight measure. If what burns is the amount of powder/fuel in your case, that powder has a weight which can’t be more specific as to the amount of fuel you are charging a cartridge with. Weight is an absolutely fool proof way to load for accuracy.

How much it matters depends on what you expect from the cartridge and how much powder you are charging with. As one poster said, variation is by percentage, a .1 variation in an 80 grain load is far more insignificant than in a 4 grain load. If I'm loading for my .45 ACP to go to the range, I don’t fret the tiny stuff. If I'm loading the .45 ACP for a competition shoot, I sort head stamps, trim and de-burr cases, weigh each load and painstakingly assemble on a single stage press. What details aren’t absolutely necessary at least contribute to mental conditioning knowing I did all I can to prepare.

If you’re loading for high power rifle, long range bulls eye shooting; I would be as anal as can be with every single detail.

But in the final analysis, I load 99% or my .45’s on a progressive loader and having developed some good habits load some pretty dang consistent cartridges using a ball grain powder.

That’s my .03 worth and my opinions.
 
Posts: 203 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: 24 December 2007Reply With Quote
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My old Sierra Manual report an experiment they had done with a 308Win, in which they loaded one more grain of powder into the case that they others. A full grain caused a .25 inch variance in bullet's POI. Most any measure is accurate within .5grain; good measures within .2; my RCBS electric rig is accurate to .1grain.

I use dippers for a couple of small pistol cases (.32 and .380), and they work quite well and are very uniform. Kudude
 
Posts: 1473 | Location: Tallahassee, Florida | Registered: 04 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Well you have to set the volumn measure, whatever it is, with a scale anyway. I weigh & use a measure. It's almost impossible to get 100% accuracy either way. The 0.1gr variation is nothing. Your internal case volumns will vary more than that, sometimes alot more.


LIFE IS NOT A SPECTATOR'S SPORT!
 
Posts: 7752 | Location: kalif.,usa | Registered: 08 March 2001Reply With Quote
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I didn't do a scientific experiment, buy I used to load using the Lee powder scoops. I would fill them with the same motion as Lost Sheep described and then I would wipe off the excess with a light piece of paper. This proved to be very accurate and I had some tight groups. But I recently purchased a Frankfort Arsenal digital scale and now I measure everything by weight. I am almost certain I'm getting tighter groups by measuring by weight. The scale is accurate to .1 gr. Lee in there manuals swear by the powder scoop measuring method, but it seems to me that measuring by weight would be more valuable.


Red C.
Everything I say is fully substantiated by my own opinion.
 
Posts: 909 | Location: SE Oklahoma | Registered: 18 January 2008Reply With Quote
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For years and years the bench rest crowd used scoops. And measures adjusted to settings. Never weights. They shoot some pretty small groups. The whole key with a scoop or a measure is consistancy of motion. It sez that in the books.
At one time, Rick Jamison wrote an article and his point (if I remember correctly) was that it wasn't how much variance but what percentage was involved. A 2 grain difference in a .223 case would be quite a lot; a 2 grain difference in a .300WM case wouldn't amount to much.
Trying to do a ladder for a 22-250, I loaded up a sequence of powder and tried to shoot at 100 yards. It didn't work. I had to move to 200 yards because even with the varying powder charges, I was getting one ragged hole.
 
Posts: 1287 | Registered: 11 January 2007Reply With Quote
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If what burns is the amount of powder/fuel in your case, that powder has a weight which can’t be more specific as to the amount of fuel you are charging a cartridge with.


Well, that's what you'd think, isn't it?

It is true that the energy of the powder is proportional to its mass (usually translated as weight). The fly in the ointment is moisture content. If you load under low humidity conditions one day, and under high humidity conditions on another, the MASS of the actual powder may vary from that of the WEIGHT of the powder and the moisture it has absorbed.

Think of it this way: If your powder is 1% water, then in a charge of 50 grains you have 49.5 grains of chemical. But if it absorbes a lot of moisture from the air and its water content rises to 3%, the a 50 grain charge has only 48.5 grains of chemical.

Volume doesn't vary as much with moisture as does weight. If you use the same volume on both the dry day and the wet day, then the MASS of the chemical content in the powder charge will be more nearly the same.

This (and the speed and practicality of metering) is why bench shooters generally prefer volume powder dispensing as compared to weight dispensing.
 
