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Old 01-21-2020, 07:24 PM
pbryant pbryant is offline
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Default Lee Autodisc for Small Charges

Good evening, guys! I finally started reloading 38 Special not too long ago, after just buying it for years. Now I have a substantial supply of brass to use.

I've been reloading it on a single stage press so far, my old RCBS Rock Chucker, but to speed things up I was thinking about setting up my Lee Loadmaster for 38 Special so I can make it quite a bit faster.

I've never been a big fan of the Lee Autodisc powder measure that comes with the Loadmaster press, but it's worked pretty well overall for 5.56mm, but that uses quite a bit more powder than the 38 Special.

Have you guys had any luck getting the Autodisc dialed in to such a small amount of powder, like 2.7 or 2.8 grains of Bullseye that I would use for my 38 Spl.? I wanted to see if anyone had any success with it before I spend the money on setting up the Loadmaster for it.

Thanks for any pointers!
Phillip

Last edited by pbryant; 01-21-2020 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:46 PM
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I've loaded the charge of Bullseye you list with the auto disc but to be honest the auto drum does a better job with that load for me. I'm using a Lee classic cast turret press. The auto disc seems to do it's most accurate work with charges over 4 grains using the adjustable charge bar. Set up that way the a-disc works quite well. On smaller charges, not so much.
The auto drum is the way to go for what you are wanting to do and they don't cost all that much. IMO
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:53 PM
MyDads38 MyDads38 is offline
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My Pro 1000 is set up for 38 Special and my auto-disk is set up for just that charge of Bullseye. I have an auto-disk set up on all my die sets for my classic turret press and all my pro 1000's have them. I've never had an issue with any of them. Set up your Loadmaster and check your results, I think you'll find it'll work out okay. :-)
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:57 PM
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According to Modern Reloading (2nd edition) the smallest cavity on the Auto-Disk is 0.3cc and delivers around 2.8 grains of Bullseye. Each larger opening delivers about 0.2 or 0.3 grains more than that. It looks like you can deliver charges in the area of what you want. Others will probable chime in with their experiences.

I have the AutoDRUM powder measure and have tested it with WW231 powder. With it adjusted down as small as it will go it delivers 1.5 grains. which is less than half of the 3.2 grains that the Auto-disk will deliver on its' smallest opening. Opening it 1 turn increases the charge to 2.6 grains. If you are looking at getting a new powder measure you may want to consider the Auto-Drum.
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:26 PM
GypsmJim GypsmJim is offline
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I have been reloading for almost 50 years now. I bought a Lee Autodisc the very first year they became available. I DID buy the adjustable charge bar as an option.

I use several different powders for handguns. The first thing I did was to generate a calibration curve for each powder, and then do a MS Excel spread sheet with a best fit curve. In each case the confidence factor (R squared) was 0.9999, which assured me that the equipment was as reliable as could be.

Forty years or so later, when I need to develop a new load, I look at my curves, set the brass digital knob appropriately, and drop a charge. (99% of the time it's spot on.

A few years ago I bought a brand new Autodisc just so I'd be safe for life in case the old one broke. So far, all is good.

Some of the best reloading equipment I ever bought.

The lowest set point on my curve will reliably deliver 2.7 grains of Bullseye.

Last edited by GypsmJim; 01-21-2020 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:48 PM
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I used a Lee Autodisk to charge 38 Spl cases in an RCBS Rock Chucker for about 3 years and 30K rounds. I was using Winchester 452 powder and the smallest cavity. No problems.
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:55 PM
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I would only use it with ball powders. I have seen too much variance with flakes.
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Old 01-21-2020, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfplinker View Post
According to Modern Reloading (2nd edition) the smallest cavity on the Auto-Disk is 0.3cc and delivers around 2.8 grains of Bullseye. Each larger opening delivers about 0.2 or 0.3 grains more than that. It looks like you can deliver charges in the area of what you want. Others will probable chime in with their experiences.

I have the AutoDRUM powder measure and have tested it with WW231 powder. With it adjusted down as small as it will go it delivers 1.5 grains. which is less than half of the 3.2 grains that the Auto-disk will deliver on its' smallest opening. Opening it 1 turn increases the charge to 2.6 grains. If you are looking at getting a new powder measure you may want to consider the Auto-Drum.
I keep a spreadsheet of what each cavity throws with each powder. The .32 cavity throws 2.8 gr of Bullseye.

I use Autodisks exclusively. Mostly because it's the only automatically actuated fixed disk powder measure, and that's what I want. They work fine and are inexpensive.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:49 PM
pbryant pbryant is offline
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Thanks, guys! I'll definitely give the Autodrum a shot. It doesn't sound like it would hurt anything to get one and get it set up, especially if it can run loads less than 2.7 gr. That would give more up and down adjustability if needed.

-Phillip
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:24 PM
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Lee sells a micro disc conversion unit. I bought one but have never really needed to use it.

Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure Micro Disk Conversion Unit

The charge bar is known to be flakey at very small charges. There is a fix. Google is your friend.
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:24 AM
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Now, do you guys like a roll crimp or a taper crimp on 38 Spl?
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:59 AM
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I use the Lee factory crimp die for every caliber I handload.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishslayer View Post
Lee sells a micro disc conversion unit. I bought one but have never really needed to use it.

Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure Micro Disk Conversion Unit

The charge bar is known to be flakey at very small charges. There is a fix. Google is your friend.
Unfortunately, that has been discontinued for years. I've been looking for one forever. They never even come up on eBay.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbryant View Post
Now, do you guys like a roll crimp or a taper crimp on 38 Spl?
Roll if it's got a crimp groove. Taper if it doesn't. I always crimp separately from seating. In .357 full power loads I've been known to do both, or use a Redding Profile Crimp die. But those aren't necessary in the .38 Special.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbryant View Post
Thanks, guys! I'll definitely give the Autodrum a shot. It doesn't sound like it would hurt anything to get one and get it set up, especially if it can run loads less than 2.7 gr. That would give more up and down adjustability if needed.

-Phillip
It varies by powder. My chart says the .32 cavity also throws 2.0 gr of 700X and 2.2 gr of Titewad. So you can see weight can change a good bit even with the same volume.

Last edited by glenwolde; 01-22-2020 at 10:18 AM. Reason: correct a typographical error
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:30 AM
GypsmJim GypsmJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenwolde View Post
It varies by powder. My chart says the .32 cavity also throws 2.0 gr of 700X and 2.2 gr of Titewad. So you can see weight can change a good bit even with the same volume.
Its a volumetric measuring device. The mass of the charge depends upon the density of the powder.

What I have found so curious is that the density of Bullseye and Unique is exactly the same as it was 30 years ago.
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
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Unfortunately, that has been discontinued for years. I've been looking for one forever. They never even come up on eBay.
D'OH! Yup... says right in the link I posted... "Discontinued."

I "heard" that the mold was destroyed in a fire & they didn't bother to make another.
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Old 01-22-2020, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishslayer View Post
D'OH! Yup... says right in the link I posted... "Discontinued."

I "heard" that the mold was destroyed in a fire & they didn't bother to make another.
The work around is take a spare disk, fill the cavities with JB Weld, and drill them out. Or drill in from the side of a cavity and put a set screw in. You can run the screw in and out to adjust the volume.

Still rather have one of the originals.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenwolde View Post
The work around is take a spare disk, fill the cavities with JB Weld, and drill them out. Or drill in from the side of a cavity and put a set screw in. You can run the screw in and out to adjust the volume.

Still rather have one of the originals.
I actually bought another set of discs with the idea of filling/enlarging some of the cavities when I settled on a pet load. Haven't done it yet but haven't abandoned the idea.

The charge bar is just about maxed out at 24gr of H110.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishslayer View Post
The charge bar is just about maxed out at 24gr of H110.
Does Lee still sell the Double Disk kit? Years ago I altered two charge bars to use together or one charge bar with a disk. Much more adaptable.
Care must be taken to insure the larger cavity is always on bottom.
I have a Micro Disk kit but it hasn't performed well for me.

Add:
I have used the Auto Drum kit for successful, accurate charges down to 32ACP, but I'm not used to the system quirks, yet.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbryant View Post
Now, do you guys like a roll crimp or a taper crimp on 38 Spl?
All of my cartridges requiring a roll crimp use a Lee factory collet crimp die. Much more forgiving of small differences in cartridge case length.
I altered a 357 collet die crimp length spacer for 38 special, 44 magnum to 44 special, 45 Colt to 45 auto rim, etc.
Outstanding collet crimps for 30 Luger and 7.62x25 cartridges.
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Old 01-30-2020, 04:41 PM
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I did find a guy making a reproduction of the Lee Micro Disk. I have no relationship with this seller.

ENHANCED Metering Disk compatible with Lee Auto-Disk Powder | Etsy
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosquebass View Post
I've loaded the charge of Bullseye you list with the auto disc but to be honest the auto drum does a better job with that load for me. I'm using a Lee classic cast turret press. The auto disc seems to do it's most accurate work with charges over 4 grains using the adjustable charge bar. Set up that way the a-disc works quite well. On smaller charges, not so much.
The auto drum is the way to go for what you are wanting to do and they don't cost all that much. IMO
+1 on the Auto Drum. The Auto Disk doesn't work very well in 38 Spl charges of 2.5-3.5 grains, especially with flake type powders such as Red Dot & Bullseye. You will get "bridging" and wind up with a bullet stuck in the bore. I tried the Micro Disk, but it is meant for smaller charges of less than 2 grains for 32 and even 25 ACP cartridges. It will work if you use Titegroup which is a ball powder. I switched to the Auto Drum and never looked back.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:08 PM
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My understanding is the Lee Precision Micro Disk disk molding equipment was burned in a fire and never replaced. I have one and it works great for small charges.

This company is very easy to deal with and makes a nice copy of the Micro Disk.

TITAN MICRO CHARGE
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:24 PM
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Default Leaks Powder

Mine leaked powder to a thinly broadcast layer over Pro 1000 and bench, but this was the least of its problems. My Auto Disk was the old, all pot metal version. Newer ones are likely better. Don't know if they have sliding lip seals like a Mec shotshell loader bar. Die mis-alignment, primer feed jams and broken index gears kept me busy, so I didn't fret too much over the powder measure. I never trust any powder measure, rotating drum or sliding cavity, to not bridge powder in the drop tube. I insist on eyeballing every charged case. The Auto Disk in a Pro 1000 has the advantage of riding on a shaking platform, gaining the same safety advantage of measures with a rapper. Gave the whole rig away for someone else to enjoy tinkering and tuning. I may sound like a Lee hater, but I'm not with lots of their stuff, good and otherwise, but I would never use one of their progressives expecting to save time over a single stage rig. The Auto Disk would be the most reliable part of a Pro 1000.
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