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Old May 29, 2013, 10:53 PM   #1
Prof Young
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What my new scale taught me . . .

Loaders:
So I've been using a Hornady GS1500 electronic scale in combination with a lee perfect powder measure. Without fail half way through a batch I'd have to adjust the measure as the scale said I was off by a couple of tenths of grains.

Got the lee balance type scale and have started using it to check the consistently of the powder measure and guess what . . . the powder measure doesn't change. Once it's set I can do fifty plus loads and the amount of powder coming out does not change. I check every ten or twenty loads just to make sure.

I'm still using the Hornady to get my initial load set, but confirm it with the balance scale.

So much to learn . . .

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Old May 29, 2013, 11:22 PM   #2
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Contact Hornady and complain.
Did you calibrate the scale?
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Old May 30, 2013, 04:50 AM   #3
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I use balance scales, pretty much exclusively.

I do have an RCBS electronic scale, but I only use it to weigh brass, bullets, etc.

For powder charges... I set the Lee PPM, keep the hopper more tha 1/2 full, and throw the charges.

If it's a short cut extruded or a ball powder, I usually just check the thrown charge weight every 10th case or so.


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Old May 30, 2013, 09:03 AM   #4
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I trust my little Lee balance scale more than either of the two Digital scales I have owned. That Little scale doesn't get enough respect. The problem with digital scales is the fact that they are too Convenient.
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Old May 30, 2013, 09:20 AM   #5
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My electronic RCBS works flawlessly.

I question why you are concerned with "a couple tenths of grains"?

Are you loading small charges in handgun cases where +-0.2 grains is more than 4% of the powder charge?

Or are you loading rifle and large handgun where +-0.2 grains is <3% of the powder charge?

If you are loading the latter, I very much doubt you will ever see any difference on target. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old May 30, 2013, 09:51 AM   #6
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I'm with Wyoredman on this one. When loading rifle cartridges .2 grains is an acceptable variation.
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Old May 30, 2013, 01:15 PM   #7
Prof Young
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Because I thought I should be . . . .

Wyoredman and AllenJ:

I was concerned about a couple of tenths of a grain because I thought I should be. I'm self taught reloader, read the books, read this forum etc. and figured that a max load is a max load. But it makes sense that those very small amounts, a tenth or two wouldn't make that much difference.

Thanks for the help.

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Old May 30, 2013, 01:22 PM   #8
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Not a problem.

Enjoy your newly made ammunition.
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Old May 30, 2013, 01:22 PM   #9
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Any scale that uses springs is subject to variance/deviation. It's simply the nature of the beast.

That said, I'm still looking for a good digital scale. I find the beam-type scale too delicate and fussy in use.
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Old May 30, 2013, 02:03 PM   #10
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Prof Young,

Just a short anecdote from my experience:

At one time, I, too, was very concerned about exact powder charges. I would trickle every charge by hand and weigh them on my beam scale. I had to get it exact.

Then I bought a digital scale/dispenser combo. It drove me nuts that sometimes the darn thing would throw 0.1 or 0.2 grains over the expected charge.

Then I bought a chronograph. I decided to make 20 rounds the old way - trickle and weigh on the beam scale - and 20 rounds with the electronic scale/dispenser.

Over the chronograph, there was zero, nada, nill, zip difference in velocity, SD or velocity spread between the trickled and mechanized powder charges!

I quit worrying about it after that and life has become much easier!
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Old May 30, 2013, 02:25 PM   #11
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I bought a nice digital scale, Jennings, but found I had to reset "tare" quite often when weighing, removing and replacing pan. Never had to reset a balance beam scale...
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Old May 30, 2013, 03:27 PM   #12
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With an Optimal Charge Weight load... minor powder variation won't affect you much at all.

If you do find that .2 grains throws your accuracy and/or velocity way off, then you've chosen the wrong powder charge.

Re-work the load per OCW instructions and you can throw your charges with many powders...

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Old May 31, 2013, 10:57 AM   #13
Prof Young
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Your tale helps a lot.

Wyoredman:

You tale about the chronograph results helps a lot.

Sure it pays to be cautious as a reloader, but there comes a point where plus or minus a tenth of a grain or two is not going to make any difference in the final results and is still very safe.

