July 19th, 2018

AutoTrickler + AutoThrow System for Precise Powder Dispensing

autotrickler v2 autotrickler autothrow autothrower powder dispenser force restoration scale
The AutoTrickler/AutoThrow system dispenses powder with 1-2 kernel accuracy in just 10-12 seconds.

Review by Craig Arnzen of Area419.com
Guys in the PRS world are finally ready to admit — the more accurate we want to be, the more we should borrow practices from the F-Class and Benchrest worlds. There are no better examples of this that have popped up in the last year than the widespread adoption of highly accurate powder dispensers and high-end annealing techniques.

I’ll talk about the annealers another time, but today I want to introduce you to the powder dispenser contraption that is popping up on reloading benches everywhere — the AutoTrickler plus AutoThrow running with an A&D FX-120i magnetic force restoration scale.

The setup is priced firmly between the standard RCBS Chargemaster and the high-end $3,800 Prometheus powder dispensers. Depending on how you outfit it, and where you buy it, an AutoTrickler/AutoThrow setup will cost between $900 and $1,200. Figure $500-$525 for the A&D scale, $399.00 for AutoTrickler + AutoThrow (for A&D), and up to another $300 for Area 419 accessories.

autotrickler v2 auto-trickler autothrow autothrower powder dispenser force restoration scale

The AutoTrickler V2 by itself is $229-$269 (depending on scale model), while the AutoThrow is $199.00 purchased separately. Current AutoTrickler owners can add the AutoThrow as an upgrade. It’s worth it — the AutoThrow speeds up the dispensing process dramatically. Watch this video with the smart guy who invented the AutoTrickler and AuthoThrow systems, Adam McDonald:

AutoTrickler Inventor Adam McDonald Demonstrates the AutoThrow System:

How the AutoTrickler + AutoThrow System Works
The “brain” of this system is a micro-processor that controls the motors on the AutoThrow powder dispenser and the AutoTrickler, taking more than 100 readings per second from the scale. The process starts with the AutoThrow first dropping 90% of the charge directly into the pan via a vertical drop tube. Then the AutoTrickler finishes dispensing the charge with super precision, using its horizontal tube. This two-stage process allows the system to throw powder within a kernel or two of your target weight every time — in just 10-12 seconds.

Powder is dispensed onto an A&D FX-120i scale (other models, including a Sartorius Entris 64-1S can also be used) that is able to detect and register the weight of individual kernels very quickly, providing data back to the “brain”. The initial powder drop from the AutoThrow gets you within about 2 grains and then the AutoTrickler finishes in just a few seconds with amazing accuracy. When set up right, this system can weigh repeatably to within one or two kernels of powder.

Area 419 Accessories for AutoTrickler and AutoThrow
The system can also be outfitted with milled aluminum accessories from Area 419, adding adjustability, stability, and ergonomics to the process. We sell a base for the AutoTrickler that adds weight (to reduce movement when the stepper motor runs) and has adjustable feet to help tune the powder flow, a larger cup with handle (to reduce powder splashing when dumped from above) and upgrades for the auto-throw that enhance powder capacity and reduce noise and vibration.

Area 419 accessories billet base powder cup autotrickler v2 autotrickler autothrow autothrower powder dispenser force restoration scale

All in all, this is one of the most popular new ways to throw powder of the last year, and these systems are becoming common enough that we think they are here to stay. This video review by the 6.5 Guys offers some tips for setting up your AutoTrickler System with Area 419 base.

AutoTricker with Billet Base and AutoThrow Review by 6.5 Guys:

Product Purchase Links

AutoTrickler and AutoThrow: http://www.autotrickler.com/autotrickler.html
Area 419 Accessories: http://www.area419.com/product-category/reloading/at-accessories/
Balance + AutoTrickler + AutoThrow Combo: https://ce-products.myshopify.com/products/

This TECH TIP brought to you by Area 419
Oven anneal annealing Alpha Munitions Craig Arnzen Area419.com

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July 19th, 2016

Powder Temp Stability: IMR Enduron vs. Hodgdon Extreme

powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

PrecisionRifleBlog.com (PRB) recently published results from a field test PRB conducted to quantify the temperature stability of the popular Hodgdon H4350 and Varget powders and compare those to IMR’s new Enduron line of powders, specifically IMR 4166 and 4451.

