September 1st, 2014

Tuning Balance Beam Scales for Precision and Repeatability

While many folks enjoy the convenience of an electronic powder scale/dispenser such as the RCBS Chargemaster, some hand-loaders still prefer to use a traditional balance beam. Balance beam scales are simple, compact, and don’t suffer from electronic “glitches”. Morever, even if you use a digital dispenser at home, when you’re doing load development at the range, a balance-beam scale may be more convenient. A scale doesn’t require electrical power, so you don’t need to bring battery packs or string long power cables. Just bring some kind of box to shelter your beam scale from the wind.

Tuning Balance Beam Scale

While designs like the RCBS 10-10 are decent performers as built, they can be made much more precise (and repeatable), by “tuning” of key parts. Forum member Scott Parker optimizes a variety of popular beam scales, including the Ohaus 10-10 (USA-made model), RCBS 10-10 (USA-made model), RCBS 5-10, Lyman M5, Lyman D5, and others. You send Scott your scale, he tunes the key components, tests for precision and repeatability, and ships it back to you. The price is very affordable ($65.00 including shipping in USA).

Scott tells us: “I have tuned several 10-10s. They all have turned out very sensitive, consistent and hold linearity like a dream. If only they came that way from the factory. The sensitivity after tuning is such that one kernel of powder registers a poise beam deflection. For repeatability, I remove the pan and replace it for the zero 10 times. The zero line and the poise beam balance line must coincide for each of those 10 tries. I then set the poises to read 250.0 grains. I remove and replace the pan 10 times with the calibration weight. For linearity, the poise beam balance line and the zero line should coincide within the line width. This is roughly one half a kernel of powder. For repeatability, the poise beam balance line must return to that same balance point ten times. I then adjust the poises back to zero and recheck the zero. I have a master’s degree in chemistry, thus I am very familiar with laboratory balances. Email me at vld223 [at] yahoo.com or give me a call at (661) 364-1199.”

The video above, created by British shooter Mark (aka 1967spud), shows a 10-10 beam scale that has been “tuned” by Scott Parker. In the video, you can see that the 10-10 scale is now sensitive to one (1) kernel of powder. Mark also demonstrates the’s scale’s repeatability by lifting and replacing a pan multiple times. You can contact Mark via his website, www.1967spud.com. To enquire about balance-beam scale tuning, call Scott Parker at (661) 364-1199, or send email to: vld223 [at] Yahoo.com.

Video tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
July 22nd, 2014

Huge Inventory Reduction Sale of RCBS Products at Bullets.com

Bullets.com has launched a huge closeout on its entire RCBS inventory. Here’s a great opportunity to save big bucks on high-quality RCBS tools and reloading accessories, including RCBS Chargemasters and even RCBS Rockchucker presses. The folks at Bullets.com report: “We have slashed prices to levels at or below cost on hundreds of items.” Guys — take note: this is a unique opportunity to pick up some great gear at truly rock-bottom prices. In fact the deals are so good that your Editor plans to purchase a couple presses, a powder measure stand, and some accessories for my RCBS 2000 progressive press. I really don’t think you can beat these prices… and remember this is an inventory close-out sale, limited to stock on hand. When it’s gone, it’s gone. So don’t say we didn’t warn you!

RCBS Rebate Bullets.com inventory reduction sale

GO to RCBS Sale at Bullets.com

Closeout items include:
RCBS Rebate Bullets.com inventory reduction saleReloading Presses
Electronic Powder Measures
Reloading Kits
Digital and Beam Scales
Tumblers
Ultrasonic Cleaners
Sizing and Seating Dies
Shell Holders
Bullet Casting Kits
Case Prep Tools and much more.

Here Are Some of the RCBS Presses on Sale:
RCBS Rebate Bullets.com inventory reduction sale

Get RCBS Factory Rebates
In connection with this Bullets.com SALE, you can save even more with RCBS factory rebates. If you spend $50.00 you can get a $10.00 rebate. If you spend at least $300.00 on RCBS products you can save $50.00. These rebates are good through 12/31/2014. CLICK HERE for details.

