Adjustable Powder Dipper
Copyright 2005 by Junior Doughty

In the left of the photo below, see an adjustable powder dipper. On the right of the photo, see the dipper's parent 357 mag case.

Adjustable powder dipper My adjustable powder dipper came about in a convoluted way. The cast bullet hog load for my Rossi 357 mag carbine uses 16.0 grs of Lil'Gun. While planning Hog Camp 2005, during which I would load my 357 mag hog ammo in camp, I started thinking about making a Lee Dipper-like measure which would throw about 15.9 grs of Lil'Gun with no charge exceeding 16.0 grs.

With the measured VMD of my can of Lil'Gun at .0683, a charge of 16 grs would need a 1.09 cc dipper (.0683 x 16.0 = 1.09). Alas, Lee made 1.0 cc and 1.3 cc dippers. While hunting something from which I could make a 1.09 cc dipper, I noticed that the inside diameter of a 357 mag case was very close to the inside diameter of a Lee 1.0 cc dipper. So I decided I would cut off a 357 mag case until it held about 15.9 grs of Lil'Gun.

Then I started thinking about soldering a handle to the homemade dipper. Hey, I told myself, why not knock out the primer and screw a sheet metal screw through the flash hole? I could hold the dipper by the screw head!

Then the idea came to use a bolt through the primer pocket, which I could easily thread. I could turn the bolt in and decrease dipper capacity. I could turn the bolt out and increase dipper capacity. I could lock the bolt in place with a small nut.

  • I cut off a 357 mag case until it held about 16.5 grs of Lil'Gun.
  • I ground off the rim so it wouldn't catch powder grains.
  • I drilled the flash hole and tapped it 8-32.
  • I installed an 8-32 bolt and a nut with which to clamp it against the case/dipper.

Adjustable powder dipperThe graphic on the right depicting a cut-away case shows it better than I can explain it.

I tapped only the flash hole, but my dipper is holding up just fine. If you want a more sturdy dipper, drill and tap the primer pocker and use a larger bolt. However, a larger bolt means a larger nut which will catch powder grains.

To fill the adjustable dipper, I hold it with the bolt between my left thumb and index finger. I then fill it from a larger Lee Dipper held in my right hand and positioned about 1" above the mouth of the adjustable dipper. The powder pours down into the adjustable dipper like from an elevated drop tube. When the adjustable dipper is heaping full, I wipe off the mouth with a straight edge.

Uniformity of pouring and wiping is the key to uniformity of charge weights.

For my dipper and my Lil'Gun, one full turn of the bolt varies the charge about 0.15 grs.

Bolt all the way down, the internal capacity of my dipper is 1.13 cc. Your results will vary.


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