Most accurate powder scale under $200

Doom2

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Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
134
Location
South of the Mason Dixon Line
I'm going to catch a lot of flak over this but here is the truth of the matter.

Most electronic scales under $100 have a display that reads to 0.1 gr, hence the repeatability of the scale and accuracy is limited to only 0.1 grains regardless of the actual accuracy to the scale. The actual accuracy of the scale is not what the reloader typically needs since he uses the scale to develop and load his ammunition.

Repeatability is what is most important. Repeatability is usually affected by physical items such as changes in the leveling of the scale, any mechanical binding in the scale, and by changes in the temperature of the components. Also any potential magnetic or radio frequency emissions in the area of the scale can have an effect on the reading. This is zero drift and must be managed to insure repeatability. External factors should as air currents and variations in floor loading around the bench have to be managed to insure repeatable results but are not part of the scale repeatability itself but are externally induced errors.

So the question becomes how much more accurate will my loads be if I can measure the powder more accurately than 0.1 grain. If a typical powder for 308 Winchester is considered with a 168 gr bullet, the answer in approximately 6 fps of velocity. A repeatable scale with 0.1 gr repeatability and an accuracy of 0.1 gr should result in an extreme spread of 6 fps due to the scale since the charge could be +/- 0.05 gr around the average. if you can obtain 0.05 grain accuracy from a scale then the ES would be reduced to 3 fps.

The reality is that the scale itself, if it is repeatable at 0.1 grains is not significant to the overall quality of the load when other factors such as variations in ballistic coefficient, neck tension, primer variations, etc are considered.

If you want to consider more accuracy and repeatability and place value on it then that is the way to go. But remember that you affect the accuracy simply by touching the pan as skin oils collect on the pan and collect dust. When trying for ultimate accuracy gloves would be worn when handling the pan, the scale must be isolated from wind and vibrations and the setting must be rock solid.

Regardless of what scale is chosen, it is a good idea to test the entire installation by repetitively weighing an object 60 times and determining the average, mean and standard deviation to determine the repeatability of the scale and the installation (setting). Since my reloading is predominately 308, I use a Hornady V-Max bullet weighing 40.1 grans to check my scale for this test and every reloading session.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.
 

justinp61

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Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
247
I'm going to catch a lot of flak over this but here is the truth of the matter.

Most electronic scales under $100 have a display that reads to 0.1 gr, hence the repeatability of the scale and accuracy is limited to only 0.1 grains regardless of the actual accuracy to the scale. The actual accuracy of the scale is not what the reloader typically needs since he uses the scale to develop and load his ammunition.

Repeatability is what is most important. Repeatability is usually affected by physical items such as changes in the leveling of the scale, any mechanical binding in the scale, and by changes in the temperature of the components. Also any potential magnetic or radio frequency emissions in the area of the scale can have an effect on the reading. This is zero drift and must be managed to insure repeatability. External factors should as air currents and variations in floor loading around the bench have to be managed to insure repeatable results but are not part of the scale repeatability itself but are externally induced errors.

So the question becomes how much more accurate will my loads be if I can measure the powder more accurately than 0.1 grain. If a typical powder for 308 Winchester is considered with a 168 gr bullet, the answer in approximately 6 fps of velocity. A repeatable scale with 0.1 gr repeatability and an accuracy of 0.1 gr should result in an extreme spread of 6 fps due to the scale since the charge could be +/- 0.05 gr around the average. if you can obtain 0.05 grain accuracy from a scale then the ES would be reduced to 3 fps.

The reality is that the scale itself, if it is repeatable at 0.1 grains is not significant to the overall quality of the load when other factors such as variations in ballistic coefficient, neck tension, primer variations, etc are considered.

If you want to consider more accuracy and repeatability and place value on it then that is the way to go. But remember that you affect the accuracy simply by touching the pan as skin oils collect on the pan and collect dust. When trying for ultimate accuracy gloves would be worn when handling the pan, the scale must be isolated from wind and vibrations and the setting must be rock solid.

Regardless of what scale is chosen, it is a good idea to test the entire installation by repetitively weighing an object 60 times and determining the average, mean and standard deviation to determine the repeatability of the scale and the installation (setting). Since my reloading is predominately 308, I use a Hornady V-Max bullet weighing 40.1 grans to check my scale for this test and every reloading session.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.

The resolution is .1 of a grain, but are they accurate to .1 grain? My digital calipers have a resolution of .0005" but are accurate to +/- .001".

Not giving you flack, so please don't take offense.
 

