Weighing Powder - Method and Scale


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Andrew Leigh
April 24, 2014, 03:39 PM
I currently weigh with a RCBS 5-0-5 Scale. I have a couple of issues with the scale;

1. Parallax - This I have solved through the use of a webcam which connects to the laptop. It works a treat but is inconvenient to set up each time.
2. For some unknown reason I often shift the 1/10th grain weight when removing the pan. The problem it that it always moves right to left increasing the charge.
3. The scale is sensitive to wind so you can't breath to close to it, have to close windows if there is a breeze outsize.

Now these may appear to be trivial matters but they do irritate a little, especially when you have to go back emptying cases to find when the weight moved.

Now not related to the scale but linked to it I have the RCBS Uniflow Dispenser. 95% of my loading is an extruded powder, one get that irritating resistance often when the disk needs to cut through a powder granule.

So was looking at options to replace the above either partially or fully. Now rather than steering the conversation to what I am thinking it would be nice to hear of your elegant solutions and their advantages.

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rcmodel
April 24, 2014, 03:45 PM
My elegant solution was to build a dust cover box out of wood to cover the scale when not in use.

The scale is set on top of the box when in use.
That raises the scale high enough off the bench to cure the parallax problem.

Air currents? Breathing on it? Bumping the weight?
I got nothing for that.

Any decent reloading scale will be sensitive enough to cause air currents to upset the balance.

rc

cfullgraf
April 24, 2014, 04:00 PM
If you zero the scale then use it with your head in the same position, your readings should be consistent. The beam scale readings are a relative thing.

While I have a beam scale as back up, I have been using an electronic scale for the last 15 years or so. The scale gives me the weight without me having to make any adjustments. But, some folks do not seem to have confidence in the operation of an electronic scale.

If you are hitting the 1/10th weight when removing the pan, an easy solution is just do not hit the weight. I ma not trying to funny but it seems an easy fix to alter your methods so that to not hit the weight. Also, get in the habit of looking at the setting each time you weigh something.

I have a PACT powder dispenser and scale that measures each charge. I find it too slow to use for regular reloading as i am always waiting on it. The current crop of dispensers may be quicker. I use it only for load development but since I got a a Harrell Custom 90 Culver style powder measure (see below), I use the PACT less and less.

With my drum style powder measures (Uniflow, Redding 10-X and Midway Indispensable), I try to minimize vibrations to the measure once I get a good uniform powder column and am throwing consistent charges. To that end, the powder measure is mounted to its own floor stand to isolate it from the press activities. As far as cutting stick powder kernels.it is what it is. I try to ease the metering chamber through the powder with a constant force. I do not try to bang the drum through or back it up and ram it through.

I recently got a Harrell Custom 90 Culver style powder measure. Nice measure. I cannot remember if I have used it with stick powders as I last did a bunch of loading with fine grain powders with the measure.

Centurian22
April 24, 2014, 04:38 PM
I'm Not going to bash on the green koolaid but my Lee Safety Scale that most people seem to be so quick to hate on and disregard, has this nifty little push button stop on the vernier slide (used to set the weight from 0-10 gr in .1gr increments) that locks the setting in. I would agree with above statements to check the setting often and be extra careful not to bump it since the RCBS is locking such a valuable feature as a setting lock. As to the breeze yes any properly sensitive scale is going to be subject to air movement. You could build a plexiglass box hinged on the back to cover it each time to go to weigh something but this would obviously be quite inconvenient.

I love the webcam idea and may have to see about implementing something similar to save craning my neck as much.

RussellC
April 24, 2014, 05:09 PM
Plus 1 on the Lee safety scale. I drop powder with the Lee pro auto disc, checks on the safety scale. I have it set up on a shelf so it is right at eye level.

Russellc

ArchAngelCD
April 24, 2014, 05:25 PM
I have nothing bad to say against the Lee scale. I have never had trouble using one. I also have a RCBS 5-0-5 scale that I like better that I got very cheap.

Because they are so good you are correct, the slightest bit of "wind" will make them move. Even though that's a problem it's also a plus.

Andrew Leigh
April 24, 2014, 05:33 PM
I like the 1/20th grain resolution. Price is also good.

