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Recommend me a scale

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by lexjj, Jan 2, 2012.

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  1. lexjj

    lexjj Member

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    The cruddy Frankford Arsenal digital scale that I have been using for the last three years has finally given up holding a zero. In fairness, I only paid twenty dollars for it, and it did very well for a while.

    I am currently borrowing a balance beam style scale from my uncle.

    My price range is roughly $50.00. I wouldn't mind using a balance beam style scale over a digital. Digital is also good.

    Are there any scales out there that would be good for reloading that aren't marketed to reloaders?
     
  2. murf

    murf Member

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    i use dillon's eliminator scale. $54 list on their website.

    murf
     
  3. Revolver218

    Revolver218 Member

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    I know it's over your budget but I wouldn't recommend anything less than a RCBS 5-0-5. You don't want to be loading cartridges with cheap scales. I'm not a fan of any electronic scales, especially in the price range you mentioned. In most cases if you buy cheap now you'll regret it later and spend more to buy what you should have in the first place. When it comes to reloading, buy quality.
     
  4. res7s

    res7s Member

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    You can buy used Ohaus scales on eBay all day long for that. They would include, but are not limited to the RCBS 502,505,5-10,10-10, Lyman 500, 1000, D-5, D-7, M5, Dillon Eliminator, Ohaus 1010, and Ohaus 510. The Redding scales are also excellent, but some of them(the old number ones have not been manufactured in years, but are still extremely accurate) are undamped and others use oil damping. The Herters and early Hornady/Pacific scales are pretty close to being identical to the Redding number ones.

    Damping is used to make the beam settle. Without it, you would be waiting a while for it to stop swinging.
    Modern beam scales use magnetic damping.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  5. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Scales is one place you don't want to cheap on. Error here can be hazardous to your health.
     
  6. earplug

    earplug Member

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    Ohaus scales

    I'm in agreement with anything Ohaus. I have a RCBS branded one I bought in 1976. It has outlasted various digital things.
     
  7. lexjj

    lexjj Member

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    Is $50 cheap for a scale? I can up the budget, but I'm not looking to pay more for my scale than for my press.

    I have a Lyman TMag II turret press. I'm loading 9mm, .38spl, .357, .45acp, 30 carbine, 7.5x55 Swiss.

    I think I would rather have a mechanical scale than a digital one at this point. But, I do not even really know what features I need to look at. A scale that measures grains seems good enough. I don't know what oil damping is.
     
  8. Metal Tiger

    Metal Tiger Member

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  9. bds

    bds Member

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    I use an Ohaus 10-10 but would recommend the Dillon Eliminator at $54 for your price range, which is essentially the same scale as Ohaus/RCBS 5-0-5 scale that has the same magnetic dampening as the Ohaus/RCBS 10-10. Dillon scale also comes with life-time warranty.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  10. jk2008

    jk2008 Member

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    I have an RCBS (O'Haus) 502 beam scale that I almost always use for measuring power. I also have an RCBS 1500 digital scale that I received as a gift and use very infrequently.

    Both have their uses... I find that the beam scale is as fast or faster than the digital scale, its footprint is smaller on my bench, and I trust its accuracy on a visceral level (I can see how it works). The digital scale is great for determining the weight of an unknown item (e.g., cast bullets), but I don't trust it's accuracy as much (partly because I can't see how it works, but also because I've seen it creep a tenth of a grain here and there over time).

    If you have to choose one, I'd recommend an beam scale (O'Haus models are great). Beam scales are fast, accurate, and inexpensive AND you can use it when the powers out.
     
  11. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I'm using an RCBS 5-10 I bought 30 or so yrs. ago and it performs flawlessly. The best part is, I bought it at a garage sale for $5 or $10 from a lady whose husband had passed away. Those kind of deals are not easy to stumble on to though, so expect to spend a bit more for something of that quality. I also have an electric one but I've only used it once or twice, it just doesn't provide the confidence a quality balance beam does.
     
  12. Bud0505

    Bud0505 Member

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    I would recommend a balance beam scale. I've been using a Hornady balance beam scale for the last twenty-five years. The box is marked Hornady and the scale has sticker that says Hornady but the scale itself has Pacific cast into the metal. Cosmetically in looks like the RCBS and Dillon scales mentioned in the posts above.

    Bud
     
  13. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Considering the accuracy of your scale can prevent. Serious injury, and that you admit to using a cheap press, you might want to rethink not getting a good scale.
    I prefer the RCBS balance beam scales, either the 5-10 or the 10-10
     
  14. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    I still use my 60's vintage Lyman M-5, also made by Ohaus.
    Lyman no longer sells that scale, but it's identical to the RCBS 10-10.
    Any of those Ohaus built scales with that same beam are excellent and will last several lifetimes.
     
  15. gregj

    gregj Member

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    A good scale is not an area to go cheap on. I have an RCBS 5-0-5 that works quite well. But I really love my RCBS 1500 digital scale. Way out of the OP's stated price range, but one item I wished I had gotten a long time ago.
     
