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Old May 4, 2005, 07:01 PM   #1
captin andy
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electronic powder dispensers/scales

Hey I'm new to your forum, but not new to reloading. I have to admit that some of the posts I've read so far sounded a lot like me and made me laugh out loud... Years ago I started off with just one gun and as I explained to the wife "look, it's just one gun -- and besides we need some protection just in case. Well, many years have passed since that "one gun" and my collection of guns and reloading supplies continues to grow and grow. And I've come to understand that what the wife doesn't understand (know) won't hurt her. So onward I go. Which brings me to why I'm writing. I need your advice fellow shooters on the purchase of an electronic powder dispenser/scale. There are several brands out there and the prices vary. Does anybody have an opinion/experience/recommendation on what to buy? I look forward to your words of wisdom. CA
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Old May 4, 2005, 07:49 PM   #2
klw
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Electronic Powder Dispensers

I've owned four, two Lyman and two RCBS.

The Lyman units have long been discontinued. Originally AMT the gun maker introduced the Lyman model I had. Didn't really work all that well. How well the newer Lyman units work I don't know.

RCBS has had two models. I've owned and used both. Liked them both. I'm selling my older unit (have an ad here) and Midway is selling the exact same unit. The newer RCBS unit is shown on their web page. Nice unit. I'd recommend it.
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Old May 10, 2005, 08:32 PM   #3
Bob - S.C.
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I looked at both the Lyman and RCBS electronic systems, and I am sure they are both very good systems. After a lot of research, I decided on the PACT electronic dispenser and scale system. It is very fast and quite accurate. It also measures well using both flake and extruded powders. My only complaint about the system is the PACT instructions. Not printed well and a little hard to follow at first, but I have found it to be an excellent system. I reload for two different AR-15's for competition and have found the PACT system has produced very consistant loads that group very well with the right powder/bullet combination. I feel it is well worth looking at. Good Luck!
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Old May 13, 2005, 04:54 PM   #4
cheygriz
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When you consider that benchrest rifle shooters dump their powder straight from the measure, and don't weigh individual charges, then my question would be: Why on earth would anyone want such a device??

It's hard to argue with the accuracy and precision that the benchers get.
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Old May 13, 2005, 05:08 PM   #5
klw
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Why

Because new technology can make an old approach obsolute.

For example. I owned two Harrel powder measures. Within my experience these are the very best measured made. I use to just throw charges directly from them into my cases. Then, one day, I decided to start weighing those charges in the case. Put the case on the scale, zeroed out the case weight, threw the powder charge and noted what it was. What I expected was very consistent weights. BUT I was weighing pistol charges using Green Dot. I DID NOT get consistent weights. Every once in a great while I would get one very light charge followed by one very heavy one. The powder was "clumping" in the measure and not falling. Didn't happen very often BUT it did happen. Now I know why Lyman still has that old knocker on their powder measures.

The new RCBS powder dispensing system CAN NOT do this. It detects both a low or a high charge and signals you. It doesn't miss. A powder measure can.

So up until recently an excellent powder measure like the Harrel was the best you could do. Now there is CLEARLY something superior.
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Old May 14, 2005, 09:16 AM   #6
WESHOOT2
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absolutes

I suggest an electronic device CAN fail.
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Old May 14, 2005, 10:18 AM   #7
Unclenick
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I’m using the PACT unit. I echo what Bob said. Lousy photocopied preliminary instructions, but faster dispensing speeds than the others. There is no wind cover on the scale, so you want a good still-air location to run it. The unit and scale both run off AC adapters only, so you can't go to the range with it. I still keep my old 9V battery-powered Lyman electronic scale for load work-up at the range.

Electronics can fail, but if you follow the PACT instruction to run your check weights from time to time and also use the old-fashioned technique of looking into all your charged cases for any sign of a powder level difference between them, you'll be fine.

I once spotted an excessively tall charge in a LC M-72 30-06 case that I'd fired new and brought back from Camp Perry. A dump and re-charge still was too far up into the neck. I dumped it again and took a flashlight and spotted a lump in the bottom of the case that wouldn't tap out. I got an awl and loosened the lump and pulled it out through the case neck with needle-nose pliers. It was a lump of lead. I presumed it came out of the bottom of the original bullet (exposed base boattail in M-72), worked its way to the bottom of the case during shipping and transport, then was pressure formed to the bottom of the case during firing. I would like to think it explained something about my off-hand scores. But my point is, don't blow off the standard safety step of taking a look just because an electronic readout gives the numbers you expect to see.

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Old May 14, 2005, 11:16 AM   #8
cheygriz
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KLW,

I don't shoot benchrest myself, so I must go by what those who do tell me. Now here, of course, we're talking rifles, not handguns.


Two different bench rest shooters I know have told me that testing by members of their association reveals that volmetric consistency is more critical to accuracy than weight consisency. Powder stored in a can can "dry out" i.e. the moisture content, and therefore the weight can change for a particular volume. Is this true? I honestly don't know! But it certainl;y sounds logical.

As for pistol powder like Green Dot, if my measure doesn;t throw them consistenly,m I simply change powders. I can't imagine anything more tedious than measuring individual charges. That's why I don't use Herco or 800X, even though they are great powders. But, to each his own!
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Old May 14, 2005, 11:22 AM   #9
klw
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Of course

Of course powders are standardized by weight, not volume.

