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Lost faith in my electronic scale today

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Jesse Heywood, Mar 16, 2020.

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  1. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Was loading some work-up loads today. Was trickling BE-86 to the pan on my RCBS Range Master 750, which I was proud of. Third round and I had trickled a tenth of a grain too much, so I trickled a few granules out of the pan. But when I sat the pan back on the scale it showed as a few tenths of a grain over my previous reading. And when I checked the two previous charges they read light by a couple of grains. Next I calibrated, but got the same results. 10 years of faithful service and I have now lost faith in the scale. :(

    Stopped and made breakfast. When I came back to the basement the results were the same. So I ordered a new Gemini scale and a set of weights. So my loading session is on hold until the UPS (or USPS) man delivers in a couple more days.
     
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  2. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    My ChargeMaster 1500 started acting up last week. The zero is staying put (not drifting) but it's dispensing .1-2 gr high but reporting it was right. Take the pan of and set it back on it would show the over throw. This was after calibrating it twice, verified with check weights. This is intermittent. So I have been checking the charge every time with my GP250. Then yesterday I was loading up some SOCOM and when I started it was dispensing 0.1 gr high. But after 10 dumps it started working right.. Was dead on for the next 40 (±0.04gr) with W296.
     
  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I reloaded match 223 while everything was covered in snow. I had a space heater going and regularly checked the electronic scale with check weights, but you know, the thing drifted enough that I had bullets miss the target and hit the berm at 600 yards.

    Since then, whenever it gets cool to cold, I use the non electronic device which works on gravity alone. To the best of my knowledge, gravity is unaffected by cold:

    N6ixH7V.jpg
     
  4. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I just never could trust one of those new-fangled electrical scales for powder charges.

    I'll use electrical scales for weighing cases, or such as that, but for powder I use a regular old balance scale.
     
    Poper, Series70, whughett and 4 others like this.
  5. 1066

    1066 Member

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    These horror stories just make me pleased I only ever use a reliable beam scale for powder. :)
     
  6. DocRock

    DocRock member

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    I have used a cheapo LEE beam scale for a long time. I finally worked myself into thinking it was rubbish and bought on Ohaus/RCBS 5 0 5 in pristine condition. It's much nicer. It feels much better quality. It is absolutely no more accurate. The same amount of powder to tenth of a grain measures exactly the same on each. The damper on the RCBS is much better.
     
  7. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I use my Lee beam scale to verify that my Hornady digital hasn't drifted. Everyone 5-10 rounds I'll drop the charge on the Lee just to verify it's where it should be. Double the work I know, but its much easier to fix an over trickle error on the digital than on the Lee.
     
    Duster340 likes this.
  8. film495

    film495 Member

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    I check my digital scale against a beam scale when I set up. Then if weighing each charge, I make the digital scale read the correct amount twice before I call it good. It is annoying - the trickling, then it jumps and reads over, then have to do it again. Think I'm going to try to beam scale as a primary, thought the digital would be faster, but now I'm rethinking that.
     
  9. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I've tried electronic scales and got less consistency than using a volumetric measure.
    I've always used a balance beam as my primary means of accurate powder weighing.
    An electronic is nice for getting the volumetric close.
     
  10. Targa

    Targa Member

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    It’s not Russian roulette with an electronic scale. I have the scale on my Chargemaster Lite, my Frankfort Arsenal DS7 scale, check weights and beam scale. I make sure they all agree before a reloading session and then check every ten reloads from the Chargemaster with the Frankford scale.
     
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  11. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    It's interesting what effects digital scales, I've heard of temperature before, others mention fluorescent lights and I've noticed the variation between having the powder in a neat pile or spread evenly across the pan. I check every 5 charges if I know I'm charging near max and every 10 if I'm making plinkers. I infrequently will load for a 338 lapua (that I don't own), if I'll be shooting that rifle- my load mimics the owners load, and weigh those charges twice. All on a digital scale (on #2 in 4 years) but I do need to invest in a chargemaster or similar and a proper balance scale for verification.
    --it's a bummer when equipment that's been cared for goes out of whack . luckily more and better replacements are a click or two away.
     
    Jesse Heywood likes this.
  12. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    If Lee made a balance style "safety scale" that went over 100 grains I'd happily buy it.

    I'm tentatively looking for another beam, never warmed up to the digital ones. To be fair my only experience with digital is one that I got on Amazon for about $12. It's a way for me to weight heavier weight, but I wouldn't trust it for down to the tenth accuracy.
     
