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Best Powder Measure for Varget (Limited Choices)

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by amlevin, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. amlevin


    Apr 25, 2010
    I'm interested in other's experience in powder measures that accurately dispense Varget. I'd like to limit my choices to those that are more "mainline measures" such as those offered by RCBS, Hornady, Lyman, and Lee. I'm looking for a dispenser in one of those four brands that can be mounted on a progressive press and even be operated manually if necessary.

    Which of these offerings do a better job with Varget, keeping charges dropped to a +/- .1 gr range?
  2. bozo699

    bozo699 Site $$ Contributor

    Mar 2, 2010
    Probably none of them will throw stick powder that close but IMHO the Lyman 55 is by far the best with the choices listed.
  3. Otter

    Otter Site $$ Contributor

    Nov 8, 2009
    The RCBS I have won't even come close. It will throw fairly consistent charges with Varget and then out of the blue throw a really heavy, and on less occassions a light charge. I know my technique isn't perfect, but it isn't off enough to screw them up that bad. Varget tends to meter poorly, at least out of my measure. Smaller powders like Benchmark and H322 do much better, and ball powders like H335 meter really good.
  4. RJinTexas

    RJinTexas Site $$ Contributor

    Aug 16, 2006
    amlevin, First off your dreaming if you think that your going to be able to consistently throw +/- .01 gr. powder charges on any progressive press with Varget. If your wanting anywhere near consistent powder charges take Otter advise and use a ball powder. I've found that 99% of the time I could achieve +/- .02 gr. charges using ball powder. I have reloaded for both 223 Rem & 308 Win on a Dillion 550-B using a Dillon powder dispenser and ball powder with expectable results for shooting varmints. But I would never try and load competitive loads for competition shooting such as VFS on a progressive press using a powder dispenser. I have a Redding BR3 that actually will throw more consistent charges with Varget then my Harrell but I've never used it mounted on a press.

  5. 260Ravage

    260Ravage Site $$ Contributor

    Nov 2, 2010
    I found the LEE measure to be the most consistant using mostly RE15 and varget. The Lee is very easy to set for a specific amount of grains.
  6. Laurie

    Laurie Site $$ Contributor

    Oct 27, 2009
    RJ is spot on in his comments. Here are the results of a six measure test I did a year ago and which was published in Target Shooter Online magazine:

    Table 2

    Six-Measure, Four-Powder Test Results
    Measure Weights H. VarGet Viht N140 Hybrid100V IMR-4064

    Lee Perfect Average 51.9gn 51.61gn 52.12gn 49.09gn
    S.D. 0.16gn 0.13gn 0.12gn 0.19gn
    Low 51.52gn 51.42gn 51.84gn 48.76gn
    High 52.24gn 51.98gn 52.36gn 49.42gn
    ES 0.72gn 0.56gn 0.52gn 0.66gn
    Avge ±0.2gn* 5 1 3 6

    RCBS Uniflow Average 51.46gn 51.13gn 51.93gn 49.65gn
    S.D. 0.1gn 0.13gn 0.23gn 0.29gn
    Low 51.26gn 50.84gn 51.26gn 48.94gn
    High 51.66gn 51.5gn 52.64gn 50.2gn
    ES 0.4gn 0.66gn 1.38gn 1.26gn
    Avge ±0.2gn* Nil 2 6 14

    Forster BR Average 52.12gn 51.85gn 52.58gn 49.71gn
    S.D. 0.15gn 0.13gn 0.2gn 0.17gn
    Low 51.86gn 51.64gn 52.26gn 49.34gn
    High 52.38gn 52.24gn 53.4gn 49.96gn
    ES 0.52gn 0.6gn 1.14gn 0.62gn
    Avge ±0.2gn* 3 2 2 4

    Hornady BR Average 51.64gn 51.43gn 52.17gn 49.56gn
    S.D. 0.13gn 0.12gn 0.11gn 0.21gn
    Low 51.38gn 51.2gn 52.0gn 49.0gn
    High 51.86gn 51.7gn 52.38gn 49.94gn
    ES 0.48gn 0.5gn 0.38gn 0.94gn
    Avge ±0.2gn* 3 5 Nil 7

