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Weighing Powder Electronic Scale - Technique

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by washandwear, Nov 16, 2009.

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  1. washandwear

    washandwear Member

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    Hi

    My shooting buddy said when he weighed his powder charge on his electronic scale he weighed the hull and primer before he dropped the powder charge and set this as zero and then dropped the powder charge and weighted all (hull/primer/powder charge).

    You may already do it this way but I always dump the hull contents into the little tray after zeroing for the tray weight and then read the weight of the powder charge.

    His method looks to me to be more accurate since there are usually a few flakes jumping out or remaining in the hull when I dump the powder charge into the tray.

    A better way! Never too old to learn a new trick.

    Regards

    W&W
     
  2. luvtrapguns

    luvtrapguns Well-Known Member

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    Setter,

    W&W's friend seems to be doing it the most accurate way. Regardless of what the hull weighs you must zero your scale for each hull before the powder drop. It does not matter if the hull weighs 1 oz or 1 lb. You can not assume each hull weighs the same. By zeroing the scale each time before the powder drop and reweighing each time after the powder drop you are measuring only the true powder weight for that shell.

    Marc
     
  3. setter

    setter Member

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    Marc,

    Got it, I misunderstood! Thanks.

    Jim
     
  4. short shucker

    short shucker TS Member

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    The biggest problem I have while weighing charges is eliminating the drafts. My Dillon scales are sensative enough that an open register near by will affect the readings.

    I don't usually know what shells I'm going to check as I do it a random. I always check the first 2 or 3 shells during a session, but nothing in concrete there after.

    It's a good idea if you know which ones you're going to check.

    ss
     
  5. Trap2

    Trap2 Well-Known Member

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    I don't care how much the hull and primer weigh, I'm only concerned about powder weight. I drop my powder into the hull, then I remove the hull and dump the powder on a zero'd out scale. To me, this is the most accurate way to get the weight of a powder drop. While the other way may work as well, I find it much easier to just weigh the powder drop by itself since once I zero my scale during a session I don't have to do it again.... Dan Thome (Trap2)
     
  6. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Weighing the hull with primer and powder would be more accurate because of the few flakes that stick on the hull when pouring into a tray. But, what level of accuracy do we need when most machines will vary in powder drops by one or two 1/10 of a grain. That is more than a couple of flakes of powder.

    Pat Ireland
     
  7. superxjeff

    superxjeff Active Member

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    My powder scale will measure one flake of Varget powder. It is sensitive to wind as well as drafts. My scale has a way you can adjust the software so it's not so easy to throw it off when somebody moves or you drop something. You might check to see if your Dillon can be changed. My dillon and My RCBS would not weigh 1 flake of powder. It took usually 3 to 5 flakes and sometimes more to register. It's just not as crucial with a shotgun do to the distance we shoot and the velocities we use. My scale was 275 bucks VS 60.00 bucks for the cheaper models. 1/10 of a grain at 800 yards makes a difference 1/10 with a shotgun means nothing. Jeff
     
  8. Unknown1

    Unknown1 Well-Known Member

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    <I>"Weighing the hull with primer and powder would be more accurate because of the few flakes that stick on the hull when pouring into a tray."</I>

    That's why P-W sells powder catch tubes and funnels. The tubes catch the powder instead of letting it drop into the hull and are made of a plastic that powder flakes don't stick to.

    MK
     
  9. Francis Marion

    Francis Marion Well-Known Member

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    Dan( Trap 2) is correct. Why would you waste your time weighing hulls and primers that are inconsistent in their own weight. Besides, when you read a load book, it gives you the weight of the powder, not powder plus whatever else you want to throw on your scale. Not to mention, a few tenths of a grain one way or the other doesn't make much difference in a shotgun shell. If you are loading competition rifle ammo, different story.
     
  10. jim brown

    jim brown Well-Known Member

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    Jeff,

    Nothing I have read or experienced indicates that 1/10 grain of smokeless powder variation in a rifle load makes any difference.

    jim brown
     
  11. luvtrapguns

    luvtrapguns Well-Known Member

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    Most everyone is correct in their evaluation(s). A small variance in powder probably makes little, if any, difference in a shot shell. For the sake of this discussion I/we were talking about accuracy taken to the n'th degree. A few flakes lost/ stuck/ missing probably has no consequence to shot shell performance. A few flakes missing will cause a sensitive scale to show a lower reading. The most accurate method is to weigh the shell and primer with and without the powder and then do the math. Does it matter which method is used? I think not. Marc
     
  12. slowdp

    slowdp TS Member

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    Some food for thought from a scale slut. Many digital scales have zero tracking software built in. In other words, the scale will try to maintain a zero setting if it is at zero. The software will pull the scale back to zero if it drifts by 1/2 graduation. The zero tracking algorithm will be disabled if the scale is zeroed with a hull and the hull is removed. One should check the negative number when the hull is removed and make sure the negative number is the same when the hull with powder is placed back on the scale.

    The cheaper the scale the worse the zero stability of the device.

    Check your scale by setting it to zero and drop a couple of flakes of powder on it. Wait for a couple of seconds and repeat the process. Repeat this procedure several times. The scale has zero tracking software if it remains at zero through several drops of a tiny amount of powder. The amount of powder added must be less than 1/2 of the smallest increment of the device.
     
