1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

how inaccurate can the LEE 100 grain beam scale get

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 1858rem, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    has anyone here ever gotten the cheap lee 100 grain scale and later found it to be off by a half grain or more or had it some how go bad? i need a little history on failures with this scale please
  2. Sport45

    Sport45 Well-Known Member

    I don't use mime much any more but don't see how it could become innacurate. All beam scales should last forever as long as you keep them clean.
  3. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Well-Known Member

    Lee scales make great targets.
  4. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    target loads.......

    ....or actually shoot them?
  5. Birdmang

    Birdmang Well-Known Member

    Targets, as in something being shot at. Thats how I read it ha ha
  6. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    On any balance beam type scale you have to clean the pivot points and keep the fulcrums rust-free. Before beginning a loading session you should always set the weights to 0 and make sure the beam balances.

    On most scales the pivot points are made of gem stones, but some of the Lee scales don't do this. So those cheaper ones would be highly susceptible to being dropped or misused.
  7. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    i think the lee scale relies on a razor edge as the pivot point.

    there is a brass weight that you can use to set the scale to zero.......... so if you zero the scale every time, is there any way (short of breaking the razor or the body itself) the scale can read zero, but actually weigh a charge of half a grain or more than what the scale is set to weigh?
  8. 1SOW

    1SOW Well-Known Member

    I've got the Lee Safety Powder Scale cheapie too. Magnetically dampened and uses a stainless razor edge to pivot on. I made a small box to protect it from dirt/dust because I reload in the garage.

    If yours is like mine with the little sliding plastic .1 gr set-up, it takes some pretty careful adjusting AND reading to set it to zero. The instructions say zero is set so that the little .1 gr marks are visible on both ends of the scale reading. For me, it takes some really careful adjusting to get that set just right.

    Has anyone got a 4.2 gr precision weight they want to sell?? ;)
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  9. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    anyone know a friends friend or any case you ever heard of with one of these things failing? first hand is not necessary but i want to know there has been a incident with the scale failing at all and if possible how it happened?
  10. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    this may be my problem, i zero by first pushing the plastic slide totally to the right, lock, zero, unlock and proceed to load..... something wrong there?
  11. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    HOTDAMN YER A GENIUS! ok so the way i zeroed it put it consistently on the .5 grain past the zero, so i think i have been loading .5 over this whole time from improper zero.

    thanks everyone
  12. jfh

    jfh Well-Known Member

    I've got the Lee scale, and others, too--

    and I find the Lee scale can work just fine. Personally, it is my preferred scale at my bench, but mostly because of its smaller size. However: I had one Lee scale go bad after some years because that SS razor pivot did get damaged. (I suspect it was handled carelessly during a household move.)

    Other foibles of the Lee scale include:

    1. Not setting the beam correctly on the balance point;
    2. Having the ball-bearing counterbalance jump a bin--thereby changing the setting by 10 grains;
    3. Not using the vernier scale correctly;
    4. excessive fluctuation if the charge weight is significantly different from the scale setting.

    Many find it cumbersome to set and use; I don't.

    Here's a tip for setting the charge weight accurately and 'easily:'

    Pick up the beam and hold it with both hands. Leaving the 'friction pin' in so there is drag, now put your thumbs on either side of the vernier slide, and adjust it to your chosen weight by pushing with either thumb. The friction pin maintains the setting you've chosen, without fumbling to push in the pin after setting the chosen charge weight.

    A related advantage to this technique is that you can get it "in front of you" to accurately read the scale--IOW, a real benefit for those of us with "older eyes."

    The disadvantage is that 1) the ball bearing counterweight can jump a bin (or more), and 2) you have to ensure that you set the beam back on the balance point correctly. (Usually, but not always, if it is not on the point correctly, the magnetic dampening will 'drag' / be off-center.

    Is it the best scale? No, not by a long shot (so to speak), but it will work accurately if you know how to use it.

    Jim H.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  13. 1SOW

    1SOW Well-Known Member

    Genius? I should ask for a pay raise!
  14. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    I have no Idea as mine would never stop fluctuating long enough to measure charge one
  15. Remo-99

    Remo-99 Well-Known Member

    LEE make many good products at a reasonable price, imo their beam scale is not one of them.
  16. editingfx

    editingfx Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there is! You've got to use the verniers, even at zero. For zero, there should be lines in both the 1 & 9 vernier openings, as well as 0. Any other weight, the target 10th is flanked by the two vernier lines, and 3rd exactly on the weight.
  17. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Well-Known Member

    Mine has been fairly accurate and repeatable, what is scary is how much difference between the scale and the bushings. With some loads of Unique I have to go up 2-3 bushings to get the weight intended.
  18. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Well-Known Member

    I carefully check mine for zero every time I'm makeing up a dipper - usually I do this by pressing in punched out stiff paper discs into the dipper to drop the volume it holds.
    I haven't had any problem but IMO yes this scale is fragile.
  19. Spencer Hart

    Spencer Hart Active Member

    I had the same problem as Nate1778. Had to go up two bushing sizes. this made me concerned about the scale. I bought the adjustable powder dispenser, and a small digital scale. No more removing the powder bin. The digital came with a 20 gram weight. Used the weight on the beam scale and found it to be accurate.
  20. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "...so i think i have been loading .5 over this whole time from improper zero."

    Don't feel too bad. Most of the problems Lee Safety Scale owners experience is themselves, not the tool!

    Any scale sensitive enough to differentiate weights within maybe half of 1/70,000th of a pound can be damaged by mishandling, easily. The little Lee is perhaps slightly more susceptible to physical damage than others but not by a whole lot. But then, for the difference in cost for anything noticably better, you could buy what, five to eight Lee's? Keep it clean, zero it when starting and don't drop hammers on it. All should be well.

    The Lee scale certainly isn't my favorite but I wouldn't feel handicapped if that were all I had to reload with.

Share This Page