Clay Learns to Reload Ep. 4: Using a Concentricity Tool & Powder Measure

Adventures in amateur “bullet” making (Yes, I know I’m not technically making bullets, rather I’m reloading “rounds” or “cartridges.”)

This week, the amateur reloading show got some upgraded tools. If you are stepping into the roll your own game, you are going to want to put these high up on your list not far behind the press.

Hornady Powder Measure

First up is the Hornady Powder Measure aka the powder thrower. This actually came with my Iron Press Kit, but I never bothered to set it up. That wasn’t just laziness, it was by design. The Powder Measure can be used as a station on a progressive press or mounted to your bench for manual use. I just never liked any of the mounting options available, until this year. Finally, Hornady created a stand for it, so you no longer have to flat mount it on an edge. Much better.

The Powder Measure Stand makes all the difference.  You can pick it up for around $30.

What does the Powder Measure do? Like the name says, it dispenses your gunpowder. It is adjustable and once you have it where you want it throws approximately the same charge every time you pull the handle. So if you have a lot of rounds to load, it is a lifesaver.

Using it is a breeze.  Pop the top off, fill it with powder, adjust to proper specifications, and off you go! It isn’t as precise as an electronic Powder Trickler, but it does work pretty well. If you aren’t dealing with that precise a load, it certainly moves fast. Mine tends to be off plus or minus .1 of a grain, two out of three times. But if your margin of error isn’t that tight, good to go.

When dispensing powder, I found it to be accurate to about plus or minus 1/10th of a grain.

Even for precise rifle loads, it has made my life a lot easier. I check every charge on an electronic scale, but .1 is a lot faster to correct than trying to hand scoop for every round.

If you don’t purchase the reloading kit, you can buy the Hornady Powder Measure separately for around $70.

Product Features

  • Largest Charge Range in Industry
  • Multiple Mounting Methods
  • Push-Button Release Function
  • Adjustable Tension
  • Precision Tolerance
  • Small and Large Drop Tubes

Hornady Concentricity Tool

I highly recommend you look at getting a concentricity tool.

Next up is a tool that is awesome whether you hand load or not. The Hornady Lock-N-Load Concentricity tool. Concentricity, in the simplest terms, is how straight your bullet is loaded into the case, which affects how it engages the lands and grooves.

Bad concentricity is like having a badly aligned front end on a car and it will play hell with your accuracy. Even you only shoot factory ammunition, this tool is a must-have! And you might be surprised how badly some alleged “match grade” ammunition is put together.

Those little black bands are adjustable, allowing you to establish a range on the dial.

As you rotate the round while it’s placed in the tool, the needle will move telling you how many thousandths the projectile is off center.

I had some factory match-grade ammo I highlighted in the video.  It was out an average of about 8 thousandths! The nice thing about this tool is it lets you correct concentricity in addition to measuring it. This tool sets up quickly, doesn’t take up much space, and is easy to use. If you care at all about accuracy, this is one that you are going to need.

I should note that unlike the powder measure the concentricity tool was not included in the Iron Press kit.  Cost for the concentricity tool is around $100, depending on where you shop.

Cost for the Concentricity Tool is around $100.

Features

  • Universal centers ensure precise alignment of most bottleneck cartridges from 22 cal up to 45 cal.
  • Easy-to-use precision adjustment knobs allow you to true up the runout on any cartridge.
  • Sturdy frame can be bolted to your bench

For more information on the Hornady Powder Measure and the Concentricity Tool visit Hornady.com.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • BR April 28, 2018, 1:16 pm

    I have been reloading for 30 yrs. A couple things, I use a different powder drop (green) but they are all similar. Spherical powders,(and flake to a lesser degree) like 748 work best as they meter very consistently, usually less than a 1/10 gr difference. If you do decide to use an extruded powder like IMR 4064 you must be vigilant that you do not get a condition called “bridging” where you throw a charge and some of the powder bridges the drop tube and shorts one case and overcharges the next. This will be very detrimental to accuracy and can be extremely dangerous. This is why I throw a shell block full of cases at a time, a simple visual of the cases will allow you to eyeball the charge level to see a problem. (Pro tip, the problem could have to do with an arachnid who took up residence in your case before you picked it up at the range.)
    If you are using the double tap of the handle at the drop part of the stroke be careful not to go too far and refill the measure (usually a tap of the finger will work fine).
    Lastly try to keep the powder in the hopper from getting below 1/3 full as it will change the level of consistency of your charges.

  • Matvin April 27, 2018, 2:37 pm

    Dam , Clay is looking all clean cut.

