Digital Powder Scales - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Default Digital Powder Scales

Thinking about getting a good digital scale to replace my RCBS single beam. I've read reviews for certain models offered on Midway, Cheaper than Dirt, etc., and many comments about repeatability. Made me want to stick with a beam scale. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 08:04 PM
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I have an older RCBS 1500 that I have had no problems with. I always let it warm up and I calibrate it before each use. I also check the first couple of charges against my RCBS 502 beam scale and I check about every 10th charge after that but it has always been close. Usually the 1500 is maybe 1/10th light when compared to the 502.

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Last edited by BruceP; 04-03-2020 at 01:24 PM. Reason: To correct scale model
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-02-2020, 05:28 AM
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I use a PACT digital scale, an RCBS 5-0-5 beam scale, and an RCBS 10-10 beam scale. I continually test each against the others. I monitor deviations, which for me have been very-very small. I keep my digital continuously powered. My digital is typically 0.2 grains higher than the 5-0-5. The 10-10 is 0.1 grains higher than the 5-0-5. Each peovide consistent charges. I use the digital to quickly separate cases and bullets by weight. I use the beam scale(s) for every rifle charge except 223. I recommend a digital scale with no preference in Mfg. Don't buy the cheapest though.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-02-2020, 07:14 AM
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I have a RCBS LITE that I use for loading high volume pdog rounds but check the charges it throws about every 8-10 on a RCBS 505. The LITE has an alarm that will sound when it throws a charge over/under 1/10th of the set charge, and I can deal with it either by dumping back into the hopper or fixing on the 505. The LITE is pretty consistent depending on the powder, works well with Varget, Bmark type powders, ball powders are accurate but it splatters some out due to the shape will bounce out of the pan. I also have a FA battery operated digital scale I use at times but it likes to wander/drift and requires me to zero it on a regular basis. For load development or low volume loading, I just use the 505 so I don't have to clean the hopper out, and risk making a big mess.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-02-2020, 07:58 AM
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ive got a pact dispenser scale a lyman combo dispenser scale and a pact batter powered scale. The battery one can be a bit finiky when the batterys get even a bit low but keep good fresh batterys in it and its fine. the other two are dead on. Only problem ive ever had was the transformer on the plug for the scale went bad and pact sent me a new one. Id no sooner go back to a beam scale then I would to a single stage press for loading handgun ammo or toss out my star sizer and go back to a lyman. If I was going to buy a new one today id go with an rcbs just for the fact that no company is better at standing behind what they make. Even the electronics they claim only is waranteed for a year. I had an rcbs power trimmer that was over 10 years old and trimmed probably hundreds of thousands pieces of brass and the motor started running slow and making noise. I boxed it up and sent it in and they sent me an entire new unit! that would be like your 10 year old truck you beat the **** out of starting to burn oil and ford sending you a brand new truck to replace it.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-02-2020, 05:13 PM
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I can only share my experiences with digitals. I've owned 3. The first two, a Jennings $$$ and then a Gemini. Both died an early death, similar problems. After about 14-16 months the Jennings was difficult then impossible to calibrate, then the Jennings stopped calibrating and "taring". The Gemini was much the same, drifting, them not taring then nuttin' (the Gemini had a tiny pan). Unable to find warranty repairs for either. I now have one from Frankfort Arsenal. Works so-so. My approach is, weigh some charges with my RCBS or Lyman/Ohaus beam scale and check the charge on my digital. If there is a difference, I will note the reading and use that reading as my powder charge as my beam scales are accurate. Trickling up is difficult as I have to go slow, lifting and replacing the pan of powder, or the reading will jump .3 or .4 gr at a time, even when I go realllly sloooow. I'll turn on the scale, place and tare pan. Drop a charge in the pan, weigh and drop into a case. Reset the pan and check zero. Proceed and tare often. I have to follow this method or the scale will read correctly but occasionally the tare will drift and the charges will differ by .1 to .3 gr from the target weight. No EMF close (lighting or other electronic devices near) new batteries often and one used a 120 v power supply and power here is very constant. Maybe I just got 3 poor digitals, but as of yet I don't trust them enough for my load work-ups where I keep all loads to .1 grain...

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-02-2020, 06:37 PM
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Haven't used anything but digital in at least 30+ years. I bought an RCBS branded, made my PACT scale when they first came out. Set aside my balance beam and haven't used it since.



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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-03-2020, 04:03 AM
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I use a beam scale, the closest Lee dipper and trickle every charge. Being somewhat new to reloading, I find it very relaxing and don't mind spending a little extra time doing it. I seldom load more than 40-50 rounds at a time though, so I've yet to find a need for a powder measure or a digital scale.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-03-2020, 06:01 AM
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same here but its been 20-25 years. Like I said id about go back to crank starting my truck! I think the problem most have is they buy a cheap ebay scale and think that because its junk they all are. Ive got a couple of them too. I use them for measuring spices when I make sausage. Id never trust them to measure powder that was from a recipe that was a top load in a loading manual.
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Haven't used anything but digital in at least 30+ years. I bought an RCBS branded, made my PACT scale when they first came out. Set aside my balance beam and haven't used it since.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-03-2020, 07:00 AM
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The RCBS Powder Trickler is a handy gadget that works very well with beam scales as the result of minute powder grains added will move the indicator.

Digitals take "their own time" (a few seconds) in deciding and displaying a charge that is thrown close to xx.x5 grains (EX: thrown = 43.3456 grains; value of display=43.3 grains). Trickling a "few kernals/flakes/balls" of powder in the digital scale's pan may, or may not, move the digital dial, in the way it does on a beam scale.

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[The] Scale is based around a Strain Gage Load Cell. This is a mature technology that is used in all but the most expensive electronic laboratory analytical balances. The load cell is energized with an electrical current. As you add weight it bends very slightly, a few thousandths of an inch at the most. This tiny bend changes the electrical characteristics of the strain gage producing a very small change in its output. We amplify this signal up to a measurable level then convert it from an analog to digital value that the computer inside your scale can read and convert to a weight.

If the computer displayed the actual readings it was receiving from the load cell you would find the scale all but unusable. There are two reasons for this; first of all, because of the speed that this electronic stuff whirls around, the scale picks up every little vibration and puff of wind in the room and instantly amplifies it. Secondly, in the great scheme of things, a tenth of a grain, one seventy thousandth of a pound, is a real small thing to pin down and measure.
Digitals are affected by wind, temperature, vibration, close proximity florescent lighting (Electro-motive Force; EMF), magnets, etc. The load cell, as noted above, is extremely sensitive and can easily be destroyed (dropped, overloaded, stretched, burned [power overload], etc.).

Through all of this, digitals are VERY FAST, VERY ACCURATE, and reloading is well served through their use.
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