Beam Scales


Hondo 60
January 1, 2013, 10:41 PM
I had an "issue" recently, as some of you know.

It got me thinking about scales.
My usual scale is an electronic Pact BBKII.

Well I decided on the advise of the elder statesmen here to buy a Lyman/Ohaus scale.
My only previous experience with a beam scale was with a Lee Safety scale.
So I thought they were "fiddlesome"


My new-to-me Lyman/Ohaus is just as easy to use as an electronic scale.
The beam settles after just a 1 or 2 seconds (unlike the Lee scale that takes 5 - 7 seconds).
And the weight adjusters are MUCH easier to set.

I figure most reloaders go from an old beam to electronic, but I went backwards & am dang glad I did!

I just wish more people here would have compared & contrasted the Lee to an Ohaus.
It's MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier on an Ohaus.

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January 1, 2013, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the info. I use a Lee safety scale as well, and it works ok for me. I also have an inexpensive Hornady electronic that seems to work fairly well. I use it to quickly zero in on a charge and then double check it on the Lee. I'd like a better scale....

January 1, 2013, 10:56 PM
I started with a Dillon Eliminator. It may be made by Ohaus. I like it a lot. Easy to adjust and use during a session. BTW, I've found the powder throw on my LnL AP to handle just about any powder with a high degree of accuracy and consistancy, even IMR 800-X, the corn flakes of powder.

I recommend getting a check weight set too. Just for piece of mind. This is a reasonably priced set.

I am a noob and I pondered buying an electric scale when buying my rig. I'm completely satisfied with the Eliminator.

January 2, 2013, 12:12 AM
I've got an older Lyman as well as an RCBS. Somewhere along the lines, I ended up with a digital scale that only gets used to weigh bullets.

January 2, 2013, 07:26 AM
^^ I could have posted this above.:D I have an original Ohaus and a RCBS 10-10 as a a backup. The electronic one is used to weigh cases and bullets only these days.;) Should never have spent the money on it. If you feel the need to get an electronic scale spend $100+ or regret it IMHO.

January 2, 2013, 07:35 AM
Love my Ohaus, and like most have said the electric scale is for bullets. I also use Lee Dippers, makes it even easier.

January 2, 2013, 08:04 AM
I swapped from a 505 to a BBK 15 years ago and never looked back.

January 2, 2013, 11:19 AM
Beam scales v. electronic scales... I think gravity may be around for a while so I will rely on my beams.

January 2, 2013, 11:55 AM
my beam scale and my electronic scale both have a spot on my bench

January 2, 2013, 12:04 PM
Ohaus also makes the RCBS 505 scale I use. A good beam scale can't be beat!!!

Magnum Shooter
January 2, 2013, 12:38 PM
I have never trusted electronic scales, so it’s a beam all the way for me.
My Eliminator, as well as my RCBS 5-0-5, says made by Ohaus right on it.

January 2, 2013, 01:17 PM
I switched from the Lee Safety to the RCBS 5-0-5 last year and it was well worth the money. The Lee is accurate but the 5-0-5 is MUCH faster and easier IMO

January 2, 2013, 01:21 PM
Electronic scales are handy, I use them at work all the time. However, at the bench I rely on beam scales totally. I dont want to be suddenly out of luck at the start of a session if I find out a minor power surge has fried the electronics or if there is some other reason the scale suddenly is unstable. I may buy one someday just for the "handy" factor but there are a lot of other things higher on the list. Currently use RCBS Dial o grain and 10-10. Check/calibration weights are another must have.

January 2, 2013, 03:23 PM
Really great choice Hondo 60, and I've always felt that every reloader should have one on their bench. There just isn't anything as reliable as a good beam scale.

Once more, I'm glad you are OK following your recent KB experience.


January 2, 2013, 05:11 PM
I use the same Pacific beam scale (made by a division of Hornady) for over 25 years. I've yet to have to install batteries. Heck, I don't even own an electronic scale.

January 2, 2013, 06:18 PM
I started with a Lee Scale as well.
Then I bought a RCBS 505 scale shortly after......And Dillion Exterminator and got another RCBS 505 beam scale.....And a Pact electronic scale and powder dispenser.

Glad to say, I use them all. Never looked back. Nothing wrong with the Lee one, Just ain't my cup of tea. Well, Just the scale anyways.

January 2, 2013, 07:14 PM
Started with an RCBS 10-10, picked up a used Ohause (same as 10-10 just different color) gave it to my boy and bought a 5/5 as a back-up and have never used it! Have been reloading since the early 60's and never felt the need for electronic scale of any kind.

January 2, 2013, 07:20 PM
I started out with a Webster beam scale 50+ years ago. I just recently gave it to my son. Still as accurate as the day it was new. I now use an Ohaus beam scale a friend gave me. I won't be buying a digi.

