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Thread: Digital scales, opinions?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Digital scales, opinions?

    I've decided I could really use a digital scale but I've read some bad reviews on all of them. Good reviews too. Just looking for opinions on them for general use in the reloading room. Only looking for the lower end simple scales, not digital powder measures. Any thoughts, things to watch out for, favorites, etc.. appreciated. I do see where if they have a reloading company name on them they cost more than one that seems to do the same thing without the name. Can I get a better scale for the money going with other than reloading brands?

  2. #2
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    I use a Hornady digital scale as a quick check on a powder charge coming out of the powder measure. My experience is that the beam scale validates what the digital scale says pretty much every time. Always ensure the digital scale is on a hard flat surface and routinely rezero the display.
    Jeff

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have used the following digital scales. Dillion, Hornady, Gem Pro 250, RCBS and a couple off name ones. All worked to one extent or another and did what was called of them to one extent or another.Some were touchy or finicky at times.

    So in order of my above list heres my simple observations
    Diillon, Good scales accurate easy to read display hard to trickle powder into a little touchy to vibrations and care needs to be taken when setting objects on pan. Take the time to let zero after each weighing to insure it hasn't drifted. Has batteries and wall adapter. Is sensitive to out side elec currents ( florescent lights). All in all a decent scales. .1 grn reading

    Hornady, A fair scales Mine was the budget 39.00 model. Drifted some at times. Very hard to trickle into due to lag time . Sensitive to lights and currents. Definitly needed to allow complete return to zero between weighings it drifted often. Both batteries and outlet adapter with mine. I wasn't overly impressed with this scales for the time I used it. .1 grn reading.

    Gem Pro 250, A very good accurate scales, Less lag time and makes trickling powder easier but still tricky at times. Sensitive to vibrations with out the pad. Dosnt seem as sensitive to out side electric currents. HAs a dust cover built in on a hinge. Battery powered and wall outlet adapter supplied. Comes with a anti vibration pad. smaller foot print than the others. Reads to .02 grns with 250 grn capacity. There is the GP500 also .1 grn and 500 grns capacity.

    RCBS a good scales a little sensitive to outside vibrations and electric currents. Has a dust cover that sits over the pad, Both batteries and wall adapter. Nice back lit display. I believe 750 grn capacity at .1 grns. CAn trckle into it but its tricky due to lag time.

    Several things that help a digital scales performace and your confidence.
    a simple leveling plate under it helps a lot and makes zeroing easier. this is a simple plate 1/4" thick with 3 screws to level it 1 screw on one end 1/2' from edge on center line and 2 opposite end 1/2" in from each edge. This makes a solid no rock level seat for the scales to set on.
    A anti vibration pad helps a lot on the more sensitive scales Acting to isolate the scales from out side vibrations.
    A set of tweezers for placing items in the pan. When weighing bullets a set that open bigger than the bullets is handy and more useable.
    Visibly keep the pan centered in the pad this keeps the weight centered on the load cells for better accuracy
    For confidence a set of check weights to check scales once set up and calibrated is soothing. With a couple sets the scales can also be checked at or very close to the desired weight to be weighed. The check weights can be used like gage blocks. Added together to make the desired weight or close to it. With precision insterments they need to be checked and occasionally calibrated to a standard to be accurate.
    Check scales before each use for zero and repeatability.

    I have found that trickling powder into a digital scales can be trickier than a beam due to lag in the load sensors and electronics. Once it seros it takes a little for it to register the change. If trickling I set the measure to drop the charge 1-2 grns light or so then trickle from there. This gives enough "room" that the lag dosnt over shoot the weight before it starts to register. You may need to make a block or extended tube for the trickler with some digital scales.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
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    There is a recent topic that covered much of what you are asking.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...ctronic-scales

    Here is a google search for this site, castboolits.gunloads.~~~, that has more info as well(559 results)
    :
    electronic reloading scales site:castboolits.gunloads.~~~

    G'Luck!
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  5. #5
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    I have the Ballistic Products $30 scale, the BPI BallistiScale 1500, purchased based on some recommendations here on this forum.

    The resolution is 0.2 grains and it drifts 0.6 grains more or less constantly, even if you wait to use it until after the 30s "warmup" period. (Not blaming the people here who recommended it, we all know Chinese product quality can take a left turn at any moment).

    I still find it useful for weighing/sorting cast boolits, because of the speed. I don't really trust it for powder. Given what I paid for it, and the fact I usually find at least a few heavy or light (but otherwise good looking) boolits in every large batch, I guess it was worth it. I may try something more expensive in the future for powder, but it will have to have a good return guarantee, and I'll need to know it's not just a $30 product with a US brand name slapped on it.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  6. #6
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    I am old school and would never trust a digital scale to weigh powder.

