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Old July 5, 2012, 12:45 PM   #1
KMAX
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Who makes a good low cost scale?

I need a new powder scale. Who makes a good scale for a reasonable price. I am sort of a tightwad. I don't want to spend any more than I have to, but I want a scale I can trust. Electronic would be okay.
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Old July 5, 2012, 01:44 PM   #2
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Blieve it or not, I picked up a cheap $10 buck scale at Harbor Freight just for kicks. Got it home and checked it out with check weights, reads dead on, repeats dead on every time, not much more for a scale to do right out of the box.
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Old July 5, 2012, 01:58 PM   #3
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I bought a digital scale from Midway USA on sale for 19.99 and it is dead on and I use it all the time now.
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Old July 5, 2012, 02:28 PM   #4
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There will be lots of naysayers but the Lee Safety scale is accurate. It maybe not be as easy to use as a 10-10 or the 505 but with a little practice it gets the job done accurately. I use mine a a backup. I found that filling the base with lead shot with epoxy made it much easier to use.
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Old July 5, 2012, 02:29 PM   #5
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I think what is happening with electronic scales is what happened to hand held calculators years ago. I remember my first hand held/pocket calculator was the size of a package on Benson & Hedges cigs. Its functions were add, substract, multiply and division, and simple memory. It cost me close to $300 bucks. Now these simple calculators are much smaller and cost 1 to 2 bucks.

I believe the same is whats happening to scales. Course we all know the big market is not for weighing powder charges.
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Old July 5, 2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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Bottom line, entry level best scale is the Lee Safety Scale. The scale is as accurate as any of the three I have. If the scale isn't actually broken, it's accurate (nothing to bend or warp as the "plastic" used is very stable). I like to use it for setting my powder measure and loading with dippers. I'l set the weight I want and lock the poise. Also once the poise is locked, if it's bumped it wo't lose it's setting (my Lyman/Ohaus 1/10 poise will jump around if the pan is removed quickly, or if the beam is bumped when replacing the pan). The one "problem" is the vernier poise. Some can't/won't learn to read the vernier scale so it's harder to use. It's drawbacks? It's not green. It's different. and it does look "cheap" when side by side with a $$$$ scale.
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Old July 5, 2012, 05:43 PM   #7
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This is an excellent scale. Not sure why more people are not using it. The pan is tiny, so you will need to set a larger one on top of it (I use the pan from my Lee Safety Scale), but other than that it is perfect.

It is accurate to .02grains. Yes, .02.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh...ords=gemini+20
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Old July 5, 2012, 05:46 PM   #8
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I like the Lee Safety Scale, and it always matches my check weights. You can pick one up on the internet auction site for $13-15 if you watch em, or maybe somebody here who hates em will offer you one they tried for less than that. It's definitely a love it or hate it relationship, judging from the responses every time it comes up. I love mine.
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Old July 5, 2012, 06:03 PM   #9
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I have used my Lee scale for 10+ years. Works. Is inexpensive. Great Value.
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Old July 5, 2012, 06:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
This is an excellent scale. Not sure why more people are not using it. The pan is tiny, so you will need to set a larger one on top of it (I use the pan from my Lee Safety Scale), but other than that it is perfect.

It is accurate to .02grains. Yes, .02.
The display resolution is .02 grains, but the manual doesn't mention the unit's accuracy anywhere (which I don't find comforting). Still, even if the accuracy is only 0.1 grains, that looks like a good deal for $25.
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Old July 5, 2012, 07:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
The display resolution is .02 grains, but the manual doesn't mention the unit's accuracy anywhere (which I don't find comforting). Still, even if the accuracy is only 0.1 grains, that looks like a good deal for $25.
True. I use the thousandths decimal for reference purposes only. It is handy to see if a 4.0 grain charge is dropping loosely, like 3.92-4.08, for example, or if it is staying much tighter, like 3.98-4.02 (in the case of spot checking powder measure). It is also reassuring when you are trickling a charge for the same reason.

I check it monthly against my lee scale and the included calibration weights and so far it has been excellent. I have had it for about 6 months and 3000 rounds now. Couldnt be happier
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Old July 5, 2012, 08:38 PM   #12
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The only scale I had ever used was the RCBS 505. I checked it with my expensive digital scales and it is right on the money.

Nowdays I mostly use the RCBS Chargemaster 1500. It is also highly accurate.

I still use the 505 to set my RCBS Flowmaster. I use the Flowmaster mounted on my Turret press for slamming out .40 S&W's. I can produce some high quality rounds in a short time that way.
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Old July 5, 2012, 08:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld
Bottom line, entry level best scale is the Lee Safety Scale. The scale is as accurate as any of the three I have. If the scale isn't actually broken, it's accurate (nothing to bend or warp as the "plastic" used is very stable). I like to use it for setting my powder measure and loading with dippers. I'l set the weight I want and lock the poise. Also once the poise is locked, if it's bumped it wo't lose it's setting (my Lyman/Ohaus 1/10 poise will jump around if the pan is removed quickly, or if the beam is bumped when replacing the pan). The one "problem" is the vernier poise. Some can't/won't learn to read the vernier scale so it's harder to use. It's drawbacks? It's not green. It's different. and it does look "cheap" when side by side with a $$$$ scale.
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I have a green Lee Safety Scale, with the original box, too. I have no idea how old it is, but it looks (except for the color) exactly like ones of current manufacture.

When I got my Lee Scale (in a trade), I had been used to the RCBS 10-10 and was spoiled. I hated the Lee, even though I am familiar with verniers. Then I got hold of the instructions for the Lee. I hate it much less now.

