Thinking about my first reloading upgrade

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Stefan A, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. Stefan A

    Stefan A Member

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    So, I bought the Lee classic turret kit which came with a balance scale. It's nice and all, but I am thinking I want an electronic scale just for the speed and ease of use. 2 questions. Do you agree that this is a worthwhile upgrade? If so, can you recommend a scale? Thanks

    Stefan
     
  2. RKRCPA

    RKRCPA Member

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    Many people will disagree, and it all depends on what you are loading, but I've been using a balance beam scale for close to 40 years and have no plans to buy an electronic scale. I invested my money in powder and primers instead.

    YMMV
     
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  3. BreechFace

    BreechFace Member

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    I like my RCBS Chargemaster, got it when RCBS was doing their "think green" rebates a few years ago. Before that it was a balance beam scale, which I don't use anymore.
     
  4. mdi

    mdi Member

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    My experiences with digital scales may be different, but I think I'd recommend a high quality balance beam scale first. I have had three digitals over a period of 15 years and all had the same short comings. The first one was a Jennings, highly recommended and mid priced. The second was an ebay "D-5" (?) and the current one is a FA Platinum Series digital. On each trickling up is very difficult. More often than not, a few flakes can make the weight jump .2 gr and sometimes .3 grains immediately. Very slow trickling up. Also when I weigh a charge, lift the pan and replace it the weight will change up to .5 gr. heavier. My newest has AC power so no power fluctuations. I have tried shutting off all fluorescent lighting, turned off the radio (speakers are 8' from the bench), closed all windows and doors and shut off all fans. No improvement. I still use my newest one but I set it up with my RCBS 5-10 as standard and double check often (when working up a load and my "gooder" handloads, I weigh each charge)...
     
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  5. Nature Boy
    • Contributing Member

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Probably the best money I've spent to date was to step up to a mechanical balance type scale. If you’re doing a lot of precision rifle loading using a powder trickler you should be saving up for one (in my opinion)

    PGtBJyt.jpg
     
  6. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    While I tend toward the traditional, I really like my digital scale. It is a very early Pact "BBK" which does have its foibles - it really wants to be left on to warm up for a few minutes before use, and it needs to be calibrated every hour or so, which takes a minute or two - but overall it is much faster and easier to use than my balance beams.

    The use to which the scale is put probably matters. I rarely "trickle" powder into the scale. Rather, the scale is used to set my powder measures, and to periodically check that they are still throwing the correct charge. For that, I think digital scales are perfect. For other purposes a balance beam may be superior, but I really couldn't say.
     
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  7. forty_caliber

    forty_caliber Member

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    I've got a Redding beam scale and an RCBS charge master. They are both accurate to .1gr (tenth) of a grain. Speed of throwing charges and trickling up is about the same. The charge master is easy because it does most of the work for you. That said, these and most "reloading" scales fall into the same .1gr class.

    For my needs .1 grains wasn't cutting it for match grade rifle ammo. I use a laboratory grade scale for this. It measures to .01gr (hundredth) of a grain. It's a pain in the posterior but it does a good job. Must use a windshield around the pan. Slow to settle after adding weight. So sensitive that it can see 1 tiny ball of Win760. Takes twice as long to throw a charge but each charge is precision art.

    44.20grains of Win760 looks like this:
    Stats - Average 2939.51 fps
    Stats - Highest 2947.21 fps
    Stats - Lowest 2931.19 fps
    Stats - Ext. Spread 16.02 fps
    Stats - Std. Dev 7.2 fps


    As others have said, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

    .40
     
  8. George P

    George P Member

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    I have had a few electronic ones over the years, but I always go back to my RCBS 5-10 balance beam. Electronic ones are sensitive to temperatures, electronic interference from fluorescent lighting, etc.
     
  9. Stefan A

    Stefan A Member

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    I am a beginner so some of the answers are going over my head. What is trickling? Right now, my only use of the scale is to set my charge for the powder measure and to confirm the occasional load.
     
  10. gifbohane

    gifbohane Member

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    If you suffer from OCD, as I do, the digital scale will make you crazy. Every time I put the same load on the Digital it will show a different number.

    First it shows 4.4 grains, second time 4.5 grains and third time 4.3 grains. And it ain't a cheap one. I really want to know the correct answer.
     
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  11. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    "Trickling" is adding powder, very slowly, to a pan on the scale. This is for folks who believe even a tenth of a grain variation is enough to affect accuracy. Trickling can be done by hand, or with a little manual tool, and also can be done automatically with a fairly expensive scale/trickler combo: just dial up the charge you want, and the machine pours it for you. The problem with digital scales and trickling is that many/most of those scales get a little confused with a constantly changing weight. Mine, for instance, will stubbornly continue reading 36.3 even while powder is being trickled. Then it will suddenly decide on 36.8, even though I was hoping for 36.5, and now I get to start over again. In that case, I imagine a beam scale is a better tool...
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
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  12. Stefan A

    Stefan A Member

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    Yes, this would drive me crazy. It's starting to sound like maybe I should just stick with what I have. Glad I asked.
     
  13. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    It's kinda a preference thing. You can get lab grade scales either mechanical or digital. The digital scales in my experience cost a little more for the same level of quality. Do you want to drop a large chunk on a fx digital or would a high quality ballance for a hundred or two be more than enough. If your planning on shooting pistol I would not bother at upgrading at all and just spend some coin on a set of high quality check weights. If you planning on winning state and or national level 1k yard championships the go all out. Most of us just get a powered dispenser of your choice with integrated scale and call it done. I dont shoot better than my charge master 1500 so I dont upgrade.
     
