Using a dipper

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Using a dipper

Postby Morne » Tue May 23, 2017 7:56 pm

So...up until now most of my handloading has been weighing every single charge out of a Lee Perfect Powder Measure. This works pretty well, but some powders play nicer than others. Take, for instance, Trail Boss which I use extensively for my .38 Special Cowboy Action (and powder puff .500 S&W) loads. Frankly, you have to tap the stupid Lee Perfect Powder Measure probably half a dozen times with each dispensing to make sure you get it all. That's FAR from perfect..

So, I'm thinking about using the Lee Dippers to make each loading easier. It's not a perfect solution since my usual .38 Special load with a 125-gr LRNFP uses 3.7-gr of Trail Boss which is equal to 0.8cc so I'd have to use a scoop of 0.3cc and a scoop of 0.5cc. Still, that's easier than what I'm doing today. Seeing as how I load this particular recipe 250 rounds at a crack it would save me a LOT of time.

My usual powder puff .500 S&W load uses 10-gr Trail Boss but really anything in the 10-11 grain neighborhood is fine. The 2.2cc scoop equals roughly 10.1-gr Trail Boss so that's quite simple.

OBVIOUSLY I would confirm that the scoops yield the expected amount of powder with my scale before starting anything. I aim to be cautious.

With a powder like Trail Boss I am less worried about the variation I might see from the Lee Dippers than for some other powders.

Thoughts? Anybody else using the Lee Dippers? Horror stories?
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby Sevens » Tue May 23, 2017 8:16 pm

I started my career at the bench with Lee dippers, Green Dot, Speer swaged 158's, CCI-500 and NO SCALE! ;)

Dippers work perfectly well if you have the patience to use them and you get on board with the idea that absolute repition and technique of same are the keys to a good dipper experience.

Before there were Lee dippers, old time handloaders simply used a piece of pistol brass, say 9mm or .45 or whatever... and they trimmed down the size of the brass to give it the volume it needed to have for it's use... then they soldered a small wire handle on to it for use.

Given how plentiful and low-cost the Lee dippers are, would be little hassle in taking a larger size than needed and altering it's capacity to do the same thing. Alter with a razor blade or perhaps a dot of glue, allowed to harden inside? Would take some trial & error, but just think of the satisfaction if you get it right! :lol:
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby JustaShooter » Tue May 23, 2017 8:21 pm

I used the Lee dippers at first and found they were very technique dependent. Once you find a good technique and stick with it, they can be pretty consistent. I found that rather than scooping - which yielded inconsistent results probably because the amount of compression varied from dip to dip - that keeping the dipper close to vertical and pushing it into the powder at a shallow angle until the mouth was below the level of the powder and letting the dipper fill, then lifting it out and striking it level with the edge of a business card worked well for me. And yes, you'll likely find the charge weights for a given powder vary from what the Lee tables show.

BTW, I quickly switched to the Lee Auto Disk Pro and have found that for the powders I use most it is remarkably accurate. (Trail Boss is not one of the powders I use, so...) It does require a Lee powder-through die, though, so if you've invested in a bunch of dies from another manufacturer then that might not be an economical option.
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby Morne » Tue May 23, 2017 8:26 pm

JustaShooter wrote:BTW, I quickly switched to the Lee Auto Disk Pro and have found that for the powders I use most it is remarkably accurate. (Trail Boss is not one of the powders I use, so...) It does require a Lee powder-through die, though, so if you've invested in a bunch of dies from another manufacturer then that might not be an economical option.


I use a powder-through expander die every time I can. May have to try this... :idea:
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby Sevens » Tue May 23, 2017 8:28 pm

As a somewhat related tangent of discussion... I have always had most excellent from my Lyman 55 measure and it occurs to me to bring this up because I feel that the Lyman 55 skins the cat just a wee-bit differently than most of other volumetric measures on the market.

The Lee Perfect works much like the RCBS or the Hornady... these are actually very much like a powder dipper, just perhaps set up in a mechanical fashion with a variable chamber.

Why the Lyman 55 is a bit different (in my opinion...?) is because the drum itself, who's size is altered with a base that screws in/out to be the variable is implemented differently on a Lyman 55.

On the 55, the drum is horizontal and has three different parts that are optionally adjusted to alter the size of the measuring chamber. Perhaps it is merely my hopeful nature, but I think this design lends itself well to working a bit better in dealing with annoying powders.

It may be a tool worth investigating! I wouldn't be without mine, that's for sure. I have long considered it my favorite single tool in all of handloading.
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby JustaShooter » Tue May 23, 2017 8:37 pm

Morne wrote:
JustaShooter wrote:BTW, I quickly switched to the Lee Auto Disk Pro and have found that for the powders I use most it is remarkably accurate. (Trail Boss is not one of the powders I use, so...) It does require a Lee powder-through die, though, so if you've invested in a bunch of dies from another manufacturer then that might not be an economical option.


