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Old July 5, 2012, 09:10 AM   #1
Stressfire
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Secondhand scales

There is, or seems to be, a general preemption on using secondhand scales: don't do it. And for good reason - I like my guns and my hands and would like to keep both in working order.

However, is this preemption specific to newer digital scales or does it include the old school balance scales as well.

I ask because my FiL has offered to give me an older RCBS balance scale to get me started with reloading. Seems to function fine and also seems "idiot proof" as far as proper care over time.

Already will be using an old Special T, so not sure how retro I want to be with my equipment, even just starting out - but it is free....

Good idea, bad idea? Buy a new digital? What do you think?

Also, how would I check to see if it weighs accurately?
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:13 AM   #2
ScottRiqui
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If it reliably maintains a zero between weighings, and you test it out with check weights, there's nothing much to go wrong with a balance scale. I'd say "go for it".
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:14 AM   #3
steveno
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get some check weights if you have some doubts about a beam scale. beam scales have been around for a long time and worked quite well. I see no reason to spend the money on a digital scale if you have a good beam scale
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:14 AM   #4
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Actually the same holds true for a digital scale.
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:17 AM   #5
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I have purchased three used balance scales and never had a problem. As long as the scale is not obviously damaged, i.e., dropped or bent. I DO check it against my RCBS 1010 scale however. For me personally, I would trust a used balance beam over a used electronic scale any day.
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Old July 5, 2012, 11:00 AM   #6
ThisIsMySig
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To me, the single most important tool for hand loading is the scale. I used a Lee balance beam and a Lee "Perfect" powder measure when I first started and those things nearly drove me crazy. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get consistently accurate measures. I tried everything. Carefully cycling the measure, zeroing the scale every two seconds, no breezes when weighing, (I even tried not breathing). Could not get consistent results.

So, I bit the bullet and purchased an RCBS Chargemaster 1500. All those issues vanished with this scale. Yeah, it was expensive, but to me it didn't matter.

I know there are many who have successfully used the balance beam for eons without any issues. I'm just not one of those people.
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Old July 5, 2012, 11:09 AM   #7
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Should be fine.... But I'd buy a set of check weights (around $30 for a set). It is the best way to 'ease' your mind. I've had a Hornady beam scale since the very early 80s. About a year ago when I was getting higher velocities with my new chrono than I thought I should be getting, I began to doubt.... so bought a set of check weights which showed me the scale was just fine. Load off my mind (pun intended).
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Old July 5, 2012, 12:28 PM   #8
Nathan
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Quote:
Should be fine.... But I'd buy a set of check weights (around $30 for a set). It is the best way to 'ease' your mind. I've had a Hornady beam scale since the very early 80s. About a year ago when I was getting higher velocities with my new chrono than I thought I should be getting, I began to doubt.... so bought a set of check weights which showed me the scale was just fine. Load off my mind (pun intended).
You need check weights with a new or used scale. The worst scale I ever had was brand new.

Best deal in reloading are the RCBS 5-10 scales on eBay!
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:58 PM   #9
Stressfire
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Definitely appreciate the input, thanks all - if its one thing I can count on here its knowledgeable and helpful people

Guess I'll go for it
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Old July 6, 2012, 01:06 AM   #10
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Aside from the scale, accepting a gift from your Father-In-Law is a good idea just on general principles. Even if the scale needs refurbishing (which RCBS/Ohaus will do) it will provide cement for your relationship.

Besides, if the knife edge or jewel bearings are in good condition, the scale should be as good as gold. Not much goes wrong with gravity.

My advice: Accept the scale, use it (refurbish if necessary) return the favor some time in the future and enjoy.

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Old July 6, 2012, 08:09 AM   #11
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FiL

Took me a second th figure out what FiL was? How good is your relationship with him? Does he like you? Seriously, as others have said use some check weights to check accuracy.

+1 about what Lost Sheep said about accepting gift. Helps relationships and you might learn something from the "old man".
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Old July 6, 2012, 06:12 PM   #12
judgecrater
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I have two balance beam types and one PACT digital. All agree on measurements to less than 0.1 grain. One is over 40 years old. Only bad scale I ever tested was a cheap digital scale made in China that sold for under $20.
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Old July 6, 2012, 06:56 PM   #13
wncchester
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I prefer any magentic damped 50 year old beam scale to any new digital.

Spar-T presses worked in the 60s and mine still works today. But I wouldn't buy a used one when Lee's Classic Cast single stage and their Classic Turret presses sell so inexpensively and work so well.
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Old July 6, 2012, 07:24 PM   #14
GP100man
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Old scales

I actually seek out old scales & most just need cleaning ,but some times someone has "tampered" with the balancing weights in the hanger for the pan.

I first rezero it by adding/subtracting counter balance in the hanger then checking carefully with check weights & comparing it to a new set of scales .

This 1 will weigh dust !!! I`ve since replaced the med bottle for a resivor with a correct glass resivor.



This 1 needed three peices of counterbalance (lead shot from 22 ratshot



GP
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:54 PM   #15
F. Guffey
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Second hand, I have gone to the Dallas Market Hall Gun Show looking for parts, parts for anything, in the effort I have found enough parts to build a 5-10 RCBS scvale with 2 additional Ohaus beams for different RCBS type scales, after assemble and adjustments the scale held its own with any other scale I have.



A friend went to an estate sale and purchase parts, in the boxes of parts was another RCBS scale frame, I used my additional scale parts to complete the frame, again, nothing second class or suspect about the ability of the scale to give accurate readings.



I decided to clean one of my RCBS type scales, the beam had the appearance it was soaked with root beer stain. And then my wife decided to help, everything she cleans gets W-D 40, when she wiped the W-D 40 off the markings came off with the W-D 40. Not a problem, I use one of the beams I purchased for parts, RCBS said it would be OK to ship the scales to them even though my wife was to blame.



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Old July 7, 2012, 04:46 AM   #16
warningshot
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I bought my RCBS scale new in 1978. Since 1979 I suppose it is or should be considered 'used'. I never considered it worn-out yet. I guess I'll just have to get rid of it because it's old.
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