August 8th, 2017

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Video Review Marathon

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite video reviews

Many thousands of hand-loaders, including this Editor, acquired the original RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 powder scale/dispenser. Mine has worked well for many years. Yes I do have to watch for scale drift, and I use a high-end Force-Restoration scale when loading for major matches, but the original ChargeMaster has served me well, throwing thousands of charges over the years.

NEW RCBS ChargeMaster Lite

Now there is a newer version of the ChargeMaster, the RCBS Chargemaster Lite. This new-for-2017, one-piece unit has some features we really like. The new touch screen is easy to use and the powder tray cover slips off easily — no more hinges to fight. Most importantly the CM Lite has a redesigned, fluted dispensing tube which delivers powder kernels in a smooth flow with no clumps. The RCBS Rep told us “No more McDonald’s straw required”. We tested the unit and it does seem like the newly-designed dispensing tube is better. In fact, this new design will be adapted to the next generation of larger ChargeMasters. The ChargeMaster Lite ships complete with calibration check weights and cleaning brush. MSRP is $299.95 with “street price” around $250.00 at Amazon.

If you’re interested in the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, here are three recent video product reviews. By watching these videos you can see all the features of the ChargeMaster Lite demonstrated. In the third video, the host also “compares and contrasts” the ChargeMaster Lite with the original ChargeMaster 1500, explaining the differences between the two units. Have at it:

Panhandle Precision ChargeMaster Lite Bench Test and Demo (Good Detailed Review):

Here is the RCBS Press Release: “The new RCBS ChargeMaster Lite packs unparalleled powder-measuring accuracy in a compact package. The one-piece unit features an LCD touchscreen display that ensures accurate data input. The hopper holds nearly a pound of smokeless powder, and can dispense anywhere between 2 to 300 grains with a +/-0.1-grain accuracy.”

UltimateReloader ChargeMaster Lite Unboxing:

Original ChargeMaster 1500 vs. ChargeMaster Lite:

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 5 Comments »
June 6th, 2016

Bargain Finder 38: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Sportsmans SuperStore — .243 Win Ruger Prec. Rifle, $1049.50

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Ruger Precision Rifle RPR Tactical .243 Win 6mm PRS modular stock

The Ruger Precision Rifle has been one of the hottest-selling long guns in America since its releases. It has pretty much been sold out for months. And Ruger just bumped the price on the new Gen2 edition up to $1599.00 MSRP. The Superstore got hold of some of some Gen 1 production RPRs in .243 Winchester. These rifles are IN STOCK and on sale for $1049.50. That’s a great price. The venerable .243 Win cartridge is a good choice for this rifle — Gavin Gear of UltimateReloder.com has an RPR chambered in .243 Win that has proven very accurate.

2. Monmouth Reloading — 1000 Lake City 5.56 Cases, $68.95

Monmouth deals of week ar15 5.56 brass .223 Rem once-fired Lake City LC

1000 pieces of Lake City brass for under seventy bucks? Yep, that’s a deal and a half. Monmouth Reloading is selling genuine, once-fired Lake City 5.56x45mm brass, thick-walled and sourced direct from the U.S. Military. Monmouth reports: “Our current stock of Lake City 5.56 looks to be all newer year Lake City head stamp but may contain a small percentage of other NATO headstamps. Lake City is a popular, reliable brass, normally capable of many reloads.” Monmouth includes 1% overage to account for any damaged brass. NOTE: Brass has crimped primers, so the pockets will need to be reamed or swaged prior to reloading.

3. Midsouth Shooters Supply — All Berger Bullets Now 10% Off

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Berger bullets Match Hybrid ammo sale bargain

Need super-high-quality match, hunting, or varmint bullets? Then visit Midsouth Shooters Supply. Now through June 13, 2016, Midsouth has placed its entire stock of Berger Bullets on sale. You can save 10% off Midsouth’s already competitive prices, even on Berger’s most popular projectiles, such as the 6mm 105gr Match Hybrid, 6.5mm 130g Matcrh AR Hybrid, and the ultra-high BC 7mm 180gr Match Hybrid.

4. CDNN Sports — HK 416 .22LR Rimfire Rifle, $379.99

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week .22LR rimfire discount HK 416 ar15 tactical rifle ammo sale bargain

If you are looking for an AR-type .22 LR rifle for cross-training and rimfire tactical matches, the HK 416 is a fine choice. Made by Walther under license, these HK 416 D145RS rimfire rifles are accurate and reliable. This is a good deal at $379.99! The HK 416 normally sells for $550.00 to $600.00. One purchaser writes: “Great .22. I have had this gun a couple of months and have put about 500 rounds of 5 different brands of ammo through it. Not one FTE. I have shot other brands that can’t get through one 30-round mag without a failure.” CLICK HERE for Product Details.

