Cheap digital powder scale


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addedpulp
August 30, 2011, 07:56 PM
Anyone tried one of these?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Grain-Reload-Digital-Scale-Gun-Powder-FREE-Cal-Weight-/380365455906?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item588f8c4222

I have the Lee Safety, and it seems a bit inaccurate, and moreso, like it takes forever to settle, which will get pretty annoying when I want to load a fair amount.

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highlander 5
August 30, 2011, 08:25 PM
If your thinking of getting a digital scale and want some thing reliable your going to spend more than $13. Look at the higher end scales like Dillon,RCBS and others you'll be much happier in the end. I have a Dillon and have been very happy with it. Bought it cause trying to read hem little hash marks was getting thougher and tougher.

jfh
August 30, 2011, 08:30 PM
Well, keep in mind that the digital scale you provided the link to has a 'tolerance' of 0.2 gr--which I believe is plus-or-minus two tenths grain. That ES of four tenths is more than I care to have for basic accuracy.

There have been several threads here over the years about the disadvantages of cheaper digital scales. Generally speaking, those were digital scales that sold for perhaps $30.00 without shipping, but not as low as the one you reference here. In the site discussions, the primary issue with cheaper electronic scales has been that the circuitry does not apparently provide for compensation as the batteries discharge, and that they do not provide for, or include, a DC converter for plugging in. Then, there is the breakdown factor....

But, at $12.99 each, you could buy three or four and either average their weight variances, or simply use one at a time until they broke down. Or, check out the digital scale at E.ArthurBrown & Company (use google to find the link.) I think that one comes with a DC converter--and it is sold by a reputable shooting enthusiast.

Similarly, there have been numerous threads about the issues with using Lee scales successfully. Googling in this forum ought to turn up several threads on it, including ones that include the hints for using them successfully. Personally, I find my Lee scale to be accurate and fast--but I also use a charge bar, so that my weights are pretty close to begin with. Nonetheless, enough reloaders here, ones whose opinion I value, have taken an opposite viewpoint. Many of us have upgraded to, for example, the RCBS (or whoever) 500--but I don't know any of us who would use a $12.99 digital scale in place of the Lee.

Jim H.

dbarnhart
August 30, 2011, 08:42 PM
hmmmm. OK, it says it's tolerance is .02 grams wich works out to .3 grains. I don't think I'd be comfortable with +/- .3 grains accuracy.

I'm also a little leery that the included calibration weight is 100 grams. (approximately 1500 grains), providing little assurance of calibration down in the range you would normally be using it for.

When I wanted a digital scale I bout the RCBS Rangemaster 750. It comes with two calibration weights (20 rains and 50 grains) and an internal calibration routine using those two weights. I've had no complaints.

cberge8
August 30, 2011, 08:44 PM
I started out with that exact $13 scale. Switched to a Lee safety scale, prefer it much more.

That digital scale will give you 10 different results for the same powder charge by simply continuously removing and replacing the pan on it 10 times!

The more you use the Lee scale the easier it will be to use. Once you get close to the weight you want, just add slowly. A decent powder trickler ($10 or so) makes all the difference in the world with this scale.

As far as the accuracy of the Lee scale, make sure it is level and make sure it is zeroed before each use. If you want to be 100% sure, you could get a check weight set.

cfullgraf
August 30, 2011, 09:12 PM
With digital scales, you get what you pay for. Cheap scale, cheap results.

For the most part, the $100 and up reloading scales are pretty good for what reloaders need. But there some operating idiosyncrasies with the digital scales.

Some folks do have issues with the digital scales.

A good beam scale is reliable but not as sexy as a digital.

LBEE
August 30, 2011, 09:15 PM
I bought several years ago a Hornady Lock & Load scale which has been very accurate for me & cost only $180, very happy with it.

jcwit
August 30, 2011, 09:58 PM
More than likely your Lee scale is very accurate, just very light weight and slow.

Buy yourself a powder measure, even a Lee Perfect Measure is an accurate measure with most powders, just give it a chance to break in. Using a measure is much faster, believe it or not.

bluetopper
August 30, 2011, 10:07 PM
One would be very surprised as to the manufacturor of the Dillon, RCBS digital scales that they put their name on and ^^^jack the prices up on.