Hodgdon Extreme Series powders have attracted quite a fan base, with over 90% of the top shooters in the Precision Rifle Series choosing to run one of those powders. IMR recently released a new line of powders “with Enduron Technology” — which is also marketed to have “extreme temperature stability”. Sounds familiar! These new powders should compete directly with the Hodgdon Extreme Series, which gives shooters more temp-stable powder options to consider.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Powder Temperature Stability Test on Precision RifleBlog.com.

The top shooters in the PRS and veteran long-range shooters in other disciplines have learned to value a temperature-stable powder. That’s because a change in temperature can affect the trajectory or “flight path” of the bullet in two well-known ways:

1. Assuming all other environmental conditions remain the same, an increase in air temperature will cause a flatter trajectory due to a lower air density (easier for the bullet to cut through the air).

2. The same increase in temperature also causes the nitrocellulose-based powder inside the cartridge to burn at a higher rate, producing approximately four times the Point of Impact (POI) shift than just air temperature alone. (SEE: Temperature Effects On Zero on KestrelMeters.com.)

“The initial heat condition of your powder will affect the burn rate,” Bryan Litz explained at a recent Applied Ballistics Seminar. That means swings in ambient outside temperature can affect your internal ballistics, which will directly affect your muzzle velocity, which will change your bullet’s trajectory. Some powders are more affected by changes in temperature than others. So if your goal is first-shot hits and you may shoot in a variety of conditions — you should care about temperature stable powders.

Magnetospeeed LabRadar chronograph chrono powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

The folks at PrecisionRifleBlog.com meticulously loaded 6.5×47 Lapua ammo with each powder using some of the best equipment available. This included the top-of-the-line Prometheus Gen II Powder Scale, which is capable of loading to the nearest kernel of powder. This ensured the powder charges were identical for each round of ammo. PRB’s testers explain the full set of equipment and steps in their loading process in the Full Test Report.

Once they had a couple dozen rounds loaded with each powder, they went and shot them with each powder at 25° F, 65° F, and 140° F. The muzzle velocity of each shot was recorded using both a LabRadar Doppler Radar and a MagnetoSpeed Chronograph. The LabRadar is a new type of device that allows you to measure muzzle velocity within at least +/- 0.1% of the reading.

Magnetospeeed LabRadar chronograph chrono powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

Here are the results from the PRB Powder Temp Stability Tests:

Magnetospeeed LabRadar chronograph chrono powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

You can see Hodgdon H4350 had the least variance in muzzle velocity, with just 25 fps over the 115° swing in temperature! That is very, very low. Hodgdon Varget was the second least temperature sensitive powder in this test, with 46 fps of variance in muzzle velocity between temperatures of 25° F and 140° F. IMR 4166 performed very similar to Varget, and proved to be fairly insensitive to large swings in temperature. IMR 4451 had the largest swing in muzzle velocity of the powders tested, but keep in mind just 68 fps over 115° F swing is still a good performance.

Most powders aren’t specially formulated to be temperature stable. So they would likely show much larger swings than what these four top-performing powders showed.

PRB’s test team also noticed other interesting trends in the data. For example, variation in velocity does NOT appear to be linear across the full range of temperatures. By that, they mean the change per degree from 20° to 65° might be smaller or larger than the change per degree from 65° to 140°.

PRB’s testers talk about those things, provide a few other insightful views of the data, and discuss tools that can help you manage temp/muzzle velocity in the field in their full post. You can find that here: http://precisionrifleblog.com/2016/06/19/powder-temp-stability-hodgdon-extreme-vs-imr-enduron/

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