For approximately a year or so now I have been using a RCBS Chargemaster 1500 for all my reloading, a simple tool to use in spite of its complicated appearance. This review will discuss my experience with it. The RCBS Chargemaster 1500 is a fairly pricey piece of reloading gear with prices ranging from $300 to as little $260 when on sale. The Chargemaster 1500 is essentially two separate tools (powderhopper/dispenser and an electronic scale) that when joined together communicate with one another to dispense powder to the weights you set via a numerical keyboard.
Because the powder is dispensed through a rotating tube on the RCBS unit, there is none of the “shearing“ of kernels as is experienced in traditional powder dispensers. On the side of the powder dispenser portion of the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 there is a very convenient “gate” that makes it very quick to remove powder and place it back in the original container.
The dispenser tube on the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 model I have rotates at four different speeds. When approximately 75% of the set weight is thrown the tube slows to half of the first speed. Then when the weight gets within 3 grs. of the set weight it slows by half again until within 1.5 grs of the target weight. At that point it turns 1/8 of a revolution in start and stop bumps until the full weight is “recognized“ by the scale and communicated to the dispenser. Press the buttons and watch the powder be dispensed into a pan that is on a scale. Pickup pan and pour into case. Simple, yes? There are however some things to be on the watch for as you use the RCBS Chargemaster 1500. In this review I will attempt to pass on what I have observed with my unit during the last year along with some “dos and don'ts“. Keep in mind that this review of the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 contains one man’s observation with one example of the product.
Accuracy with the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 is + or - one tenth of a grain. This has been verified with my balance beam scales. However, that accuracy is not possible with each charge when dispensing powder charges. You must re-weigh each charge to receive that “ + or - 1/10 gr. accuracy. When watching the rotating tube as the charge nears its set weight I find that I can very often “call“ a charge light, on or heavy by what I see tumble out at the very end of tube motion.
The scale on the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 will drift if certain procedures are not followed. When first beginning to use the unit I would calibrate each and every time I fired it up. Then with the scale zeroed I would weigh my pan. Checking this weight against the weight reported by the balance beam scale produced identical results. Then placing the pan on the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 scale and pressing the “zero“ button, I would begin loading. It is rare to have more than a couple of charges that are more than one tenth gr. light. It is also just as rare to have a charge that is more than three tenths heavy. The scale on the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 will not report these deviations unless you let the charge sit for more than a minute. Then it will report the actual weight as near as its resolution allows. That is why I re-weigh each charge. It is faster than waiting for the scale to report the correct value, and it allows you maintain a “rhythm“ in the process.