Posts: 11668 | Location: Henly, TX, USA | Registered: 04 April 2001Reply With Quote
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Thanks to all the contributors. I have not heard a single invalid or foolish thought. Though some of mine are bound to be found to be silly.

As wboggs said,

"I find that your results depend on the powder when you volume measure. There are textures of powder ranging from flakes to tiny balls; needles to say, anyone can imagine that flakes will be most affected by the chance of how the flakes fill a measuring volume, even when tapping or vibrating to compact the volume measured."

"That being said I can’t imagine anyone thinking volume measure is superior to weight measure. If what burns is the amount of powder/fuel in your case, that powder has a weight which can’t be more specific as to the amount of fuel you are charging a cartridge with. Weight is an absolutely fool proof way to load for accuracy."

Yes, I firmly believe weight is the better measure (probably even better than if you counted the flakes or granules, but I REALLY never tried THAT). That is why I always relate my volumetric measures against weight. By the way, don't try tapping or vibrating the volumetric measure to get more powder in your scoop. You get more powder, but at the price of consistency. I have read (never bothered to check) that trying to pack the powder results in more variation in the scoop's content than just filling the scoop with a single, consistent pass.

As fredj338 pointed out, the volume of the case will matter as well, likewise the amount of crimp and the thickness of the case walls, especially at the case mouth. Does anyone ever do this: Zero your scale with an empty case (with the flash hole plugged) then fill the case with water, thereby finding out the volume of that case? Repeat for every case. Then separate your cases into lots of equal volume? Then weigh the (dried) cases of equal volume and separate THEM into equal case weights.

StoneCreek pointed out that moisture content will make your powder weight vary as well (more water weight, less propellant weight). So, it would be good to store your powder in a constant humidity environment and keep your loading room at that same humidity as well. Not only will humidity variations change the effective weight of your powder charge, but at higher moisture content, the effective energy release goes UP. Until you reach the point where moisture begins to degrade the ability of the powder to burn. It's a little trick used in some internal combustion engines to squeeze every little BTU out of your liquid fuel.

The point I am trying to make is that the super accurate loader will seek to control every variable possible. At least every variable that could possibly affect an outcome. Sometimes even to the point of apparant (or real) lunacy. But sometimes what appears lunatic is based in fact.


Separate the primers by weight, drill all the flash holes to the same size, machine the primer pockets to the same depth, seat the primers all exactly the same, measure concentricity of your case mouths, measure case weight, measure case volume, bullets by weight, get the picture? Some variables have a small effect, some large.

I have heard of benchresters doing all those things in the search for the absolutely consistent load. So far I have never heard of anyone testing their powder in a calorimeter, but I would not bet against it.

Good shooting

Larry (Lost Sheep)
 
Posts: 308 | Registered: 02 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Lost Sheep:
As fredj338 pointed out, the volume of the case will matter as well, likewise the amount of crimp and the thickness of the case walls, especially at the case mouth. Does anyone ever do this: Zero your scale with an empty case (with the flash hole plugged) then fill the case with water, thereby finding out the volume of that case? Repeat for every case. Then separate your cases into lots of equal volume? Then weigh the (dried) cases of equal volume and separate THEM into equal case weights.
Larry (Lost Sheep)


You don't have to even go that far. Weigh the empty cases & you'll see the variation in wt. The heavier case often has less internal volumn. For my most accurate loads, I'll segregate cases by wt. usually within 2-3gr variation each. For 95% of my shooting, it just doesn't matter that much.


LIFE IS NOT A SPECTATOR'S SPORT!
 
Posts: 7752 | Location: kalif.,usa | Registered: 08 March 2001Reply With Quote
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I'll segregate cases by wt. usually within 2-3gr variation each. For 95% of my shooting, it just doesn't matter that much.


That is because the brass has 8X the density of powder. It would take 8 grains of brass difference in the weight of a case to change the internal volume the equivalent of one grain of powder.
 
Posts: 9207 | Registered: 22 November 2002Reply With Quote
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That being said I can’t imagine anyone thinking volume measure is superior to weight measure.

I thought so too until I was told the right story by a bullet manufacturer. He showed a group of us the right way to reload and proved with a 30-06 that weighing every charge over a scale is a waste of time. You get better consistency with loads from a good powder measure than putting everything over a scale. He uses a Lyman 55.