I have for long had my eye on the RCBS Chargemaster Combo, just don't know if it is worth the money. Surely at this price they can also get 1/20th resolution?

oneounceload
April 24, 2014, 05:50 PM
I use a RCBS 5-10, and have for over 30 years. It locks the 1/10th grain adjustment down. I also have it OFF the bench so vibrations do not bother it. It is on a shelf at eye height. I also load extruded for rifle and yes the Uniflow cuts some powder - they all will at one time or another. I always got it close enough (within .2 grain) and then trickled the rest.

Andrew Leigh
April 24, 2014, 06:18 PM
It may well be that ergonomically I have yet to find the best setup. I am currently loading on a portable station and rather limited, especially on height.

I have identified a room at home that will be dedicated as a reloading room, this will allow me to have more flexibility on position and height od reloading equipment. This may well alleviate the problem somewhat.

buck460XVR
April 24, 2014, 06:20 PM
I currently weigh with a RCBS 5-0-5 Scale. I have a couple of issues with the scale;

1. Parallax - This I have solved through the use of a webcam which connects to the laptop. It works a treat but is inconvenient to set up each time.
2. For some unknown reason I often shift the 1/10th grain weight when removing the pan. The problem it that it always moves right to left increasing the charge.
3. The scale is sensitive to wind so you can't breath to close to it, have to close windows if there is a breeze outsize.


1. If you zero the scale at a certain line of sight, then the parallax is moot as long as you don't change the line of sight. Even if you do, you would need to rezero it and again any parallax would be moot. Any small variation in the way you hold your head after the scale is zeroed would probably be less than the accuracy of the scale.

2. I used to do that too. The solution was to change the position of the scale on my bench and to become accustomed to using it. Once I found a system of putting the tray on and off without bangin' into the linkage and the weight, I never had a problem. I still visually check the weights regularly to make sure they haven't moved and many times confirm the 5-0-5 with a digital or vice versa.

3. Ain't a decent scale I know of that does not warn against using it in areas of drafts. Again, any scale sensitive enough to be used for making quality ammo is going to react to wind blowing on the pan. Nature of the beast.

Now not related to the scale but linked to it I have the RCBS Uniflow Dispenser. 95% of my loading is an extruded powder, one get that irritating resistance often when the disk needs to cut through a powder granule.


As for the "cutting" of large flakes/granules with the Uniflo, again, just kinda the nature of the beast. When I just throw my charges(as with most handgun ammo) and don't weigh every charge, if I feel excessive resistance when throwing a charge when the thrower cuts thru powder, I throw that charge back in the hopper and go again. Not a big deal. If the thrower is mounted via linkage to a Press, as opposed to using the thrower by itself, one generally doesn't notice. On loads that I do weigh every charge, I throw short anyway and trickle up.

RussellC
April 24, 2014, 06:40 PM
I use a RCBS 5-10, and have for over 30 years. It locks the 1/10th grain adjustment down. I also have it OFF the bench so vibrations do not bother it. It is on a shelf at eye height. I also load extruded for rifle and yes the Uniflow cuts some powder - they all will at one time or another. I always got it close enough (within .2 grain) and then trickled the rest.
Same way I do it. The room I use to reload in has a closet that powder and so forth are kept in. Scale sits on the shelf of the closet, right at eye level. Its just a step away from where the press is, very handy for spot checks. Also, inside the closet is a little less air movement. Yes, ANY scale that can weigh as little as what the Lee scale can weigh is going to move with the slightest breath, wind from fan, or vibration.

russellc

KingM
April 24, 2014, 11:47 PM
I have the Smartreloader ISD but got it about $100 I think. I have had mine for a while but I really didn't like RCBS balance scales or the Uniflo.

