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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve been interested in an auto-dispensing powder measure since my challenges with Universal began. With 16 lbs (maybe 15 1/2 now) on hand, and dozens of advocates of the powder on varying forums, it is a powder that I’m growing to love to shoot, but absolutely hate loading it. On one hand, I’ve really improved my manual load process, and probably produce some of the best loads I’ve ever assembled. On the other hand, it takes me nearly 2 hours to produce 100 rounds from sized and primed cases. Contrast that with the 1 hour it takes to complete all loading steps for 100 rounds with a powder like HP-38.

Well, Amazon presented an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, especially as I had enough money on Amazon gift cards to make the purchase.

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I was interested in this when it first came out, and tube reviews have been extremely favorable, but I was holding out for the Hornady LNL Auto Charge. However, one this sale at Amazon appeared I couldn’t resist. Delivered for $171.96.
 

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Looks uncannily like an RCBS Chargemaster.. have fun with it, my Chargemaster has, over the years, saved me loads of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Warning....Long Post Follows - First Use Report

Of course I couldn’t wait to get started with this new tool. Naturally, my first effort was Universal...my bane!

I followed set up and calibration per the manual, including Powder Cal, which runs an algorithm to determine the best trickle speed to accurately dispense powder. This is a process that must be done at every change in powder as well as every new loading session, as the Powder Cal value isn’t saved. I was most keen to see how Universal fared in this test. It ran through slow, fast, medium, medium slow, and so on, until it was satisfied that it could accurately trickle this powder. Since my Hornady Powder Dropper can’t produce even two consecutive drops of Universal at the same I was surprised at how fast this process completed.


Next, I selected a favorite load for 40 S&W, 5.7gr, and entered that as the target and proceeded to manually dispense, accomplished by hitting the “play” button. It started with a medium speed trickle, stopped and waited for the scale to stabilize, then a momentary bump of the dispense tube, wait, and the scale settled at 5.7gr with a comforting beep-beep. I dumped the tray and hit play [poetry) and the process repeated, with the same satisfying beep-beep.
I did a couple more with the same result, then moved to Auto mode. The Mode button toggles between Manual and Auto. It took a second or two, then the unit went into action. Spin spin, pause, quick bump, Stabilize...beep-beep. Dump the pan, put the empty back on the platen, and the process repeated.

I did this until I was giddy with delight. Sadly, I just did up all of my Universal loads, so I emptied the powder and repeated the previous steps using CFE-Pistol. I’m confident that most people will agree that there are no similarities between these powders. Thus, my first actual loads with this device were 7.4gr CFE-Pistol for 155gr Berry’s CPFP. It was incredible. I’m on a Hornady LNL Classic single stage, so making up rounds is one by one. In auto mode this device is a champ. I didn’t time myself, but I could just keep with the machine.

Starting with the first pour, grab a case, afix the powder funnel, dump the powder, put the tray on the scale, grab a bullet, seat it using the Hornady Taper Crimp Seating Die, put the loaded round in the bullet box....beep...the powder’s ready. There were maybe two times that I waited half a second for the Intellidropper to complete. Aside from that I had 2 over drops in the first 50 rounds, where the scale settled at 7.5gr and erred out, though a second later the scale settled at 7.4gr. During the 2nd 50 the unit hit 7.5gr and settled there multiple times, unfortunately I was getting warmer and turned the fan on. This was a mistake and after turning it back off I had more overcharges.

While I am overjoyed with the performance of the unit, emptying the hopper is a challenge. It may get easier once all of the internals are coated with graphite, for now it’s painful. You have to maneuver the unit to the side of the bench, or perhaps pick it up. Where I very rarely spill powder emptying my Hornady dropper, I spilled a bit of Universal and a bit less of CFE-Pistol. Maybe the 3rd time will be the charm.

My next test will be Vihtavuori N320. It’s a stick, as you know, so there’s some cutting and crunching involved. Since this is an auto trickler I’d expect a smooth process with N320. With Universal being my only frustrating powder, and it passing my tests with flying colors, I couldn’t be happier...in spite of the emptying challenges.
 

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Congrats ! Looks a lot like my Lyman Gen6 powder measure. I've noticed that with powders that have a reputation for being difficult, it helps to put the plug in that narrows the powder drop from the stem and better regulates it, if you're getting inconsistent drops. By inconsistent, I mean more than plus or minus 1/10 of a grain either way. Not sure if yours will have that, or maybe the step drop is narrower to begin with on yours, just thought I'd mention that.
 

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Looks like a awesome machine! As with any new device like that it takes a little time and practice to get it figured out just right.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Congrats ! Looks a lot like my Lyman Gen6 powder measure. I've noticed that with powders that have a reputation for being difficult, it helps to put the plug in that narrows the powder drop from the stem and better regulates it, if you're getting inconsistent drops. By inconsistent, I mean more than plus or minus 1/10 of a grain either way. Not sure if yours will have that, or maybe the step drop is narrower to begin with on yours, just thought I'd mention that.
Texas, my Hornady LNL Powder Measure runs +/- 0.4gr on Universal. But the inconsistency of throws isn’t my biggest issue. It is physically challenging to operate the thrower. I’ve tried the pistol rotor and the rifle rotor. The rifle rotor was far worse than the pistol rotor in turns of the physical effort required to throw a charge. It’s as if the powder is made of plastic, so the flakes will not cut or break cleanly. I can only assume that the larger diameter of Universal, a flattened sphere, gets caught in the rotor, and the rotor isn’t sharp enough to cut through the granule. When the drop is particularly hard the resulting throw will be 0.2gr to 0.4gr overcharge. Conversely, some throws will be quite soft, with the rotor turning smoothly...and these “easy” throws will tend 0.2gr to 0.4gr undercharge. Naturally, I prefer the “easy” throws, as one of the 4 tricklers I have will top off the charge.

