RCBS Chargemaster 1500 Review
Out of 57 consecutive throws with a target weight of 39 grs. (was going to do 100 but got lazy) of H4350 powder, the twice weighed charges were as follows:
38.9 grs. - 8 charges
39 grs. - 19 charges
39.1 grs. - 26 charges
39.2 grs.- 3 charges
39.4 grs.- 1 charge
I weigh all charges twice. Once as they are dispensed and then again after dumping the charge into a separate pan, replacing the original pan back on the scale and then waiting for the “zero“ to appear to indicate that I am back at the original zero. At this point I pour the charge back into the pan on the scale and am rewarded with a closer to actual weight report (+ or - 1/10 gr.). This only takes a second or two to accomplish and my confidence in my load is worth more than that. If the weight is short a peck on the dispenser tube with your fingernail is all it takes to bring the weight up to spec. When the weight is over, I use a Lee powder dipper to scoop out a few kernels. By now I know how many kernels it takes to equal a tenth gr. for all the powders I use.
All is well unless I do not return the powder pan to the scale in a fairly short period of time. I don’t have figures, but from repeated use I would say within one minute. If the pan was not returned in that amount of time the scale could and often did lose its “zero“. At that point it would be necessary to rezero the scale minus the pan then zero it with the pan on the scale. Just as a rhythm always benefited my use of a manual powder dispenser and balance beam scale, so it seems that it is also effective in the use of the RCBS unit. Included in that rhythm is ”timing”. Keeping the intervals the same between removing the pan and replacing it as well as waiting for the “under“ weight to show and the “O“ in the upper left corner to reappear are part of a routine that will eliminate the drift factor.
Some have reported problems with their RCBS Chargemaster 1500 units that they felt was associated with the type of lighting being used in the immediate vicinity. I have not seen this with mine and have three different sources above my workspace. Two are fluorescent and one is incandescent. Turning of one or the other and the various combinations while in a reloading session caused no noticeable changes. One thing that is sure to have an adverse effect is any breeze blowing across the scale.
As time passed with my RCBS Chargemaster 1500, I began experimenting to see if it made any difference whether I calibrated the scale before using it. It did not, not one whit. My pan still weighed 138.1 grains, and the procedure I had adopted worked just the same and the scale would still drift if left to its own without a pan on the scale for too long.
Speed of use vs Balance Beam
I set up a trial to determine the difference in how fast the RCBS is vs. the “old“ balance beam, powder dispenser and powder trickler method I had used for the last 35 years or so. I should say I “attempted“ to do this as my skills obtained over those many years were almost forgotten because of my exclusive use of the Chargemaster during the past year or so. On top of that, I didn’t want to. Such a lot of trouble it seemed. Still, I did my best and found that there is not a lot of difference in time. A skilled old school operator would probably beat out the RCBS user in a race, but on the other hand, he would be working his buttocks off to do so. All this said, I, for one, do not want to go back. When weighing bullets or brass it wins hands down, as it is not necessary to weigh twice in order to get around the program window that is in effect while weighing dispensed rounds. It really shines when loading rounds with increasing amounts of powder for each round (as in a “ladder” test), just tap in the new weight on the dispensers keyboard and press dispense.
Average time to dispense loads
H4350 - 39 grs. 9 sec.
H4350 - 70 grs. 15.8 sec.
RL 25 - 47.2 grs. 12 sec.
RL 25 - 100 grs. 26 sec.
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