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Old December 14, 2013, 03:38 PM   #1
Brutus
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Electronic scales

After about ten years my RCBS electronic scale went on the fritz. Decided against trying to get it repaired and went to Cabelas for a new one. After looking at the offerings from RCBS Hornady and Lyman ( $120 plus) I went with the Cabelas brand for 80 bucks. I seem to remember that the Lyman was the only one made in the USA, all others were from China. I've used it about four times now and find it to be inaccurate , plus or minus .2 gr's. Now I don't have a lot of faith in electronic scales and use them only to verify my good old balance beam, which hasn't failed in thirty years, needless to say I have calibrated both scales numerous times always with the same result.
For example: with my powder measure set at say 6.2gr's of 231, a very good metering powder, my balance beam will pretty much stay dead center while on the other hand the electronic will give a reading of anywhere between 6.2 and 6.4 grains. It's driving me crazy.
I'm going to return it tomorrow for one of the more expensive models, any feedback on these electronic scales would be greatly appreciated. Kind of leaning towards the USA brand just onaconda.
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Old December 14, 2013, 05:10 PM   #2
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I have the Lyman 1200 DPS3 (going on memory on the exact product number) that I paid about $250 for a couple years ago. It throws, trickles, and weighs and I really do like it. I have a PACT digital scale that I use as a check on the Lyman. I don't have any problem with accuracy, and I love the speed of the unit. I've also heard much praise for the RCBS unit, which is a bit more money, and wasn't on sale when I decided to buy.

I keep my old RCBS 1010 scale for a just-in-case everything else breaks, but I haven't used it in a very long time. I probably ought to just sell it.
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Old December 14, 2013, 05:17 PM   #3
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My Lyman micro-touch 1500 scale and Gen5 powder system both say made in china. They have both been right on the money with check weights. Neither one one has a problem with drifting yet. I have a line interactive, true sine wave, AVR ups that they plug into for power and I use anti-static wipes on them. However I think it is the nature of the electronic scales to fluctuate at times. My RCBS 1010 mechanical scale never gives the same reading twice, and it's been back to RCBS for check/repair. It is made in Mexico. It reads + or - .3 grains. I don't know if there is a reasonably priced scale that is perfect. The Lee scale that came with my Turret press always reads the same as the check weights, but is a pain in the rear to set with big hands.
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Old December 14, 2013, 07:44 PM   #4
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Degree of error or accuracy

Every indicating instrument and that would include, both of your scales, has a listed degree of error or accuracy. The cheaper they are the greater the span. You really have to get down to reading the specs on these scales. If you can't find this information, it's not worth buying. Calibrations are based on a know standard and the closest you and I will get, is a set of test weights and well worth the money. ......

Be Safe !!!
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Old December 14, 2013, 08:50 PM   #5
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My first electronic scale was a Pact which worked very well for a few years until failing in an interesting way, which I was lucky to catch, and went into the trash.

I later replaced it with a Dillon which is still working just fine.

Both scales have a limitation which is a bit of stickiness when, say, throwing powder charges a little light and trickling up to desired weight. If the thrown charge is a few tenths light, the scale will be reluctant to change until enough powder is trickled in to make the charge too heavy.

For weighing as thrown powder charges, sorting bullets or brass by weight, or other similar chores, an electronic scale can't be beat.

