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View Poll Results: Use what type of scale
Don't use a scale at all - measure by volume only 4 3.54%
Balance beam mechanical scale only 44 38.94%
Balance beam mechanical scale primarily with electronic occasionally 12 10.62%
Electronic primarily with Balance beam mechanical scale occasionally 19 16.81%
Electronic scale only 34 30.09%
Another alternative you (L.S.) forgot 0 0%
Voters: 113. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 18, 2011, 03:36 PM   #26
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Snuffy was referring to the other axis of the scale, for balance beams. Your "standard" axis is the Z axis, for zeroing the scale. However, if it is also out of level in the X axis, it causes drag on parts of the scale that should not be touching.
Thanks Frank, there ARE two axis to being level. Why not have both level, then you know for sure there's no off center force on the beam, or plenum of a digital.

Take a level to whatever base your scale sits on, first along the length of the scale, then at 90 degrees to that. Both should be in the center of the glass.
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Old April 19, 2011, 12:06 AM   #27
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I use a RCBS 1010, after having trouble with an unstable transducer in a RCBS electronic scale.

My reloading bench is level enough and flat enough that I can put the scale anywhere and have it provide accurate and repeatable measurements, after zeroing.

I use a powder measure and check the charge weight every box, when I pause to label things. This turns out to be every 50 for pistol and every 20 for rifle.

The powder measures have a Unitek micrometer knob, and I use the value I recorded in my reloading spreadsheet to set it up when trying to duplicate a load. It doesn't elminate the need to check the weight of the charge, but it makes getting to the desired weight a lot faster.
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Old April 19, 2011, 12:37 AM   #28
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Another 20+ year 10•10 balance scale user.
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Old April 19, 2011, 01:00 AM   #29
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Good Question.......

I use both depending on what I am doing. Extruded Powder? Volume can be pretty variable and I have seen several grain swings when I weigh the "dipper". At or near "never exceed"? I use both and frequently but still trust the BB most. Spherical powder like AA #2? The 550B just throws it the same every time and I can sleep very well firing that load without stopping to test every fifth case. Then I check every box load or when I have to get up and make sure my heart is still beating.

I have an Ohaus electronic 2100 gram laboratory scale but one day I noticed that it only reports grains to the nearest 0.2 interval and flickers back and forth between two readings when it is unhappy. When you are near a Maximum and using extruded powder? Balance beam is what I trust the most because of that gravity thing that Snuffy mentioned. When I am setting the powder throw? Measure every case until you can sleep well and then, after that, check them when the hair stands up on the back of your neck.

I wonder if anybody ever asks a surgeon what scalpel he/she always uses? I hope that he/she would say whichever gets the job done the best measured by patient survival? When I am loading 44 grains of powder for a rifle load then I want to avoid having to talk to that surgeon and I measure often and do whatever puts my mind at rest.

Did any of you see the pictures of that M1 Garand after eating some bad powder that someone here posted a few weeks ago? I don't want to go there and I still can not believe that no one got seriously hurt or lost an eye or something with all of that pointy, sharp wood and steel flying around.

Last edited by Mauser Rat; April 19, 2011 at 01:27 AM.
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Old April 19, 2011, 08:49 AM   #30
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RCBS 502 beam scale. I check evry 10 rounds. So far so good.
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Old April 19, 2011, 09:49 AM   #31
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I voted volume only

But in reality, I weigh charges for rifle ammo. Balance beam scale; just the simple Lee one.

For handgun ammo, I've weighed charges a few times, and find they always come in just under what they're supposed to. I think the volume calculations always account for a heaping helping of powder, or a slightly compressed charge.
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Old April 19, 2011, 10:13 AM   #32
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4. Electronic scale primarily balance beam to verify

I weigh every powder charge with an electronic scale checking every 10th charge with my balance bean scale.
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Old April 19, 2011, 10:29 AM   #33
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Balance beamer is all I've got. Pistol only thus far.
Weight and trickle every one of the suckers when working up test loads. Weight every tenth otherwise.
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Old April 19, 2011, 10:33 AM   #34
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I use 2 balance beam scales,side by side, one is an Ohaus magnetic dampening, the other a redding oil dampening scale. When I'm setting up my powder measure, I check on one, then recheck on the other, that way I know I set the charge weights right on the scales, sometimes its hard to see the tiny marks. Anyways when they're both set up and agreeing with each other, I start filling empty cases, I weigh each charge, draw a charge from powder measure, dump in one scale, draw another charge, dump in other scale, by then first scale has stopped moving, if its good to go, I dump in empty case. Otherwise I add or remove until its level. I find its much quicker using the 2 scales, and each charge is accurately weighed. Works good for me.

Last edited by riche; April 19, 2011 at 05:04 PM.
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Old April 19, 2011, 10:50 AM   #35
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With a 15 degree tilt (top of the scale leaned towards me, with the standard axis zeroed)...
I assume you mean the scale was zero'd end-to-end (as normally done) but the whole apparatus tilted sideways toward you?

Part 1:
I admit that I'd expect the axis bearing surface to be a bit "scruffy and draggy", but I'm surprised that it introduced an actual bias. Why do you think that happened?

Part 2:
For myself, I use the RCBS Chargemaster 98% of the time -- left "ON" and calibrated with check weights before every session. (No appreciable drift so far -- remarkable). Whenever I get paranoid I pull out my Texan Balance

Last edited by mehavey; April 19, 2011 at 03:21 PM.
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Old April 19, 2011, 01:55 PM   #36
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I assume you mean the scale was zero'd end-to-end (as normally done) but the whole apparatus tilted sideways toward you?
Yes. It was properly zeroed (before, and while it was titled). Having the weight on the beam far from the poise just made it unstable. Without 55.5 gr in the scale pan, the beam would drag on the guide at the left side of the scale (sighting piece, I believe is the proper term ?). With the addition of weight in the scale pan, the poise was dragging and the beam was dragging on the guide (near side, and/or far side).

I think the reason it was such an issue, is that the 5-0-5 and 5-0-2 scales don't have fixed bearing blocks. The blocks are free floating, under their retaining plates, to allow self-alignment as they wear. If the scale is out of level, the free-floating bearing blocks allow the beam to move around, and drag on parts of the base the beam is not supposed to touch.
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Old April 19, 2011, 02:07 PM   #37
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Started 7 years ago with a balance beam scale, still have it, but changed over to a RCBS 1500 4 years ago and only use the balance beam once a month to double check the electronic.

For rifle the 1500 measures the charge each and ever time, on pistol I use a powder dispenser on the press and check the charge on the electronic once every 20 loads or so.

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Old April 19, 2011, 03:08 PM   #38
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I use RCBS 505 and 502 scales ,sometimes ,if I am being particular I will use both at the same time,checking one against the other. For handgun loads using the Projector I will check every fifth round.
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:57 PM   #39
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"However, if it is also out of level in the X axis, it causes drag on parts of the scale that should not be touching."

It's important that the X axis (Z actually) be at least close to level but 'eye ball' level is plenty good enough. It's obviously important that the beam's axle be centered fore and aft so one end won't rub on a bearing retainer clip but that's simple enough to keep visual track of.
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