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Old January 24, 2005, 03:06 PM   #1
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Reloading and going senile

Okay - I don't know what is wrong with me - having been a semi-auto pistol and rifle man almost my whole life - I now find myself desiring revolvers, bolt guns, and lever guns. Am I getting old, senile, losing my mind. I only ask because I also reload and I have lately decided I am not satisfied with the inconsistent accuracy of my electronic scale - without frequent re-calibration it can be off as much as .5 grains. Also the power was off for 5 days over this past Thanksgiving, during which time I realized I couldn't reload. Therefore following my continued retrograde bent-

What is the best balance beam scale - given the following criteria:

1. accuracy - consistent within .1 grain or better

2. ease of use - adjustments - easy to read

3. used primarily for powder measurement - but sometimes for bullets or cases

4. quality manufacture - will it last and be a quality instrument

I have done some reading and research but would very much appreciate the benefit of your experience. So what balance beam scale comes to mind and why?
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Old January 24, 2005, 04:23 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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I don't know which is The Best.
My old Lyman D7 works so well I have never had the opportunity to compare it to anything else. I now use a PACT electric because I find myself sorting cast bullets by weight for match shooting. It does not require frequent calibration, I check it against a known weight and can usually go right to work. I don't turn it off unless away from it for more than a day.
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Old January 25, 2005, 12:10 AM   #3
Art Eatman
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I've used everything from the ancient Pacific scales where you put weights in the pan and screwed the main weight along a threaded rod to set the charge weight (Well, okay, that's what my uncle had, back in 1950.), on through RCBS and Lyman and Redding.

I'd check them a time or two, from year to year; no change.

I don't shoot benchrest target, but I've never had trouble getting uniformity sufficient for small groups in my hunting loads. Generally, around 1/2 to 3/4 MOA.

And nuthin' ever blew up.

Personally, I don't think it much matters: Brand name, or new or used.


You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
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Old January 25, 2005, 12:47 AM   #4
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If you really want gnat's ass accuracy, get an Ohaus scientific triple beam balance scale. Brand new, they are prohibitively expensive but can be had very reasonably off of Ebay. I have 2 of them (hanging basket models w/ removable tray) that I paid about $20 each for, one weighs in 1/100ths of a gram (Cent-o-Gram), the other weighs in 1/1000ths. The Cent-o-Gram models are sensitive enough to tell you quite clearly if you are a single powder kernel off from your desired wieght. You would of course have to print up a grams/grains conversion chart or just use the formula & a calculator.
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Old January 25, 2005, 08:40 AM   #5
Master Blaster
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Believe it or not, Benchrest shooters do not weigh every charge, they rely on an excellent volumetric powder thrower instead(Harrell). I was told by a benchrester, that volume is more accurate than weight once the measure is set with the scale for the first time. Here is why:

Powder is hydroscopic it absorbs moisture from the air depending on the hummidity. The exact same 25 grain charge can vary by 2/10ths of a grain from one day to the next, depending on hummidity. But the amount of powder is the same.

As far as scales go, IMHO a balance is more accurate and reliable than an electronic scale. I have a Dillon which is the OHAUS tripple poise balance its around $60.
Despite what the benchrester told me, I still weight at least every 10th charge, and the first one when I start out, Pistol or rifle.
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Old January 25, 2005, 10:20 AM   #6
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Most scale are fine, It is the reloader thats the problem most of the time, cutting corners, maybe not zeroing the beam, or just trusting dumping, instead of hand trickling 3% of every load, a analog scale is easy to see if it starts acting up,you might notice the scale starts swaying when you add the powder,acting weird, reset it and recal, Keep dust away from the scale, I use a bent screen with a rag over it to keep it free of dust & moister, known to affect analog scales, always have check weights and use them, you might find some scales are off a bit, but nothing to worry about always start at the beginning of the load. Check your FPS with a chrono, this keeps you honest. like it was said, bench shooters use a quick dumps, they have no choice at the range, very reliable when done right. Always good to check your scale between loads, I also forgot to mention, to be sure to level your table the scale is on,and keep it on that spot, this can hamper things at times, and contribute in given you false readings as well. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

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