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Old 03-30-2012, 02:15 PM
Hammer1 Hammer1 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 399
Vibrator on Dillon powder measure


An engineering friend of mine in Idaho has been an ammunition handloader for 50+ years using single-stage RCBS equipment and weighing powder charges for consistency. He just got a Dillon progressive 550 press this past week – his first experience with a progressive press.

He immediately noticed the poor powder throwing consistency with giant swings when using extruded IMR 3031 powder for his 223 Remington for use in his AR-15. I suggested he try a ball powder, which he eventually will, but he has a good load for IMR 3031 and a lot of that extruded powder on hand. He was basically combining the two worst things you can – long extruded powder grains and a very small case neck (0.224”). Think Dillon only recommends ball powder or small grain powder for case necks less than 7mm.

My friend then had a thought. He added a small vibrator motor to the side of the Dillon powder measure. His thrown powder charges are now extremely consistent – more so than one should have any right to expect.

For the what it’s worth department, my shotshell loading machine – a Spolar – comes from the factory with a vibrator which is supposed to improve the consistency of both powder and shot drops and improve the feeding of the primer system too.

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Old 03-30-2012, 02:28 PM
TheTinMan TheTinMan is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,506
And here I thought you were going to tell us that his wife was mad at him...

I'm sure that the vibrating motor improves consistency.

I've had problems with my Hornady measure throwing increasing loads over the first 20 or 30 throws. Last weekend, I tried an experiment. Load up measure 1/3, tap base repeatedly for a minute, load up to 2/3, tap another minute, top it off and tap some more. Then throw out the first charge because it will be HEAVY. After that, I got very consistent charges provided that I used the same throwing motion each time.

However, I've noticed with stick powders that I get inconsistent charges whenever a stick gets caught at the edge of the rotor. I've learned that if I feel a catch and then cut, I need to double check that powder charge. Won't work on a progressive press though due to lack of "feel".
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:49 PM
Rembrandt Rembrandt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 763
So that's how it's done, been trying to figure out how to remove the powder from my electric toothbrush bristles.......
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:35 PM
BlueOvalBandit BlueOvalBandit is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 1,267
So, you mean we DON'T have to strap a purple rabbit to my powder measure anymore to get consistent drops...? This will lead to less awkward moments with shooting buddies in the reloading room for sure.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:14 PM
saread saread is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Near Seattle
Posts: 401
Strapping a small aquarium air pump to the powder measure is an old trick. I find that a Uniflow does a much better job than a Dillon throwing stick powders consistently. Using a baffle in the reservoir also helps.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:15 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Florence, Alabama, USA
Posts: 18,074
I have an aquarium air pump banded to my Dillon powder measure.
It helps get more uniform charges of flake powder like Solo 1000 and Clays.
I hope it works with 700X because I have a supply and seldom load 12 gauge these days.

It cost $6.00 at CheapMart.
There was a purpose built vibrator advertised in the gunzines but none actually available. Just as well, they wanted nearly $40 for it.
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