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What's the best digital scale?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by theflyguy, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    Hey guys,

    What brand/kind of digital scale do you use when reloading? Don't really care for the balance type scales. I'm currently using one of those cheap ($39) Hornady digital scales. I want to make sure my loads are accurate and consistent.

    What brand do you use or would recommend?

    Thanks,
     
  2. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I use the RCBS relabeled version of this, works great.
    I use the digital scale regularly, cross check it with my Ohaus balance beam and they agree as well as exact with my check weights.
    They have scales there for $89

    USA Made PACT corp digital scale and dispenser -- $219

    dispenser_s.jpg

    dispenser_s.jpg
     
  3. rgold1963

    rgold1963 Washington State Active Member

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    skydiver and (deleted member) like this.
  4. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    Like the PACT combo unit. Sure would save me time throwing my loads with my RCBS depenser...beside the wife just gave me approval to go spend the $$.
     
  5. Gun Mechanic

    Gun Mechanic Portland Active Member

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    I guess it all depends on what you're loading for (precision .vs plinking) and how much you want to spend. I've read most "digital" reloading scales aren't very accurate compared to a slide weight style. I've been using the scale below to load pistol plinking/target and my IPSC load and it does everything I need it to and is consistent as long as you let it settle.

    http://amzn.com/B0012TDNAM
     
  6. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    The "best"? How much are you willing to spend? The "best" scale (at any price) is certified dead-balls-on accurate at a given ambient temperature. But it will run a few grand. Oh and it ain't made in China and you won't find it on Amazon.
     
  7. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    As far as what I use........I'm just using the digital scale Dillon sells. It's plenty accurate for what I'm doing. But I do check it for accuracy from time to time.
     
  8. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    I use the RCBS 750 and it works pretty good for me. You have to leave it on for a while to stabilize and keep an eye on it with every charge and make sure that you re calibrate it if you notice it drifting. Mine will drift .1 from time to time. I just stop (not charge that case) and re calibrate it and move on. That's my:twocents:
     
  9. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    See? All those "Honeydoos" pay off ! Good Job!
     
  10. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Ron, that looks like a great scale. I also like the 30 year warranty.
     
  11. rgold1963

    rgold1963 Washington State Active Member

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    It works great. No drift and .02gr resolution. I have bought several scales from the place that has this over the years and they have all been great. Never had to use the warranty but it's nice knowing it's there if you need it.

    Ron
     
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I have an RCBS Chargemaster and a Dillon D-Terminator for digital scales. Both are great. The Dillon wasn't too expensive but is about the lowest I'd go on the "price scale". Most of the cheaper scales are not as sensitive to weight changes, especially when adding one or two granules to finish off that perfect charge.

    There's a reason they're inexpensive.


    As for PACT, I can't speak to their scales but I do have a couple of their Chronographs. When they work they're great. I have had one that's been at their facility waiting for warranty repair for two months now. Last week, when I called and asked how it was coming along, I was advised that their "tech" hadn't even looked at it yet. Same as when I sent it in a year ago when it quit working for no apparent reason (no, no bullet holes in it).

    The general consensus is that PACT products are OK, just get on your knees and pray that they don't break down because their Warranty Service SUCKS!

    Needless to say, at this point I'd wait a year for a backordered "anything but PACT" even if one of their scales, timers, or chronograph was sitting right there on the shelf, ready to take home that day.

    Did I mention that their Customer Service isn't much better than their repair service? It's clear that the person who answers the phone could "give a #$@%".
     
  13. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    I don't know which is the best but I can tell you to steer clear of the Hornady GS1500. Its horrible. Swings sometimes up to .3gr...
     
  14. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    When a digital scale "swings" it's usually due to static electricity. The bodies of the scales are built from plastic and are extremely prone to static buildup. Even some of the better scales can have this problem but it''s easily solved by either wiping down as much as you can with a dryer sheet or cleaning with some dish detergent in a moist cloth.

    Once the static is gone, any of these scales usually is pretty stable when warmed up for 10 min's or more. They also work best when using metal scale pans as the plastic ones can build static in themselves.
     
  15. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    I have and use both types of PACT scales and am very happy with them. It is true that at one time, most if not all digital scales sold for use in handloading were manufactured by, or under license from, PACT, This is no longer true. It is true, that if you have a problem with your RCBS, Hornady, Lyman or other digital scale, it will probably end up a in Texas, at PACT to be repaired. It may not have been made in America, unless it is a PACT branded item.

