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Lee Auto-Disk Problems

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by redcastle, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. redcastle

    redcastle

    28
    0
    Nov 26, 2011
    I have the Lee Auto-Disk powder measure installed on a Lee Turret Press and am having problems with accurate loads.

    I am attempting to load 9mm rounds. I'm using 124gr FMJ bullets with WSF powder. The load data specifies the starting load and 4.8gr. I took 16 samples to make sure the dispenser was working but it doesn't seem to be. The average powder weight was 4.22 grains with a high of 4.5 gr. I noticed that the was powder under the charge disk which could be the difference the I'm missing.

    Has any one had experience with the Lee Auto-Disk powder measure?
     
  2. jdavionic

    jdavionic NRA Member

    14,902
    2,657
    May 1, 2008
    I use the Lee Auto-disk with my Pro 1000 Lee press. However I use it with Titegroup powder on my 9mm loads. I find it's very consistent.

    Some basic questions...do you have the disk on the movement arm correctly? How tight are the brass screws?
     


  3. michael e

    michael e

    2,811
    3
    Nov 20, 2010
    Like above, use titegroup on my Pro 1000, no issues.
    I haven't tried running WSF threw mine, I only use WSF on my shotgun loads.
     
  4. redcastle

    redcastle

    28
    0
    Nov 26, 2011
    The charge disk is connected correctly and it's sliding the appropriate distance. I watched for that in particular. I even paused when I pulled the lever down to make sure that there was ample time for all the powder to empty from the cavity.
     
  5. dkf

    dkf

    5,434
    125
    Aug 6, 2010
    Is the measure fairly new?

    New measures have a lot of static and powder can cling to them. Also you will get the most consistent charges by cycling through every station like you were reloading when checking charge weights.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  6. unclebob

    unclebob

    7,373
    352
    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    Did you clean all the parts of oil? Are you cycling the tool head all the way around for each powder throw? Installing a powder baffle my help. Also always have the powder hopper at least half full of powder.
     
  7. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,937
    166
    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    Three/four pulls of the handle for each measure/throw, like Bob said. Whatever your press does. Besides that, what everyone else said.
     
  8. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
    1
    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    Is it a "Pro" autodisk or just the standard? It sounds like you have the standard and it is letting powder leak.

    I never used WSF but I think it is a fine ball powder which would be more likely to leak than a flake power. The Pro upgrade is well worth the cost for many reasons if you don't have it and should solve any leaking issues. I have used 231 which is a fine ball powder and it didn't leak and metered very consistently in my Pro measure.
     
  9. CaptainXL

    CaptainXL

    321
    2
    Nov 20, 2009
    Illinois
    When I had the "standard" auto disk I had a fair amount of leakage with fine powders. I bought a kit (midwayusa.com or elsewhere) to upgrage the standard auto disk to a Pro Auto Disk. After installing the upgrade kit powder leakage is not an issue. I suggest getting the Pro Auto Disk upgrade kit.

    Are you sure that you have the O Rings installed between the riser and the die and also between the riser and the Auto Disk powder measure? If both O Rings are not installed you could get powder leakage at those places.

    As far as variations in charge weight are concerned, some powders meter better than others due to the size and shape of each powder granual. In my personal experience I found that Unique meters somewhat poorly and I was getting a lot of variances from charge to charge. I now mostly use Power Pistol and True Blue, both of which meter great and very consistantly. They are a finer powders with a smaller granual size.

    DO NOT rely on the Lee Auto Disk Capacity Chart! From my experience all of the powder weights stated in the Capacity Chart are about 0.4 to 0.5 grains low. As an example: The Capacity Chart shows disk cavity .53 for Power Pistol dispenses 6.0 grain of powder. In actuality, when I average the weight of 10 powder drops, using the .53 cavity, my drops are 5.5 grains of powder. Always weight your charges when switching disks. I have compiled my own "disk capacity chart" for the powders that I use.

    In my opinion, every powder measure that relies on volume as opposed to actualy weighing each charge will have some small inconsistencies from charge to charge.
     
  10. redcastle

    redcastle

    28
    0
    Nov 26, 2011
    I went back and looked at the riser and found that I did not install one of the O-rings. I just placed it in and will take some measurements to see how it effects the press.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  11. redcastle

    redcastle

    28
    0
    Nov 26, 2011
    I found a couple of interesting things. First off, I noticed that I still had powder clinging to the metal base of the powder dispenser and I was still getting measurements right around 4.5 gr (after cycling through all four stations). I also noticed that leakage was still occurring between the bottom of the hopper and the auto-disk. While having the cavity over of the whole, where the powder falls into the casing, I scraped the leakage off of the the auto-disk into the hole so that it fell into the casing and then took the measurement. I noticed that the weight increased some but not enough to approach 4.8gr.