ButterBean

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LRH Team Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
5,123
Location
West Terre Haute Indiana
I'm going to catch a lot of flak over this but here is the truth of the matter.

Most electronic scales under $100 have a display that reads to 0.1 gr, hence the repeatability of the scale and accuracy is limited to only 0.1 grains regardless of the actual accuracy to the scale. The actual accuracy of the scale is not what the reloader typically needs since he uses the scale to develop and load his ammunition.

Repeatability is what is most important. Repeatability is usually affected by physical items such as changes in the leveling of the scale, any mechanical binding in the scale, and by changes in the temperature of the components. Also any potential magnetic or radio frequency emissions in the area of the scale can have an effect on the reading. This is zero drift and must be managed to insure repeatability. External factors should as air currents and variations in floor loading around the bench have to be managed to insure repeatable results but are not part of the scale repeatability itself but are externally induced errors.

So the question becomes how much more accurate will my loads be if I can measure the powder more accurately than 0.1 grain. If a typical powder for 308 Winchester is considered with a 168 gr bullet, the answer in approximately 6 fps of velocity. A repeatable scale with 0.1 gr repeatability and an accuracy of 0.1 gr should result in an extreme spread of 6 fps due to the scale since the charge could be +/- 0.05 gr around the average. if you can obtain 0.05 grain accuracy from a scale then the ES would be reduced to 3 fps.

The reality is that the scale itself, if it is repeatable at 0.1 grains is not significant to the overall quality of the load when other factors such as variations in ballistic coefficient, neck tension, primer variations, etc are considered.

If you want to consider more accuracy and repeatability and place value on it then that is the way to go. But remember that you affect the accuracy simply by touching the pan as skin oils collect on the pan and collect dust. When trying for ultimate accuracy gloves would be worn when handling the pan, the scale must be isolated from wind and vibrations and the setting must be rock solid.

Regardless of what scale is chosen, it is a good idea to test the entire installation by repetitively weighing an object 60 times and determining the average, mean and standard deviation to determine the repeatability of the scale and the installation (setting). Since my reloading is predominately 308, I use a Hornady V-Max bullet weighing 40.1 grans to check my scale for this test and every reloading session.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.
You are absolutely correct, repeatability is the key
 

misterc01

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Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
665
Location
Florida Panhandle
An Ohaus 10-10 I got for $ 125 on eBay. Ials have two RCBS -10 series for back ups in the BB area. I dispense with a Lyman DPSII, dopuble chek wiht Beam Balance. Do For loading just afew rounds, I just use my beam balance.
 

LRNut

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Joined
Dec 4, 2004
Messages
439
Location
Arizona/Colorado
I'm going to catch a lot of flak over this but here is the truth of the matter.

Most electronic scales under $100 have a display that reads to 0.1 gr, hence the repeatability of the scale and accuracy is limited to only 0.1 grains regardless of the actual accuracy to the scale. The actual accuracy of the scale is not what the reloader typically needs since he uses the scale to develop and load his ammunition.

Repeatability is what is most important. Repeatability is usually affected by physical items such as changes in the leveling of the scale, any mechanical binding in the scale, and by changes in the temperature of the components. Also any potential magnetic or radio frequency emissions in the area of the scale can have an effect on the reading. This is zero drift and must be managed to insure repeatability. External factors should as air currents and variations in floor loading around the bench have to be managed to insure repeatable results but are not part of the scale repeatability itself but are externally induced errors.

So the question becomes how much more accurate will my loads be if I can measure the powder more accurately than 0.1 grain. If a typical powder for 308 Winchester is considered with a 168 gr bullet, the answer in approximately 6 fps of velocity. A repeatable scale with 0.1 gr repeatability and an accuracy of 0.1 gr should result in an extreme spread of 6 fps due to the scale since the charge could be +/- 0.05 gr around the average. if you can obtain 0.05 grain accuracy from a scale then the ES would be reduced to 3 fps.

The reality is that the scale itself, if it is repeatable at 0.1 grains is not significant to the overall quality of the load when other factors such as variations in ballistic coefficient, neck tension, primer variations, etc are considered.

If you want to consider more accuracy and repeatability and place value on it then that is the way to go. But remember that you affect the accuracy simply by touching the pan as skin oils collect on the pan and collect dust. When trying for ultimate accuracy gloves would be worn when handling the pan, the scale must be isolated from wind and vibrations and the setting must be rock solid.

