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Old 05-02-2020, 07:02 PM
oldiegoldie oldiegoldie is offline
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am needing a powder scale to finish my very basic reloading setup. should i get electronic or balance scale? money is definitely a concern....trying to keep to a minimum. i do have a set of Lee measuring "cups". am not anticipating loading thousands of rounds annually. brand names would be appreciated. only loading for 9mm & .380 acp.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:14 PM
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Buy a beam scale ... better repeatability. I have a FA digital scale that I use to dial in the powder throw and then use beam to check every nth round.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:17 PM
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I’d say get a decent beam scale like the RCBS 505. They can be picked up secondhand fairly cheap. Even with an electronic scale, you will want a beam scale to verify.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:17 PM
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This question has three possible answers, depending on what you really intend to do.
1. You can do without buying your own scales if you settle for a single powder (say, HP38) for standard loads in each caliber, and have access to scales for a one-time double check of your dippers. This also means you settle for less than maximum loads, don't experiment, and don't have to worry about meeting a specific power factor.
2. Buy a cheap balance scale (say, Lee) which will allow you to try different loads, and calibrate your dippers for different powders. More versatility, still lacking in speed. IMHO, a cheap digital scale is a PIA.
3. Buy a good digital scale (RCBS) and load anything you want.

Your choice.
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Old 05-02-2020, 08:16 PM
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Get a good quality balance beam scale and a set of check weights (very inexpensive) to periodically check scale accuracy. A good scale should always work properly, but it doesn't hurt to verify that accuracy on occasion. Far better and more dependable setup than an electronic scale.
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Old 05-02-2020, 08:20 PM
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I've had the Lee scale and it is indeed precise. The problem i had with it was it was way too sensitive. Any slight disturbance in the surrounding air and it would start to seesaw. Went over to the RCBS 505 and am very satisfied with it. The RCBS seems to be dampened eliminating the over sensitivity of the Lee.
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Old 05-02-2020, 08:32 PM
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48 years of reloading, I have owned one scale. Ohaus 10-10 purchased used, as new in the box, for about $20. Came with the test weights. Extremely accurate and reliable.

Ohaus was later acquired by RCBS and the product line was continued (5-0-5 and 10-10 models, as well as laboratory-grade scales).

I would be shopping the on-line auction sites. Lots of people get into reloading, then decide to dump their stuff. Estates frequently include reloading equipment. Lots of top quality equipment at bargain prices.
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Old 05-02-2020, 08:35 PM
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I agree with the previous posters. Look for a clean used RCBS 505 or 10-10. One or two check weights would also be good to have.
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Old 05-02-2020, 11:38 PM
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Get a $35 MTM electronic scale. Get a set of check weights. Much faster than a bslance beam.
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Old 05-03-2020, 12:21 AM
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I bought an RCBE 10-10 scale new in 1980. It has worked perfectly to this day. No complaints of any kind.

I did buy a digital scale about 5 years ago just to see what all the fuss was about.
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Old 05-03-2020, 01:34 AM
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I have a Lyman electronic scale, and it quit working after about three years. It was more trouble to use than it was worth, and not worth the cost of sending it back to get it fixed. I have been using a Redding beam powder scale with magnetic damper for somewhat more than 30 years, simple and reliable. I check it with known weights every so often, it is always dead on. I made up my own set of check weights using a laboratory analytical balance many years ago, with weights from 10 grains up to 100 grains (10, 25, 40, 70 and 100). For many years I used a 2-pan apothecary scale. It worked fine, and I still have it even though I don't need it. It is probably close to 100 years old. Don't discount the utility of the Lee plastic powder scoops, I still have a set and use them.

For weighing bullets and cases I use an Ohaus quad beam lab centigram balance, also with magnetic damping. It goes up to 300 grams (4500 grains), and down to 0.01 grams (0.154 grains). It weighs in grams, but that's OK, as I am using it for consistency weighing, usually not absolute weights, so I don't often need to convert grams to grains (1 gram = 15.43 Grains). I could use the Ohaus scale for powder, but the Redding is smaller and more convenient.

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Old 05-03-2020, 03:19 AM
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Default Cheap operation...