  16. lexjj

    lexjj Member

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    The point of the thread is to indeed find a good scale. But let's not get over dramatic here. That Lyman press I use is a turret press, and I charge on the bench, not the press. I can visually tell by looking at the cartridge if there is an unsafe amount of powder in there. I've loaded 5,000+ rounds with ZERO problems. Plus, I can get the powder measure within about .3 of a grain using the volume adjustment. Tenths of a grain make big differences when you are at the margins, but my loads are close to the middle. None of that is to say "durr, I load good enough cuz I am like close." More to say, I don't believe that the difference between say the Dillon Eliminator and an RCBS 10-10 scale is literally the difference between life and death. I want a good scale for accuracy.

    Functionally, what I should have asked is "What makes a good scale good?" If I can't get a good scale for $50, then I will borrow my uncles scale until I can get a "good one."

    Frankly, I am not knowledgeable enough to tell the difference between good and bad and the only people I could think to ask was this forum or my high school chemistry teacher.

    A good scale should hold zero...but what features can tend to ensure that? Other than looking at color, I cannot tell the difference between these scales.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  17. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Just look at the various beam scales sold by RCBS, Redding, Lyman, etc.
    All the best ones are made by Ohaus which has a distinctive beam design they've used forever.
    The prices vary widely depending on other features the scale might offer.
    Higher capacity, a base with an enclosure, more massive base, etc.
    If it has the basic proven Ohaus beam, you can't go wrong.
     
  18. bds

    bds Member

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    For reloading purposes I think:

    - Consistent accuracy to 1/10th of a grain (0.1 gr)
    - Poise notches for faster and exact readings
    - Magnetic dampening for faster readings
    - Heavy/metal base
    - Capacity: I prefer models with capacity to weigh bullets
    - Warranty: Lifetime preferred for factory calibration/repair if needed
    - Good price: Can't beat $54 for Dillon Eliminator which has all of above features (It's really a 5-0-5 with a different base ;))
     
  19. Metal Tiger

    Metal Tiger Member

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    To further extend the OP's question about, "What makes a scale good?", I would like to ask the sages, which of the beam scales is most accurate and easy to use for small pistol charges vs. large rifle charges that are to be weighed. Maybe thats a technique.

    For small pistol charge weights do you measure one throw or multiple small pistol charges and then take the average to "make the scale good?"
     
  20. 4895

    4895 Member

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    RCBS 505 scale is the standard. Why not pay a bit more for something you know will last. If you don't want the insurance, I could send you an unused LEE safety scale:banghead:. That will make you feel more comfortable with accuracy...:fire:
     
  21. john16443

    john16443 Member

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    OK lexjj, you've gotten a good 3 years of service out of your old Franklin. Guess what, they're on sale again for $20 at Midway.

    Another choice for a digital scale in the $70 price range is the Jennings Mack 20. Old Will Knot Scales has them for about $65. http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/jennings-jscale-mack-20.html Make sure you get the AC adapter. I've used this scale for a year now, wouldn't reload without it. Periodically check against my balance scale, always right on. Easy to calibrate, but very rarely have to. I like the 0.02 grains resolution of this scale as well.
     
  22. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Murf got it right in the first reply. The Dillon Eliminator is made by Ohaus for Dillon. It sells for $54 anywhere you buy it. Its knife edges teeter on gem stones and the beam is magnetically dampened. You can buy more expensive scales, but you can't buy better.

    It is the exact same scale as the RCBS 505, which sells discounted at Midway for $74. I have one of both, but the 505 came in a box with a 1973 date on it. I have no doubts that you'll also get 30-40 years of good service from either scale.
     
  23. mmorris
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    mmorris Member

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    A big difference between these scales is the way the balance is adjusted to read the weight.

    RCBS 502 (two poise scale) - large poise is in increments of "five's" and the small poise is both grains and tenths of grains.

    This means you have to be careful to note that (for example) 49.7 grains is 45 on the main poise added to 4.7 on the small poise. (MATH)

    45 + 4.7 = 49.7

    505 and Dillon Eliminator (three poise scale) - large poise is in increments of "ten's" the medium poise is grains and the small poise is tenths of grains.

    This means you only have to note that (for example) 49.7 grains is 40 on the main poise added to 9 on the medium poise and 0.7 on the small poise. (VISUAL)

    40 + 9 + 0.7 = 49.7

    5-10 and 10-10 (two poise scale) - these are the same except for max capacity, and they use a rotating cylinder (like a micrometer) for the small poise.

    The cylinder reads both grains and tenths of grains. Completely different than the notches on most other beam balances.

    And then there's the 304... :evil:


    I think that the 5-0-5 (or Eliminator) is a good choice for your needs (if you want a balance scale):D

    Mike
     

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    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  24. Revolver218

    Revolver218 Member

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    Until now I've never checked the Dillon Eliminator scale but after reviewing it I would have no problem buying one. I paid $ 70.00 for my 5-0-5 (on sale) but the Dillon is basically the same thing for $ 55.00. And, like the 5-0-5, it has a lifetime warranty.
     
  25. library

    library Member

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    Sadly it appears Dillon just raised the price for their Eliminator scale. When I check the website it shows me a price of $69.95.
     
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