Regardless of what scale is chosen, it is a good idea to test the entire installation by repetitively weighing an object 60 times and determining the average, mean and standard deviation to determine the repeatability of the scale and the installation (setting). Since my reloading is predominately 308, I use a Hornady V-Max bullet weighing 40.1 grans to check my scale for this test and every reloading session.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.
They may display only to the nearest .1 grain, but I am quite sure they round to the nearest .1 grain. Using an A&D it is rare to get 78.50 grains of powder; it might be 78.48 and you add one kernal and get 78.54. Using an inexpensive scale, it would read 78.5 in both cases, but in the case of the 78.48 load it might stay at 78.4 before going to 78.5. Likewise, the 78.54 load might show 78.6 but then go to 78.5.

At the end of the day, if your rifle is going to suddenly shoot larger groups with a .1 charge difference, it probably isn't as accurate as you think. As Doom2 points out, there are other things like neck tension which isn't as easy to control that have significant impacts.
 

Doom2

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Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
134
Location
South of the Mason Dixon Line
The resolution is .1 of a grain, but are they accurate to .1 grain? My digital calipers have a resolution of .0005" but are accurate to +/- .001".

Not giving you flack, so please don't take offense.
No offense taken. To the point accuracy in this case is important when comparing to other calipers. For instance in this case if you measure a 0.500” gage block you might read .499” or .501” while another identical caliper would read a different value in that range. But if you are measuring multiple items trying to make them identical using the same caliper the absolute value isn’t important, as long as the readings are repeatable, ie the gage block measures the same every time you measure it.

Most of use use our scales in much the same way we use tools such as comparators. We develop a load and arrive at the powder value based chronograph and target data. We want to repeat that load at other times. The actual grain loading is not important, until we begin to compare to publish max loads where the .1 grain accuracy is not significant.
 

nwmnbowhunter

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Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
284
my 2c

As mentioned above. 0.1 grains of powder should equal about 6 fps everything being linear. Which isn't very much.

I want a forgiving load, so I work up loads with my chargemaster. If it won't shoot with that minimal amount of variation, 0.1 grains, I don't want that load. That would tell me I'm riding a razors edge and any change could affect impact.

Once I know my load is forgiving and will shoot that load consistently, then I use my beam scale to verify, as I can eyeball 0.05 grains with my beam. [As discussed throughout this thread on accurately reading your beam scale. ] this gives me confidence knowing I have a forgiving load and now I've made it even more forgiving.

But again, prove it to yourself that it shoots.... over and over and over.

I have both hornady and rcbs beams. Both work well. Everything can be screwed up if you don't know how to use it, including the A&d. Learn how to use what you have and how to know if it is lying to you.

A lot of good info in this thread!
 
Last edited:

Tiny Tim

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Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
946
I'm going to catch a lot of flak over this but here is the truth of the matter.

Most electronic scales under $100 have a display that reads to 0.1 gr, hence the repeatability of the scale and accuracy is limited to only 0.1 grains regardless of the actual accuracy to the scale. The actual accuracy of the scale is not what the reloader typically needs since he uses the scale to develop and load his ammunition.

Repeatability is what is most important. Repeatability is usually affected by physical items such as changes in the leveling of the scale, any mechanical binding in the scale, and by changes in the temperature of the components. Also any potential magnetic or radio frequency emissions in the area of the scale can have an effect on the reading. This is zero drift and must be managed to insure repeatability. External factors should as air currents and variations in floor loading around the bench have to be managed to insure repeatable results but are not part of the scale repeatability itself but are externally induced errors.

So the question becomes how much more accurate will my loads be if I can measure the powder more accurately than 0.1 grain. If a typical powder for 308 Winchester is considered with a 168 gr bullet, the answer in approximately 6 fps of velocity. A repeatable scale with 0.1 gr repeatability and an accuracy of 0.1 gr should result in an extreme spread of 6 fps due to the scale since the charge could be +/- 0.05 gr around the average. if you can obtain 0.05 grain accuracy from a scale then the ES would be reduced to 3 fps.

The reality is that the scale itself, if it is repeatable at 0.1 grains is not significant to the overall quality of the load when other factors such as variations in ballistic coefficient, neck tension, primer variations, etc are considered.

If you want to consider more accuracy and repeatability and place value on it then that is the way to go. But remember that you affect the accuracy simply by touching the pan as skin oils collect on the pan and collect dust. When trying for ultimate accuracy gloves would be worn when handling the pan, the scale must be isolated from wind and vibrations and the setting must be rock solid.