I have a Lee and a $35 digital. The cheap digitals used to break down a lot but they are better now.
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Old 05-03-2020, 05:01 AM
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If you look at the RCBS scales and are shopping used, also look at the 5-10 scale. The beam on it is set up almost exactly like the 10-10 scale except that it doesn't have the hanger for the extra counterweight the 10-10 has and the base is built like the 5-0-5 scale. I rather the adjustment setup on the beam of the 10-10 and 5-10 over the 5-0-5 scale. I bought a 5-10 scale off eBay 5 years ago for around $50 to the door if I am remembering correctly.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:59 AM
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The heart of a digital scale is its strain gauge, and very good quality, cheap, strain gauges have been available from China (unfortunately) for awhile now.
5 or so years ago I bought a Hornady digital bench scale. It has been 100% accurate, reliable and repeatable. Spot on every time it's checked with test weights.
My Lyman M5 sits as a back up.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:17 AM
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I have only one scale, the one I bought in the late 1980's when I started reloading, a Lyman 1000. Beam balance scale are simple and reliable, require no electricity nor batteries to operate, last forever if given only basic care.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:46 AM
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The RCBS 505, 10-10 or equivalent and a powder measure. I use the RCBS Uniflow. Weighing even a hundred individual powder charges will get old quickly. Also the RCBS Little Dandy is a great tool. I have about a half dozen of the rotors and I use it more often than the Uniflow.
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:45 AM
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After several iterations with electronic scales, both cheap and expensive, I finally went back to my old Redding balance beam. Electronics just makes gravity complicated.
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:48 AM
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Beam Scale ... you want one even if you have an electronic . Batteries run out , power failure , electronics screw up...you NEED a beam on hand .
Check out Redding , RCBS , Hornady , Dillon they are all good and run $90.00 (Dillon) to $100.00 dollars brand new .
I picked up a used RCBS 5-0-5 on E-Bay for $30.00 just make sure it is complete, in good shape and not damaged . Make sure to get one with magnetic dampening ...oil dampened scales (Redding #1) suck rocks big time ...pass on them . OHAUS is the company that makes/made RCBS scales...right now Ohaus 505 is up for $25.00 . A RCBS 505 is liated at $42.00 . Look carefully and you can find a decent scale but don't pay more than 1/2 list price of a new one ...1/4 price is a good deal . Lyman scales are also good ...simple but good .
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:53 AM
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You need a scale when working with those Lee dippers. They don't throw what the slider says they do.

I've got two. A very accurate RCBS beam scale and a cheap digital scale. The RCBS gets used for accuracy and load development.
I mainly use the cheap one for safety checks. Even when I KNOW my powder measure is set for 5 grains of Unique, I'll still check it with the digital scale. I also use the digital to check my cast bullet weights.

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Old 05-03-2020, 10:10 AM
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What are you going to use the scale for at your "Very Basic Reloading Set Up"?

If you are going to use it to check a setting or a bushing or dipper for that you will actually use to charge cases, then I think that as some have said, a quality Bean Scale. My SCOTT modified Lyman M5 is the most accurate scale I own and the easiest to use. It is not effected by the type of lighting or your cell phone etc.

I do have a cheap - GEM PRO 500 scale that if you want to allow it to warm up, keep it in a very stable environment etc. will do a decent job. I also have an FX120i which was $700.00 which does a super job especially when used with my Omega Auto-Trickle. Last I have and RCBS Chargemaster.

Back to what are you going to use it for. For normal pistol rounds I use a Harrods Pistol Powder Thrower. After you learn how to use it, you can thrown charges of most powders to well within acceptable limits for pistol rounds. Many short range bench rest shooters even use these without checking every charge. For that and to check my Shotshell Loader bushings, I use a beam scale.

For 1,000 yard bench rest loading I use the 120i and the trickler.

For regular rifle and any competition pistol rounds the Chargemaster is fine.

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Old 05-03-2020, 11:08 AM
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I have an electronic powder dispenser/scale and love it. I verify every 10th throw on my beam scale. I suggest that even if you go electronic you need a beam back up so start with one.
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Old 05-03-2020, 11:34 AM
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I have bought two jewelers scales off ebay. Cheap, good, and accurate.
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Old 05-03-2020, 01:51 PM
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A beam scale, and you can make your own specific "powder cups" as well.

I still use the Lee yellow measures to get into the ballpark and trickle into the scale pan for certain powders. With the right powder and the right load it can go very fast...

Cheers!
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Old 05-03-2020, 04:13 PM
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well, one thing for sure, and that's going to EBay to buy used, and it will probably be a beam scale. most likely an electronic in the future. i spent a little time on EBay looking at scales and am hoping to keep my cost < 50% of new. 25% would be better, but that may take more patience than i've got.

i appreciate the input.....alot of different ideas. i had no reference point to start so every suggestion has value.
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Old 05-03-2020, 04:27 PM
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I bought an RCBS electronic scale when I first started reloading, and have never had one problem with it. Check it with the weights once in a while and it’s always right on. I found a nice LNIB Olhaus scale on EBay several years ago and it works well, just slower than the electronic scale. YMMV.
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Old 05-03-2020, 04:43 PM
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I have two Electronic Scales. One (a Dillon) was purchased at least 25 years ago, possibly over 30 years ago; the other one (RCBS) was purchased at least 15 years ago. Both of these Electronic scales are still working perfectly. Maybe it's because I've kept them in a climate controlled environment since Day One.

