HK40
HK40
9 posts
Joined February 2009

Inconsistent Powder Drop

I have an older Dillon 550B that I use to reload cartridges that require a large primer.  The powder system has the older one-piece bell crank.  I have been using this to reload .45 ACP cartridges with no problems.  I have been extremely happy with the powder throws as (after I got it adjusted for any change in powder weight) it was extremely consistent.  For example, when using Winchester WST with a powder load of 5.2 grains, I could adjust it so that would throw that virtually every time, with a very occasional 5.1.  However it was adjusted so finely that, if the balance measured 5.1, it would take only a very few flakes to push it over to 5.2.  I really like that because I know I am always at 5.2 plus or minus (probably) 0.03 grains or so. 

I recently changed this press over to load 30-06 and used it that way for a few weeks.  I should note that I have separate tool heads for these that are compete, and the 30-06 uses the same shell plate and pins, so I did not change anything about the .45 setup.  However, when I changed the tool heads back to load .45 again, the powder throws are much more inconsistent. I had previously been loading at 5.0 grains of a different powder, and I switched back to Win WST at 5.2 grains.  I got it adjusted pretty well, so that it seemed to be throwing 5.1 or 5.2 grains, but then I noticed that it sometimes throws as little as 5.0 grains, but more often as much as 5.3 or 5.4, which are somewhat in excess of the recommended maximum load for the bullet I am using.  The very next throw after one of these, it is back to 5.1 or 5.2.

I have tried almost everything I could think of (except taking the actual powder funnel out and cleaning it).  I took the powder bar out and cleaned it thoroughly with alcohol.  I checked to make sure the travel on the powder bar was full travel but not more than that.  I re-adjusted the bell (which normally ranges from about 0.480-0.483"). Normal neck size is about 0.466-0.468" before belling.  I remember that in your old video, it was suggested a bell of about 20-25 thousandths larger than the neck.  This is not quite that, but it seems to have worked well for me for the past four years.

If you have any ideas about what else to try, I would greatly appreciate hearing them.
dillon
Administrator
dillon
3,222 posts
Joined July 2007

RE: Inconsistent Powder Drop

Be sure the hopper starts at least 3/4 full. Throw 10 charges and dump them back before you begin weighing charges. The powder bar should move full travel before the handle bottoms out. You might need to flare cases a bit more.
jdirkes
jdirkes
3 posts
Joined May 2011

RE: Inconsistent Powder Drop

This happened to me once... I had the rod that connects to the powder hopper and the press on the wrong side of the slot where the connection is made.  Rather than pushing it through the slot from the back, I had it on the front side.  Totally messed me up.

Just a thought.

Jim
cardguy
cardguy
6 posts
Joined March 2012

RE: Inconsistent Powder Drop

After going through the same problems, I found that after dumping your powder in the hopper, if you tap on the hopper with something like your bench wrench to settle the powder, it will throw consistent powder charges on a regular basis. Be sure you're dumping enough powder to fill the hopper to near mx.