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Weighing Powder - Method and Scale

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Andrew Leigh, Apr 24, 2014.

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  1. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    I currently weigh with a RCBS 5-0-5 Scale. I have a couple of issues with the scale;

    1. Parallax - This I have solved through the use of a webcam which connects to the laptop. It works a treat but is inconvenient to set up each time.
    2. For some unknown reason I often shift the 1/10th grain weight when removing the pan. The problem it that it always moves right to left increasing the charge.
    3. The scale is sensitive to wind so you can't breath to close to it, have to close windows if there is a breeze outsize.

    Now these may appear to be trivial matters but they do irritate a little, especially when you have to go back emptying cases to find when the weight moved.

    Now not related to the scale but linked to it I have the RCBS Uniflow Dispenser. 95% of my loading is an extruded powder, one get that irritating resistance often when the disk needs to cut through a powder granule.

    So was looking at options to replace the above either partially or fully. Now rather than steering the conversation to what I am thinking it would be nice to hear of your elegant solutions and their advantages.
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    My elegant solution was to build a dust cover box out of wood to cover the scale when not in use.

    The scale is set on top of the box when in use.
    That raises the scale high enough off the bench to cure the parallax problem.

    Air currents? Breathing on it? Bumping the weight?
    I got nothing for that.

    Any decent reloading scale will be sensitive enough to cause air currents to upset the balance.

    rc
     
  3. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    If you zero the scale then use it with your head in the same position, your readings should be consistent. The beam scale readings are a relative thing.

    While I have a beam scale as back up, I have been using an electronic scale for the last 15 years or so. The scale gives me the weight without me having to make any adjustments. But, some folks do not seem to have confidence in the operation of an electronic scale.

    If you are hitting the 1/10th weight when removing the pan, an easy solution is just do not hit the weight. I ma not trying to funny but it seems an easy fix to alter your methods so that to not hit the weight. Also, get in the habit of looking at the setting each time you weigh something.

    I have a PACT powder dispenser and scale that measures each charge. I find it too slow to use for regular reloading as i am always waiting on it. The current crop of dispensers may be quicker. I use it only for load development but since I got a a Harrell Custom 90 Culver style powder measure (see below), I use the PACT less and less.

    With my drum style powder measures (Uniflow, Redding 10-X and Midway Indispensable), I try to minimize vibrations to the measure once I get a good uniform powder column and am throwing consistent charges. To that end, the powder measure is mounted to its own floor stand to isolate it from the press activities. As far as cutting stick powder kernels.it is what it is. I try to ease the metering chamber through the powder with a constant force. I do not try to bang the drum through or back it up and ram it through.

    I recently got a Harrell Custom 90 Culver style powder measure. Nice measure. I cannot remember if I have used it with stick powders as I last did a bunch of loading with fine grain powders with the measure.
     
  4. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Member

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    I'm Not going to bash on the green koolaid but my Lee Safety Scale that most people seem to be so quick to hate on and disregard, has this nifty little push button stop on the vernier slide (used to set the weight from 0-10 gr in .1gr increments) that locks the setting in. I would agree with above statements to check the setting often and be extra careful not to bump it since the RCBS is locking such a valuable feature as a setting lock. As to the breeze yes any properly sensitive scale is going to be subject to air movement. You could build a plexiglass box hinged on the back to cover it each time to go to weigh something but this would obviously be quite inconvenient.

    I love the webcam idea and may have to see about implementing something similar to save craning my neck as much.
     
  5. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    Plus 1 on the Lee safety scale. I drop powder with the Lee pro auto disc, checks on the safety scale. I have it set up on a shelf so it is right at eye level.

    Russellc
     
  6. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have nothing bad to say against the Lee scale. I have never had trouble using one. I also have a RCBS 5-0-5 scale that I like better that I got very cheap.

    Because they are so good you are correct, the slightest bit of "wind" will make them move. Even though that's a problem it's also a plus.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  7. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    I like the 1/20th grain resolution. Price is also good.

    I have for long had my eye on the RCBS Chargemaster Combo, just don't know if it is worth the money. Surely at this price they can also get 1/20th resolution?
     
  8. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I use a RCBS 5-10, and have for over 30 years. It locks the 1/10th grain adjustment down. I also have it OFF the bench so vibrations do not bother it. It is on a shelf at eye height. I also load extruded for rifle and yes the Uniflow cuts some powder - they all will at one time or another. I always got it close enough (within .2 grain) and then trickled the rest.
     
