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Inconsistant powder drop - Lee Auto Disk

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Gpruitt54, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Gpruitt54

    Gpruitt54

    1,232
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    Jul 18, 2012
    Did my firstreloads last night (30 rounds). Loading 165grain .40 S&W. However, I cannotget a consistent powder drop. I am using Hodgdon HP-38 powder. Like I said,this was my first reloads. HP-38 is the only powder I have. HP-38 is alsoclearly listed in my Lee reloading manual.

    I am following the manual it is recommended to use the .43 disk opening. Butthat through way too much power. All the loads with the .43 were near, or overthe recommended max load. So, I changed to the .40 disk opening. But it is droppingjust below the starting powder load.

    WTF! I don't want to load powder my hand. And I cannot change to a totallydifferent brand of equipment. I am just starting out.

    What can I do to get a consistent powder charge with the above gear???
    Should I fire the 30 rounds I already made???
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  2. ColoCG

    ColoCG

    936
    0
    Mar 18, 2011
    Colorado

    The list of correct discs for powder loads is not usually correct. It usually throws light charges depending on powder type.

    Weigh your charges for the volume give if it is too heavy try the next one lower if the charge is too light go higher. You need to let your powder scale tell you which disc is correct for the load you want.
    Once you find the right one it usually throws consistent chages for that load.
     


  3. waawaaweenie

    waawaaweenie

    1,168
    388
    Feb 6, 2012
    middle of PRK
    I replaced the discs in mine with the Adjustable Powder Charge Bar and it gives you infinite adjustment. also you may want to wipe the inside of the plastic powder storage chamber down with a laundry dryer anti static fabric sheet to keep the powder from hanging up. you also should weigh your charges to be sure, and safe.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. ColoCG

    ColoCG

    936
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    Mar 18, 2011
    Colorado
  5. Wash-ar15

    Wash-ar15

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    Sep 15, 2007
    .40 throws 4.3 and 43 throws 4.6 is what i see. i would make some at the 4.3 and see how they work in your gun. they may or may not cycle.

    One thing i have found, and you take it for what its worth, is that these days data is very conservative. what was max load now. may have been starting load in the past.
     
  6. Gpruitt54

    Gpruitt54

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    Jul 18, 2012
    Cool, the dryer sheet sound like an excellent idea. I just wiped down my equipment with one. Thanks!

    Regarding the adjustable powder measure, does it replace the disks? Do you use one?
     
  7. Wash-ar15

    Wash-ar15

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    Sep 15, 2007
    be real careful when using the adjustable charge bar with light loads. You might find it might drop light or nothing if powder clogs it up.

    I threw mine in the garbage after i noticed some cases with no powder
     
  8. dkf

    dkf

    5,444
    133
    Aug 6, 2010
    I primarily use power pistol which thus far has metered well in my Pro Auto Disk. However the hole size Lee recommended was off quite a bit. For the powder charge I needed I had to go 3 hole sizes over what was recommended so it would throw that charge.

    You will have to do some experimenting. It is best when setting up the measure charge to run the press as you would when you are actually making ammo. Run at least 10 charges through before you even start measuring the charge to settle everything. Just use primed cases to catch the powder and dump it back in the hopper.

    Some powders meter better than others. I have the double disk kit, adjustable charge bar and micro disk kit on hand just in case I need them. But for the most part just use one disc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  9. Gpruitt54

    Gpruitt54

    1,232
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    Jul 18, 2012
    I was seeing much higher drops with the recommended disk. I weighted each drop. That is when I went to the smaller disk opening (.40). The .40 disk opening dropped below the starting loads.

    So, I am getting either too much or too little powder. .40 and .43 are as close as I can get with the disk set that came with the Lee Auto desk powder measure.

    Everything I am reading says not to use loads that ball below the starting charge and not to use loads that are above the max charge. So, I don’t know what to do at this point. It seems that none of my loads are usable. Right?
     
  10. Gpruitt54

    Gpruitt54

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    Jul 18, 2012
    I inspected each case, after each drop, just to be sure I was getting powder. I am sure I have no empty rounds.
     
