Digital scale

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cworetired

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2009
Messages
120
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U.P. of Michigan
I am starting to look for a digital scale to backup and check my beam scale. Dont know what to look for. Want to buy once so what should I be looking for? Thanks all.
 

wwb

Hunter
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Nov 18, 2004
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wisconsin
To each his own, but I would put my faith in a decent balance beam scale before I'd trust a digital scale. Gravity always works, and there's darn little to go wrong with a balance beam.

If you're concerned about accuracy, a set of weights is a lot cheaper than a digital scale.
 

recumbent

Buckeye
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Nov 2, 2005
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Location
South West Indiana
Be aware that floressant lights above the loading bench will interfere with digital scale accuracy.
I replaced it with LED lights and all is good now.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Sep 18, 2002
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Lake Lure NC USA
I own 3 digitals,, and a pair of balance beams.
I use my Dillon digital scale most frequently. I have a spare as a back up. I also have the Lyman DPS-III digital & dispenser. When loading rifle ammo,, it sees a lot of use. I haven't had a problem with digital scales. ALL scales should be calibrated & checked on a regular basis.
My balance beams are there just in case of power issues,, or failures of any kind in my electronics. Both sets have gathered dust for a while.

I'm of the mind of buying quality electronics from a reputable source. There are several good companies out there. Choose what works for your purposes.
 

Rick Courtright

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Redlands CA USA
cworetired said:
I am starting to look for a digital scale to backup and check my beam scale. Dont know what to look for. Want to buy once so what should I be looking for? Thanks all.

Hi,

You want a set of check weights before looking at a digital scale... and barring prior physical damage, you'll probably find your balance beam is spot on. Gravity is pretty darned reliable, at least it has been for close to 70 years, as it's kept me stuck to the ground that long!

Digitals have their place. They're nice when you have a lot of items to weigh. For example, when I'm casting bullets, I'll sort them into weight categories ranging from 2 gr to 5 gr spreads. If I'm trying for accuracy, the range is narrower. Plinkers don't need to be held to such tight standards, so they're sorted into wider weight groups. BUT... mine--and most of the others I've seen or seen folks write about--is sensitive to all "the usual things" that disrupt electronic devices, so I don't rely on it for "dead nuts" measuring.

Some folks love 'em (digitals.) Fortunately, there's enough variety on the market that both schools of thought can be satisfied by something! For reference, I have four balance beams--three from RCBS (2 of the classic 5-0-5 model, one 5-10), plus a Lee, one cheapo digital, and a a set of Lyman check weights. The oldest one is a 5-0-5 that's still dead on today as it was in about 1975 when I got it.

Rick C
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
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Messages
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jimbo1096 said:
Just curious, if you found your beam scale inaccurate, what would you do to fix it?

Hi,

I think most of the beam scales from major reloading equipment companies started life at Ohaus. Assuming that's correct, they probably all share similarities with my RCBS. On it, the hanging bracket you set the pan on has a screw in the middle. It holds the cover and wire hangar to a small pan underneath. If you open that pan, there are pellets of many sizes of shot in there.

To calibrate for small inaccuracies, you could play with the shot in that lower pan, adding or subtracting pellets until things work out as closely as possible to what the check weights say. You might have to "average" the amount of inaccuracy if the beam has been dinged, which could bend it just enough to make it correct at one end of the scale and off at the other end.

If the beam's bent much, the knife edges are worn, one or both of the blocks the knife edges rotate on are damaged, you might have to send the scale back for repair. Since Ohaus probably made the scale, you'd probably want to check with them about repairs. Some of the older models are obsolete, so repairs may not be possible.

Rick C
 

gunzo

Hunter
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Sep 8, 2010
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Location
Kentucky
cworetired said:
I have a good RCBS beam and a set of check weight. Just wanted a electric just to check things.

With this ^ in mind, I would just get the lower priced model of Lyman or Hornady, maybe a Franklin Arsenal. I just had a $110 Pact get damaged & best case scenario will be $50 plus to fix it. With that in mind I started shopping & as usual, Natchez was 10% cheaper than Midway & had plenty of options.

Looking back, I used my digital mostly for weigh sorting rifle brass, or just to quickly check something as I kept it turned on all the time to try to keep the dumb thing calibrated. When I get serious, like powder charges for my long range rifle or similar, I go to the balance beam every time.
I've had 2 balance beams & the digital all going at once to be triple sure of things, but a set of Lyman check weights that I finally bought gives me more piece of mind than any of it.