Click for Detals
RCBS Rebate Bullets.com inventory reduction sale

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January 5th, 2014

ChargeMaster Hacks — How to Optimize Your Green Machine

If you own an RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 electronic powder scale/dispenser, or are thinking about purchasing one, here are a few tips that can cut your loading times and eliminate some petty annoyances.

Mute That Annoying Beep
Some ChargeMaster users complain about the loud beep at the end of each cycle. There’s a simple way to silence the beep — and you don’t have to cut any wires or permanently disable the speaker. To mute the beep, simply hold down the Zero button until “beep off” displays. Repeat this procedure to restore the beep function.

Activating the Auto-Dispense Mode
You can set the ChargeMaster to automatically dispense your pre-programmed charge as soon as you put the pan back on the scale. Simply press and hold the “Enter” button. The code “Auto” should then appear on the display. At this point, push “Disp” to dispense the first charge. When you replace the pan, the unit will automatically dispense the same charge. For some people this is an added convenience. You can always go back to the default manual dispense method by changing the dispense mode using the “Enter” button again.

Use a McDonald’s Straw to Reduce Over-Throws
Jaco Brink provided another useful tip to avoid “over-throws” (excess charge weight): “The RCBS employee advised me to take a McDonald’s straw (because it is thicker than a normal straw), cut off about a half inch piece and put it into the tube where the powder exits. This caused the last part of an extruded powder to cluster less, and reduced the amount of overthrows dramatically.”

Instructional Video
The video below shows how to set up and calibrate a Chargemaster 1500. Be sure to level the unit carefully, both left to right and front to back. Starting at the 1:44 mark in the video you can see the unit dispense a 50-grain charge in 30 seconds. The slow, final trickle stage takes about half of the total time.

How to Shorten Dispensing Times
The last tip is for advanced users only. You can alter the programming settings to speed up powder dispensing dramatically. One user reported that, by re-programming his machine, his cut his dispensing time for a 30-grain load from 22 to 13 seconds “with no overthrows”. WARNING: once you change the parameters, there is no “restore” command to set everything back to the defaults. So proceed carefully. The speed enhancement procedure is described on the pages linked below:

Basic ChargeMaster Speed Enhancement | Advanced ChargeMaster Programming Tips

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November 27th, 2013

Brownells Black Friday Sale Kicks Off Tomorrow (Thanksgiving)

Brownells 2013 Black Friday Sale Thanksgiving 11/28/2013

Brownells 2013 Black Friday Sale Thanksgiving 11/28/2013Polish off your credit cards boys and girls, the big Brownells Black Friday Sale begins at 12:01 am on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013. You’ll find great bargains on gun parts and accessories, as well as reloading gear and gunsmithing tools. (Brownells is the world’s largest supplier of gun accessories and gunsmithing tools) The special sale prices start on November 28th and continue through the weekend — you have until 11:59 pm CST on December 2, 2013 to grab these Brownells bargains.



Here Are Some Currently-Featured Sale Items at Brownells.
Prices May Go Even Lower When the Sale Commences Tomorrow:


Brownells 2013 Black Friday Sale Thanksgiving 11/28/2013

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February 19th, 2013

More RCBS ChargeMaster Optimization Tips

If you own an RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 electronic powder scale/dispenser, or are thinking about purchasing one, here are a few tips that can cut your loading times and eliminate some petty annoyances.

Mute That Annoying Beep
Some ChargeMaster users complain about the loud beep at the end of each cycle. There’s a simple way to silence the beep — and you don’t have to cut any wires or permanently disable the speaker. To mute the beep, simply hold down the Zero button until “beep off” displays. Repeat this procedure to restore the beep function.

Activating the Auto-Dispense Mode
You can set the ChargeMaster to automatically dispense your pre-programmed charge as soon as you put the pan back on the scale. Simply press and hold the “Enter” button. The code “Auto” should then appear on the display. At this point, push “Disp” to dispense the first charge. When you replace the pan, the unit will automatically dispense the same charge. For some people this is an added convenience. You can always go back to the default manual dispense method by changing the dispense mode using the “Enter” button again.

