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Old March 17, 1999, 07:23 AM   #1
Join Date: January 10, 1999
Location: Southern Ohio
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What advantages does an electronic powder scale have over the balance beam type? Is the electronic faster or more accurate? Any information would be appreciated.
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Old March 17, 1999, 07:44 AM   #2
Ray VanderLinden
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Electronic scales are not any faster in my book but they are slightly more acurrate and take most of the operator error out of the weighing prossess. They are also ALOT more expensive.
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Old March 17, 1999, 12:35 PM   #3
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Have they gotten more accurate in their error rate? A good friend of mine was looking at buying one a few years back and after researching he found that they had a much higher +/- error count. Don't know about the new ones though.
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Old March 19, 1999, 06:49 AM   #4
Ray VanderLinden
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The Error rate has gotten better, BUT some of the error that people get is from just breathing on the electronic scales at the wrong time.
Hold your breath or back off.

BTW I still prefer the balance beam scales.
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Old March 20, 1999, 10:27 AM   #5
RJ in Rome NY
Join Date: March 7, 1999
Location: Rome, NY, USA
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fal308 -
The electronic scales that I have looked into buying recently claim an accuracy of
.1 grains up to 300 grains.. I'm not sure how that compares to a balance beam scale..
But I would think it should suffice for powder charges... and I saw one that had
a .1 gr accuracy for measurements up to 1500 gr.
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Old March 20, 1999, 08:45 PM   #6
Join Date: February 18, 1999
Location: thomaston,ga USA
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I have been using a Lyman electronic scale for several yrs and wouldn't dream of going back to the old days of scale and balance.It's accurate and very fast.Just my .02
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Old March 20, 1999, 09:52 PM   #7
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I use a Dillon Electronic scale. I had an opportunity to run a side-by-side with a pal's PACT a while back. To make a long story short, the PACT came out way ahead, IMHO. They make the scale, etc. for RCBS. I find the Dillon useful for weight sorting brass and bullets, but tend to go back to my balance beam and test weights when I'm running close to the limit with powder charges...

Shoot carefully, swifter...

[This message has been edited by swifter... (edited March 20, 1999).]
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Old March 20, 1999, 10:21 PM   #8
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I had a rcbs and a lyman for years. I use the 2 of them to double check powder weights. I was starting to get problems with both of them where they would not read the same twice with the same weight applied. I cleaned the balance points, rotated them to be in a diferent magnetic field, and used a degausser on the beams.
I how have a rcbs electronic and a pact electronic that do a MUCH better job.
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Old March 21, 1999, 01:34 AM   #9
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Kit... The electronic scales which are sold by the reloading component companies are neither faster nor more accurate than the best balance beam scales offered by the same firms. The best of the offerings from these companies which I have seen is the RCBS/Ohaus centograin. This is not to say that better electronic scales are not available. But they are very costly. As I do a lot of experimentaion, some of it commercial, I do have experience with an electronic scale I'd recommend if you are a very serious handloader with very exacting requirements. The Ohaus V04130 responds in about 1/3 second to the load placed on its pan. Further it will send a record directly to your computer which can be incorporated into your database.
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Old March 21, 1999, 05:59 PM   #10
Mal H
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
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I've got to agree with bfoster, electronic scales are no faster nor more accurate than balance scales. I used a PACT elec scale for a few years and thought it was the best invention ever. But I got tired of waiting for it to register when nearing the end of a weighing. I also found that it was sometimes off by a few tenths after a short while and had to be re-zeroed (re-tared?) or at times re-calibrated. It was also susceptible to static electricity on dry days.

I recently broke out my old Lyman balance which I had used for reloading for over 30 years and, frankly, I haven't gone back to the electronic scale. I find that I can reach an exact load much faster. I can estimate how many grains of powder it will take to reach the end weight just by looking at where the pointer is on the scale and scoop that number out of or into the powder cup. This is especially true with tubular or extruded grains. And unless gravity changes over the course of a reloading session, I can be assured that the last load will be the same as the first. I don't have that confidence with an electronic scale.
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Old March 25, 1999, 01:57 AM   #11
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I have used RCBS 505 & 10-10 balance beam scales. They both are good scales. About 6yrs ago I purchased my first electronic scale, the Accurate III made by Denver Instruements. This scale is pricey at ~$400. I have since tried out several of the newer, less expensive elect scales - Lymans 2000, Dillons model and PACTs BBK. None of these "less expensive" scales came close to matching the Accurate III.
There is a good reason for this: When I purchased the DI scale I talked w/ one of their salespeople a good bit about scales. What I found out was that scales like Pact, Dillon ... use a "strain guage" to determine the weight - The scales that Denver Instruements make use a completely different method to determine the weight. The techinical term escapes my mind right now. But it explains why this scale, compared to the others, holds its zero, registers the weight quicker, is more accurate and will repeat the same weight every time. Also why it costs so much more!

If I had to do it over again, I would spend the xtra $$ and buy the same scale. And I will never go back to the non electronic scales!!!!


[This message has been edited by bk40 (edited March 25, 1999).]
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Old April 7, 1999, 10:08 PM   #12
Join Date: March 27, 1999
Location: Cave Creek Arizona
Posts: 47
WARNING-WARNING.......Stupid Newby question out of left field.

OK. I warned ya.

I'm reading this thread and I am a bit confused. I recently began reloading and purchased the whole kit from Dillon. of course they included a scale, a balance beam type.

I'm listening to the debate about the advangaes and speed keeps being mentioned. What confuses me is that a fast scale doesn't seem important. I mean, I test the powder charge about every 100-200 rounds (so far it hasn't changed since I set it).

What am I missing. I'm sure there is a good reason for the debate and all but it sure leaves me confused. And, since I have only had my stuff for a few weeks, if I can see a ood reason for the electronic type I can probably still return the balance beam one for full trade in value.

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Old April 7, 1999, 10:28 PM   #13
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Having and using both balance beam and electronic, the best use of the electronic is in weighing and weight-sorting cases and/or bullets. It really speeds this process up. My Dillon electronic is too "drifty" to trust with close-to-the-edge powder charges, so I use my old Pacific balance beam here. Having both is a convenience, but if I had to give one up, it'd be that damnable Dillon! I probably wouldn't say that if it worked better! Your balance beam will do everything you need done, and later if you need a low-price electronic - buy a PACT...

Shoot carefully... swifter...

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Old April 9, 1999, 07:12 PM   #14
Join Date: March 27, 1999
Location: Cave Creek Arizona
Posts: 47

Thanks. Sounds like you do some more "precision" loading than I, which would justify the electronic. As I am still just making bulk 45 ACP for practice, I will take your advice and stick with the balance beam.

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Old April 12, 1999, 09:18 PM   #15
Dennis Glover
Join Date: January 27, 1999
Location: Tullahoma,Tn. 37388
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Well I guess I was just lucky I got my hands on an electronic scale that grains, grams, kilograms, pounds etc. that came form the Lab at Jack Daniel's and it has been certified by the state. I just like being able to see the numbers they are big and bold.
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