For throwing light and trickling up, my RCBS 505 works just fine.
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Old December 14, 2013, 09:29 PM   #6
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Frankly, I would just stick with the balance beam. Always correct, never wear out.
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Old December 14, 2013, 09:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
my good old balance beam
^^ That about covers it. ^^
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Old December 15, 2013, 01:22 AM   #8
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I have an OLD Dillon electronic that I purchased second-had bout 15 years ago. I have a RCBS Load Master (electronic) I bought new 2 or 3 years ago. They read within 0.1 of each other consistently. Dillon usually reads 0.1 higher than the RCBS. When I check with my my RCBS balance beam it agrees with one or the other consistently. I believe both boast either + - 0.1 or 0.2 accuracy. 0.1 consistency seem pretty darn good to me.
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Old December 15, 2013, 10:01 AM   #9
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No doubt about it the balance beam trumps the electronic every time but it's nice to have an E-scale just as a double check. Probably never be ten grains over or mistake .5 for .6 but one never knows especially when loading with large rifle charges.
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Old December 15, 2013, 01:07 PM   #10
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The electronioc scale I use is a Frankford Arsenal I bought on sale for 19.99 over a year ago and it still works great. Accurate to with in + or - .01
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Old December 17, 2013, 07:27 AM   #11
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A friend recommended the MTM scale... I bought one and have really been surprised by its accuracy. Piece of mind to have 2 scales in agreement.
esp. for $20.00.
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Old December 18, 2013, 09:12 PM   #12
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Although I couldn't afford it but bought it anyway The RCBS Chargemaster Combo is very impressive. Ive only had it for about a week. and only used it about 4 times. I had a thread on scale replacement a few months ago and it was between the chargemaster and the RCBS 10/10 balance beam. Im of the young folk and the chargemaster really appealed to me. although I was brought up before the massive technology boom so I do have some old fashioned in me. Ill eventually get a beam scale just because I like the traditional way of doing things. And they are very accurate and reliable. I could hardly find a bad review on the chargemaster and I did a lot of looking. Of course everything has its issues but im very happy with it so far.
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Old December 18, 2013, 11:46 PM   #13
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scale

I got my scales through Amazon. They are accurate to .02 grains and were cheap enough to get 2 different models, (for cross checking). They both read in grains among others.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old December 19, 2013, 12:26 AM   #14
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I use Dillon. Since you brought it up, I prefer equipment made overseas.
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Old December 19, 2013, 09:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
My first electronic scale was a Pact which worked very well for a few years until failing in an interesting way, which I was lucky to catch, and went into the trash.
scottys1, if you would not mind could you elaborate a little more on the problems your Pact scale had.

The reason I ask, is I have a Pact scale I've used for years, to date I don't believe it's had any issues.
I'm curious as to what I may need to be on the look out for.

I calibrate my scale often with the calibration weights supplied with the scale, along with that I check with known weights once it's been calibrated.

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Old December 21, 2013, 10:57 AM   #16
Brutus
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Well I exchanged the Cabelas model for the Lyman Accu-touch 2000, $119.
So far so good checks within .1gr. of my balance beam, which I'm satisfied with.
royesses is correct they are made in China but so was everything else on the shelf. Seems to be a bit more robust than the other offerings, I like the metal platform. Definitely an improvement over the Cabelas model. Still in all I would never trust it as a sole source of measurement.
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Old December 21, 2013, 01:07 PM   #17
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Like "rebs" I have a Frankford scale as I wanted a cheap introduction to electronics so I could see how I liked it (and the controls orientation was right for what I was doing. Very useful as well to cross check a cartridge and bullets to confirm what in them or what they are for sure.

The downside is yes it does drift

I am also a controls tech and used to dealing with the oddities of sensors and often you can work out a procedure to deal with them.

Once I saw what it was doing, I noted the charge pan weight (written on it) and I check the scale weight readout when I take the pan off. When I drifts off more than a tenth, I re-zero it. Sometimes it holds for 20 rounds and sometimes it drifts again. When it drifts I just re-zero again.

Initially I also used the reliable beam scale to cross check my methods to ensure it was a good and consistent approach. The Frankford was closer than I could see a change in the beam unless I let it drift .3 off or more. So with a bit of cross checking its within a tenth.

Probably nice to have a scale that does not drift but I am not going to spend a lot of money like a UPS or an AVR to maintain it!

While I will probably get a good setup like the RCBS one day for now the Frankfurt works well within its limitations and the method to keep it there.
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Old December 21, 2013, 07:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
The electronioc scale I use is a Frankford Arsenal I bought on sale for 19.99 over a year ago and it still works great. Accurate to with in + or - .01
Ditto!

I've been amazed with that cheapo scale... Always dead nutz on with the test weights...and I can't shoot better than the .1 it might vacillate on- so it doesn't matter.

