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Old July 22, 2010, 11:55 AM   #1
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Are powder scale/dispenser worth the expense?

I'm currently using an inexpensive Franklin electronic scale, and a trickler, and hand-charging each individual case. I'm currently trying to do an off-the-cuff cost/benefit analysis of future purchases, and I'm trying to determine if I should buy a powder measure, versus an electronic scale/dispenser combo device. Hornady has one that starts at $224.99 in the Grafs catalog. Can I get some advice from the more experienced fellows?
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Old July 22, 2010, 12:12 PM   #2
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I use the Lyman DPS with the speed upgrade. There is no essential difference between any of them except price

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Old July 22, 2010, 12:19 PM   #3
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For my needs, no it's not worth it for the combo. I was severely tempted at one time though. I was dissatisfied with my el cheapo $30 digital scale and decided to upgrade. I looked at the RCBS 1500 combo. In the end though I just bought the 1500 scale for $95 and didn't bother with the dispenser part of it. I can always add that part later if I change my mind. To me though it didn't make sense. When I load revolver rounds I might do 200 in a sitting once a week. I always use powders that meter very well through my Lee Perfect Powder measure. After I get it adjusted to throw the desired weight, then I only measure every eighth charge just to make sure nothing has changed. I am never off by more than 0.1 gr, which is plenty close for me. When I load rifle cases, it's different. I rarely if ever load more than 20 rounds for a rifle. And oftentimes it's for load development where I change the powder weight after 3 or 5 cases. For that work, it's no big deal to trickle the powder in until I have it just right. For 20 rounds the time it takes to trickle is not significant.
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Old July 22, 2010, 12:46 PM   #4
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what if you didn't have a powder measure? would you still prefer to go buy the powder measure and a stand alone scale, or would you consider the combo device?
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Old July 22, 2010, 12:50 PM   #5
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I've been using an RCBS 1500 combo that belongs to my uncle.

Frankly, I can't imagine loading without it.

Worth it? If he ever wants this thing back, I WILL find a way to afford my own.

I also think that they lend themselves to accuracy. The dispenser is always coming up toward the charge from below whereas if you use a dipper and regular scale you might go a little over and then scoop a little out and be a little under and add a little back in.... hard to know if you've got 48.16 and it says 48.2 or if you've got 48.24 and it says 48.2. With the auto dispenser, it may actually be stopping at 48.18 or 48.19, but it should be the same every time.

Anyway, I wouldn't load without one.
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Old July 22, 2010, 01:52 PM   #6
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I love my RCBS 1500 combo, but use it mainly for rifle loads. My #1 gripe is that cleaning very fine powders out of the system is a pain in the butt (and the primary reason i dont do large-scale handgun reloading with it).

Overall, its a very good system. Outstanding accuracy and convenience with larger grain powders.
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Old July 22, 2010, 02:54 PM   #7
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THEZACHARIAS, if I were to use it for .45ACP loading, is there a powder that works best with something like yours? Like Hodgdon Titegroup, etc.?
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Old July 22, 2010, 03:02 PM   #8
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Lyman DPS 1200

I love this device. I don't usually like paying for convenience and speed but this really is nice.

I put a scoup in and then hit the button to top it off to the right amount. You can arrange and handle things while it's topping off your charge and move things quite smoothly. Plus you know it's accurate +- .1 grain.

The Lyman cleans really, really easy, where the powder chamber has a rear hatch you open and the powder slides down a chute right into the powder jug, then it pops out completely when a push of your finger, clean it and push it back in.

Hardest part is unscrewing the spinning pipe "thinga mabob".

Anyway it is luxury though so "worth it" is certainly based on what convenience and speed while still being completely anal about your charges is worth to you.
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Old July 22, 2010, 03:22 PM   #9
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I wish I knew what you guys were talking about. Weighing every 8th charge sounds like a pain. I just use the Lee dippers and they seem to work fine. I have to believe that most handgun cartridges are not that powder-weight sensitive because I know my charges vary by at least 3-5% from round to round. Maybe rifle cartridges are different.
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Old July 22, 2010, 05:13 PM   #10
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Lyman DPS:

Hornady LnL:

2 main examples
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Old July 22, 2010, 07:10 PM   #11
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Maybe rifle cartridges are different.
They are. When I reload for my 7mm mag I weigh each and every charge. I use a powder measure and a powder trickler for each round.
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Old July 22, 2010, 08:24 PM   #12
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Peetza, I don't think your uncle will see that 1500 again.(LOL)

But I totally agree. I would not be without one. But that's me.

To answer the OP, pistol is not as important as using one for rifle. BUT, for consistant groups even with pistol you must have a consistant measure of powder. Some powder measures give excelent results and can be done with just a balance beam scale.

For rifle, I am a bit more picky and each load MUST be the same. This is where a LNL or Lyman or RCBS 1500 comes in really handy.

If you are loading for hunting only then you can get by with just a powder measure and cheap scale. If you are shooting for groups or long range then you will want to be more percise and will eventually buy one.

Needed no, better yes. All we need is food, water and something to transport all or hunting/shooting gear in.

Good luck.
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Old July 22, 2010, 08:50 PM   #13
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Scoops, trickler, measure, BB scale, electronic scale; I use each when I feel the situation calls for it. Couldn't imagine not having all available. The auto dispenser hasn't found its way onto my bench...yet. Can't rule it out with all the rifle loading I'm doing lately. Electronic scales are great for evaluating bullets and brass as well.
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Old July 22, 2010, 10:00 PM   #14
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powder dispenser or powder measure?

I have an RCBS ChargeMaster and I love it. I don't reload fast and it can keep up with my Hornady L-N-L AP (I just gave to my son) and my 1050s. I have no problems cleaning it and the only problem I have ad was I forgot to close the emptying chute and poured powder into the catch tray I have next to it.
You have to have a scale.
Then your question is, will you be happy with a volumetric powder measure that can be 0.01-0.02gn off in a 10 round sequence? It doesn't REALLY affect anything, but you know it is there.
Or, would you happier being able to read each charge weight before you pour it in the case?
Also, for working up loads, which really is most of fun with reloading and shooting, you can't beat it. It is SO MUCH faster than adjusting a powder measure and tossing 10 charges, then weighing a couple, then adjusting the measure, etc.
No calibration. The unit "learns" with the first charge dispensed and then repeats the same thing.
Which one to have--like everything in life it depends on what meets your needs and will make you happy.
For handgun loads, I would be happy with the ChargeMaster and the Lee Pro Auto-Disk powder dispenser. Between my RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon powder measures, I just keep going back to the fixed cavities and ease of use of the Lee. It is sort of embarrassing to see that little Lee on my 1050s.
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