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High/no powder alarm on progressive press?


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I have a Dillon high/no powder alarm on my 650.  I don't care for the alarm when there isn't a case at that station and too many false alarms especially when reloading 5.56. 

 

Double Alpha Academy has a DAA Magnetic Powder check.  Watching YouTubes, it doesn't alarm when there is no case and it appears to be more fine tune-able regarding to the alarm adjustment.

 

On the other hand I'm figuring I've reloaded close to 250,000 rounds.  I've had one bad primer and one squid (no powder) during this time.  Is a powder check alarm really necessary?  What do y'all do or don't do?

 

P.S.  Saw one YouTube where the reloader placed a compact camera in the station after the powder station and connected to a laptop.  He looked at the computer to visually check each charge piece of brass.  Extreme me thinks.

 

Edited by Matthew Duncan
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I have the powder check on my 650's. l don't mind when it goes off and tells me there's no case or the powder charge is high or low. I watch the powder checker on every load, gives me peace of mind knowing the checker is going up and down, as it should with each round. A beep now and then doesn't bother me. Also tells me to check things out if there are persistent beeps.  

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23 minutes ago, Matthew Duncan said:

I have a Dillon high/no power alarm on my 650.  I don't care for the alarm when there isn't a case at that station and too many false alarms especially when reloading 5.56. 

 

Double Alpha Academy has a DAA Magnetic Powder check.  Watching YouTubes, it doesn't alarm when there is no case and it appears to be more fine tune-able requiring to the alarm adjustment.

 

On the other hand I'm figuring I've reloaded close to 250,000 rounds.  I've had one bad primer and one squid (no powder) during this time.  Is a powder check alarm really necessary?  What do y'all do or don't do?

 

P.S.  Saw one YouTube where the reloader placed a compact camera in the station after the powder station and connected to a laptop.  He looked at the computer to visually check each charge piece of brass.  Extreme me thinks.

 

I like my powder check alarm on my 650, I couldn't hear the alarm so just watched the V every stroke, I don't even have batteries in it now.

 

Randy

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I am satisfied with the one on the Dillon 650. I have 7 of them on different tool heads. I load my 223 for 3gun on one of my 650's and don't seem to have a problem with false positives. Make sure your powder bar is clean. I have switched from Varget to 8208 powder for 223.

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Love the RCBS powder lock-out die so much -  use them on all of my Dillon 550s, even though it means I have to use a combination seater/crimp die. 

 

For me, yes, a case powder "alarm" (lock-out in my case) HAS saved me several no charge and even a few double-charge rounds over the last 10 years.  Well worth it.

 

good luck, GJ

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Before I even bought my 650 I watched a lot of videos on them, and it seemed to me that the powder alarm was chirping a lot, and one or two guys said they just ignore it most of the time.  I chose to go with the RCBS lock out die, and have one on every tool head.

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Following this thread. Why?

 

Because Dillon says don't load black powder on their presses. Why? Not sure.

 

Low, no, or overcharge should cover the bases for any "why." So interested in this.

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I load on two DILLON 650s.  One is set up for Large Primers and the other set up for Small Primers.  I have the DILLON high/low power alarm on EVERY tool head.  Loading BP or Subs, I absolutely swear by those alarms.  I simply pull the plunger out until the first case rotates to the powder check station then re-insert the plunger.  If you get false alarms, your die is out of adjustment.  I see the gap in a "run" and just tell myself "it's gonna beep" and keep on truckin.  SUPER SUPER WORTHWHILE accessory you betcha.

 

PS:  The alarms saved me from Squibs (Smokeless) and Double Charges (smokeless).

 

John K.

 

Don't know why DILLON says "don't load BP" unless it's because of the Old Wives Tales about Static Electricity.  Sort of like when DILLON didn't recommend FEDERAL primers.  More Old Wives Tales told often enough to become legend.  Not FACT, just legend.

Edited by Colorado Coffinmaker
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I had to give up my powder check station on my Dillon 650 in favor of the Mr. Bullet feeder drop tube.  Before I gave it up I never had a squib or over charge in my 20 years of reloading so "what the heck".

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RCBS lockout for me. It caught a 22 case in a 38 for me once. 

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For an app designer, I've always thought it would be a rather simple matter to design a laser measure to check the powder level in a case. A display would show a visual representation of the case with a red line showing a representation of the relative current level. Then two sliders on the screen could be adjusted to "go" and "no go" levels. If the level were out of those parameters, a buzzer or beep would sound, alerting the user to either an undercharge/empty case, or overcharge/double charge. It wouldn't require losing a die space on the tool head, just a small hole drilled between two dies to insert the emitter/receiver in the tool head. This could be a phone app or a stand alone unit.

