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It was less than two years ago that, after reloading for 30+ years with a RCBS single stage press, I broke down and picked up a Dillon 650 progressive press. Needless to say, I've really enjoyed it and use it for all of my handgun (.38, .357, 9mm, and .45ACP) reloading needs. If I'm making a small run of a non-standard load, I still use my RCBS press since it is easier than reconfiguring the Dillon. I still have all of my old RCBS and Lyman dies so the RCBS press is still very useable. When I started reloading for .223 again (it had been a while), I decided it was time to pick up an electronic scale. There was nothing wrong with my old Lyman beam scale but I wanted something I could more easily (read quickly) use to sort bullet and case weights as I reloaded for my .223 bolt gun.
I spent some time on a couple of the firearm forums that are frequented by
the bench rest shooters and accuracy reloaders to see what information I could
find regarding scale selection. The info/support was overwhelmingly in
favor of the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 electronic scale. I won't go into all
of the reasons why the RCBS was suggested, Google the topic and you'll find a
lot of info on it.
The ChargeMaster 1500 can be used in conjunction with a powder dispenser unit that can be purchased separately or bought with the scale as a combo system. I opted for just the scale but am glad to know that should I decide to get the powder dispenser, they will work together....that means I'm only paying for an electronic scale one time.
The ChargeMaster is easy to use and the calibration (using the two supplied
50 gram weights) is easy to do. As I write this, I've only used the new
couple of times but after a 15 minute warm up, zero stayed right on the
money. The scale is everything the reviews said it would be. I am
quite satisfied with its performance to date.
So is my new RCBS scale any more accurate than my 30+ year old Lyman beam scale? Not that I can see.....how about you? I transferred the 29.2 grain powder charge from the RCBS pan to the Lyman pan and set the beam for 29.2 grains. As you can see in the photo, the beam is perfectly balanced.
Is it easier to use the RangeMaster scale? Absolutely it is....and much faster when you are trying to determine the weight of something, such as a bullet. As I already mentioned, sorting .223 bullets by weight is easy to do. I'm looking forward to the next reloading session for my .223 bolt gun. I'll see how well the RangeMaster works with my old powder dribbler. Gee, if it doesn't work that well, I'll have to get the RCBS powder dispenser unit to go with the scale....darn it. <grin>
In summary, an electronic scale is nice to have, but it is not a must have unless you are using it in conjunction with a powder dispenser. The good old fashioned beam scale will do the job for setting up your powder measure and even dribbling for your accuracy loads. For what it is worth, I wouldn't be caught without a beam scale at least sitting on the shelf or packed in a box. After all, when the big one comes, and the EMP hits, the electronic scale will be rendered useless.....but the beam scale will still work just as it always has.
Some time ago, I picked up the RCBS powder dispenser unit that
goes along with the above scale. Among other things, I was looking at hand
loading 300 cartridges for a precision rifle course I was taking. I
decided I wasn't going to trickle powder by hand while making up these loads.
You can see my comments regarding the
ChargeMaster Combo here.