1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Rate this digital scale.

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Capt. Morgan, Mar 7, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Capt. Morgan

    Capt. Morgan TS Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,061
    Consider this a blanket review of the consumer-grade digital scales sold to reloaders. My experience with digital scales has not been good and all my digital scales now sit in their boxes on the shelf. I have one RCBS, 2 PACTs and a Frankford Arsenal. Every one of them suffers from drift. They have been isolated from stray electrical fields as best I know how, including keeping the last one in a lead film bag during use. I can weigh a powder charge, re-zero the scales and immediately get a different weight on the same powder charge. The drift will be as much as half a grain. The longer the session, the greater the drift. I eventually turned to using my RCBS beam to check the digitals and finally just returned to using it for everything. That's where I'll stay.

    I've sent both PACTs back to the factory for rebuilds within the past year and they tell me they're working properly.

    My daughter is a laboratory supervisor for a pharmaceutical manufacturer. She uses digital scales regularly and assures me that hers do not suffer from this problem but they cost $1100 each.
     
  2. claybrdr

    claybrdr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,264
    I agree with the Captain. I have settled on an RCBS 10-10.

    The thing to remember with shotshell reloading is that it isn't benchrest! Once you find the bushing that throws the desired amount of powder it is not necessary to periodically weigh charges. I occasionally will check weights when I get a new container of powder but even that is not necessary. This is a volume situation and powder manufacturers keep their powder consistent by volume more than weight. A variance of a few tenths of a grain will happen and it means zilch as far as performance is concerned, especially in a 1 oz 12 ga load in the 1200 fps range. Sub-gauge loads at max pressures in tube sets may require more diligence.
     
  3. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    5,475
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
    Jack, I'll address the questions you asked here as well as those in your last email. Unlike old Onestone, I can kill two birds with one stone...

    Just about any scale is a lot better than no scale and I doubt that scales intended for use in reloading are going to be of the quality of one sold to the pharmaceutical industry. I use a Lyman 1200 DPSII for my metallic cartridge reloading but for checking my shotshell powder drops, I use a $24 Frankford Arsenal digital scale. I weigh a deprimed hull and a new primer, put those components in the loader, drop the powder charge and reweigh the charged hull - the difference in the weights is my powder drop.

    I also have an old RCBS triple beam scale made for them by Ohaus. This is the one with the dial used for setting the tenths of a grain. It was always highly regarded for accuracy in the reloading journals but until I get it out, set it up and get it leveled and zeroed, I can be putting the digital one away. And if there is ANY air movement in your loading room, balance beam scale accuracy is compromised.

    Regarding bushing selections, we aren't working with the pressures of centerfire rifle cartridges, so exact powder drops are not necessary. Cut open a few factory loads and check their drops if you don't believe that! Powders vary in density by lot number and I've found that today's PB will fluctuate by three to four tenths between lots. I tend to load on the "light" side, so if no particular bushing hits right on the money, I go with the next one higher.

    Regarding your powder leakage, use the brass washer under a rubber one. Install the brass washer with the concave side (the one with the "points") up and your leakage will be minimal.

    There are sure to be lots who disagree with me, but I owned one of those adjustable bars for an afternoon - that's all the longer I could handle the frustration of getting it adjusted when I knew from experience that I could have loaded a flat of shells with my trusty bars and bushings in that much time. I own two bars and 20 bushings and changing them is a no-tools one-minute project. Precision Reloading sells large knurled aluminum knobs that replace the screw and bolt on your MEC bars and a set of 15 powder bushings (you pick the bushing numbers) for an attractive price.

    Yes, I might have a little more invested in my bars, bushings and knobs but the convenience is well worth it. Once I find which bushings drop the amounts of powder I use, I put those bushing numbers and their drops on each jug of powder with a label. As long as I'm using those jugs of powder, changing my bar and/or bushing and adjusting my wad depth takes no more than a minute and the result is exactly the same as it was the last time. And when I buy new powder, checking some drops and labeling those jugs takes about 10 minutes.

    The reloads in your photos look good - let us know how they shoot for you.

    Ed
     
  4. dverna

    dverna Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,717
    I have had very good performance with the RCBS Chargemaster. I reload rifle and pistol too so I could justify the investment.

    Average Ed makes some good points. Especially about not getting anal about exact bushing drops. A few tenths up or down will not be noticed in a trap load.

    That does not mean you can trust advertised bushing drops. A scale is still a necessity. I use a lot of Promo and a scale is a must for this powder as it has more lot to lot variation than most powders.

    Don.
     
  5. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,457
    Location:
    SE PA
    I still use my 30+ year old Ohaus beam scale. I paid a fortune for it at the time. It continues to serve me well, and is unbelievably consistent (as long as you haven't moved it once you set it up).

    Like Ed, I've been toying with the idea of getting a cheap electronic scale for quick, approximate weights.

    Also like Ed, once I know what a bushing throws, I use that bushing for that throw weight for the rest of the jug (or lot if you buy by the case). Even though loads are lister by weight in the manuals, we load by volume. So if a given bushing throws a given weight of powder, on average, that's all you need to know. Checking weights every now and then during a session will tell you if you are operating your press correctly and consistently. Checking weights from one session to another will only tell you the humidity is the same as last time, or it's different. Unless you have altered the way you operate the press, it can't tell you anything else. You can prove this to yourself with a chronograph.
     
