Scales (bet this is a common topic)

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Mike6158, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Mike6158

    Mike6158 Well-Known Member

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    Both of my digital scales are acting funky and I'm looking to replace them.

    The gee-whiz Lyman powder dropping scale is throwing a fit, bouncing up and down 0 - 1 grain with nothing on the scale. Before that it would switch to calibration required right in the middle of a powder dump. At first I enjoyed using the scale for it's seeming convenience. After a while I figured out that the time I spent cleaning the powder out of it could have been spent dumping powder by hand into my trusty RCBS beam scale. Some powders drop better than others in it. Most of the time it drops +.1 grain from the setting. Lastly, it takes up too much space. Especially now that it's broken.

    My first digital scale is one sold by Dillon. It became erratic about a year ago but only after about 15 minutes of on time.

    I have to say that you really can't beat a good balance beam scale IMHO. I truly wonder if we are all becoming "digitized" :cool: I've found myself cross checking the digital scale with the balance beam and then wondering which one was .1g off (I always blamed the digital scale and then ended up wondering if I was wrong :D )

    Having said that- Has anyone here used (for more than a weeK) an Acculab scale? .01g dumps seem to be a little too accurate for reloading (considering all of the other variables that have to be accounted for) but the other features (like a 2 year warranty and glass cover) are attractive.
     
  2. TyIdaho

    TyIdaho Member

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    I have been using the RCBS Powdermaster dispenser and scale (actually made by Pact) for about 5 years and I like them. But like you I find comfort in using the good ole beam scale and unless I am loading a bunch of rounds, it's actually faster.

    My scale started giving me trouble about a year ago, jumping around, finally would not even calibrate. I called RCBS, they where very helpful even though it was made by Pact. They said ultimately I would need to call Pact, but first gave me some very detailed advise on calibrating. It had to do with completely clearing memory from the circuit board and was a combination of holding down certain buttons for a period of time (none of this particular advise is in the manual) that they said should fix the problem I was having, it did fix the problem.

    But they also mentioned that any, even very very slight power fluctuations could effect the performance, for instance if the scale was plugged into an outlet on the same electrical circuit as something like a refrigerator or other appliance that would intermittently demand power. They also said that it needs to warm up for 15 minutes or so before use.

    Perhaps your Dillon or Lyman is either being effected by power, or needs one of these, 'slap some sense back in ya' calibrating sessions.

    I have never used an Acculab scale.

    Hope this helps.
     

  3. woods

    woods Well-Known Member

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    I have had my RCBS 1500 for about 3 years now and it has acted 100% perfect. Like most I have seen a lot of these threads and it seems to me that the RCBS 1500 buyers are about 85% happy with them and the Pact and Lyman about 50%.

    6mmBR.com Reviews of Reloading tools, Bipods Harris Pod-loc, Cleaning Supplies, Redding Wilson Dies, K&M Tools, Neck turning Tools, Shooting Accessories and supplies.
    Digital Powder Dispensers -- RCBS ChargeMaster, Lyman 1200 DPS, PACT test review with accuracy, speed, warranty, reliability tests
    Digital Powder Dispensers -- RCBS ChargeMaster, Lyman 1200 DPS, PACT test review with accuracy, speed, warranty, reliability tests

    My RCBS needs no warm up time, I keep it plugged into a surge strip but turned off. When starting it I always calibrate it with the 2 ea 50 grain weights supplied. When I set the pan on it after calibration it always weighs 155.0 gr even. After rezeroing with the pan if I lift it off it displays -155.0 grains everytime. After dispensing the powder and lifting the pan it displays -155.0 gr everytime.

    I kept my balance beam around for awhile to check the RCBS but found that checking it was a waste of time and if there was a discrepancy between the balance beam and the digital, when checking with the calibration weights, the balance beam was in error, not the digital. Now I don't check, what could be more accurate than checking with a calibration weight anyway. I would be in a pickle if something happened to the RCBS since I gave my balance beam to a starting reloading kid and I would be making all haste to have another on the way.

    What you have to realize is that the digital dispensers are highly accurate powder THROWERS. IOW if you want to dispense 60 gr RL22, you set the dispense under that amount by .3 gr
    [​IMG]

    after the beep, WAIT 5 SECONDS, and it will display the actual amount dispensed, in this case 59.9 gr
    [​IMG]

    it is then a simple matter to nudge off a few granules off the end of the dispenser to hit the exact wanted weight
    [​IMG]

    when emptying, just move it to the edge of the bench, open the trap door and the powder will drain right into the bottle
    [​IMG]

    hit the dispense button again and the tube will empty
    [​IMG]

    if the dispenser slows down then hit cancel, empty the pan into the bottle and hit dispense again and it will empty all the powder in the tube quickly. Not one granule spilled.

    YMMV
     
  4. Mike6158

    Mike6158 Well-Known Member

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    Wow... that's a lot different cleaning operation than the Lyman and 3 years of service without a problem says a lot. Good pics!

    My Lyman is out of warranty by about 6 months. I haven't used it much at all. The 30 minute warmup period drives me nuts :D I can have a lot of rounds loaded in 30 minutes. The cleanup is tedious (when compared to manual drops with a Harell / weighed on the balance beam.

    I've been looking at the RCBS model but didn't want to go down that road if it was nothing more than a green Lyman... Apparently it isn't.