When you’ve found a powder-charge weight that works well, you’ve really found a volume of powder. That’s the way powder measurement works. The weight in grains provides a way to record and return (supposedly) to that volume and get those same results again, but so does a good meter. Powder weighs different amounts under different conditions, but if you were to put a tablespoon of powder on a scale, no matter how the weight fluctuated day to day, you would still have a tablespoon of powder. Volume is the consistent element.
 
Posts: 218 | Location: South Africa | Registered: 26 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Rat Motor:
quote:
That being said I can’t imagine anyone thinking volume measure is superior to weight measure.

I thought so too until I was told the right story by a bullet manufacturer. He showed a group of us the right way to reload and proved with a 30-06 that weighing every charge over a scale is a waste of time. You get better consistency with loads from a good powder measure than putting everything over a scale. He uses a Lyman 55.

When you’ve found a powder-charge weight that works well, you’ve really found a volume of powder. That’s the way powder measurement works. The weight in grains provides a way to record and return (supposedly) to that volume and get those same results again, but so does a good meter. Powder weighs different amounts under different conditions, but if you were to put a tablespoon of powder on a scale, no matter how the weight fluctuated day to day, you would still have a tablespoon of powder. Volume is the consistent element.


I have to disgree with you, Rat Motor. (But I would listen with an open mind the details of how this bullet manufacturer showed you that a powder measure is superior than a scale -except in speed)

Take a tablespoon (or better yet, a small cylinder that holds just one tablespoon. Fill it with powder. Weigh it. Then gently shake the cylinder, tap it, vibrate it until the powder settles down, then shake it some more. How much powder can you add? Now shake it some more and top it off again. Now weigh it.

One teaspoon is not always one teaspoon (except when measuring liquids, which don't shake down). Read the labels on your corn flakes box. "Box is sold by weight, some settling of contents is normal."

Volume is not the consistent element, because of settling. As Stonecreek pointed out, weight is not the consistent element, either, because the moisture content changes the weight. It is all a matter of degree. For instance, ball powders' volumes are more consistent than flakes' volumes FOR THE SAME AMOUNT OF THE CHEMICALS. After all, it is the consistent amount of the propellant chemicals we really want.

No measurement if absolutely perfect, but most all are adequate. Under some conditions, volumetric may be better (certainly faster in-I believe-all situations) and in others, weight is "better".

If you check an experimental chemistry lab, you don't find dry goods measured by volume. In production work, you will, but in a lab, no.

Larry (Lost Sheep)
 
Posts: 308 | Registered: 02 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Lost Sheep,

Seems to me that the bullet manufacturer had it perfectly right with what he told Rat Motor!

quote:
Ballisticians have long recognized that the volume of powder in a cartridge effects the accuracy of a load.


Follow this link and learn something valuable for your future reloading and accuracy to be achieved with it. Eeker


OWLS
My Africa, with which I will never be able to live without!
 
Posts: 654 | Location: RSA, Mpumalanga, Witbank. | Registered: 21 April 2005Reply With Quote
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Take a tablespoon (or better yet, a small cylinder that holds just one tablespoon. Fill it with powder. Weigh it. Then gently shake the cylinder, tap it, vibrate it until the powder settles down, then shake it some more. How much powder can you add? Now shake it some more and top it off again

That is not how a powder measure is operated. The key to good consistent loads froma powder measure is consistent operation. We were shown to mount it on a firm surface and operate it at the same speed and manner every time.

The test that was done was easy and repeatable by anyone who is willing to load and fire 20 shots. Load 10 cartridges over a scale and mark them number one with a felt tip pen. Use the same components and load ten cartridges straight from a good measure and mark them number two. Put all 20 into a bag and mix them up. Use two targets marked one and two. Dip into the bag and if you pull out a one fire it on target one. Number twos go on target number two. Shhot at one minute intervals and compare the two groups.

We were also shown that some powder measures are more suitable to handgun loading than rifles. The one to use for rifle work is a Lyman 55 or something that works like it.
 
Posts: 218 | Location: South Africa | Registered: 26 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Gaillo:
...How much variation in muzzle velocity/accuracy can be expected from small (0.1 gr or so) variations in powder weight? ...
Hey Gaillo, I'd say it could have an effect on "Accuracy", but should not have a noticable effect on Velocity.

First off, either Volume or Weight measurement has it's advocates as you can see by the varying responses. I use both Methods depending on what I'm loading.

