The scale I've got is a 25 year old RCBS balance beam. Worked well, but it seems like getting something digital would be a good thing for measuring powder, bullets, and maybe even finished cartridges.
I have no idea how to even start in the selection process, but my budget is like in the $50 to $75 range. I'm not sure if that's even a good price point for such a thing.
thanks in advance.
You're not gonna get anything that is very good fur that amount.
300.oo is the bottom of the good.
Stick with the old girl that brought you here to this point or be prepared to spend lots more than you suggested .
I am still using the pod 1010 rcbs I got in the sixties and at this stage in life I would not change if given one of the new fangled thingy.
from the abyss
You can find a good digital scale that is far more accurate than a balance for well under $300. Maybe not $50-75, but certainly around $100.
"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy." Winston Churchill
Digital scales come in all price ranges and as you would expect, you get what you pay for.
I've gone through 4 or 5 digital scales before getting ,y current one.
I've had 2 of some cheaper ones that run on batteries (a huge pain), useless.
I've had a Chargemaster for 10 years and it still works fine (I think,) but I only use it for non-match ammo. It's fast, fairly accurate and dependable.
I bought a separate digital scale to confirm my weights on the Chargemaster. It was around $100 and it was ok for a while and then just became a total pain to use. It would start drifting on its own and I would have to restart it and go through the motions to make sure it was ok.
Some years back, I finally broke down and got my A&D Fx-120 and retired my Chargemaster.
So might want to go to oldwillknottsscales.com and look at laboratory and jewelry scales.
PS. They also list my scale, the A&D FX-120i.
It is rated at 5 stars but the quoted price is about double of other places.
ETA: I forgot to mention that what you will find in your price range will be strain guage digital scales, whereas the magnetic force restoration electronic scales are much more useful and sadly, costly.
I'm with 45 Cal on this one. I also use a 10-10. It is fast, accurate, and doesn't drift while I'm using it. I started with a 5-0-5 and used it for years, but like the 10-10 way more.
On a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
Couldn't agree more for the recommendation for the Fx-120i. I got mine last spring when A&D had a $150 rebate for a final price of $350. Adding all the Auto Trickler and Auth Throw plus Area 419 bling makes for a great system.
Please understand that I was not making a recommendation for the A&D. I was trying to explain the differences between the types of digital scales and why lower priced items do not provide the level of service that one expects and gets from higher priced items.
This is not like optics where even a lower priced riflescope will be perfectly adequate for most shooters. Increasing the price makes the riflescope better and more refined but it does not make the lower priced optics useless in comparison.
Low prices digital scales are terrible for the handloader. There, you made me say it.
I have a Frankford Arsenal DS-750 Powder Scale 750 Grain Capacity $26.99 that is very nice to get my drop weight close enough to verify on my beam scale - It zeros on my 5gr test weight to a 1/10.
I also use it to drop and weigh every round during my 22TCM reloads - Prime / Weight and Zero and Drop and Weigh again - Only moments and gives me a very accurate indication of any variance.
It is a little beauty and kills as a WTF is that bullet on the floor.
There, you made me say it.
Sig Sauer P226R 357 Sig/40 S&W
, P220 - W.German 45, Sig 1911 45 Ultra Compact and a few others.
I had a Pact for years, worked great but did take a while to warm up.
When the Pact finally stopped working I received a Frankford Arsenal for Christmas. Basically no warm up time. Easy to reset with the waits. I definitely recommend the Frankford Arsenal scale. I went with the Platinum Series.
I would not trade my old RCBS beam scale for a digital. No way. It is as good as any digital.
|A man's got to know |
I have had a PACT digital scale since it first came out, it is still working good. I would never go back to a balance beam.
"But, as luck would have it, he stood up. He caught that chunk of lead." Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock
I seriously doubt that; does your RCBS beam scale reliably measure a single kernel of powder?
With my (expensive) digital scale and auto trickler, I can load about 2-3 cases per minute, to the kernel of powder in a 40+ gr load without rushing.
This gives me an SD of about 2.5FPS as measured by my Magnetospeed V3 yesterday.
IMO, no such thing as a good/cheap elec scale. My exp with cheaper models is they drift, a lot. So plan on $100 or more for a quality scale that doesn't drift. I like the Dillon D-term or the upper end Hornady & RCBS.
IF YOU AREN'T HANDLOADING, YOU AREN'T SHOOTING ENOUGH!
NRA Instruc: Basic Pistol & Met Reloading
I have both the Old RCBS 10-10 scale and a digital. I prefer the 10-10.
I notice how you carefully avoided to mention anything about your digital scale, and we all know digital scales are not all created alike.
My digital scal is an oder RCBS and acutually is accurate matching the beam scale in accuracy. It will however drift a slight bit during warmup and after a period of time.