I have a similar jewelers scale I bought on ebay that was inexpensive and measures to the 0.01 of a grain that has served me very well for years.

heydawg
August 30, 2011, 11:57 PM
Put it this way: I own a $400 gun. I am holding said weapon in my hand. Should it malfunction catastrophically, there's potential for it to severely injury me. Lost digits, damaged or lost vision. To say nothing about the damage to my gun.

I will spend several hours pouring over loading data, acquring at least $100 in reloading dies, press etc.. probably more even. I'll spend at least $100 in components as a first time purchase. I will spend hours prepping and loading cases.

So with this explosive powder and primers in a nice firearm, I am willing to depend on a scale that is so cheap, I have to ask in so many words, "This scale seems like cheap junk. Please tell me its not cheap junk and worth banking my health and safety on."

In other words, seems like a bad idea.

Good scales are precise. The Lee scale is very precise. If you want less precision, you will get a faster scale. It takes a while to settle because it is so precise. It is accurate to .01 grains. I had one on a table about 3 feet from me. Just the small puff of wind caused by me walking by moved the beam. The variance between lots of powder varies MUCH more than the scale or your powder measure.

I have used very good quality Ohaus scales in a lab and they too take a while to settle. So I guess you get what you pay for.

jcwit
August 31, 2011, 12:04 AM
Put it this way: I own a $400 gun. I am holding said weapon in my hand. Should it malfunction catastrophically, there's potential for it to severely injury me. Lost digits, damaged or lost vision. To say nothing about the damage to my gun.

I will spend several hours pouring over loading data, acquring at least $100 in reloading dies, press etc.. probably more even. I'll spend at least $100 in components as a first time purchase. I will spend hours prepping and loading cases.

So with this explosive powder and primers in a nice firearm, I am willing to depend on a scale that is so cheap, I have to ask in so many words, "This scale seems like cheap junk. Please tell me its not cheap junk and worth banking my health and safety on."

In other words, seems like a bad idea.

So why load to the max or close to it. Accurate reloads usually are far from max powder charges. Whether handgun or rifle rounds.

chhodge69
August 31, 2011, 12:27 AM
I use this cheap one:
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=713372

I'm happy with it, just don't let the batteries get low.

Hondo 60
August 31, 2011, 12:56 AM
$12.99?? Really???

Is that all your life is worth??

No way would I trust my reloading something so cheap.

This one's $100, and I like it very much.
If mine died, I would think twice about replacing it.
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=883267

kingmt
August 31, 2011, 01:04 AM
I bought one like it & the batteries don't last long but other then that it worked. I went to the Smartreloader S/D & haven't regretted it. Actually I just started using it to measure shot also.

Furncliff
August 31, 2011, 01:06 AM
I was given a digital scale for my birthday...
http://www.brianenos.com/store/be.scale_hp.html

I don't have a lot of expertise with digital scales, but this seems like a quality product. I'm happy with it, it works as advertised and I'm real happy I don't have to use my beam scale anymore.

Vec
August 31, 2011, 01:27 AM
Another one to look at (well, if you've looked at the Brian Enos offerings you already have) is the Jennings scales. (they just blurred the name out a bit)

http://jscale.com/

I have one that claims to be accurate to .05gr. The JS-VG-20 seems to be a good job for me. If I let the batteries go too low I start getting erratic readings but it I avoid that I've not had any problems with it.

I picked mine up at oldwillknottscales.com. Seemed cheap and I can't complain about 'em. (I have no interest in them)

bds
August 31, 2011, 05:14 AM
I think many are confusing the accuracy of these scales.

grams (g) is not the same as grains (gr) as 1 gram = 15 grains.

If a scale is accurate to .01 grams = .15 grains
If a scale is accurate to .05 grams = .77 grains
If a scale is accurate to .1 grams = 1.5 grains

For reloading, I really prefer the powder charge accuracy to be .1 grain = .0065 grams and most beam scales will give that level of accuracy (RCBS 5-0-5 for example and even Lee Safety scale). If you are anywhere near max, .77 grains will easily overcharge your loads.

I like the speed and convenience of digital scales, but prefer to have .1 grain/.001-.005 gram accuracy scales. At the very least, .01 gram accuracy.

scythefwd
August 31, 2011, 06:09 AM
The lee scale is NOT accurate to .01 (1/100th) of a grain. It's accurate to .1 (1/10th) of a grain. Lee says it's readable to 1/20th of a grain, but from what I am seeing it's only marked at the tenths.