Use a McDonald’s Straw to Reduce Over-Throws
Jaco Brink provided another useful tip to avoid “over-throws” (excess charge weight): “The RCBS employee advised me to take a McDonnell’s straw (because it is thicker than a normal straw), cut off about a half inch piece and put it into the tube where the powder exits. This caused the last part of an extruded powder to cluster less, and reduced the amount of overthrows dramatically.”

Instructional Video
The video below shows how to set up and calibrate a Chargemaster 1500. Be sure to level the unit carefully, both left to right and front to back. Starting at the 1:44 mark in the video you can see the unit dispense a 50-grain charge in 30 seconds. The slow, final trickle stage takes about half of the total time.

How to Shorten Dispensing Times
The last tip is for advanced users only. You can alter the programming settings to speed up powder dispensing dramatically. One user reported that, by re-programming his machine, his cut his dispensing time for a 30-grain load from 22 to 13 seconds “with no overthrows”. WARNING: once you change the parameters, there is no “restore” command to set everything back to the defaults. So proceed carefully. The speed enhancement procedure is described on the pages linked below:

Basic ChargeMaster Speed Enhancement | Advanced ChargeMaster Programming Tips

Permalink - Videos, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
December 26th, 2012

Hornady LnL AutoCharge Powder Dispenser on Sale for $195.00

Hornady Lock N Load Autocharge Electronic Powder Dispenser ScaleThe Hornady Lock N Load AutoCharge Electronic Scale/Dispenser is now on sale for under $200.00. Grafs.com has the Hornady AutoCharge for $194.99 (with $5.95 flat sh/h) and Amazon.com offers the AutoCharge for $195.00 with FREE ‘Super-Saver’ shipping. If you are looking for an affordable combination digital scale and powder dispenser, this is very attractive pricing. By comparison, the RCBS ChargeMaster is currently on sale for $299.99 at Sinclair International. So you can save at least $105.00 by buying RED instead of GREEN.

While we have a lot of positive experience with the RCBS Chargemaster, we haven’t done any long-term testing of the Hornady AutoCharge. However, user reviews have generally been positive. We suggest you do your own research and then make your own decision. Both the Hornady LnL AutoCharge and RCBS ChargeMaster offer load precision to ±0.1 grains. Both the Hornady Autocharge and the RCBS ChargeMaster are sold with a one-year manufacturers warranty.

Features and Specifications:
  • Scale capacity of 1000 grains
  • Easy-to-operate keypad
  • Large backlit display
  • Automatic and manual dispense options
  • Trickle function
  • Three speed settings
  • Easy Outflow Powder Drain
  • Overcharge protection
  • One-year manufactuer’s warranty

This Youtube video shows the Hornady Lock-N-Load AutoCharge in action.

If you want to learn more about the Hornady AutoCharge, there is a detailed review in Shooting.com.au, a popular Aussie gun forum. This product review features actual test results along with lots of sharp, jumbo-sized photos. Here is the summary of the reviewer’s test results: “Weighing [20 charges of a stick powder] on a Redding beam scale (the only other scale I have) showed that 12 were spot on and the remainder we fairly equally split between 0.1 grain under and 0.1 grain over according to this scale. I consider this to be more than adequate for me.”

CLICK HERE for Hornady Lock-N-Load AutoChage Dispenser REVIEW (Big PHOTOS)

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November 23rd, 2012

How to Get an RCBS ChargeMaster for $250.00 (After Rebate)

The RCBS ChargeMaster Combo Electronic Scale/Dispenser is very popular with reloaders. The units we use have dispensed loads faithfully (and accurately) for many seasons. We rarely, if ever, mess around with manual powder measures anymore. If you haven’t bought a ChargeMaster yet because the price (typically about $349.00) has been out of reach, now you’re in luck. Midsouth Shooters Supply has discounted the ChargeMaster to exactly $300.00. That qualifies for a $50 off rebate from RCBS. When you figure in the $50 Manufacturer’s Rebate, your final price (not including shipping) is just $250.00. That’s a good deal. But just to be clear — you still have to pay shipping!

