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Thread: Best Budget Digital Scale? Powder Measure?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Best Budget Digital Scale? Powder Measure?

    I'm looking for those who have experience with different digital scales. I'd like to stay in the $150 and below price range unless there is a unit out there that has significantly better features at a slightly higher price point. Probably need to pick up a set of standard weights as well to calibrate with.

    I have a small Frankfort Amory digital scale, but I'm not 100% sure on how reliable it is. I'm not convinced that the .1gr resolution is true resolution and not empty magnification. I have a VERY hard time hitting some numbers. For example I can easily measure out a 9.7gr or a 9.9gr load, but not a 9.8 gr. To get a 9.8 gr I almost always have to put on 9.7, put a little more on, then put my thumb on the scale to raise it up to a higher number and let it settle back down to 9.8gr.

    When reloading on the press I use a Hornady powder measure. I'm thinking about picking up another powder measure as well for some of my more sensitive loads (stand-alone bench top use). Would be nice to use a powder drop to get the charge within .1gr or so and then trickle by hand to get the remaining amount. Right now on some of my loads I'm just using a spoon and spooning loads onto the scale from 0.

    Any advice on either would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    At around $150 I have heard a lot of good things about the Gempro 250.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    I use something like this.
    Measures down to 0.01g, since I have used it for medications before.

  4. #4
    Avoid the lyman microtouch 1500. Pretty sure I am going to rma mine and then sell it the second I get it back. Cannot trust it at all.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
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    The Frankford units I have are dead on and very repeatable!

    Excellent scale for the price.

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by bangerjim View Post
    The Frankford units I have are dead on and very repeatable!

    Excellent scale for the price.
    And DITTO!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master 6622729's Avatar
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    I have been blown away by the accuracy of the Lee Perfect Powder Measure and the Lee Auto Drum. I have the Auto Drum on the turret press for 9mm and use the Perfect Powder Measure for dropping rifle loads that I double check on a hydraulically dampened Redding #1 beam scale. I dropped 75 yesterday and all were inside of .1 and usually within .05gr. I would guess that the powder being thrown will have a lot to do with repeatability. I'm dropping BE-86 for 9mm and W296 for 300AAC.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


    Ickisrulz's Avatar
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    I'll add another vote for the Frankford Arsenal. I like mine very much. I've used it for about 4 years I think. No issues and checks out against my balance.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Double Ditto on the Frankford units.......accurate and repeatable. I have digital scales from my chemist days (some are expensive units) and the economical Frankford scale does everything that I require for a fraction of the price.

  10. #10
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    Ditto on the FA scale. What you need to understand about all of Digital Devices, is that they have a window that they operate in.

    Lets say the device is calibrated in .5 increments. When it reads 10.0 it could actually be 9.6 or 10.4 as it would need to be 10.5 to kick over to the next increment on the readout.

    Digital Scales have a load sensor and a readout. Digital Readouts on Milling Machines have a movable scale and a readout. They both work the same way because the readouts are essentially the same, only the sensors are different, and those sensors feed a voltage to the readout that changes as the position or load on the sensor changes.

    If you really require gnats **** accuracy you will have to buy a Digital Scale that has .01 resolution rather than .1 resolution. or get a nice balance type scale like a RCBS or Ohous 1010 which are considered by most to be the best out there. Digitals with .01 resolution will be expensive.

    +/-.1gr is considered "Match Grade Accuracy' Because deviations that small don't really affect accuracy at all. Most bench rest shooters use Harrell powder measures which are nothing more than glorified Lee Perfect measures. They don't weigh each charge they just drop them based on volume.

    Also the kind of powder you are using makes a big difference. Fine Grained Ball powder measures very close, nd is easy ot be consistent with. Stick powders are all over the place with 1 or 2 granules equaling .1 gr,,, which you can easily see move on a balance type scale.

