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Thread: Calibrate Scales

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy DeanoBeanCounter's Avatar
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    Question Calibrate Scales

    I have two scales. One electronic and one balance beam. At lower weights such as for handgun loads they both show about the same weight. At higher loads such as for rifle loads they both are way different. The balance beam says 57 grains and the electronic says 64.8 grains. I use the electronic for rifle loads for safety. The question is, is there a way to determine which is right? Is there a weight kit to check them with (without breaking the bank)? Thoughts, suggestions, comments, ect. would be of great help.
    Thanks
    Dean

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy nueces5's Avatar
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    To verify the veracity of a balance, I use a sierra matchking of known weight.
    I have never been disappointed.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Buy a check weight set. Thereís a few available tailored to reloaders. You have no way of knowing if your scale works w/out it. And you need to check across the entire range.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    As Dragon813gt said buy a set of the lyman or rcbs check weights. Better buy 2. I used them not only to verify a scales but to check settings and right at the weight desired. These are the same as the master for a micrometer or set off pin gauges.

    Your 64 grns example would be 50 grn weight 10 grn weight and 4 grn weight in the pan. Its not hard start at the lower numbers if there are .000 those first. so 64.3 1.3 grn = 63 grns 3 grn weight = 60 grns left 10 grn weight = 50 grns left and 50 grn weight = dead on.

    This way you know the svale is reading right and the setting is also rght

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I'll have to remember this.

    Loading to moderate pistol velocities and never changing from my favorite load using one powder and boolit, and finding the measure so consistent that the same dial setting never varies the drop, I've gotten lazy on double checking the scale.

    If I reload for rifle, I see loads can use eight times the weight of powder compared to my pistol load, but eight times the range in drop weight error would be disastrous.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    You could figure out which one is loosing accuracy at higher weight by gathering a few of the lower weight charges that do weigh the same,and then weigh what you gather. Say for instance if both scales are registering the same at 15 grain,then gather 4 15 grain charges together,and the one that is registering correctly will read 60 grain,and the other will read approximately 7 grain high,or low.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    JSnover's Avatar
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    Midway has weights.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  8. #8
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    DeanoBeanCounter-- I agree with all suggestions given. "Adding one", PAPER CLIPS are my friend! Huh? I have both Lyman and RCBS weight check sets, and the great majority of total weights I seek in my reloading are constants. As an example, now, I've been loading some .25 auto cast bullets requiring 1.6 grains of powder. I spray painted a paper clip with Krylon ($1/can at dollar store) paint, and using a pair of diagonal cutting pliers trimmed a medium-sized clip until it perfectly matched the 1.6 grains check weights. I sprayed a second coat, this on what was the unpainted bottom. Bion, the paint does add a smidgeon, but I use a fine file on a cut clip end to attain precise final weight.
    Stored in a small plastic bag, now labeled 1.6 GN, whether I use any of the three scales on my bench -- I have a uniform, accurate reference weight. As nueces5 posted, factory bullets accomplish the same, but I would verify weight with scales and also paint the now-reference bullet.
    geo

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Factory bullets have an acceptable tolerance range. Sierra Match Kings are almost always the weight on the box label. But almost always is not always. Iíve gone through and weighed an entire box. Will try to find my notes.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    With inexpensive electronic scales, I find temperature can change readings.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I would trust the balance beam over a electronic scale, as it has been stated get a set of check weights.
    I have 2 electronic scales and they never weigh the same with the same check weight, I always use my RCBS 505 beam scale for powder charges.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I would trust the balance beam over a electronic scale, as it has been stated get a set of check weights.

    +1, as stated a good beam scale is the most consistent method to weigh charges.

    I zero my Redding No. 2 scale, then set the desired powder charge and verify it with check weights before each loading session.

    ukrifleman

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    Buy a check weight set. There’s a few available tailored to reloaders. You have no way of knowing if your scale works w/out it. And you need to check across the entire range.


    Yep, that's crux of it.

    And don't assume one scale is more accurate than the other.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Whichever one hasn't cost you an eye or finger yet is probably the most accurate.

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    A large part of my job involves expensive scales. When a question comes up or results don't jive the check weights come out and we go through a calibration procedure verifying 5 points on the scale with check waits ranging from 1 gram to 10,000 grams.

    Check weights are a must.
    Doug
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  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Have you done the recalibration process on the electronic scale. I have three different electronic scales, and they all came with weight or weights to calibrate, and this process needs to be done on a fairly regular basis. If you have a 50 gram calibration weight, 771.6 grains, that will be too heavy for most balance beam scales, but the 20 gram, 308.6 grains, will work.

    All the electronic scales I have used take a while to "settle down" when first plugged in and the cheaper battery one will vary somewhat with change in battery current. In addition to being sensitive to temps, the small, low dollar battery scale I have is very sensitive to static electricity. I keep a dryer sheet in a peanut butter jar on the bench.

    I second the idea of custom check weights. Paper clip idea makes sense, but I would lose them on my bench and need to mark things because I have SRS!! I used to use peices of cut plastic shotshell cases, but found that the small, battery one was sometimes reacting to static electricity from the plastic. I have gone to peices of aluminum can. You can go from a small piece with as low as a grain or two, or by folding go up to 30 grains plus. I mark each with the weight.

    I agree that the balance beam is still the most accurate, at least compared to six different electronic ones I have ever used, especially if trickling powder.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    When I got my first digital scale I used new coins for check weights (handier than finding/buying check weights). My records show a nickel weighs 77.161 grains, a dime is 35.031 gr, and a quarter is 87.501 gr. and I normally rounded off down taking into consideration any wear on the coin Not perfect but close enough for government work and reloading...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackpine View Post
    I agree that the balance beam is still the most accurate, at least compared to six different electronic ones I have ever used, especially if trickling powder.
    Itís entirely scale dependent. For the most part cheap electronic scales arenít sensitive enough for trickling powder. I found a lot of them varied depending on where you placed the weight on the pan. And auto shut off is nothing but a problem.

    There are electronics that are meant for trickling powder. And some of them arenít that much money. I donít own one and Iím trying to recall the model number. I believe itís the Gem Pro 250 that is inexpensive and works great for reloading purposes. The ones marketed to reloaders for powder dispensers all work. Itís almost always a case of you get what you pay for.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ioon44 View Post
    I would trust the balance beam over a electronic scale, as it has been stated get a set of check weights...Ö..
    ^^^^^^ +1

    "Check weights are a must."

    Absolutely......
    Larry Gibson

    ďDeficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.Ē
    ― Nikola Tesla

  20. #20
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    A quality electronic scale should have come with check weights.
    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. H.L. Mencken

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