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Thread: Cabin Tree Dual Purpose Tester quick review

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DaveInFloweryBranchGA's Avatar
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    Cabine Tree Dual Purpose Tester quick review

    Based on recommendations received on this board and my need for both a lead hardness tester as well as a run out testing device, I ordered the Cabine Tree Dual Purpose Tester.

    I received it today and found it to be an interesting piece. The base is solid machined steel, with two large machined steel rings welded to the base to hold parts of the hardness tester. There are holes drilled with brass set screws in multiple locations to hold and lock the various arms that hold both the dial indicator as well as another arm to measure case mouth thickness and runout. There is a brass pin for the hardness tester I haven't yet determined it's purpose yet, but I haven't used the hardness tester portion yet.

    I have used the runout portion of the device. The cartridge V-block is machined from some type of slick plastic and has two steel pins installed underneath to allow for mounting of the V-block to the base. The pins allow the base to be positioned in two different positions to accommodate various sized cartridges. At the bottom of the V, there are holes drilled along the length of the V for a brass pin to be placed to help handle various length cartridges. The dial indicator is mounted on an upside down L-shaped rod threaded at the bottom of the L an dis mounted via a couple of nuts, two washers and a lock washer. There are two locator holes to mount the V-block rods in.

    After mounting up and adjusting the cartridge runout measuring section, I measured five cartridges I randomly selected from a batch of 1500 .223 cartridges I'd recently made and posted photos of in my post on my RCBS Pro 2000 progressive.

    The cartridges were made of Lake City brass, sized & trimmed using a Dillon resizing die and a Dillon 1200 trimmer on my Pro 2000, then swaged on a Dillon 600 swager. Cartridges were reloaded using Wolf small rifle magnum primers, WC 846 powder and 55 grain Privi Partisan bulk bullets loaded on my progressive using a Dillon powder through measure, a Redding Competition bullet seating die set for maximum allowable M16 magazine cartridge length and a Lee Factory Crimp die set for a light crimp. I was anxious to see how my selection of components, reloading dies and process fared from a concentricity standpoint.

    After setup, the brass pin I mentioned above that sized in the bottom of the V-block proved ideal to butt up against and help one hold the cartridge in place while rotating it for the measurement. The dial indicator, an MHC model with a large, easily read by old eyes, dial moved smoothly along the bullets and the slick plastic of the V-block was easy to rotate the cartridges in, making for an easy device to use overall. My only knock is I would like to have the dial face leaning back more to make it easier to read without scrunching down. I think most runout measures devices suffer this flaw though, except for a couple of the most expensive models I researched before buying this one.

    My five cartridges I pulled randomly all measured +/- .002" and I'm very pleased. I'll have to pull a larger batch of cartridges to confirm the sample, but I'm thinking this is very good bullet run-out for a batch of bulk bullets using milsurp brass with minimal processing and most of that processing done on a progressive press and as automated as possible.

    I have examined the lead hardness testing portion and can attest it's very very well made and durable. This device should provide years of high quality measurements and should easily outlast me. The only concern I have is how long the plastic V-block will last if one is heavy handed. I'm very light handed, so I think it will easily outlast me if I take care of it. My plastic V-block is black and I do wish it was white. The black is non reflective and my old eyes have a bit of a hard time seeing it.

    I think if you have to get a combo tool and want to measure lead hardness and cartridge concentricity, but aren't going to be shooting bench rest, this is an ideal setup to get. Here is a pic of me measuring runout:



    The L-shaped blued steel pin mounted at the left end is used when one wants to measure case mouth thickness. You simply move it to the mounting hole to the right of my hand with the other brass screw in it. It then fits into the mouth of the cartridge to support the cartridge tip while rolling the cartridge while taking a measurement. It is too thick for small cartridges like the .223, but could easily be modified to fit or other L-shaped supports could be made easily to fit smaller cartridges. The one included has an outer diameter of 0.250" and is more suitable to fit the mouth of .308" or .45" (or larger) cartridge cases.