1066
April 25, 2014, 03:20 AM
This is my set-up, it's quicker and more accurate than a chargemaster type dispenser.
http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/tag/trickler/

or if you have a smartphone you could try this:
http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2012/07/monitor-balance-beam-with-magnified-image-on-smartphone/

Andrew Leigh
April 25, 2014, 03:30 AM
Now that target master is elegant, that is a great idea thanks for the link 1006.

taliv
April 25, 2014, 09:32 AM
i prefer the electronic scales. this is the one i use but as you can see it has been discontinued

http://www.sinclairintl.com/reloading-equipment/powder-handling/powder-scales/sartorius-scale-prod38348.aspx

something like this would do though.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200g-x-0-001-GRAM-1-MG-DIGITAL-SCALE-BALANCE-LAB-ANALYTICAL-PRECISION-LABORATORY/271311085914?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222003%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D22405%26meid%3D6453071845523252237%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D8888%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D161284604144&rt=nc

ArthurE
April 25, 2014, 11:22 AM
I have been using this prism. I can read my RCBS 5-10 scale standing up.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/117653/dandy-products-handy-view-beam-scale-prisim

Lj1941
April 25, 2014, 04:21 PM
A trick I learned many years ago as a color weigher in a plastics factory will also work with a balance beam powder scale as well. Take a cardboard box and make the scale it's own little room.Make it large enough that you are not cramped.This worked with very strong exhaust fans as well as AC. It won't help if you are breathing on it so you will have to watch that.As far as the Accu Measure cutting grains wecome to the club. I have learned to hate weighing IMR 4064 & IMR 4350. My cure to that is Reloader 19.:evil:

Andrew Leigh
April 26, 2014, 02:42 AM
i prefer the electronic scales. this is the one i use but as you can see it has been discontinued

http://www.sinclairintl.com/reloading-equipment/powder-handling/powder-scales/sartorius-scale-prod38348.aspx

something like this would do though.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200g-x-0-001-GRAM-1-MG-DIGITAL-SCALE-BALANCE-LAB-ANALYTICAL-PRECISION-LABORATORY/271311085914?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222003%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D22405%26meid%3D6453071845523252237%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D8888%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D161284604144&rt=nc
Yeah that is also very nice.

The resolution is also great at 0.015gr.

thegiff
April 26, 2014, 12:39 PM
Regarding the 1/10 weight moving, I found that dropping the pan too hard and lifting off quickly makes it jump. Moving slower lessens the chance. I never tried damping with a bumper, but I think that if the pointer movement had bump stops made of soft rubber it would eliminate the small weight jumping around.

I've since given the scale to my brother, who uses it regularly and I moved on to an electronic scale.

Blue68f100
April 26, 2014, 02:03 PM
I prefer the electronic scales. I just upgraded my RCBS Rangmaster 750 with a GemPro 250. What a huge difference. The Gempro is a lot more sensitive at 0.02gr accuracy. I loaded some BE loads with WST on my Hornady LNL-AP. The powder dispenser dispenses this powder very accurate the most I saw in 40 consecutive loads was one 0.02gr low. This was a 4.10gr charge. A 10 dump measurement showed I was dead on at 41.00gr. You can't get much better than this.

http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/my-weigh-gempro-250.html

Be aware these scales are precision enough to detect the error (tolerance) on a M2 class calibration weights.

Centurian22
April 26, 2014, 03:29 PM
WOW $113 for a scale with that good of resolution? What's the catch?!? Definitely added to my 'do more research then add to wish list' list.

Andrew Leigh
April 26, 2014, 04:05 PM
Guys this has been most informative and I thank everyone for their input. Now I need to mull over the options.

Blue68f100
April 26, 2014, 04:24 PM
No Catch.

And it comes with a 30yr/Lifetime warranty.

taliv
April 26, 2014, 04:51 PM
Yeah lots of powder dispensers measure pistol powders accurately. I wish there was one that did the extruded rifle powders that well

taliv
April 26, 2014, 04:57 PM
That gem pro scale is interesting. The reviews seem pretty mixed though. Lots of bad experiences and lots of good ones. Wonder why

Blue68f100
April 26, 2014, 05:22 PM
The Gempro is very sensitive to level. It has a bubble level at the back for leveling the scales, 4 adj feet. When you level you must have all feet contacting so touching the scale does not tilt it. It comes with a shock pad, to set the scales on. I did not like that when pressing the tare button the scales moved. My scales are on a separate counter that is not impacted by other equipment. It also takes 20 min or so to warm up and stabilize. I use AC only so I just leave it on 24/7 when I thing I'm going to be using it. You have control on the auto power down feature when running on batteries. The instructions also tell you to have the scales in your work location for 24hr for all the parts to get to the same temp. This is true with all precision equipment.