Regardless of what scale is chosen, it is a good idea to test the entire installation by repetitively weighing an object 60 times and determining the average, mean and standard deviation to determine the repeatability of the scale and the installation (setting). Since my reloading is predominately 308, I use a Hornady V-Max bullet weighing 40.1 grans to check my scale for this test and every reloading session.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.
Great response. Most want a simple, "Get this one". You demonstrate that there is a great deal more to it in understanding the specs and conditions that can affect even the most accurate of devices. Thanks!
 

Doom2

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Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
134
Location
South of the Mason Dixon Line
my 2c

As mentioned above. 0.1 grains of powder should equal about 6 fps everything being linear. Which isn't very much.

I want a forgiving load, so I work up loads with my chargemaster. If it won't shoot with that minimal amount of variation, 0.1 grains, I don't want that load. That would tell me I'm riding a razors edge and any change could affect impact.

Once I know my load is forgiving and will shoot that load consistently, then I use my beam scale to verify, as I can eyeball 0.05 grains with my beam. [As discussed throughout this thread on accurately reading your beam scale. ] this gives me confidence knowing I have a forgiving load and now I've made it even more forgiving.

But again, prove it to yourself that it shoots.... over and over and over.

I have both hornady and rcbs beams. Both work well. Everything can be screwed up if you don't know how to use it, including the A&d. Learn how to use what you have and how to know if it is lying to you.

A lot of good info in this thread!


My posts were centered around electronic scales but the balance beam scales have many of the same issues but do work well when the setting is right. The major scale issue is friction and consistency in reading the weight. I don’t have one, but weighted my “check bullets” on a friend’s RCBS years ago.

You are correct that the velocity/weight is not always linear and my estimate is just that, a good estimate. Particularly at low charge weight and typically at and above max loads. We could get into what it takes to actually determine that but accurately determining that is statistical nightmare!

As you note, a good load should definitely span more than 0.1 grain.
 

DartonJager

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Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
773
Great response. Most want a simple, "Get this one". You demonstrate that there is a great deal more to it in understanding the specs and conditions that can affect even the most accurate of devices. Thanks!
I believe we reloaders forget at times or possibly simply do not realize the true definition of consistency and its role in reloading.
We all have produced reloaded rifle ammunition that gave us two or three or five X# of shot groups that met or exceeded our accuracy goals or expectations.
But It's the reloads that not only meet or exceed our accuracy goals and expectations but most important of all to ALL reloaders who goal it is to reload as accurate of rifle ammo as is possible is to CONSISTENTLY CONTINUE to produce ammo that meets or expectations as a rule shot after shot group after group with boring regularity at all distances we shoot at.
I do not exaggerate one sintilla by saying CONSISTENCY is the GOD of accuracy
And not just in our reloaded ammo and ALL the individual components comprised there in but consistency in our shooting abilities are nearly if not as important.
I will bet every last piece of reloading equipment and component I own I can hand the average shooter Doug Koneig's most accurate rifle and reloads and they won't stand a chance in a competitive match.
Being able to do the same exact same thing tee exact same way 95-98%+ of the time is what separates the truely great from the rest of us.
The other 2-5% is luck.
You show me any competitor who is a true great in the sport he competes in and I'll show you someone who has mastered consistency.
 

LRNut

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2004
Messages
439
Location
Arizona/Colorado
I believe we reloaders forget at times or possibly simply do not realize the true definition of consistency and its role in reloading.
We all have produced reloaded rifle ammunition that gave us two or three or five X# of shot groups that met or exceeded our accuracy goals or expectations.
But It's the reloads that not only meet or exceed our accuracy goals and expectations but most important of all to ALL reloaders who goal it is to reload as accurate of rifle ammo as is possible is to CONSISTENTLY CONTINUE to produce ammo that meets or expectations as a rule shot after shot group after group with boring regularity at all distances we shoot at.
I do not exaggerate one sintilla by saying CONSISTENCY is the GOD of accuracy
And not just in our reloaded ammo and ALL the individual components comprised there in but consistency in our shooting abilities are nearly if not as important.
I will bet every last piece of reloading equipment and component I own I can hand the average shooter Doug Koneig's most accurate rifle and reloads and they won't stand a chance in a competitive match.
Being able to do the same exact same thing tee exact same way 95-98%+ of the time is what separates the truely great from the rest of us.
The other 2-5% is luck.
You show me any competitor who is a true great in the sport he competes in and I'll show you someone who has mastered consistency.
Well, that said, I don't know all the competitive shooters in the world, but the ones I know use A&D scales. I know of none that use a balance beam but I am sure they are out there.
 
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