Hi GD55, I'm glad you came back. The issues you mention with your RCBS digital scale are typical for electronic strain guage, especially the cheaper ones. They are great for a quick measurement but quickly fall down and become a total pain when used for something like a loading session for 100 or more cartridges. I started in my digital scale journey with inexpensive strain gauges. The battery operated ones were less than useless and a waste of $20. Then I splurged and got a Gempro-250. It was a much better scale than prior ones, and it was more accurate and consistent than the digital scale in my RCBS Chargemaster 1500. In fact, I used the GP to touch up all the loads from my CM-1500. I would get the CM to throw a charge about .5gr short and then I would transfer the load to my GP and trickle up manually. My SD went down and I got more consistent results on the target at 1000 yards, less elevation issues.
In 2013 I loaded my ammo for the Nationals using that methodology and after 500 rounds over a period of 2 days, I was hating the Gempro. It kept drifting after a while and I had to re-zero and even recalibrate just to be sure. I was trying to load to 0.1 grain consistently. It was epic, but the drifting is part and parcel of strain guage scales. This Gempro is no longer available [removed mention of GP 300] but it's still a strain guage and it will drift over time so it's good for shorter sessions.
When I returned from the Nationals, I decided I needed to upgrade my digital scale to something better if I was going to continue to load precisely. That's when I got the A&D. At that time, I started loading at .02 gr, the equivalent of a kernel of Varget; the lowest granularity I could hope for. At first I was using the CM-1500 to throw short and trickle up but I have since added the Autotrickler and then more recently, the Autothrow and it's very solid and consistent.
The setup is close to $1000 and that's absolutely insane for most people and I do not recommend it to anyone but the most dedicated competitor or someone for whom money is no object and they just want the best. Of course, the next step up is beyond insane, the Prometheus.
That makes my setup cheap by comparison, but the production rate and accuracy are the same.Interestingly enough that very expensive device is semi-automatic, you have to cycle the powder charge for every load, whereas in my setup, it's all automatic, so my setup is easier to use for the same accuracy.
A couple more thoughts here. A beam scale can be very accurate but they are am amalog device, which means that you have to judge the precision of the load. In order to do that, you have to have the scale at eye level to see if it lines up; if you load on a table, your eyes will be a couple of feet above the scale and you will have to contend with parallax in judging whether it's level or not. Digital scales are digital so you're just reading numbers and if you see the number you want, you're good to go. Currently my load is 43.60gr. Each kernel of powder is .02gr. I cannot judge that on a beam scale, with out some type of magnifying setup, something that is simply not needed with my digital setup.
ETA: Removed the mention of the GP 300. Stay away from Gempro, see next page for details.This message has been edited. Last edited by: NikonUser,
NikonUser in your opinion is the RCBS CM the best option for less than $400?
Hi,I'm Buck Melonoma,Moley Russels' wart.
I got my RCBS CM-1500 about 10 years ago, when it was still new in the industry. I was getting deeper into F-Class and discovered that I needed to up my game with regards to handloading. I was using an RCBS balance beam scale and it was taking forever to load enough ammo for a match; and it wasn't all that precise either, certainly not at the level that was needed.
The CM-1500 worked well for me, but I discovered some of its quirks and I knew that there were some light or heavy throws at times. When I thought I saw one, I would just throw it back in the powder hopper and get another one about 10 seconds later. The CM kept me going in F-Class until about the time when I started going to the nationals. That's when I started playing with an extra digital scale to touch up the CM loads. At first it was a b*tch but the Gempro was pretty decent, if drifty. I graduated to the A&D a year after the Gempro and I was using it to touch up the loads from the CM. When I got the autotrickler, I retired the CM and then now I have the Autothrow also and that combo is fast!
The RCBS 1500 did very well for me, for what it was; a strain guage digital scale with a built in dispenser. It's still more convenient to use than my A&D setup because it's one single unit, but it's not as precise. The CM would sometimes throw a charge that was 1.5 grains low or 1.5 grains high. In a run of 100 round, (a box,) checking the loads with my A&D, I would get about 30 charges that were dead-on or close enough. I would get about 60 that were a half-grain or less low, 5-6 that were closer to a grain low and a couple that were 1.5 grains low and one or so that was 1.5+ grain high.
My machine rarely threw high, but when it did, it went quite a bit high. The variations are not bad, especially for hunting or target shooting, but they are the source of WTF results on 1000 yard targets. When I uniformed the charges with another scale those WTF shots vanished, well, at least the ones that were ammo-related.
I have a lot of respect for the CM1500. It served me very well for many years, but it has its precision limitations. If you are trying to keep at 0.1 gr or so variation, it will do well for you.
As I said earlier, it's one integrated unit and it was quite fast compared to other similar brands. I understand RCBS has a lite version of the CM1500; I know nothing about it and never tried it. But it might be worth a look.
The neat thing with the CM1500 is that is dispenses a fairly precise load rapidly. You then have the option later on, to add a check scale to you process, if you so desire and still have the CM throw a pretty precise charge for you very quickly.
Precision is one thing, powder handling is another and the CM does a good job at that.
I was just in my loading area playing with my A&D with the autothrow and trickler and I looked at my CM1500 sitting on the shelf, where it has been now for 3 years. I'm not getting rid of it.
By the way, the trickler I used before the autotrickler is that small yellow one with the buttons and the long spout. A really neat device. I think I mention it in my stickied thread but I can't remember the name of it.
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