These scales are more accurate than the std class M2 calibration weights. Meaning that it can detect the deviation std. You have to be careful when setting loads on the pan. It does not like impacts, may shift the zero if you drop the weight on hard. I do not like the pan that ships with it. I had a static problem that the powder did not want to release. I went back to my AL pan, problem solved.

I have used precision scales in the lab for years. These are very good, being a consumer grade, Not $3000 scales.

Potatohead
April 26, 2014, 06:09 PM
That gem pro scale is interesting. The reviews seem pretty mixed though. Lots of bad experiences and lots of good ones. Wonder why
I'd like to know, because Ive always been somewhat enamored with that little thing. I long ago threw out my little electronic Lyman.

1066
April 27, 2014, 04:54 AM
This guy has a slick set-up using a Dandy Omega auto-trickler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmFdmrz7njg

Andrew Leigh
April 27, 2014, 06:35 AM
This guy has a slick set-up using a Dandy Omega auto-trickler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH9DrmFUHGo&list=LLLJkjHAV66z7uOeqq-d5_uQ
The link takes me elsewhere?

1066
April 27, 2014, 07:25 AM
I think that has fixed it Andrew.

Vodoun da Vinci
April 28, 2014, 02:48 PM
I prefer the electronic scales. I just upgraded my RCBS Rangmaster 750 with a GemPro 250. What a huge difference. The Gempro is a lot more sensitive at 0.02gr accuracy. I loaded some BE loads with WST on my Hornady LNL-AP. The powder dispenser dispenses this powder very accurate the most I saw in 40 consecutive loads was one 0.02gr low. This was a 4.10gr charge. A 10 dump measurement showed I was dead on at 41.00gr. You can't get much better than this.

Be aware these scales are precision enough to detect the error (tolerance) on a M2 class calibration weights.

I use a GemPro 250 as well. When it dies, I'll buy another...fantastic accuracy and easy to use. I thought the scale was wrong until I realized that I have a check weight set that has a 2 gr. weight that is truly .02 gr. off - it always weighs 1.98 grs. Because it *is* 1.98 gr. The other 2 gr. weight weighs 2 gr. always.

I hand load .32 acp and I am finicky and extremely accurate. I use Unique powder and weigh every charge because I have found that .1 gr in the .32 will change the velocity almost 100 fps! My GemPro is accurate and consistent. Highly recommended. When it says a charge is 4.7 gr. the charge is 4.7 +/- .02 grains.

Every time - all the time.

VooDoo

lauderdale
April 29, 2014, 11:52 AM
GEM-PRO 250 +1 I leave it on, but I reload almost every day. In the dog day's down TENN. it gets tricky with air cond. That means early in the day before things get hot!

Vodoun da Vinci
April 29, 2014, 12:33 PM
A couple people have asked/intimated that they'd like to know why some folks have such a high opinion of the GemPro 250 while others say it is a problem child. I have had no problems with mine *but* I am a technician professionally and have some very precise and finicky habits when loading and weighing.

Some folks are shocked/upset when they discover that a scale capable of .02 grain accuracy is susceptible to air currents. The tech in me is shocked that folks think it's done by magic. Why wouldn't a precision instrument be susceptible to weight changes caused by air which is a moving fluid? Duh...

Same with other technical/geeky aspects. Some folks have "fat thumbs" and cannot operate micrometers and scales and fine instruments of measure and when things go South on them they blame the tool. Some folks think powder drops of .1 gr. are close enough...I gasp in exasperation if I check loads and they are 4.84 or 4.76 when the goal was 4.8 gr. And if it takes me an hour of warming up the room/scale, leveling, turning off the fan or air handling and making sure folks don't stomp around or slam doors while I'm loading I'm cool with that to get that level of accuracy and get the most out of the machine. Others do not have that mindset and are not gonna turn off the furnace to stop the air from moving while they weigh ecery charge of 100.