I have made this statement before, so it's obviously my opinion, and is not intended in any way to offend my fellow Forum Members. Reloading metallic cartridges is not a complicated process, you're not trying to send a rocket to the moon. Electronic Scales are perfectly fine for loading Metallic Cartridges and Shotshells.

In the end, the choice is up to the individual.
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Old 05-03-2020, 04:55 PM
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Reloading metallic cartridges is not a complicated process, you're not trying to send a rocket to the moon. Electronic Scales are perfectly fine for loading Metallic Cartridges and Shotshells.
I suspect that it is highly unusual for most shotshell handloaders to weigh every load of shot and powder. Most shotshell loading equipment incorporates both shot and powder metering devices which use adjustable measurement cavities. One might use a scale to adjust those cavities to deliver the desired weights from time to time. Most trap and skeet shotshell handloaders usually set their tools once and never change them.

From a performance standpoint, both digital and beam scales are equally satisfactory, the relative costs of each being a primary decision point.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:10 PM
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I suspect that it is highly unusual for most shotshell handloaders to weigh every load of shot and powder. Most shotshell loading equipment incorporates both shot and powder metering devices which use adjustable measurement cavities. One might use a scale to adjust those cavities to deliver the desired weights from time to time. Most trap and skeet shotshell handloaders usually set their tools once and never change them.

From a performance standpoint, both digital and beam scales are equally satisfactory, the relative costs of each being a primary decision point.
Hi Mr. Walt,

I don't know where you read that I weighed every charge I put into a metallic case or shotshell hull, so let me take this opportunity to clarify what I had assumed that everyone understood in my previous post.

I use a Dillon RL-550 that I purchased around 1985 for almost all of my metallic cartridge reloading. This is a progressive reloading press, I hope I'm not going to be asked to explain what constitutes a progressive reloading press, and is equipped with an adjustable powder measure/dispenser that drops a powder charge every time a case is brought up to the top of the stroke at position two on the press. I use a scale (electronic) to set up the powder dispenser to throw the charge I'll be loading for on this press. I then use the scale to check weigh the powder charges at random points as I load whatever batch of shells I'm working on, and also, always check if I have to open a new container of powder to continue loading.

I have three powder dispensers in use for the Dillon RL-550, and one spare that has never been used. The three in use are installed on the toolheads on my three most often loaded calibers; .45 ACP, .38 Special/.357 Magnum, and .44 Special/.44 Magnum.

On those extremely rare occasions when I want to load metallic cartridges on a single stage press; I use my RCBS Rock Chucker, and an RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure. I have two of the Uniflow Powder Measures, one that I've had since around 1974 and one that my brother gave me after he had his third and most debilitating stroke and lost the use of his right arm, among other effects in 2007. The Uniflows are great measures, but do take a little fiddling to get the powder charge set. I use an electronic scale to set the Uniflows to the desired charge weight, and also for check weighing further along in the reloading process.

When it comes to shotshells, I'm a MEC man all the way. I have a total of six MEC Reloading presses, three in 12 GA., One in 28 GA., and two in .410 Bore. One of the 12 GA. presses is a progressive, all the rest are single stage, and yes, every one of them is equipped with a powder dispenser and a shot dispenser. The MEC reloading system is comprised of shot charge bars that are fixed and non-adjustable. Each of these charge bars will accept MEC Powder Bushings that are charted to throw specified weights. The bushing-powder charts will usually get you close to the charge weight listed, but never right on the money. That makes weighing charges during setup absolutely necessary and yes, I use an electronic scale for this as well. I also check weigh, at least every 100 rounds when loading shotshells.

I also failed to mention how much faster setup and check weighing is with an electronic scale; drop the powder charge in the pan and you almost instantly have the charge weight on the electronic display; no fiddling around with beam weights, just much faster and simpler.

To conclude; I've been reloading metallic cartridges since 1972, and shotshells since 1977.

Nobody has to agree with my opinions, but I think I've been doing this long enough to form some definite ideas on how to reload.

If anyone actually made it this far, have a great day!
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldiegoldie View Post
am needing a powder scale to finish my very basic reloading setup. should i get electronic or balance scale? money is definitely a concern....trying to keep to a minimum. i do have a set of Lee measuring "cups". am not anticipating loading thousands of rounds annually. brand names would be appreciated. only loading for 9mm & .380 acp.
If money is a concern, then a beam scale is the way to go. I started with a 5-0-5 in the early 80's and only recently gave it away to a friend who wanted to get into reloading.
Beams are great for all the reasons mentioned, but once you go to a GOOD digital scale, you'll never go back.

