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New reloading question about a quality scale

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by IheartSig, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. IheartSig

    IheartSig Beaverton Diamond Supporter Diamond Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I have picked up a RCBS supreme single stage reloading set a few weeks ago. I have been setting it up slowly as I try to make my way through the handbook. I was wondering if any of you might suggest a particular brand of electronic measuring scale to replace the balancing scale it comes with?

    I wanted to get into the hobby more to learn about it, and how to do it well, rather than cranking out thousands of rounds. I'm not looking to make special loads or anything, just to better understand this aspect of the hobby and create solid rounds that wont blow my face off.
     
  2. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Josephine County Active Member

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    Use the balance beam until you get some experience. Set it up on a solid surface or it will give false readings as the bench surface flex's. I like the RCBS stuff. When you do get a electronic scale, spend some money, the cheap stuff fails with no warning. I use a cheapo for weighing bullets, its fast and I also use a balance beam to make sure the cheapo elec scale does not go goofy. Bullet weights being off a grain or two is just an aggravation, a couple grains off on a hand load can send you to hospital.
     
  3. IheartSig

    IheartSig Beaverton Diamond Supporter Diamond Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    ok, this sounds lame I'm sure, but can you advise on a way to practice with that balance beam? If I'm being honest, the balance scale frightens me as math is not my strong suit and I've never used one like it. :oops: I agree that this should be a base skill I should be competent in prior to moving forward however.
     
  4. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I'm relatively new to hand loading compared to a lot of the people here.....I'm mechanically inclined, therefore I will trust a balance beam scale over some electronic gadget made in China, [or anywhere for that matter}.

    I keep my scale covered when not in use. I handle my scale as though it were a very delicate, expensive piece of glass. I re-set/zero my scale if i'm changing calibers or load weights. I don't move my scale while I'm in a session, without re-setting it. And I verify accuracy on a regular basis. I have NO IDEA what is going on inside that electronic gadget!
     
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  5. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Josephine County Active Member

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    RCBS 10-10 scale has a wheel on the pointer end. This sets your zero. Make sure both weights are set at zero.
    If you move the scale re zero, not a might, DO IT! No math required. Down load instructions from internet for you scale. Treat it like fine glass and keep it clean. How long will it last? Bought mine about 1970 something.
     
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  6. IheartSig

    IheartSig Beaverton Diamond Supporter Diamond Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Thanks Sabertooth, I'm going to hunt down instructions online for it. Ill play with it until I feel confident I understand it. I don't know if they are supposed to come with instructions, but mine didn't. I felt pretty stupid like this was something I should just ...know.
     
  7. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have a RCBS 502 and a 10-10 Both of which are fine scales. Eventually I think I'll get a 505 as my eyes are getting older and the extra spot for the 10th markers are easier to see. Having said all this.... The first thing I did was invest in a relatively cheap RCBS scale weight set that covers .5 grains, 1 grain, 2 grain 5 grain and 10 grain. PS: I never touch these scale weights with anything but a pair of tweezers... Using these in conjunction with each other and other known weight values you can simply count and counter measure as much as you like then weigh powder and feel very secure that you've got it right. Practice, practice.

    When you're ready to load some rounds in quantity you'll likely want a powder measure drop which are far more accurate than I would have ever assumed they would be. I check my powder measure against every 5 to 10 drops and anytime that I have a "hard pull" on the measure for some reason.

    Have Fun!
     
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  8. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Josephine County Active Member

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    Balance beam, the long side towards the pointer is in, I think, 10 grain increment's, the short side is in 1 grain increment's. Move the long side to 10, move the short side to 4, now you have set the scale for 14 grains.
     
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  9. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    "Math Skill"? What's that?

    You want to be real sure? Get some check weights. When I'm ready to load up a batch I set the scale in the spot, what ever that may be. I'll zero the scale and let that view burn in my brain, [exactly how the lines match up]. No fans or breeze of any kind in the room. If you're loading handgun and don't already have the small cylinder for your powder thrower, get one, it makes it much easier to fine tune the powder amount. Play with it a bit, if the lines don't quite match up with a charge in the pan? Move the tenth weight and see how far off you are. That will help you get to know how the scale behaves.

    Read the book that came with the kit, what it says about being consistent in moving the handle on the thrower is very true. You can affect the amount of powder dispensed by up to .3 gr just by varying the speed in the way you move the handle on the thrower. Keep the thrower about half full. And as the book recommends, check the powder weight every ten rounds or so. Actually getting your powder amounts to be the same time after time is more difficult than using the scale, for me anyway.
     
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  10. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Josephine County Active Member

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    RCBS powder dispenser. I double tap at the top and bottom. Reduces the charge difference. Mine came with both small and large kits.
     
