Powder throw, dillon 550c and others

  • I got my dillon 550c setup and have been experimenting with loading 308 win plinking rounds. I found with the powder throw that if i am careful and just let it cycle naturally, it will maintain the powder charge to within .3gr typically across 10-20 rounds and ongoing. Now if i shake or vibrate the powder throw assembly, i am able to pack another 2 full grains of powder in the charge bar. This is scary knowing that if you aren't paying attention you can potentially create unsafe loads without knowing unless you are weighing every charge. Weighing every charge goes against the very reason i went with a progressive press in the first place. I want to speed up the process when making plinking rounds, safely.
    So, what is your SOP for using a powder throw whether it be for single stage or progressive setup? Do you shake the hopper and set your charge bar for maximum density of powder charge? Or do you set the charge bar for naturally cycling the press and try not to shake it or otherwise disturb it throughout your reloading session? Let me know what has and hasn't been working for you.
    Also are different powder throwers more accurate than others that could be used on a 550? I used to throw charges on my rcbs powder throw and by shaking the handle every time, i could throw charges within .3gr and not ever throw a high charge, if anything throw a low charge due to the way i had it setup. For clarity, i used the rcbs in conjunction with a scale and trickler for precision loads.

  • stick powder is not going to be great on any auto power thrower. You can get better results with something like cfe223 or similar powders. This will solve most of your problems as I am getting usually within +or- 0.15 grain with flake/ball powder and a uniform pull of the handle.

    I set my powder throws up to run at a natural pace. I don't shake or settle the powder at all. I also discard the first three throws of powder before I start weighing to set the powder weight...and also after every time I change the setting. Example: If I need more powder, I turn the screw, then throw three charges dumping them back in the top of the hopper, then I weigh the forth/fifth/sixth throw to make sure it is set right.

    As with any auto powder thrower, you don't want to push max loads. Keep in mind that you are putting together plinking rounds, so back off of max far enough that if the powder is a little high or bullet seated slightly deep or something that it is not going to cause you problems with pressure.

  • I set the charge bar at 43.5gr using Varget and letting it naturally cycle. I just seen dillon makes an attachment so you can use any powder thrower. I think it was Nate on SF said the Lee powder drum was good with stick powders. Anyone recall, or have experience with the Lee powder throwers?

  • IMR 8208 will work in a 308 and meters much better than varget. It’s still a stick powder but the kernels are a little less than half the size. May be worth a try. I’ve never tried it in my Dillon powder measur but it works great in my Redding

  • @donnie I have a Lee Auto Drum and it works well enough. I use for pistol and plinking loads mostly. Most of the time I’m running BL-C2 through it for .223, but I have ran Varget through it. I did not weigh out the charges, but I also didn’t have any charge issues with those 200 rounds.

    If your not in a hurry, I can run some test throws through it this weekend with Varget or 4064 and see what they weigh out at.

  • @norcal_in_az that would be greatly appreciated.

  • 27391547307_a17ff9610d_c.jpg

    Here's the results of my testing for you @donnie

    I ran the Lee Auto Drum on a Lee Rifle charging die on my single stage press. I feed each charge into the same .308 case, and measured the charge on my Chargemaster. I didn't set a target weight, I just set the meter to a charge weight near .308 charges. I also didn't adjust the settings from the 4064 to the Varget. As you can see the Varget gets about /12 grain more charge, for the same amount of volume as the 4064. I had one charge on the 4064 of 37.7. If you throw that one very high charge out, the ES would drop down to 0.5 grains just like the Varget.

    This is not the level of precision that most of us here look for usually. But for bulk semi auto feed rounds, I think its not bad. As long as your barrel has a decently wide node, you should be able to load up a charge in the middle of the node and keep all your charges in that node.

  • @norcal_in_az thanks for finding out how accurate that thrower is. I whipped up 50 rounds with the 550 to see what results are down range. I pre trimmed with a lee quick trim and a cordless screw driver drill which sped up the process 10x. After pre trimming, they rolled in rcbs case lube and straight to the 550. The old lady shot 1moa from 330yds to 517yds today with my 308 bolt action, so the 550 is capable of producing 1moa capable ammo. I don't see any point of trying to retrofit another powder thrower to the 550. After cranking out 50rnds in about 20min, I don't know if my patience will hold putting together precision ammo for the 308 lol.