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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I'd see if anyone has had this same problem. I'm using a new Dillon 550B with their powder measure. With IMR 4895 and RL19 powders - both larger extruded powders - loading .270 and .30-06, I'm getting a lot of powder spillage and inconsistent loads. (up to 3-4% high to low) I've talked to Dillon 3 times and tried everything they suggested which ran from proper set up to static electricity. The last guy said it was because of the large powder. That the amount I was loading (52.4 grs.) was at the limit of the large powder bar and some of the powder was hanging up and eventually bridging. This makes sense as fine powders have no problem. His suggestion was, of course, to buy something else - the Magnum powder bar. Frankly I don't mind doing that if it will cure the problem but it would have been good to have been forewarned. Has anybody else had this problem?
 

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Never used that powder bar, but can see how the powder trying to fill out into the small bar has a way to travel.

Two suggestions:

Add another baffle to the hopper. You can download templates in PDF format from my file repository.

Several folks have reported good luck taking some large rubber bands and attaching a fishtank pump to the side of the measure to act as a vibrator and give it a blast of a few seconds at a time.

If you are not satisfied with the Dillon measure, the cadillac alternative would be the JDS Quick Measure, which has a design that cannot cut stick grains. They make an adapter that will fit a Dillon. Not the cheapest route, but I have one and it is typically better than 0.2 grains with any stick powder.
 

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I was having "spilling problems" when I first got the press, I found that I needed to leave the ram at the top of it's stroke to let the powder fall into the shell, that seems to have fixed that problem, with NO background noise I can here the powder filling the shell.
With stick powders operate the press with some attitude, to get the hopper to shake, much like Nick's suggestion of the fish pump, and the measurement variance decreased significantly, stick powders will all take little bit from the trickler to get them spot on.
The to powders you listed may be at the top of the max the large powder bar will throw?, seems like I was getting a 60grn charge of H4831 out of mine??, but I did get the "Magnum" powder bar to fill the belted magnum cases.
 

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On the newer Dillon powder measures; make sure the actuator lever on the side of the measure is "snapping" the side of the charge bar correctly. According to a Dillon rep, a lot of people think this was bent during shipping and try to straighten it out. It's supposed to have a bend in it to "snap" the side of the charge bar. This helps to settle powder and reduce bridging (somewhat) Dillon calls it the "Lock-Link Bellcrank Assembly", their part #97034.

If you haven't dinked with your Dillon measure the "Bellcrank" probably has the correct bend in it. Do remember to pause a second or two when you run the ram up. I even pause a second when loading 32gr of ball powder into my 30-30 cases and it drops like sand. If it's quite, you can hear the powder drop.

Not sure about RL-19 but I know longer sticked powders like 3031 and 4064 meter like mouse turds. 4895 powders have a smaller sized granule and should meter acceptably into a .30 cal case. The smaller neck of .270 may give you more bridging problems though.

There's suggestions on the net for polishing the powder funnel and powder measure body that really helps (so they say) with the consistency with extruded powders.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good info all

I've pretty much tried and eliminated all the "normal" problems but I haven't tried the polishing route. I've had the problem with both .30-06 & .270 and 4895 and RL19 - both very similar powders. I would get 3-4 loads that were very consistent then one that was 2% lower followed by one 2% higher than norm. Which would be very consistent with bridging. It also eliminates using the measure with any expectation of reliability. That problem does seem to be worse with .270 so the neck size is probably the culprit. Frankly I can't believe that more people aren't having this problem. Both these powders and similar ones are very popular. So far I haven't talked to anybody that has it this consistently. It's a little disappointing given Dillons quality and rep. Anyway, I've got a Mag bar coming so I'll hope that the solution is on its way.
 

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Frankly I can't believe that more people aren't having this problem.

Others also have this problem, you're not the only one.

I forgot one other tip that should stop the bridging. You use a taper reamer to put a slight taper on the powder funnel (that comes with the conversion kit), I think. You want the taper to be larger towards the case side tapering to smaller towards the powder measure side. This supposedly stops the bridging.

