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Discussion Starter #1
I just started loading my first rounds last night. I'm using a Lee Safety Scale. The problem it seems it that whenever I zero it, if I remove the grain pan, or anything, and put it back on, it never goes back to zero perfectly... seldomly it does tho. Also, the long, black, "Poise"? sets on a razor blade in a notch on the red base... it can move forward or backward like .10 each direction. If I barely move it on this blade, which it's hard not to when your moving the brass adjusting screw, it just messes up the zero again. Im getting scared of this thing. For the load I am using, my start load is 40gr, max is 45.5. For safety, I loaded my first 3 (that's all I've done so far) at 41.5gr... just in case the scale is off, it (hopefully) won't be under the max or min. Also, I don't have any check weights or anything, the only thing I have is a 85 gr. 6mm Nosler Partition that I've been using, but again, I don't know if it's exactly 85.0 gr. itself..
What scale do you guys recommend? My local gun shop carries RCBS 505's and the cheapest one also (forgot model on it). Are these dependable? I only have like $50 to spend on one... can I get a dependable one for that? Also, I don't need a scale that can weigh lots of weight, none of my rifles hold over 100 gr... although I would like to weigh my bullets on my match rounds, but thats not "yet" a necessity.
Also, this is a little off topic, but should only have a quick answer.. how much case lube is enough? I am using RCBS Case Lube 2, it's a very heavy, tacky, thick, clear gel... just a drop for a whole case (a super thin layer) or a light film over the entire thing... I'm afraid that I am using too much, but I don't have to tools to remove a stuck case, so I don't want to use too little as well.
Thanks guys!
 

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I actually bought some Lyman check weights and my Lee Safety Scale is spot on. It zeroes perfectly. Frankly, I suspect all balance scales are a PITA, so I wouldn't switch.

It's possible yours is defective, in which case Lee will send you a new one. But just be careful hooking the little pan on. You need to be gentle with them. Every time I get mine out, the zero is still perfect. Can't remember the last time I fiddled with the brass nut.

I know what you mean about getting the blade positioned right, though. Once you do, It should work. Put a drop of oil in the slot for the blade on the base. I suspect it's technique, but if you really want to replace it, I'd get a digital before I'd get another beam scale. They're likely all a bit touchy.

John
 

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For what it's worth. I just bought a Dillon balance beam, at the 50 dollar mark, and checking, crosschecking and maintaining zero, it seems just fine and dandy. BTW, I am not a blue guy as my press is Hornady, but do like this scale.
 

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Actually I think the RCBS 505 is a great scale. Also the Redding scale works just as nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does the beam on the RCBS 505 move back and forth? Or is it precisely fitted to the base? Even if I can get this Lee straightened out, I still need a new one. This one I got used, and the white lines on the 0.1 scale are worn and dulling, and sometimes very hard to read without shining a flashlight on it lol.
I just HATE the feeling of knowing that if this scale were to misread more than 3 grams over, (or under for that matter) it could hurt my rifle (let alone myself), and I HATE that. My family calls me a perfectionist, I call it O.C.D., lol, either way, I want to feel 110% confident that the 42.5 grains of RL15 that my scale has measure is what I am actually putting into the case, or at least to know that if it's not 42.5, it's 43.0 or 42.0. I could even live with that.
Thanks for all the help!

Also, anyone care to shoot at the lube question? What are signs of over and under lubing? Is there a (reasonably priced <$4) case lube out there better than RCBS Case Lube 2?
 

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I have the Pact digital and they are not with out error also. They recommend calibrating it often. It comes with its own check weights, a 20 gr. and a 50 gr.. For what is worth I would not buy a new scale but the Lyman weight set. It should be a lot less money and you really need a standard to verify all scales. I always double check the digital and my auto measure with them.
 

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I have been using a RCBS 5-10 scale for about 25 years and it is eccellent. I don't think they make this exact model but you can find lots of them on Ebay. I attached a picture of the 5-10.

I have never used the 505 but the tenth adjustment looks a little strange but I have never examined it. The scale I have has a marked roller you turn for your tenth adjustment.

I did look at the Lee scale and was not too impressed with the set up.
 

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While my Lee has served me well, if you can't read yours, it's useless and dangerous.

