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Thread: Static in Powder Measure Problem

  1. #1
    Member Double Shovel's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Static in Powder Measure Problem

    Was trying to build a few rounds of 22-250 ammo this evening and can't seem to get past the powder measure (RCBS). Static electricity (I think) has grains of powder (varget) hung up in the green plastic dispenser nipple (I changed from the larger to the smaller). Powder amounts are varying +/- .5 grain. Has anyone ever had this problem? How do I get the static out of my powder measure? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    DS

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    Wash the plastic in warm water and dish washing detergent (liquid), that should help. Oh, yeah, then dry it.
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    Member Double Shovel's Avatar
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    Thanks Murph. It's drying right now. I'll give it a shot tomorrow after work.

    DS

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    Wipin it down with one of those anti-static thingys for clothes dryers, works for powder funnels, so they might oughta just do it for your powder measure too. ????

    I usually use a "used" one.

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    You can also cut a ~1" strip off the edge of a "Bounce" dryer sheet and hang it down in the powder hopper to provide continuous static protection. Capture the end of it in the lid and make sure the length doesn't reach the measuring mechanism at the bottom.
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    Same as Joat, but I just wipe down the inside of the hopper as Smitty suggests. It's only a problem in really dry conditions.

  7. #7

    Default static

    I've had static problems in the hopper itself, usually when I haven't used it in a while, but never in the drop tube. I have had bridging problems there. When I am using the measure, after dropping the load, I give the handle a little tap by lifting it up a scosh and down again. That usually takes care of it. There is such a small amount of powder in the tube, surrounded by the metal of the measure body, that shouldn't be a major factor. Using the small diameter drop tube with any kind of extruded powder, especially with a .22 cal neck can make problems.

  8. #8

    Default static

    I meant to say, such a small amount of plastic in the tube.

  9. #9

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    wipe down with a anti static dryer sheet and keep one rubber banded to the outside of the container

  10. #10
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    Default Static electricity in powder measures

    Washing the plastic parts of a powder measure or a powder funnel in dishwashing detergent is an old trick and generally works but I'm not sure why. Some of the older measures were made of a gray conductive plastic but I'm not sure of the newer ones. Herter's used to comment on static electricity and powder measures in their catalog. (If only we could bring Herters and Longs Drug Stores back )

    I know some of the anti-static sheets actually have an oil in them. It may not hurt but I don't think I would want these in contact with the powder. A used sheet would certainly be better in this regard. I'll do some research and refresh my memory on how these anti-static sheets work - ther are two or more different techologies used I seem to recall.

    Has anyone every tried grounding the body of the measure to a cold water pipe or such?

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    Default Anti-Static device

    I have an old anti-static device originally designed for photographic use. It is a brush for wiping dust from negatives and the operative part had a polonium cartridge that would emit ionizing radiation (alpha particles). (Note, Polonium is is the stuff that killed that Russian ex-agent, Alexander Litvininko, a couple years ago. The alpha particles are safe as long as you don't ingest the source material). The ionized air molecules would neutralize static charges nearby. It seems to work pretty well, too. Hanging one inside wherever your powders are sticking should be the cure.

    If you don't like polonium, there is a similar device sold for removing static charges from phonograph records, but it required you to squeeze it to emit charged particles that were supposed to neutralize the static charge on plastic/vinyl records. (Am I showing my age, talking about phonographs?) I was never sure if it worked as well as the polonium, though, and requires more or less constant attention (squeezing the handle).

    Good luck.

    Larry

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    tvfinak:
    Since plastic is non-conductive, I shouldn't think that grounding it would have any effect.

    I've tried washing my funnels in detergent, like Murphy mentioned, and wiping them with used dryer sheets, and both methods DO work, although I don't know exactly how it comes about.

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    How about figuring how to ground the dispenser itself? For example, placing a bid of liquid copper (the type used to repair broken rear-window defogger wires) along the plastic piece, all the way up to the metallic portion of the dispenser, and from that point on, a static discharge wire to a ground point around the reloading bench. Has any of you used a ground or static discharge band around your wrist to work on electronic circuits? That's the sort of thing I am thinking about.

    Plastic works like a sort of capacitor, in that it can't conduct an electrical charge. However, get a ground point next to it, and the charge jumps across. The funny thing is that anti-static plastics have been used for years now, and still, the reloading equipment manufacturers continue producing the same old plastics.

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    Default Funnel Static

    Had the same problem last night with a Lee powder funnel and H322. Practically half the load would stick to the sides! It must be this time of year - very dry air. Drove me crazy until I washed the funnel with dishwashing soap and dried it. That helped some, but every fourth or fifth cartridge, the static would return somewhat. I just kept a slightly damp paper towel on the bench to wipe the inside of the funnel - this removed the static for at least a few cases at a time. Never tried the Bounce trick - maybe next time.

    Happy Loading!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    I know some of the anti-static sheets actually have an oil in them. It may not hurt but I don't think I would want these in contact with the powder.
    The box says, "essential oils" so that would be those natural oils you would find at the herbal shop, not like a petroleum based oil. The bounce sheets are also extremely flammable and leave no residue after burning them. There is nothing there that I would worry about being in contact with powder for general target loads.

    I've loaded thousands of rounds of 12g trap loads with brand new bounce sheets hanging in the powder jar on a MEC loader. If I remember correctly, the instructions from MEC suggested this method, but I've been doing it for at least 10 years without a hitch. When I first started using the MEC, I found that red dot would stick to the insides of the plastic bottle, but the bounce sheet stopped that right away.

    As for pistol/rifle loading, I've used stand-alone RCBS powder measures and a Dillon progressive loader for a long time without ever encountering a static problem. So, I've never found a need to put a bounce sheet in those powder hoppers. I've also never cleaned the hoppers other than dumping them and wiping them with a cotton rag. These use a better rigid plastic tube rather than the thin-walled plastic jar of the MEC loader, so I'm guessing these are purpose designed to avoid static problems. And the drop tubes are steel or aluminum, so no problems in that area either.
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    Default Thanks for the Good Suggestions

    Thanks all for the good suggestions. First I tried the dishwater-worked for the first 20 rounds. Next was the "used" bounce sheet-works well if pulled through the dispenser nipple every 30 or so rounds. Sorry Larry, I didn't try the Polonium and cheese sandwich. Nor did I try to ground the unit. Must be the time of year. I've had the wood stove crankin' in the house for 2 weeks straight and the ceiling fan on high. Seems the air is much too dry under current conditions. Can't wait for some better shootin' weather! Happy Trails.

    DS

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    Double Shovel:

    Yer probably right. Yew need ta be bilin some wadder on that stove, and git some vapor in the air.
    ____________________________________
    JOAT:
    You're probably right too. I think it's the plastic. I never had a problem with my old timey powder funnel that I got back in the 60s.

    Guns Transparent Powder funnel
    Guns Products Division
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    Houston 27, Texuzzzz

    It's these new fangled, cheapy ones that hang onto the grains.

    I called Lee Precision one time and suggested they used cheap plastic, etc., and was told to wash it in soap.
    Smitty of the North
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