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Old April 11, 2013, 09:04 AM   #26
BumbleBug
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Get both!

Since you can get an inexpensive electronic scale these days, I say get both. If you want only one, go mechanical. For me at least, they serve two different uses. I use the digital to find out what something weighs (i.e. like a bullet), I use the mechanical to preset & weigh to (i.e. powder).

JIMHO...

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Old April 11, 2013, 11:46 AM   #27
Silver00LT
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Weird I have not had trouble out of my Hornady GS 1500. Then again I tare before every reading.

If you are looking for cheap...check out some scales that you find in typical house ware locations. Doesn't have to be in a reloading section. As long as it measures in grains.
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Old April 12, 2013, 01:28 AM   #28
FrankenMauser
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Just curious- what's your reasoning for this belief? Did you have a bad experience with an inexpensive digital scale?
Indeed, I have.

I've done quite a bit of testing, particularly with trickled charges.
Electronic scales that were not designed for reloading do not respond well to trickled charges, or light charges. Even some scales sold as 'reloading scales' were not actually designed for the task.
One properly-calibrated Cabela's "reloading scale" was actually found to repeatedly display as much as 17 grains less than the actual charge in the powder pan, with powder charges as light as 25 grains.

I've been reading a lot of bad things about recent-production Hornady GS 1500s, too. So, I would steer clear of that one for the time being, as well.
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Old April 12, 2013, 07:42 AM   #29
Silver00LT
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Sorry you guys are having BL with the Hornady GS 1500. Guess I got lucky.

As far as digital scales for reloading I have no reviews of others sorry. I am looking into a powder measure with built in scale. Just when I start reloading to the point its worth the cost of one.
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Old April 12, 2013, 09:30 AM   #30
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I've done quite a bit of testing, particularly with trickled charges.
Electronic scales that were not designed for reloading do not respond well to trickled charges, or light charges.
I'd suggest that is a big part of the problem, right there. Possibly because they don't take into acount the fact that the object being weighed will have a slowly & constantly changing weight when trickling.
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Old April 12, 2013, 10:14 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Silver00LT
Sorry you guys are having BL with the Hornady GS 1500. Guess I got lucky.
I think that's really to the point. I've been reading threads on scales for several years now, and it seems pretty much to be the case that they are hit or miss. You can get a good one or a bad one. That can also happen with more expensive scales (the PACT one I got drifted badly) but it's less likely.

There are a couple of things to watch out for. One is that a number of scales actually convert grams to grains internally. Since 0.1 grains=0.06478… grams, the conversions aren't exact and such scales often skip over digits in the 0.1 grain place.

Another is a lot of battery operated scales have automatic shutoff features that seem to blank the readings while you try to trickle. Check on that. The smaller scale Brian Enos sells can be programmed not to do that.

Another is whether or not it will freeze a reading when it settles and, even better, tell you that it has settled. Numbers that keep shifting as you watch are a nuisance.

All that said, the technology is, as all electronics tend to do, getting cheaper and better for the money. If you explore Amazon.com, you can now find several scales in the $20-$50 range with 0.001 gram (0.0154… grain) resolution, like this one, and a very good review of it is available by a member named Ginkgo (third down, here), that anyone considering an electronic scale for any purpose should read.
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Old April 12, 2013, 03:55 PM   #32
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Outstanding Uncle Nick. Thanks for the info on that.
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Old April 12, 2013, 04:23 PM   #33
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Did you mean - Good, Cheap, Digital: "Pick any two" ?

A and D FX-120i. Good & digital. Actually, it's possibly the cheapest magnetic force restoration balance with milligram resolution that you'll find, which makes it fast and stable. But it isn't what you'd actually call 'cheap'.

..
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Old April 12, 2013, 06:02 PM   #34
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My experience with the Frankford is that sometimes it would be good for 0.1 grain and sometimes it would miss a division - for example, weighing 43.0gn of my favourite target charge was sometimes a pain; I would get 42.9 or 43.1 but never the exact figure. I was recalibrating it constantly and thanking God I was somewhere my wife couldn't hear the long strings of four-letter words I was using.

In the end, I've decided to keep it but never accept what it had to say if I was anywhere near 0.5gn of maximum; those get weighed on a beam balance (RCBS). As it was, my rifles preferred loads closer to minimum when it came to group size and the problem never came up again. New rifles are coming soon, and we shall have to see how they perform with the old familiar loads.

