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Thread: beam scale recomendations

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Dec 2017
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    beam scale recomendations

    In the market to get a new(used) scale. Christmas day we were moving my bench and my son damaged my lee safety scale. I really never cared for it anyways as at least for me it was a pain to use. I have a cheaper digital scale I use, but don't 100% depend on it. I always compared the drops with the beam scale. Researching scales there are so many opinions across the web on each which scale is best. Ive been looking at the hornady lock n load beam scale. Any opinions on this one? I don't load rifle, just the following pistol:
    45 colt/9mm/45acp/45gap. Will be loading 357 sig in future. Use the auto disc thru expanding die with adjustable charge bar. I'm looking for beam scale easy to set up for small pistol charges and easy to read. Also on a very limited budget since I have some medical issues going on and not working right now. Reloading helps take my mind off of the testing I'm going thru. I hate trusting the digital scale without the beam to verify my loads. Suggestions please?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Skunk1's Avatar
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    Have always had an RCBS 505 or/and 1010 on the bench. Currently have 2 505 scales, one setting on each bench. Couldn't think of anything easier to use. I've had a lee scale but not for my use. Played with it a bit but didn't care for it. I'll just stick with the 505's for now. Break out a 1010 if I need to.


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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Aug 2013
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    Beam scale are a bit of a problem right now. If you're thinking of buying new I think the contenders are Redding No 2, Dillon Eliminator, RCBS M500, or the Hornady L&L. Although they work well enough, I'm not keen in the plastic based scale like the newer Lymans etc.

    As you may know, RCBS dropped the 502, 505, and 10/10 from their catalogue a couple of years ago and introduced the M500 and M1000. All RCBS scales produced in the 5-6 years prior to that were either made in Mexico or China with very variable quality.
    (Dillon Eliminator also made in Mexico)

    If you find a used scale, don't be fooled by the casting in the base saying "Made by Ohaus, USA" even the Chinese ones have the same casting. The only way to be sure is printed on the cardboard box (actually says "Made in China or Mexico)

    Personally I think one of the most underrated scales is the RCBS 5-10, although discontinued around 20 years ago. They come up for sale at reasonable prices, they were only ever made in US, they have exactly the same beam as the 10/10 with the rotating barrel poise and they also have the approach to weight feature as found on the 10/10.

    MY choice new would be M500, exactly the same floating Agate bearing/knife edge system as used in earlier RCBS scales, the beam printed on both sides so can be used left or right handed and is a simple two poise system. It's made in China but to a better quality that the recent RCBS 505 and 502's.

    Used, I would look for a RCBS 5-10 or an older Redding No2. A basic set of RCBS or Lyman grain check weights would also be a good investment.

    Here's a short video review of the Hornady scale I made a couple of years ago.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buRAm2aL6ik

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I got a Lyman 500 that I got back in the late 80's brand new at the time and had the pin on it move on me and sent it to Lyman and they fix it also check it to make sure it was right .No problem with after that.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I've used a Redding #2 and an RCBS 10-10 for at least thirty years. Both excellent, though the wheel rotation design for tenths of a grain makes the RCBS slightly slower to use. I was unaware the 10-10 is no longer available. I think the Redding remains in production.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I use the RCBS 505, (they are always on e-bay at a good price) and also a RCBS 10-10 but use the 505 most of the time.
    I don't trust the digital scales for light powder charges. Check weights are a good investment.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have a an RCBS 505, 20-30 years, not looking for another scale. Redding makes good stuff, $85 for a Redding #2 at MidwayUSA right now, but is a 5 grain separation. I like the 10 grain separation on the high end. It is easier to incorrectly set with 5 grain intervals, whereas ten grains is much more obvious with the bigger cases. I would buy the Redding in today's market.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Mr Peabody's Avatar
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    I've used a few brands, The Redding II gets my vote.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Any older RCBS 502(Lyman D-5), 505(Dillon Eliminator), 510, or 10-10, or Lyman D-7/500/1000, M5, made by Ohaus would be good. The Hornady/Pacific Magnetic scale and Redding No 2 are pretty good too.

    The older oil damped(Redding No 1, Herters, Pacific, Texan, etc) scales are accurate as well. They may get messy once the oil starts migrating though.

