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  #1  
Old 06-18-2010, 07:15 AM
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Lee Dippers


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I love those little Lee Loaders (the little loader-in-a-box kits).  If I've got my progressive press(s) setup for one caliber and need to make a dummy round or de-prime a case, seat a bullet a little deeper or whatever, for a different caliber, I just whip out a little Lee kit.  What I haven't done is spend much time using their supplied dippers.

Last night I played around with the 3.4cc dipper than comes with the 30-06 kit and the 1.6cc dipper that comes with the .223 kit to see if I could dip enough powder, uniformly, to make a usable load.  I used a short grained extruded powder, two long grained extruded powders and a ball powder.  I was surprised at how consistent the charge weights can be with extruded powders such as H-4895, IMR-4064 and IMR-3031.  Charges of W-748 ball powder were, obviously, extremely consistent but surprised me by how "light" the charges were compared to Lee's purported capacity. The stick powders were actually closer to Lee's claimed charge weights than this ball powder. One day I'm going to test some different ball powders to see if this pattern holds true or if I just have a fluffy jug of W-748

I dipped using Lee's recommended dipping method of pushing the dipper down, into the powder, and letting it spill into the dipper and then leveling it with a business card.  I wasn't super careful dipping, I just dipped and leveled at a pace that I would use if I were actually loading ammo.  I weighed each charge using a beam scale to eliminate the built in +- 0.1 grain variation of a digital scale. I weighed every charged I dipped even if I thought one may be a little light or heavy because I didn't "dip & level" exactly the same.


Charges throw using Lee Dipper 3.4c (from the 30-06 kit)

H-4895

Lee's chart: 3.4cc = 46.7

Weights I recorded
46.0
45.8
45.7
45.8
45.8
45.7
45.6
46.1
45.6
45.8

Av: 45.8
Es: 0.5

IMR-4064
Lee's chart: 3.4cc = 45.6

Weights I recorded

43.3
43.3
43.9
43.6
43.2
43.2
43.1
43.3
43.2
43.2

Av: 43.3
Es: 0.8


W-748

Lee's chart: 3.4cc = 51.9

Weights I recorded

47.9
47.8
47.7
47.8
47.9
47.8
47.7
47.7
47.7
47.9

Av: 47.8
Ex: 0.2



Lee Dipper 1.6cc (from the .223rem kit)

H-4895

Lee's chart: 1.6cc = 22.0

Weights I recorded

21.6
21.6
21.5
21.5
21.4
21.4
21.6
21.3
21.5
21.4

Av: 21.5
Es: 0.3


IMR-3031

Lee's chart: 1.6cc = 21.0

Weights I recorded

19.9
19.9
19.9
19.8
20.0
19.8
19.8
19.7
19.6
19.9

Av: 19.8
Es: 0.4


W-748

Lee's chart: 1.6cc = 24.4

Weights I recorded

22.6
22.6
22.6
22.5
22.4
22.4
22.4
22.4
22.4
22.4

Av: 22.4
Es: 0.2
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Last edited by HardBall; 06-18-2010 at 07:33 AM. Reason: formatting problems
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2010, 07:28 AM
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You "love" the dippers - you and me both. I am to the point that I dont even weigh my charges and due to my dislike of using scale I could not be happier. Once I open my cannister of Unique and check a charge or two on a scale then the scale goes back to the shelf. KISS is a good thing for me and as Richard Lee points out there is no safer way to load than by volume. Once you get you technique down the dippers are so fast and simple. With Unique I have found that scooping (not advised by Richard Lee or the O/P) is best with Unique as the dipper charges are light if you use the push and fill method. What ever method you use make sure it is repeatable.
I get +/- .2 grains or better which works for me as I don't load to the "red line" and want only to hit "center mass" and don't need bench rest or bull's eye accuracy. In actual use the dipper charges provide good accuracy - better than expected.
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Last edited by jmortimer; 06-19-2010 at 06:50 AM.
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  #3  
Old 06-18-2010, 09:33 PM
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Out of curiousity I once tested a Lee dipper similar to what you did, with Bullseye at 0.5 cc. I didn't follow the Lee instructions for scooping, and tapped it a certain number of times to let the powder settle and eliminate voids, and also to knock off excess from the handle. I got results that were consistently within 0.1 gr. One of these days I think I'll get a set just for working up small batches (in conjunction with a scale, of course!)
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  #4  
Old 06-19-2010, 11:10 AM
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I used to reload using Lee scoops and a scale; I was anal about weighing every charge when working up a load. Once I got a rythem down, and did everything the same each time, the results were all within .1 gr, and sometimes smaller. I fell into the "more expensive is better" and the "primitave scoops don't work" talk, and bought a powder measure (which isn't as accurate as I was back when). I'm back to using my scoops (both my Lee and my home made) for small batches of ammo (100 or less) that I want to be real close.
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  #5  
Old 06-19-2010, 06:03 PM
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The Lee scoops work.
They arent flashy or expensive or eye catching. They just work.