My first digital was a GemPro 250, and it changed the way I look at powder charges because it measures to a resolution of 1/50th of an ounce, not 1/10th of an ounce like a typical beam scale. When you have a calibrating balance weight for your digital scale, you don't have to worry about accuracy since you can calibrate your digital scale anytime you want.
The GemPro250 is a great reloading scale, but I thought I would treat myself to an A&D FX200i scale that also measures to 1/50th of an ounce but is more of a laboratory analytical scale so I thought I could be more confident in it's accuracy.
For a while, I would often compare readings between the "lesser" GemPro250 and the more expensive A&D scale, but there was never a time when the readings weren't within 1/50th of a grain from each other. I guess I didn't need to spend the money on the A&D, but I am not confident in the current large crop of cheap scales that are out there now.

Bottom line is that if all you care about is 1/10gr accuracy, then a balance beam scale or any cheap digital will get the job done.
If you want to step up your game and load to 1/50gr accuracy, then a (again, GOOD) digital scale is the way to go.

And as a side note, don't confuse the dipper cups with a scale when it comes to getting the charge you want because all charge recipes call for charges in grain weight, and the dipper cups are measures of volume.
Different powders will weight differently by volume, so you still need a good scale to check your dipper charges for the powder you are throwing.
Furthermore, dippers lock you into a charge that you can't really tweak like you can with a scale. If you like a charge that's 3/10gr less (or more) than the dipper you have, then you might find that the next size dipper will overstep or understep what you were looking for.

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Old 05-03-2020, 07:49 PM
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Been using my RCBS 505 for decades. Never let me down
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:18 PM
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I agree with most of the replys that advocate getting a decent beam scale, it should last basically forever. For the last 45 years I've been using the same Redding beam scale that my dad bought in the mid '50s. I've had a couple of electronic scales over the years, but still come back to the old Redding for most of my loading.

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Old 05-03-2020, 10:50 PM
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I have both a RCBS and Lee balance beam scale...Lee gets used most often and is very precise and an excellent deal. I once tried an electronic digital scale...it crapped out on me...I’m old and prefer fool proof beam scales!
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:51 PM
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I've yet to change the battery on my 1975 bought O'Haus Lyman beam scale!
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Old 05-04-2020, 06:46 AM
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I use the RCBS 505 beam scale and sing its praises every time I use it. That being said, let us NOT forget that having a good trickler is also a much needed ancillary tool to have as well.



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Old 05-04-2020, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Qc Pistolero View Post
I've yet to change the battery on my 1975 bought O'Haus Lyman beam scale!
That's 45 years of life ... not bad !
But I have a Redding #1 from 1967 that hasn't had a battery change !!!
Had to change the oil a few times !
Hate doing that ...no oil drain plug .
Gary
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:16 PM
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i got my scale bought and it blew my budget out of the water. a Lyman Ohaus M5 in excellent condition. anyway, there may be an electronic scale in the future when i learn to do a good job with the entire process. appreciate the recommendations.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:41 AM
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You bought a Lyman Ohaus? Wow!!! They are excellent scales. You bought a real scale and once you learn to use it, I don't think you will really want an electric scale.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:03 AM
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I have been using a Lyman Ohaus M5 for 55 yrs. and I'm pretty sure it's going to be going when I'm gone. Larry
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:08 AM
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Exclamation Good Insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldiegoldie View Post
i got my scale bought and it
blew my budget out of the water. a Lyman Ohaus M5 in
excellent condition. anyway, there may be an electronic scale
in the future when i learn to do a good job with the entire
process. appreciate the recommendations.
Congratulations! You made a wise decision! That Scale is the must
important piece of Reloading Equipment you can buy. Yea, you
may have blew your budget, but at least you won't blow your
hand/face off. Imagen the medical costs if something happened.

I have used a Beam Scale for 40 some years, only recently I
bought a Electric/Digital (it's Ok) one, because my neighbor
was selling out.

The Best to you and your Endeavors.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:19 AM
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Buy as good a quality balance beam as you can afford . If you take care of it , it will last a lifetime . Digital down the road . Electronic scales are affected by fans , HVAC vents , flourescent lights etc. The mechanical as long as it's level & calibrated is pretty much foolproof & accurate . I set my powder measure with the mechanical & use the electronic for spot checking . If like me you do a ton of rifle load developement an RCBS Chargemaster scale / dispenser makes life easier when loading multiple charge weights .
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:16 PM
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I learned a long time ago. It’s better to buy once and cry once.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:31 PM
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I've been reloading since '65, and I've used the Lee dippers alot. One thing about them, they throw lighter charges than what is listed. I'm sure that is for liability reasons. But if you check them with a good balance beam scale, they will allow you to load charges pretty quickly.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:55 PM
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My old Lyman balance beam has worked well since I first got it sometime in the early 80's. It's grey in color and I think the model is a D-5, although I'm not positive on that.

I had a Hornady digital scales for a short time that I had received as a gift. It never would work properly and I ended up taking it back to the dealer where it came from.
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