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Old April 13, 2014, 08:45 PM   #1
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RCBS chargemaster vs hornady auto charge

In the need for a good autocharge unit. Was wondering what you experienced loaders though about the two. Thanks
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Old April 13, 2014, 09:40 PM   #2
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I have the Hornady and it does what it's supposed to. I have no complaints about it.

The directions that came with mine said not to use it around cell phones, mine went nuts on me when I was talking on my phone, I thought it blew up but then I remembered reading that in the directions. I hung up on the phone shut the unit down and restarted and it was fine.

That's the only problem I've had with mine at all.

Don't know if the RCBS unit is the same, I've never used one.
The RCBS units have more bells and whistles and may be a better unit but they cost more also.
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Old April 13, 2014, 09:44 PM   #3
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I've been using the RCBS Chargemaster since last summer and so far it has been problem free. It gives consistent and accurate charges with both stick and ball powder.

I don't know if using a cell phone around it would be a problem, I've never done that.
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Old April 14, 2014, 04:50 AM   #4
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I have had an auto charge for two years, trouble free. Wouldn't want to be without it. Make sure you let it warm up first. Got it from Natchez for $169. They do go on sale and when they do they are significantly less then the charge master. That's the only advantage I see.
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Old April 14, 2014, 05:32 AM   #5
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Got it from Natchez for $169.
That's why I bought mine and that's what I paid for it from MidSouth when they had it on sale.

I have no regrets for buying the cheaper of the two. Like I said above, it does what they say it will do. With powders like Unique and stick powders these devises reign supreme.

It was worth the money I paid for it.
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Old April 14, 2014, 06:41 AM   #6
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Hornady for about a year and a half.

It seems fine. Will NEVER throw an under charge and will allow over charges of only 0.1 Gr before alarming. Scale seems to correlate pretty well.
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Old April 14, 2014, 08:23 AM   #7
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Pleased with my Hornady. Never used the RCBS but I'm sure it's a good unit as well.
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Old April 14, 2014, 09:19 AM   #8
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I have the RCBS and am happy with it. Only 'mod' I have done is to use a plastic straw in the dispensing spout. Doing this reduces the number of over-charges, especially with extruded powders.

Do not know how it compares to the Hornady product.
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Old April 14, 2014, 09:21 AM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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I've only used the Chargemaster. I've said many times that the first time you use one it's like a light shines down from heaven and a chorus of angels sing. Few have disagreed, once they've tried it.

The Hornady, I mostly read good things but can't speak from experience.

I do know that I've had no trouble with the Chargemaster being near florescent lights, using my cell phone or with drafts.

I tested it on purpose with my phone, because I always have it on me and didn't want to forget and have it screw up the scale. I tried it when it was downloading on wifi, cellular data, sending texts, placing a call, receiving a call, and actively on a call. I waved it in circles around the unit, set it nearby, etc.... it did exactly nothing, unless I got it VERY close (like touching) in which case it did the same thing as any other magnetic field/electronic device.

The fluorescent light (a high-powered CFL) about 4 feet from the unit also makes no difference at all. On, off, warming up, makes no difference.

I can effect it with "drafts" but it's really a lot more than a draft. I have to blow on the thing. Closer to hurricane than what I'd call a "draft". I'd have to have an air conditioner or furnace vent BLOWING on it from a close distance. Air movement in the room is irrelevant.
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Old April 14, 2014, 01:30 PM   #10
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+1 for what Brian said about the RCBS. Have had mine for about 3 months but have used it a lot. Love it and have had no unexpected issues with it. Speeds up rifle loading a lot and is great when working up loads.
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Old April 14, 2014, 01:54 PM   #11
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+1 on what Brian said above.

Though I will put a caveat that if you don't close the clear cover, even a ceiling fan can affect the reading. That, I suppose, is why the cover is there - close it (I don't actually close mine to where it "snaps" in place - just close it to cover the dish and scale) and you are GTG.

No experience with the Hornady, but odds are they are made in the same factory with the same electronics anyway.
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Old April 14, 2014, 04:54 PM   #12
William T. Watts
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think about it before buying

I do not share Brian's enthusiasm for the RCBS 1500 Chargemaster, I have one based on not only his but others who recommended them. They are slow, + or - .1 of a grain if it is repeatable every time would be acceptable, they aren't that reliable (at least mine isn't). As it left the factory I could charge my cases by hand as fast or faster and be more accurate than the RCBS unit. Frankly it's too bad this unit didn't come with a money back guarantee because it would have gone back!! Yes the unit has the time each function requires reprogrammed. I guess it's hard to change after so many years of doing things by hand and being spot on, it's not going to happen with this unit!! The fact it is at least part Chinese didn't help either. It has left a bad taste in my mouth, BTW I didn't hear any angles singing either!! My .02 William
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Old April 14, 2014, 06:29 PM   #13
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I went through the same process about 5 or 6 years ago. Wound up going with the RCBS unit. Both had more negative reviews that I felt comfortable with, but it seemed like the RCBS was less troublesome.