They have to be calibrated and they have to be used within the parameters of their inherent accuracy and some folks cannot operate within that level of fine-ness and dot every I and cross every T so, they have problems. And they blame the machine. They have to be level (not "kinda level") and they have to be warm and they have to be treated like precision instruments in a proper atmosphere which many reloading shops *are not* atmospheres for finicky sensitive instruments like electronic scales. It requires a bit of finickyness and attention to handling and preparation that many find to be un necessary or needlessly tedious.

I'm sure a certain number of them (the scales) get beat up in shipping or have componets that have been subjected to temp and humidity extremes and been compromised as well. Or stored where it is extreme, or dropped/roughly handled, mis calibrated or tested with check weights that have been handled with sticky fingers (I always use tweezers) and stuff like that.

Some folks just have problems and it's almost always those who speak up. Folks who buy them and get on fine and love 'em usually just ....use 'em and keep quiet.

VooDoo

loose noose
April 29, 2014, 12:46 PM
I depend mostly on my Redding Beam Scale, which I keep zeroed in directly above my reloading bench on a shelf at eye level. For a back-up I use my Lyman Micro electronic scale, which also has to be left on for accurate measurements. I've been using the Redding for over 40 years w/o any problems, even approaching maximum loads. The Lyman so far has been very accurate also, however, I've only used it about a year. Again the Lyman has to be turned on for at least 10 minutes before it will give accurate consistent powder drops. I also use my Uniflow powder measure.

Any time I'm reloading rifle shells using stick powder, I use my trickle as even my RCBS Unilow will cut some of the grains, that also goes for pistol rounds approaching maximum loadings.

deadeye dick
April 29, 2014, 05:23 PM
On my Lee beam I find that if I don't center the powder in the pan I will get a different reading. If it's off to one side it will usually weigh heavy. Any one have this problem?

Potatohead
April 29, 2014, 05:29 PM
A couple people have asked/intimated that they'd like to know why some folks have such a high opinion of the GemPro 250 while others say it is a problem child. I have had no problems with mine *but* I am a technician professionally and have some very precise and finicky habits when loading and weighing.

Some folks are shocked/upset when they discover that a scale capable of .02 grain accuracy is susceptible to air currents. The tech in me is shocked that folks think it's done by magic. Why wouldn't a precision instrument be susceptible to weight changes caused by air which is a moving fluid? Duh...

Same with other technical/geeky aspects. Some folks have "fat thumbs" and cannot operate micrometers and scales and fine instruments of measure and when things go South on them they blame the tool. Some folks think powder drops of .1 gr. are close enough...I gasp in exasperation if I check loads and they are 4.84 or 4.76 when the goal was 4.8 gr. And if it takes me an hour of warming up the room/scale, leveling, turning off the fan or air handling and making sure folks don't stomp around or slam doors while I'm loading I'm cool with that to get that level of accuracy and get the most out of the machine. Others do not have that mindset and are not gonna turn off the furnace to stop the air from moving while they weigh ecery charge of 100.

They have to be calibrated and they have to be used within the parameters of their inherent accuracy and some folks cannot operate within that level of fine-ness and dot every I and cross every T so, they have problems. And they blame the machine. They have to be level (not "kinda level") and they have to be warm and they have to be treated like precision instruments in a proper atmosphere which many reloading shops *are not* atmospheres for finicky sensitive instruments like electronic scales. It requires a bit of finickyness and attention to handling and preparation that many find to be un necessary or needlessly tedious.

I'm sure a certain number of them (the scales) get beat up in shipping or have componets that have been subjected to temp and humidity extremes and been compromised as well. Or stored where it is extreme, or dropped/roughly handled, mis calibrated or tested with check weights that have been handled with sticky fingers (I always use tweezers) and stuff like that.

Some folks just have problems and it's almost always those who speak up. Folks who buy them and get on fine and love 'em usually just ....use 'em and keep quiet.

VooDoo
Thanks voodoo

dsm
April 29, 2014, 08:03 PM
Throw light on Harrells powder measure and trickle up on a A&D FX-120i using a Omega electric trickler.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KSpB8sW7iM

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