PowderMeasure.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

For an app designer, I've always thought it would be a rather simple matter to design a laser measure to check the powder level in a case. A display would show a visual representation of the case with a red line showing a representation of the relative current level. Then two sliders on the screen could be adjusted to "go" and "no go" levels. If the level were out of those parameters, a buzzer or beep would sound, alerting the user to either an undercharge/empty case, or overcharge/double charge. It wouldn't require losing a die space on the tool head, just a small hole drilled between two dies to insert the emitter/receiver in the tool head. This could be a phone app or a stand alone unit.

PowderMeasure.jpg

 

If something like this was available and not overly expensive I would buy one.

 

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The RCBS lockout die does:

 

Does not need batteries.

Does not need an app.

Does not require operator to pay attention.

 

It does force you to stop and fix the problem!

 

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On 12/30/2020 at 7:21 PM, Three Foot Johnson said:

On a 650, it's great, but you don't have that extra station on a 550.

Just use a seating/crimp die in station 4 and put lockout die in station 3 - no problem. 

Edited by Too Tall Bob
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I use an RCBS Lockout Die on my Hornady LNL-AP progressive.  I’m a big fan.  The limitation is that it is only suitable for straight wall cases, not for bottleneck rifle cartridges.

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18 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Love the RCBS powder lock-out die so much -  use them on all of my Dillon 550s, even though it means I have to use a combination seater/crimp die. 

 

For me, yes, a case powder "alarm" (lock-out in my case) HAS saved me several no charge and even a few double-charge rounds over the last 10 years.  Well worth it.

 

good luck, GJ

I have several of the RCBS lock-out dies as well.  They will stop the press when powder is too low or too high. They work very well.

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My opinion is that one squib in 250,000 rounds is one too many. Certainly in a big match. I have Dillon powder checks on both my 1050 & my 650, & I do like Randy St. Eagle. I look at the pointer on every pull of the handle. The Double Alpha does look interesting, but I already have multiple plungers for the Dillon powder checks, so if I load hot loads or BP, I switch to the appropriate powder measure & drop in the plunger that's already set.

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As someone that doesn’t have a powder check they all sound like they have their merits.  The only problem is none are currently available....Covid strikes again.

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3 hours ago, Tequila Shooter said:

As someone that doesn’t have a powder check they all sound like they have their merits.  The only problem is none are currently available....Covid strikes again.

 

That's what I figured too.  Double Alpha Academy their DAA Magnetic Powder check as out of stock but they will take preorders.  So yesterday I preordered one.  I'm curious to compare it with Dillon's.  This afternoon Double Alpha Academy sent me a email stating my order was shipped!

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2 hours ago, Matthew Duncan said:

 

That's what I figured too.  Double Alpha Academy their DAA Magnetic Powder check as out of stock but they will take preorders.  So yesterday I preordered one.  I'm curious to compare it with Dillon's.  This afternoon Double Alpha Academy sent me a email stating my order was shipped!

 

I looked at them after your original post and on paper it looked good, but of course there aren’t any reviews yet.  Please let me know what you think about it after you get it up and running.

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This topic has been on my mind lately. I started out using the Dillon low powder sensor on my 650. I only load 45 ACP on that machine, really fast. Between the hearing loss and the fact the the beep was really short I'd be 4 or 5 rounds beyond before I'd ask myself, "Was that a low powder beep?" Then, "Which round in the bin was it?" So, I went to a RCBS lock out die. Great concept, but I am not real happy with it either. When adjusted according to the instructions, it really only detects a no charge or a double charge. The light charges go through. For example, today in practice I had what sounded like a primer in an empty case; just a primer pop. I checked the barrel, it was clear and on the target was a bullet mark. I don't like having to stop and make sure the barrel is clear, but I'm not willing to risk blowing up a pistol.

 

Here is the problem, for the 45 ACP, the range of the lock out is way too broad. This batch of ammo I am shooting up was loaded with 4.5 gr of red dot. With red dot, the properly adjusted lockout die will stop you on a low powder charge of less than 1 grain or high charge of 7 plus grains. On the low end, you can have a round that won't cycle the slide but didn't activate the the lock out die.

 

I have switched powders (WST now) and a new powder measure. This has been my solution for the lockout die. With the automatic advance, I am not worried about a double charge. Since my ideal load with WST is 4.2 gr, I have adjusted my lockout die to catch a low powder drop of 3.2 gr or less. That means a double charge is undetected but with automatic advance how can that happen?

 

The RCBS lock out die is a great concept. But for the short, fat, stubby 45 ACP, the range of acceptable loads is way too broad. I have have had to adjust it to only catch the low powder loads. I still haven't figured out why my powder measure started throwing low charges. But, I have only 2000 rounds of practice loads to go to get beyond the low charges.