If you're shooting for match or benchrest, you should probably bite the bullet (so to speak) and buy something more expensive. If you're not, 0.1 vs. 0.2 grains resolution may not make the difference if you aren't anywhere near maximum. All depends on your firearm and powder. If you're shooting anything where 0.1 grain can make a difference to pressures fast, you owe it to life, limb and eyesight to use something that guarantees 0.1 grain resolution or better.
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Old April 13, 2013, 02:26 AM   #35
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If you're shooting for match or benchrest,
No, sir. I'm only shooting paper so when I pull the trigger on a coyote, deer, elk etc, I know it's going to hit where it's supposed to.

I gave up on shrinking groups. Felt like I was chasing the wind, and that took all the fun out of it. Paper doesn't taste good anyway.

Quote:
you owe it to life, limb and eyesight to use something that guarantees 0.1 grain resolution or better
.

I find myself in somewhat of a predicament here. No doubt the accuracy of your charge is important when shooting near max, but most of the reason I got into reloading was to save $$$$.

I make plywood for a living. I can't afford $350 auto charging RCBS powder dispensers and other overpriced gadgets.
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Old April 13, 2013, 09:47 AM   #36
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Hi shredder4286:

Your requirements sound more like you need to be concentrating on the right powders & a good measure. Restrict yourself to ball powders & get a good measure (RCBS works for me).

Early reloading advice was to never ever throw max loads with a measure, but if you get comfortable & confident with a good measure that doesn't hold true.

JIMHO...

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Last edited by BumbleBug; April 13, 2013 at 05:36 PM.
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Old April 13, 2013, 05:35 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pathdoc
for example, weighing 43.0gn of my favourite target charge was sometimes a pain; I would get 42.9 or 43.1 but never the exact figure.
43.0 grs divided by 15.43236 grs/g = 2.786 g. So we can deduce that scale is a gram scale with 0.01 g resolution converting grams to grains, and as it jumped back and forth between 2.78 g and 2.79 g internally, you got 42.9 grs and 43.1 grs after rounding.


shredder4286,

Per Bumblebug, it sounds like a powder measure might be better to increase your production rate. The only problem is the kind he suggested and others like it cost several times more than the scales you've been considering. I'd recommend you look at the Lee Perfect measure, which is $22 at MidSouth, and you can calibrate its settings with your 5-0-5. That measure does well with stick powders and large grain spherical propellants, but has issues with fine spherical propellants getting wedged between the rotor and drum. It can be made to work with them, but a bit of effort is involved.

Also note that no measure can be totally counted on to do better than about 0.2 grains precision with stick powders, but fortunately they seldom need to. Stick powders tend to be more forgiving of exact charge when dispensed by volume as packing tighter slows their burn rate a little and vice versa. You can read Dan Newberry's pages on developing a load with best immunity to charge variation without changing point of impact.
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Old April 14, 2013, 12:38 AM   #38
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Good, but cheap never works out very well for scales or calipers. For an inexpensive scale that's as accurate as the best of them you need look no farther than the RCBS RC 130. It's triple poised, magnetically dampened and has agate bearings. Its limit is 131 grs. making it particularly good for weighing powder charges. If you want to weigh bullets above 131 grs. or loaded cartridges I won't try to make a case against a digital, but as so many have already pointed out, they're hit and miss where a good balance beam scale will give the highest precision with the REDDING #2 giving +/- 1/20th of a grain accuracy.

I have seen even fairly expensive digital calipers that were inaccurate while you can buy the inexpensive Chinese made Frankford Arsenal calipers around $25 and I've checked them before on precision gauge blocks and found them on the money accuracy wise. A better bet would be a Japanese caliper but they're getting harder to find without paying considerably more $. The American made model from Starrett or Swiss made Brown & Sharpe are extremely accurate and will last a lifetime if you're inclined to spend that much money for a dial caliper. For most uses in reloading, the Frankford Arsenal's will work fine but may be limited to a useful lifespan of 5 years or less.

Last edited by 57K; April 14, 2013 at 06:54 PM.
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Old April 14, 2013, 02:15 AM   #39
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Quote:
it sounds like a powder measure might be better to increase your production rate
I have a hornady lock n load powder dispenser with the micrometer insert for rifle powder. I've applied all the advice about "consistency, consistency, consistency", but the darn thing never seems to produce the same charge no matter what I do.

