Measuring Devices

Dave58

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Sep 22, 2011
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Do you use beam scales and dial calipers instead of digital/electronic ones?

What scales and calipers do you recommend?
 

Tumbleweed

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Oct 20, 2007
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Tillamook, Oregon
I use an RCBS mechanical scale. I would have a real hard time trusting the electronic units. I like being able to visually watch the beam and get the charge perfect. I use a set of craftsman 6" non electronic dial calipers. Once again, I like to see that dial physically move and I get a much, much better feel for what I'm measuring with the mechanical unit.
 

Gene

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Jan 23, 2007
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PA
Since I bought a Hornady digital scale, I rarely use my Redding beam scale any more. I have compared them with the same load, and there is no difference. The beam scale takes too long to settle down.

The best caliper IMO is the Mitutoyo 6" digital. Measures to .0005". Battery lasts forever. Very accurate. Don't waste your money on a cheap caliper.
 

AJ Peacock

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Oct 7, 2005
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Michigan
Digital RCBS Chargemaster (I'd never go back to mechanical).

Starrett Digital Calipers for 6" and less, 24" Vernier caliper for anything longer than 6", a set of Mitutoyo Micrometers for things that require really really close measurements.

The nice thing about the digital calipers, is the ease at which you can compare lengths, by simply resetting zero. This item alone makes all the difference, saves time and reduces human error. Also, make sure your choice of digital caliper has the most important feature, automatic shut off to save your battery if you forget to turn it off.

AJ
 

MTBULLET

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simple answer, which ever you prefer after using several types, and, most importantly, the BEST you can afford.
 

MTBULLET

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Jul 16, 2007
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simple answer, which ever you prefer after using several types, and, most importantly, the BEST you can afford.
 

Trickymissfit

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Jun 11, 2010
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greenwood, IN
I use one of three Pact scales I own all the time. Don't own a beam scale anymore. I throw powder with either a Harrell or a Lyman #55, and most of my data is logged down in clicks these days.

I have been using the same Mitutoyo 4" dial caliper for longer than many of you are alive, but also own Starretts and B&S calipers. I also own three or four pairs of micrometers in 1" alone plus two sets that go out to 6 inches. One thing I also use is a set of small hole gauges. I use the Mitutoyos, but also have a set from B&S. Buy quality measuring equipment and you'll never regret it.
gary
 

boomtube

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Oct 8, 2007
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Mountians of SW NC, near Asheville
"Do you use beam scales and dial calipers instead of digital/electronic ones?"

I do. ALL of the reloader branded scales vastly over priced and all are 'throw-aways', not worth repairing. Get a beam, any commonly available beam scale will be fine.

I haven't a clue why many think a digital scale of any kind is so great. I was a precision electronic instrument tech in the space/defense programs for many years and don't trust that gimmicky stuff with my powders at all; they WILL fail, it's just a question of when. Those people lucky enough to get a 'good' one usually like it ... until it fails. ??

Calipers won't get you killed so digital is okay there. I have some pro quality mics and calipers and some Chinese stuff too. There's precious little difference in accuracy between them (maybe a quarter thou off at the worst) but most of the time there's no visible difference at all; most pro machinests only trust calipers to a thou anyway. My B&S stuff is great but, given the light use such measuring tools get from reloaders, I feel the Chinese stuff is fine and that's all I have in my loading room. IF we drop one on a concrete floor it's toast no matter what it cost and we can get a dozen or so for what ONE B&S or Starrett costs, or about ten for what one Mitutoyo costs. It's not hard to see the economic logic in that!

I see Harbor Freight Tools has 6" Chinese dial calipers on sale for about $12 much of the time and their digitals usually go for a little less. I actually like to use my H.F. digital caliper most of the time but then I have four dial calipers and a vernier too if the battery's dead when I need it. And if a caliper fails entirely it's not going to get me blown up! :D
 

woods

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Jun 4, 2006
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Shangri-La
I haven't a clue why many think a digital scale of any kind is so great. I was a precision electronic instrument tech in the space/defense programs for many years and don't trust that gimmicky stuff with my powders at all; they WILL fail, it's just a question of when. Those people lucky enough to get a 'good' one usually like it ... until it fails. ??

OK, here's a clue :D

If the scale fails I will know immediately. How? The RCBS 1500 comes with a couple of 50 gr calibration weights. If it fails to calibrate then the 50 gr weight I put on the pan after calibrating and rezeroing will not read 50 grains (hint: it ALWAYS does for several years now)

If the scale fails to hold the calibration and has "drifted" I will know immediately. How? The empty pans weighs 155.0 gr exactly after calibration and then you zero it with the pan on the platen. When I pick up the pan with the dispensed charge in it, the display ALWAYS reads -155.0 and has for several years now. When I put the pan back on it settles on 0.0 (zeroed with pan weight on it)

Now a couple of times I have had to pull bullets for some reason and out of curiosity I reweighed the powder charge. Since I have the RCBS 1500 the weights have always been exactly duplicated from my recorded weights. Before the RCBS 1500 I was often disappointed and frustrated by my balance bean NOT doing that.

Add that to the increased speed on reloading that comes from seating a bullet WHILE the dispenser is dropping powder in the pan, and it works for me.

My advice, if you don't want to be mesmerized and happy with the digital, DON'T buy one. If you do, you will be forced to recant and eat your criticisms.
 

Trickymissfit

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Jun 11, 2010
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greenwood, IN
I'm a firm believer in the saying "you get what you pay for."That's why I throw most of my powder with the Harrell, but for much of the stuff I do the Lyman works just as well. Measuring equipment is another story in itself. I like the Mitutoyos for one reason alone; I can reset the zero in about three minutes (takes longer to find the brass shim that doing the job). Nothing wrong with digital calipers, and as I said I own some of them. But I also don't own junk. My goto mics are sixty years old, and still prefer them over the newer stuff (Lufkin with steel anvils). I recommended buying a set of small holes gauges because calipers will not measure I.D.'s accurately, and you can buy a complete set for about $35 (Mitutoyo). I have a Pact powder measurer setting in the box. I don't even know if it works! Never turned it on. I will one of these days just for the hell of it. Prior to that I used an Ohaus 304 beam scale, and it was OK. Yet I'm more comforable with the digital scales, and that's what counts for me.

gary
 

Nimrod

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Aug 20, 2006
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448
Location
Missouri Ozarks
I use either a Lyman or RCBS beam scale for weighing powder/bullets and a small digital scale from U.S. Balance for cases.

For measuring tools I use Brown & Sharpe. I'm a machinist by trade and I have tried all the different measuring tools commonly available. The B&S dial caliper mentioned in a previous post has the smoothest feel of any caliper I have ever used. I have a B&S digital caliper I use for a comparing overall length of loaded rounds.

I want an RCBS Chargemaster so bad I can taste it!

Bob
 

Greyfox

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Jan 21, 2008
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Northeast
Can't beat quality electronics like the Chargemaster for weighing in volume. I always have a balance beam for periodic QC. Either, for calipers as long as they are of high quality. I have seen a of manual calipers from name companies that are poor and don't return to zero
 
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