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 Post subject: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:45 pm
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Location: St. Louis
I reload on a MEC 9000. I've not had an issue until my last reloading session. For some unknown reason I was getting light powder drops. Light as in next to nothing! I decided to check the powder drop on a shell and found that it had none. I reload the same recipe always, so no need to keep an eye on powder drops. I have a hole cut in my reloading bench so that when the shell drops down the slide it goes into a 10 gallon bucket. Well, much to my dismay I've found that I have lots of shells in that bucket that the wad won't even clear the barrel. Everything is functioning properly on the loader, the bar is traveling the proper distance with the downstroke and the upstroke. I tilted the bottles and pulled them, checking for any obstruction in the bottle or baffle, nothing. No clumps in the powder, I run a dehumidifier to keep the shop around 55% and I don't store the powder in the bottles on the reloader when not in use.

My long winded question is this.......Is it possible that the powder bottle can cause a vacuum, prohibiting the powder to drop? I do keep the bottle screwed down tightly to the powder baffle and the powder baffle tight into the bar. The red cap is always in the top of the powder bottle, unless I'm filling it with more powder.

Thanks,
IL Duckshewter




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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:18 pm 
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Did you check the powder drop tube? I have had stink bugs get in the drop tube and block it.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:24 pm 
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Location: S.E. Wisconsin
IL Duckshewter wrote:
My long winded question is this.......Is it possible that the powder bottle can cause a vacuum, prohibiting the powder to drop?



NO.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:25 pm
Posts: 347
Location: New Mexico
Check once more that the charge bar is traveling it's FULL stroke each time. Most MEC machines when not set up right can have the bar stop short of a full stroke. Watch the retaining screw to see if it is always moving from one end of the slot under the bottles to the other end as you cycle the machine loaded with shells. If you think you are getting a full stroke, then catch and weigh the powder charge and VERIFY that you get a full weight drop.

What powder are you running? And how old is it? Green Dot is one of the hardest to meter with a bar type measure due to the large size of its flakes.

Otherwise, most common reason is an obstruction of some sort in the bottle, the bushing, or the drop tube.

Good luck, garrisonjoe


Last edited by garrisonjoe on Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:40 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:22 pm
Posts: 190
Location: NE South Dakota
Static build up?


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:53 am 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:25 pm
Posts: 347
Location: New Mexico
Air pressure in and outside the powder bottle equalizes, even if the bottle is airtight, because air will leak through the powder column, entering by the powder bushing.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:10 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:49 pm
Posts: 278
Quote:
Otherwise, most common reason is an obstruction of some sort in the bottle, the bushing, or the drop tube.

Probable cause.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:09 am 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:25 pm
Posts: 347
Location: New Mexico
If there has been ANY amount of oil or other lube applied (or leaked) onto the charge bar, bushings, drop tube (and even if you don't remember doing so), it is worth it to THOROUGHLY clean all those parts with a safe solvent. Isopropyl alcohol is a good one (except for being hard to find now), as it pulls out the oils without attacking any of the common plastics and rubbers.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:57 am
Posts: 8
Location: PENNSYLVANIA
I also keep my powder cannister bottle and baffle screwed down tight and check my charges every 200 rounds. I have not seen any problem with light loads or bad drops using American Select. Perhaps you could drill a small hole in the center of the red bottle cap to equilibrate pressure/vacuum lock but I would check the drop tube as suggested.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:51 pm
Posts: 1654
Location: S.E. Wisconsin
reedap11 wrote:
Perhaps you could drill a small hole in the center of the red bottle cap to equilibrate pressure/vacuum lock .


Or just pull the red cap out for a test run to prove its not vacuum lock.

Steve

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I repair MEC presses. PM me.
Used to be Steve Y


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:59 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:02 pm
Posts: 154
IL Duckshewter wrote:
I do keep the bottle screwed down tightly to the powder baffle and the powder baffle tight into the bar.


If you are using a big flake powder, get rid of the baffle.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:35 am 
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You folks do realize that creating a vacuum using dry smokeless powder, in this type of application, is impossible?

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aka Mr. Tactful. Common sense no longer appears to be common.
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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:45 pm
Posts: 110
Location: St. Louis
No obstruction in the powder drop tube, small flake powder (Titewad), I think the theory of a vacuum has been shot down. Apparently it was rather silly of me to even consider such a possibility. I apologize for lacking such common sense.

