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Chargemaster vs Chargemaster lite vs Matchmaster. New question: secondary scale? Login/Join 
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posted
Hey all-

I am considering a change in my powder handling practice.
Does anyone have a strong opinion about the value of the Chargemaster vs the Chargemaster lite vs Matchmaster RCBS powder dispensers?
The price difference for moving up to the Matchmaster is substantial but Midway has it on sale for $899 plus a $100 gift card.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Bruce

This message has been edited. Last edited by: RNshooter,





"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4073 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Personal opinion.

The Chargemaster is a relatively decent entry into an auto-throw device. Cycle time is reasonable and accuracy is OK. You can re-program the cycle times to make it a bit quicker. Addition of a straw upgrade to increase accuracy will help. You can google that.

But if you are willing to drop the $$$ for the Matchmaster, you would be better off with the A&D FX-120 Autothrow. This is a lab quality scale that will measure to the single kernel, 0.01 level. It is also Bluetooth capable to set desired target weight. Cycle times are much quicker.

If you're looking for accuracy and speed for powder weighing stick with the A&D. I routinely get single digit SDs with my loads.

Buy once, cry once.

Andrew



Duty is the sublimest word in the English Language - Gen Robert E Lee.
 
Posts: 781 | Registered: May 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've been using a Chargemaster Lite for a year or so now. I've never used either of the others. I also only took a quick look at the specs for all three on the RCBS web site, so take this with as much salt as you think appropriate.

Accuracy specs are the same on all three except for the Matchmaster in "Match" mode. There the accuracy spec is +/- 0.04gr as opposed to +/- 0.1gr for both Chargemasters and the Matchmaster in "Standard" mode. While the difference may be mathematically significant, my guess is that only the very best shooters using the very best equipment would be able to see any practical difference in group size or velocity spread. Someone with more experience in relating charge weight consistency to ballistic performance may have a different idea.

Speed. Not sure on this one. The Matchmaster page claims to dispense charges in under 20 seconds. It doesn't say how big a charge that is, though. The Chargemaster page claims under 30 seconds for a 60gr charge. That doesn't jibe with the Matchmaster's claim to "dispense charges at the same speed as two Chargemasters" (in Match mode) and at the same speed as three Chargemasters when running in Standard mode. I would interpret those claims to mean that the Matchmaster dispenses charges twice as fast in Match mode and three times as fast in Standard mode. "Under 20 seconds" vs. "under 30 seconds" doesn't sound like twice as fast to me, unless those numbers are apples and oranges based on different charge weights. Also, on the same page where they claim twice the speed in Match mode and 3x the speed in Standard, they go on to claim that a "tuned" Matchmaster can dispense a 38.5gr charge of H4350 in under 7 seconds in Match mode (2x speed). They don't say what "tuned" means. So in the absence of more detailed information, color me skeptical on the 2x/3x speed claims. As a point of comparison, my CM Lite will dispense a 24gr charge of Hodgden Varget in between 13 and 20 seconds. 40 and 60gr charges dropped in 18 to 27 seconds. The Chargemaster page seems to indicate that the CM speed is about the same as that of the CM Lite.

Chargemaster offers storage for up to 30 different loads. Matchmaster offers storage for some number of loads (the web page doesn't say how many; I looked though the online user manual but couldn't figure out how many it will save) plus photos of group sizes and velocities. Handy I suppose, if you want to use it for that, personally I prefer a notebook or spreadsheet. The CM Lite doesn't do any of that.

If you want to control your trickler from your cell phone, Matchmaster is the only way to go of the three.

So, assuming the claims of the Matchmaster's speed are in fact accurate, it boils down to "How much is your time, onboard load storage, and the bluetooth feature worth to you?"

I paid right about $300 for my CM Lite, at a local store that's not known for competitive pricing (I'm pretty sure you can find it for less than that online, but I was in a hurry). That's about 1/3 less than the Chargemaster and a whole bunch less than the Matchmaster. Matchmaster's MSRP is roughly double that of the CM and triple that of the CM Lite. I haven't looked at online prices so I can't offer a comparison of those.

For me, the CM Lite is the best deal of the three. Only you can say how much the admittedly nicer features of the MM are worth to you.
 
