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Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

 
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:16 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

I've been more or less forced to look into replacing my RCBS Chargemaster electronic scale for a reason you would never guess. It seems that the 'beep' tone that the scale issues is on the exact same frequency as the warning tone for our dog's underground electric fence, and no matter how far away I try to do my reloading the poor animal is freaking out (along with my wife) until I am finished. At least it gives me a pass to look into upgrading.

This is where it gets tough. As is typical, I've been reading everything I can find online before choosing a replacement, and also as is typical, am reminded once again that when it comes to precision instruments, you get what you pay for.

I had an interesting conversation with the very knowlegeable owner operator of Precision Weighing Balances (www.balances.com) when I called to ask for his advice. It seems he gets a lot of phone calls from 'gun guys' and quickly becomes frustrated with our refusal to acknowledge that if we want to weigh powder charges accurate to .1 grain or less, we are going to have to spend at least $700 on a lab balance.

The gentlemen rapidly dismissed ALL 'strain gauge' based balances as 'junk' and insisted that for this level of precision, only an 'electromagnetic force restoration' balance will suffice. These units START at roughly $700 and rapidly escalate in price to well over $8K. Not the biggest fan of us 'gun guys' he doesn't quite understand how we are willing to drop multi thousands of dollars on 'monster weapons' but won't pony up for the right balance to optimize its function. He pleaded with me to watch his YouTube videos on these subjects (search 'balancesdotcom' on YouTube) and 'spread the word' to the gun guys so he will get fewer inquiries that lead to no sale due to sticker shock.

I think that we can all agree that when it comes to weighing charges, uniformity between samples is probably more important than the true absolute weight of any given charge when creating a batch of loaded rounds. This notwithstanding, there will also be those of us who desire (or require) a very precise measurement of the charge weight as well.

So there it is...how precise does this element of our pursuit of accurate long range shooting have to be? Must we all pitch our RCBS/Hornady/Sinclair etc. 'junk' in favor of a piece of true laboratory equipment?

With my luck, a brand new fancy high dollar lab balance will produce the same damn beep frequency as my current one, only LOUDER. My wife will make me move out.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:08 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Allegan, MI
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Re: Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

Having been a State W&M Inspector for over 30 years before I retired in 2002, I would tell that guy he is FOS!!! I have an OHaus mechanical balance that a friend gave me two years ago when he quit reloading and I can weigh charges within +/- 0.1 grain all day every day using it and my RCBS trickler to finish each measurement. I do 50 from priming to completion in a couple hours and sure, it's a little slower than an electronic combination scale/powder dispenser, but it's relatively fast and nothing will ever go wrong with it compared to anything with electronics involved. I prime all 50, then place the powder in and seat the bullet on each one as I go, so there is basically no way I'm going to screw up. To me reloading should be done in a nice, slow operation so that everything goes smoothly and is fun, not in an "I've got to load 100 rounds in 35 minutes" type mentality.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:26 PM
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Location: West Central Idaho
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Re: Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

My style of reloading is almost identical to Topgun. I use a Ohous 10-10 scale and trickle to finish 50 at a time or less if working up a load.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:03 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 124
Re: Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

ISN'T this about precision?

at one time or another I've had two or more scales, at the same time and even digital, and I just cant trust electronics.

yes, I use an ohaus also, and trickle into it. cero problems. of all the scales I've used, the electronics are the slowest(if you want precision).

I usually prep the cases on one day, another day I put the primers, next day I weight the powder and put the bullets, this way has worked all the time with cero mistakes. I shoot competition. but would love to hear from the benchrest friends...

if I wanted to load 100 rounds in 35 minutes I would own a dillon progresive like the one i have for my ipsc shooting. pistol precision is relative for me(i'm a badshot with a handgun..)

from old mexico
Joe
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:33 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chardon, Ohio
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Re: Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

I recently did a review on Accurateshooter.com of the MY Weigh GEMPRO 250, a scale that will accurately weigh down to 2/100th's (.02) of a grain. I don't think there is anything remotely close to it for the price of $165.00

GemPro 250 Digital Scale Review within AccurateShooter.com
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2011, 08:30 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Posts: 804
Re: Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

Ya know... if you read the MANUAL for that Chargemaster, you can turn the 'beep' OFF....
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2011, 10:31 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7
Re: Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by milanuk View Post
Ya know... if you read the MANUAL for that Chargemaster, you can turn the 'beep' OFF....
Ya know...I DID read the manual, and the method to turn of the beep was NOT listed.

Ya know...if you READ the entire thread you will see that after I Googled the subject I found the way to do so, turned off the beep, and described in the thread how this is accomplished.

Ya know...this thread was ACTUALLY started to spur discussion about the necessity of hyper-precise measurement of charge weight and its resultant effect on long-range accuracy, which it did so wonderfully.
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