  13. superxjeff

    superxjeff Active Member

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    Jim Brown, This is what the high power 1000 yard shooters teach. Deveation of 30fps is way to much for these guys. They are looking for 5 to 7fps MAX extreme deveation. I agree with you that 1/10 of one grain is ridiculous but it's no harder to load it to perfection then to within 1/10. All depends one's set of tools. My shotguns charges are dropped with a bushing and checked very seldom. I wouldn't worry about as much as a full 1/2 grain with a shotgun and maybe more depemding on the powder. Jeff
     
  14. stokinpls

    stokinpls Well-Known Member

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    While we're on the subject, what does a flake of Varget weigh?

    How about a flake of Red Dot?
     
  15. jim brown

    jim brown Well-Known Member

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    Jeff,

    I am not a bench shooter so I sure can't find fault with the methods of those that do. I an sure that anything that gives you confidence in your equipment is very important. I spend some serious time shooting prairie pups every year. The ammunition requirements of a high volume varmint shooter pretty much eliminates the possibility using benchrest reloading methods. Keeping 1500 rounds of brass loaded while shooting 100 to 200 a day means that I must employ automated methods. I use a Dillon 550 sometimes with the Dillon powder measure and sometimes charging with a Pact automatic scale. Neither method can do much better than + or - one grain. I am fairly successful with shots which range out to over 400 yards on a fairly calm day. The variables found while shooting without a bench in the middle of the prairie are far greater than any variables found in my ammo. Or to put it simply to each his own.

    jim brown
     
  16. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

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    When I check the oil level in my truck I add back in the amount on the dipstick to make sure my total is accurate.

    Talk about majoring in the minors.
     
  17. Dr.Longshot

    Dr.Longshot Banned Banned

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    I do not feel weighing the hull w/primer and zeroing the scale would be accurate as I believe the hull will weigh differently, as they are not made with rocket science, and plastic composition would vary. Weighing the powder charge is the accurate way, when dumping the powder tap the hull w/ a pencil to get all powder to drop, Winchester ball powder makes a clump when a wad is pressed on it. But that is immaterial to the weighing process. I want to know what my powder charge is, I do not care about the hull or case. Rifle loading may be a different technique.

    I weigh powder charges on my digital scale and I leave it plugged in all the time. Check weight w/the known weight furnished w/scale for accuracy.

    I love my longshot chrges w/ 1 1/8th ounce loads at 1500+fps. Won almost all shootoffs last night with it from 80+ yards.


    Gary Bryant
    Dr.longshot
     
  18. superxjeff

    superxjeff Active Member

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    I hear you Jim and at moderate range most varmint guns have more accuracy then they have usable range. The wind is indeed more formidable then any other factor. When shooting at 1000 yards a very few FPS deviation means you are out of it. 40 FPS can be many inches at 1000 and the winners are shooting groups smaller then 6 inches. At 100 yards you often can't tell the difference between charges dropped within 1/2 grain and charges dropped to the powder flake. Hell, boat tail bullets don't even start to show what makes them super accurate until well past 200 yards yet guys will base a lot of decisions on 100 yards groups. As for me, I shoot groups at the range I expect to shoot the loads be it for hunting or target shooting. Very seldom the group that shoots tight at long range is not the group that shoots the best at short range. Yet, many loads look just as good at 100 yards but are many inches bigger at long range. Long range to me is anything past 500 yards.

    My .375 HH shoots 4 to 5 inch groups at 500 yards and shoots 3 and 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards. Some things can not be explained or maybe they can and I just don't know the reason. I am more focused on results that are predictable. As you well know from shooting sod poodles... 400 yards is a long way off and many people think it's 600 to 700 when they first look at it. Jeff
     
  19. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    I like loading shotgun ammo a lot better than competitive Long range ammo.

    As a Palma class shooter (800,900,1000 yards) We work very hard to get any given batch of ammo down to about 12 fps maximum deviation. All powder has to be the same lot number so you learn to buy 48 lbs at a time. Weight every charge. Same with primers. You buy 1000 pieces of new brass, resize, trim deburr and uniform the primer pockets. Then you weigh each one, dividing them into each weight. Throw away the lightest 20 and the heaviest 20.

    Bullet freebore is important also so each bullet needs to be seated measuring from the ogive radius, not the tip. You must have a way to measure throat erosion, and keep changing your loads to track with barrel wear.

    My season average was 197.6 out of two hundred points at 1000 yards, and that only occasionally gets awards in Master class. Iron sights, single shot rifle held in your hands with no artificial support, .308 with 155 grain bullets. Long range is a tough game.

    SHOTGUN reloading is a LOT more enjoyable. I am glad to be within a few tenths charge weight pulling the handle on a MEC grabber into used Remington hulls. (some a lot more used then others) I have NEVER felt I lost a bird due to variance in my reloads. I figure I only have about 6 seconds of time into each complete reloaded shell. Pretty good performance for so little time invested. Practice means a lot more in Clay sports then High Tech reloading.

    Worry less, shoot more....
     
  20. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Jeff- I cannot comprehend how a 3.5 inch group at 100 yards can turn out to be a 4-5 inch group at 500 yards. I really need some help understanding this.

    Pat Ireland
     
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