Trained as an economist, however, I'm always looking at marginal value. When I look at the balance beam scales page at Midway and read the user comments (comments load quickly, text only), I find that while the Lee tends to be the most frustrating scale, there are similar gripes about every other balance beam scale save one. . .the RCBS Model 1010 at $144.

Most of the $55-69 beam scales have users who find them just fine (like I do my Lee) and users who are really irritated by them. Confirms my suspicion they are all somewhat finicky. The RCBS 1010 is a lab-quality instrument, which is probably why the users are all enthusiastic (every rater, quite a few of them, gives it a 5-star rating).

But for less than that price ($109), you could also get the immensely popular RCBS digital Model 750. As others have mentioned, electronics are not without their issues, as well. But I suspect, as with balance beams, much of this may be operator error. You have to be patient with electronic scales and let them settle down at zero before each weighing. They also do something balance beams do not, and that is drift. Every so often you have to put the check weight on the scale and check it to see it is still calibrated. Once you se up a blanace beam and check zero, if you do not move it, it will not drift.

Scales are by nature finicky, and you can't go too fast with any of them. The electronics have a big advantage as far as readout. They are much easier to read (good for those of us who need reading glasses), and they cannot be misread by accident.

The point of all this is that you should be prepared for some frustration if you buy a $55-69 balance beam scale. As you say, if you cannot read yours it is useless, so you need a new scale. I also realize that there is an absolute limit to what one can spend sometimes.

But you shouldn't have to be fiddling with your Lee on one load. If it were me, and I could read it with any confidence at all with a flashlight or otherwise, I'd lock in the reading for that load and leave it. Use it until you can save enough money for the RCBS 750 electronic. If you are throwing charges with a measure and checking every several, if the beam is freely moving and close to the witness mark, you are fine. If you want to weigh every charge, throw one underweight and use a trickler. You don't "weigh" every charge in the sense that you have to move the poise around to see what it weighs. You try to get it close to the witness mark, that's all you do with a balance beam scale. If you are trying to fiddle with it on every load, you are not using it properly.

I guess what I'm saying is if you can settle your Lee down and get better with practice, I'd save up for the electronic. If it's broken, it's broken, no two ways about it. But I know you are new to reloading and moving very fast. You may find the Lee settles down and becomes more usable the more you play with it.

If I were ever going to replace my Lee balance scale there is only one choice I'd make, and that is the RCBS Model 1010 lab-quality balance beam. I trust balance beams more, and I'm patient enough to use one. I'd never trade up from what is admitedly a mediocre, but serviceable scale (at least mine is) to a little less mediocre scale. I'd be angry over the money spent every time the new one frustrated me.

With scales you get what you pay for. Either stick with the Lee if you can get it to work, or go to the top. Skip the middle price ground.

Of course, YMMV ;).
 

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My Lee scale seems to be pretty accurate but it is slow and tedious to set and read. I occasionally check charge weights against known Lee dipper capacities and they are always pretty close to the scale readings.
 

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...For what is worth I would not buy a new scale but the Lyman weight set. It should be a lot less money and you really need a standard to verify all scales. I always double check the digital and my auto measure with them.

I have the RCBS Chargemaster and ALWAYS verify it with a calibrated weight set with a weight very close to the amount of grains I am loading at that setting. And always verify occasionally throughout the load session and would not load without verifying. This takes the guess work out of: "Is the scale accurate? Weighing correctly?"
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks so much for all of the helpful replies!
I've got the patience to use a balance scale, and I know that after you set it and zero it once, you can leave it as long as it isn't moved... heres where my problem comes into play...
The black beam's razor can move forward or backward on the base if touched or moved, and if I zero the scale, then remove the pan, and then replace it, if I do everything with a feather's touch, it will go back to "near" zero, maybe .05" off.. or, if I put it back on there just normally, it seems the black beam gets lightly knocked forward or backward off it's razor's mark, and then shows a significant change when I re-read zero... I just think, IMHO, that the scale is the most important part of a reloading setup.
I did as you said John Collins, and played and played with it more last night, trying different tabletops etc, and I do have more confidence in it as I did before, but I still don't trust it 100%. I'm just going to use it, and will make sure not to approach any maximum loads until I can afford another scale.
Also John, I've had my eye on that RCBS 750 digital for a long time, just didn't think they were as good since all the reloaders I have seen have been using a balance beam scale. I also want to start weighing my competition rounds, and will need a scale that can weigh up to 200 grains. My rifle probably isn't even accurate enough to tell the difference between shooting two rounds, one with a Sierra Matchking weighing 175.000 grains, and the other weighing 175.375, etc. Just wanted it for the mental confidence boost, just "knowing" that all of your rounds are as identical as can humanly be produced.
Again, thanks for all your replies! This has been very helpful!
 

