The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 13, 2012, 02:38 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: May 13, 2012
Posts: 10
A quality scale?

Hello everyone,
I am slowly building up my equipment to start loading myself. I have done a lot of research on all the equipment I've purchased up to this point, but when comes to scales I'm a little lost. I don't mind spending money if it is something that is good quality, and will last me. I did a search on the topic, but didn't really come up with anything too too helpful. Thank in advance,
swimmer is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 02:51 PM   #2
lee n. field
Senior Member
Join Date: October 12, 2002
Location: The same state as Mordor.
Posts: 4,827
RCBS 505, among many others.
"As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. "
lee n. field is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 02:58 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: July 28, 2007
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 10,943
I got by with a cheap digital for a while, and I was sharp enough to easily spot when it was acting up. And it did act up.

I finally had enough of it and I was able to snag a used Dillon Eliminator from a guy on my local forum -- who later regretted selling it.

This scale is painted in pretty Dillon Blue, but like so many beam scales, it's made by Ohaus. It has been a rock and I trust it always, but even still -- I check it's zero often just to be sure.

It's one of the tools on my bench that I would never, ever be without. And the next time I get any sort of digital scale... anywhere from a $30 cheap Chinese one to a $350 fancy one, it will have to have been given to me by someone, or offered at a nutbar low price.

I've used my beam scale enough to know that it's EXACTLY what I like.
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
Sevens is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 03:28 PM   #4
Junior member
Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 9,494
RCBS 5-0-5 +1

I'll only own a digital scale if someone gives it to me. +1
Edward429451 is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 03:36 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: May 3, 2009
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 3,543
I have 3 scales.

One of them is the Lee Safty Scale that came with the kit. It is accurate, and it works. The trade off is picky about how it is used. I use it to check my other two scales against which is not very often. Cost of one is Less than $20 at most places, as few dollars more from others. A great scale for the money, that never needs batteries.

Next is the $30 cheapo digital. It works just fine for what I used it for, and still use it for. I first used it to check powder weight when adjusting my measure for pistol loads. As well as weighing cases, and cast bullets. I still use it to weigh my cast bullets, and for water capacity of fired cases. I keep a supply of fresh batteries on hand. If weigts are not repeated for the same thing weighed it means that the batteries are low. Changing them out has always fixed the problem.

Last is a Hornady LNL Automatic Powder Dispenser with the scale built in. I use it for rifle loads. For that it shines through with flying colors. There is a very short learning curve when one first uses it. After that it is doubtful I will go back to the old powder measure, scale, and trickler anytime soon. (It was gifted to me. I would never have paid the over $200 price for it.)

If you want a good user friendly scale that never needs batteries, a beam scale of the Ohaus family will serve you well for more than likely the rest of your days, and probably a generation, or two of others after that. Prices vary. The plus side is it is a one time only cost.

Regardless of which you buy check weights are imperative. If it is a digital I would not buy one that does not have a check/calibraition weight with it. For the beam scale you may need to purchase a set of check weights to periodicly check to see that it is still weighing the same.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
m&p45acp10+1 is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 04:31 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: May 13, 2006
Location: WA, the left armpit of the USA
Posts: 1,323
PACT makes a really nice digital scale that works very well if you take the time to learn how to use it. They make two--both of which are very good reliable scales, the difference being their weight limits and their adaptability to use with the digital powder dispenser that PACT makes. There is a price difference between the two scales, of course.

I own both PACT scales, because my daughter bought me the scale/dispenser combo for Xmas a few years ago. I use it for rifle cartridge loading and I use the smaller PACT scale for double checking handgun powder charges dropped from volumetric measures. I have owned these scales for years. They came with check weights. They work better and faster than my old balance beam scales for precision rifle loads, and that is saying something since my last BB scale was a Bayer pharmaceutical scale.

PACT's customer service was both courteous and helpful when I had a problem with my first scale and they were able to give me the information I needed to reset my scale and get back to loading, with no appreciable down time.

