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

Cheap digital powder scale

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by addedpulp, Aug 30, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. addedpulp

    addedpulp member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Messages:
    120
  2. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2,347
    Location:
    lynn,ma
    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.
     
  3. jfh

    jfh Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2003
    Messages:
    4,872
    Location:
    Maple Plain, MN
    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.
     
  4. dbarnhart

    dbarnhart Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    527
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    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.
     
  5. cberge8

    cberge8 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Messages:
    158
    Location:
    Houma, la
    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.
     
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    7,439
    Location:
    East TN
    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.
     
  7. LBEE

    LBEE Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    120
    Location:
    Jefferson City, Mo
    Digital Scale

    I bought several years ago a Hornady Lock & Load scale which has been very accurate for me & cost only $180, very happy with it.
     
  8. jcwit

    jcwit Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,011
    Location:
    Great state of Indiana
    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.
     
  9. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    3,253
    Location:
    Northeast TX
    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.
     
  10. heydawg

    heydawg Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Messages:
    35
    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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  11. jcwit

    jcwit Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,011
    Location:
    Great state of Indiana
    So why load to the max or close to it. Accurate reloads usually are far from max powder charges. Whether handgun or rifle rounds.
     
  12. chhodge69

    chhodge69 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    482
    Location:
    CLT, NC
  13. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    5,382
    Location:
    Manitowoc, WI
  14. kingmt

    kingmt Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    3,604
    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.
     
  15. Furncliff

    Furncliff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Messages:
    2,217
    Location:
    Western Slope of Colorado
    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.
     
  16. Vec

    Vec Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    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)
     
  17. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    15,107
    Location:
    Northwest Coast
    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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  18. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,597
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    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.
     
  19. FWest

    FWest Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    Maine
    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.
     
  20. addedpulp

    addedpulp member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Messages:
    120
    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?
     
  21. BBDartCA

    BBDartCA Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Messages:
    535
    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
     
  22. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    15,107
    Location:
    Northwest Coast
    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.
     
  23. squarles67

    squarles67 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Orange, Texas
    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.
     
  24. jcwit

    jcwit Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,011
    Location:
    Great state of Indiana
    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.
     
  25. addedpulp

    addedpulp member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Messages:
    120
    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.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page