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Thread: Lyman 55 and Black Powder

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



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    Lyman 55 and Black Powder

    I normally put leftover BP back into the original container, where I have put a few silica gel packs, to be sure it stays super dry. A couple of weeks ago I left the powder in. When I went to use it, it was very hard to move the handle. I dumped out the BP and found it had started to corrode the brass and cast iron. I was surprised. Iíve left smokeless in many times before and never had a problem. I can understand it. BP is corrosive even before itís been burned. Next time I will be sure to return it to the container. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Yes I have. its the salts and the way BP draws and holds humidity

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Potassium nitrate......
    Larry Gibson

    ďDeficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.Ē
    ― Nikola Tesla

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I was under the impression that the Lyman 55 should never be used with black powder, was my leg being pulled. Regards Stephen

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Cohen View Post
    I was under the impression that the Lyman 55 should never be used with black powder, was my leg being pulled. Regards Stephen
    Initially Lyman made their adjustments based on BP volumes... the use of BP was pretty much taken for granted. Then some engineer (or lawyer??) discovered static electricity and theorized the plastic reservoir could generate enough of a spark to set off the BP it contained. Even though there is no indication this ever happened, Lyman immediately issued a warning against using the 55 with BP. Then they came out with a BP version of the 55 using an aluminum reservoir and an extended drop tube.

    While I readily admit to having a lot of (too many) other measures, I wouldn’t hesitate to use one of my several 55s to measure BP if needed. This is not advice, just a personal observation... let your conscience and good sense be your guide.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  6. #6
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    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    I always remove the BP from my #5 Ideal after a loading session, but occasionally I still find the drum is a little sticky in operation the next time. Deposits do form on the brass rotor, even without powder in the measure. Iíve taken to removing the drum, wiping it and the seat with a damp cloth, and spraying it with that quick-drying padlock lubricant before reassembly. Extra work, but it cuts the annoyance factor considerably at the next loading session.

    The #5 is all cast iron construction, and dissipates static electricity as fast as it is generated.

  7. #7
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    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Living in a dry climate has some advantage as I never have problems leaving powder in the Lyman meter.
    Chill Wills

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Cohen View Post
    I was under the impression that the Lyman 55 should never be used with black powder, was my leg being pulled. Regards Stephen
    A friend told me I shouldn’t use my 55 for BP, because of the risk of it setting off the powder, when crunched between the cylinder and the body. I was wondering about it, until I heard about Lyman’s 55 especially for BP. I use it with the plastic reservoir. I think a lot of other people do too. I guess if you were really worried about static electricity, you could always run a ground wire to it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I believe the BP Lyman powder measure is just like regular 55 except for the aluminum hopper. I used my "smokeless" 55 with black powder for a few years, then replaced the hopper with a brass one. I have the BP measure too. Also, it is pretty much determined that static will not set off black powder.
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  10. #10
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    Pressman's Avatar
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    Folks get all worked up about black powder, forgetting the Ideal powder measure began life in 1886 as the UPM, Universal measure. It's working principle has not changed, only the design of the rotor and that dates to 1903. The 1903 rotor will fit a current Lyman measure with no modifications.

    I believe they used a lot of black powder back in those days.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    Yes... Don't leave Black or Smokeless powders in a measure .
    Lyman still makes a Classic Black Powder Measure , they sell for about $150.00 but are worth the extra money if you are loading black .

    The standard Lyman 55 for smokeless powder is still carried and sells for about $100.00 .
    There are differences in the two measures , so use the correct measure for the type powder you are loading .
    Gary
    Last edited by gwpercle; 02-06-2020 at 07:18 PM.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy SgtDog0311's Avatar
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    I've got the classic Black powder version... still in the box. But its a longer story than that. Had one before this and I did empty the black powder after use and still found it months later corroded. Lyman made good on a replacement and I never took it out of the box. I've posted it in For-Sale threads on a couple sites for $100, then down to $75, I know on ASSRA for sure, and was surprised there were no takers. I don't seem to have much luck with these. Bought a B&M that turned out to be gaulded on parts too and not to smooth to operate. Have used an RCBS Chargemaster trickling directly into scale pan for a while.
    Best Regards,
    John

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Back from the crypt!

    The problem with using BP in virtually any powder measure with metal components is not the danger of explosion but the risk of damage to the measure itself through chemical reaction (read “corrosion.”) BP is by its nature quite hygroscopic. The moisture it absorbs combines with the potassium nitrate in the BP and will quickly react with brass, iron, or just about any other metal. It only takes traces of BP dust to let this occur, so my latest routine involves taking out the rotor after emptying the measure (at the end of each session) and wiping it clean and dry. I also like to dust it with graphite powder (sold for lock lubrication) as a final step before reassembling.

    Smokeless powder? I’ve encountered this left in a Dillon powder measure made of aluminum with a plastic reservoir for several years with no ill effects except a slight darkening of the reservoir. Some of the Lyman 55 tubes have turned opaque black... I wonder how long they had powder left in them.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use a Lyman 55 BP measure to load BP cartridges; it's very precise, especially with 3fg and 2fg powders.
    When I'm finished for the day, I empty it of powder, take off the rotor, wipe everything down with a soft cloth to remove remaining powder residues, then put it back together. This prevents corrosion, in my experience.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by fgd135 View Post
    I use a Lyman 55 BP measure to load BP cartridges; it's very precise, especially with 3fg and 2fg powders.
    When I'm finished for the day, I empty it of powder, take off the rotor, wipe everything down with a soft cloth to remove remaining powder residues, then put it back together. This prevents corrosion, in my experience.
    If you drop by the auto parts place and get a tube of graphite dust (used to lubricate locks, etc) you can finish your clean up with that one more step and I’d bet you will find your 55 works even more smoothly. Many powders have graphite added to prevent clumping, so there’s no concern about contamination like there would be with an oil or grease. Works for me!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I really like the Lyman 55s. Maybe its because I've been using them for 35+ years. Early on I lost one to black powder corrosion. But after that I learned to empty and wipe them out after each use. One thing I started do a few years ago is to apply Boeshield T9 to the barrel and corresponding cast iron surface the barrel contacts. Boeshield is an anti-corrosion wax developed by Boeing for the aerospace industry. I use it on machine tools also to prevent rust. It works very well. I still empty my 55 after every use and wipe them down, but the Boeshield gives another layer of protection.

    https://boeshield.com/

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    If get a tube of graphite dust (used to lubricate locks, etc) you can finish your clean up with that one more step and I’d bet you will find your 55 works even more smoothly.
    Froggie
    Great idea! I already have the powdered graphite; I use it to lube the inside of case necks when resizing. Thanks, Mr. Frog.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Has anyone else had a similar experience?
    Nope, because when I bought my first old brass cylinder charger, the owner left BP in it and the the cylinder was frozen. Went to school on their error and I clean/lube the cylinder and insides of the charger after every use. I also have sprayed the chamber on a couple with zinc primer spray paint
    Regards
    John

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
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