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Anna_Purna 09-25-2013 01:32 AM

Reloading for those on a budget....... Making your own powder dipper
Reloading on a budget. This thread is going to be for those who want to get into reloading, but do not have the funds to get all the goodies at first. I feel with a powder scale, and a deburring tool is all you need to really start reloading. (along with the press and dies of course).
What you will need for starters. A plumbers tool for cutting copper tubing. Maybe 10 dollars or so at the hardware store. Some wire cutters, a Spoon, I get mine from Wendy's. some nylon ties, a roll of electrical tape, and a roll of masking tape.
here is my plumbers pipe cutter:

Here is where I wished I had a photo of my scale and some powder to start get a basic measurement on your bullet casing. I use bullet casings I have found on the ground to make into reloading powder dippers.

Once you have decided on about where to cut, mark the outside with a sharpie and get to it.. Note the sharpie line and the cutting wheel in between:

The finished cut:

Then I use one of these Deburring tools to smooth out the edge, inside and out:

Now don't worry if you made this too large. or too small. A file will bring the size down to exactly the measurement you are seeking. If you made the cut too small, save it for later, You may start reloading for smaller calibers, or different powders where this smaller piece may come in handy. Right now is where you refill the bullet and check your measurement and powder level to how many grains of powder you are going to be using. I like to measure at least 5 times to make sure the load is consistent. Over a bowl or cup of powder, I will fill the dipper past the brim, and then scrape across the top bullet edge with a razor blade. Pour into the scale pan and measure its weight. If you are over, I then use a flat file and 'sand' down the dipper and recheck the level and repeat, until I get to that desired level of powder I am making the dipper for. if you are lucky enough to have an electric wheel grinder, this step is very fast and easy.

Once you have the desired powder level for this dipper you are making, now we can start on the finished product. I like to use 2 differing sizes of these nylon ties. The black kind are about 4 inches long, and the white one is maybe 8 or 9 inches long:

I like to take the smaller tie, and using the indentation of the bullet is where I will place and seat this tie so it can't ever move and slip off:

The larger one I use at the top. By using a larger tie, this gives strength to the end result, so the filler won't twist and flex while in use:

Then I take out my trusty spoon I got from Wendy's:

For the next few steps, you will need some wire cutter thinghys, some masking tape, (mines black) and some electrical tape, mines red:

Now take your sppon and turn it over. Notice the little ridge on the right hand side of the pic? I like to cut that off by using some wire cutters:

So that the spoon now looks like this:

Then I use some masking tape to start to wrap the ties and bullet to the spoon:

Once I have wrapped it into place I then take my electrical tape and wrap it again. I don't wrap this tape tightly, because of over time, the tape creeps back into its normal size and leaves little sticky gooies on the outside edges of the tape. Just loosely wrap with the electrical tape, and your tape won't move on you. Now I then take a sharpie marker and write down on the tape what powder is used, and how many grains for that load:

nitestalker 09-25-2013 01:49 AM

LEE Powder dippers marked sell for less than .50 cents each. A set of 20 cost $9 bucks. The old saying "Penny wise and Pound foolish" applies.:D

Anna_Purna 09-25-2013 02:02 AM


Originally Posted by nitestalker (Post 1382409)
LEE Powder dippers marked sell for less than .50 cents each. A set of 20 cost $9 bucks. The old saying "Penny wise and Pound foolish" applies.:D

NOW you tell me! DOH! lol

Well, I have never seen them in a store and actually kind of like making my own stuff. Are the Lee dippers made of plastic like the free ones they give you in die sets? And are that all that short?

nitestalker 09-25-2013 02:35 AM

That short?? That is OK Anna. I know Idaho gals like doing handicrafts. Cutting up brass to make powder measures is OK. I prefer using a bent coat hanger handle soldiered our glued to the case. Just flatten the end to attach to the brass. :)
The LEE plastic ones are regulated to use different powders. Actually very handy.

Anna_Purna 09-25-2013 02:39 AM


Originally Posted by nitestalker (Post 1382457)
The LEE plastic ones are regulated to use different powders. Actually very handy.

And do these dippers go all the way up to 60 grains for 25. and 30.06s?

magnumman 09-25-2013 02:48 AM

The dippers work well within reason. I used them when I first started out. The problem is that there are some pretty wide gaps between them depending on the powder you use. I had to modify some of the dippers to get the right charges. Looks like you put some thought into this project so you could probably make the intermediate dippers that are not included in the set.

gr8oldguy 09-25-2013 02:50 AM

Great post. I own a set of Lee dippers and I have a Lee Auto Disk Powder Measure. Even with all that I'm always making custom dippers. good luck

Anna_Purna 09-25-2013 02:51 AM

Thanks Magnummanand Gr8oldguy. I determine an exact load I am working on, and make that dipper for that grain measurement. From 40s&w/38 special all the way up to 30.06 and 45-70s. Each spoon is for a different powder measurement in particular.

Rick1967 09-25-2013 04:01 AM

I started out with a set of Lee dippers. I didn't even have a scale. I followed the directions very carefully. It is slow going. But I reloaded 3 or 4 pistol calibers that way. You would simply use the right dipper for the right powder. I would dip it and let it be heaped up over the top. Then I took a 3x5 index card to level off the top of the powder even with the top of the dipper. I always used starting loads. I probably loaded over 2000 rounds that way. Then I got an RCBS powder measure and a RCBS balance beam scale for Christmas. My wife insisted on buying them for me. She knows I am cheap and would not buy them myself. Wow...that was like going from a single shot rifle to a full auto M16! Don't be afraid to spend a little money if you have it.

mich1377usmc 09-26-2013 10:19 PM

AP, heres a pix of those dippers. The white slide card has load data by powder type & manufacture

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