is your scale accurate? Do you have check weights?


February 2, 2003, 02:37 PM
In the absence of certified check weights, you can use US coins to verify accuracy on your powder scale. Each nickel weighs 5 grams. That converts to 77.16 grains.

Pennies weigh 2.5 grams, or 38.58 grains.

Easy calculations, and you can zero your scale very accuratly using coins. I would recommend the newest, best condition ones you can find.

My RCBS 5-0-5 scale weighs one nickel at exactly 77 grains, and two nickles at 155.1 grains, which is only .78 grain off true weight. Close enough I think.

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Bill Adair
February 2, 2003, 07:34 PM

Well good luck using coins.

I couldn't find a bank that had new coins on hand, and the newest looking coins I could find, varied greatly in weight! :(

Sprung for a set of scale weights from RCBS, and might as well have saved my money, because my Ohaus 5-0-5 was absolutely spot on with all of them. :D

Still, I just had to know. :rolleyes: :D :banghead:


February 2, 2003, 08:55 PM
Like I said Bill, in the absence of certified check weights, coins beat the heck out of just guessing if the scale is accurate at all. I agree, spending a few bucks for proper weights is money well spent.

February 2, 2003, 08:56 PM
For around $20 you can get a Lyman / RCBS Scale Weight Check set, and actually know.

I use mine religiously, like I wear safety glasses -- WITHOUT EXCEPTION.

February 2, 2003, 09:42 PM
Well, being cheap I use a loaded round. I weighed it when I first got the scale, and etched the weight in the brass. I also painted it before etching. Now I am only looking for a deviation from the original. It is at about half scale in weight. I also use bullets in the low end and high end to check for gross errors. I should also add that I don't push the envelope, I shoot midrange loads that are accurate. My way is not as good as check weights, but should keep me safe.

February 2, 2003, 11:18 PM
I have a calibrated paper clip. The lab dept. where I work has a really accurate scale, they can actually weigh the ink on a piece of paper. I weighed out a paper clip and keep it at my bench.

Swamp Yankee
February 2, 2003, 11:29 PM
Yes to both questions.
I consider check weights for the scale and standards or gauge blocks to check calipers and micrometers necessities not nice to haves.
Take Care

February 3, 2003, 08:01 AM
I also have the small check weight set and use it every time I touch my scale. The check weight is handy in that I use it to verify the scale setting. If I am using a 25 grain charge I check the scale at 25 grains. If I am using a 62 grain charge, I check the scale at 62 grains. The small cost for this security is priceless.


February 3, 2003, 08:42 PM
Essential safety equipment for shooting

--ballistic grade safety glasses
--ear protection consisting of plugs and muffs
--Check weights.

I was also too cheap to purchase check weights until I realized that my reloads were stouter than store bought ammo even though I loaded what I thought were midling rounds.

Check weights showed I was throwing more powder than my scales indicated. Ultimately, the reason was I move my scales to store it which caused the error to accumulate.

Just consider check weights to be safety equipment.

February 3, 2003, 09:15 PM
Keep scales clean. Level and zero scales before use each and every time. Inspect for damage. Check weights might be fun to have, I might get some.

February 3, 2003, 10:14 PM
I wouldn't use anything else except my check weights. To me the powder weighing process is one of the most important. Good luck with your coins.

February 3, 2003, 10:19 PM
Good thread! I'd want some very minty coins but ... I do have some ex lab weights .. some in grains and some pretty close gramme ones too ... this reminds me ... it is time I recalibrated . or checked.

Glad this was posted. Thx

Alan Smithiee
February 3, 2003, 10:20 PM
check weights: $13.00

Medical Deductible for ER Visit : $50.00

cost of replacing Ruger Blackhawk: $350 - $450.

having my wife NOT scream at me for being so careless.. Priceless

February 3, 2003, 11:14 PM
You got me interested and I am sitting here with a dillon D-Terminator scale that is right on with a 1G weight.
I have 5 nickles and all look fairly new. They range from 76.9 - 77.9 and the oldest looking one weighs the most!
I guess if being off by a full grain is ok then the nickles are about as good as the 7 ring:p

Paul "Fitz" Jones
February 3, 2003, 11:49 PM
Your science teachers at your local high school would have some calibrated weights. Find out who he is and see if he or she could accomodate you by bring some home with them one day for you to visit them. You wish to check the weight of your fishing sinkers (RIGHT)?

Also pick up a few new clean tire weights and when you have access to a good scale calibrate some by shaving some lead off if needed to the exact weights printed on them.

I used to work in a Lab making solid rocket propellant for the first space shots in the late 50s. The scale I used was so accurate it was kept in a glass case.

Jewelry stores have exact weighing scales and calibrations to weigh diamonds and precious metals.

Paul Jones

February 4, 2003, 12:41 AM
One of the reasons older looking stuff may weigh more is due to the patina - junk it picks up & adheres to the metal as time goes by. Same thing as your cast iron cooking pans - sorta.

Anything weighs & all this junk adds up. Touching anything unless using tweezers or washed latex/cotton gloves causes your check weights to increase in weight.

Doubtful that any of our grain scales really will discern the variance over its life, but what the hey?

Worse case, wash your hands before picking 'em up & wouldn't hurt to do quick wipe afterwards. Goes for your scale as well - decent wipe-down every once in a while's a good thing.

Best advice is just bight the bullet & spring for the bucks to buy a real weight system.

I find shaved lead to be particularly not appropriate for the ocassion - too heavy for most applications regards weighing powder.

February 4, 2003, 01:59 PM
Bart Sauter's 68 grain 6mm benchrest bullets weigh 68 grains.

(fwiw, the el-cheapo .22 50 grain Speer TNTs only varied .2 grain in each direction - this with a scale that is accurate only to 0.1 grain - like most of the ones that we use).

Bart's 6mm bullets (the regular, not the wedge - I don't remember the measurement for that) are 0.2435 at the pressure ring.

1 bullet = check weight and micrometer standard.

ed dixon
February 6, 2003, 01:30 AM
I have Lyman check weights, but should probably use them more often. Too much comfort in knowing I was conscientious enough to buy them. Like their resting next to the scale is gonna scare it into proper performance. As for church... I attend regularly.

February 6, 2003, 09:38 AM
I don't have a 6.5g bullet.

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