However, the Accuracy could be effected due to shifting slightly off the Barrel Harmonic Node. At each end of the Harmonic Swing, you have 5-7 degrees of variation that will still keep you on the Harmonic Node. If your Load shifts so it is outside this range(in either direction), then the Group will begin to open.

Which ever Method, weight or volume, provides the smallest "consistent" groups for you and your buddy is the one you all should be using.

Good Hunting and clean 1-shot Kills.
 
Posts: 9920 | Location: Carolinas, USA | Registered: 22 April 2001Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Rat Motor:
quote:
That being said I can’t imagine anyone thinking volume measure is superior to weight measure.

I thought so too until I was told the right story by a bullet manufacturer. He showed a group of us the right way to reload and proved with a 30-06 that weighing every charge over a scale is a waste of time. You get better consistency with loads from a good powder measure than putting everything over a scale. He uses a Lyman 55.

When you’ve found a powder-charge weight that works well, you’ve really found a volume of powder. That’s the way powder measurement works. The weight in grains provides a way to record and return (supposedly) to that volume and get those same results again, but so does a good meter. Powder weighs different amounts under different conditions, but if you were to put a tablespoon of powder on a scale, no matter how the weight fluctuated day to day, you would still have a tablespoon of powder. Volume is the consistent element.


I'm not even playing word games when I say how could anybody with any integrity say that a dozen loads with exactly the same weight of powder in each is not as accurate a load as scooping a chance at volume? A tablespoon of powder couldn’t be more ambiguous a measure of consistency. People use a powder tickler to dispense 1 grain at a time to attain exact measurements but you say you can do that spoon to spoon digging out a tablespoon of powder. Common, even you don’t believe that story.

Try this to prove my point, take a table spoon of powder and weigh the contents; then see how many tablespoons you have to dig up to find another one that weighs the exact same as the first. You will very well be a very old man before you find another matching measure.

I can believe a bullet manufacturer would say something as stupid as that since they want you to think that when you buy factory loaded junk, you're buying accurate ammunition.
 
Posts: 203 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: 24 December 2007Reply With Quote
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With practice, you can get pretty damn consistant with a scoop or a powder measure.
When loading large numbers of 22-250 cartridges for a Pdogs shoot, I will use a ball powder and adjust my powder measure to throw my desired charge. I will check weigh every tenth or so throw. Seldom is the weight off and when it is, it is well within tolerances: +/- .5.
If you would take a bowl of powder, the finer cut the better, and a powder scoop and practice say ten times of dredging the scoop thru the powder, tapping it lightly on the edge of the bowl and then raking it even with the edge of a credit card (work for consistancy of effort), before you begin to weigh your results, I think you would be surprised at how consistant you would be. Now think of doing that as your means of powder loading for years. You'd get pretty good don't you think?
 
Posts: 1287 | Registered: 11 January 2007Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by stillbeeman:
With practice, you can get pretty damn consistant with a scoop or a powder measure.
When loading large numbers of 22-250 cartridges for a Pdogs shoot, I will use a ball powder and adjust my powder measure to throw my desired charge. I will check weigh every tenth or so throw. Seldom is the weight off and when it is, it is well within tolerances: +/- .5.
If you would take a bowl of powder, the finer cut the better, and a powder scoop and practice say ten times of dredging the scoop thru the powder, tapping it lightly on the edge of the bowl and then raking it even with the edge of a credit card (work for consistancy of effort), before you begin to weigh your results, I think you would be surprised at how consistant you would be. Now think of doing that as your means of powder loading for years. You'd get pretty good don't you think?


I have a progressive loader that dumps acceptably accurate loads; I'm not saying out in left field (except if you're using the example stated; a table spoon). The statement made was volume measuring (even if not a tablespoon) is MORE ACCURATE than weight measuring. Not on this planet; I guarantee it.
 
Posts: 203 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: 24 December 2007Reply With Quote
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wboggs,

Read what I said again. The table spoon comment was not mine. I said use a powder measure. Since when is a bullet manufacturer and a ammunition manufacturer the same thing. I am talking about a bullet manufacturer that makes projectiles not loaded ready to shoot ammunition.

I saw this test done as part of the reloading instruction I was given. The previous time it was done was with a 7x57 when a mate of mine took the course. Same result as what we saw with the 30-06. The guy giving the course did not even load the test ammunition himself. The guys taking the course did. Why dont you try it yourself and then tell us what you found. Make sure you do it like I describe it and dont use a spoon use a good powder measure and learn to work it properly.

