Welcome everyone to the TFB Armorer’s Bench! As mentioned in the little blurb, this series will focus on a lot of home armorer and gunsmith activities. In this article sponsored by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal, I decided to dive back into the Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper Powder Measure that I covered in a small Closer Look article last week. This time I am gonna talk about my experience using it. This was a short couple-hour experience of reloading some .30 Carbine ammunition but I plan on doing some other cartridges with the Intellidropper in the future. That being said, I am excited to dive into my experience using the Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper!
TFB Armorer’s Bench: Intellidropper Electronic Powder Measure
Welcome to our recurring series of Armorer’s Bench which is made possible and brought to you by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal who are our sponsors. Here, we at TFB hope to inform, entertain, and even inspire any would-be gunsmith or armorer out there. Ideally, with the information I provide and with the help of our sponsors, you can have some useful knowledge pertaining to the conservation and improvement of firearms technology while at the same time sharing experiences and teaching each other new tips and tricks along the way in the comments. Digging deep into what it is to be an armorer or gunsmith has significance but what is important is what those people do to show they’ve earned that title. I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge and hope it is informative!
Make your personal safety a priority:
- Practice proper gun safety. Always make sure before the firearm hits your bench that it is unloaded and safe to be handled.
- Wear the proper safety equipment. The main one would be safety glasses (decent ones) since parts are often under spring tension and you may work with high RPM tools. Other honorable mentions would be latex gloves or a respirator when working with potentially harmful solvents and oils. Also hearing protection when working with loud machinery or test-firing firearms.
- Modifications, alterations, and customizations will void your firearm’s warranty 9.5 times out of 10. Please take that into consideration before attempting any at-home gunsmithing.
- If you are unsure about proper safety practices, disassembly procedures, or warranty standards, stop, put down the tools, and consult a competent gunsmith.
Brief Recap: Intellidropper Electronic Powder Measure
So far using some Frankford Arsenal products I have cleaned and prepped my brass. Behind the scenes, I have deprimed, sized, and primed them all using my single-stage press. All products have been drastic changes compared to what I am used to since I in essence normally had the bare minimum in the form of hand tools and more average equipment.
The Rotary Tumbler Lite was a cool change from the dry tumbling I have done in the past and now that I have done it a few times, I actually sort of prefer it. It feels more consistent. The media separator works great however something about it just feels like it can be improved (at least the latch system). The case prep center is a real quality of life tool that in hindsight I may have taken for granted or not fully explained the time and sweat it saved. Sure it drew blood but that was my fault. Normally I’d be doing everything with hand tools and it would take a few hours but this cut time down drastically and really made things simple and easy. The military crimp remover and primer pocket uniformer were both lifesavers and when I primed my cases the primers never had any difficulty seating. So far these tools have made my life easier after a little trial and error and overcoming my own ignorance.
I should mention that Frankford Arsenal does offer a very cool coaxial single-stage press and a hand priming tool that I did not need since I already had those tools on hand, albeit in different forms.
Previous Powder Measure Experience: Intellidropper Electronic Powder Measure
My previous powder measuring experience is pretty short and sweet. I’ve always had a simple tower-style manual powder measure. Just throwing out whatever grain weight my target is and then double-checking it every once in a while against my Frankford Arsenal DS-750 scale. I have never dealt with any sort of electronic powder dispenser before so this was a whole new world for me.
First Impressions: Intellidropper Electronic Powder Measure
As I mentioned in the Closer Look article, my first impression of the Intellidropper was how well it was packaged. It was filled with foam and bubble wrap and there was not a single portion inside that box that was unprotected. This matters to me as a consumer because the Intellidropper is touted as such a sensitive and precise tool. Packaging is well reinforced the idea that I can rely on this product as long as it is not abused.
First impressions of actually using the Intellidropper were different but not bad. It was intimidating. No matter how many videos I watched or how many times I read the manual it seemed like it could easily make a mess or spit out a double charge. These were insecurities. Nothing to do with the actual quality of construction of the product. Speaking of that, the quality and construction were as expected. The Intellidropper is a medium-sized product that is lightweight (due to the amount of plastic used) and portable. It has two different options for types of outlet plug-ins which is considerate and different.
Setting Up: Intellidropper Electronic Powder Measure
Setting up the Intellidropper was fairly intimidating as well. This was mostly because I am not used to all these preparation steps. The Intellidropper has a small bubble level on the base portion of the machine and the underside of the base has adjustable legs in order to properly level the system for the most accurate results. My bench was intentionally built so it is not level and biased away from the edge since I work with a lot of small parts. This ended up with me finding out the legs have a limited amount of adjustment and eventually just screw out so I improvised with some paper towel under the rear legs to raise it further. After the Intellidropper is leveled out and turned on, the manual recommends leaving it sitting for around 15 minutes in order to allow it to stabilize.
After those precautionary steps are taken you move on to the calibration steps. First, you remove the pan from the tray and zero the scale. After that, you press the calibration button and it will prompt you to put on the 50-gram weight and then another. After the scale stabilizes, it will flash “stable” and beep. The calibration button gets pressed again to finish the step and then you zero the scale.
From here I filled the tower with powder (making sure the empty spout on the side is in the closed position). After this, the pan can be placed on the tray and the air draft covered over the tray to prevent fluctuations in pressure. Here is where the really neat futuristic crap begins. Using the powder calibration button the Intellidropper will begin to spit out powder at different speeds in order to determine the best speed for the powder being used. It does this for approximately one minute and when it finishes it will pause and flash the stabilize banner. Now the pan can be emptied, replaced, and zeroed. Now we are ready to rock!
