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Thanks for all the good info here. You folks are very knowlegeable.
I need to pick up a new scale and I was wondering how precise that does it need to be? Is +/- .5 grains enough? The reason I ask is that a lot of recipes are fractions.
Thanks for your help.

dc
 

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Properly calibrated reloading scales are accurate to, and read to, 0.1 grain. Less precision than this is not precise enough for reloading purposes.
 

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I would try to get within +-.1 grain. For shotgunning, it's not THAT critical, but if you handload for rifle, .5 grains is the difference between a 2" group and a .5" group. And for handgun.. +.5 grains might be an overpressure condition.

Even the $20 Lee reloading scale is good to .1 grains.
 

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Gallonoffuel,
The Lee Plastic POS they sell for reloading may be good enough for YOU, but to recommend it to a new reloader is less than genuine.

You may think they are OK, but I've been at this for over 55 years, and have owned about every scale on the market. As far as I'm concerned the Lee is about the worst possible scale you could own. Plastic piece of junk.

The better scales sold by Horandy, RCBS, Redding, and the better Lyman scales, are all built by Ohaus, which is the largest scale maker in the World, and are all quality scales, and are properly accurate for any and all reloading use.

These are the scales we should be recommending to the new reloaders, not the junk Lee POS.

DLM
 

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I was undecided about a digital scale between the RCBS rangemaster 750, the Pact or the Cabellas 1500, my dad bought the pact and gave it away, I bought the Cabellas and find it works VERY well, my Dad got ended up getting the RCBS and likes it also.
 

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The above advise I gave was strictly concerning beam scales.

Digital scales are another can of worms and are quite often mis-judged, for whatever reason.

However, and I will say "For the most part", cheap Digital Scales are just that CHEAP. Cheap and accuracy seldom run
hand in hand.

Having said that. Most Digital scales are fairly accurate, so long as they are watched closely for being zeroed. The cheaper Digital's get out of calibration, (Zeroed), easily.

The $100 area of scales, (and Cheaper), are usually the ones you have to watch the closest, Digitols in the $200 area, usually hold their calibration far better.

For general Shotshell loading, the Digitals work fine as they are only used to occasionally check weigh powder drops, and if kept closely watched for calibration, will work just fine.

DLM
 

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DLM, I respect your opinion and your experience in this area, but my experience with the Lee 'plastic POS' is considerably different. My Lee scale is fairly accurate, using both a Dillon Eliminator balance scale and the Dillon Terminator electronic scale for verification. As long as the lee is on a level surface, and calibrated (as every scale needs periodically), it's really not bad at all. Maybe my Dillons are equally as bad, so they all balance out (no pun intended).
 

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I'd recommend buying a set of weights for calibration purposes.
I check my RCBS beam scale frequently with these weights and "fine tune" if necessary. A set will provide 10 gr, 5gr, 2gr weights. I bought an extra 1 troy oz weight to calibrate for measuring shot payloads. Keep in mind from one powder drop to another through your powder bushing there will be variations in weight.

JJ
 

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I have a RCBS Rangemaster 750, an electric scale, which ran a tad under $100.

It comes with a 20g and 30g weight for calibration, which I do every reloading session.

Cameron
 

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We each have our preferences on scales. I have and still use regularly an old oil dampened Redding. Had it since '64. I use my RCBS something or other mostly though, I like the pan better on it! In the barn I use my old Pacific/Hornady. I've got an Ohaus as a backup and have yet to see and electronic I trust as much as I do any of my beam scales. I paid less than $20 for the RCBS and $10 for the Hornady. I guess some folks traded off the beam for the cheapo electronic ones. I've used a couple of those over the years too, a Dillon and an RCBS. I guess even a Pact. We had so many issues with them that we just used them as a guessing gauge. When we wanted accurate repeatability we went to the Redding or RCBS. I've not seen any need for check weights myself. I've probably got over 10,000 bullets, and that will be very conservative I'd bet, in most any weight from 20 gr. .177 to 500 gr .458s Mostly I calibrate my scale for powder weighing functions with one special .224 Nosler 40 Gr Ballistic tip I keep for just such purposes. I've weighed it on probably 1/2 dozen scales and they all tell me it is indeed a 40 gr bullet. I think that's close enough. :?: The Lee Scale? Pretend it is the plague. The plastic body Lyman is in the same league. May be better than nothing, but far below my standards.

