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A Review of Lee's Perfect Powder Measure

Pictures pending; hopefully the text of this review will be useful on its own

The Perfect Powder Measure, by Lee Precision, isn't very well named. It's far from perfect, although at $31 MSRP and $21 street price, it doesn't have to be. As is typical with Lee products, its price is around half that of its competition from RCBS and Hornady. And as typical for Lee products, it feels cheap - but it works as advertised and throws very consistent charges.

Theory of Operation

Like most powder measures, this is a volumetric measure. It consists of a hopper, a rotating throw lever / charge assembly, a stand, and a wooden block which it can be secured to. When you're initially adjusting the measure, you manually rotate the threaded plastic charging bar to screw it into or out of the powder reservoir. This alters the amount of internal volume available for holding powder. When the throw lever is upwards, this reservoir is connected to the powder hopper and powder can flow into the reservoir. When you then pull the lever down, the reservoir pivots upward until it makes contact with the drop tube, at which point gravity takes over and the powder spills out of the tube and into whatever vessel you have allocated for it.

Convenience

  • Included wooden stand: The box includes a wooden block to mount the hopper to. The block has a friction pad attached to the underside, increasing its grip on a tabletop.
  • Twist the hopper to cut off powder flow: This is convenient for cutting off the powder flow, allowing you to readily dump the powder back into your powder jug.
  • Adjustment bar: The adjustment bar is marked with numbers, which makes it pretty easy to write down exactly what your setting was for a load and readily return to it.
  • Reproducible weights: This powder measure wasn't any less accurate than the Dillon Precision bar on my progressive press.
  • Built-in funnel for powder droppage: The funnel can be adjusted upwards or downwards a bit.

Gripes

I do have a few gripes with this measure. While I have to respect the budget conscious design, I really don't think it would've added more than $2-$3 to the final cost to have addressed these issues at the factory.
  • Powder spillage: I'm not done investigating where it's leaking, but the measure does tend to lose a number of powder granules on each throw. It may possibly be static electricity causing grains of powder to adhere temporarily to the inside of the tube, but I'm not entirely sure. In the meantime, I would recommend placing the entire assembly over a piece of paper so that you can catch the loose powder granules and scoop them back up aftewards.
  • Lack of cross-bolt for powder hopper: A simple pin would've taken care of this, but the natural tendency to pick up the measure by the powder will cause the hopper to separate from the dispenser assembly, spilling powder all over the place.
  • Twisting the hopper: The hopper's twisting flow cutoff can actually be a problem. If it just had a label indicating the direction you need to twist it to cut off the flow, it'd be fine. As it stands, when you first start using this powder measure it's entirely too easy to fail to notice that the hopper is in no-flow mode.
  • Powder hopper cap doesn't screw on, nor does it even fit tightly. While most hoppers won't resist spillage if they're knocked over, this hopper's cap isn't secured at all. The overall effect leaves it feeling somewhat shoddy.

Improving Upon "Perfection"

If I could get the engineering team at Lee Precision to take notice, I'd ask that they modify this measure in the following ways:
  • Drill a small hole through the base of the powder measure, and run a pin through it for retention. I don't want to be able to accidentally lift or knock off the hopper and spill powder everywhere.
  • Label which twist does what on the hopper. I intend to print up a label for mine which says something to the effect of "Twist right for powder flow". A sticker supplied at the factory, or heck even some writing molded into the body of the hopper, would take care of that.
  • Tighten the cap just enough to hold it on. While it would be awesome for it to clamp down like a Mason jar, that would certainly add to the cost and top-heaviness of the dispenser.

Intended Experiments

I'm curious where the powder leakage is coming from, so I intend to isolate the parts and test them individually. I.e. I'll remove the drop tube assembly and drop it directly into a scale's pan, etc. This will be done before any improvement I would make.

-- SeanNewton - 23 Sep 2010

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Topic revision: r3 - 29 Sep 2010 - SeanNewton
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