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If your going to weigh each round... get the best scale you can afford. I load by dipper so I'm just looking for confirmation in a scale. So the cheap Lee works fine for my use. If you spend $50 and it doesn't fit your need, it will be money lost. I'd save up and get the 1010.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
What's all your' opinions on this scale? It's cheap ($80) as compared to over 100 for the RCBS.
It's the Cabela's XT1500 ; http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/t...ode=IJ&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat20853
Or would it just be better to save up more and get the RCBS?

If digital scales cost only a little more than good balance scales, then why aren't all reloaders using them? (At least all the reloaders who buy their scales separately from a kit and pay $75-$100 for one)?
Are digital scales more prone to mis-weigh things? Or is it just the fact that they have to be zeroed more than beam scales? I'm just going to have to sell my extra .308 die set and add it to what money I already have :)

EDIT : After posting this, I read the reviews of that scale on Cabela's, and it seems that the RCBS 750 is 10 times better.
 

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If your open to other scales I've had the RCBS 750 and it was a nice accurate scale. I've been using the RCBS 1500 for about a year now and it's also nice and accurate but the 750 would have been more than andequate if I had decided to keep it. I find the digitals to more than accurate and alot easier to work with than the beam scales. I've only owned 1 beam scale and I won't be buying another.
 

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I've been using the RCBS 10-10 for about 20 yers and never a problem with it. I thought I would improve things and get a PACT DPPS digital scale. After about 6 months I went back to the RCBS. Just my experince.
 

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While I use a Lee press and dies I hate their scale because it's slow and hard to read. My old man has used a Redding scale for as long as I remember and I've always liked it. I use a Pact digital.
 

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Iam still using the cheapo Lyman beam scale that I got with my first reloading kit about 30 years ago. I chrono all of my loads, so any variations in charge weight should be noticeable. So far no problems nothing but consistency. I would love to buy a new scale (I am a "gadget freak") but the original works too well.

PS Avoid PACT products, their customer service sucks.
 

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Damascus, you're looking in the low-middle range of digital scales with that Cabelas thing.

I just think with scales, you stay with the cheapo bottom end beams, or you go to the top end in beam scales ( the $144 RCBS Model 1010) or a decent digital scale ( the RCBS Model 750 ).

I've done enough things on the cheap to know you spend more in the long run on some things and scales, I believe are one of them. Lee dies are great values, I wouldn't go for more expensive dies (YMMV). But on scales, if I were going to move from that Lee, I'd go right to the top, because the stuff in the middle price range is going to frustrate you eventually. Penny wise, pound foolish, as they say.

I honestly think you're obsessing too much over the scale. The thing is so sensitive, you're not going to get into trouble. Stop weighing every charge. Get the sense that your throwing the right charge and weigh only every tenth throw. I shot a 0.36" group using ammo I loaded on a Lee Challenger Press using their Perfect Powder measure and weighing only every tenth charge on their scale.

That made me a believer in thrown charges, if you use consistent technique. You do not need to weigh every charge to make accurate ammo! Folks that weigh every charge are making themselves feel better, but they are not affecting their accuracy that much. See attached target if you don't believe me.

But, I'm getting a sense for your personality (I'm not being critical, just observant!) and you're wired to be so careful, if you get a mid-range scale you're not going to trust that eventually, either. At least that's my prediction.

Discipline yourself to live with what you have a little longer until you can get a premium scale. It's the only kind that will satisfy you in the long run. Save money on stuff that doesn't matter as much. Get as much Lee stuff as you can, cheaper, but serviceable primer pocket cleaners, trimmers, chamferers, that sort of stuff. Their presses are actually fine, and turn out very accurate ammo, despite all the knocks they get from owners of other brands.

But I can tell by the way you're going on about the scale you are going to eventually have the top end beam or a decent digital. If you get the middle range product, you'll eventually have two and have wasted the first purchase.

Pick where you want to make the heavier investments and where you want good enough, but not fancy. For you, I think the scale is one you need to pony up for. You will not be truly happy with anything less.

Just my two cents.

John


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