"The test that was done was easy and repeatable by anyone who is willing to load and fire 20 shots. Load 10 cartridges over a scale and mark them number one with a felt tip pen. Use the same components and load ten cartridges straight from a good measure and mark them number two. Put all 20 into a bag and mix them up. Use two targets marked one and two. Dip into the bag and if you pull out a one fire it on target one. Number twos go on target number two. Shhot at one minute intervals and compare the two groups."

I know it is rough to accept that you have been wasting all that time weighing charges when you could have been out shooting. The underlined piece in my post that you quote is a link. Read it and then you tell me it does not make sense.
 
Posts: 218 | Location: South Africa | Registered: 26 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Rat Motor:
wboggs,

Read what I said again. The table spoon comment was not mine. I said use a powder measure. Since when is a bullet manufacturer and a ammunition manufacturer the same thing. I am talking about a bullet manufacturer that makes projectiles not loaded ready to shoot ammunition.

I saw this test done as part of the reloading instruction I was given. The previous time it was done was with a 7x57 when a mate of mine took the course. Same result as what we saw with the 30-06. The guy giving the course did not even load the test ammunition himself. The guys taking the course did. Why dont you try it yourself and then tell us what you found. Make sure you do it like I describe it and dont use a spoon use a good powder measure and learn to work it properly.

"The test that was done was easy and repeatable by anyone who is willing to load and fire 20 shots. Load 10 cartridges over a scale and mark them number one with a felt tip pen. Use the same components and load ten cartridges straight from a good measure and mark them number two. Put all 20 into a bag and mix them up. Use two targets marked one and two. Dip into the bag and if you pull out a one fire it on target one. Number twos go on target number two. Shhot at one minute intervals and compare the two groups."

I know it is rough to accept that you have been wasting all that time weighing charges when you could have been out shooting. The underlined piece in my post that you quote is a link. Read it and then you tell me it does not make sense.

You're changing the use of the word accurate. You're now saying holes in a target, you were talking about the accuracy/consistency of charging a shell with powder; or at least that's how I read it. And to that I am responding that it is impossible for a volume measurement to be MORE accurate than weight measuring; that's all I'm saying. If you read my previous posts, you will see that I do 99% of my loading on a progressive loader, volume dumping powder. If I am involved in bulls eye competition, I measure every load and several other anal details. Different people have different disciplines about reloading.

But can you agree that you will never dip a charge of, for example, 5.500 grains of powder every single time yet one can with an accurate weighing device weigh out 5.500 grains every single time?

That's all I'm saying, dipping is NOT more accurate than weighing a charge.

Hopefully this settles any further misunderstandings.
 
Posts: 203 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: 24 December 2007Reply With Quote
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Whats to misunderstand.

This started when Gerard said it is better to throw powder charges by constant volume and not by constant weight.

You came along with "That being said I can’t imagine anyone thinking volume measure is superior to weight measure."

What are we talking about here? We are obviously talking about shooting small groups on a target and you are saying that weighing will get you shooting smaller groups than charging by volume with a powder measure. I am saying that I am in agreement with charging by volume.

In fact I said "He showed a group of us the right way to reload and proved with a 30-06 that weighing every charge over a scale is a waste of time. You get better consistency with loads from a good powder measure than putting everything over a scale. He uses a Lyman 55." Obviously we are still talking about shooting small groups and nothing else.

You went off the rails here because you then said how could anybody with any integrity say that a dozen loads with exactly the same weight of powder in each is not as accurate a load as scooping a chance at volume?

We are not talking about scooping powder we are saying that a powder measure allows you to shoot tighter groups than weighing every charge. I confirmed that in my next post saying that the table spoon comment was not mine. I said I use a powder measure.

I agree with you that if I had to choose between scooping and measuring with a scale I would rather measure. Can you agree with me that using a good powder measure will allow you to shoot tighter groups than measuring every charge? Would you be prepared to do the test and see for yourself. I am not pulling this out of the sky. I have used both methods and there is no comparison. I also laughed when I was first told this and had to see first hand the difference.
 
Posts: 218 | Location: South Africa | Registered: 26 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Can you agree with me that using a good powder measure will allow you to shoot tighter groups than measuring every charge? Would you be prepared to do the test and see for yourself.