    Redding BR-30 Average 51.43gn 51.47gn 52.0gn 49.5gn
    S.D. 0.1gn 0.19gn 0.25gn 0.22gn
    Low 51.2gn 50.96gn 51.22gn 49.16gn
    High 51.64gn 51.82gn 52.38gn 50.02gn
    ES 0.44gn 0.86gn 1.16gn 0.86gn
    Avge ±0.2gn* 1 5 7 6

    Harrell Average 51.94gn 51.78gn 52.18gn 49.31gn
    S.D. 0.18gn 0.17gn 0.12gn 0.23gn
    Low 51.54gn 51.38gn 51.98gn 48.92gn
    High 52.28gn 52.1gn 52.52gn 49.82gn
    ES 0.74gn 0.72gn 0.54gn 0.9gn
    Avge ±0.2gn* 6 3 2 9

    * number of instances where charges exceeded the average thrown charge weight by ± 0.2gn

    The test consisted of 10 charges thrown but not measured, followed by 25 thrown and weighed on Acculab VICON 123 laboratory quality scales that are accurate to plus or minus 0.02gn. The measure bodies were tapped twice with a wooden kitchen spoon before each throw.

    As the nominal charge weight thrown was 50gn or close, the test was unfair to my Harrerll's Premium measure and the Redding BR-30 as they're optimised for 30gn charges, so a second test using 30gn Viht N133 was run for this pair with results as follows:

    Table 3
    Other Tests
    1. ‘Benchrest Measures’ and Vihtavuori N133

    Harrell’s Prem BR Redding BR-30
    Average 29.14gn 29.02gn
    S.D. 0.14gn 0.13gn
    Low 28.88gn 28.8gn
    High 29.38gn 29.34gn
    ES 0.5gn 0.54gn
    Average ±0.15gn* 7 3
    * number of instances where charges exceeded the average thrown charge weight by ± 0.15gn – note smaller value used here.

    Put simply, you can't use charges of stick powders off any measure 'as thrown' except for short-range work. 100/200yd Bench Rest competitors are OK because 6PPC copes fine with fairly large charge variations grouping-wise and the range is short. But even here, many shooters start with expensive measures then spend yet more money in having them 'tuned' by people like Neil Jones.
  7. Redhighpower


    Jan 31, 2010
    Most of the mid and long range shooters I know encluding myself, throw a charge and use a powder trickler to get the proper weight. That is true with all stick powers especially if you are trying to contol the weight within +/- 0.01 grains. I don't know of anyone who uses a progressive press to load long range ammo. I use a Lyman 55 powder and Redding powder measure and weigh each charge. They both are about the same. The lyman has a built in knocker which helps. Larry
  8. bozo699

    bozo699 Site $$ Contributor

    Mar 2, 2010
    I was throwing 28.5 grains of N133 or as close to that as I could get with my Harrell's BR powder dispenser, I think it was 52.3 clicks I found it not to be to consistent, what is your exact process for repeatable results, thanks in advance for your thoughts.
  9. CJ6

    CJ6 Site $$ Contributor

    Feb 29, 2008
    Try the OLD SCHOOL Lee scoops and trickle. Cheap/Fast/Effective.. I have Lyman #55, Redding BR, And RCBS Uniflow. With just a bit of practice it's (Lee scoops) as fast/accurate as a regular drop measure without the crunching of the kernels.
  10. tome


    Mar 1, 2009
    +1 on what cJ6 said..have a Lyman 55..CBS uniflow and a rcbs powder master. of the 3 the powder master works the best w/ varget..but the lee measures and trickle up is far easier than setting up the #55 or the uniflow
  11. FroggyOne2


    May 14, 2006
    Yes you can throw an accurate charge of Varget on your progressive press!

    Here is how you do it.

    First, as you rasie the ram on your progressive press, you will take a weighed charged from your electronic scale (XXX-123, TP-153, GD-503) and once removed from the measuring plate of said scale and while holding it in your hand kinda lightly throw the charge into the powder funnel that you have at the top of the charging station on your progressive press, as you lean the point of the pan that has the weighed charge in it, you will be throwing the charge into the case that is awaiting the powder that you currently have in the powder charging die on your progressive press.. So yes, you can throw an accurate charge on your proggressive press.. now go throw away!
  12. Taildrag15X

    Taildrag15X Site $$ Contributor

    Dec 27, 2007

    Ohh so true......when I here about guys bragging about using their Dillon to load match ammo this is exactly what I picture.
  13. Laurie

    Laurie Site $$ Contributor

    Oct 27, 2009

    I didn't think a 0.5gn spread on 25 charges was exactly great! Assuming the measure design is basically sound, my only suggestions for what they're worth is to mount the measure on a solid stand (I use the Sinclair), 'knock' the body which my experiments showed does help a lot, and to operate the handle fairly slowly and smoothly. If the rotor cuts a kernel keep on applying steady pressure until it cuts through. If that causes a big jerk, then ditch that charge.