    I do have a digital scale which I use to check cast bullet weights.

    ukrifleman

  7. #7
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    "Not blaming the people here who recommended it.."

    I know I have recommended the BPI more than a few times.
    Mine works well enough for me, but none of my loads are red-line max loads.
    I will be more circumspect about recommending anything on the margins
    I recently got a PACT scale that I like based on recommendations here
    Made in USA
    But I am not recommending it yet. So far so good
    Last edited by jmort; 01-12-2018 at 04:08 PM.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
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  8. #8
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    What’s the advantage of a digital scale over a mechanical unless you are using it in conjunction with an electronic powder dispenser?
    NRA Endowment Member

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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A good digital scales can be faster for sorting weights than a beam due to the settling time. With the digital display parallax of the beam isn't an issue like it can be with a mechanical scales. The pan on a digital is usually unobstructed. a mechanical scales has the beam over top of the pan and the hanger there also. Basically it is simple more user friendly in some ways. Another is the bigger display can be easier to read than a beams graduations for some.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Faster and easier for a lot of weighing? I used to weight segregate my BPCR bullets and would often have hundreds to go through. That would take a lot of time on a beam scale. I would select one sample to be my "zero" and would tare with it every now and then to see if the scale was drifting. All I needed was a comparative weight, not absolute in this case. I would group them by weight at 1/10gr increments. If they were more than a grain either way, I'd use them for setup or foulers. The ones that were really out of the average group were remelted.

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub
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    I recently bought the GemPro250 for just such occasions. I have two beam scales (dillon and RCBS) that I use to check weights on powder, but wanted something to check cases and bullets and other objects for sorting. The GemPro does that very well, and I can use it with a trickler if I want to do powder as well. I just leave mine on all the time, so there's very little variance, and have a few weights that I can use the tare/zero the scale.

    so far two thumbs up on the little scale.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    I like my dillon. Have pact to but only reliable on batteries.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmort View Post
    "Not blaming the people here who recommended it.."

    I know I have recommended the BPI more than a few times.
    Mine works well enough for me, but none of my loads are red-line max loads.
    As the Australians say, "No worries, Mate!"
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Won't use one for powder. A powder measure and beam scale are more trustworthy.

  15. #15
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    I like my digital for sorting things quickly but prefer the balance beam for accuracy.

    I have used the Pact, RCBS and Dillon they can all be finicky/sensitive, all need warm up time to help them make up their mind and sometimes none of them can make up their mind!

    Keeping them away from air currents and using the cover helps.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for the comments. I don't think I'd use it for powder measure. I was mostly interested in using to weigh lightly charged rounds to check for any doubles. Using 40% charges of blue dot I just wanted something pretty fast to check if something was 15 grains heavier than something else. Gave me some good food for thought, thanks for taking the time to respond.

  17. #17
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    I have a pact scale dispenser and I use its scale for about everything. I also have a battery pact scale and a lyman one piece scale dispenser. Id no sooner go back to a beam scale then throw away my progressive presses or my star sizer.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have, currently, 4 digital scales for reloading - each was purchased with the specification of +/- 0.1 gn (one of them claims +/- 0.01 grain)

    Two currently are completely unreliable, each having worked for a couple of years, but then started to drift too much, or just plain giving wanky readings. One I can tare with nothing on the scale and watch it move +-1 5 grains (not 0.5) over a couple of hours.

    Of the remaining two I've had most luck with a simple Franklin scale, and do use it sometimes, but not if I'm anywhere near peak charges.

    The most accurate (at least in claim) is a chi-bay purchase, but with the claims it makes it drifts more than I'm comfortable with. Some will say it's air flow or static, but I'm not sure of that - even in low static/no breeze you can watch them wonder some.

    I'm paranoid and constantly check the weight on the digital to a lyman balance scale.

    Once or twice I've caught them drifting, but usually they drift zero as well, so when you take the powder off you notice it. You can stress over this and have gone back and had to measured whole batches to be sure.

    I recalibrate the digital scale each session. (a problem you find with these is they want to save battery and so turn off every so often, which makes me concerned about warm-up time and drift.)

    These experiences have kept me from moving to a digital powder dispenser, (I've wanted an RCBS forever) even if those scales are more expensive, and, theoretically more accurate and reliable. (Which I really wonder about given pretty much they all use the same chinese 100g load-cells, so you gotta wonder...)

  19. #19
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    Seems to me airflow would affect the beam more than the digital. But it does not. So I'm not buying the airflow argument, either.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I can tell you air flow will affect a digital scale ! Fave a gen pro that was wondering and I realised I was breathing on it as soon as I stopped it worked perfectly. I actually prefer it for very small charges (25acp). Haven't had it very long but it worked great so far.

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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"
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GC Gas Check