  6. ec90t

    ec90t Guest

    I bought a electronic Dillon scale a few years back and it has served me well. The weights are always spot on and find very little need of rezeroing it. I find it much easier to use than a beam style and accuracy is easily 1/10th of a grain.

    ec90t
     
  7. nipper

    nipper TS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1,502
    The digital age is nice for sure and i debated buying one but settled on a hornady balance scale and once i got familiar with it, i can check a drop in a few seconds. I check about once every box or 2 and the drop is always the same with red dot. what i also did on a rainey day was take all the powder bushings i have and ran them thru a 8 shell loading session and have typed list of what they drop as well so if i want to lower or higher drop i already know which one to grab.

    Bill
     
  8. Mr Newbius©

    Mr Newbius© TS Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,463
    That looks like a bottle of beer over there on the left side, you aint drinkin while your reloadin are ya?
     
  9. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    7,758
    ec90t: I use the Dillon, also. I check it aginest my old Ohaus I've had for 30+ years. I've never seen a problem. But, check the scales with no air movement in the room. I have celling fans. So, they must be turned off before checking.
     
  10. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,746
    Location:
    Terre Haute Indiana
    Put your money towards a good chronograph. It will tell you more about your reloads than a scale. Once you develop a good reload (one with a small standard deviation on 5 rounds) just keep loading the same powder bushing. This is not bench rest type reloading - heck, most of the top bench rest shooters drop their powder charges by VOLUME, not weight!

    I have a Pact digital scale that is about 15 years old. It does not drift. I like it because I can weigh the charge without removing it from the hull.

    I have a Pact chronograph. It does a fine job on shotshells. I set the start screen about 5 feet from the muzzle. In my opinion the chronograph gives me a lot more information about my reload. For soft shooting one ounce loads try some at 1150 fps. Better that anything you can buy.

    BTW: I love the Remington 1100 SB - Thanks.

    Jim Skeel
     
  11. psfive

    psfive Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Messages:
    672
    I have both a Hornady beam (magnetic) and a small cheap digital scale. The beam scale is nice but it is slow. The digital is much faster to settle, like instantly. I can weigh several powder drops on the digital in the same amount of time it takes the beam to do one. Paul
     
  12. ec90t

    ec90t Guest

    shot410ga,

    I never thought about it being sensative enough for a ceiling fan to alter the readout. I don't have anything creating enough of a current to cause a problem.

    Thanks for the heads-up though!

    ec90t
     
  13. BDodd

    BDodd TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,594
    I, too, have the Dillon digital scale and have relied on it quite happily for at least 15 years; gotta be more. I've found it's sensitive to the slightest breeze and must be used in space with closed windows and doors; I even approach it carefully to avoid creating any air movement. As far as "drift" without a breeze, I've found what other devices may be plugged into the same outlets or in the vicinity MAY cause a tenth or so drift occasionally making it necessary to push the zero button and waiting 5 seconds - what a chore. As far as the adjustable bars go, I've been using 2 of those on my 2 MECs for even longer than the digital scale and I can start from scratch on a new recipe and be good to go with adjustments in less than 10 minutes. I don't change recipes often enough to consider that a burden. I've learned the best and fastest way to adjust powder drops quite quickly and sympathize with those that haven't. As I always say, whatever works for you, use it - why change.....breakemall....Bob Dodd
     
  14. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    5,475
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
    ec, set up a balance-beam scale and just breathe around it - you'll be amazed how much that affects it! Digitals are a little less sensitive to air movement, but not much. My Lyman 1200DPSII has a clear plastic cover that closes over the powder pan and scale during the powder dispensing operation for that very reason.

    Ed
     
  15. locdoc

    locdoc Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Antrim, NH
    I use a Dillon digital and am very happy w/it. It is not on the same bench as my loader(s). I go across the room to weigh my powder drops. No fans, either.

    Doug Whiton, P/W dealer/dist
     
  16. RogerNRA

    RogerNRA TS Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    I guess I am just old. I have been useing an RCBS balance beam for 40 plus years for rifle, pistol, and shot shells. Never saw the need to change.......Roger
     
  17. AAtrap

    AAtrap Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,548
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I have always used either Redding or Hornady beam for metalic reloading, but have just recently purchased the same 24 dollar Frankford Arsenal scale from Midway that Ed is talking about. Works great for checking shot and powder weight in my shotshell reloads. Steve
     
  18. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,457
    Location:
    SE PA
    OK, is it the Dillon D-Terminator digital scale that is getting these recommendations, or an older model?
     
  19. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,226
    Location:
    Mesquite, Nevada
    I won a set of "Lyman", built by Ohaus balance beam scales, good up to 1005 grains. They have magnetic dampening and it settles very quick. I've used these for 38 years for shotshells and rifle loads and are just as accurate today as when I first opened the box in 1970. Most useful trophy I've ever won and never had a need for electronics. Hap
     
  20. Porcupine

    Porcupine Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    South Central Massachusetts
    I bought a Cabelas digital scale just like the one in the photograph a few years ago when I reloaded and had no problems with it at all. The carrying case depicted is nicer than mine, though! It's waiting for the time when I get back into reloading. Regards.

    Porcupine LA
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.