Powder is eating my powder measure

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John Alexander posted this 09 September 2020

I have a Redding powder measure, maybe a BR-30, that has served well for 30 years or so.  Today I noticed that the powder hopper which looks like plexiglas was listing to starboard. When i tried to gently straighten it it moved very easily.  It is held in a .3" deep socket at the top of the body of the measure by a small set screw on either side of the measure which lock into holes in the plastic hopper.

I emptied the measure and removed the hopper.  I was surprised to see powder grains completely encrusting the bottom of the plastic hopper like tiny black bugs eating the bottom of the hopper. When I tried to scrape them off I found that they were embedded in the bottom of the hopper which was no longer plexiglass but some gummy by product of combining with something from the powder . This had destroying the bottom of the screw holes. 

I assume some low molecular weight solvent from the powder softened the plastic.  No I don't always empty the powder measure when I intend to load the next day.

Rotated 90 degrees and with new holes the hopper is usable. I haven't gotten in touch with Redding yet but hope to tomorrow.

Has anybody had such an event or knows exactly what happened?

John

 

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RicinYakima posted this 09 September 2020

Yes. This is a chemical reaction between nitroglycerin and plastic. It is especially fast in high heat and low humidity and common here in the inland PNW. There is no cure other than making a brass reservoir or plastic that is impervious to acetone. You can only store single based powers in plastic. Plastic shipping containers are all acetone proof plastic are nitroglycerin proof but opaque, but our powder measures are not. Sorry.

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Little Debbie posted this 09 September 2020

I’ve had the the same thing happen with my oldest Redding powder measure. I’ve rotated the reservoir 90 degrees as you described and re drilled the holes. When these failed I reversed it end to end and secured the tube with vinyl tape. This has lasted 7-10 years. Great measures. (I have three) but the two pointed set screws that hold the reservoir to the base isn’t the best design but works for years. My oldest measure is over 40 years and I’m still using the same reservoir. I did have to replace a reservoir on one of my other Reddings when it got whacked accidentally with a piece of lumber and split it down one side. Redding was happy to sell me a new one and shipped it promptly. I confess to leaving powder in measures for extended periods of time. In a Dillon I’ve had W 231 in the measure for years at a time with little bad effect. Bullseye and Unique seem to be the hardest on plastic reservoirs, turning them yellow -brown and weakening them. Sounds like you have a decade or two left if you switch ends or cut off the bad part and start over.

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John Alexander posted this 09 September 2020

Thanks Ric and Little Debbie for interesting replies.

I guess if my fix for the measure last's another 30 years that should "see me out" (old Maine expression) with time to spare.

John

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Tom Acheson posted this 09 September 2020

I have the same measure. Agree, it is a great oroduct!

Don't use the hopper. Just fill up the metal body, keep an eye on the powder level while loading and when it gets down a ways, top off the metal body. Probably a lot less variation in powder capacity that could influence metering.

Tom

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gemihur posted this 09 September 2020

 an ether-alcohol colloid of nitrocellulose affects the phenolic hopper walls

I shoot, therefore I am

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Geargnasher posted this 10 September 2020

Titegroup begins to eat my Uniflow reservoirs within minutes of exposure. Longshot is another offender in this regard.

Lee measures seem impervious to all smokeless powder types, likely their hoppers are made of polycarbonate.

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Boschloper posted this 11 September 2020

I have 2 Uniflows, one that I purchased new in 1976 or 1977, and the other my son purchased used and gave it to me for Christmas about 5 years ago. One has the large cylinder and the other has the small. I switch back and forth depending on what I am loading, the large for rifles and the small for pistols. The first one is frosty on the inside but no other signs of deterioration. The other one is of unknown age but newer and is nice and clear. I never leave powder in them for more than a couple hours. At some point in the next 30 years I suspect they will go to my son in good working order. I certainly don't expect to wear them out.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 11 September 2020

... as a guy who is still using my old Belding & Mull Visible powder measure from 1954 ...  ( cast iron, aluminum, and brass hopper  ... shiny brass ... with shiny brass cap .... ) ... all that solid metal does weigh down my loading bench however ... i can see why the modern ones have a lot of light plastic ... 

i appreciate you modern young guys giving reports of your modern, improved loading equipment ...  

in fact, i can't wait to go modern and as soon as my B&M wears out, order out a bubble pak of some of those modern slick powder whirlers ...  i understand they are really fast .. even heard of them dropping in two or three charges at once, but the none at all in the next two or three ...  ... my old B&M could never win that race ... it makes me look at each drop ... 

a few years ago i got lazy and ran out of powder in the hopper ... imagine my surprise when i noticed my visible catcher didn't have powder in it for the next catridge ... i suppose the new modern ones have a bell or something to warn careless loaders ?? ...

sure do appreciate this group .. have learned a lot over the 40 years or so i have been observing ...  

ken

 

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mashburn posted this 11 September 2020

Hello Ken,

Good job Ken, I share the same sentiment.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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BigMan54 posted this 12 September 2020

Titegroup is the WORST. 

