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Discussion Starter #1
Having a bit of frustration with powder measure
I have a MEC 9000G progressive for 12 ga and several different powder bushings.
When I get ready to start a production run I will choose a bushing that will throw the amount of whatever powder I am using with the recipe at hand.
I will throw 10 charges in a row and divide the total by 10 for my avg weight per shell. I use this number to match my recipe within a 10th or 2/10s.
Problem I have discovered is that after about 20-25 loads when I do a quality control check I find that there is now consistently about a half grain less per throw. Sometimes less. Fortunately never larger amount than called for.
What is happening here? Seems to be with all powder types. Lately Red Dot seems to be most affected.
What would you experienced gents do to make my loads more consistent?
Thanks
 

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In my experience, you have to operate your loader through the same cycles used in actual loading when weighing charges for consistency. It is very easy to do on the MEC 9000 by just slightly tipping the top of the shell that has just received powder toward the center post while drawing it forward off of the shell carrier. Weigh the charge (and correct it if you choose)and return the shell to the carrier to continue loading. It does take a few full loading cycles for the powder in the bottle to "settle in" and for the bushing to begin dropping consistent charges. So, continue checking until you are comfortable that you are in a reasonable range of weights (possibly +/- 0.2 grains)around the desired weight. Then check periodically to confirm that the powder drops are still within the range noted earlier. I hope this helps. -Ed
 

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Don't start weighing charges immediately. I can shortcut the "settling in" process by using just 2 empty hulls with fired primers. Cycle once to drop powder in one hull and shot in the other. Remove, dump and repeat 8 or 10 times. Then I start weighing and when the charge is stable for 3-4 rounds, I can believe the number. Takes < 5 minutes. I also keep a chart for each brand of powder with MY bushings. Even so, if a given bushing drops 19.0 grains, the powder lot will come when it drops 18.8 or 19.2. As long as the average changes by <0.3 grains (2-3%) I don't sweat it. I'll never tell the difference and no one else will either.
 

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I was having similar problems, years ago, with a MEC Grabber. Someone here suggested that I take the red cap off the powder tube for more consistent drops. So I measured fifty consecutive drops using Red Dot powder with the cap in place and then fifty without the cap. With the cap in place, 76% (38 out of the first 50) were in the range of 17.7 to 18.0 grains. After removing the cap, 92% (46 out of the second 50) were in the same range.

LA in MA
 

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1/2 gr. who in the world can tell 1/2 gr. var. in a load when shooting. Don't lose sleep over it. Cut new shells and weigh those and I bet you will find a bigger swing. JMO
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Maybe I am just being too picky trying to exactly match recipes.
I have done pretty much all of your kind suggestions.
My concern was dropping 19 gr when I thought I was dropping 19.5.
But, thanks to the above suggestion I realize that is only -2.6% .
If that is OK range then I will just keep on keeping on.
Also, duly noted: the powder needs to settle a bit.
Thanks
Matison
 

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Matison, I've experienced the same thing with two different presses. From experience, I know that if I check my powder drops in the manner Mike suggests (and I do), I will be .3 or so grains light when all stations are populated and the machine is cranking out shells.

I have a complete range of bushings that step in size by .003" to .005", so I use the next higher bushing and all is well. I also keep a chart of the weight dropped by each bushing, so it is easy to make adjustments.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ZZt
Thanks
I have a whole range of bushings too. I will try the next one up and see if what I get after all stations are full is a bit closer.
As an aside and maybe of importance I filled the MEC powder container then dumped back into the RedDot container. It emptied 3 sec faster with the red top plug out than with it in. I will also try the above suggestion from LA in MA of doing the loading process with the red plug out.
Or just get used to not having things as perfect as the recipe calls for;0)
Matison
 

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I have done tune ups on the MECs, and am familiar with your problem. First, manual loaders are going to vary slightly in powder drops, depending on how fast & hard you pull the handle down. The machine will wobble a little which can pack a little more powder into the bushing. I would recommend a powder baffle, which will give you more consistent loads. It takes the weight pressure off of the powder going into the bushing. Also, be sure that the bar is moving all the way over to the stop. The large screw in the bar should just touch the end of the bracket. If not, adjust the small nut on the rod that the bar actuator attaches to upward until it moves the bar al the way over. I have put a second nut on the rod to act as a jam nut to prevent it from moving downward, which is what will cause bar to stop short.
 

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Matison, it is unlikely you will find a powder baffle for MEC powder bottles. It would, lol, be interesting to see how you would get one in.

That being said, I found the optional powder baffle for the Pacific 366 press I used to load on a waste of time, and a contributor to varying drops. I have a powder baffle on My RCBS Grand and I don't think it does a thing. I forgot to replace it after a cleaning once and the drops were the same and consistency was identical.
 

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Forget the powder baffle. When you fluff up the powder, it is more sensitive to any variation in vibrations and time at the bottom of the stroke. I get very consistent drops by placing a soup can with 2# of lead on top of the powder. Of course it helps if you remove the bottom of the powder bottle first. Ron
 

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It has been my experience that the MEC Hydraulic or AutoMate presses will throw the most consistent powder throws as the human element has been taken out of the list of variables. Art
 

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I use the Automate and I hold the buttons down for a couple of seconds while I check to see that the powder/shot bar is all the way to the left and the primer has dropped. One other thing I do is tap the side of the powder bottle a few times after filling it and replacing the lead weight. My powder charges do not vary. Ron
 

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I know it isn't much,but keep powder above half way full,I've found once it drops below half,there usually is a drop in amount of powder being dropped.Just something I do,to keep drop more consistent.

Doug H.(pa)
 

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The posts are correct. A hydraulic or electric loader will always give the most consistent loads, as the cycle is always smoother & exactly the same each time. I found this out when I went to them. As I said, the manual machines will vary a little with your stroke being a little different. How fast & how hard you pull the handle each time. Also, you should always slightly shake or rotate the powder jug a couple of times before filling the powder bottle. This will take care of any settling.

I have a mec powder baffle on all three of my machines, and have never been off by more than a tenth of a grain when I spot check a load. The powder baffle has an offset in it that keeps the density of the powder exactly the same to compensate for the slight movement of the machine from a manual stroke. It will also compensate for how full the bottle is. I also installed the adjustable bar on each machine when I set them up. They work great, and you can fine tune the powder weight from batch to batch, as well as the shot between 7-1/2 and #8 if you switch over. (The 8 shot being smaller will put in a little more weight in the volume) You can also dial up the powder a little more if you want a hotter load.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great ideas here!
I knew I could count on you guys!!
Off the the MEC website right next.
Thanks
Matison
 
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