Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Go Back   Long Range Hunting Online Magazine > Rifles, Reloading, Optics, Equipment > Equipment Discussions


Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 08-05-2011, 07:16 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7
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.
Reply With Quote

Unread 08-11-2011, 01:08 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Allegan, MI
Posts: 1,357
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.
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2011, 05:26 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West Central Idaho
Posts: 1,218
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.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. Sir Winston Churchill.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. Einstein
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-15-2011, 10:03 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 127
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
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-18-2011, 08:33 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chardon, Ohio
Posts: 42
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


Last edited by edited by; 01-01-2016 at 09:56 AM.
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-20-2011, 08:30 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Posts: 806
Re: Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?

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

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.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads for: Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough?
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Weighing Powder - How precise is good enough? jdbove Reloading 25 08-11-2011 04:55 PM
Powder weighing problem? emmagator Reloading 17 05-27-2011 10:52 AM
Equipment, just how precise.... 41mag The Basics, Starting Out 4 06-14-2005 03:45 PM
A good powder for a .300 RUM pdawg Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics 4 08-17-2004 01:09 PM
weighing powder scales subsonic Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics 5 07-05-2004 03:59 PM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:01 AM.

Powered by vBulletin ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Management Powered by vBadvanced CMPS
All content ©2010-2015 Long Range Hunting, LLC