Live well and be safe.
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Old May 31, 2013, 10:57 AM   #14
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When I'm working up a load I weigh every charge, +- .1 gr.. I want to control consistency as much as possible. When I find the "sweet spot" for a particular combination of components, I will relax my tolerances, and switch to my C-H powder measure...
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Old May 31, 2013, 11:43 AM   #15
Dave P
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"With an Optimal Charge Weight load... minor powder variation won't affect you much at all." Dan is right about this.

For 200 and 300 yards, I just throw powder (223 and 308). At 600 yards I still like to weight them, but sometimes throw the 223 there also -- With great results on target.
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Old May 31, 2013, 12:29 PM   #16
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I have a RCBS electronic scale and it works great.

I use check weights every 3 round... never a problem

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Old May 31, 2013, 01:49 PM   #17
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Even with a balance beam, who is to say that beam was properly calibrated at the factory and the markings are in the exact right spot?

Are you 100% sure that you are looking at the scale from the exact same perspective each and every time you look at it? A few degrees off from your view point could mean a tenth here or there.....

I understand being anal about charge weights, but don't fool yourself into thinking that a mass produced balance beam scale is somehow any more or less accurate than a mass produced digital scale, all things being equal with the person using it.

I have both and use both, though admittedly I can't remember the last time I used my balance beam anymore. My Chargemaster just works every single time for me.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Even with a balance beam, who is to say that beam was properly calibrated at the factory and the markings are in the exact right spot?
Well, exactly - not to mention that it might well be on a surface that isn't absolutely dead level, which is why these beam scales have a "calibration" screw in the base.

Fact is, we should all have (and frequently use) reference weights to calibrate our scales and correct the inevitable drift which is bound to happen over time.
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Old June 1, 2013, 11:59 AM   #19
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Wyoredman and others are right, a couple of tenths is no big deal. Even my Chargemaster will dispense a couple of tenths off now and then. More important is a consistent technique with the powder measure. Some reloaders believe that a consistent volume is more important than a consistent weight, anyway. A powder baffle will help keep a powder measure throwing consistent charges as powder level changes.
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Old June 1, 2013, 03:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Even with a balance beam, who is to say that beam was properly calibrated at the factory and the markings are in the exact right spot?
Whether or not a beam scale is calibrated (hash marks on beam) exactly, repeatability is the key. The major problems with early digital scales was this repearability; wandering zero, auto-shutoff disrupting tare, etc. If your powder charges are the same (or as close as possible) whether they weigh 11.01 or 11.05 is not an issue, but consistency is...
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:13 PM   #21
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I'll stick with a balance scale. They're not without their drawbacks, but at the end of the day, they're consistent and accurate (when used patiently and properly). And when it all hits the fan, they don't need batteries or electricity of any kind. Government can't take away our gravity.
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Old June 2, 2013, 07:43 PM   #22
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I started reloading using the RCBS 505 beam scale. After a decade the siren call of electronics MADE me get a Dillon scale, which seemed to work fine for a few years but eventually got so it would drift many times during a reloading session and need re-zeroing. I went back to the 505, and haven't used the Dillon electronic in years - unless I want to sort cases or bullets by weight, where the direct readout is a lot more convenient than having to move poises on a beam.

We all have access to laboratory grade gravity. Confirm zero on a quality beam scale before your reloading session and you should be able to measure well within 0.1g easily. (A 0.1g difference makes about a 1/16 inch deflection from zero on my 505 scale. That is easy to detect unless your eye is WAY above or below the beam and index mark - the beam and index are in the same plane, so if you're left or right of center the deflection looks the same as straight on.)
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Old June 2, 2013, 08:06 PM   #23
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As dan Stated,1/10 won't make to much difference. That being said,I started with a beam and went to a digital and have never looked back.Beams are nice,but cumbersome and to darn slow.
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Old June 2, 2013, 09:09 PM   #24
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I'm with 4Runnerman. My RCBS 1010 is now a paper weight and not used for weighing powder. I've gone digital, but I'll keep the 1010 though....just in case.
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Old June 3, 2013, 09:19 AM   #25
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Same here....my lee perfect powder measure is spot on but my electronic scale will vary a bit each time...if ya get and use annelectronic scale, u really need to spead some good good money for a well built one that will be dead on accurate.
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