Wondering now if I'll even replace my digital? If so, It'll probably be a $50 Lyman from Natchez. The plastic lid, dust cover, might have saved my Pact from the box of 22 shells that fell off a shelf & landed on it.

Dang electronics, my chronograph quit on me just a month or 2 back, now the scales.
 

Rick Courtright

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gunzo said:
Dang electronics, my chronograph quit on me just a month or 2 back, now the scales.

Hi,

:lol:

Electronic devices hate me. So, being of simple mind, I look at the job needing to be done, and try to find the right tool to do it. Since weighing things is a mechanical task, my little pea brain thinks I should do it with a mechanical tool, like a beam balance. It's a technology that's worked for millennia...

Rick C
 

woodperson

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
467
Location
Knoxville, TN
I weighed small things for a living for 35 years or so. Went from analytical balances to digital scales. My advise is to get a digital scale and a small check weight learn how to use it and to do spot checks. I think the possibility of getting a bad weight is much higher with the beam balances. I replaced my old, supposed trusty, Lyman beam balance with a Lyman digital reloading scale and reloading immediately got more accurate and more fun. There are some problems with the digital. The screens go bad in the Lyman. I will have to replace it this spring after 8 years or so But it is well worth the increased upkeep cost for the increased ability to weigh accurately. Another thing that helps is that I have my digital scale sitting on relatively inexpensive granite surface plate that I picked up a few years ago.
For safety, the fact that I volume throw and then weigh and adjust each charge helps. If I get a big difference in what the volume and the weight are supposed to be then I know I screwed up somehow.
 

Twoboxer

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Messages
190
Besides sample defects, the main problem with "low cost" digital scales is being highly sensitive to RF noise. Cell phones, microwaves, motors, fluorescent lamps (ballasts), wireless phones, WiFi . . . the list is long and getting longer every day. A second problem that afflicted (eg) the popular and most often praised GemPro 250 (`$125, now discontinued) is the programming to avoid flutter. The scale would ignore small changes in weight in order to provide stable readings, which made it difficult though not impossible to trickle with.

If your reloading room is noise free, your digital scale is less likely to frequently lose zero, flutter, and/or fail to weigh the same item the same each time. This is perhaps why some folks say their digital "works great all the time", and other folks are driven nuts.

Reloaders across a number of reloading forums rarely agree on anything, but I have not seen anyone complain after buying an A&D FX120i These scales do not use strain gauge load cells, are the least expensive scales avoiding that technology, and do not flutter, lose zero, or fail to weigh consistently. Problem is they cost ~$500, and you have to shop carefully to get that price.

So the bottom line is it probably doesn't matter much which scale you buy for less than $500. If you have no RF noise, you'll probably be at least somewhat happy. If you have noise, use a balance beam. In either case, avoid air currents.
 

Prescut

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 2, 2015
Messages
266
although its been 2 months, I think i'll still throw in my two cents.
I'm one of those GemPro 250 guys going on about 10 years now.

It's guaranteed to .02 grains.
It displays three digits .000
I check it every hundred rounds or so for giggles. That also verifys the Dillon is spot on.
Never had a problem.
That's plenty accurate for me and it is incredible fast to use.
Of course, if getting to within a few tenths is good enough, then why bother or spend the money.

I put mine in my bench vice. Perfect height and very stable. I don't move it around or bump it. I don't keep things around it that cause problems. This list seems like grade school common sense.

Prescut
and for all you gravity boys, that's funny stuff.
I gave up my slide rule years ago, in favor of a calculator.
 

loaded round

Hunter
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
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Location
Valley Forge, Pa
Have had excellent service from my Dillon electronic balance. Accuracy and performance been perfect for the past 15 years. There are much more cheaper balances out there, but my Dillon is my go to balance.
 

recumbent

Buckeye
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Nov 2, 2005
Messages
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Location
South West Indiana
loaded round said:
Have had excellent service from my Dillon electronic balance. Accuracy and performance been perfect for the past 15 years. There are much more cheaper balances out there, but my Dillon is my go to balance.
What is "electronic balance"?
I'm not familiar with that.
 
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