Quote:
You can read Dan Newberry's pages on developing a load with best immunity to charge variation without changing point of impact.
I've spoken with Dan a little, and used his OCW formula to develop a load for my 22-250. It's nice to have a load that performs the same when physical influences would normally cause POI/velocity changes.
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Old April 14, 2013, 04:08 AM   #40
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If you're shooting anything where 0.1 grain can make a difference to pressures fast, you owe it to life, limb and eyesight to use something that guarantees 0.1 grain resolution or better.
If you're shooting anything where a 0.1gr overcharge may cause injury to life and limb you need to pick a different powder or re-evaluate your reloading goals.
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Old April 14, 2013, 04:06 PM   #41
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Shredder,

Sounds like you've got your load then. What powder is it? As Bumblebug said, those measures should do pretty well with spherical powders, like the Ramshot line and others. With stick powders they tend to cut grains. The problem with cutting grains isn't the cut itself, but that it jars the powder hopper causing the powder to settle, making it more dense for the next throw. There are three things you can try to do about this:
  1. Mount the measure really solidly so it can't be jarred much, even by cutting grains. A heavy steel plate is nice.
  2. Intentionally introduce uniform vibration by tapping the side of the measure. Some folks have even gone so far as to attach fish tank aerator pumps to the powder hopper with rubber bands, then flipping it on half a second before each fill.
  3. Add a baffle or even two baffles to the powder hopper at right angles to one another and an inch apart. The baffles make it behave as if the powder level were lower and always the same. This helps repeatability. My baffle templates are here. There is an old thread on the LNL measure, here.
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Old April 15, 2013, 02:30 PM   #42
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What powder is it?
IMR 4064 and Hodgdon Varget.

Quote:
Mount the measure really solidly so it can't be jarred much, even by cutting grains. A heavy steel plate is nice.
That would be a huge improvement from where I was before. I had my powder measure secured to an end-table with two little c-clamps.

So, do the baffles for the hopper just keep some of the powder above a certain spot, therefor making your charges more consistent? I saw the drawings in your pdf file, just confused about exactly what purpose the baffles serve.

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Old April 15, 2013, 02:47 PM   #43
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Happy with my Cabelas XT1500 ($85).

Use both it an a beam.
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Old April 15, 2013, 05:26 PM   #44
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I have never had a problem with my Hornady 1500. It's spot on always. I check the weight about every ten loads or so. http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-Electr.../dp/B001KZ7JLW
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Old April 15, 2013, 05:59 PM   #45
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Shredder, my alternative method is an RCBS beam balance much like yours. I'm not going to rush out and buy a $350 auto-dispensing electronic wonder either; among other things, I'm not sure it's actually that much faster than dumping the bulk of my charge with a Lee scoop and then trickling up to desired weight. I'm happy with 0.1 grain resolution, and maybe I should just accept that extra, firm 0.1 in either direction and not sweat too much (which means I should probably also go over to the ladder method of load testing).

I merely mentioned my scale's limitations as an honest disclosure of my experiences with it. I'm vey happy with it for an eyeball indication of where I am (way over, way under, getting pretty close, within acceptable margins), but my absolute trust in it decreases the closer I get to maximum (on the rare occasions I approach it). That's when I weigh every charge twice on the beam.
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Old April 15, 2013, 06:05 PM   #46
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That's when I weigh every charge twice on the beam.
I've found that my powder dispenser is so inconsistent, I have to measure AND trickle every charge. I need to consider uncle nick's advice and try a more solid mount and the baffles.
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Old April 15, 2013, 09:14 PM   #47
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Good and Cheap shouldn't even be in the same sentence.
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Old April 15, 2013, 11:20 PM   #48
shredder4286
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Good and Cheap shouldn't even be in the same sentence.
Thank you for your valuable contribution to the topic. Seriously, though- reloading was originally supposed to be about saving money, not buying a bunch of expensive toys. We grow our own vegetables, why would I spend $$$ on a device which has only one purpose- to weigh gun powder?
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Old April 15, 2013, 11:29 PM   #49
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If you read my posts about electronic dispensers, you'll see I'm against them. I like balance beam. Rcbs 5-0-5 is what I got. And reloading never saved me a dime. I shoot almost daily, but thousands of dollars worth of bullets, powder, primers,etc. you think I'm saving any money!!!!
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Old April 15, 2013, 11:37 PM   #50
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I can answer that one. If I buy cheap untreated seeds I get far less germination, rot and insect damage thus a lower crop.

Now you don't have to spend top money to buy a great scale but you certainly do not want a cheap inaccurate one either.

I don't use a top dollar one but it isn't the cheapest either. I like my Lyman 1000XP. I have had it for a few years and I think they run around $130 today.

Brian Enos sales a cheaper one on his site for around $75 that people really like. It even has something like a 20 year warranty. He also has a top German made scale for around $135 with a life time warranty.

BTW the Lyman has been tack on since the day I bought mine and works really well with either batteries or the AC adapter.
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