    Thanks for the post. I think. You probably just cost me some money :D
     
  5. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    I'll second Woods
    I was an early adopter of Chargemaster, and couldn't be happier with it.
    I cross checked mine with an Acculab for a while, and no longer do.
     
  6. ilscungilli

    ilscungilli Well-Known Member

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    I've been very happy with the Chargemaster also. I have checked mine against some of the more accurate lab scales around (Metler analytical balances that are accurate to 0.0001 gm.) and it has always been right on the money, and well within 0.1 gr. accuracy.
     
  7. Mike6158

    Mike6158 Well-Known Member

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    I ordered it... I wish I would have checked around before I bought the Lyman. Live and learn.
     
  8. woods

    woods Well-Known Member

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    Good deal Mike, I hope we steered you right. I know the RCBS is the best chance for getting a no problem machine. I treat mine with respect. Keep it clean and don't bang it around on the bench. Always let it return to zero at it's own pace before punching new numbers in and return to zero before turning off. Don't get in a hurry.

    If you set up your seating die you can seat a bullet in a previously charged case and have the next one ready to go by the time you hear the beep. When you are finished charging the cases you are within 2 or 3 seating operations of having them all seated. Speeds things up. I try to work the press while the dispenser is going because on my bench the press vibrates the bench and will make extra granules fall out of the tube. I'm sure you will like it.
     
  9. nheninge

    nheninge Well-Known Member

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    I use the RCBS 1500 combo as well. These are my thoughts. The unit has worked flawlessly for me. I put it on a large marble slab with a thin piece of foam under it so vibration is minimized. It is also under about 4 florescent lights which have also not caused any problem. It is also next to and on the same circuit as my stereo. If Metallica comes on I just turn down the radio. It only throws 1-5 overcharges in 50 so if the charge is over, I just dump the pan back in the well and go again. That was the good.

    Now comes the ugly. It is made in CHINA likely by the lowest bidder. It even feels a bit like it was made in CHINA just like the RCBS runout gauge. The 1500 is also IMHO a bit slow. It is just maddeningly fast enough that I dont want to seat bullets while it is throwing a charge, and too slow to sit and wait for each charge one by one. Additionally, the "finished" beep is the same tone as the "overcharge" beep, so I have found myself almost using the overcharge if not paying attention. I have been giving serious thought to using a Harrell powder thrower, a trickler and a good small set of scales instead. I am not a beam guy, but if maintained, they are likely a bit more reliable, maybe even faster. Boomtube can blow your mind with his knowledge in this area. Address any technical questions to him!

    Just my 2 cents
     
  10. Mike6158

    Mike6158 Well-Known Member

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    The Harrell kicks butt. If I'm loading for 200 yards and under or near max I'll set it, check every ten, and go to town BUT stick powder is often a problem (as it is with most measures I think). Even at that I can feel the hang and I know to dump that one and go again. For the longer range stuff or loads near max I still use it to fill the case, dump the powder in the pan, adjust as needed, pour it back into the case. Most of the time I just pour it back into the case.

    Trickler- I have one... It sits. I just loaded 22 rounds of .308 with RE-15 (stick powder). I poured the powder into a glass measuring cup and used a stainless steel teaspoon from the kitchen cabinet to throw my powder. No kidding. It's a lot easier to trickle a little into the pan with a teaspoon than to turn the little knob on a trickler. After a few cases I know how much to put in the spoon to get real close initially. I've done it that way with the beam scale and electronic scale. Stick, ball, or flake powder. All are easy to throw with a teaspoon :D I've loaded a full block of 50 that way many times.
     
  11. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "I have to say that you really can't beat a good balance beam scale IMHO."

    I say that too.

    When you get your next digital scale, even if it works for a couple of years, I wonder how many bucks you will have in the wonderful, modern, latest technology gimmicky, gee whiz fast, scales that won't last nearly as long or be as reliable as any common beam scale from Lyman, RCBS or Redding?

    But, I wish you good luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  12. Mike6158

    Mike6158 Well-Known Member

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    LOL... I wonder how many bucks I have in reloading period... I think I have every die Sinclair makes and half of the bullets Sierra makes (not really but damn I'm running out of room!). But I enjoy it.

    I just loaded 60 rounds of .223. Two different bullets. Two different charge weights. I used a Harrell powder measure and my RCBS beam scales... I checked the first 10 drops and they were dead on. I checked every tenth after that and they were dead on. They are hunting loads for 200yds. and under so even if they were off a tenth they'll be fine since I'm not at max.

    I really don't think digital scales of any form are faster than the method I mentioned above. Even when the two digitals that I had were working fine I didn't pull them out much after I bought the Harrell. Lately I find myself doing ladder testing (just found out that's what it's called. Go figure) so I load 6 of 3 or 4 different combination's. Sometimes a different bullet. Sometimes a different powder. Sometimes a seating depth test. It's easier to drop with the Harrell, weigh with the beam scale, correct with a teaspoon, and dump by hand. And I think equally fast though I think fast and rifle bullet reloading don't go together.
     
  13. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    The ONLY beam scale I'm aware of that dispenses powder, is the Prometheus.
    So unless you get in line for that one, you might as well discount beam scales as anywhere BUT the same league as a ChargeMaster.

    Please tell me you guys don't actually turn DOWN Metallica,,,, for accurate loads!
    No, that is not a working solution.
     
  14. Mike6158

    Mike6158 Well-Known Member

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    I can't hang with Metallica's newer stuff. Their old stuff is all good :D