It's the powder I used for .44 & .38 loads from about the early to mid-1990's until I stopped in 2011. 

I'm still helping a buddy load.44Mag using it.  I went through 2 reservoirs for My Hornady L-N-L Powder Measure.   Now I never leave it in any powder measure for longer the 1 hour. RCBS Lil-Dandy and Uniflow have had their reservoirs replaced once. 

I'm glad I never put it in My Lyman 55. That reservoir doesn't come out.

Never had any problem with older powders; Bullseye, Unique & 2400. Or any of the older Hodgdon or DuPont powders.

My 55 and old Hornady (pre-LNL) are all "gray/yellowed" out. But not misshapened.

I have the first reservoir ruined by Titegroup mounted next to my big clock above my reloading bench.

Lest I forget.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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OU812 posted this 13 September 2020

I noticed Titegroup was clouding the green hopper of my RCBS powder measure. I now always empty the powder measure after reloading...with all powders. Solvents evaporating and getting away is not good.

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Kosh posted this 17 September 2020

 I left 1989 vintage W231 in a 1989 vintage pacific powder measure for longer than intended, and it mottled the inside of the hopper, but didn't destroy anything. As a curiosity, I loaded up the remainder of the powder in some .38 Special +P rounds to see what effect this had. The reloads were noticeably more smoky, but I could discern no other difference. 

Anyway, I was not a huge fan of W231 before this, and was LESS a fan of it afterward. No other powders left for longer than prudent in any other of my hoppers have had this effect, before or since. 

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wallacem posted this 17 September 2020

I gotta say this.  I NEVER leave powder in my powder measurers. No matter what the excuse. Never.  Wallacem in Ga

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JeffinNZ posted this 18 September 2020

I gotta say this.  I NEVER leave powder in my powder measurers. No matter what the excuse. Never.  Wallacem in Ga

Same. As I understand it oxygen is the enemy of powder.

Cheers from New Zealand

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alamogunr posted this 4 weeks ago

Check here for replacement hoppers:

https://dramworx.com/products/rcbs/

Definitely not cheap but should last longer than any of us will if you don't drop it.

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

along the lines of powder eating things ...  i just pulled some bullets ( hornady 100 gr ) from a friend's 25-06 .. his old brass would not chamber in the tighter chamber of the new barrel i put on his rifle ...

the bases of several pulled bullets were corroded green ...  the pulled powder seemed fresh and smelled like gunpowder ( IMR 4350 ) ...

and the brass necks were not corroded ...inside  or out .

i suppose it could have been sizing lube  ... or ...?

ken

 

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Bud Hyett posted this 4 weeks ago

There are many possibilities, what you have seen is interesting. The question is what format this corrosion, a spot on the bullet or a crystalline crystal growth. If it is a discolored patch, I'd say dissimilar metal interaction. Crystalline growth would be rare.

If only a few bullets, this also suggests a slight touch of a compound causing corrosion:

  • Dissimilar metals can have an ionic reaction when in contact.
  • These bullets could have been set on any compound on the bench before being reloaded.
  • The corrosive residue could even have came from the manufacturing process.

I know that reloaded jacketed ammunition left for over a year will often not shoot as well giving enlarged groups and definite flyers. Any prairie dog ammunition left over from one year to the next is marked, then seated down .005 the week before shooting, and shot first the next year.

Your experience reinforces my experience.

Country boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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RicinYakima posted this 4 weeks ago

If the bullet is not perfectly round and the inside of the case neck perfectly round, there will be a space between the two. With moisture, you now have corrosion.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

re:  corroded base on bullets .. these bullets were corroded a fairly smooth green just on the bases, not the sides.  

i am guessing these had been loaded some 30 years or more ...  and just for interest, the force required to pull the bullets was consistent, and in the ball park of fresh loads.

ken

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