Nov 14, 2012

Reloading Annoyance...

I just dusted off the reloading bench for the first time in... well, a while. Probably over a year. I think the last thing I reloaded was a large pile of my mousefart .38 loads, just in time for Northeast Blogshoot ... 2011.

Tonight, though, I did something new.

I was going to crank out a box of medium-speed .38s to stuff in a snubby while hunting. I set up, checked lengths, grabbed a bag of primed brass, and tweaked my powder measure. I dumped powder into a dozen cases, spot-checked, and tweaked the measure a bit again.

The next five were consistent, so I finished the tray of 50. I went back and spot-checked a couple more, and  found weights varying by almost a half-grain. This in a powder (Ramshot TrueBlue) that has a "start" of 5.3 and a "max" of 5.9. None were over max, but the spread of 5.1 to 5.6 was Not OK.

So here's what I did that's new: I dumped every single one back into the measure and tried again.

I fiddled with the measure a bit more and still couldn't get a consistent drop, so I put that powder away and figured I'd load up a box of my mousefarts.

Switched powders, and dug in. Tweak measure, drop powders ... Again, couldn't get consistent results, this time using IMR TrailBoss. 3.4-3.9 was the spread, 3.5 was the goal. After fifteen or twenty minutes of farting around with this set and not getting anywhere, I poured all the powder back in the jar and cleaned up my bench. Something Ain't Right, and I'm too tired to figure it out right now. I know I want/need a new scale, and I'm suspecting I need a new powder measure.

In the meantime, I can sort, size, and prime a whole pile of brass.



Old NFO said...

Yeah, that IS strange, especially if it was working correctly before... Shut off problem???

ZerCool said...

I really don't know, NFO. It's worked fine since I got it. Nothing fancy, it's a Lee Perfect Powder Measure. Not a lot to go wrong in that arrangement.

I'm leaning towards it being the scale (a $30 electronic) going wonky. The other possibility is the wobbling of reloading bench is changing the density of powder with each throw.

A new scale was on my wishlist anyways, so I may move that up to something like an RCBS electronic... and a set of checkweights.

Wolfman said...

This may seem a little unlikely, but it may just be the rust. Not your measure, but you... I go through bouts of reloading and right now its been most of a year and a half since the last batch. I found myself totally out of the groove- making mistakes, such as filling unprimed cases and such. Get some sleep, and tomorrow, jist concentrate on getting a good solid click-clack out of your measure. I bet it comes back in a hurry.

ZerCool said...

That also occurred to me, Wolfman, and is entirely within reason.

(I want a damn progressive press. Or an ammo factory.)

Jerry said...

Powder scales can get weird sometimes. The old balance style scales can get dust in the balance points and produce slightly altered results. I brush mine with a lens brush before use.

The electronic scales are essentially a small micro-processor connected to a sensor & display. Try pulling the battery & letting the unit sit overnight then see if you get the same results. Try several measurements of the same load to see if you get the same reading. This will tell you if the scale is wonky. If the scale is OK, look elsewhere.