If you want a faster scale, look at the lyman 500 pro, rcbs 505, ohaus d7, or the dillon equivilent. They are magnetically dampened and are still accurate to .1 grains.

FWest
August 31, 2011, 06:45 AM
I have one of those scales. Not a replacement for a "real" scale but will get you in the ballpark before finalizing on a beam scale. I use a 505 for that. Nice to zero with a piece of brass and work up the powder drop. Also seems within .01 of the 505.

addedpulp
August 31, 2011, 10:05 AM
$12.99?? Really???

Is that all your life is worth??

No offense, but give me a break. Do you really think I'm going to be loading max loads for starters? Or that I should trust my life with the few pieces of plastic and tin that are the Safety Scale and that's somehow better of an idea?

BBDartCA
August 31, 2011, 10:44 AM
hmmmm. OK, it says it's tolerance is .02 grams wich works out to .3 grains. I don't think I'd be comfortable with +/- .3 grains accuracy.


I have this cheap ebay scale and the above is definitely a problem. The other big problem is that is only shows grams to 1/10 of a decimal place (i.e. X.X grams). So when you convert to grains, it gets real inaccurate. So when the scale shows 1.5 grams, is this 1.49, 1.42, 1.38? Which way is it rounding? And what is the number before rounding? Below shows grams to grains at 2 places showing potential impact of rounding.

Grams Grains
1.10 16.98
1.11 17.13
1.12 17.28
1.14 17.59
1.15 17.75
1.16 17.90
1.17 18.06
1.16 17.90
1.19 18.36
1.20 18.52
1.21 18.67
1.22 18.83
1.23 18.98
1.24 19.14
1.25 19.29

bds
August 31, 2011, 10:52 AM
Or that I should trust my life with the few pieces of plastic and tin that are the Safety Scale and that's somehow better of an idea?
I started out with the Lee Safety Scale and while the slowness had me frustrated, it is indeed accurate.

Now I use Ohaus 10-10 scale and have verified the Safety Scale on occasion and every time, it duplicated the readings of the Ohaus 10-10.

My older model MidwayUSA 750 digital scale is within .1-.2 gr of the beam scales, but good enough for fast weighing of bullets and verification work.

Also, digital scales are heat sensitive and have specified operating range (check your scale/manual). I use mine indoors for this reason and not in the cold/hot garage.

squarles67
August 31, 2011, 11:45 AM
I started with one of the $20 MTM digitals and it does ok. I then bought the Lee Safety and as someone already noted while it is very accurate it can be a bit aggravating.

I now have the RCBS 5-0-5 and WOW I wish I would have spent the money on it in the first place.

jcwit
August 31, 2011, 11:49 AM
With digital scales, you get what you pay for. Cheap scale, cheap results.



This is your opinion, many, many times folks can also get value for $$$ spent. With this logic we should all be driving luxury cars and Land Rovers.

addedpulp
August 31, 2011, 12:13 PM
Honestly, I'm not incredibly worried about extreme accuracy as long as it's safe. I don't intend to load max loads. In fact, most will be medium at most. I'm finding a lot of misinformation, some people saying not having an exact measurement will lead to extreme issues (gun blowing up, uh, death), while others say they get close enough for their needs with their dippers and little else.

If I needed to weigh every charge, I have no idea how I could possibly load anywhere near 100 shells an hour.

RandyP
August 31, 2011, 12:49 PM
I have no negative issues with my MTM DS-1250 - I spent about $30 if my aging memory serves. I ONLY load low-mid level indoor range plinking ammo with Win 231/HP-38. I am certainly NOT worried about the scale's acuracy level as it is more than sufficient to MY needs and a great boon to my old eye balls - lol - I agree that the Lee beam scale is more 'precise' so if I had that need I might fuss with it. But I don't so I don't.

How many million rounds of safe, reliable and accurate ammo have been made by now using only the Lee dippers? I do not recall ever reading about a kaboom caused by someone using them? More often it is by someone who mixed up the powder they should have used or someone who double charged on their progressive press that didn't auto advance.