I couldn't be happier than I have been with the RCBS unit. But I haven't tried any of the other units that were available when I bought, or since then. Prior to going to the RCBS I used a Redding 3BR and prior to that a Lyman 55. So I have had good measures.

The RCBS just makes loading so much more enjoyable. I use the scale to weight sort my brass, something that I would never do with a balance scale. The only time I found the RCBS lacking was lower charges of Unique for 32 H&R mag. It just isn't tuned for that. There are directions on how to change the programming available, but I haven't done that. I still check initial weights on a balance scale when I change powder loadings. But I have never found an issue. But I would rather check than find out later it wasn't correct. I have mine under an 8 foot fluorescent fixture and it has never been an issue. And so far I have always had the drain port closed when I added powder. Others haven't been so lucky. Probably couldn't go wrong with either unit.

If mine failed tomorrow, I would have another on order tomorrow. It is that useful to me.
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Old April 14, 2014, 06:47 PM   #14
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I also have the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 and have used it for a couple of years now. I tried it with pistol but it is just much too slow for me, although I do like it if I'm working up pistol loads or testing for standard deviation/ES.

It really shines with rifle for me since I only load single-stage for my rifles. Worth every penny IMO even if only used for this purpose.
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Old April 14, 2014, 08:03 PM   #15
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Brian Pfleuger said: I've only used the Chargemaster. I've said many times that the first time you use one it's like a light shines down from heaven and a chorus of angels sing. Few have disagreed, once they've tried it.
I ended up in the same place as Brian but took the long way there. I started with Hornady GS-1500 and that quickly got put on the shelf for a RCBS 1010 beam scale that I used to validate a Harrel powder drop but wasn't accurate enough so I went with the RCBS ChargeMaster combo.

Here's my range report, the number speak for themselves. Yes there was a chorus of angels singing and a light shining down and a loud voice said: "You finally got the right tool, you moron. Now don't hurt yourself."

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Capture.JPG (71.4 KB, 3936 views)
"Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State.” -Vladimir Lenin
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson (An early warning to Obama care)

Last edited by Eppie; April 14, 2014 at 09:17 PM.
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Old April 14, 2014, 08:20 PM   #16
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new to the game

I haven't tried the hornady, but have the chargemaster..
No programming mods to it as it is less than a week old.
I did put a straw in the end of it though..
It did great the 200 loads I used it for..
Sure beats throwing low and trickling up with my 505 scale.

I may have had to wait about 5 sec on it(223), but for the most part the charge was ready
As fast as I could use it with my turret and a seating and charging die..

I am very pleased with It.
Yes the light came on and the angels sang when charging rifle cases..
Pistol I will use the pro auto disk as it meters bullseye well and fast.

I feel the same way about the cts trimmer and a case prep center.
As it takes the most time consuming processes and makes them
Repeatable, easy and consistient.

Life is good now.
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Old April 16, 2014, 11:17 AM   #17
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I will say that the Chargemaster (and likely the Hornady as well, probably Lyman's version too) are not optimally designed for small charge weights such as pistol. They are really designed for rifle throws where you want a semblance of uniformity over what you get with a powder drop, and they are much faster and easier than the old standby of a powder drop + trickler combo.

Now, I've used my chargemaster for some pistol rounds in the past when I wanted the same charge weight, but I would not tell somebody to go out and get one that is reloading pistol (or even small bore rifle like a .223) plinking rounds. You'll get frustrated in that aspect because of the speed.

But for loading rifle rounds on a single stage press that you want uniform, it's a wonderful tool.
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Old April 25, 2014, 04:58 PM   #18
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I know this thread is a little old, but I just bought the Hornady Auto Charge and I too heard the angels and birds singing from heaven when I first used it for loading some 223 rounds. Man I love this thing I don't how I lived without it, best $200.00 I have spent on reloading so far.

Only thing I don't like is having to remove the powder from it when its not being used, which comes to my question how many of you leave the powder in it for long periods of time and if so has the powder "burned" into the plastic?
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Old April 25, 2014, 06:19 PM   #19
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I don't leave powder in it, the plastic will taint over time. Cosmetic depending on how fast you go through powder and if it's in a dry area.
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Old April 28, 2014, 03:13 PM   #20
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I have the RCBS Charge Master 1500 for years, very happy with it. I'm sure the hornady would be just as good.
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