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  13. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    I find my old eyes are easily tricked into seeing something on a beam scale as 'dang close/acceptable/good to go'
    When consistently comparing multiple loads between my beam scale (on a shelf at eye level) with a sensitive digital, if I look close enough, hold my head exactly the same each time, and wait long enough, (Yawn,,,) I can see that fraction of a needles width difference on the Beam scale that my digital portrays in no uncertain terms in far less time.

    I reckon either one will work. I have / use both as well as others.
     
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  14. DocRock

    DocRock member

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    I don't like to admit it, but my bench features a magnifying glass...
     
  15. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    Yes but I think my Mass affects it! Seriously I agree but even beam balances need calibration and also can mysteriously give false readings. Calibrate often!!! It doesn’t matter if it’s digital or Newton based.
     
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  16. frankmako

    frankmako Member

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    turn them on and let them warm up before use. my chargemaster i will turn it on about one hour before use. no problems.
     
  17. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

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    I think there's a strong amount of voodoo when it comes to digital scales. I started off with a Dillon Digital terminator and it gave me all kinds of fits, I sent it back. I use an old Lyman bar scale and it never steers me wrong. About a month ago, it was suggested that I give a cheapo Frankford DS750 a try...and it's, ok. The thing is predictably unpredictable and it doesn't matter what kind of rain dance, stand on one leg, relative humidity, rosary prayer I say before using it. My powder pan is 130.3 grains...I know this because I've verified that. The scale will randomly drift and it is immediately noticeable when a charge will display something "off". Sometimes, the zero grows a few tenths of a grain, sometimes it loses a few. My 130.3g pan will magically weigh 130.0, or 130.7. I pull the pan, zero the scale, re-zero the pan and we're off until it decides to do it again."Warm up" time doesn't make a lick of a difference, just like with my Dillon.

    In short, I keep my trusty bar scale there to keep the Frankford honest. Had it been $140 like the Dillon, it would have gone back. For the $20 is cost me, I'm ok with it.
     
  18. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    I'm in the "don't trust digital scales " camp. I've tried 2, a cheap Hornady one and a very expensive lab grade one I got on loan from a mad scientist friend. They were equally inconsistent in weighing smokeless powder, and interestingly equally consistent in weighing nonferrous metals. I think there is a phenomenon at work that needs further research. I could induce a false reading combining larger charges of powder in the 40+ range with temperature differential between the powder and pan. The phenomenon was more pronounced with ball powders and low relative humidity. I followed all manufacturers recommendations for static and EMF mitigation and got similar results. Balance beam it is for me!
     
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  19. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    It’s the same scale it was 10 years ago, you just learned something new about it.

    I’m not a fan of “auto zero” either.

     
    Random 8 likes this.
  20. Targa

    Targa Member

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    Lol!! I’m getting there.
     
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  21. 1066

    1066 Member

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    The worrying thing is - I'm sure a lot of guys are totally unaware that they are getting variable loads, the $15 scales indicate they have 45.7 grains exactly, so it must be right, mustn't it? I think most of the guys who visit the reloading forums are fairly knowledgeable and certainly interested in the subject but what about the 80% who don't. I've seen many cases of really appalling handloads, the guy on the next bench whacking his bolt to try to get it open, then a few shots later, the rod down the barrel to shift a stuck bullet where there was no powder, about 20% of the rounds failing to chamber, half the time they don't seem to care whether they hit the target or not.

    Three grains over some maximum loads may well spoil your day.
     
  22. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    Same

    I have access and use many expensive ohaus digitals which are independently calibrated and verified. Navigator. Defender. Adventurer. Ranger. Pathfinder....I've also owned a few made specifically for reloading at home. I doubt I ever use one again except for light plinking loads. I've seen too many wierd discrepancies that I won't risk when measuring powder. To each their own though. They are great for sorting bullets and brass and such.
     
  23. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Mine does not have an auto zero. Manual only.
     

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  24. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I've had a PACT scale for ages (~15 years?) and I check the calibration frequently. It is never off by more than 0.1 gr. unless I put the tray on crooked. Plus their C.S. is 1st rate.

    I have a combo beam scale / auto-dispenser made by Lyman that messes up all the time and takes forever to dispense.
     
  25. Wis-Harpo

    Wis-Harpo Member

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    South Carolina
    I think I got my RCBS- Ohaus 505 in the mid 1970's when I upgraded from a scale that had an oil sump to slow down the beam. After reading posts here, I bought a set of check weights. The scale is still right on. Every once in a while I clean the spot where it pivots to make sure it works OK. The balance has been moved into 6 different houses with no ill effect.
     
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