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

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December 9th, 2012

TECH TIP: Smooth Powder Dispensing with Modified Straw

RCBS Dispenser strawHere’s a clever, easy modification for your RCBS ChargeMaster electronic powder dispenser. Many folks use a McDonald’s straw to smooth kernel flow out of the dispensing tube. Forum member Mike S. (aka in2deep) found that, even with a straw in place, he sometimes got clumps, which dropped 5-6 kernels at once, throwing off his dispensed weight.

Mike looked at the situation and ingeniously decided to trim the straw into little v-shaped arms or prongs. This helps to break up the clumps, so the kernels flow out the end of the tube more consistently during the dispense cycle. Mike writes:

Soda Straw Modification
This is a further tweak of the popular soda straw modification as the original mod would still allow Varget powder to collect in the straw and dump sometimes as many as 6 or 8 or even more extra kernels in the pan. It would sometimes signal an overcharge, but even when it didn’t there could be as many as 6+ kernels too high or too low (total spread of 12+).

The little arms (prongs) on the straw tend to separate the kernels into groups of 1 or 2 or 3 and prevents piling and many times the throw is now within 1 or 2 kernels of the desired weight.

RCBS Dispenser straw

Straw Cutting Tips — Mike found the shape/angle of the “arms” is very important. If the cuts are too fine or too course it allows the kernels to collect almost like before but the illustrated angle seems to allow an average of only 2 or 3 kernels per trickle input from the machine. This means that more charges are much closer to the actual desired weight and max kernel variances will be cut in less than half and there will be almost no overthrows.

Credit Boyd Allen for sourcing this tip.
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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 »
December 9th, 2010

New Omega 2-Speed Powered Powder Trickler

Omega Powder TricklerMost reloaders have used a powder trickler at one time or another. However, they can be frustrating to use for a variety of reasons — e.g. the tube is too short, or the trickler is too low, or the unit isn’t stable enough, or the powder volume isn’t adequate. Well, the inventors of the Omega Powered Powder Trickler have considered all those practical shortcomings in existing tricklers, and built a superior product — a “better mouse trap.”

Every aspect of the new $55.00 Omega powered trickler (from Dandy Products LLC) shows smart thinking. First, hopper height can be adjusted from 1/2″ to 5.5″ high. The tube is long enough to reach the middle of large-footprint scales such as the Denver Instrument MXX-123. And the outer end of the tube is cut at an angle, so you can see the powder kernels as they flow out — no more surprise clumps that raise your charge 0.2 grains. The powder hopper itself is bigger than most, holding a full 1000 grains. That lets you load all afternoon without having to constantly replenish your trickler.

Omega Powder Trickler

In practice, the Omega trickler is easy to use. It is reasonably fast, while being as precise as anything on the market. The unit is controlled by a two-button control pad, with a black button for slow feed and red button for fast feed. You can use the fast button to load the bulk of reloading powder and then use the slow button to maximize the accuracy of your load. The control pad is connected to the dispenser by a 24″ cable. That two-foot cable run allows plenty of trickler placement options on your bench. Watch the video below to see the Omega Trickler in use.

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Omega User Comments
Posting on 24HourCampfire.com, JasonK gave the Omega Trickler high marks: “This thing rocks! It can trickle fast, it can trickle slow, it can drop a kernel or two at a time. After ordering my Omega I quickly shopped for an Acculab VIC-123 scale, accurate to within .02 grains.”

Another Omega user, In2Deep, writes: “You can actually tap the low-speed button and drop kernels while watching the scale. After a little practice it only takes a few seconds to trickle up a load. Using an Acculab 123 scale, it can drop charges that repeatedly read down to around 4 one-hundredth’s of a grain. It turned out to be a tool that really works and saves time. There are rubber feet on the unit and surprisingly it does not cause interference with the digital scale which is often mentioned as a problem with most of the vibratory tricklers. Not many products are even worth the time to do a testimonial but this is a winner[.]”

Forum member Barry O (aka TheBlueEyedBear) has been using an Omega Trickler for a while, and he currently has a second-generation (upgraded) unit on his bench. Barry likes the unit, with some reservations. Barry tells us: “it took me some time to get used to it. One main gripe is the length of time it takes to get the thing primed and ready to dispense powder. But after that, not too bad. I still use my trusty tweezers for fine tuning loads.”

Omega Powder TricklerHandy View Prism for Beam Scale Viewing
For reloders using balance-beam scales, Omega offers a clever portable prism that makes it much easier to see the tip of the balance beam, when the scale is on the benchtop. Omega’s Handy View accessory mounts a prism in a plastic stand. The prism changes the sightline so you can easily monitor the beam tip without having to bend down to see the beam alignment marks.

The prism slides up/down and swivels (around horizontal axis) to allow adjustment of viewing angle. It is a simple set-up, but it really works, allowing you to monitor scale beam movement with greater precision (and less neck strain). The Handy View costs $17.95, and is offered with either a yellow stand or clear plastic stand. You can see how the Handy View works in the video below.

