1911Forum banner
1 - 3 of 17 Posts

· Registered
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone

I've been reading these forums for about two months now and this is my first post. I've been shooting for 20+ years, but I'm new to centerfire reloading. I'm having difficulties getting a consistent powder charge out of my Lee "Perfect Powder Measure"....the one with the micrometer adjustable charge bar.

I went to the range yesterday and chronographed a variety of different loads for my .45 and found that there was a great deal of variation in the velocity readings. Here are the velocities for one load:

bullet: 200 gr lead swc
bullet dia: .452
bullet oal: .645
loaded cartridge oal: 1.250
primer: CCI 300 large pistol
powder: 4.5 gr Red Dot
case: mixed

shot 1: 852.7
shot 2: 758.8
shot 3: 808.3
shot 4: 809
shot 5: 835.4
shot 6: 833.1
shot 7: 824.2
shot 8: 838.4
shot 9: 870
shot 10: 775.6

average: 820.55
max: 870
min: 758.8
stdev: 33.84

I'm using a Shooting Chrony model F1 and just to check the consistency of the Chrony I tested a batch of S&B factory hardball loads. They were wonderfully consistent with an avg velocity of 858 and a stdev of only 6.16. So, I went looking for other reasons for the variable velocity in my loads. When I got home, I threw 50 charges of Red Dot from my powder measure to settle the powder (I had to fill it prior to this test) and then threw 10 charges and weighed them all. Here are the results:

charge 1: 4.5
charge 2: 4.6
charge 3: 4.5
charge 4: 4.5
charge 5: 4.5
charge 6: 4.8
charge 7: 4.5
charge 8: 4.8
charge 9: 4.5
charge 10: 4.6

Hmmmmmm........I think I found the reason my velocities keep changing. So, on to the questions:

Lee's website says that "some powders do not meter well" but doesn't specifically mention Red Dot. Is this problem common to all flake powders or just Red Dot? Does anyone have any suggestions for ways to improve the consistency of the powder charge thrown when using flake powders?

I plan on getting some W231 to see if the metering is any more consistent with ball type powder (I'm pretty sure it will be), but I still have over half a pound of Red Dot that I'd like to use up. If I need to I can set up the powder measure to throw under the weight that I want to load and then finish each charge with the scale and powder trickler, but that will slow down the already slow process of loading on a single stage press even more. Granted, safety is more important than time, but I'd rather spend the time at the range. :)

Another interesting note: groups with this load shot from a bench with a "wrist rest" hold at 15 yards ranged from .70 to 1.35 measured center to center from my Kimber, so the velocity changes didn't seem to make a huge difference in the group size. Given the accuracy results, am I being to anal about my velocities?

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions....

Len in Phoenix

· Registered
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I'm in the process of loading a bunch of test loads using Bullseye and WST. I'll post the results next week.

Thanks again.....this is a great group!

Len in Phoenix

· Registered
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I'm back after chrono testing a batch of loads using WST instead of Red Dot. Before I started loading I threw 10 charges of WST, weighed them all, and verified that WST will actually meter within .1 grains per charge out of my Lee measure. Woo hoo!

Here are the chrono results for two different loads:

Bullet weight 200 230
Bullet type LSWC JRN
Powder 4.5 WST 4.5 WST

weapon Kimber Kimber

shot 1 856.5 783.9
shot 2 822.2 765.4
shot 3 827.5 793
shot 4 855.7 776.2
shot 5 829.8 780.9
shot 6 859.5 774.6
shot 7 833.8 777.9
shot 8 819.2 770.5
shot 9 840 768.9
shot 10 842 778.6

avg velocity (fps) 839 777
energy (ft/lbs) 312 308
IPSC power factor 168 179
max vel 859.5 793
min vel 819.2 765.4
vel spread 40.3 27.6
std dev 14.65 7.97

I did a 'cut and paste' from the Excel spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my load data so I hope the spacing works out correctly.....if not I'll find a different way to post the data.

The velocity variation and standard deviation of all the loads I tried were substantially reduced after switching to WST, so I think I've found my favorite powder (for the moment....). I'll leave the Red Dot for target .38 loads so my kids can burn it up and stick with ball powder for a while in the .45. I'll probably crank up the velocity (carefully) for both loads and watch the accuracy and consistency before I decide which load to produce in mass quantities.

Thanks to all who helped me with the problem!!

Len in Phoenix
1 - 3 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.