Set it on a securely mounted shelf in strong light and at eye level so you can get your face close to it. It will perform admirably.

Lost Sheep.
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:12 PM   #14
David Bachelder
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The weight slides (?) on my RCBS 505 move around a bit, especially the small one. Bumping the scale or the pan seems to be what causes it.

You have to keep an eye on that rascal or he'll fool you.

If I wasn't such a Klutz, I doub't it would be an issue.
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:23 PM   #15
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The Lee Safety Scale is one of the very few items from Lee I dislike. Its so light weight its hard for me to control, which I realize isn't Lee's fault but mine. I had Polio when I was in my early teens and some of the effects are starting to return, weakened muscles, and the worse, shaking. Try to work with a Lee scale with a shaking problem, a very bad shaking problem.

For others its an accurate and is you can operate it, its an excellant choice.
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Old July 6, 2012, 12:32 AM   #16
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I think you are right about what is happening with scale price and quality. More bang for the buck is getting standard. I've heard folks complain the cheap ones are catch as catch can, and you sometimes get a good one and sometimes one that drifts all over or doesn't repeat well. You can read the reviews on Midway to get some idea. But it used to be you had to pay $500 and get a Denver Instrument variant to get decent stability with 0.1 grain resolution. You could try an awful lot of the cheap ones for that kind of money.

I don't know how the $25 gem scale compares on stability and quality unit-to-unit at this point in time, but you want to keep the 20 gram (308.65 grains) limit in mind if you go to weighing bullets.

Brian Enos sells a battery powered unit for $75 that has 1543.2 gr (100 gm) capacity, 0.1 gr resolution and is stable, can be programmed not to shut off automatically every couple of minutes to save batteries, and has a 20 year warranty (much better than the Denver Instruments unit). Enos told me on the phone that he'd never had a single return of that model. That point would put it high on my list of candidates.

Also, with any kind of scale, if you find a best load you want to be able to repeat, trim a little stainless wire to match it's weight. That way, if you ever doubt a scale, you can drop that weight on to get a reference reading that you know is the value of the charge weight you actually want.
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Old July 6, 2012, 09:10 AM   #17
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RCBS 505 is what I switched to a few months ago and I love it. Accurate keeps zero and easy to set up and use. Can be found online cheaper than some big retail name websites

Wish I would have started with this one instead of the LEE scale
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:19 AM   #18
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Unclenick: "Also, with any kind of scale, if you find a best load you want to be able to repeat, trim a little stainless wire to match it's weight. That way, if you ever doubt a scale, you can drop that weight on to get a reference reading that you know is the value of the charge weight you actually want.

Wouldn't humidity absorption make a difference?
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:05 AM   #19
jcwit
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Quote:
trim a little stainless wire
Quote:
Wouldn't humidity absorption make a difference?
Am I missing something here?
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:32 AM   #20
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I think he meant humidity absorption into the charge, not the wire.

Either way, the wire business is a great tip.
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:37 AM   #21
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I like the wire tip as well, except that if the scale is no longer reading correctly to the point where I have to use my "reference wire" to figure out what setting I need to dial in on the scale in order to get the charge I really want, then who's to say that the scale's performance isn't going to deteriorate even further, or how long it's going to take?
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:55 AM   #22
tkglazie
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I like the wire tip in addition to my regular calibration regimen. Sounds great so on the fly piece of mind.

I am going to be loading as many of my favorites 9mm rounds as I can this weekend (125grLRN/4.1grHP38/1.125"). It will be nice to have a 4.1 grain piece of wire handy (or whatever number close to that it actually ends up at when I can clip it). After every box I can check the wire, if it reads what it is supposed to, I am good to go. Brilliant. I care much more about how the scale reads in the range I am measuring in than I do in the calibration weight range.
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:57 AM   #23
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The Lee scale has been great for me. It is almost dead on with the Lee dippers I have according to the slider scale that comes with them. If you're a low-volume loader like myself and you weigh every charge, the LSS and the dipper set are a great way to go along with any old powder trickler.

I have had ZERO problems using the Lee Scale and I WAS NOT familiar with verniers before I started reloading. All I did was read the instructions (before I even bought the scale I downloaded it because people told me what a PITA is was to use it). I use a great old set of vernier calipers instead of buying a new set of dial or digital types cause it makes me think and keeps my wits sharp! Now I can read them in a split second without a second glance.
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Old July 6, 2012, 12:02 PM   #24
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I agree that it's a good idea to use it as another check weight, particular since it's the same weight as the charges you're about to weigh. But re-read his post; he's talking about using the wire to figure out what an inaccurate scale's display need to read for a particular charge weight.

For example, if you're wanting to weigh 4.1 gr charges, but your scale isn't reading accurately, you put your 4.1 gr wire on the pan and see what the scale says. Let's say it reads 4.4 gr. Now you know that you want your scale to read 4.4 gr if you want your charges to be 4.1 gr.

THAT was the part that I wasn't comfortable with, because it doesn't address the root cause of the scale's inaccuracy, and who's to say it's not going to get worse?
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Old July 6, 2012, 12:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwit
I remember my first hand held/pocket calculator was the size of a package on Benson & Hedges cigs. Its functions were add, substract, multiply and division, and simple memory. It cost me close to $300 bucks. Now these simple calculators are much smaller and cost 1 to 2 bucks.
It's funny, now scientific cow-kue-laters come with cameras, games, phone, internet, ballistic computer, television, and a host of other features on them and they fit in your pocket and everyone has one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by daboone
Wouldn't humidity absorption make a difference?
Not in Peoria, Arizona
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