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Thanks to Boyd Allen for suggesting this product for review.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »
January 22nd, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Hornady Unveils New AutoCharge Powder Scale/Dispenser

Hornady is late to the party with its first electronic powder scale and dispenser, but the new Hornady AutoCharge looks impressive. This product competes directly with RCBS’s popular ChargeMaster 1500. Similar in size and layout to the ChargeMaster, the new Hornady AutoCharge has three (3) speed modes, and will be more affordable than the Chargemaster. We like the idea of three user-selectable speeds, a feature not found on other digital dispensers from Lyman, PACT, and RCBS. The Hornady Autocharge also has calibration weights suited to both low and high powder charges. Hornady claims accuracy of ± 0.1 grain, the same as the ChargeMaster.

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Hornady won’t start shipping the AutoCharge until April, 2010, so we’ll have to wait until late spring to get a test unit. Then we can see how the AutoCharge performs and see if it can really deliver repeatable ± 0.1 grain precision. We do predict that when the AutoCharge starts shipping in April, it will offer stiff competition for the RCBS ChargeMaster. Hornady’s red AutoCharge will sell for approximately $300.00. That’s about $75 less than the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 scale/dispenser.

Hornady AutoCharge Dispenser

Permalink News 8 Comments »
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 »
December 23rd, 2009

New Smartreloader iSD Digital Powder Dispenser

Smartreloader powder dispenserA new digital powder dispenser just hit the market. Priced at just $205.99 (at Grafs.com), the new Smartreloader iSD Digital Powder Scale & Dispenser, is about $100.00 less expensive than RCBS’s popular ChargeMaster. Designed in Italy, the Smartreloader iSD dispenser has the ability to work with either 110 volt (American) or 220 volt (European) power supplies.

The new Smartreloader iSD has some impressive features, such as fast calibration and a selectable trickle function. We hope to get our hands on one soon so we can comparison-test it against an RCBS Chargemaster. You can learn more about this new powder dispenser at Smartreloadermfg.com. General specs are very similar to the Chargemaster: the iSD scale has a maximum capacity of 1,500 grains and has claimed accuracy of ±0.1 grains. You can store up to 50 loads in internal memory, and users can select four (4) different measurement units: grams, grains, carats, or ounces.

Where can you find this new powder dispenser? Supplies are very limited right now, but in the USA, Smartreloader-branded products will be carried by Cabelas.com, Grafs.com, Midsouth Shooters Supply, and Cabelas.com. The worldwide distributor of Smartreloader products is H.T. Helvetica Trading, a Swiss-based company. CLICK HERE for a list of Smartreloader vendors in other countries.

Smartreloader powder dispenser

Permalink New Product, News, Reloading 7 Comments »
December 13th, 2009

Midsouth Has RCBS ChargeMaster for $279.99

If a digital powder dispenser is near the top of your Christmas wishlist, you’ll want to visit the Midsouth Shooter’s Supply webstore. Right now, Midsouth has the RCBS ChargeMaster scale and dispenser combo for just $279.99 (item 044-98923).

RCBS Chargemaster dispenser

Tell Santa to grab one at that price! Most vendors have priced the popular RCBS ChargeMaster at well over $300.00. Cabela’s is charging $324.99 and MidwayUSA is selling the ChargeMaster for $319.99.

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading No 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.”

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 9th, 2009

Best Price on RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Combo

Folks have been asking us where they can obtain the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 Combo (both scale and dispenser) at the best price. We’ve done some searching and the lowest price we found was at Natchez Shooters Supply: $289.95. The unit is listed “in stock” as of today.

RCBS Chargemaster 1500 Combo

MidwayUSA also has the ChargeMaster 1500 Combo for $319.99, and it is also in stock.

Permalink Hot Deals No Comments »
May 3rd, 2009

RCBS ChargeMaster Slow-Motion Video

RCBS Chargemaster 1500The RCBS Chargemaster 1500 Combo is the #1-selling electronic powder dispenser/scale system on the market. It was the top-performing unit in the Powder Dispenser Comparison Report we did a couple years back, and it still probably offers the best combination of features, speed, and weighing precision. Since its introduction, the RCBS Chargemaster has received a number of refinements. The internal software has been updated, the timing (of the powder drop) has been adjusted, the keypad has been upgraded and other smaller “tweaks” have been made.

If you haven’t tried one of these machines yet, you should. Provided you set it up correctly, making sure it’s level, and away from drafts, the Chargemaster will normally throw charges to ± 0.1 grains. That’s better accuracy than most persons can achieve using a manual powder measure and a balance beam scale (we know… we’ve checked on that.)

Video of RCBS Chargemaster in Slow-Motion
This video, created by a shooter in Norway, shows an RCBS Chargemaster dispensing 43.0 grains of 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 very cool “Slow-Motion” playback. Check it out… you can see individual kernels of powder as they drop into the pan. At the end of the video you can watch the charge being thrown in “real-time”. Note how it slows down to trickle the last few tenths of a grain.

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