Author Topic: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.  (Read 2436 times)

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Offline henry-ctc

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Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« on: December 13, 2009, 07:51:55 AM »
Hi guys

I´ve got a pound of Red Dot and I´m having some issues with my Lee Perfect Measure. I´m ussually getting this powder weight thru it:

4.60
4.45
4.60
4.50
4.65
4.65
4.60
4.60
4.60
4.55

The charge I want to get is based upon Speer#11 manual 125 grains bullet 4.5 to 4.9 grains.

Questions:
Should I go safely trusting my LPM?
If that were the case. Am I going to see much difference in my POI at 25 Yds.?
Does this powder "forgive" the different powder charges.

I´d appreciate your help.
Forgot to mention that I´m really new to handloading.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 09:28:38 AM by henry-ctc »

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2009, 11:08:42 AM »
Henry -
I'm not looking at a manual, just going by what you've written here and assuming we're discussing 9mm....

1. Clearly your powder measurements are varying over a fairly wide range. Wider than I would like to see, BUT it may be OK for you. If you are only plinking, want to turn out average ammo "just for fun shooting", and you intend to stay in the lower end of the Red Dot load range then you are OK.

Your range is 4.5 to 4.9gr. Your loads are varying as much as 0.2gr. So you'll NEVER want to load higher than 4.7gr.

2. Will accuracy suffer? Yes. With a given set of components, you can only vary the powder load and the OAL to vary pressure. Consistent pressure is what gives you round-to-round "accuracy". In other words: repeatable performance. After all, it's not until you know where the bullet is going to go that you can adjust your sights or POA and know that the next bullet will go where the last one did.

3. What can be done? You can change the powder or the powder dispenser.

3a. Change the powder. We are all having trouble finding our favorite powders, but this powder's range is "too tight" for your measure (4.5 to 4.9 = a range of 0.4gr). For an example, look at Unique. It's load range spans about 6.0gr. That means for the same 0.2gr variation the pressure will vary far, far less. Follow? So look for a powder that has a load range of at least 4.0gr and as a percentage, the 0.2gr variation will have 1/10 the effect. Follow?

3b. Change the dispenser. Lee equipment is great for getting started, and will do pretty good job with most powders. But if your dad just gave you a dump truck load of Red Dot, then you're going to need to figure out how to meter its measurement to a much finer standard. That's going to call for conversion to a much better powder measure. Something made with more precision fits that can control the powder to withing a 0.1gr range.

Hope this helps.
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Offline henry-ctc

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Re: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2009, 11:55:55 AM »
Be sure it helps. Thank you.
I´ve heard that flake powders are hard to meter correctly. Is out there any good powder dispenser for flake powders?.
Choosing the right powder isn´t always an option. Flake powdres for shotgun/handgun is what´s available now and ever. The rest of powders are much more expensive and harder to find.
Anyway I can keep on using the Lee Perfect Powder Measure and later check the weight and discard the charges that vary, lets say, more than .15 grains from my setting average. That would mean to toss only 3 out of 20 accord to my last test.
Don´t worry about time. Plenty of it.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2009, 04:44:50 PM »
Henry -
Couple of comments....

1. When you recorded the data you gave us, what were you aiming for? By that I mean what was supposed to come out of the powder dispenser? The group varied by 0.2gr, but if you were aiming for 4.55gr, then your results varied by +/-0.1gr. So it would be nice to know where you were aiming.

2. The metal bodied powder dispensers do a better job with "flake". It's the longer "stick" powder that gives them fits! You might look around for a used RCBS "Uni-Flow" powder measure with the small "pistol" barrel. They've been making these since the 1970's and there are more than a few used ones for sale. I recently bought one of these on Ebay with both large and small barrels, and the stand for $65. The instructions sheet that came with it was printed in 1984, but it is still a very, very accurate dispenser. A quick look on Ebay shows they seem to be selling for about 1/2 that right now. Lyman, Hornady, and Redding all make nice dispensers too.

In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Offline armoredman

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Re: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2009, 05:18:17 PM »
I hate flake powders, traded away a pound of 700X some time ago cheap. It would never meter right through either the Lee PPM or my RCBS Uniflow, ended up hand measuring into the scale pan one load at a time. Gah. Now I use nothing but Accurate Arms ball powder, #7 for 9mm.

Offline jwc007

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Re: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2009, 12:34:25 AM »
I have used Alliant Red Dot and Green Dot in the 9mm, but never measured it with a Lee PPM.  I have however used the Lee Auto Disk Powder Measures and a Redding Powder Measure for those powders with very good luck.  Have not had good luck at all with the Lee PPM, even with Ball Powder.

My preference is to use WST for most of my Handgun and Shotgun Reloading, but there are some Recipes where Red Dot and Green Dot provide superior performance.

One 9mm load I've used consisted of 4.7 grns of Red Dot on top of a Surplus Winchester 124 grn FMJ with a COL of 1.15.  This was dispensed by a Lee AutoDisk Powder Measure.  YMMV

If you plan to stick with Red Dot, I recommend finding some other way of dispensing/measuring it.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 12:39:47 AM by jwc007 »
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Offline Canuck44

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Re: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2009, 12:14:43 PM »
I hate flake powders, traded away a pound of 700X some time ago cheap. It would never meter right through either the Lee PPM or my RCBS Uniflow, ended up hand measuring into the scale pan one load at a time. Gah. Now I use nothing but Accurate Arms ball powder, #7 for 9mm.

+1 on the flake powders.  A guy gave me 4#s of 800X.  Joy joy!  I amy just try to use it up metering it out of my RCBS digital combo unit.  It will be slow but I can use it up for practice ammo I guess.  I now use 231 for jsut about all my IDPA handguns.  Just meters well and consistantly.

Take Care

Bob


 
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Offline 8Ring

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Re: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2009, 11:21:41 PM »
When using flake powders like Hodgdon Universal, American Select, or others, let the powder sit in the measure overnight.  After filling, tap the measure and the tube that holds the powder with the handle of a screwdriver about a dozen times.  Whenever you add more powder, tap the measure and tube again.  You'll be surprised how much flake powder settles overnight or after a few taps.  The first few throws the next day might be a little heavy, but after that they should be consistent.

Also use a consistent and steady stroke with the measure handle.  Follow these tips and you should get no more than .1 grain variation with a RCBS Uniflow.

Chris

Offline twoguns

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Re: Flake powder metering for 9mm. Is this safe?.
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2009, 12:39:11 AM »
Howdy sir,

For the first two decades I reloaded handgun rounds, I was using a single stage press and everything was loaded with either Bullseye or Unique.  I used an RCBS powder measure and it gave me good consistent drops with both powders.  I finally picked up a Pacific Pistol Powder Measure, that came complete with a stand to mount on your bench, and an assortment of bushings you used to adjust your powder charges with.  Using a locking block to hold my primed cases, the Pacific was the best measure I ever used for a single stage.  If you are going to look for a used powder measure, check for an RCBS with both barrel attachments.  That way you can use it for hanguns and rifles down the road.  The Pacific works great for handgun loads, but ONLY handgun loads.

When I got my first progressive press about 20 years ago, I could not get a consistent drop with either Bullseye or Unique, and that was driving me nuts.  When I called Dillon they suggested I find a ball powder to use with their powder measure.  I use Accurate Arms (Western Powder) no. 2, 5, 7 and 9 for all of my handgun loads now, and always get an extremely consistent powder drop.

I know powder is hard to find now, but if changing to another measure does not solve things for you, you may simply need to find a ball powder to work with.

Good luck,

twoguns