    I decided to empty all of the powder out of the hopper and take it apart. I sprayed a bunch of powder graphite on the metal base and brushed it around with a vinyl brush. I made sure I put a bunch down the tube, covered the ends, and shook it back and forth to get a nice coating on the entire surface. I shook off the excess graphite and scraped off any residual that was still in the tube. I screwed the hopper back on and filled it with powder.

    I took several readings the were consistent with the earlier measurements I made so I decided to increase the index of the auto-disk from .40 to .43. After cycling through all four stations once, I went through all four stations a second time and then measured the amount of powder dispensed. It was 4.8gr on the head! PROGRESS, finally!!!!! I took 10 measurements that averaged out at 4.74gr with a low of 4.5gr and high of 4.8gr.

    There is still some leakage occurring between the hopper and the auto-disk but not as much as before. I also did not observe any powder on the metal base of the dispenser through ten measurements.

    So there looks like there were several problems at play. The first was that I was still experiencing some static buildup on the powder dispensing mechanism, I was missing the O-ring between the top of the riser and the powder dispensing mechanism, and the .40 cavity was just not dispensing enough powder. I also think that the more I work the press the more it's going to "break in" and settle down.

    Thanks to everyone for all of your advise, especially CaptainXL and dfk. I feel encouraged after making some progress and I'm closer to getting this press dialed in. I still plan to take a class. I found a good instructor through the NRA web site. He's a little pricey but he only teaches two students at a time out of a shop in his house and he's been doing it for 40 years. Looking forward to having some fun, finally!!!
     
  12. CaptainXL

    CaptainXL

    321
    2
    Nov 20, 2009
    Illinois
    As I previously said and generally speaking, the charge weights for any given cavity are usually about 0.4 to 0.5 gr under what is stated in Cavity Guide. At least that is what I have experienced.

    Develope your own weight per cavity guide for each of the powders that you use.

    Get the Pro Disk upgrade kit and most, if not all of the leakage between the hopper and auto-disk will be eliminated. The hopper that comes with the Pro Disk kit has a soft "wiper" on the bottom of the hopper which closes and seals the slight gap between the hopper and auto-disk. In addition, the hopper with the Pro Disk upgrade comes with knurled knobs which will eliminate using a screwdriver to remove the hopper from the powder measur base. Additionally, the hopper that comes with the Pro Disk kit has a shut off which is great.

    The Pro Disk upgrade kit is very well worth the money and one of the best things that I ever spent money on. It's only $20 and has many otems in the kit that are great.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/155227/lee-auto-disk-powder-measure-update-kit
     
  13. I had two Lee Pro 1000's, best way I found to fix the Lee powder measure was to buy a Dillon 650 eighteen years ago.:whistling:


    I know I'm a smart ass.:rofl:
     
  14. SJ 40

    SJ 40

    13,318
    2,996
    Jan 17, 2011
    Vermont
    You are also correct it is the best fix,from someone who's been there and done that also. SJ 40
     
  15. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
    1
    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    I have both. I'm not in the "been there, done that" catagory. I'm in the "here, still doing it catagory". While there are things I like about both, if I had to choose only one, I'd stick with the Pro1000. And to suggest that Dillons goofy powder measure is even in the same league as the Lee disc system is just silly. Anything I can do on my Dillon measure I can do in half the time with the Lee and I've neaver had the Lee measure guillatine my fingers like the Dillon does.
     
  16. Where the hell are you putting your fingers? In eighteen years I've never had my Dillon "guillotine" my fingers.

    I thought so much of my Lee presses that I actually threw both of them in the garbage a year after I got my Dillon.
     
  17. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
    1
    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    The fail safe system has nasty tendency to return when it's not wanted, like when I'm dispensing a charge into a nyquil cup while adjusting the charge weight. It's big, expensive, heavy, and a pita to deal with compared to the Lee measure.

    But you're on to the right track, throwing out two presses makes a lot of sense. Why would you buy two of something that you didn't like? It reminds me of a guy I used to work with who re-married his ex-wife.
     
  18. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    8,033
    268
    Oct 19, 2011
    Does the instructor have the same equipment that you are using? It would certainly be more helpful if he does.

    The reloading process doesn't change much as a function of equipment. The same steps are required regardless of how they are accomplished. Still, it would be nice to take a class using the same equipment.

    Richard
     
  19. jr05

    jr05

    854
    1
    Jun 9, 2007
    I use the pro auto disk with 4.8gr WSF and have had great results. I am using the 0.43 hole.

    One thing that has really increased the accuracy of the drops for me has been to "double tap" the handle on the powder drop. You don't lower the handle to let the measure cycle, just a few mm and then bump it again. This clears any powder that gets stuck in the drop tube or in the hole.
     
  20. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,937
    166
    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    I would never double tap a reloading press with a powder measure like the Lee. If you cycle the handle too much you could get a double charge.