Answer to your question; NO. That's impossible; it's impossible to mechanically measure volume and come up with the exact same weight/charge every time IMPOSSIBLE, and I don’t understand how you can’t see that.

I will agree that using a good volume measure is better than dumping it out of the bottle and hoping to stop at the right time. Though that may sound ridiculous, there isn’t any method in between the two processes.

As far as testing the processes; you would have to clamp a gun in a vice such that it would be unmovable to tell the difference but there should be a difference. Especially depending on the load: 4 grains verses 80 grains.

But I think you are completely misunderstanding what I am saying still and I don’t think you're going to get it. Now since I refuse to argue this anymore, you're just going to have to go back a carefully read my posts and figure it out for yourself; because every time I think you couldn’t possibly miss the point, you kind of adjust the facts a little and don’t get it again. So I’m done, I’m shutting this one off because I don’t like to fight and I think your heels are dug in a little.
 
Posts: 203 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: 24 December 2007Reply With Quote
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At various times of my life, I have strongly supported each side of this debate. Does anyone absolutely KNOW whether measuring the charge weight is better than measuring by volume, or vice-versa?

Probably not.

I do know this: My benchrest cartridge & rifle (.30-BR) won a national championship and set a national "group" record which may still be standing after 10 years, loaded by volume.

In fact, I shot that rifle in competition 7 years and I STILL do not know what the charge weighs! I never, ever, weighed it. I do know it is 52-1/4 clicks of VV N-135 from a Neal Jones measure.

If I absolutely had to make a choice between only being able to use either volume or weight at this point, I would likely choose volume. Why? Because too many things can not only cause the the actual weight of a charge to be misleading in terms of energy released, but also can throw off the device used to monitor that weight, i.e., the scale.

Luckily, I don't have to make that choice, so I still use either method, depending on what I am loading, and where.
 
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Posts: 6987 | Registered: 16 August 2000Reply With Quote
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OK, let's see where we are.

Of two ways of measuring powder discussed so far, one is by weight and the other by volume.

1a) weigh the powder (electronic scale
1b) weigh the powder (balance beam scale)

I don't think scale type is controverial, YET, but the alphabetic subscript allows for division and debate)

2a) scoop the powder with a constant-volume scoop and consistent stroke
2b) with a powder thrower set for a constant volume (rotating cylinder type)
2c) with a tube-style powder measure

3a) count the grains/flakes (So far this school of thought has no advocates. Please join in.)

I am in the weigh each charge group, but I muddy my position by setting my charges by weight, but delivering the charges (in production) by volume. So, I am a 2a for production and a 1b for hyper-accuracy. (I don't have access to an electronic scale, but trust my balance-beam.)

I have also listened to the arguments in support of volumetric measure and find they have merit. Quite convincing was the link that led me to read the discussion of Load Density (link provided by Jagter Posted 23 February 2008 16:22) and the less technically challenging link (posted by Rat Motor Posted 23 February 2008 10:37). Both compelling reading.

I appreciate being able to learn more about shooting and loading, thank you, all. I am not quite convinced that volume is better than weight, because I still have some questions.

Question one: To the volumetric guys, do you believe there is a difference between using a powder thrower vs a scoop, and if so, why and does the rotary type perform differently than the tube type. (Forgive me if I use the wrong terminology, by rotary type, I mean the ones with a powder reservoir atop a cylinder, oriented with its axis horizontal, with a dimple in the side. The dimple may be adjustable for depth. The cylinder is rotated, dimple up, which fills with powder, then cyclinder rotates down to dump the powder into your cartridge case. The tube type works like the flasks used in black powder shooting. The tube is below the powder reservoir. Open a gate at the top of the tube, and powder falls into the tube, filling it. Close the top gate. Open the bottom gate and the powder falls out the botton of the tube into your cartridge case.)

Question two: Also to the volumetric guys. How do you determine consistency in your powder measure from charge to charge in a single session and between sessions in different seasons or weather conditions? If you don't weigh them, that is.

Question three: How do you achieve consistency in the packing ratio? Do you tap the measure to compact the powder in the measure or do you keep the powder "fluffed up" consistently? When I scoop, I keep the powder "fluffed".