JFN

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I tested the range of detection on at least 2 of my 3 RCBS LO Dies, and found if I calibrated to my target load (say 4.7 of powder), the low lock would occur at 20% below the target (about 3.7) and the high lock would occur at about 20% above target (5.6 grains).    Sounds like that LOD may be dirty or malfunctioning on the high lock side, and not locking up.    I catch the occasional case (1 out of 100 or so) that is a light load (3 to 3.5 grains).   And I intentionally double charge a case about every 250 rounds or so, just to make sure it locks up on a double.  I have had a few drops that I caught that were about 6 grains.  Try soaking the LOD body in rubbing alcohol or electronics cleaner (to avoid damage to any plastic parts).  Then test (or reset) until you CAN detect at least a double charge. 

 

It also sounds like, if you are seeing quite a bit of WST weight variation, that your measure is getting dirty.  I'd take the bar out and clean the bar, the chamber, and the metal of the measure body with rubbing alcohol and let it dry.  WST throws on my target (4.7) with not much more than 0.1 grain variation high or low.  Lightly lube the measure activation linkage on outside of the Dillon measure too.  And check that the bar is going full stroke without dragging.

 

Red Dot is a pretty large flake powder - great for shotshell bushing drops, but on the edge of accurate "dropability" in the Dillon measure with the small chamber bar installed.  WST though usually flows like water!

 

Good luck, GJ

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On 12/30/2020 at 3:25 PM, Nickel City Dude said:

I had to give up my powder check station on my Dillon 650 in favor of the Mr. Bullet feeder drop tube.  Before I gave it up I never had a squib or over charge in my 20 years of reloading so "what the heck".

I have had one squib even with the Dillon powder check.

Rather than the expense of powder measure & powder check for each tool head I have powder dies in powder & check stations.  The cost of the dies the two mount on is cheaper than buying a powder measure & powder check for each cartridge reloaded.  I also have a check rod, check rod sleeve & jamb nut for each tool head.  I also decided it was least expensive to have Arredondo powder bar micrometer in large, small & extra small powder bars.

On 12/30/2020 at 6:08 PM, Three Foot Johnson said:

For an app designer, I've always thought it would be a rather simple matter to design a laser measure to check the powder level in a case. A display would show a visual representation of the case with a red line showing a representation of the relative current level. Then two sliders on the screen could be adjusted to "go" and "no go" levels. If the level were out of those parameters, a buzzer or beep would sound, alerting the user to either an undercharge/empty case, or overcharge/double charge. It wouldn't require losing a die space on the tool head, just a small hole drilled between two dies to insert the emitter/receiver in the tool head. This could be a phone app or a stand alone unit.

PowderMeasure.jpg

Since powders are shades of gray to black it isn't a good candidate for ranging with a laser.  Black absorbs all energy i.e. it doesn't reflect it.  Ultrasonic is better for non contact level sensing.  The problem with ultra sonic level sensing is the beam width means the emitter would have to almost touch the case mouth.

It work on powders that have silvery shine.

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Squibs are relatively common and bothersome, but a double charge... now that'll wake ya right up!

Jager .38-40 - my smokeless load is 4.2 grains of Clays, so 8.4 grains is probably what did it. Hodgdon's max is 5.5 grains.

JagerKaboom - Copy.jpg

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On 12/30/2020 at 2:06 PM, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

I like my powder check alarm on my 650, I couldn't hear the alarm so just watched the V every stroke, I don't even have batteries in it now.

 

Randy

Yo Randy:   I drilled little hole in top & one wire to each end of battery. Sounds off and I did this because of bad hearing.

 

JRJ

PWR Checklight.jpg

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22 minutes ago, Jackrabbit Joe #414 said:

Yo Randy:   I drilled little hole in top & one wire to each end of battery. Sounds off and I did this because of bad hearing.

 

JRJ

PWR Checklight.jpg

I like that idea, thanks for the suggestion. 

 

Randy

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9 hours ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

Squibs are relatively common and bothersome, but a double charge... now that'll wake ya right up!

Jager .38-40 - my smokeless load is 4.2 grains of Clays, so 8.4 grains is probably what did it. Hodgdon's max is 5.5 grains.

JagerKaboom - Copy.jpg

I joined that club many years ago with a Glock 23, THAT'S why I don't shoot other peoples' reloads anymore.

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I use a Lee turret press and use a light to visually check for powder in every case. I know it's slow but I have learned a lot about different brand cases as it applies to sizing and belling effort. I inspect my cases before placing them in the press and still catch thin cases that split when belling and it's super obvious because only one shell at a time is being processed. 

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Going back to the original post question, I’ve been shooting this game for 21 years. My wife joined me shooting in it 19 years ago. We’ve never owned or used a squib rod. I attribute that to using a powder sensor on my 650 from day one. 

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I suspect the DAA powder check may be easier to set up than the Dillon. Getting the nuts tightened on the plunger while maintaining the correct setting takes me multiple tries. It appears that problem goes away with the DAA. I almost ordered the DAA, but since my Dillon p checks are already set up & the nuts adjusted on multiple plungers, I decided to save that money.

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