Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper Powder Measure
The Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper is an electronic powder measure that has two exciting and helpful features I haven’t seen on similar devices: a proprietary powder calibration function which affords fast and accurate powder measurements, and the Intellidropper mobile app that connects your smartphone to the dispensing unit using Bluetooth. The app stores load data and other information useful to reloaders.
The calibration weights and powder brush each have a placeholder and the device’s base has four adjustable rubber feet and a bubble level to ensure precise levelling, which is crucial. Charge weights can be out by up to 0.3 grains if the device is not level. I powered up the device, waited for it to stabilise then installed the reservoir tube with its cap. To complete the initial set-up, place the pan on the plate and place the transparent cover over the pan.
Initially, I gave it about 15 minutes to warm up, but later allowed more time by switching it on before spending about thirty minutes assembling the load components and doing final case preparation. Allowing it more time to stabilise prevents inaccuracies such as charge-weight fluctuations.
After filling the device, you need to calibrate it. To do this, remove the pan from the scale plate. Press the zero button on the display screen then press the CAL button and wait for the screen to flash 0.000. Once stabilised, it will flash 50.000. Place one of the 50-gram weights in the middle of the scale plate, without touching the spout. The device will display STABLE. Now press the CAL button again, and the display will show 100.00. Place the second weight near the centre of the scale plate. When the device has stabilised, press the CAL button again. It will display PASS, followed by STABLE. The Intellidropper is now calibrated.
Place the pan on the scale and press zero to prepare it for powder dispensing. At this stage, you can use the device’s patent-pending powder calibration feature. Press the “Powder CAL” button. The device uses a calibration algorithm to determine the ideal motor speed for the device, depending on the particular powder used. The machine running at different rates indicates this process. When ready, it displays STABLE on the screen. Empty the pan and zero the device after replacing the pan.
Now, type in the required charge-weight and press the grey GO button. When it reaches the selected weight, the device gives two short beeps and displays STABLE on the screen. Return the empty pan to the scale; the device waits until it indicates 0.00, followed by a short stabilising period, ending with STABLE. Only then will it dispense the next load.
When it dispenses too much powder, the display flashes OVER, showing the actual weight of the load and you’ll hear a long beep. When it dispenses insufficient powder the display flashes UNDER. The device can dispense a load from 0.1 grain up to 250 grains in a single throw. It claims accuracy of +/- 0.1 grain.
The mobile app is free and available from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. After installing, ensure that the app has the phone’s permission to connect to the device via Bluetooth, which it does automatically. The app provides a variety of information while the device is working, including the selected weight and scale reading. Using the app, you can type in the required weight, which is relayed to the device. Data, such as the firearm, powder, case and primer used can be compiled from pre-loaded data sets and stored with information such as load (gr) and velocity in a database. All this can be shared.
I used different propellants (S335, S365, S431 and N140) to load a variety of rifle cartridges. I also used 4.1gr of IMR’s Target powder to load 9mmP pistol rounds. The dispensing speeds, using the device in normal mode and after implementing the Powder Calibration (PC) feature, were measured using three powders.
The device took 18 to 20 seconds to dispense the 4.1gr IMR (flake powder) over 50 loads, without any problems. After the device’s PC feature was set, it dispensed 4.1gr in eight to nine seconds. However, 12 of the 50 loads were overthrows of 4.2gr. I realised that with this powder, the device would rapidly dispense about 3.5gr and then trickle the rest to 4.1gr, without any problems. All the overthrown loads followed after a rapid dispense measuring 3.9 to 4gr and the trickle action, which threw 0.2 to 0.3gr too much. I decided to use the device in normal mode when using this powder.
The device took 18 to 22 seconds to throw 37.5gr S335 in its PC mode. It had no problems loading 55 cartridges. I double-checked the loads on a separate electronic scale, which confirmed every Intellidropper load.
Programmed to dispense 51.5gr S365, the device took 46 to 53 seconds in normal mode. After the powder calibration was done, the same load took 28 to 32 seconds. About four of the 50 loads hovered between an overthrow and required weight for a few seconds before settling on the correct weight. The device also dispensed powder for 50 rounds using S341 (37.5gr) and another 50 rounds using Vihtavuori’s N140 powder (41gr) spot on.
All rifle powders dispensed were within the 0.1gr variable. I experienced some drift in zero, never more than 0.1gr, but this was quickly rectified by pressing the ZERO button before dispensing a new load. It never became a matter for concern.
What I liked most about the Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper was its speed and accuracy. It sped up my reloading cycle, especially with rifle loads, while dispensing consistently accurate weights. Its reservoir holds enough powder for uninterrupted reloading of more than fifty 7mm and .303 rounds, and it cleans easily with the help of the supplied powder brush. The app is great for storing easily accessible data to programme the device with the press of a button.
Initially, the plastic GO and POWER buttons did not operate smoothly, but I suspect they will improve with time.
All things considered, the Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper will be a worthy addition to my reloading bench – especially considering its price. I recently saw one at Pretoria Arms for R5 395. For a retailer near you contact Inyathi Sporting Supplies on 012-808-9911.
Frankford Arsenal products proudly distributed by Inyathi