Let you in on a little secret, for accuracy loads, I use the scoop and not my powder measure cause it does a better job and I try to be just as consistent with both methods. Movements and touch and time the same either way.

Richard Lee may annoy a lot of people but his stuff works and doesnt cost an arm and a leg.
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  #6  
Old 06-20-2010, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld View Post
I used to reload using Lee scoops and a scale; I was anal about weighing every charge when working up a load.
When I first started loading, in my pre-internet days, I was young with more time than money and loaded up a bunch of loads, scale weighing each charge at several different charge levels, and shot them against the same charges that were thrown. I remember it taking forever to load them because I trickled until each scale load was dead on- not variation at all.

I went to the range and tried them out- All that extra time spent trickling didn't do a thing for accuracy in my gun at the ranges I was shooting. Today, with the internet, I could have found that out with a little help from Google, but back then, with the limited gun magazines I knew about, I had to learn these little lessons with some elbow grease.

If Shooting a BR rifle at longer ranges I can see some advantage in scale weighing each charge (if using a beam scale without the +- 0.1 grain variation of a digital scale) to get some really low velocity deviations but for any other purpose, IME, there's no other notable benefit.
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  #7  
Old 06-20-2010, 07:19 PM
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Lee dippers are great. I used them for many years with success and still use them to put powder from keg to scale and trickle in the rest. When I reload lots of ammo I use the Lee Perfect Powder Measure for the speed, but the dippers still have their place in my reloading room.
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  #8  
Old 06-21-2010, 01:44 PM
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Love em. Use em. They work.
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  #9  
Old 06-22-2010, 07:12 AM
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Powder burn rate and the peak pressure achieved are affected not only by charge weight but how the powder packs and the size and density of the individual grains. Weight controls the total energy content, but flame front path between grains affects the ignition rate, too, while density and grain size affect burn rate after ignition. Lots of benchrest shooters have observed volumetric measures bring better results than weighing, which is why all those expensive Harrell measures and the like are out there. Apparently it works out that a less dense load lights up enough faster to make up for the missing energy by delivering what there is more efficiently, and vice versa. It's a bit mysterious, and it would be interesting to hear what an expert chemist working in the industry would have to say about it?

That said, it seems apparent that if you could get both weight and volume to match simultaneously, that would be the best of both worlds. Measures that throw more consistent weight seem, partly, just to be better at packing the powder into the measuring cavity the same way each time.

The Lee tables seem to match powder that's gone down a drop tube or been measured in a taller column, like a graduated cylinder? The scoops always throw light compared to the tables. It makes me wonder if the Lee tables aren't made for the worst case, such as high scooping force or a lot of tapping of the scoop while it has powder falling in? I just use a scale to see what they give me and change scoops or add throws from a small one to compensate for the error.
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  #10  
Old 06-22-2010, 07:15 AM
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There are three sets, yellow, red and black, the dippers are scientifically designed to prevent under and or over charge if instructions are followed, I have them, I do not use them, but on occasions I use an old adjustable dipper designed for shotgun shot and powder in the late 1800s, when using a scale and tickler the adjustable is most accurate. The dipper is a volume measuring devise, so is the RCBS Uniflow, Little Dandy, and the rest of the powder measures, so for the most part I use powder measures.

F. Guffey
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  #11  
Old 06-22-2010, 01:36 PM
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I have a balance beam scale, a digital scale and lee dippers. Whenever I've checked the grains I've scooped with a Lee Dipper with a digital or balance beam scale, it is always a lower amount of grains than the Lee dipper chart shows. But, most of the rounds I reload are with the Lee dippers, which I find reliable and convenient to use.

As Guffy has written, there are black and red colored dippers too. Check Numrich and you'll find them shown in the closeout section in Reloading. Cost around 70 cents each. I've added about 8 of them to my yellow Lee dipper set. Had to spend some time figuring out the number of grains each one could hold of the various powders I use by weighing grains a particular red or black dipper would scoop on a digital scale. But, they've been a useful addition to my dippers.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:48 PM
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hardballs - I go out of my way to develop a load that is friendly to the dipper cups. Like all the other folks who use them, I like them. For the powders I use the charge tables match the measured weights really well.

