Making Reloads On A Press

Reloading Ammunition
 By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

I FOUND THE LEE MICROMETER ADJUSTABLE CHARGE BAR to be inconsistent for reliable powder measurement. After testing it for a while I gave up on it.

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Lee Charge Bar Powder Measure Review

  
  

I purchased the Lee Precision Adjustable Charge Bar with the hopes of gaining the capability of precision adjustment for my powder charges when reloading 9mm Luger ammunition. I reload with the Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret Press. I tested and evaluated the charge bar and found it to be inconsistent for reliable powder measurement.

 

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Reloading Equipment

 

When reloading your own ammunition adding the exact correct amount of powder to each case is one of the most important things. I wanted a dispensing system that was completely reliable. When I did my research, I read all of the customer reviews of dispensing systems that I could find and some of them recommended buying a Lee Micrometer Adjustable Charge Bar to go along with system. Some reviewers had good things to say about the bar, others had bad things. Since it was so cheap I added one to my order.

I decided to test my powder measure setup and compare the accuracy of the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Measure using a standard Lee disk against the results of using the Lee Micrometer Adjustable Charge Bar. I would use whichever method produced the most consistent results.

 

 Charge Bar Installation

Lee Charge Bar Powder Measure Installation Lee Charge Bar Powder Measure Lee Charge Bar Powder Measure Adjustment Screw
Installing Placement Adjustment Screw

Lee Pro Auto-Disk Installation

LEE Classic 4 Hole Turret Press Lee Pro Auto Disk Measure Disk Installation Lee Pro Auto Disk Measure Disk Installation 2
LEE Classic 4 Hole Turret Press and the Lee Pro Auto Disk Measure Installing Placement

 

Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure Test Setup

I set the system to discharge one measure of smokeless powder into a 9mm Luger case with a dead primer installed. I weighed the empty case first, then I weighed the case filled with one charge using a RCBS - Rangemaster 750 Scale (750 Grain Capacity). I then emptied the case and repeated the process with new charges to check the reliability of the measures. Results are as follows.

Empty case weight = 63.1gr

Combines weights readings (in grains)

Example: a weight reading of 67.3gr would have a powder weight of 4.2gr

Measuring Smokeless Powder for Reloading

Rangemaster 750 Scale Lee Micrometer Adjustable Charge Bar Instruction Sheet Lee Micrometer Adjustable Charge Bar Instruction Sheet 2
RCBS - Rangemaster 750 Scale Electronic Scale , 750 Grain Capacity Instruction Sheet (1) Instruction Sheet (2)

TEST #1

Accuracy Test using the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Measure (using a disk no. 40)

67.4 67.1 67.1 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2 67.2

RESULTS: Out of the 16 readings taken all were acceptable. No powder leakage was observed.

TEST #2

Accuracy Test using the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Measure (using a disk no. 43)

67.4 67.4 67.5 67.5 67.5 67.5 67.5 67.5 67.5 67.5 67.5 40@67.6

RESULTS: Out of the 46 readings taken all were acceptable. No leakage was observed.

TEST #3

Accuracy Test using the Lee Micrometer Adjustable Charge Bar

67.3 67.4 67.4 67.4 67.4 67.4 67.3 67.3 67.4 67.4 67.5 67.4 67.3 67.4 67.4 67.4 63.8 67.4 67.4 64.2 65.9 67.4 20@67.4 64.6 8@67.4 63.7 67.5 67.5 67.4 67.4 67.4 67.4 15@67.4

When using the bar it was observed that there was no leakage during charging operations but there was some powder buildup noticed when the bar was removed after the test was completed.

RESULTS: Note the "bold" readings above. These light loads may have resulted in dangerous squib loads. Out of the 74 readings taken 5 of them would have resulted in bad loads resulting in potentially dangerous shooting conditions. These bad loads were visibly obvious when eyeballing each load as it was dispensed however this is unacceptable when using an automated reloading process. This system may be acceptable for measuring and weighing individual loads performed manually.

Tips/Remarks/Observations

  1. After the testing was completed it took 3-4 charges to empty the dispensing system after the hopper was rotated to the "off" position.

  2. Recommend making a cardboard stand to place the hopper on during disk change-out operations. This will keep the hopper upright and prevent powder spillage.

  3. Run 5-10 charges through the system before each reloading operation to ensure consistent measures.

  4. Keep your electronic scale away from lamps that give off heat, fans and air conditioning systems as these may affect your readings.

  5. During reloading operations check the powder measure every tenth round. Use the same empty case each time you check the powder weight.

  6. Eyeball each powder measure to ensure proper level. Use a directed light placed over the filled case. Light loads and double charges are obvious when looking for them.

 

Feedback & Comments

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Sent: July 21, 2011
Subject: Lee Micrometer Adjustable Charge Bar Powder Measure System Doesn't Work

While this is a simple and excellent idea it doesn't seem to work. I just got mine and tested it on my Loadmaster with disturbing results. After some initial tweaking I got it to drop 5.6gr of Winchester 231 into a spent.45 ACP shell. To confirm consistency I repeated this several times using the same shell. Some came out 6.4gr but most slowly decreased until hardly any powder appeared in the shell. I'm sending this back. It defeats the purpose of a progressive press to have to check the powder in every round.
RickD

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Hello,

Please observe that the bar advances more than the Auto disk, which also produces this erratic underload.

Suggest that you visually test that the Dosing Hole of the Charge Bar is centered to the chute of the Pro Auto Disk or (even Load master), when it is in full stroke while charging an empty shell.

Every shell may have different height, this would cause the charge bar to have an inconsistent centering, however you could play with every stroke and make an average adjustment (adjusting the height of the die or the swivel) to accommodate the length differences on your shells.

I think this would help.

Wally - Philippines

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Coviello is a former aerospace engineer, now Web Designer/SEO Consultant. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammunition.
 


 

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RELOADING AMMUNITION

Reloading Equipment
1. Equipment
The Components Of Ammunition
2. Components
Cleaning Brass Cases For Reloading
3. Brass Cases
Making Reloads On A Press
4. Know How