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Old August 20, 2009, 10:54 PM   #1
gdeal
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The Best Digital Scale for Reloading

I ordered a Lee Turret Press for my first reloading press and it comes with what some people say a cheap scale. So I was thinking about buying a digital scale not just to weigh powder but to weigh completed cartridges to make sure that everything is consistent in the powder process. I was thinking this might go good with my Lee Turret Press.
http://www.toplinedigitalscales.com/...24&item_id=279
But I would like to hear what other veteran reloaders use for digital scales.
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Old August 20, 2009, 11:33 PM   #2
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At first, I bought the cheap MTM electronic scale. Big mistake. It's good for what it is, but it's not accurate enough.

I went looking for something better. I read lots of reviews, looking for the best bang for the buck, but in the end, I realized that the bang costs bucks. Everything kept coming back to one scale as apparently the best.

And that was the Dillon D-Terminator electronic scale. Expensive at $139, but worth every penny and more. No problems w/ zeroing, no problems w/ holding zero, settles on a weight quickly, can be run off AC power (via transformer) or via battery.
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:07 AM   #3
gdeal
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Quote:
Dillon D-Terminator electronic scale. Expensive at $139, but worth every penny and more. No problems w/ zeroing, no problems w/ holding zero, settles on a weight quickly, can be run off AC power (via transformer) or via battery.
Yeah, I've seen that too.
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Old August 21, 2009, 05:05 AM   #4
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I use the RCBS
dispenser/scale
and i really like it
but I check frequently
with a beam scale
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Old August 21, 2009, 05:44 AM   #5
314EPW
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scale

I use Lyman 1200 DPS3 and love it.Very accurate
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Old August 21, 2009, 07:07 AM   #6
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My PACT BBK II has never given me any trouble. It runs on a 9V battery or the AC power supply. I've never put a battery in it so I can't really verify it works that way.

Quote:
not just to weigh powder but to weigh completed cartridges to make sure that everything is consistent in the powder process
Good luck with that. There is enough variance in case and bullet weights that you might be able to tell if a cartridge has powder, but that's about it. For instance, if you are loading .45acp in mixed brass with a fast powder like Titegroup or Bullseye the powder weight will be less than the brass and bullet variance.
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Old August 21, 2009, 08:33 AM   #7
gdeal
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Quote:
There is enough variance in case and bullet weights that you might be able to tell if a cartridge has powder, but that's about it. For instance, if you are loading .45acp in mixed brass with a fast powder like Titegroup or Bullseye the powder weight will be less than the brass and bullet variance.
Ok.
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Old August 21, 2009, 09:12 AM   #8
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+1 314epw

The Lyman has been fantastic.
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Old August 21, 2009, 09:39 AM   #9
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I read the reviews at Mid-way USA. And got the RBCS 1500. No complaints. I did how ever get it from Mid-south shooters. Better price.
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Old August 21, 2009, 10:32 AM   #10
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Are you kidding me, I followed the link, and the scale is over $4000.00:barf:

Get the Frankfort Scale on sale at Midway, come on, its a scale, your not engineering a Bridge or a Building.
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Old August 21, 2009, 10:45 AM   #11
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My first scale was the cheapo Frankord and I was extremely unhappy with it. I was constantly recalibrating the scale, it was always turning itself off and the powder tray it came with was worthless.

Upgraded to the RCBS rangemaster because of the glowing reviews on it at Midway and so far I've been very happy with it. I've only loaded about 500 rounds so far with it but it hasn't gone out of calibration since I started using it. I turn it on, give it 5 mins to warm up and check both the test weights and a bullet I know exactly how many grains it is and it is right on every time. I've only had to rezero it once or twice, the Franklin I was constantly having to re-zero.

The reviews endorsing that model also said it was durable. Only had mine a few weeks so I can't speak from personal experience.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=562485
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Old August 21, 2009, 11:55 AM   #12
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The best electronic scale? I am afraid we could never afford those. However for reloading the best scale is the one that you feel comfortable with and can use with out any problems. I think it is safe to say any digital scale over $70 would give you a top quality scale for reloading.