  11. Berlin Kid

    Berlin Kid

    115
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    May 5, 2005
    Columbus, Ohio
    I just got my Auto Disk and haven't used it. I believe that I have read where you should run a pound of powder through the unit before using it. I'm expecting that the experienced reloaders here can address whether this is true.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  12. Gpruitt54

    Gpruitt54

    1,232
    53
    Jul 18, 2012
    Yeah, the Auto desk is a great tool. As a new loader, I kind of expected that all the gear would work as shown on hundreds of YouTube videos I have watched and the forums like this one. But you never know what what you don't know until you start trying it for yourself. I am starting to look at the Micrometer powder disk that Lee sells. I can only hope that solves my problem.

    So far, none of my loads are per load weight as shown in the Lee reloading manuals. They are all light, less than 4.8 grains of Hodgdon HP-38. I am shooting .40 S&W using 165 grain flat noise jacketed rounds.

    I know my digital scale is correct. I have tested it with known weights. the scale is consistent. My problem is the loads coming out of the Lee Auto Desk.
     
  13. dkf

    dkf

    5,444
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    Aug 6, 2010
    You could always try opening up the .40 hole on the disk a little with some finer grit sandpaper.
     
  14. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    Ignore the suggested disc size. Its never right. Be careful with the adjustable charge bar. You have been warned. Buy a extra kit and open the .4 up or do the mod in the link.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  15. ColoCG

    ColoCG

    936
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    Mar 18, 2011
    Colorado
    Yes the adjustable powder measure replaces the other disks. Depending on powder type and size of load, it can have problems as stated with light loads of bulky powders. Usually above about 4 to 5gr the drop is good.

    My .46 disk drops4.8gr. of ww231 similar to hp38 and my .49disk drops 5.2gr of ww231.

    What load are you trying to achieve. and what type of press are you using the powder measure on?
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  16. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    My book shows 231 and a 165 gr bullet in .40 as a range of 5.2 to 5.8. You should be able to get a stock disc to work with that powder.
     
  17. sig357fan

    sig357fan

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    Apr 8, 2008
    SW OH
    I use the adjustable powder bar with an auto disk powder measure, but only with ball powders and I’ve never used it below 3.0 gr. of Win 231 and have always gotten good results.

    But…..

    Set up is important for good results.

    I do use the dryer sheet and run several charges through went the powder measure is new.

    I reload pistol rounds on a LCT press and start by adjusting the charge bar, without moving from the charging station, until I can throw 5 identical charges in a row, then I’ll run the press through the full cycle, weighting each charge until I get another 5 identical charges of the weight I want to reload, then I’ll check every 10th round to make sure all is well.

    I tend to stay at the lower end of the recommended weight, I’ve loaded thousands of rounds this way without any problems, but if I’m reloading at the high end of the recommended weight as in a hunting load, I’ll weight each charge.

    Sig357fan
     
  18. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
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    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    The difference between the 0.40cc and 0.43cc cavity is 0.3 grains with 231/HP38. How one be too high and the other too low is beyond my comprehension.

    The adjustable disc defeats the whole purpose of the Autodisc system. The beauty of it is that it can't come out of adjustment. You can't bump it, vibrate it, whatever to get it to wander because the discs are fixed. By using that adjustable disc, you just add more opportunites for human error to screw you up. Also, at small settings, with flake powders, it is useless.

    OP, your description of what is going on leads me to believe that you need to learn a little more about the whole process of reloading before you start looking to your gear as the source of your problems. I'm not trying to flame you, but you talk about a lack of consistency and then describe a situation that has nothing to with consistency.

    The Lee disc system is very consistent with ball powder like 231/HP38.
     
  19. Gpruitt54

    Gpruitt54

    1,232
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    Jul 18, 2012
    I am using a Lee Classic turret press.
    I am trying to drop loads for .40S&W 165 grain bullets.
    My Lee manual calls for a starting load of not less than 4.8 and not more than 5.3.
    I am using HP-38 powder.

    The manual calls for Auto disk .43. However the .43 disk is dropping more than 5.8 for starters. I move to the .40 disk, but the .40 disk is dropping to little powder, less than 4.8 for starters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012