  9. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    It may well be that ergonomically I have yet to find the best setup. I am currently loading on a portable station and rather limited, especially on height.

    I have identified a room at home that will be dedicated as a reloading room, this will allow me to have more flexibility on position and height od reloading equipment. This may well alleviate the problem somewhat.
     
  10. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    1. If you zero the scale at a certain line of sight, then the parallax is moot as long as you don't change the line of sight. Even if you do, you would need to rezero it and again any parallax would be moot. Any small variation in the way you hold your head after the scale is zeroed would probably be less than the accuracy of the scale.

    2. I used to do that too. The solution was to change the position of the scale on my bench and to become accustomed to using it. Once I found a system of putting the tray on and off without bangin' into the linkage and the weight, I never had a problem. I still visually check the weights regularly to make sure they haven't moved and many times confirm the 5-0-5 with a digital or vice versa.

    3. Ain't a decent scale I know of that does not warn against using it in areas of drafts. Again, any scale sensitive enough to be used for making quality ammo is going to react to wind blowing on the pan. Nature of the beast.

    As for the "cutting" of large flakes/granules with the Uniflo, again, just kinda the nature of the beast. When I just throw my charges(as with most handgun ammo) and don't weigh every charge, if I feel excessive resistance when throwing a charge when the thrower cuts thru powder, I throw that charge back in the hopper and go again. Not a big deal. If the thrower is mounted via linkage to a Press, as opposed to using the thrower by itself, one generally doesn't notice. On loads that I do weigh every charge, I throw short anyway and trickle up.
     
  11. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    Same way I do it. The room I use to reload in has a closet that powder and so forth are kept in. Scale sits on the shelf of the closet, right at eye level. Its just a step away from where the press is, very handy for spot checks. Also, inside the closet is a little less air movement. Yes, ANY scale that can weigh as little as what the Lee scale can weigh is going to move with the slightest breath, wind from fan, or vibration.

    russellc
     
  12. KingM

    KingM Member

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    I have the Smartreloader ISD but got it about $100 I think. I have had mine for a while but I really didn't like RCBS balance scales or the Uniflo.
     
  13. 1066

    1066 Member

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  14. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Now that target master is elegant, that is a great idea thanks for the link 1006.
     
  15. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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  16. ArthurE

    ArthurE Member

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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  17. Lj1941

    Lj1941 Member

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    A trick I learned many years ago as a color weigher in a plastics factory will also work with a balance beam powder scale as well. Take a cardboard box and make the scale it's own little room.Make it large enough that you are not cramped.This worked with very strong exhaust fans as well as AC. It won't help if you are breathing on it so you will have to watch that.As far as the Accu Measure cutting grains wecome to the club. I have learned to hate weighing IMR 4064 & IMR 4350. My cure to that is Reloader 19.:evil:
     
  18. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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  19. thegiff

    thegiff Member

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    Regarding the 1/10 weight moving, I found that dropping the pan too hard and lifting off quickly makes it jump. Moving slower lessens the chance. I never tried damping with a bumper, but I think that if the pointer movement had bump stops made of soft rubber it would eliminate the small weight jumping around.

    I've since given the scale to my brother, who uses it regularly and I moved on to an electronic scale.
     
  20. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I prefer the electronic scales. I just upgraded my RCBS Rangmaster 750 with a GemPro 250. What a huge difference. The Gempro is a lot more sensitive at 0.02gr accuracy. I loaded some BE loads with WST on my Hornady LNL-AP. The powder dispenser dispenses this powder very accurate the most I saw in 40 consecutive loads was one 0.02gr low. This was a 4.10gr charge. A 10 dump measurement showed I was dead on at 41.00gr. You can't get much better than this.

    http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/my-weigh-gempro-250.html

    Be aware these scales are precision enough to detect the error (tolerance) on a M2 class calibration weights.
     
  21. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Member

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    WOW $113 for a scale with that good of resolution? What's the catch?!? Definitely added to my 'do more research then add to wish list' list.
     
  22. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Guys this has been most informative and I thank everyone for their input. Now I need to mull over the options.
     
  23. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    No Catch.

    And it comes with a 30yr/Lifetime warranty.
     
  24. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    Yeah lots of powder dispensers measure pistol powders accurately. I wish there was one that did the extruded rifle powders that well
     
  25. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    That gem pro scale is interesting. The reviews seem pretty mixed though. Lots of bad experiences and lots of good ones. Wonder why
     
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