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Max Payne

Loading BP with a Progressive Press

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I'm sure this has been addressed before, but a search doesn't turn anything up.

 

I want to load a BP synthetic (APP or maybe 777) on my Dillon 1050 for 38's & on my Dillon 650 for 32's.

But, I don't want to blow myself up.

I've heard comments on both sides of the fence. Can't do it, vs. "I've been doing it for years with no problems".

Needless to say, it would save me LOTS of time when loading the little woman's bullets.

 

I've never heard of anyone having an explosion doing this, but I don't want to be the first either.

I can load lots of smokeless 38's &  32's in an insignificant amount of time, so it's really a drag using the dipper for every bullet when loading BP. If I decide not to use the 1050 & 650, I have bought a Lee perfect powder measure to speed up the loading, but I sure would like to use the P. presses. I understand the APP & 777 aren't as likely to clump as GOEX, but I have bought a strainer just to be sure.

 

Share your knowledge & experience with me, please.

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If you're loading a Substitute you're good to go; lot's and lot's of folks do it.

 

It has been proven that static electricity won't set off real BP, so there isn't really anything to fear there either, IMO. That said I use a Hornady BP measure that has a brass drum and aluminum hopper.

 

IF it really concerns you, you might be able to find a Hornady or Lyman BP measure and fit it to your Dillon(s).

 

 

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I load real BP on a Lee Loadmater, no problem at all. I take my time to make sure that the action is smooth and consistant. I use the Lee Auto-Disk as my powder hopper and it has always thrown well and without a concern from me. The Lee Loadmaster has five stations and I have them set-up as follows:

 

1. Deprime and size

2. Lyman M die and prime

3. Charge

4. Seat

5. Lee FCD roll crimp

 

These are for .45 Colt.

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It's not static electricity that blows up black powder (or even substitutes).  It's some sort of hot spark, usually.   (Let's exclude the random and vaporized smoker who drops an ash in the powder.)  

 

What has been used in the way of a spark to set off BP for almost a thousand years?    Flint striking hardened steel, shaving off a real hot fragment of the steel, which burns in the oxygen of the air.   That heat and fragment of burning metal is the source to ignite in the flash pan and then the barrel.

 

What common source of flint or quartz containing material could fall into our black powder and get itself into a spot where steel could be shaved off?  Easy to think of two!   A chunk of silicate rock that was in the wood of the tree that was burned to charcoal that was added to the BP mix.   Or, sand, dirt, floor sweepings that got added to the BP at the loader's bench.    And then where's the steel?   In the moving parts of SOME powder measures.    So, although it may not be ALL the precautions needed to load BP/subs safely in a progressive loader, one big rule (even published by Lyman) is: use a brass or other non-steel part powder measure for measuring your powder.   

 

Revolutionary War soldiers even knew not to use steel measures - they used horn, leather or copper powder flasks and a dispensing measure, commonly brass.   Not iron and steel.   Besides, iron and steel will rust quickly from the nitrates (or in subs, other oxidizing compounds) in the powder residue coating the measure after use.

 

So, yes, I have loaded thousands of .45 Colt rounds, real BP,  on a Dillon progressive.   Using a Lyman BP measure that has brass parts, and aluminum hopper.   BP is not left in the measure after the loading session.   Handle thrown manually with the belled case up under the powder-thru-belling tube at the expansion/powder charge station.   Never a problem.   Don't do that if you have operational problems with primer tubes exploding, however!

 

No static grounding is needed.  Clean up powder measure and bench after loading to remove the corrosive nitrate particles that may have escaped.  

 

Good luck, GJ

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Posted (edited)

I have loaded a pile of 44 Specials with a Dillon 650 , using 2F and 3F.  Have had no luck at all with APP. I do not know why , it just will not drop with any consistency. I have also loaded a bunch with a Hornady Pro-jector , using an RCBS powder measure.

Never tried 777.

Good luck ,Rex :D

Edited by Rex M Rugers #6621

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:FlagAm: I have been loading real BP on 550 Dillons since about 2000.  Load real BP shotgun shells on a 366 Hornady progressive press.  Only thing I have done different is replace the plastic tube that holds the powder with one of same dimension in stainless steel.  Works like a dream and yes, faster.

Regards,

Chas B:ph34r:

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17 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

It's not static electricity that blows up black powder (or even substitutes).  It's some sort of hot spark, usually.   (Let's exclude the random and vaporized smoker who drops an ash in the powder.)  

