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March 1, 2020
Old School Powder Measuring

How do you charge your centerfire cartridges with powder? If I asked 100 hand loaders the majority, if not every last person would say that they weigh or measure using manual or electronic powder dispensers, digital scales, powder tricklers (manual or automated) and/or beam scales or some combination there in. To the last person I would expect everyone uses one or more of these methods on everything they load.

Lee Precision Powder Dipper Set on my Bench

If I asked if they ever used a powder dipper to load with the answer would likely be a resounding no way or maybe as long as I trickle the final amount. Most loaders look at the powder dipper as an archaic maybe even dangerous approach to hand loading modern metallic cartridges.

Who would even think of using a dipper exclusively to hand load with? Enter the Lee Precision Improved Powder Measure Kit. This tool kit has been around forever it seems & prior to this kit there were others, typically provided with a specific die set by caliber. The kit includes 15 uniformly graduated dippers that measure from .3 cubic centimeters to 4.3 cubic centimeters and a slide table that shows what powder to use with each dipper for specific charges/loads.

These dippers are safe if used with the charging table as they cannot get out of adjustment and measure volume as do powder measures that "throw" a charge. I use the dippers for various loads from 444 Marlin, 45-70, 450 Marlin & the venerable 458 Winchester Magnum. Now I've loaded & fired tens of thousands of these cartridges using this method but I will say that I started by dipping the powder with a scoop and then dumping it onto the scale to verify the load. I would do this repeatedly until I felt I had developed a consistent methodology.

Lee Precision Slide Measure/Powder Tool for Loads

Don't get me wrong, I still use the scale to develop loads and if I'm loading something that doesn't work properly (best grouping) I will use a powder measure along with scale to load with. The dippers do not fit for every bullet weight, type and cartridge so use only if they fit your specific application. Notice I didn't mention that I use the dippers with my hand gun cartridges. They work just fine for some however none of the dippers work well with the powder types I load with at the proper charge levels I'm after. They may work for your applications. So, for my hand gun cartridges I use powder measures exclusively and checked with a digital or beam scale every five charges.

What applications would I recommend using these dippers for? Well to start out if you are a bolt gunner striving to achieve precision accuracy, move along and never consider this method. It won't get you the consistency you are trying to achieve let alone support that one-mile club many are looking for. But if you are heading to the range or backyard to do some plinking or just fun shooting at targets within a couple hundred yards you will do just fine. For brush country hunting these loads work great too. Or for the hand gunner at fifteen yards jump on in.

You can tell Which Scoops I Use a lot

So if you follow me here or elsewhere on the net you may come across videos of me using dippers to load with. Don't laugh, or cringe or start sending me hate mail - just rest assured that this method has been used successfully & safely for over a century when proper precautions are taken. Smokeless powder was invented in 1886 and dipping powder charges began even before its invention.


a. Never use a powder dipper for a max powder charge

b. Verify powder weight in grains from dipper on a scale prior to loading ammo



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Hello! My name is Scott and I’m a husband, dad, and enthusiast for all things outdoors! My wife and I are parents to two adult children, and grandparents to one sweet boy! We moved to NW Georgia in 2015, I'm originally from Illinois & my wife from Florida! Everyday I try to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle while juggling all of my favorite things. I am very excited to share my passion for the outdoors, handloading, range fun, hunting, and fishing lifestyle! Welcome to my life - I can’t wait to bring you along on the adventure!



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