How to Claim Your $50.00 Mail-In Rebate
You can get $50.00 cash back from RCBS. You need to have purchased at least $300.00 in 2012 RCBS “Product” to qualify for the RCBS $50.00 mail-in rebate. With the rebate you get $50.00 back directly from RCBS. This lowers the effective price of a new ChargeMaster to $250.00 (before shipping and after rebate). Purchases must be made between 1/1/2012 and 12/31/2012 and the rebate form and supporting materials must be received no later than 1/31/2013.

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
March 4th, 2012

Hornady LnL AutoCharge Powder Dispenser on Sale for $186.01

Hey folks, here’s a very good deal if you want a combo electronic powder dispenser/scale. The Hornady Lock-N-Load AutoCharge typically retails for around $240 (currently it’s $229.99 at Cabelas and $249.99 at MidwayUSA). Right now, ManVentureOutpost.com has the AutoCharge for just $186.01 (plus shipping). That’s over $50 off typical retail. NOTE: You MUST use Coupon Code SPR2012 during checkout to get that $186.01 price. Act quickly — supplies are limited at that price.

3/5/2012 UPDATE — ManVentureOutpost.com Sold Out of this item, which is now back-ordered. ManVenture is still (apparently) honoring the $186.01 price (with SPR2012 Coupon Code).

CLICK HERE to get Hornady Lock-N-Load AutoCharge Dispenser for $186.01. Code SPR2012.

Hornady Lock-N-Load Powder Scale Autocharge dispenser Hornady Lock-N-Load Powder Scale Autocharge dispenser

Hornady AutoCharge Is Much Less Expensive than RCBS ChargeMaster
That price for the Hornady unit is about $155.00 less than typical pricing for the RCBS Chargemaster (Sinclair sells the Chargemaster for $340.99 plus shipping). For most tasks the Hornady performs quite well. However, RCBS ChargeMaster fans will be quick to note that there has been more accumulated knowledge on tweaking the RCBS machine. But if you want a bargain, consider the “red option” — the Hornady AutoCharge.

This Youtube video shows the Hornady Lock-N-Load AutoCharge in action.

If you want to learn more about the Hornady AutoCharge, there is a detailed review in Shooting.com.au, a popular Aussie gun forum. This product review features actual test results along with lots of sharp, jumbo-sized photos. Here is the summary of the reviewer’s test results: “Weighing [20 charges of a stick powder] on a Redding beam scale (the only other scale I have) showed that 12 were spot on and the remainder we fairly equally split between 0.1 grain under and 0.1 grain over according to this scale. I consider this to be more than adequate for me.”

CLICK HERE for Hornady Lock-N-Load AutoChage Dispenser REVIEW (Big PHOTOS)

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December 30th, 2010

Eliminate Static for Better RCBS ChargeMaster Performance

RCBS Chargemaster 1500 Electronic Powder Dispensers are normally quite accurate. However, build-up of static electricity can cause some issues, such as kernels of powder clumping together. Nat Lambert found that reducing static charges can “cure” the clumping problem: “Discharge the static in your machine and you won’t have those clumps. Either use static wipes inside and out on your machine or use a Zerostat. It will make a huge diference. Walmart has the anti-static wipes in the computer section.”

Forum member J. Cummings reports: “My Chargemaster drifted due to static electricity after a thunderstorm. I contacted RCBS. They told me to turn it off, wipe it down with an anti-static cloth then try it. That was more than six months ago. It has worked fine ever since.” Forum member Harvey concurs: “As long as I use the static dryer sheets my Chargemaster VERY RARELY will drift. [If it drifts now] it’s usually me breathing hard or moving things like seating bullets or bumping the bench with my knees. I had problems until I used the sheets and ran pieces thru the tube on a pipe cleaner.”

Others have found that they can reduce the clumping problem by prepping the inside of the dispensing tube, by removing burrs and rough spots. Milanuk has a very simple solution: “Stick a one-inch piece of drinking straw in the discharge tube; tape it in place. Clumping problem solved.” Below is a commercial anti-static cloth. You can also use the “anti-cling” fabric pieces used with clothes dryers.