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    i have two RCBS scales, one bought like 30 years ago and the other is relatively new, and the both work fine for me. But some people prefer different brands, so it winds up being about personal preference.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Personally I think one of the most underrated scales is the RCBS 5-10
    That's what I use, and would highly recommend it. Won't find new, but they come up for sale used. Check the usual auction sites and classifieds frequently.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master copdills's Avatar
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    I like RCBS 502 and 505

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    I started with a Redding (50+ years ago) and it is still my go to scale. About 5 years ago I found a RCBS 505 in a junk box at a local pawn shop. Parts missing but it was only $5 bucks. I found the missing parts (Pan & hanger) and have about $25 dollars in the thing total. I have used both side by side and can recommend either as to quality and accuracy. 505s, especially, seem too show up on a regular basis at the local guns show. I can't speak to other beam scales but it looks to me like if you have them on a flat surface and zeroed out, What could go wrong? I seldom move my scales as I have a dedicated space for them but when I do, I recheck them with a set of weights. I also lean to the side of older, American made stuff but if I needed a quick replacement I would buy what looked good and use it until I found what I really wanted.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Like Binky, I started with a Redding scale over 50 years ago and still use it. I bought an RCBS 505 scale at a yard sale a few years ago and checked it against the Redding - about .1 grain in disagreement. Sold the RCBS to someone I thought was a friend for what I paid for it (still waiting for the payment). I keep the Redding in a shoe box with a cover and that goes in a cupboard. I take it out and ensure it is at zero and then use it to set my RCBS powder measure. It is always reliable so I see no reason to change.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master Mytmousemalibu's Avatar
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    I have a LEE safety scale and I actually like the thing despite it cheap construction. It is plenty accurate enough too.

    I mostly use an Ohaus 505 now, a pre-RCBS unit. They can be had inexpensively and are great little scales as indicated by how many of us vouch for the 505. I got mine for a song, used from the S&S here. A little cleaning to restore it without disturbing the original "patina" and it sits comfortably on my bench. I like restoring and preserving old reloading equipment!

    I also have a quite old Redding, Model #1 if memory serves me right. Its a lovely scale, it cleaned up real nice, great original finish. This is one of Redding's oil dampened units. Its very smooth and accurate, typically Redding quality. It does take a noticeable bit longer to settle than the magnetic dampend scales. For that reason I like the 505 better for regular use but I wouldn't pass one up if you cross paths with one for the right price.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    I have a redding oil dampened, a great scales but I have a harder time with the 5 grn beams on it. I also have a RCBS 5 10 that I like a lot, main beam is 10 grn increments and a roller for grns and tenths. Easy to set and see. I just acquired a 505 and its a good scales also with the 10 grn main beam and a light slider for grns and tenths. I do worry about a bump or off touch moving the small slider though. My favorite scales is a RCBS dial o grain. 100 10 and tenth grn increments, very sensitive and settles in quick. I also have several digitals my favorite being a Gem Pro 250 with .02 reading. This scales gets used a lot but its harder to trickle into than the beam scales are.
    Do your research and see what you want, What will fit on your bench, and work with your technique and style. Some scales pans are on the left some the right, this can be a lot of "getting used" too if you have used the other for a length of time. Graduations is another one to watch.
    Look at MIdways, Grafs, Sinclairs, Mid South, and other supply houses, See whats available and read any reviews. Also After you narrow down what you want a post in the want to buy section may bring results with a used one.

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Appreciate all the advice. Got a lead on a 505 or a 510 for good price. He may also have a hornady but not sure on the model yet. They are in storage. One more question. How do you guys store your scales when not in use on the bench? Cover with a larger Tupperware type bowl to keep dust and lint off of it?

  18. #18
    I've got a Hornady Pacific and RCBS 505 Ohaus. Both are great scales, but I find myself using the Hornady more than the RCBS.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    I throw a pillow cover over mine. Also, don't store it "zeroed". Minute oscillations (over time) ain't good for the bearings.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I use a Redding #2 scale that I purchased at the The Rod&Gun Club at Fort Carson in 1981.I keep it in a plastic bread box that seemed to be made to hold a scale.I also use a Lyman M5 scale I purchased off eBay.They're both excellent scales.If I was looking for another scale I would check eBay.There are some good scales listed and some that are not so good.Scales missing parts are sometimes listed at a higher starting bid than a like new scale.Also look at shipping charges listed.The older scales were mostly made in the US by Ohaus.

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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