Here is a link to one used and being sold from someone who has reloaded a lot of ammunition.

http://www.brianenos.com/store/be.scale.html

Don't worry so much on what is the best or what is the best for another person. Worry about the one that you can read and understand, because we all have our own prejudice when it comes to a certain product.
I use the smaller Lyman scale.
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Old August 21, 2009, 11:59 AM   #13
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The RCBS has gone up $15.00. from when I got mine. The 1500 is now $170.00 But I wanted to be able to up grade to the Chargemaster dispenser . and you can not do that with the 750 I have had mine for about a year. Like I said no complains. Glad I got it.
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:39 PM   #14
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I have a lyman 1200, its as bout as accurate as usning a shovel to meter powder. Its junk, or at least mine is.
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:49 PM   #15
Farmland
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I do have the Lyman 1200 and it is in fact 100% accurate, though it is more dicey with air currents.

I set this scale up for all of my reloading and I test it against three different balance scales, the RCBS 505, RCBS 502 and the Lee cheap plastic balance scale.

It simple is an accurate scale. I do recalibrate prior to each loading and hit zero between all loads. I test my for powder weight with the Lyman and RCBS and they will match. Then every 10 load I just use the Lyman. After a few loads I will again test the Lyman against the RCBS and it has been right on.

So my Lyman is accurate period. However I did notice that air currents will effect this scale fairly easy. I know you have to make sure which mode you have it in too.

In any event it if you use it right it works well and if it jumps back and forth it may need a battery or you load is just between two numbers or you have some air currents. So I will call it a sensitive scale.
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Old August 21, 2009, 01:34 PM   #16
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what do you think of digital scales that are not made by the reloading press manufacturers? as long as they weigh grains and are at + or - .02gn accuracy. or would + or - .01gn accuracy be the miniumum when it comes to gunpowder?
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Old August 21, 2009, 01:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
I use Lyman 1200 DPS3 and love it.Very accurate
Mine is very accurate and fast, but they aren't cheap.

Quote:
I have a lyman 1200, its as bout as accurate as usning a shovel to meter powder. Its junk, or at least mine is.
Mine is within +/- .1 grains (even in auto repeat mode). Sounds like you need to call Lyman. This is the first complaint I've heard.
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Old August 21, 2009, 02:08 PM   #18
hornady
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Its up to you, how ever. I got the RCBS . I did a lot of research before I ordered The 1500. The 750 is a good scale as well. My brother has it. You may have better luck than I did. But All the scales I looked at, to get the accuracy of a reloading scale. They were more money.
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Old August 21, 2009, 05:23 PM   #19
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There's been a lot written about this and a number of factors come into play. Keep scale resolution in mind. You want to see 0.1 grain or at least 0.01 grams (about 0.15 grains) sensitivity.

I've worn out one digital (Lyman 1200) and that will happen to them all eventually. The adhesives that bond the strain gauges to the load cell beams gradually fatigue. The higher the scale capacity you buy, the less strain there is on the load cell with each weighing, but also the more sensitive and drift resistant the electronics have to be to give stable readings.

The original Dillon D-terminator scale was top flight. It had metal strain gauge load cell beams with 4-point weighing platform contact for best immunity to the position of the sample being weighed on the pan. It was made by Denver Instruments, I believe. I've heard that after Mike Dillon retired and his son took over, that design was dropped for a less expensive one. I have no clue how well the current one does?