    I still have my old balance beam scales and was able to run side by side comparisons between them and the PACT units. At no time did the PACT scales ever fail to weigh a powder charge less accurately than the balance beam scales. I have heard of some scales being marketed without check weights, which is to me a red flag. Also I have heard a lot of complaints about digital scale accuracy from people who ignore the instructions to let the scale warm up and to keep the scale from drafts and off circuits (if AC powered) thathave flourescent lights or motors running on them. Line filters are cheap and easy if you MUST use the scale on THAT one circuit that has all the noise on it.

    As far as I can see, if you load for hunting/plinking there does not seem to be any real advantage in using the scale/dispenser units. However, if you need +/_ .1 grain accuracy for your loads you have 3 choices. You can (1) use some old balance beam scale and a good heavy trickler like the Redding, you can (2) use a good digital scale and the same trickler, or you can (3) use a combo setup like the PACT, RCBS, or Lyman. There may be other combos now, but I have only played with those three and they all worked equally well in my opinion, the PACT being a bit faster.

    if you have a real need to use:
    (1) you are a historian in the grand tradition of our forefathers using a method which is unchanged since the Chinese first blew up a shack (and a few experimenters) futzing around with saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur.
    (2) you are a modernist (well, to a certain extent) with lots of time and little money who either lives alone, much like the unibomber but with electricity and a toilet, or you need lots of time away from the family.
    (3) you are a post modernist who values his/her time above and beyond the bank balance and likes to fool around with the latest gadgets when they seem like they have a real practical use.

    A line filter can be as simple as a strong magnet laid alongside the power cord of the scale, about 3 to 6 inches from the body of the unit. Anti static mats are also cheap on the internet and should really be standard equipment on any reloading bench. I have never traced any scale error to static electricity, even on days when I zapped the cat, petting him....but I use a mat.

    Hope this helps some................
     
    BAMCIS and (deleted member) like this.
  16. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    spend as much money as you can, .00000000001 grain can make a big difference.
     
  17. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    220px-Toiletpapier_%28Gobran111%29.jpg

    09073.jpg

    OHaus Digital Scale
    img_PA-US_family_001_big.jpg

    I automated a tungsten powder feed mechanism with the last scale for a group of great people. Never could get it to go fast enough.

    09073.jpg
     
  18. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    For most people the question they should ask is what is a good enough digital scale. Benchrest accuracy out to 200 yards is achieved with a powder throw...they don't even weigh the charges. Most benchrest shooters will admit they will get a .2 to .4 spread when throwing...meaning if they are going for 29.2 grains, actual thrown weight will be from 29.0 to 29.4 grains.

    At ranges less than 300 yards a few tenths of a grain won't matter. When you get out to 600 plus yards is when you need to pay closer attention to exact powder weight and few people shoot at those ranges. There is a very good chance you could spend thousands on a high quality digital scale and you won't see any accuracy differnce on the target compared to your inexpensive Hornady scale.

    If you really want to do something to improve accuracy, invest in some wind flags. The most perfectly assembled ammo will not shot small unless you solve the wind equation. Even a 5mph cross wind is going hose your groups.
     
    civilian75 and (deleted member) like this.
  19. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure about the Bench Rest Shooters you come in contact with but those I shoot with are using digital scales when they load at the range. Two of the best in the NW (based on number of records held and matches won) weigh every charge as they prep their ammo. One is using an RCBS Chargemaster that he has built a battery pack to run at the ranges where power isn't available and the other uses either an older RCBS digital or a newer Gempro.

    Yes, wind flags are essential to improve accuracy but based on your above post wouldn't you find it funny that one of the BR shooters that makes and sells one of the better wind flag systems out there uses a digital scale when loading? Doesn't even use his old Harrell Powder dispenser anymore. And the scale? It's the RCBS scale that's integrated into the Chargemaster, not a Gempro, Sartorius, or Oahaus Digital.
     
  20. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    I guess I'm being overly concerned, but I just wanted to know about quality scales because I don't want a hot load and damage or blow up my gun and my hand.

    The Hornady ($29) scale seems to work but I'd like to have a good quality scale that I can trust and have the ability to double check.

    Most of my shooting will be handgun loads for now. At some time in the future I plan on reloading .223 and .308's. I understand that .01 over/under won't affect accuracy in the ranges I normally would be shooting (100-300 yrds.). I am a little anal about certain things...just want to make sure each and every load is accurate as possible.

    I ordered the PACT dispenser/scale combo, but they haven't returned any of my emails....hard to call out during my working hrs. If I don't hear back from them by end of the week, I may just opt out to get myself a GemPro scale and continue to use my manual RCBS powder dispenser.

    Thanks for the comments,