Posts: 6235 | Location: Portland, OR | Registered: February 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you're considering spending $900 on a balance, your best investment is the A&D FX-120 with the Autotrickler V3 with Autothrow. You can buy it from C&E for $960 as a unit.

The price difference is incidental but the difference in performance is drastic.

The FX-120 is a Magnetic Force Restauration device whereas the Chargemasters are all Strain guages. This means that the FX-120 will not drift as you use it, whereas the CMs will drift while you are using them. Some will drift more than others, but they will drift; it's just a nature of the beast.

Now, the FX-120 is extremely sensitive, which is why you want to use tricks to prevent vibrations of air currents to affect it. I use a cardboard folder around it to deflect air currents while it's working.
 
Posts: 3230 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks, everyone.

Given my limited skill and experience, the high end setups are probably a poor choice, for now.
I will look for a deal on the CM Lite and upgrade to the Autothrow when I can see that the groups could benefit from a miniscule improvement in charge weight accuracy. I have plenty of other areas to improve before that is the case Wink

Bruce





"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4073 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If anyone has a suggestion as to where to purchase the Chargemaster lite from, I am all ears. I am looking for a deal but want warranty protection.
I would prefer to not buy it from Amazon.

Thanks!

Bruce





"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4073 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RNshooter:
If anyone has a suggestion as to where to purchase the Chargemaster lite from, I am all ears. I am looking for a deal but want warranty protection.
I would prefer to not buy it from Amazon.

Thanks!

Bruce

Totally agree. $290 at Brownell's.
 
Posts: 3230 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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$265 on Amazon.
Ordered from Brownells.Wink

Thanks!

Bruce





"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4073 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brownell's is great. I've been doing busines with them for 20 years. Their subsidiary, Sinclair Intl, is another place from which I have been buying for over 15 years.
 
Posts: 3230 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had a Chargemaster (~$250 from Sportsman Warehouse), but found it overcharged 3 to 5 times out of 50 rounds (Varget, RL17, RL22, Precision and 4350) and was ~0.2gr in accuracy. I returned mine and went back to my Benchrest powder dump with a trickler and a beam. I have to concentrate more, but didn't lose much time. If you don't want to get below 0.2 in your dumps and want to relax while you dump powder, it's a decent machine. I just didn't see any value in it.


 
Posts: 1717 | Location: North Cackalacky | Registered: September 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So, the CM Lite will "drift". How do you correct for that? Check every 10th charge on another scale? Recalibrate every _____minutes?

Bruce





"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4073 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Chargemaster scales are not the most accurate. I base that on seeing first hand Chargemasters checked against a Sartorius GD503, Sartorius Entris64 and the A&D FX120. FYI- the Sarorius scales are rated/legal for weighing precious metals/gems...

The only thing you'll gain with a Chargemaster over a quality beam scale is speed and not by alot if at all if using an electric trickler.

I've been using a tuned Ohaus M5 with a electic trickler for many years. Single digit ES's.... Checking it agianst my buddies Sartorius/A&D scaless it's +/- a kernel. The only reason I would switch to a Autotrickler set up with a Sartorius or A&D scale is for speed. Good friend has two Autotricklers/A&D FX 120's, he can crank it out!

My beam scale easily passes the "trickle" test. Throw/trickle a charge. Dump a handful a kernels into a spoon, slowly dump those kernels back into the pan. Repeat 10 times. Should have the exact same measurement. Checking a beam scale with a weight is a waste of time, not how we use our beam scales.

Suggest a tested/tuned beam scale or a Sartorius/A&D scale, skip the Chargemasters.
 
Posts: 2995 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Offgrid is correct. The CMs are simply not very precise or accurate; that's the problem with strain guage balances. There is no way of saying how often you need to recalibrate or hit it with a stick. In my experience, the longer the loading session the crazier ths strain gauge balances act.

On the other hand, with my Magnetic force restauration FX-120 balances, the duration of the loading session is irrelevant; what is important is clean power and shielding from air currents.

Now, where offgrid and I disagree is about the speed and use of a beam scale, spoon and powered trickler. I did that for a while but as I grew older, it became more and more difficult to keep up the concentration of do so many high precision steps over 100, 200 or more rounds. I would screw something up soon enough and make a mess.

