Lee powder measure leak (And cross-contamination)

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by Branth, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. Branth

    Branth Member

    So, I finished up a batch of 5.56 ammo today with H335 powder, and decided to make a little .308 with some RE-15. As usual, I emptied the powder measure of the H335, operated the handle a few times when empty, and tapped it a few times to get all the stray powder grains out. Then I switched powders and started loading with Re-15.

    About halfway through, I noticed a few small ball grains mixed in with the stick powder. Furious, I inspected my powder measure. Apparently, not only does it leak a little from the side (which I knew, but had determined that it was an insignificant amount of powder), but it also holds some powder deep inside and continues to leak it as it operates, so after I switched powders, at some point it began leaking H335 into my RE-15! I decided to disassemble it, which I have never done before, and at least a full 5.56 charge of powder ended up falling out of it! I cleaned it all out and put it together, but now I've got at least 5 powder charges of Re-15 that are contaminated and unusable. Who knows how many charges I've thrown in the past have been contaminated with minute amounts of other powders.

    I'm gonna have to start disassembling my powder measure between powder types now. Thankfully, it only comes apart into 4 main components, at least.

    UPDATE: After cleaning it, it works like new. Other issues I had seen like increased friction and leaking totally vanished after cleaning. It's not hard to clean, either, so I figure I'll just start doing that now.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
  2. GoesBang

    GoesBang Supporting Member

    The Lee Perfect?

  3. Branth

    Branth Member

    That's the one.
  4. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    I like my set of Lee dippers better than the measures. :)
  5. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    Me too, they are great for range and plinking ammo, I use them a ton, and even use loads and powder specifically because they can be dipped...but they aren't as accurate as weighing.

    So for stuff where I want sub-MOA accuracy....I STILL don't use the thrower, unless I use it to throw a light charge, that then gets trickled to the exact amount I want. But...that's easier with dippers, too!:p
  6. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    Dippers can be surprising accurate. Dip them, don't scoop, and strike them off and you can throw very consistent charges. Scooping can compact the powder and cause inconsistent charges. Also don't dip straight out of the can like so many youtube videos show. Another recipe for inconsistent charges. A better option is to cut the bottom off an empty powder jug. You can use a gasket punch to make shims out of cereal boxes to adjust your charges, or I make my own dippers out of fired cases and copper wire soldered on for a handle. Trim the cases to a length to give your preferred charge.

    I bought a Lee Perfect Powder Measure off an auction sight a year or so ago, still have not used it. Hoping I will like it. I use the autodisk on my turret press. It does a decent job.
  7. Branth

    Branth Member

    My usual policy is to only use charges direct from the powder measure on pistol rounds or my bulk rifle ammo. My precision stuff is individually trickled. Still, I find a powder measure way more convenient than a powder dipper - My load data is not limited by what can be safely dipped.
  8. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    I clean mine after each use.
  9. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    I have one for each caliber I load and if I change powders I am using for that caliber, I take it apart and clean it before starting to throw the new powder. I also have the Hornady electronic that I use when doing non-standard loads. I throw light and then hand trickle to the weight I want.

  10. Branth

    Branth Member

    Yeah, I'm gonna have to start disassembling between powders. I didn't know this was necessary, but apparently I was wrong.
  11. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    I have a particular method using a Lee dipper. I use for precision shooting from 200 to 350 yards. 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser from 1916 the Swedes converted to a CG63 Target rifle with a diopter rear sight in 1970. NO Glass! I used two dippers to get a charge of X.Xgr of IMR 7828sc. This was my first day and first time ever shooting this rifle. 200yds. First two were a bit high. Dropped 6 clicks. Next low. Raised one click. Next 3 in the X ring. I try for precision every time I use any of the Mausers I have.


    Same rifle, but at 350yds. Just guessed on the elevation of the rear sight as it was set for only 200.


    1900 M96/38 with scout scope. Lee dippers used for loads. 200yds.





    I finally quit fooling with my RCBS Press and Measure and scales for these rifles. Just using the dippers and the Lee Hand Loader that only neck sizes. None of the high priced tools made any improvements at all for my Mausers.
  12. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    I have several Lee loaders. They are all you need to make accurate ammunition for your rifle.
    Although I have never had a primer detonate, I have recently started using an arbor press and primer tool instead of a mallet. It's a lot quieter! :D
  13. GoesBang

    GoesBang Supporting Member

    Mine leaked out the side so bad that I forced myself to get an Auto Disk. Then I upgraded that to the Pro version. I've got extra parts now.
  14. Yup.

    Reloading tools beyond dippers and the Lee Hand Loaders really are just to increase the reloadings rate of production per hour. I still recommend the Lee's Hand Loaders to those that want to try reload and aren't 100% sure it is something want to 'get into'.

    For the calibers/gauges that I don't desire/need having more than few boxes of rounds for, I only have the Hand Loaders to reload them.
  15. MXGreg

    MXGreg Supporting Member

    I have two of the Lee Perfect powder measures. They sit in a box under my reloading bench. Got too fed up with the leaks. Bought a Hornady powder measure and couldn't be happier. Other than an O-ring and the hopper, it's all metal. Doesn't leak and is easy to clean.
  16. sarahsmom

    sarahsmom Supporting Member

    I read somewhere that these shouldn't be used for semiautomatics, is that true?
  17. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    From my research, this is true for bottlenecked rounds intended to be used in semi-auto guns.

    The Lee Hand Loader does not do Full Length case Resizing, which, without going in to the "why," is a requirement for bottle-neck cartridges in semis or which may be fired from a different firearm than it was last fired, and "fire formed," from.

    I've been told that the old Lee Handloader is nicknamed the "whammer bammer" because it uses a hammer instead of a press.

    On the other hand, the Lee Handpress can do Full Length Resizing but it is hand held, not bench mounted, so it (I've been told) requires more strength to use.

    Don't take any of this as gospel, just what the research of an inexperienced newbie who doesn't want to blow himself up has found. ;)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
  18. sarahsmom

    sarahsmom Supporting Member

    Ok, still confused, but ok! :what::)
  19. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    In my limited experience, Kirk is pretty much spot on.

    When I reload for my bolt action .308, I neck-size only because I fire formed the brass to my rifle so it doesn't need a full re-size every single reload. When I reloaded for my buddies AR-10, full length resize all day long, and I'll do the same when I build an AR-10 for myself.

    Of course I have a 4-hole turret semi-progressive press so I don't have to worry about the hand loaders issue.
  20. sarahsmom

    sarahsmom Supporting Member

    So if I understand that right, once it has been fired in a certain rifle, it then I'd already sized for that rifle? And then a hand loader is fine?