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Thread: RFI on Scales

  1. #1

    RFI on Scales

    It is probably time to up my game a bit in regard to my reloading scale. I have been using my trusty low end RCBS beam I got when I started reloading in 1973. I have flirted with several electronic scales, but when I am tricking I like the dumb simple aspect of setting it and forgetting it, because there is nothing to remember. I have only made a few mistakes when reloading but probably the most serious one that I have total blame on was when tricking several variations of powder into an electronic scale, and obviously goofed up the number from a prior powder I had done, because you can get a 95g SMK to go 3500fps in a 243, but you are going to need to buy a new extractor and ejector and a bold face (cause it has an ejector stuck in it). But now when I go shopping there are no nicer beam scales out there, at least not directed to the reloading market.

    If I am forced to electronic, is anyone aware of any that do not zero themselves every single time they timeout? Or can you set how long to timeout?

    Seems like there is nice stuff at the $700-800 level, I am more of a $100-$200 dude.

    Anyway, at the baby stages of this, looking for suggestions.

  2. #2
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    I've tried 3 digital scales over about 25 years and all shared the same faults (I have turned off all fluorescent lighting in my shop, turned off CD player/radio, closed all doors and windows, have warmed up scaled for min 15 minutes and latest one is A/C powered). No power lines within 1/4 mile and powder to shop/house is underground about 15' from my scale.). I calibrate, set to grains, tare, zero before each use. Double check against my RCBS or Ohaus/Lyman D5. But trickling up is a chore; I'll add a few granules, no change. Add a few more (maybe .05 gr) and weight jumps up .3 or .4 gr.. Remove pan and replace, weight changes by +/- .4 gr., inconsistent. I usually try for .1 gr variations when working up loads. Very difficult when using a digital. I normally weight a charge on my beam scale, weigh the same charge on my digital and note the difference then use that weight for charging and double check every 5 or 6 charges. My digital is OK for weighing brass and bullets, but for "close" loads all have been a big PIA...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mmc45414 View Post
    If I am forced to electronic, is anyone aware of any that do not zero themselves every single time they timeout? Or can you set how long to timeout?
    I'm...confused. I'm assuming by "timeout" you mean automatically shut off. You can avoid the entire auto-shutoff thing by using a scale that doesn't run off of batteries. There are several in your price range. This is an excellent feature when reloading rifle, as it allows you to properly warm up the scale to combat drift.

  4. #4
    With digital scales for handloading you're going to be choosing between two technologies: strain gauge sensors that measure how much deflection occurs (basically, how much a spring compresses under the weight of the object); and electromagnetic force restoration sensors (an electromagnetic force is generated sufficient to balance - to offset - the weight of the object). As you might imagine, the latter is both much more precise and much faster.

    Strain gauge-based scales run the gamut from cheap (sub $100) devices to scales running in the hundreds of dollars. The newish RCBS MatchMaster scale is probably the upper end of this technology.

    Most "good" digital reloading scales - those that are generally pretty accurate, consistent, and repeatable - are going to be those that run $200-300 (and typically these units integrate powder dispensing along with powder weighing). There are many cheaper digital scales, of course. Maybe you'll have good luck with one. But many don't. The cheaper scales all use cheaper components than their more expensive counterparts. And pretty much all the strain-gauge-based scales, even the expensive ones, are made in China, if that matters to you.

    Many of the most deadly serious handloaders (or those with the most OCD) have moved on to laboratory-grade scales using electromagnetic force restoration technology. The low-end of this is the now-iconic A&D FX-120i. The scale alone can be picked up for about $500 (street price). But because it was designed for laboratories, not handloaders, it does not have any inherent ability to dispense powder. That need has been met by a young shooter in Canada named Adam MacDonald... but it will double the price of the scale.

    The rabbit hole doesn't end there. There are even better, more expensive laboratory-grade scales (such as the Sartorius BCE64-1S at $1500).

    For reference, analog beam scales generally have a precision level of 0.1 gr. Most strain-gauge-based digital scales also have a precision level of 0.1 gr. (the RCBS MatchMaster is the outlier... coming in at 0.04 gr.). The A&D FX-120i has a precision level of 0.02 gr. And the Sartorius BCE64-1S has a precision level of 0.01gr.

    And, yeah, good scales don't timeout or re-zero themselves.
    Last edited by Jager; 02-05-2021 at 06:43 AM.

  5. #5
    HAS ELECTROLYTES LittleLebowski's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    VA
    Itís at the very end of your $200 budget but my Frankford Intellidropper is outstanding and never has missed a beat when checked against an old school beam scale.
    #RESIST

  6. #6
    Thanks to all for all of your good input, but I sorta feel like a putz for the RFI shout-out at this point, because...

    Part of my motivation was that I had indirectly (friend's nephew's father in law who was a skeet shooting buddy) inherited one of the Hornady units that I couldn't get to work, and figured it was a dud that he had not discarded. I even went so far as to download and read the INSTRUCTIONS, for crying out loud, so it had to be dead. Well it turns out it is not dead:
    Name:  Hornady.jpg
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    It just had this little thing:
    Name:  1.jpg
Views: 112
Size:  20.9 KB

    Shoved in the nozzle to keep debris out, and I thought it was part of the nozzle...
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Views: 119
Size:  22.9 KB

    And now the only thing I cannot figure out is, how in the actual hell have I reloaded for 48 years without one of these things?!?!?!?!

    As a trust development process I was dumping charges into the beam scale as a comparison, and there is pretty much parity. A few were off just a little, not much but I dumped them back in because I was enjoying watching the little machine do the tedious work I used to have to do myself.

    I know this is an older antiquated unit and is not perceived to be the best of the best, but is there anything fundamentally wrong with them?

  7. #7
    HAS ELECTROLYTES LittleLebowski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    VA
    Quote Originally Posted by mmc45414 View Post
    Thanks to all for all of your good input, but I sorta feel like a putz for the RFI shout-out at this point, because...

    Part of my motivation was that I had indirectly (friend's nephew's father in law who was a skeet shooting buddy) inherited one of the Hornady units that I couldn't get to work, and figured it was a dud that he had not discarded. I even went so far as to download and read the INSTRUCTIONS, for crying out loud, so it had to be dead. Well it turns out it is not dead:
    Name:  Hornady.jpg
Views: 113
Size:  84.5 KB

    It just had this little thing:
    Name:  1.jpg
Views: 112
Size:  20.9 KB

    Shoved in the nozzle to keep debris out, and I thought it was part of the nozzle...
    Name:  2.jpg
Views: 119
Size:  22.9 KB

    And now the only thing I cannot figure out is, how in the actual hell have I reloaded for 48 years without one of these things?!?!?!?!

    As a trust development process I was dumping charges into the beam scale as a comparison, and there is pretty much parity. A few were off just a little, not much but I dumped them back in because I was enjoying watching the little machine do the tedious work I used to have to do myself.

    I know this is an older antiquated unit and is not perceived to be the best of the best, but is there anything fundamentally wrong with them?
    Not really. If you pay attention to how to adjust the Hornady, you can get it really dialed in. For instance, I had mine dropping Varget perfectly.
    #RESIST

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleLebowski View Post
    Not really. If you pay attention to how to adjust the Hornady, you can get it really dialed in. For instance, I had mine dropping Varget perfectly.
    I did the calibration, and so far have only used it with Varget.

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