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Lee Safety Scale impressions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by rcmodel, Oct 24, 2014.

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  1. BoltLover

    BoltLover Member

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    Yep that is definitely 49.9...i still use my lee every time I reload.
     
  2. 1066

    1066 Member

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    That just about sums it up RC. This scale is aimed at the budget/beginner end of the market. It's the scale included in many of the starter kits and as such should be pretty foolproof - If experienced reloaders are having difficulty reading the scale with a possible error of .9 grain that could be a serious problem.

    There are a lot of good design features with the Lee scale:

    The razor knife edge makes it extremely sensitive.
    The single point pan hanger has advantages over the standard stirrup.
    It has an approach to weight system identical to the 5-10 and the 10/10 scale.
    The ball bearing weight is solid and reliable.
    The phenolic beam is ridged, low mass and temperature stable
    The adjustable "zero" system works well.

    Down side:

    The vernier 10th adjustment is the weakest link.
    The scale is physically too small. The short arm length can't take advantage of the good sensitivity of the scale.


    I think some of the Lee products are very well designed and offer excellent value but I'm disappointed that the scale hasn't been upgraded since it was introduced 20 odd years ago.

    Here's one that's been "looked" at.

    th_Snap_20130928_16h42m40s_002_zps9cd9958a.png

    And just few of my other scales :)
    th_20130321_132912_zpsc00bbef0.jpg
     
  3. rskent

    rskent Member

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    I started out with the little Lee scale like a whole lotta other people. For setting up a powder drop for pistol cartridges I never had a problem with it.
    When I started reloading for Rifle cartridges it didn't take long to see the shortcomings of the Lee. I ended up with a 10-10, and I am very happy with it.
    But if all I loaded was pistol, I would probably still be using the Lee.
     
  4. kcofohio
    • Contributing Member

    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    I use the Lee Safety Scale primarily to set up the desired load. Then a digital for checking 10 consecutive throws to check consistency and average.

    Can't say I have had a problem reading the scale. But the markings on the vernier scale on mine may be more pronounced than what others may have.

    rc, yes the beam is a slight pain to locate on the pillar.

    If this scale is all one had, for pistol loading, they could throw 2 loads in the pan and see it the double weight agrees.

    For rifle:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/212586/lyman-shooters-weight-check-set

    But by then, you could by a lower end digital.
     
  5. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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    Still use my original Lee scale but only for small batches. The magnetic damper doesn't work too well unless it's in the cradle just right.
     
  6. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    I'm not, unfortunately, the only scales (non digital) I saw at my gun show were the Lee discussed here, the lesser Lyman ( 500 ) and the lesser RCBS 5-10, both of which I understand are plastic and leave something to be desired when compared to their respective "next step up" models. I only use the scale as a test for accuracy of my Lee Pro Powder Disc's drops. Unless something superior is suggested, I will get a RCBS 10-10 model....On a better note, I did get the last few tidbits to finish my AR 300 Blk Out!
     
  7. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    I have a Lee scale--came with a Lee turret kit
    I used it from the start for a paperweight---too difficult to use.
    I use RCBS 5-0-5 & digital scale.
    I asked Lee to make a better scale but they will have none of it.
    H
     
  8. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I had one of those, I recently gave it away. After I got my RCBS 5-0-5 the Lee was useless to me. Might be accurate enough, but the difficulty of using it killed it for me. Life is too short to deal with a p.o.s.
     
  9. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    The issue I have with the safety scale is not so much with it as with my own fat fingers. I can never seem to get it dialed in without bumping it and having to start over a few times.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    There is nothing plastic about my 5-10.

    It is a solid cast metal base with a solid metal beam.

    The 10-10 is the same exact scale with a built-in dust cover.
    and 1,010-grain capacity instead of 510 grains.

    But they don't make the 5-10 anymore.
    I don't know about the other new models they have now.

    rc
     
  11. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    RC,
    With all these posts, I hope you figured it out by now.

    I thought you were old enough to know about vernier scaling (like slide rules and micrometers).

    When a reading scrolls from 8...9...0 you read up. Conversely when it scrolls down from 3..2..1..0..9..8, you read down. The reading on the Lee scale is 49.8, but because the camera is not viewing straight on, I would guess closer to 49.85 which puts the RCBS right between the digital and the Lee. All close enough for loading purposes.

