Weighing rifle powder

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Weighing rifle powder

Post by Fire Escape on Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:45 pm

I have been leaning toward getting a new scale for some time, my ancient PACT electronic scale is getting kind of 'moody'. I read the thread about having a balance scale 'tuned' (and I have an older 10-10) but I have really been spoiled by the convenience of digital. I don't really need superb accuracy but want dependable repeatability, from what I read Benchrest shooters (I am not one) often don't know how much powder they actually load as they tend to go by 'clicks' on a finely made measure.
I am leaning heavily toward one of the measure/scale combinations where I can punch in (for example) 41.3 gr and have the unit deliver that amount. As I value the experience available here I thought it a great place to ask who has one? what kind? how has it worked out?

Thank you.

Bruce

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by jglenn21 on Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:50 pm

I have an older lyman 1200 for a number of years.. I love it for setting up test loads when developing loads for a new rifle..

only thing I have learned with it is to let it warm up.. It has a 25 minute warm-up cycle but I  have found 1 hour is better for mine... at that point it has been very consistent.. sounds like a large waste of time but I simply turn it on and go about other things..

they have much newer models out these days  ( gen 5 and 6 )

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by r_zerr on Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:07 pm

Bruce
A good mechanical scale will suit you very well. For almost all work at 300 yds and less, dropped charges will produce everything that you need, as the differences only start showing up beyond that range.

I am not fond of the electronic scales where you program a desired result and they do it all for them. Most electronic scales have a lot of drift and other stuff going on that necessitates constant checking  to make sure that the zero has not drifted, and some have compensation for this that considers slowly dribbled powder additions as part of this drift.

If you are wanting an accurately electronic scale, buy one of the higher $$ scales that are out there. Unless things have changed in the past couple of years, the reloading company branded scales (RCBS, Pact, Dillon, Lyman, etc.) do not have that level of accuracy, repeatability, precision,and etc.that you may be looking for, but are otherwise great for the occasional quick check of loads. It used to be Denver Instruments were good but I think that they have been purchased or other.  I understand from an F-class shooter there are some new technologies out there that have more than just strain-guage/load cell technologies, but I do not recall the brands or models.

For high-precision measuring ability of your powder (not always direct correlation to ammo accuracy), you will need an electronic scale that is precise/accurate to a readout of .02grains, otherwise, a well set up mechanical scale can be utilized to dribble charges to that level.

Ron Zerr

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by Wobbley on Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:36 pm

These have had good reviews.  0.02 grain sensitivity and excellent accuracy and stability.   http://bullets.com/search?q=bald%20eagle%20powder%20scale .

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by KevinB on Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:24 pm

I threw Reloader15 with a Lee Perfect Powder Measure and went P100, Distinguished and Master with the loads.  Don't sweat it too much.

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by Fire Escape on Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:32 pm

I can certainly live with what I have been doing, it was good enough to earn a couple of (only silver) Palma Pins. Just thinking that I prefer easier as I get older and the convenience of a 'one stop', press the button and have the powder 'delivered' tool has some appeal so I thought I'd see if anyone here was using one.

Thanks to all who replied.

Bruce

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by robert84010 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:09 am

Bruce,
a friend of mine bought one of those easy to use Magnetospeed chronometers so he has done a bit of testing on his palma ammo (Varget/155's) this year. His ammo made using a chargemaster showed a bit higher SD but quite a bit higher ES, like over 35fps regularly. He now trickles onto a Denver Instruments MX-123 for his 1000 yard ammo. It produces single digit SD and ES under 20fps with all else being the same.
My ammo made on a balance beam produced numbers similar to his DI-123 made ammo (a little better actually), different rifles though so the data isn't really a true comparison.  
He basically uses the chargemaster for his 600 yard and in ammo, sometimes for 800 but trickles up on a good digital for 900 and farther out.

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by BE Mike on Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:35 am

I don't know why people report having trouble with quality electronic scales, as that has NOT been my experience. I've owned two electronic scales. The first was an older Dillon and I now own the Lyman 1200 DPS 3. Both scales have worked flawlessly for years. I sold the old Dillon because I wanted one that would double as a powder measure and powder trickler. The Lyman fits the bill. The only drawback is that electronic scales need a warm-up period. My Lyman needs 30 minutes. When I'm going to use it, I turn it on and then start organizing everything I need for my reloading session. RCBS makes a similar e-scale/ powder measure and I've heard very good reports about it, as well.

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by jglenn21 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:41 am

the older Dillon D-Terminators were nice.. made by Ohaus I believe.

my brother still has one of the old Lyman auto scale units where it trickled powder into the cup of a built in level scale...best of both worlds I think.

I agree that once you get past 500 yards small details in loads does matter...

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

Post by r_zerr on Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:03 pm

Mike,

A good scale, mechanical or otherwise, will easily be able to distinguish and register changes of a single kernel of stick powder. Depending on the powder, this can range from a little under 0.02 grains, to almost .05 grains.  Any electronic scale that only reads to a tenth (0.10) grain will not show this. If there is serious drift, or a lack of precision worthy of the one-one hundredth reading, then what you get will vary.  Much of what is shown is a matter of programming that often masks or takes into account the electronic drifting and noise effects, which clouds the validity further.

As an example of this, I tested a friends Lyman 1200 DPS2 (yes older one).  I let it do its charge thing, and then slowly began dribbling kernels of powder into it, and the reading did not change. I lifted the pan off of the scale, and then set it back down, and the reading was (correctly) 2 grains heavier.  This was repeated enough times to verify it was not accident.  The simple fact is that the kernels were being dropped in slowly enough that the internal programming dismissed it as drift.  I will not say that all electronic scales will do this, but without specific testing and thoroughly reported knowledge of a scale I am to buy, I will not waste my time on it.

Robert84010's observations on S.D. and Extreme Spread are not unique to him, as I and several others have seen the same. Close up, it does not matter, but at the longer ranges, it does (verticals).  In addition to having worked on the scale and powder dispensers of D. Tubb, Norm Houle, and Rodrigo Rosa,  I have some more direct qualifications in this matter: 
http://competitions.nra.org/documents/pdf/compete/natpdf/2007/cp400-07.pdf      3rd o-all
http://competitions.nra.org/documents/pdf/compete/natpdf/2006/cp400-06.pdf      2nd o-all
http://www.nrahq.org/compete/natpdf/cp400-14.pdf    3rd Match rifle 6th? o-all
http://www.nrahq.org/compete/natpdf/cp413-15.pdf     (3rd, 600 yd matches this year)

However, it is all relative to ones idea of "good enough."

-Ron Zerr

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Re: Weighing rifle powder

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