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electronic scales/ rcbs...? (sorry turned out a bit long )

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I was just wondering what different sets of scales everyone here uses.

I have been a rifle shooter/ reloader for about 10 years now (i started when i was about 10.) Anyways, up un till now, i have been using the RCBS 505 scales.

I havent been in pistol shooting for long, around a year and a half, and my first reloadable pistol is now almost finished. Now i know that generally the majority of people shooting IPSC etc. Will be using progressive presses, something which i do plan to buy eventually (the dillon 550) for now i have the good old RCBS rc single stage press which i started with.

I have always enjoyed reloading, and although i have a powder thrower, i always weigh every charge b4 it goes into the case.
This has never been a problem, because i dont go through ammo evan a quarter the amounts i can imagin i will be with my new pistol. Till i can afford the 550, i will be sticking with my good old rock chucker. I know it will be very slow, but it is very satisfieing for me once ive finished and can go down the range and use it.

I have finally decided, that im going to buy a digital scale for weighing my charges as ive always wonted
and am looking to anyone for help, opinions, experience with what to look at and and what to avoid.

The scales im looking at (im on a budget dont forget) are the RCBS "micro pro" electronic scales. (this is from a catalogue i have, i think it should be the same as the one that you guys would have in the states, for 2001.)

Considering that these scales are not exactly laboratory grade, do you think i should just stick with what i have, till i could afford something better or will this do? I dont wont any fancy features, just an on/ off and a re-zero. Consistancy is the No.1 thing im looking for with these.

Im not talking, searching for the .000" group
just consistancy that i know i can trust, for the future, (so heres one more question, does anyone have experience with these electronic scales, over a period of time, how have they held up?)

The two main rounds i will be loading, will be for my 22-250, 30-06, and soon to have .40.

Sorry about my long post, any help, or discussion would be greatly appreciated.

ps, the pistol that im having made, i trust, shall be of above average accuracy for a Standard pistol, but overall, what are your opinions on how accurate a round i can load, actually making a difference. (Bar, feeding etc matters) I know it may and will seem like a waste of time to some of you, and a lot of the guys here, but like i said, i enjoy reloading, however long it may take me.

Thanks again
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As a lab type snob who has much exerience with scales, I'm going to suggest you stick with what you have.

The "feel" that you now probably have as you trickle that last little bit of powder will be hard to replicate using an electronic sale.

IMHO, electronic units that cost less than $750 aren't very good and most seem more affected by air currents than beam balances.

I have a $12000 totally enclosed electronic analytical balance I use for weighing bullets, plue a $900 top loading balance that would be suitable for weighing powder charges. When it comes time to actually weigh each load, I use my beam balance.

Realize that everyone has opinions, and not all of them are right for YOU. consider my opinions food for thought...

Although I've never tried to prove it to others, my feeling is that thrown charges using a good measure and a good metering powder will be more accurate than hand weighed charges. The difference has always seemed very slight to me, but to me, the nod has to go to the thrown charges.

A bunch of fanatical benchrest and high power shooters would likely agree with me, as all the ones I talked to used thrown charges and most of them were successful at their chosen activity.

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767 Posts
I'm still using my thirty year old RCBS 5-10 scale. I have absolutely nothing against electronic scales, I just don't see any reason to change as long as my old scale hangs in there. I would rather spend the money on components so I can shoot more!-TR

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330 Posts
I use a RCBS digital set. I don't have to "He Haw" around with weight bars and other trinkets. I started with a Lee aniverssary set and immediately knew I needed a digital scale if I wanted to make progress. Instead of spending time checking and repeat calibration of the scales, I am able to put more concentration into the rest of the operation.

For you all that like the standard weighing tools. To each their own. I reload to shoot, not shoot to reload!

If you don't mind being where you are, you are not lost.

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265 Posts
IMHO, if you've got the money for a decent digital scale, you should save another few months and buy your 550.

Once you start reloading with a proper progressive press, (like the 550) your powder scale will become one of the least used accessories in your kit. After your load is set up it'll sit in a bottom drawer, with your bullet puller, gathering dust.

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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi again everyone,

thanks for the few replies. yous have really got me thinking and i thank you for that.

im not so sure what to do now. It turns out the scales i wonted are not for sale in AUS, so now im looking at the "powder pros" and the "partner" electronic scales. once again from RCBS.

walking point, thanks for the input, i know where your coming from, but could you please explain what you mean with regard to the "air currents" affecting the cheep electronic scales over the beam balances(bb). (i mean, i think i know what your talking about, but with these electronic scales, and for weighing gunpowder, in a standard house room, say without the fan funning etc, surely it isnt going to effect that much with respect to the level of accuracy i would need to be measuring to, and the consistancy should be roughly the same??? )

the scales im looking at over here, retail for around $400AUS. so this would be well under what you would regard as a decent set of electronic scales. but the "bb" 505's that im using i would hardly put into the same leage of the beam balances your refuring to. Here in AUS. the 505's retail around $150AUS i think these days. (keep in mind that your US dollar with the exchange rate the way it is, means that im paying about twice what your rrp. would be.