  14. roval

    roval Member

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    20201118_124829_copy_907x1612.jpg
    this is a powder trickler. you put powder in. the tube has holes which allow a small amount 20201118_124824_copy_907x1612.jpg of powder in. you twist the tube in one direction. the inner part of the tube has rifling like grooves which slowly transport the small amounts of powder to the end allowing you to add small amounts of powder in a controlled fashion.
     
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  15. Mike L.

    Mike L. Member

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    Balance beam works fine for me. Never saw the need/desirability of replacing it.
     
  16. PWC

    PWC Member

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    I am not a "trickler" nor worry over.1 or .2 gr. I have an 80 yr old Pacific powder balance, not scale, and two sets of weights verified against each other.

    Set my balance for desired weight, set the throw weight on my Lyman 55. Do 5 throws to check repeatability. I drop powder directly into the case and seat bullet in one operation. I check every 10th drop because it is easy to keep count on my 10 X 5 loading block.

    I've learned how to use my left thumb and forefinger to slow the settle time. I've used this method for over 30 yrs; I don't chase cloverleaf groups, and I shoot 100-200 yds for my own enjoyment. I don't have hi volume requirements, you didn't state what you need. Reloading, for me, has always been relaxing, lo pressure and lo stress.

    2 yrs ago, I did buy an inexpensive Lyman pocket electronic scale to measure bullet weight and cases. As long as you put it in the environment that you will be using it in (house or garage), for 2 hrs before using it, power off, and use fresh batteties (usage dependent) it works fine and calibrates with both sets lf my weights. Remember to keep it from drafts, AC and electronic light/cell phone interference.
     
  17. RKRCPA

    RKRCPA Member

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    The only time I am trickling powder is when I load bottleneck cartridges and that isn't very often. When loading pistol ammo I use the scale to set the powder measure and then to check a random sample of charges.
     
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  18. fotheringill

    fotheringill Member

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    I have had a few of each and have now gone back to a Redding balance beam. I found the Lee was a complete PITA to read but the Lee drop handled Varget better than the Redding drop.

    CHECK THE WARRANTY OF ANY ELECTRONIC SCALE BEFORE YOU PURCHASE. THAT IS A MUST. IT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU IN A BAD WAY.
     
  19. jeffreybehr

    jeffreybehr Member

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    I just replaced my old Hornady Lock-n-Load electronic powder dispenser with a new Hornady Auto Charge Pro (ACP)...
    https://www.hornady.com/reloading/precision-measuring/scales-and-accessories/
    ...and REALLY like it.. It's quick to use, quick to dispense powder, easy to calibrate, and DOESN'T show different weights for the same charge.. At more than $300, it's not inexpensive, but I choose to afford it.

    But one thing the manufacturers of electronic powder machines do that annoys me is NOT include a 1-gram weight in the calibration process.. My ACP uses 10- and 50-gram weights, and I check that result with a 'certified' 1-gram calibration weight.. One little annoying thing my ACP does is almost always it displays 15.3 grains for that and not the accurate 15.4 grains*. But I keep pushing the Zero button and weighing the 1-gram weight until it displays 15.4 and then USE the dispenser.. LOTS of us get quite compulsive about these sorts of things.. I'm glad I no longer shoot 1000-yard benchrest; those guys are now using dispensing machines that are accurate to 0.01 grains. :)


    * One gram = 15.43 grains.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  20. bpshooter13

    bpshooter13 Member

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    I agree 100% with the purchase of this FX12i. It had the largest impact on my group size as I pursued accuracy in the precision rifle game. I have the exact same setup with the scale and trickler but not the auto dispenser. I use a lee dipper to throw a slightly underweight charge then tweeser in a few kernels. This scale weighs stick powder like Varget to the kernel. Accurate weight charges then getting a grasp of neck tension and jump to the lands is the way to go. For minute of deer, your current scale will be fine.
     
  21. George P

    George P Member

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    Same here for me; I have only used my trickler when loading my hunting ammo in bottleneck cartridges; handgun loads get set with the balance beam and then I start cranking out ammo.
     
  22. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I agree with this premise, however if your using the Lee scale I would toss that joker and never look back. I did exactly that and I couldn’t find a beam scale I was willing to spend money on at the time so I bought a cheap Frankfort Arsenal digital and as long as it checks on all 3 known items I will keep using it. 5 years in and it’s on it’s 3rd set of batteries. Has never missed a beat, the display just gets dim if the batteries are low and it’s cold in the garage.
     
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  23. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg Member

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    The FA DS-750 is currently on sale for $23.99 for online purchase at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's. I ordered one last week, it was delivered to my designated store using the free ship-to-store option Monday afternoon, and picked it up Monday evening.

    https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/frankford-arsenal-ds-750-electronic-powder-scale

    After I checked in at the online orders counter I went upstairs to browse. There was a lone FA DS-750 hanging from a hook in store inventory with nothing indicating it was on sale, the shelf tag read $34.99 so I think the current sale price shown on the website is only for online purchases but I'm not sure.

    I purchased a preowned Lyman Gen6 system in lieu of any volumetric powder throwers and a preowned Ohaus 10-10 scale for my primary powder measuring tools. The FA DS-750 was something I figured I might use for sorting brass & bullets that would be less cumbersome than using the Lyman Gen6 for that purpose.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  24. roval

    roval Member

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    i trickle 800x and imr 4895 that is it so far.
     
  25. v8stang289

    v8stang289 Member

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    I have an RCBS 505 balance and a Frankford Arsenal digital pocket scale that I've been using for nearly 9 years. My standard practice is to turn on the digital scale, check it against a check weight and some Sierra Match bullets to see if it measures accurately. Then I throw a couple of powder charges and check it against the 505. Then I roll on and load. The scale is a cheaper one but it has always proven accurate in my use. When the batteries get low it can drift a bit (usually fluctuating by a tenth or 2 if tared to a case or pan weight), so I replace them every few months.
     
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