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June 23rd, 2010

Summer Bargains from Midsouth Shooters Supply

Midsouth summer flyerMidsouth Shooters Supply has some excellent deals in its 2010 Summer Shooting Flyer. To download the complete flyer as a PDF file, CLICK HERE

Midsouth has knocked $44.00 off the price of the RCBS Chargemaster — it’s now on sale for just $279.99. If you need a media separator, Midsouth’s “house brand” rotary sifter is a steal for $19.29. There are many other great deals in the flyer.

Midsouth AR Replacement parts

Special Replacement Parts Packs for AR Shooters
Midsouth has done something really fantastic — it has created affordable kits that include all the key internal parts and pieces that can wear out (or get lost) on an AR15. Great idea. AR manufacturers should provide kits like these with every complete rifle sold! For under $30.00, Midsouth’s Field Repair Kit includes: firing pin, 2 firing pin retainers, bolt cam pin, 3 bolt gas rings, buffer detent, buffer detent spring, extractor springs, & pads, disconnector spring, disconnector, hammer spring and trigger spring.

Midsouth AR Replacement parts

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January 16th, 2010

Custom-Fitted ChargeMaster Cover for $24.00

If you have $300.00 invested in an RCBS ChargeMaster Electronic Scale/Powder Dispenser, you don’t want dust, dirt, and grime to accumulate on the unit. It makes sense to keep your ChargeMaster covered when not in use, particularly to keep dust and grit out of the sensitive load cell area.

Some guys just put a cardboard box or grocery bag over the top of their ChargeMasters between uses. That works (sort of), but there is a more elegant solution. Forum member “John Doe” from Nevada sells a custom-fitted green ChargeMaster cover for $24.00. He says the items are sewn by his neighbor. If you have a family member who knows how to run a sewing machine, you could put together this kind of cover for a couple dollars. But even at $24.00. the item seems popular with our readers so we’re featuring it here. To order a ChargeMaster cover, send email to Guns45s@aol.com .

RCBS ChargeMaster cover

Permalink New Product 4 Comments »
October 29th, 2009

RCBS ChargeMaster on Sale at Natchez — $279.95

Natchez Shooters Supplies currently has the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Scale and Dispenser combo (item RC98923) on sale for just $279.95, a very good price. These units have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. Now even some short-range benchresters are weighing their loads with RCBS ChargeMasters. When these units are set up correctly (i.e. level in all planes) and kept away from wind drafts or electrical interference, they work very well. After acquiring his ChargeMaster earlier this year, Jason Baney, our assistant editor, told us: “Man, I wish I had this thing years ago… it probably cuts my reloading time in half.”

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August 3rd, 2009

ChargeMaster and Rock Rest on Sale at Midsouth

We regularly visit vendor websites looking for good deals. Here are a pair of attractive bargains we found at Midsouth Shooters Supply.

The RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Combo (with scale and dispenser) is now on sale for just $299.99, item # 044-98923. This remains our top-rated electronic powder dispenser system. You can watch one in action below. This video, created by a shooter in Norway, shows a Chargemaster dispensing Vihtavuori N140 powder. Using a Casio EX-F1 camera, the video was recorded at a high frame rate — up to 1200 frames per second. This allows “Slow-Motion” playback. At the end of the video you can watch the charge being thrown in normal time. Note how it slows down to trickle the last few tenths of a grain.

YouTube Preview Image

Caldwell Rock BR front restMidsouth also has the Caldwell Rock BR Competition front rest on sale for just $149.99, item 094-440907.

While many “Rock” owners end up replacing the front bag, this unit is a surprisingly good rest for the money. With a 15.5-lb cast-iron “slingshot” base similar to the Bald Eagle design, the Caldwell Rock is very stable. The captain’s wheel works fine for elevation adjustments. Windage adjustment is less than ideal, as a threaded shaft rotates the whole head to adjust windage, rather than sliding the head back and forth in a straight line. At the extremes of adjustment, that can cause some binding, but most of the time it works just fine. For Varminters this may be all the rest you need.

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