    A man with one watch always knows what time it is. A man with two is never sure ;)
     
  12. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    My bad the lesser RCBS is the 505

    http://ads.midwayusa.com/product/75...scale-511-grain-capacity?cm_vc=ProductFinding

    It says its made of metal alloy, not plastic. Its quite a bit less expensive, I will have to investigate it and compare to:

    http://ads.midwayusa.com/product/41...cale-1010-grain-capacity?cm_vc=ProductFinding

    There is also a 502 model which is even less expensive.

    I dont mind paying more and crying once if it is a superior unit. Looking at the reviews on Amazon, even the 10-10 goes from 1 star all the way to 5 stars...this is going to take a little while to decide!

    Russellc
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
  13. 1066

    1066 Member

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    All the common RCBS scales, the 502, 505 and the 10/10 use exactly the same knife edge/agate bearing set-up so none is more accurate than the other. A 502 is just as accurate as the 10/10 at about 1/3rd the cost.

    All the scales are made of the same diecast metal (There is a nasty plastic based RCBS scale called a R130 that should not be considered)

    The 502, 505 and 10/10 are all magnetically damped. The 502 and the 505 share the same body but the poise system on the beam is different.

    The 10/10 and the 5-10 share the same beam but unfortunately the excellent 5-10 is no longer made.

    IMO the RCBS 5-10, the Lyman M5, Hornady M and the RCBS 304 were the best reloading scales made. The quality of all new beam scales is significantly lower than those made just a few years ago.
     
  14. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    The best thing about the 10-10 is the tenths adjustment is a marked rotating barrel on a screw. I find it easier to use than a notched weight that has to be lifted. Also it will weigh 1,050 grains. I have one of these as well as its Ohaus twin brother. Love to use them both.

    I gave my Lee Safety Scale to a starting out reloader that had little cash and he acted like I gave him a new car. He still uses it 8 years later and his reloads are more accurate than mine now.:p
     
  15. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    I bought one of those as part of my turret press kit. I already had my RCBS 505 from back in 1981 so I never took it out of the box. I gave it to a former student who wanted to learn how to reload, so in my mind I got my money's worth out of it.
     
  16. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  17. srawl

    srawl Member

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    Yes, my mistake as well, I have never loaded into full double digits (xx.x) and didnt think about that. Im not sure if its 49.9 or 50.9, but I would say the .9 part is accurate.
     
  18. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    After posting my picture, I'm convinced it's 49.9, since the zero is to the left of center. If it was approaching 51, you'd see the 1 to the left of center like in my picture.
     
  19. mikeglass1969

    mikeglass1969 Member

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    If you are shopping around for a replacement balance type scale, you might want to consider the Dillion scale. Its made by Ohaus and is the least expensive that I have found.

    Others may know more. I have a Lee and was shopping around as well but then bought the Gemini 20 digital.

    Good Luck
     
  20. enine

    enine Member

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    I don't think its that hard to read. Basically the slot where the line is perfectly in the center is the reading.
    So .8 would be :
    || | .9
    | | | .8
    | || .7

    notice in my crude .9 and .7 the line is off to one side or the other while .8 its centered.

    Also remember its designed to be use the opposite, i.e. they intended for you to set the reading then trickle powder up to it. So you pick up the beam where you can see it well and eliminate any parallax error and set it then put it back down.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Thats all fine and dandy.

    But who doesn't need to weight unknown weights on powder scales occasionally?

    I weight everything from unknown bullet weight, to steel penetrator tips, to primers, to unknown powder charges.

    So if there is any doubt reading it when weighing unknown weights?
    What good would it be to me, or most any other reloader?

    rc
     
  22. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    When you get used to it you learn how to read it. I can weigh any powder charge accurate to .1 grain without a problem on mine.
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    So, what did the 50 grain bullet picture I posted weigh then?

    50.0, or 50.85??

    rc
     
  24. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Without being there to see it directly it looks like it is reading 49.9. The same thing I said earlier in the thread. Had it been at 50.9 the arrow would not have been on the right side of the zero, it would have been on the other, closer to the 1.
     
  25. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    I agree, its 49.9. The Lee is accurate enough, but when I purchased a Dillon Eliminator, I realized just how slow the Lee was!
     
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