I am also NOT slamming those who have the need or desire and the wallet to afford the very finest in weighing devices, more power to them.

gab909
August 31, 2011, 12:50 PM
If you are atleast .5 grs off of max, I wouldn't worry

cfullgraf
August 31, 2011, 12:52 PM
This is your opinion, many, many times folks can also get value for $$$ spent. With this logic we should all be driving luxury cars and Land Rovers.

Agreed, it is my opinion. But I did qualify it relating the opinion only to digital scales and not luxury cars or anything else for that matter.

Agreed, folks can frequently achieve high value with products that are not high priced. Just not with the current crop of inexpensive digital scales, in my opinion and experience.

Today's luxury cars are overpriced, over rated, hunks of metal and plastic and no where near what they were 40-50 years ago. Again, my opinion.

But, hey, differences of opinion is what makes the world go around.

stonecutter2
August 31, 2011, 01:04 PM
I bought a Jennings Mack 20. Not incredibly cheaper than the other brands that have been named, but very accurate to .02 grains. So accurate, in fact, that it does drift by .1 grains occasionally for no apparent reason - vibrations, wind, whatever.
http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/jennings-jscale-mack-20.aspx

I wouldn't measure with a $13 scale. I mean, you should be within safe tolerances that the powder measured wouldn't be a big deal if it's off, but I think measuring powder accurately so my hands (or face) aren't blown off is worth more to me than $13.

I started reloading to save some cash. So, obviously I tried to find the best, cheapest things that were safe to use. I chose the Mack 20 because of the extra accuracy, but looking back i'd just get the Mack 100 - higher maximum weight, less accurate but still accurate to .1 grains which is fine.

The Mack 20 came with a little pan that I use to drop from my Lee Perfect Powder Measure onto, then transfer the pan/powder onto the scale, check weight, then finally pour into the funnel on the top of the powder through/expanding die. It works perfectly for the task.

kingmt
August 31, 2011, 10:44 PM
If it is within .01g ~ .2gr you will be fine. I say go ahead & blow the $10 to get your feet wet. This is what I did & soon spent more to get more. The bad part is it is going to suck batteries like crazy but maybe it will let you see what you actually want before dropping bigger bucks.

jcwit
August 31, 2011, 11:02 PM
Just a tip on batteries. Check out the Pre-Charged batteries at Harbor Freight. They run $10.00 for 4 AA's and can be recharged thousands of times and have no memory. I use them in my camera, radio "ya, I'm to old for MP Players or whatever, barely able to use a cell phone", and other stuff that take batteries.

Off topic I know, but might help folks out there.

RE-15
August 31, 2011, 11:15 PM
My 30 dollar electronic is just as accurate as my rcbs beam scale. I still check it often to be sure.

frankge
September 1, 2011, 11:33 AM
mtm mini digital is acuurate to .1 or .2 grains although I do notice it likes to got to a certain measurement at times. 40 bucks I think.

Maximumbob54
September 1, 2011, 12:09 PM
I started with the RCBS branded Ohaus 505 scale. I find it to be pretty fast. I can use a dipper to drop the bulk of the desired measure and a trickler to top it off. Mine doesn't bounce up and down or swing back and forth causing you to wait. The Hornady Lock N Load Auto Charge I bought is pretty tempermental to use. Plug it in as far from the plug as you can, wait fifteen minutes, use the check weights to calibrate it, and I still check it against the beam scale to make sure it isn't getting out of cal after a while. I don't like digital scales. They just aren't what most people think when they hear the word "digital".

HOWARD J
September 1, 2011, 12:21 PM
I have 3 scales
An RCBS 5-0-5----you can get this great scale e little less from DIlon
A Lee Safety Scale: been gathering dust for years.
An electronic scale from PACT
I check the PACT & RCBS against eachother---both work good.

RandyP
September 1, 2011, 03:50 PM
Like most discussions involving folks spending someone else's money - LOL - buy what you can afford and feel is reasonable that has performance that matches YOUR needs and budget, not everyone else's.

Reading some of the posts around the 'net I sometimes feel like we should be ashamed to be suggesting or buying crappy Dillons when Camdex makes a far superior press for a mere $20-30,000. And if O-Mygosh makes a $1000 balance scale accurate to a blond gnat's eyelash we should ALL buy it instead of the ratty toys we are using now.