BP
 

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As far as which type of scale I would bet money on for being accurate each and every time----I would agree with Burnt Powder 100% and say a good balance beam. Just like him, I still own my first scale, a Redding, bought in 1973. Have also bought two digital scales over the years as they do seem like a good idea, but they don't compare to a good beam for repeatability.

I own a set of class "S" certified lab weights purchased years ago and the Redding is never a problem----it might need a small one-time zero adjustment if moved to another location. The same can not be said for the digitals. After each 1/2 hour of so of use, they will start drifting and give a higher reading for the same weight. It may only be 0.2 grain but it does start to be noticeable and requires resetting, at least the "zero", and often times the entire calibration set up. Than NEVER happens with the Redding.

Someone will probably still be reloading using my old Redding scale years after I am dead and my much newer digitals will be long since thrown into the trash heap by then. The $100 digital scales are not even close to being the equal of a quality balance beam.

Gregg535
 

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Gregg,
You are correct in every statement. The beam balances are just inherently more stable and accurate.

Personally I have retired all my Digitals from day to day use.

I use an Ohaus tripple bean scale, which I cherish about as much as any piece of equipment I own. Scales of it's calibre sell today for over $400, and are seldom seen on a reloaders bench.

DLM
 

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unfortunately- most of the triple beams these days weigh in grams- 0.1 grams isn't good enough for reloading (0.1543 grains) --not to mention converting from grams to grains or grains to grams without making a mistake, ever, would be next to impossible for mortals.

I'd love to have on old RCBS (OHAUS) triple beam.

John
 

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HH
That's just it. These scales are no longer listed anywhere to my knowledge.

If you want a very good Ohaus scale, look at the large gun shows in displays of used reloading equipment. RCBS used to offer an Ohaus tripple beam scale named the RCBS 304 Scale.

This scale was discontinued about 15 or 20 years ago, due to poor sales. The last price I can remember seeing in their literature was $285 per each.

These are wonderful scales and are super accurate. Easier to use than any beam scale available to reloaders today.

DLM
 

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The reason I switched to the electronic scale was that it's faster. As long as I calibrate it before every use (which is super easy) and re-zero as needed, it saves me a lot of time. Although the beam scales have magnetic dampening to make them zero a lot faster, it still is a lot more time consuming if you're adamant about weighing charges every session. I weigh my first 10 powder and shot charges of every reloading session, and it can take awhile if I use a beam scale. On an electronic I just dump it on, tap the case a few times to get all the powder out, and I have a reading instantly. No fiddling with the small weight, then waiting for the beam to stop moving again, move it some more, wait some more...

Cameron
 

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Zeede.

You make my point exactly!

Calibrate it every time you use it and re-zero as needed? I only recqalibrate my beam if I move it or once or twice a year. Very seldom does it need recalibrating! How do you know it needs re-zeroing? The ones I've used appear to need it on about every other dump! I've weighed the same powder charge as many as 10 times and gotten a different reading on over 1/2 of the tries. I'm talking extruded rifle powder here. Like 40 gr of VVN-140. The repeatability and accuracy is greatly in question in my mind. With my beam scales I have none of that crap. Spot on each and every time. I very seldom have to "wonder" what something weighs. I'm almost always just checking a known wanted weight. Granted, if you have something you don't know the weight of the electronic would be nice. To me it ballparks as best. I've used beam scales since the early '60s. Never found an electronic digital that comes close to MY expectations in an accurate scales. But then again, maybe being anal is why I get bughole groups out of some of of my rifles. :?

BP
 

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if you like to watch a pendulum swing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and you don't mind running around turning off ceiling fans and closing open windows and doors, buy yourself that $400 balance beam scale. if you just want to know how much it weighs right now, buy an electronic scale. pact. ebay. fifty bucks
 

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Quartering;

Your description is a complete 180 from my experience. A $400 scale is not remotely necessary for handloading either! Open window, fan, temperature, even breathing drives an electronic scale wild!

BP
 
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