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Thread: Mobile reloading kit - What do people use for a scale?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Mobile reloading kit - What do people use for a scale?

    I've been thinking on that, whether an electronic scale would be "best" or use a beam scale or ?

    For a mobile kit I'd be a little worried about getting the beam scale damaged; But if you abuse an electronic scale it tends to get pretty sick also! And I might mod the electronic scale if I use one (for example, update it's battery power supply to use 2 AA batteries, which would cheaply last like 5 years, instead of one cheap tiny "coin cell" battery. Should be an improvement. That's what us Embedded folks do to electronics - Mod the heck out of it, if it annoys us. (Friend's shaving razor has a dual external "C" battery pack with two NiMH batteries in there, that thing runs a month between charges or something LOL)

    Probably an electronic scale would be smaller and easy enough to pack into a tiny space inside of some protective foam in a "hard case" of some kind; You'd want one that will "Tare" so you can cancel out your powder pan, which could be as simple as a mini muffin liner or the like if you don't want to use a mini measuring cup or partial medicine bottle or the lid of a plastic container (Peanut Butter jar or the like maybe?)

    If someone has a better or different idea I'd love to hear it Always things to learn.

    (Hoping this is "the" forum for this, as a scale is maybe considered a hand tool? Mods, if I am wrong, feel free to move this, just don't string me up please LOL)

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I think a small electronic scale and an appropriate Pelican case with all of the accessories would be the way to go. I wouldn't go real exotic and in fact, I would go the other way and get a simple scale that ran off a common battery (AAA or AA). A scale with a spare battery or a rechargeable NiMH battery will run for days.

    There's no need to find a substitute for a conventional powder pan, just use a conventional powder pan .

    Cheap electronic scales (commonly used by dealers of illegal drugs) are very common in the U.S.A.
    Depending on how you look at the situation the availability of inexpensive electronic scales is either an unfortunate fact of our current conditions OR a fortuitous spin off of that scourge on our society. In any event, there's no shortage of cheap, lightweight, electronic scales.
    You might have to look a little harder to find one that displays grains instead of grams but there's a lot to choose from.
    Last edited by Petrol & Powder; 10-26-2017 at 07:35 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    A quick Amazon search yielded about a dozen small electronic scales that ran on AAA batteries and measured in grains. They are available as cheap as $9.00.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    The only thing I have to add is make sure you get one with the check weight. And check it often against it. I have seen the electronics go "wacky" while hand weighing loads.

    Electronic will go into a vastly smaller space. And for just loading one at a time is fine.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    A quick Amazon search yielded about a dozen small electronic scales that ran on AAA batteries and measured in grains. They are available as cheap as $9.00.
    And they aren't going to be repeatable. Electronic scales are one area where you get what you pay for. The battery only scales marketed to reloaders are junk. A $9 scale is going to be worse.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    And they aren't going to be repeatable. Electronic scales are one area where you get what you pay for. The battery only scales marketed to reloaders are junk. A $9 scale is going to be worse.
    It appears to be the EXACT same scale marketed by Horandy for $21.00.

    I'd be willing to bet $9.00 that it IS the exact same scale
    I'd also be willing to bet that is repeatable, at least to within a 1/10 of a grain.

  7. #7
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    I'm willing to bet that model will read differently depending on where you place the weight on the pan. And you can place the same weight on it twice and it will read differently. I've been down this road w/ all the cheap scales marketed towards reloaders. I literally bought every one a few years back. Unless they can be plugged in they have one issue or another.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man jeepguy242's Avatar
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    My phalanges and firearms are worth more than 9$ to me

    I use my beam scale

  9. #9
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    Forget the scale. Learn to use scoops and make your own. How many different loads are you planning to use, anyway?
    Wayne the Shrink

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    How many different loads LOL - Myself, uh well I've loaded uh probably 1200+ different loads (remember that working up a load = 24 grains of a powder and work up by .1 or .2 grains, 5 of each load or so, to max charge LOL - and friends & family had me loading for them, started at age 10-12 or so with making 3k .243 rounds from 308 brass, loaded a lot of rounds, wish I'd been able to shoot more of them!) so 1200+ is probably quite conservative when you include reduced loads for everything I & friends & family shoot or have shot... Wish I still had all those dies too but they weren't all mine LOL

    Scoops are OK for many things - but - as an accuracy-addicted varminting fiend I usually measured / scooped and then trickled up to exact powder weight within .3 grains or so... Even for sporter loads - Only thing I didn't do that for were the RL550 loads and progressive pistol loads as those were "bulk ammo", when I was assisting a self defense shooting class I was shooting a LOT every weekend, you don't really want to trickle and single stage press load 500-1000 rounds a week unless you have zero life Same for the friend shooting a lot of 308 or 223 every month.

    True tho - On any reloading tool, I'm reminded of a cold war's end term: "Trust, but verify." You do NOT want 75k PSI in your rifle's or pistol's chamber, right? A big overcharge is "BAD" and let's All please do what's needed to avoid those?

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    I use the same Lee scale I use at home. Just pack a little cushioning around it.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    What is your definition of a "mobile reloading kit"? Not challenging you - just curious. Is it something that you are taking on vacation or to do in a motel room or at the range?