    Another thing that may be going on is that you are in a dead zone in your scales operating window. By putting something else in the pan like a 100gr boolit and then setting the tare with it in there you might get a closer reading on your drops. In other words you would be weighing 110.0 gr instead of 10 gr.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  11. #11
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    I have the red $40 MTM digital scale I think from Midway or somewhere, it is hassle free and very repeatable. I use the left hand side of the LM press, Lee powder measure with my own billet adjustable bar, and I can usually throw .1 accuracy depending on the powder, I got where I can trickle a tiny bit back into the powder can and hit exactly on the desired measurement every time.

    If I am developing loads, I weigh every case, set zero on the scale, charge the case and trickle to desired weight or dump out a few grains if it is .1 or .2 over.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    To measure the force as you have depicted in the attached image at that very low magnitude, you need a scale with very high sensitivity and precision. You could build a weighing scale. I would suggest building the scale such that the length of the spring is well distributed on a measurement platform. Then you can attach a strain gauge to that platform such that when the platform is deformed, the strain gauge is deformed. The platform should be a material soft enough to transmit the force to the strain gauge and hard enough not to cut or break. Also, you can attach multiple strain gauges to the platform to increase the accuracy and precision of the system.
    To learn more, you can follow the guide in the attached link on how to build a simple scale. They also offer good quality strain gauges.
    a. https://tacunasystems.com/knowledge-...eighing-scale/
    Last edited by Namsen10; 02-17-2020 at 03:36 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

    mdi's Avatar
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    I have had three digitals and presently use a FA (one died completely and one could not be calibrated). One method I use is to tare the scale with the pan in place, weigh and drop a charge, replace the pan and make sure the scale reads zero. When trickling up by 1/10th grain I too have .2 or .3 gr. jumps no matter how slow I go, so when trickling up (mostly during a load work up because I like to be as consistent as possible) I will lift the pan and replace it. I quite often see a slightly different weight when I do this.
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have the gem pro 250 and its been a great scales. Its got .02 grn resolution. I bought mine when they were $125.00. My only issue is trickling up as it takes a little to fet it started again once it settles

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    With the cost of a good scale and the cost of a powder measure, I was wondering if a totally automated powder thrower/trickler would make sense. It would save a lot of time and sometimes frustration.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have one of the early rcbs units with the charger separate from the scales, an IR connection reads the scales. It is slow tricking the charge for a 308 up from zero ( around 41 grns) but was accurate. What worked much better was to drop a charge around 36-37 grns in the pan and start this allowed the high speed tube to start and run the the low speed to finish.This was much faster. Te 300 win mag charges took forever from zero, but starting from 5 grns low was quick. It was very accurate to use and a good piece of equipment. The new one piece units should be even better. I would really like one that could be set to a +/- type setting and the .02 grn read out of the gem pro

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    With the cost of a good scale and the cost of a powder measure, I was wondering if a totally automated powder thrower/trickler would make sense. It would save a lot of time and sometimes frustration.

    Isn't this what the Auto-trickler does?
    https://www.autotrickler.com/autotrickler.html

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by 1066 View Post
    Isn't this what the Auto-trickler does?
    https://www.autotrickler.com/autotrickler.html
    That’s the type of system I was looking at. Saw an RCBS model older than he one in the link. Maybe more simple and less expensive.

    https://youtu.be/Exp-tPm6Shc
    Last edited by GregLaROCHE; 02-16-2020 at 08:04 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

    rfd's Avatar
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    having had a pair of the defunct gempro 250's, after the last one crapped out i started looking around and now use an under $30 digital scale that has the exact same +/- .02 grain tolerance of the gempro 250. i used this scale for nearly a year and it's spot on - i have two more as a back ups.
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    The first thing you might do is buy a set of check weights and then have a chemist or pharmacist verify their weights.

    Then use them to check your digital scale to see if it lies to you.
    Then check each setting with your check weights each time you use it until you gain some confidence in your scale.
    Finally never trickle loads into a digital scale unless you pick up the pan with the load in it and then put it back down several times. This allows the scale to overcome any stick slip tendency.
    EDG

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