I have been told that PACT manufactured the first digital scales, of ALL brands, and that currently, digital scales sent back to the marketer (as opposed to the actual manufacturer) end up at a PACT repair facility.
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal
amamnn is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 05:15 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: February 3, 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 264
The RCBS 10-10 is probably the benchmark of mechanical scales and will last a lifetime. It has a roller dial that makes adjusting easier and with precision that can be locked. Others have the tabs that fit in notches and I've occasionally knocked them into a different position when handling the powder pan. The older RCBS 510 is the same mechanical works as a 1010 but only has 510 grains instead of 1010. I use the 510 and it's my go to scale. My bench also has Redding and Hornady scales...they are good but gather dust.
billcarey is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 05:37 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: May 25, 2011
Posts: 1,755
I just started, I had a lee safety scale, which was perfectly fine, except I had a hard time reading the .1 increments. So within an hour of trying to see the tiny lines, I went and bought something else. I wound up with a RCBS rangemaster 750. It gets mixed reviews but it holds zero just fine and produces accurate and precise measurements for me so far. YMMV
sigcurious is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 05:45 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: January 16, 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 3,577
Just buy a good quality Digital scale and be done. Beam scales are great,but cumbersome,slow and a general PITA to use. I got about a $180.00 dig scale 4 years ago. Never looked back. Zero it everytime before i load and away i go.
NRA Certified RSO
NwCP- Performance Isn't Optional
4runnerman is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 06:05 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: December 3, 2011
Posts: 558
All you will ever need (well, you will need a bigger pan with it, but the scale itself is outstanding.)

I have used mine for 6 months and 5K+ rounds so far with outstanding results. It zeros every time, always matches the 10g check weight (the scale measures to 0.02grains btw)

I got a 2nd one when they were on sale for $20. It is small enough that I could easily drop it, and I never want to be without this gem.
tkglazie is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 06:14 PM   #11
full case load
Senior Member
Join Date: October 10, 2010
Posts: 166
zeroing is a necessary start but at least several check weights throughout the range I reload in is an accuracy check i do often. In fact, I have check weights to check the check weights
live and let live
full case load is offline  
Old August 13, 2012, 10:31 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: November 9, 2005
Location: Ohio, Appalachia's foothills.
Posts: 3,779
Try different terms.

Good scales, best scales, scales.... thousands of results.

sudo passwd root
mrawesome22 is offline  
Old August 14, 2012, 06:25 AM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: October 14, 2009
Location: Sunshine and Keystone States
Posts: 4,448
If you are on a budget and reloading handgun rounds, you can easily get by with a set of Lee dippers and a cheap digital scale to calibrate them for each powder (i.e. weigh 30 dippers of powder and divide by 30). I'm over 16,000 rounds now and it works fine for me (and keeps my desk a lot less cluttered).
spacecoast is offline  
Old August 14, 2012, 07:02 AM   #14
David Bachelder
Senior Member
Join Date: August 23, 2011
Location: Trinity, Texas
Posts: 633
+ RCBS 505
RCBS 1500 Chargemaster
David Bachelder
Trinity, Texas
I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357Magnum, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 300 AAC, 243 and 30-06
David Bachelder is offline  
Old August 14, 2012, 11:52 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: May 20, 2006
Posts: 914
rcbs range master 750 works great for me except with universal powder , gives me fits
ragwd is offline  
Old August 14, 2012, 12:16 PM   #16
Ole 5 hole group
Senior Member
Join Date: November 13, 2002
Location: Red River Valley of the North
Posts: 203
You probably won't do better than the RCBS 10-10 with check weights. It'll last 3 lifetimes with minimum maintainance and with check weights you can set up the scale in a couple minutes and measure charges on a gnats arce.
Ole 5 hole group is offline  
Old August 14, 2012, 02:14 PM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: June 4, 2007
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 1,943
I'm using the same RCBS 5-10 scale I bought about the time of the Last Supper. I still have my pretty phizzog. I have a spare I bought just to have one. It is still NIB because the first one hasn't faltered.
If you want your children to follow in your footsteps, be careful where you walk.
Beware the man that only owns one gun; he probably knows how to use it.
I just hope my ship comes in before my dock rots.
crowbeaner is offline  
Old August 14, 2012, 04:38 PM   #18
Junior Member
Join Date: May 13, 2012
Posts: 10
Thank everybody, I appreciate all the guidance. I'm going to start checking out some of the scales and see what happens.
swimmer is offline  
Old August 16, 2012, 04:47 PM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: December 1, 2002
Posts: 2,832
Any beam scale will do well for the rest of your life if you take care of it. Nothing will if you abuse it but digital nothings will last very long. Those who praise their digital scale they've been using for six months - or even six years - need to understand it's only a matter of time until it craps out and years of life outta anything electronic is the exception rather than the rule.