 

What has been used in the way of a spark to set off BP for almost a thousand years?    Flint striking hardened steel, shaving off a real hot fragment of the steel, which burns in the oxygen of the air.   That heat and fragment of burning metal is the source to ignite in the flash pan and then the barrel.

 

What common source of flint or quartz containing material could fall into our black powder and get itself into a spot where steel could be shaved off?  Easy to think of two!   A chunk of silicate rock that was in the wood of the tree that was burned to charcoal that was added to the BP mix.   Or, sand, dirt, floor sweepings that got added to the BP at the loader's bench.    And then where's the steel?   In the moving parts of SOME powder measures.    So, although it may not be ALL the precautions needed to load BP/subs safely in a progressive loader, one big rule (even published by Lyman) is: use a brass or other non-steel part powder measure for measuring your powder.   

 

Revolutionary War soldiers even knew not to use steel measures - they used horn, leather or copper powder flasks and a dispensing measure, commonly brass.   Not iron and steel.   Besides, iron and steel will rust quickly from the nitrates (or in subs, other oxidizing compounds) in the powder residue coating the measure after use.

 

So, yes, I have loaded thousands of .45 Colt rounds, real BP,  on a Dillon progressive.   Using a Lyman BP measure that has brass parts, and aluminum hopper.   BP is not left in the measure after the loading session.   Handle thrown manually with the belled case up under the powder-thru-belling tube at the expansion/powder charge station.   Never a problem.   Don't do that if you have operational problems with primer tubes exploding, however!

 

No static grounding is needed.  Clean up powder measure and bench after loading to remove the corrosive nitrate particles that may have escaped.  

 

Good luck, GJ

 

^^^^ THIS ^^^^

 

 

The reason for the metal hopper also has nothing to do with static electricity it has to do with redirecting the blast should the powder be ignited. Rather that it being directed outwards into your face it is directed up and away from the operator.

 

If you want buy an aluminum sleeve with an ID just slightly larger than the OD of the hopper on your machine. Slide it down and let it rest on the metallic part of the unit where the clear hopper meets the rest of the unit. If it is too big add some support screws.

 

One bit of advice when loading APP or 777. after you have completed loading take your powder measure apart and thoroughly clean it with soap and water. Otherwise it will corrode.  If you are going to load over several days you don't need to clean every day but once you are done for a week or more thoroughly clean with soap and water. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

^^^^ THIS ^^^^

 

 

The reason for the metal hopper also has nothing to do with static electricity it has to do with redirecting the blast should the powder be ignited. Rather that it being directed outwards into your face it is directed up and away from the operator.

 

If you want buy an aluminum sleeve with an ID just slightly larger than the OD of the hopper on your machine. Slide it down and let it rest on the metallic part of the unit where the clear hopper meets the rest of the unit. If it is too big add some support screws.

 

One bit of advice when loading APP or 777. after you have completed loading take your powder measure apart and thoroughly clean it with soap and water. Otherwise it will corrode.  If you are going to load over several days you don't need to clean every day but once you are done for a week or more thoroughly clean with soap and water. 

 

 

+1 on the cleaning advice.  I load both APP and 777 on a 650 with no issues, but definitely tear down and clean afterwards.

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Something to note about loading subs on a 650, especially 32s. The fluted drop tube on a Dillon powder measure has a tendency to throw uneven charges because the powder tends to "clog up" in the top of the tube. I have loaded many 1000's of 32s for Squeaky (& myself sometimes) on a 650. I use a LEE Autodisk Pro measure, Lee powder/expansion die, with a 2" drop tube between them. Very consistent drop of .88 cc by volume for 32 80gr. bullet in a 32 mag case. Plenty of smoke & relatively low recoil. Use the same powder measure setup for 38 spec. Know of several shooters using APP or Black MZ who have switched to this setup with great results.

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Posted (edited)

I load 2f-Trip7 on a 1050.  Years before going to T-7 I loaded Cowboy Goex on same 1050.  With CG, I had dedicated station for powder measure with filler.

Assurance that this was a safe set-up was in the fact that I purchased this equipment from owner of Black Dawge when he closed his black powder ammo manufacturing business.  I suspect tens of thousands rounds were made from this unit using Goex BP.  Although I now use Triple Seven  rather than Goex, set-up still runs great.  Note: I removed powder measure dedicated to filler and set/crimp die and replaced with two separate dies, setter then crimp.

Edited by Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator

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Quote

But, I don't want to blow myself up.