So i think what your saying works both ways with the bb and the electronic ones im looking at. So with that in mind would you still agree that i would be better off sticking with the bb scales ive got, or buying the electronic ones or at the other end, should i look into spending the money on some better bb scales?

waltermitty, a very good point you have there, and i never really thought of spending the money on the 550 now. But really in my current situation, i cannot afford to buy it now, maybe not for another 6 months. (Im picking up my pistol hopefully in less then a month (fingers crossed that it will be ready! and not delayed any more
which together with extra mag's and my holster etc. is costing me a fortune! (over $5000) (im looking to buy my first house next year, so ive been saving for ever, and i figured that if i didnt buy this pistol now, i proabbly never would.) So like i said, next time the money becomes avaliable i will buy the 550, but right now its rrp. is somewhere around the $850 mark. Ive found a place where i can get the scales for $300 so i thought that was pritty good as its over a hundred bux cheeper then all the places around me. So i think i can just manage to afford it, but cannot really go as far as the 550 for now.

I also plan on loading my 30-06 a bit, and my dads 22-250, so i figured that it would also be good for that. Specially as i weigh all the rounds one at a time, (after theyve been throught the thrower) (i dont know, maybe im just being silly, but i like the idea of being able to see a number come up each time. With the bb. i feel that i can influence the reading in how i place the tray on the "beam". (though i guess you can take that as a good thing, as i know how to do it so to influence the reading, i know what not to do to do this, but it just seems more appealing to just throw the powder, weigh it, and then add or take any with my trickler etc, till the number on the electronic scales is the same each time...?) And well, the fact is, that if we are to look at the bb scales im using in the same league walking point's compairing the electronic ones too, well, they would be really really poor.

Also, another question i think, comes up when taking about the throwers, is the powder itself.

Walking point, you say that you think, hear etc. that i would be able to get better accuracy from just using the thrower. But really the way they work/ accuracy they work with, is going to be infuenced by the powder itself? I dont really know how the pistol powder will feed, as it appears to be a flake type granules, whereas my rifle powder is cylindrical/ stick granules. (sometimes, when i sysle the thrower, it feels like its crunching the powder as it cuts off/ levels off the amount to be feed out the bottem if you know what i mean. Would this affect the metering of the thrower etc. (I guess i just like the idea of the electronic scales, thought i understand that im proabbly just setting myself up for a false sence of security? What do you recon?

I dont really understand how the electronic scales actually weigh, but talking to a friend of mine, he was saying that the rcbs etc electronic scales generally are more then accurate enough for the purpose of shooting. And that there methord for weighing is simple enough to be done at a reasonable price, whilst still being accurate enough?

Anyways i think im starting to ramble (or did i ever stop
But thanks once again for the info, and continue to look forward to your comments.


[This message has been edited by Travis (edited 10-07-2001).]

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421 Posts
I used a RCBS balance scale for many years, then it started having damping problems. I picked up one of those PACT battery powered electronic scales - it wouldn't zero. I returned it to Midway and ordered the wall powered Pact scale. It's probably the best tool I've bought for reloading in many years. I don't have problems with zero - and
if I keep the garage windows closed wind doesn't bother it. It works with a trickler, I've seen reports that some brands don't. It's very fast. And even when I'm reloading on one of my 3 Dillon presses, I check powder weight often.

· Registered
2,019 Posts
Any air movement will affect a scale, maybe it's just more noticeable with an electronic unit. My digital units measure to at least 0.00000, so they pick up any movement almost anywhere in the house. I just find it irritating.

The balance I use to weigh bullets is enclosed in a glass case with sliding doors, so it works the best.

Powder certainly determines how accurate a powder measure will be. Obviously you will want to use powder that meters very well. W231 and H335 are my most used powders since they both meter very well and give me the performance I want. If I have to use a powdr that meters poorly, then I just hand weigh. Unique in my cast rifle loads is oen that I hand weigh, but the quantities aren't very large. I don't know what kind of powders you have available, but hopefully you can find ball powder for all of your uses.

I've heard of folks here who throw flake charges and are happy, but that hasn't been my personal experience.

I tend to agree that once you start using a powder measure, the scale is used for nothing more than verification. I'd hate to waste money on an expensive digital unit just to find it spending most of it's time in a drawer. Honestly, anything besides the Lee Safety Scale is all anyone needs, even if they hand weigh a lot. My RCBS 502 is a good example of that.

Personally I can't see how a digital unit can be any faster than a beam balance, but since I didn't like the lack of "feel" when weighing powder with the digital balance, maybe I missed something.

If I were you, I'd stick with the fine scale you already have and spend the money on something else.
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