Cheap Powder Scales

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sjs

Single-Sixer
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Dec 22, 2016
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I have a Frankford Arsenal DS-750 scale that I really like to use for its convenience. I also have a Lee Safety Balance Beam 100 that I don't like all that much. Both are consistent, but both are consistently at variance with each other. The Lee always weighs a charge as lighter than the Frankford. E.g., today I loaded 38 Special cases with a charge of HP38 that the Lee weighed as 4.2g and the Frankford weighed as 4.3g.

I usually stay at the lower end of the middle for my loads but that .1g variance could be a problem at the extreme ends of the load data. I don't know which one to trust and I am thinking of buying another cheap scale to see if I can get at least two to agree on the weight. The other choice is to spring for an expensive high quality scale but I really don't want to do that. I also don't want to get into throwing charges; I used to do that and went back to weighing each charge.

Is this amount of variance normal or is one or both of them not working correctly?
 

Uncle Howie

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Sagebrush Burns said:
You need a set of check weights and figure out which scale (if either) is right.

+1 on the check weights!

You could have ten different scales that “match…” and ALL of them could be off.

Of course, being consistently “off” is a little bit better than being “off” randomly… :mrgreen:
 

sjs

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I used the check weights and my Frankford electric scale was on, the Lee beam scale was off. I would have guessed the reverse. Thanks guys.
 

Rick Courtright

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sjs said:
I used the check weights and my Frankford electric scale was on, the Lee beam scale was off. I would have guessed the reverse. Thanks guys.

Hi,

I'm still using the RCBS 5-0-5 scale I got around 1975. It's still dead on according to my check weights. There's a Lee Precision scale in a closet somewhere, but don't recall ever checking it because I never really used it.

Anyway, with the now discontinued 5-0-5, the pan holder has a compartment that has some lead shot in there to zero the scale before it's shipped. You might find the Lee has something like that you can play with in conjunction with your weights. In fact, I think if you look at most of the beam scales on the market there is a similar system should you need to re-zero one (after a move when it got bounced around in a box being one case.)

Good luck,

Rick C
 

Sagebrush Burns

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sjs said:
I used the check weights and my Frankford electric scale was on, the Lee beam scale was off. I would have guessed the reverse. Thanks guys.

It always feel better to actually know what's going on instead of guessing.
 

langenc

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Aug 22, 2007
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Lewiston, MI USA
New coins can function as 'check weights'. Go to the mint website and that will tell you the weights of coins. They wont be even weights, of course.
 

NikA

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langenc said:
New coins can function as 'check weights'. Go to the mint website and that will tell you the weights of coins. They wont be even weights, of course.

Depends on what units you use. A US nickel is 5.00 grams when new.

I personally am not comfortable with using coins as check weights because they are outside the measurement range of interest when dispensing powder. I purchased a 500 mg check weight to check my personal scales. Such things should be available in high precision versions, they'd be commonly used to check the calibration of any lab balance.
 

Rclark

Hunter
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A set of check weights is the way to go. Not that expensive for piece of mind. Last forever. My Hornady (Pacific?) scale I got back in the 80s is still right on (and doesn't depend on batteries either!) . Well, up to 10gr. Then when I move the 'big' weight on the beam, I am 'off' about a 1/10 or so.... No biggie. Just has to be in the ball-park.
 

Rick Courtright

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Rclark said:
A set of check weights is the way to go. Not that expensive for piece of mind.

Hi,

I bought set of Lyman check weights shortly after purchasing the RCBS 5-0-5 which is still my No. 1 scale (and still spot on.) Seems they were about $25 in 1975 or thereabouts, which was about half of what I paid for the scale.

Has anybody checked the price of check weights recently? Scary... even if they're still within the parameters of inflation. ;)

Rick C
 

Rclark

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Has anybody checked the price of check weights recently?
Looks like from $35 to $66 for a set. But you only have to buy once in your life-time. Just one of those things if you reload....
 

langenc

Single-Sixer
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Aug 22, 2007
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K. Funk said:
Old Chinese proverb...A man with 2 watches never knows what time it is!!

krf
Especially if he is wearing cheap watches... buy once, cry once..

"" I purchased a 500 mg check weight to check my personal scales"" posted by Aika--
So what load for what caliber uses 500mg of powder?? (7.71 gr) yes some small handgun loads but not much in the rifle loads--20-75 gr..
 

NikA

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Correct, I was primarily concerned about small weight discrepancies in loading handgun ammunition. 1/10 of a grain makes a big difference in a 5 grain load, less so in a 50 grain one.

I'm sure high accuracy metric check weights are available in weights up to a kilogram if you want one more suited to your target range.
 

Ron IL

Bearcat
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Dec 29, 2016
Messages
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Southern Illinois
I used a Lee balance scale for a while and it was too slow for weighing each load and a little harder to read and calibrate. My electronic scale was even slower. And it didn't work too good with a heat/AC vent right over the bench. I ended up buying a Dillon balance scale. It is really fast and easy setup. I bought some weights years ago for calibrating. It had several in it and was only about 10 bucks. I use a food scale to compare with and have even taken something to the post office to get a comparison. Make your own calibration weights using small nuts or screws.
 
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