Share your knowledge & experience with me, please.

Max,for starters, I have been on the SASS Wire since August 6, 2002 and have never read the obituary of any SASS member that has 'blown himself up' reloading with Black Powder - American Pioneer Powder or Hodgdon's Triple Seven

Respective to the3 powders - READ the MSDS Sheet for each powder

*  Black Powder ... https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/9530608.pdf

* American Pioneer Powder... https://www.sinclairintl.com/userdocs/MSDS/749-014-775_AMERICAN PIONEER 50CAL 50GR POWDER STICKS - A46_default.pdf

* Triple Seven ... https://hodgdon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2018-tripleseven-sds-new.pdf

OK, will you BLOW UP reloading with either of the 3 powders-NO.  All 3 powders will burn and smoke "in a non contained" capsule and "in a contained capsule" such a reloaded case - cherry bomb or fire cracker ... will deflugurate "explode" on ignition

 

OK- my experience with black powder because I have never reloaded with the other 2 substitute powders"

*  I have reloaded with BP since about the age of 10 (67 years ago) I mixed home made BP DRY with a mortar and pastel.  It ignited (burned), filled my bed room with smoke and burned off my eye brows

*  Several years ago,a sprinkled some BP on a steel plate and beat it with a steel hammer - NADA.  Then I took the powder and made a train of it on the steel plate and lit it with a match  - burned with a Swoosh sound and produced smoke only .... No explosion

*  I reload black powder 45 Colts on a Dillon 550B with the plastic charging tube that has the aluminum metering slide - Thousands of them with no incidents or burning/smoking powder

*  I reload all large rifle caliber with black powder using the Lee Perfect Powder Measure (all plastic) and several vintage chargers, ie. a B&M plastic powder tube - again Thousands of them with no incidents or burning/smoking powder

 

Conclusion: I have no reply whether you should or not use the 3 powders in your Dillon 650 ... the choice is only yours to decide

 

 

 

 

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Hey Max I've been loading App in a Dillon 550 for years. The only thing I ever did was wipe the powder hopper down inside and out with a dryer sheet.. 

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Posted (edited)

Hodgdon still says it is safe to run Triple Seven through an ordinary powder measure but advises against doing so with Pyrodex (just another reason to avoid Pyrodex).  I find APP so coarse I don’t run it through a powder measure. 
 

Regarding clumping: pour the subs out in a dish and break up the clumps before pouring in the progressive powder measure.  Goex doesn’t clump in my climate.  Store rounds loaded with the subs in a dry box with a big desiccant pack until the day of use.  That way they will go bang instead of pop/fiz.

Edited by Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971
Info on clumping
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Great feedback as usual from you cowboys! This is gonna save me tons of time loading Ophelia Payne's bullets! Thanks!

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I am still investigating reloading, and will be using APP.

 

I am also an engineer.

 

I am at this point convinced static will not set off APP or BP unless "contained."

 

But if you are going to ground your equipment, I do advise using at least a 10 megohm resistor or even a 100 megohm resister between the equipment and a true earth ground. At this point, I am leaning towards 100 Megohm as my best (not fully informed) recommendation.

 

Think it through... If static could set off a charge (and it turns out it really is not that easy to do), you do not want a spark. And if you simply run a wire from your equipment to ground, and you have a charge, then there can be a spark between you and the equipment. That is a discharge of voltage.

 

Now instead of directly grounding your equipment, you put a 100 megohm resister in the wire, then if you have a charge it will dissipate rather than out-and-out discharge.

 

The idea of grounding in household electricity is to make a breaker pop (or a fuse blow). With static, the idea is to make it go away without ever creating a spark. At all.

 

So, if it is difficult to ignite powder with electrical charge (static), why ground at all? Because static includes the concept of static cling. The power might clog the metering due to static electricity and dissipating the charge will reduce the chance of clogged metering. This reduces the chance of loading a squib.

 

I'm not done analyzing this and have not done any testing at this time.

 

I am investigating reasons why BP and subs are not recommended by certain manufacturers of reloading equipment and they are not clear as to why they do not endorse BP and subs. And I do intend to go against those recommendations...

 

So, my best advice I plan to follow is to weigh loads as they come off the press and verify they have enough powder. And make sure I am dissipating electrical charge without creating a spark. But at this time, I am pretty convinced a spark will not result in ignition unless the powder is quite contained; In free space, inducing a spark seems to drive powder particles away from each other.