I mean afterall, if I'm shooting a hundred rounds every few months I simply MUST own hardware that will make that hundo in 9 seconds rather than letting me enjoy some relaxing hobby time.

LOL

jcwit
September 1, 2011, 04:08 PM
Randy, thats the first time I've ever heard it put just that way, and you surely hit the nail on the head and drove it in all the way with one hit. Very well put.

AK_Maine_iac
September 1, 2011, 06:36 PM
I own two scales 1 Brand x beam scale and a 1 brand x electronic (110 volt)

What do I use the most my trickler to fine tune all loads. I don't care how slow it is.The older i get the slower i get. I want to go bang not boom:evil: No matter what brand one uses safety FIRST

I have never been one for saying one brand is better then another. What one person likes the other person may not. To each his own.

RandyP
September 2, 2011, 12:39 AM
Thanks -

I recall watching a youtube video of a very young lad in perhaps Australia loading .303 rounds with his Lee Loader (whack it with a mallet) The sheer joy in his voice as he explained what he was doing and why and how he was able to make ammo in under a minute stayed with me. I think of the video whenever I read posts that suggest I need to spend a zillion bucks on gear and measure things better than NASA just to make ammo.

Those who want to be microsopically accurate can do so and enjoy it as well. I think it is fantastic that there is a way for everyone to particpate in this great hobby at all budget and interest levels.

addedpulp
September 2, 2011, 10:25 AM
While obviously accuracy is important because an inaccurate shot is useless, my main concern is safety. I don't need competition accuracy. I don't hunt, I don't shoot incredible distances, I don't shoot in competitions. I just want to practice, and have some ammo sitting around in case I ever need it. I don't want to be unsafe, and in the event that I ever decide to load heavy loads that's definitely a concern, but many people here seem to suggest that, without an incredibly accurate scale, it's unsafe to load at all. Others suggest they load with basically just their dippers as a measuring tool. Kind of hard to tell what's fact and what's neurosis and justification for the money they spent on their tools.

RandyP
September 2, 2011, 10:45 AM
IF a shooter wants the ability to shoot sub-1" groups at 1000 yards, controlling EVERY detail of the ammo reloading to the 'nth' degree is critical. As is of course the shooter's skill and the firearm itself.

For MY target plinking, hunting and self-defense use I am totally satisfied with MOD accuracy (Minute of Dead) from me, my firearms and my ammunition. Everyone only has to make themselves happy. If it goes bang? It's all good.

jcwit
September 2, 2011, 11:16 AM
The digital scale I have used now for maybe 10 years now cost a whopping $40.00 bucks back then. It weights out to 2 digits and powder charge is always a frw hundredths light, but, AND HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART, it repeats the same every time and has for 10 years. So is it an accurate scale? In my mind it defintly is.

Plus I never load to the max, I load for accuracy, which to me is much more important.

I have never seen the need to reload to max presure.

bds
September 2, 2011, 11:49 AM
When I help setup new reloaders, I recommend they start out with a beam scale first, then adding a digital scale so they can "cross check" each other after zero/calibration. The lower cost of "cheaper" digital scales may be tempting at first, but I explain to them there are different grades/types of digital scales and not all may provide the accuracy and consistency needed for reloading, especially if they want to load at near max/max load data.

+/- 0.1 GRAIN accuracy will give you .2 gr variation and while this may be acceptable for reloading, not all "cheaper" digital scales offer this accuracy. You need to be careful of buying digital scale that only offer GRAM reading as 0.1 gram = 1.5 grains, which means variation of 3 grains! Even with .01 gram accuracy, you will have variation of .3 grains, which is too much for comfort for me.

.005 gram accuracy will give you .15 grain variation, which is the least amount of variation I would accept; and if price difference wasn't much, I would prefer .001 gram accuracy that will give you .03 grain variation.

Digital scales are temperature sensitive and should not be used in cold/hot garage/shops where temperature falls to freezing and rises over 95F (check your users manual for actual temperature range). I have used and recommended the older version of FA 750 digital scale (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=175512) (which goes on sale for around $20) over the years but recommended its use indoors along with a beam scale.

Regardless of the digital scale you go with, use of check weights (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=493216) (not the calibration weight scale comes with) is highly recommended to verify accuracy and consistency.

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