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Montana X-treme
Rifle Magazine
April - May 2000
Volume 35, Number 2
ISSN: 0017-7393
Number 204
On the cover...
The Winchester Model 70 .264 Winchester Magnum is
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Product Tests
Redding Competition Model 10X-Pistol Powder Measure

R.H. VanDenburg, Jr.

The latest product from Redding Reloading Equipment to catch my eye is its new Competition Model 10X-PISTOL Powder Measure. To put the new measure in perspective, relative to all the other Redding measures, requires some review. Redding has had one or more powder measures in its lineup for many years - somewhere around the half-century mark. Currently there are four models with variations.

The basic Model 3 has a cast-iron frame, hardened steel drum, a micrometer metering chamber and a clear plastic reservoir. Actually there are two drum/ metering chamber combinations. The Universal Metering Chamber has a charging range of 5 to 100 grains of powder. A Pistol Metering Chamber has a charging range of 0 to 10 grains. The Model 3 measure is available with either or both metering chambers. It is also available in kit form with powder scales, powder trickler and bench stand for mounting the measure.

Next in line is the Match Grade Model 3BR Powder Measure. This model differs from the Model 3, not in kind but in degree. The 3BR has a heavier and easier-to-use handle, an adjustable powder baffle in the reservoir and a locking screw that holds the micrometer assembly securely when the micrometer adjustment lock screw is loosened to change settings. The 3BR micrometer has a backlash eliminating mechanism to take up the tolerances in the screw threads. This ensures repeatability of powder settings. The 3BR is also available in three guises: with a Universal Metering Chamber with a powder range of 5 to 100 grains, with a Pistol Metering Chamber with a powder range of 0 to 10 grains or with both chambers. It also is available in kit form with powder scale, trickler and stand.

Continuing, we come to the Competition Model BR-30. The BR-30 is identical to the Match Grade 3BR except for a rede-signed micrometer and drum. The metering cavity in the drum has been reduced as has the range of powder charge. As the name implies (BR = Benchrest), a range of powder of 10 to 50 grains, (with 30 the midpoint) was central to the design. The plunger that controls the usable depth of the cavity was redesigned with a cup shape that helps ensure a consistent settling of powder and enhances uniformity. With this model, that’s it. There is no extra drum/micrometer assembly to accommodate other powder ranges. That’s because the drum assembly is of such a precise fit that repeated removal and replacement is discouraged, and because of the target market, such flexibility is not called for.

That said, surely, if the Competition Model BR-30 were an improvement over previous models for benchrest shooters, competition handgunners would appreciate the same level of advancement targeted at them. That brings us back to our subject, the Competition Model 10X-PISTOL Powder Measure.

As always the new Redding powder measure shows obvious quality. Fit and finish are first-rate. After reading the instructions, which I strongly urge you to do also, but before assembling the measure (the handle and reservoir must be attached), I rubbed the reservoir inside and out with a chemically treated sheet to remove static electricity. These are available wherever laundry supplies are sold. The objective is to prevent, or at least reduce, powder kernels from clinging to the reservoir walls.

With the 10X targeted at competition handgunners, the drum/metering chamber is designed to throw small charges. According to Redding literature the range is one to 25 grains. The plunger that controls the size of the powder cavity has the same cupped end as the Competition BR-30 measure. The micrometer stem is graduated, according to the instructions, from 0 to 80. This has nothing to do with charge weight but is a system by which the micrometer can be returned to any particular setting at any time. A micrometer is a particularly useful feature in any measure and allows the handloader to simply “dial in” the appropriate setting for any particular powder charge once it has been established. I was somewhat surprised to find the micrometer on my measure was graduated from 0 to 100. A quick call to Pat Ryan at Redding cleared things up.

All 10X measures have a micrometer graduated to 100 as the part is used elsewhere in the product lineup. When assembled in the 10X, however, they are set to not unscrew much beyond 80, and that is the declared range. That mine would actually extend to 100 was simple serendipity. Interestingly, while the measure is touted as having a range of 1 to 25 grains of powder with the measure set at 80, I never got but about 20 grains from even the densest of powders. To get 25 grains would require the full setting of 100. Actually I was much more interested in the other end of the scale. I often load for small handgun cartridges such as the .25 ACP and .32 ACP. In the former, an honest, repeatable, powder drop of a single grain of Bullseye is a requirement. To get a feel for the range of powder charges the 10X would handle I tested a half-dozen powders:

All reflect an average of 10 thrown charges. Consistency was amazing with the extreme spread often undetectable on a mechanical scale designed to weigh charges to .10 grain. An electronic scale set to measure .010 grain or less would surely detect differences, but no handgun accuracy test ever would. Even Unique, the most difficult handgun powder to meter consistently, recorded an extreme spread of only .20 grain, and that at the full setting of 80.

During the tests several things of interest were uncovered. For example, the same cast-iron frame is used on   all Redding measures as is the same reservoir, apparently. The differences between the models are the custom features and varying drum cavity and micrometer range, or powder metering capacity. On the 10X and others, the micrometer lock screw that secures the micrometer once a setting has been determined is large and easily accessible on the left of the measure. On the right, under the handle, is another locking screw that secures the entire micrometer assembly even with the micrometer lock screw backed out for adjustment. This screw is removable with an Allen wrench. The drum in each measure can be reversed so the handle is on the left side if desired.

All measures come with a mounting bracket that is designed to be secured to the edge of the reloading bench. In the tests another favorite method was used Ð the Sinclair International Adjustable Powder Measure Stand that can easily, and temporarily, be secured to almost any surface and offers flexibility in positioning the height of the measure above the bench. Since the lower part of the cast-iron frame of all Redding measures is threaded with 7/8x14 standard threads, just about any base, mounting stand or loading press will accommodate it. A 7/8x14 lock nut is included with each measure.

The removable reservoir is attached to the frame with two screws. While the reservoir can be “popped” on and off without removing one of the screws, it is not advisable as surely the reservoir will eventually be damaged. I also discovered that once assembled the measure will not fit in the box it came in. Part of the price we pay for creative packaging, I suppose. For those who tend to store items when not in use, I strongly recommend a small screwdriver to fit the reservoir attachment screws be kept with the measure at all times and a larger one for the screw that holds the handle in place. Also a small paint brush to assist in removing stubborn kernels of powder when the measure is disassembled or powder type is changed is desirable.

There are several pieces of optional equipment for Redding measures, including a bench stand that holds the measure above the bench, a double C clamp for temporary or permanent mounting of the bench stand and three replacement powder reservoirs. One is a replacement for the original reservoir, a second one is larger, 7 1/2 inches, and a third, 10-inch model. Additionally, the 10X measure has an Optional Linkage Kit for use of the 10X on progressive reloading presses. The kit includes a new handle linkage and a pivot bushing.

Redding reloading tools are not cheap, but I’ve noticed some of the mail order houses specializing in reloading equipment have some very attractive prices. One, Midway, also offers an extended 4-inch drop tube, and Sinclair International has longer drop tubes and bottle adapters for Hodgdon type powder bottles or 500ml Nalgene bottles, all to fit Redding powder measures.

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