 

Corrosion of tools... Variable powder granularity... Several other factors which can be detected by weighing individual loads, they  are still of concern to me. But I am not at this time worried about my bench blowing up even though I will use a high value resistor rather than a direct ground.

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Oh fer gawds sake...just load on the progressive and have a nice life.

 

Life must be very complicated for some folks...

 

Phantom

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For what it might be worth:  I have loaded BP ammunition since 1959  using plastic tubed powder measures,  never a problem.   Some ammo using over 100 gr of 3 f GOEX, Swiss and DuPont.

 

For the past 22 years I have been using Dillon products for my mass SASS ammo.  namely the 10 - 15 K rounds per year in 32WCF.

Most through a 1050 with never an incident  BUT!!!!  after some period of mass loading I remove the powder measure, empty it, blow it out with air THEN wipe it with dryer cling-free wipes to de-static it the run another 3 to 6 months of loading.

 

Just don't smoke and be careful..

 

Your mileage and success may vary  but don't be afraid!!!

 

Ol'  #4

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Just make sure there's not a steel wrench above your loading area that could fall and strike something hard enough to create a hot spark into your powder. In other words, reload-enjoy;)

 

Jefro:ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

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Posted (edited)

Howdy

 

I have been loading 45 Colt, 45 Schofield, 44-40, 44 Russian, and 38-40 with real Black Powder on my Hornady Lock & Load AP for many years now.  Have lost count of how many years, probably at least 15. Have used Goex, Elephant, and Wano over the years, these days I load exclusively with Schuetzen because it leaves a bit less fouling behind than Goex.

 

I do not use the standard Smokeless powder measure when loading BP I have a Lyman Black Powder measure that I use on my Lock & Load presses.

 

plBxPmRdj

 

 

 

 

I agree with Garrison Joe. It is not static electricity that is likely to ignite Black Powder, it is a hot mechanical spark. Modern Black Powder has a graphite coating on the grains that will conduct static charges over the surface of the grains. This prevents resistance from building up enough heat to ignite the powder. The Lyman Black Powder measure has a brass rotor rather than the standard steel rotor. The body is made of iron. A steel rotor might create a spark in an iron body, a brass rotor will not.

 

Regarding grounding the press, I worked in the electronic industry for many years and understand how Electro Static Discharge (ESD) will damage microelectronic circuitry. We took a reminder class every year, which included reviewing slides of microscopic damage done to delicate circuits by ESD. The air in the clean rooms was kept at a high level of humidity to prevent static charges from building up, all the work stations were grounded, the chairs had a chain on the bottom to drag on the conductive floor to drain charges, and all the workers wore grounded wrist straps (with a resistor in them). Paper, plastics, and wood were not allowed on the work station because they are static generators. Anything that does not conduct electricity will create a static charge. The point is, every time you move you create a static charge on your body because of the motion through the air. Every single motion. Then every time you touch anything connected to ground, a spark jumps from you to ground. Each and every time. You will not feel the spark until it is several thousand volts, but it is there every time. Grounding the workers this way prevented a charge from building up, so there was no spark created as they worked.

 

My point is, unless you completely ground your work station as I have described and wear a ground strap, grounding your press will achieve absolutely nothing because every time you touch the machine a spark will jump.

 

I try not to load Black Powder in the dead of winter when the air is very dry. Other than that, I don't do anything different than loading Smokeless, except I use the Black Powder measure.

 

 

 

Having said all that, a few years ago I was on vacation in Florence Italy. There is a museum in Florence that had several interesting displays. These are called Thunder Boxes. They were used in the very early days of scientific experiments with electricity. The idea was a small charge of Black Powder was placed on the pedestal in the middle of the box. Then a Leyden Jar was used to discharge an electric charge to the brass ball at the top. Leyden Jars were a very early form of capacitor. Ben Franklin used them to hold electric charges for his experiments. When a probe from the Leyden Jar was touched to the brass ball, the powder on the pedestal ignited, blowing the boxes open. Why? because there was no graphite coating on the powder grains in those days, and the current surging through the powder grains encountered enough resistance to heat the grains to their ignition temperature. Probably if the powder had a graphite coating in those days it would not have ignited, but this proves that an electrical charge will absolutely ignite Black Powder if not coated with graphite.

 

pmR4XPukj

 

 

pliHsFshj

Edited by Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283
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I loaded BP for 8 years on a Dillon 550 with no problems, but then I got smart and went back to smokeless!!:P

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I load APP on a XL650 with never a problem.  Two things I do use a large charge bar no matter how much the charge, pour the powder into the hopper through a funnel (it keeps any clumps out of the hopper).