With the FX=120 with the Autotrickler V3/Autothrow, that pressure is gone. All I do is stuff in the cup, let the machine do the work, ad or remove a kernel at then end and dump the load into a case. Rinse, repeat, and so on. To me that was worth it.

My trusty CM 1500 has been on the shelf for 5+ years now and my loading has just gotten progresively faster and more accurate. At one point I was using the CM1500 to throw 1 gr short, transfer to the FX-120 and finish up with a powered trickler. That's all gone now. One system.
 
Posts: 3230 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bump for a new question:

Speed be damned, what is the best value in a secondary scale? And please don't suggest the FX-1201. I know, that IS the one I want. Can't have it. Too spendy, right now. Next?
Or is anything less going to be a waste of time over the Chargemaster lite and Hornady GS-1500 that I already have?

Thanks,

Bruce





"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4073 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RNshooter:
Bump for a new question:

Speed be damned, what is the best value in a secondary scale? And please don't suggest the FX-1201. I know, that IS the one I want. Can't have it. Too spendy, right now. Next?
Or is anything less going to be a waste of time over the Chargemaster lite and Hornady GS-1500 that I already have?

Thanks,

Bruce

Hey Bruce,
As I explained earlier, there are two main types of balances: String Guage (cheap). and MFR (Magnetic Force Restauration) (expensive). It's just the nature of the beast. All strain guages drift and they are really made to weigh a specific object. What manufacturers like Chargemaster do is use software to smooth out the fluctuations, in other words make the scale look like it's performing well.

I think in my thread I recounted how I started with a beam scale with a dropper and trickler to get to the load. It was slow, arduous and more suited for younger people. Then I got my Chargemaster (about 12 years ago, I think.) I was fast and fairly accurate, but I could detect the consistency issues. I gut suspicious that it was not as accurate as it purported to be so I bought another balance without an autocharger (also a strain guage because in those days, I had not learned) It was a Gempro 250. My method of working was to get the CM1500 to throw me a load one grain short of target, I would transfer that load to the GM and use an Omega power trickler to reach my target. Yeah, real Mousetrap game stuff. During a loading session, the Gempro balance would drift was all strain types do and I would have to recalibrate time and again. A real pain. One year I had a marathon session to load 500 rounds for the Nationals and after I was done, I put away the Gempro forever. That's when I bought my FX-120 for about $450 at the time.

So, I still used the CM1500 to throw a short load, transfer it to the FX and Omega trickle my way to target. That was good and the FX-120 balance was always spot on. It was just a lot of maneuvering and as one gets older, things get wobbly.

Then Adam came out with his Autotrickler. I got one and put away the CM1500 for good. I used a measuring spoon to dump the initial load in the cup on the FX120 and the Autotrickler would continue to target. Problem was to remember to throw the initial load in time. The first version of the Autothrow was based on an OEM powder measure that was not designed to be powered. It was a little iffy; there were leaks and other issues but overall it worked well. The current design of the Autothrow is SOLID and works really well.

I acquired my outfit over a period of years and that amortized the cost greatly. I just kept buying the various upgrades from Adam until I now have the latest release along with some third party add-ons. I totally understand not wanting to spend $1000 in one shot.

However, you might want to consider getting the FX-120 by itself. I believe it is one of the cheapest (comparatively speaking) MFR balances out there and it's very solidly built. Over time, you can get the auto stuff from Adam at your one pace.

The FX-120 is around $500. (You would need to search around.)
Adam's autotrickler is $270
Adam's autothrow is $290.
Or
The Autotrickler & Autothrow combo is $490.

I think any Strain guage balance you get will all have the same drifting issue. Some drift worse than others, sometimes quicky, sometimes more slowly. Regardless, this type of balance is not suited for long loading sessions (or sometimes eve short sessions.)
 
Posts: 3230 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Okay, I will live with whatever inherent flaws the CM lite has until my shooting and loading have progressed to the point that the lack of single digit standard deviations in muzzle velocity are my biggest problem.

Thanks,

Bruce





"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4073 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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