Lab scales have metal beam strain gauge load cells. The only one I am aware of currently available that is directed at the reloading market is the $300 Aculab VIC123 sold by Sinclair International. I got one, so I can talk about it a little bit. It is a stripped-down version of an $800+ series Acculab makes. It gives up auto-calibration and faraday shielding to cut cost. It is AC only, and the load cell remains powered up any time it is plugged into the wall, whether the rest of the scale is on or off. That way you don't have to wait for it to warm-up after turning it on. That also keeps heating and cooling on/off cycles from aging the strain gauge glue prematurely. Like most lab scales in this size range it is sensitive to 0.001 grams, which translates to a little over 0.015 grains, so the unit's computer rounds grain readings up to 0.02 grains. Internally, it measures ten times more precisely than that and averages the readings to cut down on display digit jitter. The scale's full capacity is a generous 120 grams (1851.8 grains), so normal powder weight doesn't work it very hard. The 1/50th grain sensitivity does make it show breezes and static electric influence rather easily. The built-in draft shields need to be used. For a reason unknown to me, Sinclair provides a powder pan with it that is too tall to allow the main plastic draft shield to be closed. The secondary glass breeze shield is fine with it, though.

Another scale I have that works very well is the CED Pocket Scale. This runs on two AA batteries. It is limited to 500 grain capacity, but it folds up into a pocket-size so it goes in my range load development box. It has a telescoping wind screen and flat rectangular powder pan. It has a plastic load cell, but has 4 point contact to avoid weight shift with sample position. I got mine from RSI, which no longer sells them. RSI told me that if you get a good one, they are very good (mine is-dead stable and repeatable). However, they suffer from the same disease all plastic load cells scales seem to, which is some come out behaving rather better than others. RSI got tired of dealing complaints about the ones that did not play nicely.

I also have a PACT scale that came with my PACT powder dispenser. It also has a plastic load cell. Mine tends to drift. I finally figured out one of the two calibration weights was off, and correcting that helped, but it is still not impressive. I cross-check its weight results on the Acculab. That's OK for the powder dispenser, since repeating is what matters there and I can tweak the charge numbers to get something coming out where I want it. Once it has warmed up, if I zero it for each dispensed charge, it does seem to repeat.

You will, I think, hear the same story over and over on all the plastic strain gauge and capacitance load cells used on the inexpensive scales. As with the CED pocket scale, sometimes you get one that's great, and sometimes you don't. Whatever you get, be prepared to test it. Use check weights and check that you get the same result putting it at different positions on the weighing pan. Just be prepared that if you have drift and poor repeatability and accuracy, exchange it for another. Also be prepared to see it change with age. Put a check weight routine together with a series of check weights and run it periodically to make sure the scale is still working.
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Old August 21, 2009, 05:33 PM   #20
gdeal
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Quote:
The higher the scale capacity you buy, the less strain there is on the load cell with each weighing
So what number is considered a pretty good scale capacity then?

Last edited by gdeal; August 21, 2009 at 06:57 PM. Reason: .
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Old August 21, 2009, 06:00 PM   #21
BigJimP
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This scale from Denver Instruments is accurate to 0.02 gr

http://www.denverinstrumentusa.com/b...AXX_reload.php

its a very good scale.
------------------------

I've had an RCBS Pro for probably 15 years that is accurate to 0.01gr and its been a good scale too / but Dillon, Pact, etc are all about the same / in fact they're all made by PACT Inc.
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Old August 21, 2009, 06:22 PM   #22
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Glad to see that, Jim. They dropped out of the loading scale market for awhile.
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Old August 21, 2009, 06:55 PM   #23
gdeal
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In reference to that Denver Instrument two posts up, 300 dollars is a lot. does this one seem pretty good?
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Old August 21, 2009, 11:22 PM   #24
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I have one of the RCBS digital scales, dang it I can't remember which model number, but it has worked well for me so far.
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Old August 21, 2009, 11:50 PM   #25
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I went outside the "normal" brands and channels for the reloading market. I skipped the Lyman, RCBS, etc. brands, figuring that I might do better with a brand that is not part of the reloading market (and thus, not marketed for such a small sector). I settled on a Jennings Mac 20. It reads to 0.02 grains, rounded off (but is actually much more sensitive, internally). Capacity is 20 grams, or 308 grains....which is enough for me. I only need it for powder charges and bullets, so this does the job. I have been very pleased with the balance - enough features, no problems, very consistent, etc. etc. The price was good, too....about $75.00.
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