January 2, 2013, 07:35 PM
I have a Redding beam scale, it is accurate, I also have a Bair beam scale, it also is accurate, I also use an Electronic Digital scale, it also is accurate.

I have no problem changing batteries in it, no more so than in my hearing aids, nor charging my cell phone. Or keeping my laptop charged. Or putting fresh batteries in my flashlight which years ago replaced my kerosene lantern.

Its amazing how much of a chore it is for some to change batteries in an electronic device. Or to keep fresh batteries on hand.

January 2, 2013, 08:00 PM
I started with an RCBS 505refurbished at no charge by Ohaus including a new beam, hanger, and pan. Used it for five years and moved up to a Pact powder dispenser and scale backed up with the 505 on 10 percent of cases for 5years. I now use the Pact backed up with an RCBS 1010. I have never had a problem with any of those systems. The Pact is faster and more flexible but I appreciate the option of a backup check every tenth case with a beam scale.

hang fire
January 2, 2013, 09:39 PM
I bought an eletronic scale couple years ago to try, it sets on the shelf and I still use my 50 year old + RCBS.

January 2, 2013, 10:02 PM
I bought an eletronic scale couple years ago to try, it sets on the shelf and I still use my 50 year old + RCBS.

Gotta ask this. So what does that tell us?

Fifty years ago I drove a stick shift, today I drive an automatic.

Almost 60 years ago I had polio, today for all intents and purposes it gone.

Progress is a terrible thing to waste.

January 2, 2013, 10:13 PM
I have been using an electronic scale for reloading for 12 to 15 years. With all the discussion about beam scales here, i decided to get out my old RCBS 5-0-5 and compare it to the electronic.

I would throw a charge, weigh it on the 5-0-5 then weigh it on the electronic. 20 or 30 charges weighed while setting up my powder measure and all matched exactly.

The beam scale was easy to overlook a variance of 0.1 of a grain that makes it seem less variable than the electronic.

With the electronic, I do push the tare weight button frequently.

When setting up the powder measure, the electronic scale is quicker as I do not have to do anything to see the weight once I place it in the pan. Then I can adjust the measure as necessary.

Like jcwit, I do not have problems changing or charging batteries in my electronic equipment but I never have to change batteries in my electronic scale--it runs on 110v.

Use what ever floats your boat. If you have a good, reliable scale, either system will provide good, repeatable results.

January 3, 2013, 09:57 AM
That Lee Safety Scale will turn you against beam scales. It is actually quite accurate, but it is the finickiest contraption ever built. My RCBS 502 is a reliable little wonder.

January 3, 2013, 10:26 AM
My Lyman/Ohaus migrated to the darkroom, so I use a Redding and RCBS 10-10 beam scales now. Nver really felt the need to go electronic, although I have a little cheap one for bullets and cases.

January 3, 2013, 01:14 PM
I haven't used a beam scale in 10 years. I've got a PACT electronic scale which I use to verify that the RCBS Charge Master is working properly. Never have had a "close" moment or a time where danger of an over-charge was imminent. I have complete confidence in electronic scales. I first calibrate the scale, then weigh out each charge and never have looked back. I singly prime, load powder, and seat a bullet each time for every round of ammo I load. I feel confident of no double charges, (especially worrisome with pistol loads), and if you are susceptible to interruptions by phone calls, etc., etc.
Just my two cents...:)

January 3, 2013, 06:13 PM
Everyone using a digital loves it. Until it craps out.

Hondo 60
January 3, 2013, 06:19 PM
^^^^^^ Amen! ^^^^^

January 3, 2013, 08:03 PM
I can't find my beam scale since I built a new garage/barn. My PACT works great if I let the transformer warm up before using it. When using a dispenser, I always check my loads on the scale and it seems darned accurate.

January 3, 2013, 08:42 PM
I still prefer my beam scale over the digital scale in my Chargemaster. My beam scale is 35 plus years old and still going strong.

January 3, 2013, 09:03 PM
I've been using an RCBS 5-0-5 for ten years or so. I like it but I really would like to have a 0-100 grain scale instead of 0-500 grains. The max I ever weigh is 70 grains of powder.

When I do light loads (5.0 grains or so) I just have to be really carefull with the sliding scale. 0-100 would suit me much better.


January 3, 2013, 09:43 PM
Everyone using a digital loves it. Until it craps out.

That is why I have a spare electronic scale and a back up beam scale. (I collect stuff, always seem to need it sometime down the road.)

But, the only time my electronic scale pooped out was when it got swept off the table to the floor. A beam scale would not survive that event either.

January 3, 2013, 11:11 PM
Everyone using a digital loves it. Until it craps out.

True! And I am more than able to buy another.

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