If I used a balance beam to weigh charges for the 400 rounds of .308, 6.5 Grendel, .260, 7-08, .223 and 7.5 x 55 we typically take every range trip, I'd need to quit my job (and I'd be drooling in the corner anyway...who's got that kind of time and patience?).
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Old December 21, 2013, 10:15 PM   #19
scottys1
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Hunter Customs, to answer your question...

I was loading a large batch of .40 on my Dillon 550 using the Pact scale. I like to visually check every powder charge and will pull and weigh any that don't look correct. I will also occasionally weigh a bullet just for peace of mind, usually when refilling the primer tube. About the third or fourth bullet I weighed, the scale read 155gr. That's interesting, I thought, as I was loading 180gr bullets. The bullets I weighed previously all were 180gr.

After much investigation, recalibrating the scale multiple times, checking with check weights, weighing many objects (usually other bullets in a wide weight spread), and comparing to my RCBS 505, I found that the Pact was incorrect in a range from about 100-120 grains to about 230-250 grains. The error was always about 25-30 grains. Above or below that, its precision was to my satisfaction.

With that in mind, I felt confident in firing the few hundred rounds already loaded which worked just fine but were relegated to practice rather than match use.

After that experience, I didn't feel that I could trust the scale anymore so, since it was out of warranty, it went into the trash.
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Old December 22, 2013, 08:06 AM   #20
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I'm not really into hyper accuracy match shooting (yet). So my reloading is confined to plinking and SD ammo for my AR-15 and hunting ammo for my .38-55 Winchester. I also have the Frankford Arsenal electronic scale mentioned above. I've found that it occasionally drifts by about 0.1 grain. 0.1gn variance in my loads is about 0.5%. For the distances I currently shoot (150yds at most), that's proven to be "accurate enough". I just re-calibrate it every 20-30 rounds. It only takes about 10 secs. The longer I use it (in one session) the less frequently it drifts. So I'm assuming that as the internal electronics warm up it reaches "equilibrium" at some point.

Last edited by Ritz; December 22, 2013 at 08:17 AM.
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Old December 22, 2013, 11:48 AM   #21
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I used a balance beam scale for decades... it was simple and effective but not totally immune from minor issues. Just changing the position of your head when you view the witness marks can result in small variations, especially if you wear readers.

I use a RCBS chargemaster now, no problems . Electronics are subject to the influence of temperature changes, also static. If you reload out in the garage or in an out building that isn't always climate controlled, you might want to consider carrying your electronic scale in and out of the house with you.
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Old December 22, 2013, 11:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattL46
.....I had a thread on scale replacement a few months ago and it was between the chargemaster and the RCBS 10/10 balance beam. .....
I have both. The 10-10 is usually my check on the Chargemaster, but last week they didn't agree, so I pulled out the check weights. It turned out that the CM was correct and 10-10 pivots needed cleaning. Sometimes this checks and balances thing works both ways. (Pun intended. )
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Old December 22, 2013, 01:27 PM   #23
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While they can be erratic, the electronics are a cinch for running a batch of bullets through or loaded cartridge for a cross check.

I have used it to compare casses, fast and easy which you can't do on a beam.

On a scale the loaded cartridge with its case variation can be so large you have to fiddle back and forth to see if you messed up a load or not.

With the electronic its almost immediate, you can chart the high and low easily and be reasonably sure you have the right charge in it (or close enough)

I would not want to be without one and as noted, the beams can go off as well.

The longer I have it the more useful it is. I would call it mandatory now for at least a cheap one.
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Old December 22, 2013, 02:18 PM   #24
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@higgtite I'll eventually get a 10/10 I have a 505 that doesn't function properly. Although it has a good excuse considering its older than I am. The little tenths sticker fell off and I tried to put it back on. Its a few tenths off now. Ha. And I think there is another problem. Its hell to zero and the beam is very erratic...who knows...
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Old December 22, 2013, 03:39 PM   #25
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scottys1, thank you very much for your reply.
To date I've had no issues with my pact scale, however I will keep a close watch on it.

Best Regards
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