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When home loading, how do I weigh out powder in grains?

Shooting technical expert
You can buy a small and very accurate Lee powder scale, like the one illustrated, for about £25.

If your local shotgun dealer doesn’t have one, you should have better luck in a shop that specialises in rifles because a lot of serious rifle shooters load their own.

For shotgun cartridge loading few people bother to weigh every load, so you can use your scale to construct a measure.

I have seen a cut-down cartridge case used, although you can also buy a machine that delivers a measured dose of powder every time you pull a handle.

If you use home-constructed measures, you will need a separate measure for each weight, brand and type of powder you use, and you must label your measures carefully so that you don’t mix them up.

Safety is, of course, paramount. Any home loader can have loads checked for pressure by sending a small batch to the Birmingham Proof House.

Phone them on 0121-643-3860 for full details and charges. And don’t send them your cartridges through the post – it’s illegal. You have to send them by courier.

I once left my Lee scale on the back seat of my parked car, where it was the source of some curiosity to a passing policeman. I made matters worse by naively telling him it was a device for weighing small quantities of powder.

Then I had a lot of fast-talking to do to convince him it wasn’t heroin or cocaine I was talking about!