Question for fguffey and others - are the red and black dipper cups graduated in the same increments as the yellow cups? It would be nice if they were different because you could "fill some gaps" with different volumetric sizes.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:51 PM
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flashhole,

The Red dippers were by Lee, but the numbers molded on the handle were evidently to be used with a Lee Charge chart that was replaced when Lee introduced the yellow dippers. The black dippers evidently were for use with shotgun pellets/powder. The black dipper number 181 has 5.8 Oz. shot molded on handle, but it will hold about 2.9 C.C. of rifle powder.

Here is a partial list of the Red dippers I bought from Numrich. First column is number used on the Red dipper. Second column is the C.C. capacity I've determined by using a digital scale to measure grains powder I scooped. Powders I used were all spherical rifle powders that allowed me to get a consistent grain reading. I then calculated the C.C. of the dipper by multiplying the grains I measured on a digital scale with VMD info from Lee web site for powders I used. Example: VMD of BLC2 powder is .0645, so if I measured 9.1 grains of blc2 with the #39 red dipper and then multiplied it by .0645, I'd get .587 C.C. Other measurements and calculations using a different ball powder in the #39 red dipper, such as H380 with a VMD of .0691 will give a slightly different (higher) C.C., H380 powder resulted in a .6 CC, Ramshot TAC was .63 CC. I've kinda averaged/rounded off the CC numbers I've shown below when I compared the different C.C. calculations of the three spherical powders I used.

Red dippers
#39---.6 CC
#52---.83 CC
#108--1.7CC
#129--2.0CC
#141--2.2CC
#181--2.9CC (a black dipper)
#190--3.05CC
#205--3.2CC

I have other black or red dippers that I bought from Numrich, but I've altered their C.C. capacitiy, so furnishing my C.C. info would be of no use to you.

However, it seems that under the old dipper numbering system 1 is equal to about .01574 C.C. So, dipper #20 (20 times .01574) will be about .31 C.C., which is the C.C. I calculated by measuring powder and using the Lee VMD info on their website before I lowered its C.C. capacity by sanding down the height of the dipper. Red dipper #253 should be about a 4 C.C. dipper. Above, I've shown the #190 to be 3.05C.C., using the VMD method. If you multiply 190 X .01574, you get 2.99 C.C. Number 108 red dipper X .01574 is 1.6999 and the VMD method was 1.7

Hope this helps.

Last edited by huffmanite; 06-22-2010 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:50 PM
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i've been unable to find any of Lee's old red dippers, from either eBay or Numrich. Anyone got a set of the old red dippers they want to part with?
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:29 PM
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I had the complete set of red dippers boxed with the charge card from Lee but i sold the set for $5.00. I had several black dippers as well as the old aluminum dippers but have parted with all those as well except for the couple that i still use. When Lee first changed the dippers they were not red but were black. I saw an entire boxed set of black dippers with the slide card included for sale on one of the auction sites just a week or so ago.
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Old 06-24-2010, 04:53 PM
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Hardball,

ON Numrich site, you need to find page 2 or 3 of their Closeout/Reloading section to find the older Lee dippers.

http://www.gunpartscorp.com/catalog/...spx?catid=6469
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:31 AM
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Thanks! I've got several dippers ordered plus a few other goodies.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:10 AM
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My set of black dippers has a copy wright date of 1966, the largest is #258 and holds 57.3 grains of IMR 4350 according to the charge card. The charge card list powder in relative combustion quickness without mention of shotgun loading.

In the beginning Lee made aluminum dippers stamped 12, 16 and 20 because Lee only made Lee loaders for shotgun, then (he said) he made a mistake, he molded the next set and stamped them in cubic inches, that is the reason the first set in black is marked with a number that has a decimal 3 places to the left, the black set starts at .020 and goes up to .258 from .020, .038, .052, .065, .069, .108, .129, .141, .167, .190, .205, .230 and .258 cubic inches, then (he said) he was forced out of business and a second chance to get it correct. From Lee custom to Lee precession he changed the markings on the dippers and went to cubic centimeters, a universal unit of measurement with no intention of creating a paradox (he said) of either or, volume or weight, weight must be established after volume is selected.


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Old 06-25-2010, 08:21 AM
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if you click on the link in huffmanite's response the dippers are marked in cubic inches under

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The new dippers are white.


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