Still as much as I like the Harrel powder measures I've noticed that they are starting to gather dust since the new RCBS powder dispenser arrived. Earlier Lyman and RCBS units were interesting but I never used them that much. This one, their newest, is different. It is quick and accurate.

There is only two things about it I don't like. The big plastic powder reservoir really isn't all that secure in the main housing. You can to be careful to not bump it loose which would spill a lot of powder. And I don't like the fact that the unit can store the information on 30 loads. If you meant to recall charge #5 but you types charge #6 you could be in a world of hurt.
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Old May 14, 2005, 03:38 PM   #10
bigted
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scale

pact makes the scales for rcbs
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Old May 14, 2005, 03:42 PM   #11
klw
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No

No that is NOT true. Pact made the unit that RCBS initially sold BUT not the current one. Apparetnly Pact was giving RCBS fits so they took their business elsewhere.
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Old May 14, 2005, 05:29 PM   #12
BigBoreKindaGuy
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I started using an electronic powder dispenser about 5 years ago. I used it exactly about 2 hours and then switched back to the analog weight scale.

It was taking too damn long to work a batch of rounds up because the electronic scale would either underload or overload and rarely ever hit the exact powder weight I set it for. I spent more time trickling trying to get to the exact powder weight I set it for to dispense.

I guess if you are loading small numbers of MATCH ammo and you have the time to sit there and trickle the time away then it would be fine to use but for bulk it just plain sucks. A big waste of over $150 for me.
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Old May 14, 2005, 05:51 PM   #13
Tim R
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I'm a High Power shooter, not a bench rester so I weigh each charge. It used to take me hours and hours to get ready for a match.

I bought the Lyman DPS 1200 and love the thing. I get elec. weighed charges every 20 seconds. Gives me enough time in between charges to take care of other little minor details. Down side is the DPS is a PITA to clean up and get all the powder out of it.

If I were to buy one today I would look at the new RCBS dispenser. I understand they are real easy to clean and give charges faster than the Lyman.
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Old May 14, 2005, 08:47 PM   #14
BigBoreKindaGuy
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The one I was not pleased with was the RCBS one. It just never provided an accurate charge drop. Trickle...trickle....trickle....is all I ever spent my time doing with it. Yuck! :barf:
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Old May 14, 2005, 10:06 PM   #15
Wildalaska
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I use the Lyman 1200 and am incredibly impressed with it....l

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Old May 16, 2005, 05:05 AM   #16
WESHOOT2
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Volumn yes, weighted no.
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Old May 17, 2005, 11:31 AM   #17
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Volume is more accurate if you are using a good measure with a ball powder and if the moisture content variation has changed. Weighing is most accurate if the water content hasn't changed and you are using anything but ball powder.

The way to make weighing work best is to check the weight of a known volume of your powder. If you have a micrometer powder measure, set it where you had it when you worked the load up at the range or where it was when you calibrated it to match the load after working it up at the range. If you keep your powder containers tightly closed, they won't change moisture content significantly in a few hours or even a day, so you always have time to match your measure setting to your scale within that time frame and record it.

Weigh 20 charges and use the average to set the electronic dispenser. If the powder has changed moisture content since the last time you reloaded, this weight will have changed. Averaging 20 charges gets you around the +/- 0.2 grains some powders (long-cut stick grains in particular) throw from measures. Once this measurement tells you what the weight de jour ought to be, the electronic dispenser will provide the most consistent charges for that loading session.

I am unable to measure any accuracy difference between ball powder charges from my Redding BR-30 measure and my electronic dispenser. Both within 0.1 grain, so I just stick with the measure for ball powder.

Nick
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Old May 18, 2005, 02:17 AM   #18
el cid
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Here goes my first post, I too am a Hi Power rifle enthusiast, and after years of hand throwing and trickling extruded powders for important matches, burning midnite oil and driving blurry eyed to the range, I let a fellow master convince me to try an electronic dispenser. He swears by his new Lyman. I hit a forum on benchrest central, comparing the latest. The speed factor convinced me to try the RCBS combo. I just got it, and played with it today. It is the greatest thing since soft ice cream! It is faster than I had imagined, and tested against my old PACT electronic scale, it is right on the money! I am glad I waited, as I heard there were problems with the early ones. However I would sure recomend this one, if you are planning any marathon sessions.
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Old May 18, 2005, 10:58 AM   #19
klw
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Another nice thing about the new RCBS powder system is that it counts the number of charges you've thrown. If you are putting your completed cartridges into a cartridge box as you go you can be sure that the number of charges thrown and the number of completed cartridges is identical. That can be very important. I don't fail to put a charge in a case often but, well... It is nice to be able to easily confirm that it hasn't been done.
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Old May 22, 2005, 04:44 AM   #20
al62
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Hey Everyone,
I've Used The Lyman 1200 For A Couple Of Years Now And Truely Love The Thing! Very Fast And Accurate. Just My .02

Al
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Old May 22, 2005, 05:39 AM   #21
WESHOOT2
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in the dark (again)

Mebbe it's just 'cause I (gotta) load by candlelight so often.....
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