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Old 03-31-2011, 10:54 PM
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Default RCBS Little Dandy Powder Measure and Unique Powder

For the first time I used my RCBS Litle Dandy with Unique powder and had lots of trouble. I was using rotor #10, to throw 4.4 grs of Unique into 9mm Luger cases for use with a 120 gr cast bullet. Inspecting the loaded cases in the loading tray, there were huge differences in the amount of powder they contained. There was almost 50% variation in the loads deposited in the cases. I emptied the extreme low and high loadings, about 20% of the total, and re-loaded them, and got a few high and low ones in the second go-around. I was very careful to do everything exactly the same for each case, but I still got lots of variation. Firing them in a 'Red 9' broomhandle and a Model 39 showed very poor accuracy and some rounds not ejecting due to low power. I know that Unique has rather large grains, but i didn't think it was that sticky or that it would give this kind of problem in the Little Dandy. My previous experiences loading it with a B&M powder measure gave no problems at all. Anyone else have this problem with Unique in the Little Dandy?
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:08 PM
couleeflyfisher couleeflyfisher is offline
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Default RCBS Little Dandy

I've been using a variety of powders thru a Li'l Dandy for years, never had a problem. Sometimes You get a slightly lighter chg. than the rotor is listed for, however consistency has never been a problem. I usually check every 10 or so charges on a scale plus visually check cases, but consider the Li'l Dandy and my Uniflow with either large or small cylinder as good as they come. You might want to check your rotor and the measure to be sure they are clean and thoroughly dry. Also, be sure and throw your charges as consistent as possible.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:44 AM
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I love the Lil Dandy

I have a few of them and a big set of rotors.

I use them during load development and for small runs of special loads.

I have never had consistency problems. However, I have not used Unique in mine. Though I have used similarly shaped powders.
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:23 AM
flash60601 flash60601 is offline
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The Lil Dandy is, functionally and by design, a copy of the old Pacific "Bullseye" measure. (The rotors actually look as though they may be interchangeable, but i haven't tried).

When rotors were nearly unavailable for my Pacific, I made my own from brass stock. In MY EXPERIENCE, the cavities need to be about the same diameter as they are in depth for best and most consistent results with flake powders like Unique and Red Dot. From what I have seen of the Lil Dandy rotors, they do not follow this ratio.

Consistency of operation helps, I load 50 at a time in a loading block, and the impact of setting the measure on the new case seems to be enough bump to settle the powder uniformly. A lot of people mount the LD on a stand, which makes that "bump" less consistent.

And that is just IMHO&E.

Flash
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:47 AM
ArchAngelCD ArchAngelCD is offline
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Unique doesn't meter well, it's not your measure that's failing. Unique is also known to bridge too. I don't use Unique because it meters so poorly. (and it's filthy too)
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:12 AM
Teasel Teasel is offline
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I have a RCBS uniflow powder measure and that will only measure consistant loads with RedDot. Unique and other powders such as BL-C2 produce erratic loads.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:02 AM
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I use my Little Dandy to load Unique, Bullseye and Trailboss. I have not had any problems. But when I set it up I do several things. One I make sure the powder tube is full. Second, I do ten powder dumps into a bowl to settle the powder. Then when working the rotor I give it two back clicks on each round. I do get a variation but it is very small.

I also weigh every 5th round to make sure it is on target or very close.

Lastly what powder chart are you using? My rotor 10 throws 5.2 of Unique and 9 throws 4.7.

I just loaded 50 round of 455 Webley last night with the #9 rotor. Getting 4.5 to 4.6 for every throw. I'm not an advanced reloader and only load several hundred rounds a month but I like the little dandy.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:13 AM
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Unique has problems metering in many powder measures. Why not use Hodgen Clays Universal? It is almost identical to unique in its flexibility and burn rate, meters well in any powder measure, and burns cleaner.
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Old 04-01-2011, 02:27 PM
Forrest r Forrest r is offline
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Another vote for universal clays. Iíve used a little dandy powder throw for 25+ years & have never had any luck with throwing small charges of unique, reddot, greendot & hp38/ww231.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:35 PM
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With the Little Dandy how well Unique meters is dependent on rotor cavity diameter. There are two different diameters used, 5/16" and 3/8". Unique meters well in the larger diameter rotors, and very inconsistently in the smaller ones.

I can't tell you by rotor number where the break point is since is has varied over the years. The 3/8" cavities can start anywhere from the #10 to #13 depending on manufacture date. You just have to look at them.

The nice thing is if you need a charge between one too large and one too small simply start with the lighter one and drill the cavity deeper until the rotor throws the charge you want. Just be sure to identify it as a non-standard and add it to your charge table.

Although there may infrequently be a rotor that throws a charge slightly heavier than the charge table, I have never seen one. These can be adjusted to throw what the charge table says they should by drilling as above. Regardless, make your own charge table by measuring what your rotors really throw, don't trust the charge table RCBS publishes, it isn't accurate.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:41 PM
WR Moore WR Moore is offline
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Flake powders can have consistancy issues, I've noticed it at certain specific charge weights with Unique. Never thought about the geometry of the charge opening as part of the issue, but it would fit. I recall suggestions to only use the top slide in the Lyman 55 scale with flake powder to minimize variance.

The 4.4 gr of Unique with a 120 gr bullet given by the OP is on the light side. I use 4.5 Unique (scale verified) with a 122 FN (actually weighs 125 with lube) and it barely breaks 1000 fps. I would expect your lack of functioning and poor accuracy is not the result of charge fluctuation, but a too light charge to start with. The result is a round that is too anemic to properly function the weapon (especially that '96 Mauser!) with regularity and low muzzle velocities that magnify your lack of follow through and produces lousy groups.

I found out about the lack of technique with slow ammo issue decades ago when somone gifted me with some factory target ammo. I couldn't shoot it for beans due to the low muzzle velocity. I verified this by pulling some bullets and replacing the factory powder charge with mine. Son of a gun, the problem wasn't me after all.

Last edited by WR Moore; 04-03-2011 at 11:44 PM.
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bullseye, model 39, rcbs, universal, webley

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