Larry (Lost Sheep)
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rat Motor:



"The test that was done was easy and repeatable by anyone who is willing to load and fire 20 shots. Load 10 cartridges over a scale and mark them number one with a felt tip pen. Use the same components and load ten cartridges straight from a good measure and mark them number two. Put all 20 into a bag and mix them up. Use two targets marked one and two. Dip into the bag and if you pull out a one fire it on target one. Number twos go on target number two. Shhot at one minute intervals and compare the two groups."

QUOTE]

OK, you have my attention. I will give your test a try. Even if the toss method is only as accurate as my weighed rounds, that's how I will load from now on. I like fast, and if fast is as accurate or better, I'm all in.

I am a bit confused about the whole process of marking the rounds 1&2, placing them in a bag, then pulling them out and shooting them at targets 1&2. What is the purpose of mixing them up in a bag if I am going to know which rounds are weighed and which ones are tossed before I shoot them?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by steve4102:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rat Motor:



"The test that was done was easy and repeatable by anyone who is willing to load and fire 20 shots. Load 10 cartridges over a scale and mark them number one with a felt tip pen. Use the same components and load ten cartridges straight from a good measure and mark them number two. Put all 20 into a bag and mix them up. Use two targets marked one and two. Dip into the bag and if you pull out a one fire it on target one. Number twos go on target number two. Shhot at one minute intervals and compare the two groups."

QUOTE]

OK, you have my attention. I will give your test a try. Even if the toss method is only as accurate as my weighed rounds, that's how I will load from now on. I like fast, and if fast is as accurate or better, I'm all in.

I am a bit confused about the whole process of marking the rounds 1&2, placing them in a bag, then pulling them out and shooting them at targets 1&2. What is the purpose of mixing them up in a bag if I am going to know which rounds are weighed and which ones are tossed before I shoot them?


I imagine it is to randomize the effects of the warming of the barrel through the 20 shots. That is also why the shooting is done at one minute intervals. My opinion would be that simply alternating the 1s and 2s would achieve the same result.

Please excuse me jumping in when the question was not directed to me.

Larry (Lost Sheep)
 
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Guys
Firts understand that I am not the theory expert on this subject. I used to load my ammo as popular opinion demanded using lead core bullets and pushing each load across a scale. Sometimes I could not hit the side of a barn if I was shooting from inside the barn.

I changed my bullets and things improved. I had my rifle seen to and things improved. I decided the guy I am dealing with has seen it done it got his t shirt and knows what he is talking about. I joined a reloading course he gives from time to time which did not cost a cent by the way. Things improved again to the extent that I am now confident when I shoot at something instead of wondering what is going to happen after I send the bullet on its way.

wboggs
You say "it's impossible to mechanically measure volume and come up with the exact same weight/charge every time IMPOSSIBLE, and I don’t understand how you can’t see that." This shows that we are talking at cross purposes. This is the point of loading with a powder measure. It does not produce a constant weight charge every time. It produces a constant volume of powder of which the weight might vary slightly. Weighing every charge does not produce the same volume of powder every time. It is better to have a constant volume of powder rather than the same weight of powder. Had you read the article I linked you would have seen that.

You also say "As far as testing the processes; you would have to clamp a gun in a vice" and it is not that difficult. I have seen the test done and I know of another guy who also saw it done with a different rifle and load altogether. The owners were shooting the rifles and thrown charges produced a tighter ten shot group than ten weighed charges. Until someone can demonstrate differently I have to believe what I saw and participated in.

Alberta Canuck
Thank you for posting that. If throwing charges from a measure instead of weighing every one is good for a shooting record like that it is good enough for me. I have to ask if it can be any better if charges are weighed. Congratulations.

Alf
You say "Volume Powder measuring devices utilizes a column of powder above the volume determing chamber; if the column is full then the compression is more than when it is empty." It is true and we were shown with the Lyman 55 which has a short powder column to keep it above half full. I have a tape line on mine and when it gets to the line I top it up. You talk about a grain difference in charges from your Lyman 55 after you forced the powder with a dowel and ran it empty and sometimes tap the measure and sometimes not tap it. That is like setting a three thousand Rand torque wrench to give a certain value and then ignoring the clicks and going another quarter or half turn depending on how you feel. The powder measure will produce fantastic consistency if it is operated in the same manner every time and not smacked about and poked with a stick between loads. One should not use an axe when a sledge is called for as we have seen on another thread.
Wink

steve4102
Shooting the ones on one target and the twos on another and doing it at random removes the effect of shooting one string and then the other. If the ones are shot first it may be argued that the rifle was clean and that it gave the best or worst group. Shooting the test as a 20 shot string removes any effect that might be blamed on different conditions affecting two individual strings. I forgot to say that the man shooting the test did not know which target represented the powder measure and which target represented the scale.