Google "dillon powder measure consistency (or bridging)" and you'll find lots of threads talking about this.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update

Just thought I'd throw out this up date. I received the new Magnum powder bar the other day and have loaded 100 .270's with RL19 with no spilling problem. So Dillon's suggestion to use this instead of the large bar was correct. I'm still not getting what I desire in load accuracy (2% off from high to low). I still am attributing this to a certain amount of bridging or just powder hang up. It's not enough to worry about for hunting loads, but I will stay away from max loads. Out of 10 loads, 7 or 8 will be perfect or within .1 gr. but 2 will be up to .7 off. When I first got the Mag bar I was mystified how it could throw anything consistent at all. If you look at the end of the sliding bar part the end is cut in a 1/2 circle. However this cut goes left to right or opposite to the flow of powder. Now, that goes against any design ideas I've ever heard of but it does seem to work. I'm still a little disappointed in Dillon since this means that I can't absolutely rely on the measure for accuracy with some of my favorite powders. I guess no matter how much money you spend .......!
 

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This is why Dillon's instruction manual rather strongly suggests using spherical powders.

The upshot is simple: To gain whatever you believe a progressive press gives you, something has to be sacrificed. Powder choice or charge accuracy might be among those things lost.
 

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. . . something has to be sacrificed. Powder choice or charge accuracy might be among those things lost.
Rocky,

The exception is the one you lead me to a year (or is it two, now?) ago that I mentioned in post #2. Get the JDS Quick Measure and its Dillon adapter. Not an inexpensive solution, but will keep the drops within .1 and sometimes .2 grains, worst case, even for the very coarsest stick powders. Since this is a rifle with jacketed bullets, as long as he applies a chamfer to the case mouths, he won't need an expander step, and the 4-station 550B will still do the job.


Mcg6637,

The Quick Measure is the Cadillac solution, but before going there do try the extra powder baffles and a one or two second burst on the fish tank pump that I mention in post #2.

One additional consideration on progressives that I saw recently (but can't recall the source): the author commented that he sees a difference in shoulder setback and seating depth until all stations on the progressive press are full. It's a difference in the press flex under the changing loads. You need to figure that on a press with n stations, your first and last n-1 rounds might be slightly different and should be set aside as fouling or practice loads. That is, your first and last two on a three station press, your first and last three on a four station press, your first and last four on a five station, etc. Also, you need to double-check that the ammo coming off the press after the stations are full are measuring what you want them to.

On the Dillon 550B and its predecessors, you can use its stations as a single-stage press by not indexing if you choose not to, or by pulling the brass buttons and removing the sized case on the 650. You can size all your brass, trim, chamfer and clean the lube off, then start them into progressive completion by priming then indexing normally for the other stages. You may get somewhat more consistent sizing by keeping that step separate and the other stages probably won't notice the load difference much if you do that. Experiment.
 

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I also had this problem and dillon informed me to slow down and let the powder have time to fall into the casing. Well I still had the problem with using H110 powder the fine grind gets stuck in the measure. I found out that if I give the powder time to fall and half way down cycling the load I give the powder measure one or two lite taps 99 to 100% of my wasted powder and mess was stopped. I almost stopped using H110 podwer do to the problem and this powder is probably my favorite podwer that I use.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Update

I was having problems with the "stick" powders like 4895. The ball types fell fine. Dillon suggested I go to the Magnum powder bar since it could throw a larger charge and I was at the upper limit of the Large bar. I frankly thought that was highly unlikely a solution (since I tend to assume most customer service suggestions involve buying another of their products - even Dillon) But (apologies offered) it did solve the problem. I am very seldom off by more than 1-2 tenths now. Good procedure - smooth consistent motion and a slight pause is still essential but it is with all presses. So my faith has been restored (even if it only was in limbo). So far I have not had any problems with the Dillon that wasn't easily (and usually obviously) solved. Soooo much better than my previous Lee Pro 1000!!!!
 

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I had the same problem, but bought the Magnum powder measure from Dillon because I shoot some big cartridges and that solved the stick powder problem for me.

My first Dillon was a 450B, now I have two 55Bs and a SDB, they work and Dillon does stand behind their products.

Jerry
 
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