Beams poorly used are "slow, hard to read" etc. but we shouldn't blame the tool for that! A beam sitting on a sturdy shelf about chin high during use is very easy to see and if the powder measure is located close to it we can easily develop the skill to virtually match the 'speed' of a digital powder dumpster. And a beam scale will always follow a trickler in real time while most digitals have a frustrating tendendency of 'hanging up' at a reading and move up in jerks - it's quite slow to keep adjusting trickled powder charges to a specific value with most digitals and no user skill can compensate for that quirky performance!

I used to work as a precision electronic instument repair/calibration tech at what was then Cape Kennedy. I have three beam scales I use for powder and one digital I only use for weighing bullets and cases. My first reloading scale is/was Lyman's (Ohaus) forerunner of the current RCBS 1010. I've never used the expanded scale above 505 grains for reloading so that's been a waste but it's just as sensitive and reads exactly the same today as it did when I took it out of the box in 1965. And it's ready to double that! It does not drift zero or calibration, and it doesn't care if the room temperature changes or the power line voltage fluctuates while in use either; I challenge anyone in love with his digital scale at any price to match it! But, fact is, ANY beam scale sold by RCBS, Redding, Lyman or Dillon will do the same thing mine does. (Lee's will too but it's a slight PITA to work with.)

I'm not trying to convience anyone to do anything, just stating my opinon and the experience I base it on.

Last edited by wncchester; August 16, 2012 at 04:54 PM.
wncchester is offline  
Old August 17, 2012, 03:23 AM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: March 21, 2012
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 2,095
I have an rcbs 505 it "hangs up" on small trickle charges as well. I don't think that is unique to digital scales.
1stmar is offline  
Old August 17, 2012, 03:57 AM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: February 9, 2006
Location: Homes in Brooklyn, NY and in Pennsylvania.
Posts: 4,871

I have four. I trust and use them all. One is the Lee scale....very accurate. Keep it at eye level for ease of reading. The second beam is a Lyman...much more capacity than the Lee. Then there are two very inexpensive digitals from eBay....have proven accurate and easy to use for some years now. They cross check well with the beam scales.
“Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games.” Ernest Hemingway ...
NRA Life Member
darkgael is offline  
Old August 17, 2012, 12:08 PM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: January 6, 2011
Location: Thornton, Texas
Posts: 3,268
I started with, and used, a RCBS 1010 for about 25 years. Then I got a PACT digital and decided that I preferred the digital. Then, as a Christmas gift, I got a Lyman 1200 that does pretty much all the work for me. I really do like that Lyman. I could go back to the 1010, but can't think of a reason to do so. One of the things I like about the digital scales is that I can weigh cases or bullets very easily and quickly. I usually will hook up both the Lyman and the PACT and use the PACT as a check.
603Country is offline  
Old August 17, 2012, 12:43 PM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: December 23, 2011
Posts: 138
I have an old Redding #2 bullet scale and a new RCBS 10-10 scales and I believe using gravity is the way to go. I say that because I am always looking for what is the better and the cheapest that will do the job. (Price matters )

Now I also believe that the newer electronic scales are very good too. I have looked at and used a few of the cheaper electronic scales and they never weighed the same powder in the same pan twice at the same weight, however I do know loaders who use the more expensive electronic powder measures and they all to a man/woman think they are nice and would not go back to using gravity again. Of course if they can't find batteries or the electricity fails then they may have to change their minds.

primerman is offline  
Old August 17, 2012, 01:17 PM   #24
Senior Member
Join Date: July 28, 2007
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 10,943
Funny the way you say it (which was your point) but y'know...

Even the electronic scales are using gravity, lol.
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
Sevens is offline  
Old August 17, 2012, 01:36 PM   #25
Roland Thunder
Senior Member
Join Date: December 29, 2010
Location: Gwinnett County Georgia
Posts: 1,039
I used to have an RCBS electronic digital scale. I got rid of it and now have an RCBS 505 beam scale that is very reliable.
It's one of the best all around scales on the market for the money (made by Ohaus)
Do not follow where the path may lead, go, instead where there is no path and leave a trail - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Roland Thunder is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:21 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09895 seconds with 7 queries