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How to get the most consistent powder throw

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by XDRoX, May 1, 2010.

  1. XDRoX


    Jan 24, 2009
    San Diego
    What tricks do you guys use to get the most consistent throw when loading?
    Here are some of the things that I have read:
    -rigging up a vibrating motor to the hopper
    -filling the hopper until it's almost full
    -putting a weighted pusher above the powder

    Is there any truth to any of these methods? Anyone know any better tricks?
    I'm getting pretty consistent measures right now (+.1) with WST. But I'm afraid when I switch to Unique it's not going to be as consistent.

  2. GLShooter


    Jan 3, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Running the handle smoothly, use of a baffle in the hopper all are keys. Forget that "vibrating the hopper and weight, all you do is pack it down and keep it from flowing smoothly.

    + or - 0.1 grain on a 5 grain charge is only 2 % variation in the charge. You will find that weighing charges down to zero variation shot across a chronograph will vary that much from shot to shot. Statistically pretty close. Performance wise completely undetectable by the "average" non-Olympic level shooter.

    I am as anal as the rest of the reloaders in the world and I can't detect the difference at that level. I'm not a super shot but I think that most of us can never wring that level out with a pistol or rifle for that matter. A Ransom rest MIGHT show something but I doubt it.

    I've loaded more than a few pounds of Unique over the years and never had issues with a bit of variance. I was even shooting IHMSA with a 45 at 200 meters and I could sure tell that the misses were on me and no the ammo day in day out. YMMV:embarassed:


  3. orgnova


    Feb 13, 2010
    SW Ohio
    I've been using hp38 and recently switched to unique. I use a baffle in the hopper and it works for me. I found a web site that had all different size templates. If I can find it again, I'll post it.
  4. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Hnad thrown charges, baffle & consistane motion; up tap, down tap, or up tap, down tap twice, etc. SOme powders, regardless of technique, will not meter well, 800X comes to mind.
    With the 550B, snug the powder return rod so it give a posetive retur & it will give that consistant throw.
    Last edited: May 1, 2010
  5. Patrick Graham

    Patrick Graham Footlong Jr.

    Sep 7, 2001
    Kokomo Indiana
    Keep the hopper as close to full as possible
  6. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    So you don't even have the problem yet but your already worried. :faint:

    Don't worry about it. Seriously. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. I found the best thing I can do for consistency is just let the press do what it's supposed to do. The Dillon Measure has a baffel in in already. It's that bridge in the middle. Sure you can make another one, one that looks fancy and nice but why bother. Here are the things to do to make sure your powder throws are consistent.

    1) NEVER, EVER measure your throw in a case you haven't tapped all the carbon and crud out of before measuring.
    2) NEVER, EVER vary your routine to take a powder measurement.
    3) ALWAYS, ALWAYS settle the powder really good in the measure by tapping it hard about 1/2 a dozen times. Then throw powder about 1/2 a dozen times.

    Beyond that I wouldn't do a thing. You hear people say "buy this thing" "add that thingamajig" but the reality is they don't tell you the above which is far more important then anything you can add to the press. This means you check your final powder throws while you are sizing a case, in a clean case (with a upsidedown primer) and prefereably with a full shellplate. Any workup you did while you were NOT running the press normally is not your real workup. It's simply your "ranging" to get it close. Just like the Navy battleships shooting shells past it's target, then closer then the target, then right on the target. Once you got your measure set don't change it. Simple as that. Any variation from your previous setting is the operator not the powder measure. So settle your powder measure again, throw a bunch of charges, load a couple rounds, put your dummy cartridge back in for testing the charge and check it again. I bet it will be right were it was last time you used it. Put a dial for your measure and write down where you have the pointer showing. Thats what really matters. Everything else leads you to chasing your tail in my experiance. And I chased my tail plenty till I started trusting my machine and eliminating the human variable I introduce into the process.
    Last edited: May 1, 2010
  7. GOA Guy

    GOA Guy

    Feb 22, 2010
    When ANYONE makes a switch to Unique it won't be as consistent. Don't worry about it. That is just the nature of the beast.
  8. XDRoX


    Jan 24, 2009
    San Diego
    Thanks guys:wavey:
    I just loaded 100 rounds of 38spl with Unique. I did the things mentioned in this thread and it worked fine. It did not meter as well as WST, but it was pretty consistent. So I won't use any sleep over it.

    But I discovered another problem. I can't see the powder in the case before I set the bullet on it because the 38spl is so long.:crying:

    So what do you guys do? With 9mm I can clearly and easily see the powder before I place the bullet, but with the 38spl I couldn't.

    What I did was, I shook every round after I was done to make sure I didn't miss a charge, but there must be a better way.:dunno:

  9. GLShooter


    Jan 3, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Depends what press you are using. On a progressive like the Dillon you can watch the powder bar go back and fourth. Pretty sure you got powder there. On a single stage I set the cases up in a loading block and throw the powder into them with an RCBS Uniflo measure. Once the block is full (50 cases usually) I just set it on the table and use a flash light for a visual check.

    The nature of the beast in Progressives is a pain for pure caution. Some guys will mount a mirror up on the press so as the case goes by they can look down in it prior to seating the bullet.

    I can tell you from experience that I have only had a few instances in 30 years when using a progressive and not got powder in the case. Merely a matter of making sure the hopper is full and observing the powder bar movement.


    PS: Don't load Bullseye if you want to see that powder every time. 2.7 grains doesn't take up much space in a 38 case!!:wow:
  10. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    None of those are very good ideas.

    The vibrator can take the coating off the powder and change it's characteristics. That's why it's not a good idea to tumble clean lube off of finished rounds.

    Keeping the hopper full is going to really slow down you production rate. You might as well trickle charge each round.

    A weighted pusher will compress the load. How do you know the pressur is consistent.

    Good powder dumps have a baffle that keeps the presure of the powder column fairly steady.

    The biggest thing is technique. Smooth, steady motions. No jerking or slamming. A good mount/bench helps also. Consistency is the best contributor to consistent powder dumps.

    Keep in mind, that some powders work better than others in various dumps. Ball powders tend to meter well in most anything. Next would be flake/disk powders, followed by short stick. Long stick rifle powder are tough for many dumps.

    Pick you powder carefully, then follow a consitent technique and you should be fine.


    Dec 20, 2002
    For .38 Special and .45 Colt I've been using Trail Boss. Good accuracy and you can see it without removing the cases from the press. Meters well too!
    I refuse to seat a bullet without seeing the powder charge in every case.
    I installed a 75 watt flood light in my ceiling to shine into the cases to better see the powder charge.

    In 9mm I like SR 7625, HS-6 and Titegroup because they meter so reliably. In .45acp VV N310, N320 and Titegroup. (I looked at your list)
  12. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    Chris, Chris, Chris:

    Alas, you are plagued with a problem common to all noob loaders. How to get that perfect powder charge.

    I too was the victim of that insidious and perplexing problem for years. I hired, and fired there different butlers, searching diligently for that one unique individual who could throw the perfect charge. At last I had to admit to myself that my search for perfection was in vain and looked for an outlet to quell my utter frustration.

    The answer was simple... I hired a really good looking maid. My powder throws are still inconsistent but I have such a huge smile on my face all the time I simply don't care.

    Life is a matter of priorities. If it goes bang, hits where you're aiming and doesn't blow up your gun call it good enough and go hire a maid.