I use a powder-through expander die every time I can. May have to try this... :idea:


FWIW, be sure to get the Auto Disk *Pro*. The Pro version is a big improvement over the original. The original worked well enough until I started using fine ball powders for some loads. Silly thing leaked like a sieve & powder got in the works and caused things to jam up, and attempting to tighten the screws that held the hopper in place to try to close up the tolerances a bit resulted in breaking/stripping the thin plastic walls of the screw holes... No issues with the Pro, although with fine ball powders like H110 it does leak just a tad. Not enough to be a problem, but just barely enough that I feel guilty after a long reloading session if I don't sweep it off the turret & bench and return it to the container. Yes, I know - "frugal" is the word you are looking for...
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby Mr. Glock » Tue May 23, 2017 9:17 pm

As a total beginner, I found the latest Lee Auto Disc Pro to be easy to use and consistent (after a little graphite lube). I had no luck with the dipper, but then again, I was scooping and not dipping.

That said, I'm not sure Trail Boss would work....you'd have to check online. The really big doughnuts might not meter well. I kind of recall looking it up after you told me about your love of Trail Boss?
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby marca » Wed May 24, 2017 6:10 am

I am mystified about all of this talk. I have only used the Dillon powder measures and never had a lick of trouble. Maybe I've just been lucky.
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby Morne » Wed May 24, 2017 7:32 am

marca wrote:I am mystified about all of this talk. I have only used the Dillon powder measures and never had a lick of trouble. Maybe I've just been lucky.

Got a link? Ever use Trail Boss in it?
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby jeep45238 » Wed May 24, 2017 9:35 am

Morne wrote:
marca wrote:I am mystified about all of this talk. I have only used the Dillon powder measures and never had a lick of trouble. Maybe I've just been lucky.

Got a link? Ever use Trail Boss in it?

https://www.dillonprecision.com/dillon- ... 23599.html


That said, for putting on a non-Dillon, I'd recommend a Hornady case activatedpowder drop. No linkages to attach to the press itself, and stupid repeatable

https://www.amazon.com/Hornady-Case-Act ... B000PCZZU8
Hitnady sells the powder measure separately, but if you look around you can find the combo of the two for a fair price used.
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby screwman » Wed May 24, 2017 10:41 am

I used a dipper for awhile, loading rifle cartridges. Worked pretty well. I was using a dribbler too, so I didn't have to worry as much about the accuracy of the scoop
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby Morne » Wed May 24, 2017 12:06 pm

jeep45238 wrote:
Morne wrote:
marca wrote:I am mystified about all of this talk. I have only used the Dillon powder measures and never had a lick of trouble. Maybe I've just been lucky.

Got a link? Ever use Trail Boss in it?

https://www.dillonprecision.com/dillon- ... 23599.html


That said, for putting on a non-Dillon, I'd recommend a Hornady case activatedpowder drop. No linkages to attach to the press itself, and stupid repeatable

https://www.amazon.com/Hornady-Case-Act ... B000PCZZU8
Hitnady sells the powder measure separately, but if you look around you can find the combo of the two for a fair price used.

I got one of those on my LnL AP...
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby jeep45238 » Wed May 24, 2017 1:31 pm

Try marking our current die setting with a sharpie and moving it over to your other press to try out. If it works (might need the rifle insert), then it's something to keep an eye out for.

Buing cheap 2-4 times to find a working solution is often the same price, or higher, than a better quality solution at the end of the day.
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby WY_Not » Wed May 24, 2017 2:44 pm

I'll be the odd man out I guess. Never used the scoops. RCBS Uniflow with a baffle. For pistol, once I have it adjusted then I measure every 10th round. For rifle (especially hunting rounds), once adjusted then I measure every charge and use a Redding Model No. 5 trickler to get the charge exact. Don't remember having any issues with the Uniflow. Just a matter of being consistent with your lever throw. Of course everything is done with a couple of old Rockchucker single stages. Not the speediest but the hunting rounds are sub-MOA and very consistent out of my hunting rifle.
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Re: Using a dipper

Postby Morne » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:33 am

So I tried the dipper for my .500 S&W Magnum powder puff loads. Rather than weigh out exactly 10.0-gr Trail Boss I used the 2.2cc scoop to get 10.1-gr (per chart). I then weighed a whole bunch of scoopings and saw a maximum deviation of +/-0.2 grains all centered around the chart predicted value. That's more than acceptable for this powder/charge combination.

Rather than "dip" the ladle into the powder I "scooped" up the powder to a heaping spoonful. I then levelled it with a bit of cardstock and brushed away any powder hanging onto the outside of the dipper. Probably because of Trail Boss' very bulky donut form/size there isn't enough compaction to worry about. This technique may not work well with other powders.

Then again, it occurs to me that the powders that have substantial compaction to worry about are probably the ones that meter easier anyway. :idea:

I am very happy with this easier way to throw a charge of Trail Boss. I use a disturbingly large amount of that stuff. Now I'll just have to test the scoop combo for my usual Cowboy Action load. Alternately, I may chrono some new loads with a charge that I can get from a single dipper. There's always some R&D to do in the world of reloading.
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