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  11. IheartSig

    IheartSig Beaverton Diamond Supporter Diamond Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Thank you guys for all the advice, I just got the instructions for the 502, which is what I have. I'm going to tinker with it when I get home tonight. I may stop by Cabelas for some weights as well.
     
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  12. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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  13. bockja

    bockja Sandy, OR Member

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    After you are comfortable with using the manual scales and the overall process of reloading, a good digital scale to check out is the gem pro 250. These have a 0.02 grain resolution which is nice, but not necessary. You should be able to pick one of these up for 150 to 160. Always keep your manual balance beam though. It's always good practice to have a good backup.
     
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  14. NoFlinch

    NoFlinch In a van down by the river Owner of Cocaine addicted dog.

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    I have a balance beam and an electronic.
    Started reloading with a balance beam.

    Then bought a "Name Brand" electronic, to "UPgrade"

    Went back to balance beam for powder, and electronic to
    weigh bullets, etc.

    Balance Beam,for those who want to be EXACT!:D:)
     
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  15. bockja

    bockja Sandy, OR Member

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    Electronic Scales can be a blessing and greatly improve your work flow. However, they can also be temperamental and need to be handled accordingly to mitigate the potential issues. Big issues include electrical noise, vibration, and temperature. You can easily solve these by using a line conditioner, placing the scale on it's own table (not the one the press is mounted to), and making sure to store it in a heated room. Lastly, it is generally recommended to turn your scales on for at least 10 minutes if not longer to allow them to stabilize before you start using them.

    Hope this helps.

    bockja
     
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  16. oa98pistol512

    oa98pistol512 salem area Member

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    I bought a nice used rcbs elec scale at gunshow for $40... It has worked perfectly for years. But it must be on for awhile before I load (30 min) I also calibrate the scale EVERY time I load.They have a no question asked on repairs of their equipment....
     
  17. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have a couple of balance beam scales, Lyman and Ohaus 10-0-5. the Lyman is a cheaper one and works well. The Ohaus is a much higher quality.
    I also have a RCBS Chargemaster electronic scale I use a lot. All of the aforementioned issues with electronic scales are very important. Another issue has not been mentioned yet. They will weigh within a 1/10 of a grain, but since they are unable to measure on a smaller scale, you have a tolerance of 1/10 of a grain without having a clue. With a balance beam you'll notice the difference because the indicators won't line up.
    A good balance beam will be more precise, but a digital is "close enough" for most work and is usually a bit quicker. Usually...
     
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  18. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have an Ohaus that I nabbed at a garage sale, of all places.
    Using a balance beam doesn't take a whole lot of mental horsepower.
    Sabertooth is right about watching your zero. Once you have that basic skill, most everything else falls into place.
    If your powder bowl is plastic, these often have static which can prevent all your powder from hitting the load.
    I've read people saying, "my electronic scale can throw it to the kernel." While this may be true for some, to most I say horsehockey!
    Having worked with industrial scales for decades, I can tell you that while most small electronic scales are somewhat accurate, they are not built with the accuracy to repeatably detect .1 grain.
    I have an RCBS Powder Pro automated feed/scale setup too. I wanted to check and so did an audit of the shells I automatically fed. I think I was doing 338 at the time, and that would have been 91.5 grains of H870. What I found was regular variation on the order of +/- 0.3 grains.
    Now for my precision loads, I use a precharged measure which gets me within 90+ % of the target weight, and then finish out with the balance beam. Every one is on the money.
    What I did find, though, is in that +/- 0.3gr variation, while my muzzle fps varied a little, the POI was always sub-moa.
    What I'm saying is you can be pretty anal about your loading, be diligent about everything but you don't have to make sure every one is exactly the same. +/- 0.1 grain shouldn't make a difference.
     
  19. IheartSig

    IheartSig Beaverton Diamond Supporter Diamond Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Not trying to revive this thread but I just wanted to thank everyone for the input. I stuck to the advice I received and loaded my first batch of 9mm with my balance beam. I took it to the range and I didn't blow my hand or face or anything else off. It took some trial and error, checking one two three sometimes 4 times before I got the hang of it but I did it. Thanks again guys!
     
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  20. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Just an update...
    Yesterday morning I wanted to load up 6 rounds quickly. It was in the mid 30's outside and probably darn close to that in my shop.
    Turned on the RCBS electronic scale and zeroed it. Threw a charge, tried to trickle in the last little bit, but it seemed to not register. Dumped it all out and did it again. Same results. Grabbed my Ohaus 505, set it up and knocked out my 6 rounds. I left my RCBS plugged in and turned on.
    When I came home in the evening I went out to the shop to see the scale read -62 grains! Yeah, these puppies need to be warm to work well... I think it just got relegated to secondary use.