    You can also see the brass pin I mentioned earlier in this post. The case butts up against this pin in the V-block. This pin allows one to slip the case under the gauge roller tip, set the cartridge back against the pin for a solid horizontal axle alignment and focus on rolling the cartridge in the V-block to take runout measurements. A simple and effective device.

    In the next week or so I am going to be smelting some buckets of wheel weights and some other printer press type. I will use the lead hardness tester at that time, take pics and report them back to this thread.

    I want to thank those that recommended it to me.
    Last edited by DaveInFloweryBranchGA; 11-09-2015 at 07:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    Neat Setup

  3. #3
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    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    I really like mine. Does what I want it to and easy to use.
    I got a cheap plastic tool box at home depot and keep it in there when not in use.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    I have the Cabine Tree hardness tester and I like it.. it is easier to use then any other.. on tube to look through.. just read the dial and check the chart..
    Last edited by harley6699; 07-09-2013 at 09:19 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    Bump for a really good thread, should be a sticky.

  6. #6
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


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    That brass pointer, is important for checking your hardness. Run it out to the nut with the numbers, and make a mark with a pencil where it points. That gives you the reference point to make a full revolution for consistent accuracy in measuring the hardness.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  7. #7
    Boolit Master ballistim's Avatar
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    I found out about this just after becoming a member here, and I'm very thankful for it. Very easy to use with BHN conversion chart. Highly recommended!
    “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

    Winston S. Churchill


  8. #8
    Boolit Master


    williamwaco's Avatar
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    Does it measure in BNH or do you need a chart to convert the dial reading?
    First reload: .22 Hornet. 1956.
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  9. #9
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    hardcase54's Avatar
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    Need a chart.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master ballistim's Avatar
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    Cabin Tree Dual Purpose Tester quick review

    Cross reference chart posted below;
    “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

    Winston S. Churchill


  11. #11
    Boolit Master ballistim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardcase54 View Post
    Need a chart.
    http://www.castingstuff.com/tester_h..._reference.htm
    “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

    Winston S. Churchill


  12. #12
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    reddoggm's Avatar
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    Posted in another Thread Here Pick yourself up a (cheap) Harbor Freight Digital Indicator so you can just hit the reset button to re-zero instead of turning the bezel They seem to get out of zero if ya move or bump em in the hardness checking process
    DOGG!!!
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Doggonekid's Avatar
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    I have looked at the Cabin Tree tester on line, never have seen one or tried to use one. I have looked at the Saeco hardness tester on line also. Does anyone own both? Which one do you like the best? If you own both I would like to hear your opinion. I think I would be happy with either one. If I only owned one I think my opinions would be a bit bias towards the one I own.
    "Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid." John Wayne

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    hardcase54's Avatar
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    I sold my Saeco after not using it for a long time. The Cabin tree tester is "IMO" better.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    I own a Cabine Tree and would not trade it for any other. It is easy to use, versatile regarding the size and shape of objects that it will test and very repeatable. The feature for measuring runout has not proven so satisfactory or else I never learned how to use it. That is moot, however, as Buffalo Arms Company now owns the manufacturing rights and has discontinued the dual function feature. Regardless, strictly as a hardness tester, the device is superb.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    The more I use mine the more I like it. No microscope to look thru and no real need to file a flt on the bullet before you do a hardness test.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Nick Quick's Avatar
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    I can't agree more about the usefulness and reliability of this hardness tester. Testing a bullet took an absolute rookie about 10 seconds. After measuring a bunch of bullets hardness I didn't need the chart anymore. Sturdy, easy to use, reliable and everything in between. 120$ well spent.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

    fatelvis's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great reviews Guys, I bought one and love it! Question:
    The main "screw" attached to the handle is dry and needs a little oil/grease. If I lube the threads, would that throw off the readings?
    Thanks again -
    I shoot so that I can handload.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    If you lube the threads it won't throw off the readings. The reading is based on how much imprint is made to the lead.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check