Note: I downloaded the Intellidropper App and spent only a few minutes playing with it before I decided it would be best to talk about my feelings on the app in a later article.
Nitty Gritty: Intellidropper Electronic Powder Measure
So onto the actual reloading portion! How did it go? Very smooth I would say. It was extremely easy and comfortable and convenient. Without diving too much into the actual reloading data (do not use any grain weights or data mentioned or pictured, only use what you find in published manuals), I set the Intellidropper to have a target of 14 grains of the powder I was using. I changed the mode to “Auto” so that every time I placed the empty powder pan onto the tray it would dispense another ration of powder. I did this for a long while and checked every single charge against my Frankford Arsenal DS-750 scale.
I checked this frequently because I wanted to see just how accurate the Intellidropper was. After going through the lot of cases I had I would say it was perfect 98% of the time. There were a few instances of user error where I bumped the trickler spout and it dropped some powder in or I forgot to put the air draft cover on. A lot of what I did was tedious but it was all in the name of consistency and accuracy. I wanted to see what this machine could do and I was very impressed by its performance. At one point in the middle, I did get a slight change of 0.1 in my grains consistently for three tries so I recalibrated it and never had an issue again.
There were slight and little things id like to bring up because even though it doesn’t negatively affect my opinion of the machine I feel they still matter. As I mentioned, the trickler spout has a tendency of getting bumped since it sticks out far enough to dispense powder into the tray. This makes small chunks of powder sprinkle in and around the pan. A careful and gentle hand is recommended. The small brush that comes with the Intelidropper is essential to carefully wipe away scattered powder left on the scale or later for cleaning the inside of the machine. The touch screen requires a firm and accurately directed tap on the buttons to get them to respond, but it is quick and obvious when they do. Emptying the Intellidropper using the powder spout was nerve-racking because I propped it up above my bottle of powder and was unsure of how nicely it would flow out. Luckily when opened it all poured well into the bottle. The remainder had to be brushed and shook out of the machine.
Conclusion: Intellidropper Electronic Powder Measure
All in all, the Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper ended up surprising and intriguing me. After the necessary arbitrary and slightly intimidating setup stuff, it was really an easy-to-use tool. The dispensing powder can be messy, especially if a machine is doing it for you but the Intellidropper did a heck of a good job and I was very happy with the speed and rapidity that it demonstrated. I would go as far as saying this is better than working with the tower-style of dispenser since the measurement portion happens before your eyes. It feels much more accurate in a way for lack of a better phrase. At the end of the day and after one solid reloading session I would highly recommend the Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper! If anything changes or I work more with the Intellidropper app I will make sure to make an Armorer’s Bench article on it to let you folks know. Take care!
As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Armorer’s Bench brought to you by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.
Caldwell Pro Range Glasses, Clear
The Caldwell® Pro Range Glasses feature a stylish wrap-around design and are a great choice for all shooters. They feature an adjustable nose piece and temples for all day comfort. The scratch resistant lens meets ANSI Z87.1 standards and offers 99.9% UV protection.
Intellidropper Electronic Powder Measure
The Frankford Arsenal® Intellidropper is the most advanced, intelligent and precise electronic powder measure on the market today. The Intellidropper features a proprietary powder calibration button for fast and accurate powder measurements. Auto and manual trickle capability maintain up to 250 grains of powder per throw. Holds more than 7,000gr (1lb) of powder and offers +/- 0.1 grain accuracy. The Intellidropper dispenses powder two-times faster than other powder measures on the market. Frankford Arsenal’s Intellidropper mobile app makes reloading your ammunition easier than ever. It’s designed, so you can spend more time loading and less time searching. This app works alongside the Intellidropper, storing your load recipes and data with the most intelligent and comprehensive technology of its kind. This user-friendly app neatly categorizes, organizes and stores your load recipes for quick accessibility. Its dual screen compatibility syncs with the Intellidropper and features state-of-the-art memory retention. This app also features a cost center-calculator. Just punch in the information and it will give you a detailed price list of how much each round cost to build. As software engineers continue to develop the app, there will be direct updates available for the Intellidropper and mobile app to expand its intellectual capacity and make overall improvements. Frankford Arsenal’s proprietary Intellidropper delivers unmatched accuracy at the bench and in the field.
Bench Top Powder Measure
The Frankford Arsenal bench mounted Powder Measure features a static free aluminum body, a unique hopper shape to eliminate powder bridging and binding, micro-adjustable dispensing, and ultra smooth ball bearing operation which all combine to maximize powder dispensing accuracy. The powder measure comes ready to install with a bench mounting plate.
The Frankford Arsenal® Platinum Series Powder Trickler allows very small amounts of powder to be dispensed to achieve precise load weights. Dust/moisture covers protect powder while in the trickler. The Frankford Arsenal® Powder Trickler is designed to work for all powder types, scales and supporting reloading equipment.
Wheeler Universal Bench Block
Made of non-marring urethane, the Universal Pistol Bench Block is perfect for use on M1911 pistols as well as other firearms such as 10/22s.
STAINLESS STEEL TUMBLING MEDIA
The Magnetic Stainless Steel Tumbling Pins are designed to clean brass cases giving a “like new” look. Unlike other media like corn cob or walnut, stainless steel doesn’t create dust and also cleans the inside of cases, primer pockets, and flash holes. Stainless steel also doesn’t damage brass and lasts for multiple uses.
Tipton POWER SWABS – PISTOL CLEANING KIT, 500 COUNT
Tipton’s new Power Swabs are an essential part of your cleaning kit. They’re disposable, fast, and easy to use, plus they provide no-mess cleaning with all your favorite solvents and oils. They also fit lands and grooves better than a patch for maximum cleaning.