Regardless, in testing, the Intellidropper produced a consistent charge every time. At least in testing. I’ll know for sure once a I run a load session with Universal.
 

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Texas, my Hornady LNL Powder Measure runs +/- 0.4gr on Universal. But the inconsistency of throws isn’t my biggest issue. It is physically challenging to operate the thrower. I’ve tried the pistol rotor and the rifle rotor. The rifle rotor was far worse than the pistol rotor in turns of the physical effort required to throw a charge. It’s as if the powder is made of plastic, so the flakes will not cut or break cleanly. I can only assume that the larger diameter of Universal, a flattened sphere, gets caught in the rotor, and the rotor isn’t sharp enough to cut through the granule. When the drop is particularly hard the resulting throw will be 0.2gr to 0.4gr overcharge. Conversely, some throws will be quite soft, with the rotor turning smoothly...and these “easy” throws will tend 0.2gr to 0.4gr undercharge. Naturally, I prefer the “easy” throws, as one of the 4 tricklers I have will top off the charge.

Regardless, in testing, the Intellidropper produced a consistent charge every time. At least in testing. I’ll know for sure once a I run a load session with Universal.
I can't wait to see your results. I have the Hornady LNL powder measure as well. It's been a long time since I used Universal, and I haven't used it at all since I got my Lyman Gen6, but I'll have to dig that powder out and try it sometime. I don't recall having the problems you were having, or at least on the scale you're having them. I like Universal, it seems to be a pretty nice powder, and has a lot of applications.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I completed my first 50 rounds of .45 ACP with 5.4gr Universal and Nosler 230gr JHP. Pretty much the same experience as with the CFE-Pistol trial. 3 reported overcharges, one undercharge. The under measured 5.3gr, verified on a separate scale. The 3 overcharges, 2 were above 5.46gr, triggering the over charge, and one was actually 5.43gr, so I used it.

It takes 4-6 seconds to stabilize the scale before powder starts to flow, then another 2-3 seconds to stabilize after dropping all of the powder for a given charge.

Time from setting the pan onto the load cell to final load acceptance ranged between 12.5 and 15.5 seconds.

These rounds were made up from clean, once fired, sized brass. This is the primary reason for 2 of the overcharges and the single undercharge, as I was expanding and priming the cases while the Intellidropper dispensed. Although the movement is small, priming the cases did affect the scale. This wouldn’t normally be an issue as I try to have my brass ready for powder. I went ahead and primed the remaining 50 cases so I can have a smoother load experience next time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Tackled my first loads with H-110, 50 rounds of .300 AAC Blackout. I selected 14.6gr H-110 under a TJ Conevera 120gr Powerbond bullet. Hornady has a load for their 110gr FMJ RN usually loaded in .30 Carbine. Their C.O.L. for this round is 1.790”. The Powerbond is 0.085” longer than the Hornady, so I went with a C.O.L. for my rounds of 1.900”.

The Intellidropper delivered flawless performance with H-110. It took longer to do the Powder Calibration, but afterwards, it delivered 50 powder loads without a single over or under reading. I didn’t time the dispensing, but once again, powder was always in the pan waiting on me...never the opposite.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I thought I'd bring this up to date, considering that I've been trying a number of different powders. The more I use the Intellidropper, the more I like it. My loads are substantially improved as the powder calibration feature ensures consistent loads. It may be premature, but I've also stopped checking the loads against a second scale. I've already removed my Hornady powder drop from the bench (though the stand is still there, thanks to the LNL bushing system), and I'm ready to pack up my Hornady Vibratory Trickler...nothing for it to do.

Recent Powders:
HP-38 - an occasional 0.1gr light drop - easily resolved with a tap of the Trickle button. 3 instances out of 150, where the Intellidropper called it good, and then scale settled in light. No overweight loads.
VV N-330 - No issues, no over or underweight loads.
CFE-Pistol - No issues - 2nd load session
BE-86 - totally new powder for me - 1 light drop out of 50

I realized that the machine is functioning beautifully since my first 2 sessions. I had noted that I was sizing and priming cases when I first used it. Anything that moves the bench during the critical final weigh and trickle will affect the outcome, but I've noticed that I can expand the cases without affecting the scale, as I do not jostle the bench. I've also returned to my Frankford Arsenal Perfect Prime hand primer vs priming on the bench, as that seems to provide the most consistent results.

I still haven't tried VV N320 as yet. I discovered that my supply has dwindled to the point that I couldn't fill the hopper adequately, and I'm waiting on a free shipping/free hazmat sale to appear before ordering more. My newly local discovered "local" gun shop is a Vihtavuori stocking dealer, but a small one, and thus, they don't carry 4 lb jugs, and haven't been allocated any N320 for a while. Meanwhile, I'm growing quite fond of VV N330 that I got when the Vihtavuori rebate was active. But, he did have BE-86. which I've always wanted to try. $22.50/lb...pretty good if you ask me....and no shipping or hazmat.
 

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...My next test will be Vihtavuori N320. It’s a stick, as you know, so there’s some cutting and crunching involved. Since this is an auto trickler I’d expect a smooth process with N320. With Universal being my only frustrating powder, and it passing my tests with flying colors, I couldn’t be happier...in spite of the emptying challenges.
You'll find it easier with the Vhit N320. I used to load N140 through my RCBS Chargemaster and never had any issues. And it was easy to clean out too. Get yourself a long handled artist's brush, that worked well for me.
 
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