For some people, handloading is a mindless chore. For others, it’s a fun activity in itself. I certainly lean more towards the latter, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take a time-saving shortcut if it’s available. Here’s an example—an inexpensive shortcut that saves a lot of time when weighing powder charges.
When the goal is to load rifle ammo quickly, one of the first issues to address is whether to weigh the powder charges or dump them from a powder measure. A great example is the .223 Remington. Because if I’m loading “blasting” ammo for an AR-15, I’ll use a volume powder measure, simply for the speed it affords. But if I’m loading precision rounds for my Remington 700, I’ll weigh every charge. However, I’ll still use a volume measure even if I’m weighing charges, because the measure allows me to dump an intentionally light charge onto the scale’s pan and then trickle it up to the correct weight.
I tried using a conventional bench-mounted powder measure to do that preliminary dump, but found the time it took to set up and adjust the measure wasn’t worth the effort—especially if loading small quantities. That’s when a LEE Powder Measure Kit came to live on my handloading bench. This kit consists of a series of handled plastic scoops of varying sizes, which essentially measure powder by volume, just like the big bench-mounted measures. Granted, they don’t do it with the level of accuracy a good bench measure can attain, but I only use the kit when I’m weighing charges, so it doesn’t matter.
In use, I just do a little preliminary experimenting until I find a scoop that contains a powder charge just under what I’m trying to load. Then I’ll start the powder charging process by dumping a dipper full of powder onto the scale’s pan and then using a trickler to get the weight up to the correct amount. Once I get a get a rhythm going, I find it’s fairly easy to weigh a powder charge every 30 seconds. That’s not as fast as one of the fully automated weighing systems, but those cost well over $300 and I haven’t broken down to purchase one yet. (Maybe this spring … if the fur check is a big one.) In the meantime, the LEE kit, which costs about $10, is a great substitute that belongs on every handloader’s bench.