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1 hour ago, Tequila Shooter said:

I load APP on a XL650 with never a problem.  Two things I do use a large charge bar no matter how much the charge, pour the powder into the hopper through a funnel (it keeps any clumps out of the hopper).

 

I made a coarse screen for the funnel I use when filling the powder hopper. Catches any clumps and those little desiccant bags.

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WHOH BOY  :D

 

PLUS ONE too Phantom

 

PLUS ONE too Sedalia Dave

 

I run two Dillon 650s.  One for large primers and one for small primers.  I have been loading APP it seems like forever.  A).  APP 2F Does not meter well.

B).  APP 3f meters quite well.  Occasional "bridge"  Regardless of cartridge "size" I have learned to use the "Large" charge bar.  Works a treat.

 

I personally don't like 777.  Tried it once.  No reason to try it again.  No help there.

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You hard wire GND a press to remove static cling in the hopper.

This will reduce powder throw variations a good bit.

When I lived in the Mojave Desert, it really made a difference. 

Not so much here in Missouri. 

OLG 

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On 8/12/2020 at 7:57 PM, Palmetto Traveler said:

Hey Max I've been loading App in a Dillon 550 for years. The only thing I ever did was wipe the powder hopper down inside and out with a dryer sheet.. 

PT taught me to load on the 650 using APP 3 F. I don’t go fast - I’m very methodical because I shot BP at big matches and don’t want to screw up. It’s a little but dusty and I have a little brush that I use along and along to dust off the shell plate. 
 

I’m not sure I’d shoot BP if I had to hand dip the powder... 

 

Big hugs!

Scarlett

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On 8/12/2020 at 12:41 PM, Sedalia Dave said:

One bit of advice when loading APP or 777. after you have completed loading take your powder measure apart and thoroughly clean it with soap and water. Otherwise it will corrode.  If you are going to load over several days you don't need to clean every day but once you are done for a week or more thoroughly clean with soap and water. 

 

 

There is a bit of gold in Dave's post .....

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On 8/12/2020 at 11:41 AM, Sedalia Dave said:

One bit of advice when loading APP or 777. after you have completed loading take your powder measure apart and thoroughly clean it with soap and water. Otherwise it will corrode.  If you are going to load over several days you don't need to clean every day but once you are done for a week or more thoroughly clean with soap and water. 

Well crap...I've been loading 777 on the same press for a couple years...never cleaned it.

 

Guess it must be real corroded by now...man...

 

Phantom

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Posted (edited)

I've followed Capt. Baylor's advice and used a Lee Pro Auto Disk with my Dillon 650 for filler and powder. It works really well once you get your powder and filler drops set. You end up loading just like you would for smokeless, and it's (probably) safe. http://www.curtrich.com/bpsubsdummies.3.html

 

I'm using APP 3f  and cream of wheat in .38s.

 

Edit: After seeing the video showing someone trying to ignite BP subs with electric arcs unsuccessfully, I decided I'm ok with it on my 650 with no further modifications.

Edited by C.N. Double

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Have been loading with this setup for years.
With the powder I use I have to empty the hopper after loading and apply some graphite on the drum to keep it from sticking.

DSCF0047.JPG

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6 hours ago, C.N. Double said:

I've followed Capt. Baylor's advice and used a Lee Pro Auto Disk with my Dillon 650 for filler and powder. It works really well once you get your powder and filler drops set. You end up loading just like you would for smokeless, and it's (probably) safe. http://www.curtrich.com/bpsubsdummies.3.html

 

I'm using APP 3f  and cream of wheat in .38s.

 

Edit: After seeing the video showing someone trying to ignite BP subs with electric arcs unsuccessfully, I decided I'm ok with it on my 650 with no further modifications.

 

The most likely reason the electric arc did not ignite the BP is that it was graphited. Almost all BP is graphited, this is what the g represents in FFg. Only a vary small amount of graphite is used because only a VERY thin layer of graphite on the surface of every kernel is needed. This done so that it will flow and meter more reliably.

Graphite is already highly conductive however can become even more conductive both electrically and thermally when it becomes only a single atom thick. Because of how it is applied to the kernels it is entirely possible that it is being distributed in this ultra thin layer which has the unique properties that prevent the static electricity flowing through it from generating enough heat to ignite the kernels.

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