best powder scale?


January 16, 2011, 01:52 PM
What is the best digital powder scale to purchase at beginer level:confused?

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January 16, 2011, 01:58 PM
I have a RCBS and it works good. I also have a small Frankford that's good as well. If you don't have a balance beam, buy one before going digital.

January 16, 2011, 02:01 PM
no one will have a better answer over another...nor will a scale be better than another one when it comes to weighing. I have a RCBS 750. if you want cheap -- find a food scale that does grains. may have to think of a good measuring pan...maybe a measuring cup -- then you could stick with the kitchen theme -- but be assured -- it will get the job done.

None of these companies make their own scales or the components -- they out-source it to companies who make scales. Technology is all the same...scales are all the same....i'd make sure u get one that plugs into power...

Like buying grocery store brand canned vegetables over name brand....they are all processed in the same factories and come from the same batches.

January 16, 2011, 02:13 PM
The reloading kit I recieved for christmas included a Lee safety powder scale. I think the digital would have to be easier to use.

January 16, 2011, 02:56 PM
The lee scale is confusing...I'm not knocking it because when used properly it's as good as any of them. None will out weigh the other. I have a rcbs 505 for the beams...I prefer electronic bc of efficiency. sometimes wonder why I purchased a beam scale.....

January 16, 2011, 03:11 PM
If you get an RCBS chargemaster 1500 scale you can add the automated powder dispenser to it in the future. The scale is a decent one with known performance and the powder dispenser is a tool many people say they cannot imagine being without once they use it. You cannot add a powder dispenser to most other scales including the chargemaster 750. Just something to consider if you think you will continue to ramp up you’re reloading over time.

January 16, 2011, 03:49 PM
What is the best digital powder scale to purchase at beginer level
I can't speak for other "beginner" digital scales, but I have used the Frankford Arsenal's scale ( for many years with good results. It has been verified to be accurate to 0.1 gr with several different beam scales (I verify with my Ohaus/RCBS 10-10 scale). When I help set up a new reloader, I recommend a beam scale like RCBS 5-0-5 ( and the FA digital for faster weight verifications.

One thing to note with the FA digital scale is that the scale specifies operating temperature range of 59F - 95F (15C-35C). I keep my FA scale indoors as my garage temperature exceeds those ranges. There are many that reported problems with this scale in the past and it maybe that they exceeded the temperature ranges. Several new reloaders I helped setup the past years are doing fine with their FA scales (yes, they know about the temperature range issue).

January 16, 2011, 07:34 PM
I have used several electronic scales and some are better than others. With the exception of a Denver Instruments owned by a friend none were as accurate as either of my balance beams. All were consistent, but were either high or low. The norm was ~ +/- .1 per 10 grains.

I can't imagine weighing bullets or brass without an electronic, but I trust powder charges to my Reddings.

January 16, 2011, 08:11 PM
Go on ebay and search for digital carat scale or jewelry scale. Some will weigh to the .01 of a grain for very little money.

No use overspending for a scale just for the brand on it.

January 16, 2011, 08:16 PM
I have a Pact BBK that I got 15 years ago. It has been 100% trouble free.

January 16, 2011, 10:25 PM
Great beam scales start at ~$50. Great digital scales start at ~$200.

Digital scales have their place and time, but for a novice, I highly recommend a good beam scale to start. The digital sales can be way too sensitive to drafts, power fluctuations, low batteries, all sorts of wild stuff. The fact is for pistol you're weighing stuff barely heavier than a couple of grains of coarse sand. If the digital scale is lying you'll never know. On the other hand with a beam scale, they are slower, but they remain as consistent as gravity. Besides, reloading is NOT a race.

And NO, you may absolutely NOT use a kitchen scale graduated in grams.


January 16, 2011, 10:30 PM
LOL... Bed Bath and Beyond had a kitchen scale graduated in grains.... does ounces and grams too in case you want to do some cooking in between reloads....

January 16, 2011, 11:47 PM
LOL... Bed Bath and Beyond had a kitchen scale graduated in grains....

It's one thing for an electronic scale to have a electronic readout in grains. It's quite another to be accurate in that range. The readout is reached by merely electronically multiplying by some number to make a conversion. It could just as easily read out in tons, stones, or any other unit. Because of the electronic "brain" it's easy to add any scale you want.

The problem is that the mechanism inside an electronic scale has a certain friction. If you put something on the scale that weighs 1lb, then of course the friction is overcome and the scale makes a reading. But now put a 5gr weight on the scale. Will the friction be overcome? If you design the scale to have zero friction, then you run the risk of damaging the scale when you plop the 1 lb weight back up there. That's why all scales have a "useful range" and all other readings cannot be trusted.

Just weigh your small pet on the bathroom scale. Now weigh yourself holding the pet. If you subtract your weight, you probably won't get the same pet weight. Why? Because the "useful range" for a bathroom scale is between 100 and 250 lbs. The scale simply doesn't know what to do with an 4 lb cat.

But my scale has a 10gram check weight you say. Well great, but that's equal to 154.3grains and not many guns shoot 154gr of powder, so I'm not using the scale in that range. If you're going to use an electronic scale for pistol shooting, then you also need a 5-10gr check weight. If you're going to use an electronic scale for rifle shooting, then you also need something like a 25-45gr check weight.

I'm just saying. ;)

January 17, 2011, 12:44 AM
I have a Pact BBK that I got 15 years ago. It has been 100% trouble free.

I haven't had my BBK II quite that long, but I have no complaints.

January 17, 2011, 12:57 AM

For pistol reloading there is not much need for weighting each charge, as you might for rifle. (Rifle loads, esp. hot ones, are best checked individually by scale, either beam or digital.)

Here's why:
First, you set your drum powder dispenser using an 'inexpensive' beam scale. The beams read +/- 0.1 grains, just like the electronic jobs.
Then throw a bunch of loads, weighting each throw on the beam, to check for consistency. Once your dispenser throws within 0.1 grains, you're gtg.

While loading pistol, I weigh every 5th or so charge on my beam, many go 10 charges between checks.

In terms of speed, this technique is not slower than with the electronic dispensing scale esp. when you consider many of those slow down then hunt & peck as the final kernels drop out.

January 17, 2011, 10:45 AM
I like a RCBS 5-0-5 beam scale--in the $70 range
Mine is about 35 years old--works like new.

I also have an electronic scale $95 range
I check them against each other

January 17, 2011, 11:35 AM
I use an inexpensive Hornady electronic while dialing in loads, but always use the beam to fine tune and verify the powder charge. Has the added bonus of making sure I didn't miss something when adjusting the beam, as they are usually within 0.1gr.

I find the electronic handy for quick checking bullets too.

January 17, 2011, 11:45 AM
Electronic scales are not friction, but pressure on a piezo-electric crystal. The more pressure, the more electrical current the crystal produces. A simple electronic meter to read the output and a relatively simple chip that converts that to a measurement in the desired scale. I don't consider +- .1 grains to be accurate enough for measurement of powder charges, but rather only sufficient for a quick "check". For accuracy, there is the balance beam scale. It's the lab standard for a reason. I also have precision weights in a couple of sizes for checking accuracy. 1 gram is 15.432 grains. A 1 gram calibration weight is about a dollar, plus shipping. 5 weights cost me less than $15 shipped and I can weigh "charges" of 15.432, 30.864, 46.296, etc... as a check of my scale's accuracy in these charge ranges. I need to find a 300 and 400 milligram weight for pistol charges as well.

It's nice to have at least the 1 gram weights to satisfy yourself that the scale is measuring what you think it is, at least once in a while.


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