I sat down and loaded 2 cases the other day and checked every 4th shell. Powder drops were on point. What I did notice is that my theory of finding the "light" charged shells was flawed. I had a finished weight of approximately 615 to 625 grains on a known proper powder drop shell. So, I went through a five gallon bucket of finished shells looking for shells that weighed less than 615 grains. What I've since learned is that even shells that have a proper powder drop are coming up light in overall weight. Some running as light as 600 grains. How can this be? It appears that my shot charge is coming up light. Its over 382 gr (7/8 oz) but short of 437 gr (1 oz), with an average of around 410 gr. Target drop is 437 grains. I guess I will have to make an adjustment to the shot side of the charge bar.

Shot 100 of the newly loaded shells yesterday morning and had 2 shells that were noticeably light on powder charge, but they still broke the target. I'll continue to look for the problem and report back so that those who also lack proper common sense will have a reference.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:39 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:22 pm
Posts: 55
dogchaser37 wrote:
You folks do realize that creating a vacuum using dry smokeless powder, in this type of application, is impossible?


Yes, of course....sometimes it’s best to say nothing, or pretend you didn’t read it as you offer ideas.
H


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:15 pm
Posts: 5736
Location: Northern Virginia
No, you won't get a vacuum problem in a MEC bottle.

And I've never had a shell that didn't get powder, not push the crimp all the way through to the point of BB's rolling out of them. Surprised you didn't notice this almost right away.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:54 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:00 am
Posts: 48
IL Duckshewter wrote:
So, I went through a five gallon bucket of finished shells looking for shells that weighed less than 615 grains. What I've since learned is that even shells that have a proper powder drop are coming up light in overall weight. Some running as light as 600 grains. How can this be?

Take a single pellet of whatever shot you are using, and weigh it. How much does it weigh in grains? (Spoiler alert: one pellet weighs very approximately one grain).

Then, consider the industry standard pellet size tolerance is at least ±0.5 shot size. In other words if you're loading #8 shot you will be loading many pellets of shot size 7.5 many that are 8.5 and that's perfectly acceptable.

Then, multiply that grain tolerance by the variation in the actual number of pellets that drop from the charge bar. Does it always drop the same exact number of consistently sized pellets?

Then, do the same with the hulls you're using. How much do they vary, measured in grains? How much does a wad weigh, in grains?

Then, consider the value of weighing finished shells to draw any conclusions regarding variations in powder drop.


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:09 pm 
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HenryPeter,

Sorry, as I have obviously offended you......but they didn't name me Mr. Tactful for nothing.

I suppose I could have been more tactful, but going down an obviously flawed road doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

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aka Mr. Tactful. Common sense no longer appears to be common.
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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:22 pm
Posts: 55
No offense brother....I was simply answering the question that you asked. {hs#
H


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:44 pm 
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{hs#

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aka Mr. Tactful. Common sense no longer appears to be common.
NSCA#544066


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 Post subject: Re: Vacuum Lock on Powder Bottle?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:20 pm 
Tournament Grade
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:45 pm
Posts: 110
Location: St. Louis
v35 wrote:
IL Duckshewter wrote:
So, I went through a five gallon bucket of finished shells looking for shells that weighed less than 615 grains. What I've since learned is that even shells that have a proper powder drop are coming up light in overall weight. Some running as light as 600 grains. How can this be?

Take a single pellet of whatever shot you are using, and weigh it. How much does it weigh in grains? (Spoiler alert: one pellet weighs very approximately one grain).

Then, consider the industry standard pellet size tolerance is at least ±0.5 shot size. In other words if you're loading #8 shot you will be loading many pellets of shot size 7.5 many that are 8.5 and that's perfectly acceptable.

Then, multiply that grain tolerance by the variation in the actual number of pellets that drop from the charge bar. Does it always drop the same exact number of consistently sized pellets?

Then, do the same with the hulls you're using. How much do they vary, measured in grains? How much does a wad weigh, in grains?

Then, consider the value of weighing finished shells to draw any conclusions regarding variations in powder drop.



Thanks for the advice! I have actually done this. Its astounding how much variance there is in the components that we use. There is sometimes as much as a 15 grain variance just in the empty hull itself.




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