    Alternatively, get a really good electronic dispenser / scales machine (for home use anyway). I'm steeling myself to impoverish myself a bit further with an RCBS Charge Master Combo. For BR, I much prefer to pre-weigh charges and take them to the range in stoppered glass vials. But .... we don't have to correct our charge weights here for big temperature variations. (Diggle Ranges are cold in winter and not much warmer in summer!)

    Going back to the OP's question, I have a soft spot for the Hornady Bench Rest measure that uses a smaller dia. measuring thimble than the basic L-N-L model. I threw thousands of charges (to be weighed and adjusted) with mine before I got the Harrell's. I don't think the Harrell is any more accurate, but it is smoother which helps a lot, and the adjuster drum click settings where one click = roughly 0.1gn of stick powder is a godsend for all the load development I do, plus the ability to return to a known setting. (My reloading room walls are covered with Post-It notes that say 45.4gn Viht N165 = xx.x Harrell's drum setting and similar.)

    I load 4,000-5,000 rifle cartridges each year and every charge is weighed, so life seems top consist of throwing and weighing charges at times!
  14. bozo699

    bozo699 Site $$ Contributor

    Mar 2, 2010
    Thank you, I value and appreciate your thoughts, I load about the same amount a year as you do and I have been weighing all of them but I am trying my hand at short range br and thought I would try throwing like the big dogs do but it doesn't seem to be consistent for me, I will mount it better and practice some more, thanks again.
  15. justinp61


    Nov 14, 2011
    I'm not a long range shooter by any means, but as others have stated I use a RCBS measure and trickle to the weight I'm looking for. I weighed several charges from my RCBS and it was all over the place so I set it light andtrickle the charges of Varget for my 22-250.
  16. PREMOD70


    Sep 9, 2011
    I use a RCBS Uniflow and throw the charges just a little low while pinching a little powder from a small bowl to trickle the beam balance level. I use a lot of IMR 4064 and this technique has given me the best results over the years.
  17. bheadboy

    bheadboy Site $$ Contributor

    Jun 28, 2009
    i find for pd and some target (200-300) the RCBS or Culver.lyman55 do what i need, however for serious work i weigh them all,

    The ssc sc rl powders and ball work the best but the IMR stick Hodgden versions are the worst.

    for all but the stick i drop and check about every fifth, finding the RCBS or Culver will drop +/-.1gr of them

  18. amlevin


    Apr 25, 2010
    Actually, I've been doing this lately. I've added the Unique-Tek tool head kit so there's no movement of the tool head and the shellplate is as tight as can be while still allowing free movement. All powder drops are dispensed and measured on a Chargemaster. The resulting ammo is consistent in performance. Maybe not suitable for some but more than adequate for me.
    I can load about 100 rounds per hour using prepped and primed brass in the case feeder. Maybe overkill, but the press is there for my .223 and 9mm loading so I just thought I'd use it for my "Teach the Grandkids to shoot" rounds.
    I was just curious if anyone had any experience with a powder measure that worked better with Varget than another without having to spend $300 or more for a new measure.

    For all my other rounds I use a ball powder and the Dillon measure works just fine. It's apparent that none like Varget or any other stick powder.

    Thanks for the responses.
  19. DanConzo


    Mar 7, 2005
    The Belding & mull works real well with H4831 (long and short cut) and H4350 so it should also be excellent with Varget. You can modify these measures a little and they are real accurate.
  20. tenring

    tenring Site $$ Contributor

    Jan 23, 2005
    Just as an aside, I sent my Harrells back last year because it was ocassionally hanging up. Lynwood called me on thre phone, and asked what powder am I using. I told him mostly H4198 and Varget. He said Varget was the worst powder I could run thru the measure because it does not meter well.

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