I do not want to get involved in a brand name war but some powder measures we were shown were not good either. Avoid measure with tall thin powder hoppers and small diameter cylinder shaped metering devices. Powder measures with a lot of play in the mechanism is also not very good.
 
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I suppose it might be best to compromise and do both (measure by volume and measure by weight).

Start throwing charges of powder that all have the same volume and weigh each one. When you have 20 that all weigh the same, load those up in 20 cases and there you have a box of cartridges.

Dump all the other charges back in the powder hopper and do it again for the next 20 cases.


That way, both factions in this debate should be satisfied, as each box of cartridges will be powered by BOTH equal weights AND equal volumes of gunpowder.

You think?

Larry (Lost Sheep)
 
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I'm almost convinced to go back to measuring by volume. The best way to consistently get the same volume in the Lee Scoop measures is to fill a bowl with powder, run the scoop through the powder so it will be heaped above the rim of the scoop (using the same motion every time). Then use a flexible piece of paper ( a business card works). Drag it lightly across the rim of the scoop pushing off anything above the rim. If I recall correctly, this gets you closer to the volume ratings per scoop that Lee publishes. They will be very close every time if you measure those charges by weight. Whichever method you use, you must use it every time. Your record of your load should be kept in volume not in weight. If you've been reloading by volume and assume (because your looking at a volume to weight chart) that a certain volume relates to a certain weight and then start measuring out that weight with a scale, your shot groups will now be different--maybe not worse--just different. I use to try to keep track of my loads with a column for weight of charge and a column for volume of charge. I then went specifically to weight of charge only. I am about to become convinced to go back to volume. Although I'll check this thread a little longer before making any specific change. I would like to think everyone knows what their talking about and they aren't just writing what they've read about and have no real experience in the matter. Smiler


Red C.
Everything I say is fully substantiated by my own opinion.
 
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Originally posted by Red C.:
Red C,

I would like to think everyone knows what their talking about and they aren't just writing what they've read about and have no real experience in the matter. Smiler


So would I. Remember, this is the internet. Even in real life some people speak from experience, some from reliable second hand knowledge and some from hearsay. Some speak from good research and some from just reading (and what they remember from reading). Some speak from solid reasoning, some from conjecture.

Take everything with a grain of salt, or gunpowder if you will. As President Reagan said, "Trust, but verify."

Everything I have read here does look reasonable, but all people write from their own point of view, which may be unknown to you and me.

So, be wary, and good shooting.

Larry (Lost Sheep)
 
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Lost Sheep,

This simply from reading, however it sounds if certain problems were dealt with in this gadget.

That in itself tells that the designers know what they're talking about through experience.

If all this is true and practically possible then it seems as if the powder measure method may be the best and the fastest in the long run!


OWLS
My Africa, with which I will never be able to live without!
 
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Originally posted by Jagter:
Lost Sheep,

This simply from reading, however it sounds if certain problems were dealt with in this gadget.

That in itself tells that the designers know what they're talking about through experience.

If all this is true and practically possible then it seems as if the powder measure method may be the best and the fastest in the long run!


Depends on who wrote the copy. Could be that marketers know what they are talking about. Or engineers/designers know what they are talking about. But I agree with you, it does sound as if they have addressed three of the problems.

I think the jury is still deliberating on the "best" judgement. On the "fastest" debate I don't think there ever was any disagreement.

Thanks for your thoughts

Larry (Lost Sheep)
 
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Apparently noone read Alberta Canuck's post. I guess you were too busy dreaming up the next nit you were gonna pick. How many angels could dance on your particular pinhead so to speak.
If ultra accuracy is what is sought at bench rest matches, why have I NEVER seen ANYONE weigh their powder charges? Considering the elaborate tents and work stations they set up at the matches, it would be a small thing to add a balance beam or electronic scale.
I am not saying that using a scoop or a measure one can get closer to a certain weight of powder than one can with a scale but is it important? Or has loading accurate ammunition as an end fallen by the side as a goal in this long tedious thread? Big Grin
 
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