  • Kimberpross April 27, 2018, 11:40 am

    Another thing.. Reloading for bolt actions and handguns is a breeze. Reloading for semi automatic rifles can be fickle. Having the charge beefy enough to consistently cycle the action and maybe not too beefy, ensuring the bullets are seated at a depth that will feed properly and sizing the case properly to also ensure proper feeding are more critical. I have a 44 mag Ruger Deerfield (Semi auto, M1 action) I use for Whitetail where I learned this. I was less concerned about an accuracy load in this than a hot charge (Hard hitter). I loaded the cartridges to the max (starting light and stepping up) and had cycling issues. The cases would be hot and swell in the chamber upon firing and occasionally would not eject the empty, the bolt would pull off the head. I backed of 1/2 grain, problem solved.

  • Kimberpross April 27, 2018, 11:32 am

    I have reloaded rifle and handgun ammo for 45 yrs. My set up on my bench, I stopped at the local custom counter top supplier and bought a 2′ by 2′ piece of marble counter top, (His cut out scrap) I affixed felt pads on on the bottom to be able to slide it easily on my bench top and have my scale on it. This gives a nice solid base to work from while loading. My 2 greatest investments in all those years was a RCBS Chargemaster 1500 and a motorized case prep center The Chargemaster is a combined power dispenser/electronic scale. It measures out very accurately and has great repeatability on all powders. Of course the spherical powders it nails dead on, the cylindrical (Extruded) powders vary sometimes. However, it will dispense and measure a charge quickly enough that by the time I dump, insert into the single stage press, seat bullet, it has measured up another charge ready to dump. The Prep Center allows a setup on a casing to trim to length, debur and clean and trim out the primer pocket quickly. Another great investment is a case length gauge. That shows if the sizing die is adjusted for proper head spacing and shows if the case requires trimming. Of course those are nice to have and not necessary to make great loads, just improves the efficiency and speeds the process,.

  • Sudden April 27, 2018, 11:13 am

    I have found that when you using your press to seat bullets. If after you bring the press and seater down, raise it about halfway and turn thr round about 180 and lower it again helps. it will align the bullet better.

  • Zupglick April 27, 2018, 10:50 am

    A lesson I learned in my past is to NOT reload when heavy equipment is being used within about 500 yards of the bench. My city was re-paving the street one day and I noticed the charges were deviating approximately 10%!

  • William April 27, 2018, 10:50 am

    If your going to load true match ammo, your should always us a neck turner for the neck of your case, other wise you will not get the full benefit of your Concentricity Tool 🙂

  • Robert Wilson April 27, 2018, 10:18 am

    I have a Hornady lock & load single stage press. Looks to be tedious work. Mine is still in the box…need to get it out and start learning. What powder did you try first..? I’m thinking 1100..?

  • Dwight April 27, 2018, 10:10 am

    I have been reloading for 45 years. Reloading and developing the best load for each rifle or handgun is one reason I enjoy shooting as much as I do. Bullet alignment can be a big deal, I have found that bench rest seating dies hold the alignment very well, I use Forster because they were the first to develop a quality bench rest die that was reasonably priced. Most other manufactures have followed their path and now produce a bench rest seating die and they are probably good also.

    One suggestion that I would like to make is never use the first charge from the powder measure, powder seems to filter into the measuring device and it will throw a heavy charge even when it sets for just a minute or two, if that does not help with your accuracy try a different powder, superformance is a large rod powder which is the hardest type to meter accurately but another powder of same size will meter quite well. At the same time a couple of tens of a gain variance is not much of big deal in a large capacity case, in a small case it is, it works kind of on percentages of the case capacity.

    Reloading can give you a new understanding on how things work and can be very challenging, it certainly adds a whole new dimension to the sport of shooting. Buying that expensive custom rifle can be frustrating if it wont shoot well with the ammo you buy uptown. Now you just need to customize your ammo to the rifle.

  • Tenbones April 27, 2018, 10:00 am

    You might want to look into a powder trickler for rounding off your powder loads. It’s a lot less frustrating than using the baby spoon. Also, the concentricity (or lack thereof) of factory ammo was rather surprising.

  • Paul E Zoba April 27, 2018, 9:10 am

    Tips… mount your stuff onto a chunk of nice oak wood. Then it will be stable and you can move it around your bench instead of mounting it direct. Works great for trimmers, powder measures, concentricity tools, neck cleaning stuff, etc. can clamp it down too if needed.

    Watch someone who’s used a powder measure a while. Double bump top, double bump bottom will get you throwing charges +/- 1% per throw. Throw the first 10 after moving or filling the measure back in the can. This helps to stabilize the powder column. Anytime you disrupt it, throw 10.

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