    I have used (and owned) a couple of electronic scales and personally, I don't trust 'em. But, as mentioned, you get what you pay for and you need check weights.

    My next question has already been asked. Just how many loads are you looking at doing? I'm probably questioning the "size' of your "mobile" kit more than anything. What "size" are you looking at? For me, I have several "mobile" kits if you want to call them that - but they fit my criteria. I have one for loading 38 Colt Shot/Long and 38 Special, one for 8 mm Mauser and one for 30-30. All are Lyman 310 tong loaders and dies. Powder measurement? Simple. I have loads already worked up that I have made powder scoops for and I can get consistent loads. I may not have a scale to check them, but I've done them enough that I know they work just fine. I don't load near "max" loads for any of them so a couple of tenths of a grain one way or another isn't an issue.

    If you are looking at a "mobile" kit that is more accurate and size is not an issue, then I would probably want to use a beam scale. Beam scales are shipped in well packed boxes and thee isn't any reason that you couldn't make a box that is cushioned and would well protect the scale if an electronic isn't the ticket for you.

  13. #13
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    I'd ask what you are going to use your mobile reloading kit for? For loading at the range, just away from your bench for a day or two, or a SHTF situation? For temporary or "day use", just take what you use at home. For the latter, I'd suggest a Lee Safety Scale (now you Lee Haters don't get your panties in a bunch). This scale is almost bullet proof and unless you step on it and actually break something, it will be consistent and accurate. Yes learning to read a vernier scale is challenging to some and it may be a bit slower than other beam scales to "settle", but for an End of the World scenario, I would choose this scale over my RCBS 5-10, Lyman/Ohaus D5, or my El Cheapo Frankfort Arsenal digital scale. I kept the boxes my other beam scales came in and when not in use they go back there (beam and pan removed). If I were to transport them, in the box, a wrap or two of paper towels would be plenty of protection...

    A beam scale manufactured in 1950 will continue to work today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now, unlike a digital scale with batteries that will go dead...
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHawk View Post
    The only thing I have to add is make sure you get one with the check weight. And check it often against it. I have seen the electronics go "wacky" while hand weighing loads.

    Electronic will go into a vastly smaller space. And for just loading one at a time is fine.
    absolutely correct .. get a check weight and use it OFTEN.. seen way too many not read correctly or intermittent misreads
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  15. #15
    Boolit Man Markopolo's Avatar
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    I use the franklin arsenal electronic with very good, repeatable results. It also have a nice flip cover that keeps the scale dry and free of debris in my mobile bag. It do cost around 40 bucks with shipping though.. got 2 of them from eBay. Been using the first one for about 6 or 7 years without issue. Uses rechargeable AAA batteries.. they both show the same weights when side by side too.. and tare nicely...
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    bedbugbilly & mdi - Load workups at the range, and maybe occasional reloading while on a varminting trip; I "play" with reduced loads (I find creating them FUN!) also, so instead of loading 5 of each powder weight at home, I can do it while at the range (or where-ever) - So it won't be physically huge as I'll only be shooting so many calibers, not loading for friends and family with that kit - But I could load a few more rounds if varminting and I am lowish on ammo, I've run out of ammo on two varminting trips (too long ago!) and it's hard when you want to stay there One More Day but no ammo. Having a rancher with a LARGE place we'd made a good friend of, kept us in targets, that place is closed down now though, letting the land rebuild (so it'll have a half bazillion chucks on it, it was GOOD chuck grounds back then!) I can look at that Lee scale; I am pretty used to verniers on a lot of things, despite liking digital displays on some things (Some engineers think verniers're "old fashioned", but so are some cases we shoot - and they still work great! Just read the directions, that's how reloaders live to load more.)

    Smoke, safety's wise. 55k+ chamber pressures are OK, 70k+ chamber pressure could get "exciting" and I don't want that sorta excitement None of us do...

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    I've seen people fill small containers with pre-weighed powder and use them to reload with. Both accurate and efficient saves time.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    I'm willing to bet that model will read differently depending on where you place the weight on the pan. And you can place the same weight on it twice and it will read differently. I've been down this road w/ all the cheap scales marketed towards reloaders. I literally bought every one a few years back. Unless they can be plugged in they have one issue or another.
    I would be willing to risk $9.00 to find out. And hey, if I was wrong I could sell it to the neighborhood meth dealer for $20 and still come out ahead

    Jokes aside, I think Hornady has a huge mark up on that scale. Whether or not it's a good scale remains to be proven but the cost is low enough to find out.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I us a gem pro 250 on the bench and in the range kit. It comes with a good travel case. The 250 is 250 grains and .02 grain the 500 reads to 500 grns and .1 grains. Mine was around $130.00 a few years ago. Its quick and simple to set up has a built in level and anti vibration pad. Can be ran with 110 adaptor or batteries. You can trickle into it but it takes some practice like most electronic scales. A wind shield for it to set in is a big plus working outside. Depending on where you plan on loading a portable work table might be handy also.

  20. #20
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    With my portable loading kits , I use dippers . Some are Lee dipper and some I make myself to throw (dip) the exact charges I want...the batteries NEVER run out !
    Coffee cup holds the powder when dipping.
    Gary
    Last edited by gwpercle; 12-20-2017 at 04:45 PM. Reason: spelling
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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