Check scale

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by greg_r, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    I know of several reloaders who weigh their powder on a second "check" scale before putting powder in the case. This is a practice that I was taught is a big no-no, and one that I have always discouraged. Of course I learned on and still use beam scales. And always sort of figured electronic scales were different.

    Why? Because you zero a beam scale, you calibrate an electronic scale.

    my issue with electronic scales is that they are: #1 - slow, and #2 - they don’t always return to zero. Granted, these are problems that go away with the purchase of quality (expensive) electronic scales.

    I recently watched a video that made me think that just maybe there is not much difference between an electronic scale and a beam scale. A automatic dispenser was used to bring a powder charge up to close to the desired weight. Then the powder was moved to a second scale and was trickled up to the desired weight. In each case the second scale was 3/10 of a grain off when the charge was moved from the dispenser scale to the check scale. This was after the scales were shown being calibrated.

    Just thought this was interesting.
  2. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    I don't use my old scale anymore. My digital scale ⚖ has stayed in calibration. I do reset and check it before during and after.
    ajole likes this.

  3. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    About every fourth shell, I drop a calibration weight on it. I often just re-zero the scale at random intervals.
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  4. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    I have yet to have to dump a load because of my scale.
    I have noticed breathing on it will throw off the reading. But it happens with a beam scale to
    lklawson and ajole like this.
  5. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    I guess I really don’t understand why he didn’t just use the one scale, especially once he saw they weighed different. He even made the comment that one of these scales were wrong.

    I wanted to post the video, but I can’t find (remember) which one it was. It was posted by Reloading with Johnnie Ray.

    I have a trio of electronic scales. One I do not trust at all from Frankford Arsenal. The 1500 from Hornady which I think gives mostly accurate readings, but it will not go to zero from time to time. And a second Hornady scale, the Lock-N-Load digital bench scale that I really can’t find anything wrong with. My favorite scale will always be the O’haus 10-10 beam scale though.
  6. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    air drafts will cause fluctuations with both beam scales and electronic scales. Electronic scales are affected by a host of other things though. Notably I find that fluorescent lights cause problems. LED doesn’t seem to though. My rotary tumbler gives the scale problems as well.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2020

    TNTRAILERTRASH Supporting Member

    I've been using a beam scale lately. The plant next door has one. I weigh the drives, then the trailer tandems. I had to be self taught on that one. Kind of neat in a way.
  8. noylj

    noylj Member

    Isn't it curious that ONLY reloaders and, for a long while, doctors still use beam scales where the rest of the world uses digital without any problems?
    All through college chemistry classes we used beams. Beams were "read" by how far the pointer swung left and right. When it swung the same amount in both directions, that was the weight. The beam NEVER stopped moving during weighing.
    Out of college, I NEVER saw a beam scale again except for my RCBS 5/10. Never had any problems with digitals and they survived environments that a beam could never have handled. Mettler and Sartorus were the norm.
    Bough a digital scale when Ainsworth offered on for about $250 (about 1976?) and still have it and it still works. You very seldom NEED to calibrate a digital scale, but you do TARE it every time.
    Use what you like, but personally I've never had an issue with digital scales...
  9. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    You forgot drug dealers.
    lklawson, moona11 and histed like this.
  10. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    No, I dont think its curious at all. The question is how much do you want to pay for a digital scale?

    The issues with digital scales can be fixed with money. This is pointed out very eloquently by you and your $250 1976 vintage scale. How much would that be in 2020 dollars?

    Take a beam scale, let's say it's the Lee Safety Scale. Zero it and drop an index card on the pan. How quick does it show the weight, remove the card, does it go back to zero? As much hate as the Lee scale gets, it's an accurate scale.

    Do the same with a comparably priced electronic scale. The Frankfort Arsenal scale comes to mind. I guarantee you will not get results comparable to the Lee.

    Spend $400 on an electronic scale and you blow the Lee out of the water.

    I have a vintage O'Haus scale and a Hornady bench electronic scale. The O'Haus is a much better scale than the $140 Hornady electronic scale, but would probably cost more than the Hornady scale in today's dollars.
  11. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I don't get it. I currently have three scales, one of which is digital. I have the RCBS, a Lyman Pocket Touch digital, and the Lee. I seldom have any problem getting them to agree with each other +/- 0.10 of a grain. And the Lyman digital is a ~$25 scale.

    I used the agreement of all three to make a pair of check weights that I am extremely confident of the weight because all three scales agreed at 0.00 divergence on the weight.

    I completely agree that the Lee scale is accurate. But I hate the way you set the weight on it. Sliding a set of windows back and forth so that the vertical hash marks are half height? It is completely non-intuitive. When I got it, I read the instructions 3 times and watched a YooToob vid just to make sure I understood how to set the weight. In contrast, setting the weight on the RCBS is 100% intuitive and the digital just reads whatever it reads when you put your powder on it. I really like the RCBS.

    Peace favor your sword,
  12. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    Personally I think 0.1 can be a huge difference. Especially loading handgun ammo. Just a quick look at the Lyman 49th shows a lot of Pistol rounds with only .5 grains from minimum to maximum. The video I referenced showed a difference of .03 between the scales. I thought that was getting close to throw the powder back into the hopper range. I look for a .04 +/- maximum when loading on my "semi-progressive" LCT.

    Granted, with many rifle cartridges .1 might not be that big of a deal.

    I was taught some 50 years ago that you did not know what powder charge you were using, only that you knew what powder charge your scale said you were using. And looking at some of today’s scales that do not have an etched beam, but only have a sticker with the weight marks on it, how common can they actually be?

    I have no doubt that I can manually trickle to within .01 grain when using my O’hous or Pacific beam scale. I am reasonably certain that I can be almost as accurate with my Hornady bench scale. I am not at all confident I can be anywhere as accurate with my cheaper electronic scales. Confidence is lost when the electronic scales do not zero perfectly every time.
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  13. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    the 0.1 is when I'm not really trying at all. Like I said, with the check weights, all three agreed exactly. 0.00 difference.

    Peace favor your sword (mobile)
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