5. Natchez — Hornady 22-Cal Varmint Bullets, $9.99 Per 100

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Hornady VArmint .223 .224 bullets 55 grain

Headed out for a varmint safari soon? Need inexpensive bullets for your .223 Rem or 22-250? Then check out this deal on Hornady 55-grainers from Natchez. Get 100 Soft Point .224-Caliber FB bullets for just $9.99. At that price, it doesn’t hurt so much when you shoot 1000+ rounds over a weekend. With good expansion, these bullets work great on prarie dogs and other small critters. Note: These sale bullets ship in a bag, not the box as shown.

6. Amazon.com — Howard Leight Electronic Earmuffs $40.97

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Muffs hearing protection Howard Leight earmuffs sale bargain

Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $40.97. This is good deal — these NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category. NOTE: For regular, sustained shooting we recommend muffs and/or earplugs with a higher NRR rating.

7. Natchez — RCBS ChargeMaster Dispenser, $279.99

RCBS Chargemaster scale dispenser Natchez

Here’s a very good deal on the popular RCBS ChargeMaster combo scale/powder dispenser. This unit sells elsewhere for up to $389.00. You may want to act quickly as sale pricing changes frequently. This item is also available on Amazon.com for $296.99 with free shipping for Prime members.

8. Harbor Freight – 8-Drawer Wood Tool Chest

AccurateShooter Deals of week bargain discount savings Wood Tool Chest Harbor Freight

This Wood Tool Chest makes a great addition to your reloading room. The eight (8) drawers can hold the many small tools and accessories used for hand-loading, such as bushings, shims, uniforming tools, mandrels, neck-turners and more. A deeper top compartment (under the lid) holds wrenches and other larger tools. The price is just $79.99. A lockable sliding wood panel fits in place to cover the drawers when not in use. This locking panel also secures the drawers during transport.

9. Bullets.com — Handgun Safe $49.95

AccurateShooter Deals of week bargain discount savings Ruger American Rifle 17 HMR

This pistol safe keeps your handguns secure while still permitting instant “push-button” access. The three-button lock can be personalized with 3- to 8-digit codes, and there is a key override. This safe will hold two (2) full-sized pistols and can also store passports, cash, or other valuables. The spring-loaded door gives you near-instant response. The all-steel case also includes mounting holes for fixing the safe to floor or shelf.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
May 28th, 2015

Cortina’s Corner: ChargeMaster Tips (The Trickle Test)

Chargemaster tip Erik Cortina beep trickle Dandy Omega trickler Sartorius
Note that Erik has fitted a cartridge tip on his RCBS ChargeMaster’s dispensing tube.

Erik Cortina has been fiddling around with his RCBS ChargeMaster and he discovered something interesting. Through a series of tests he determined that the ChargeMaster dispensed slightly more precise charges when he trickled the last few 10ths of a grain on to the RCBS pan. Erik wasn’t expecting this result, but he confirmed there may be a slight benefit to this trickling method (as opposed to allowing the ChargeMaster to dispense the full charge).

We should note that Erik’s preferred method of weighing powder is to first dispense a slightly lower charge with the RCBS, transfer the pan to a laboratory-class Sartorius magnetic force restoration scale, then trickle up with his Omega (Dandy Products) Powder Trickler. However, if you don’t have a $800+ laboratory-grade scale, you might just try trickling on to the ChargeMaster pan. You can see Erik’s test procedure in this video:

(more…)

Permalink - Videos, Reloading 1 Comment »
February 25th, 2015

RCBS ChargeMaster Prices and Scale Pan Funnel

A reader recently asked: “Where can I get an RCBS ChargeMaster Combo at the lowest price?” We’ll we scanned the web, checking a dozen vendors. Most vendors are well over three hundred, into the $320-$340 range. Right now the best deal we found was at Natchez Shooters Supply, which sells the ChargeMaster scale/dispenser combo for just $289.99 (item RC98923).

Handy Scale Pan Funnel from RCBS
If you purchase a ChargeMaster, we recommend you add an inexpensive accessory — the handy RCBS Scale Pan with integrated Funnel (RCBS item 9090). This unique combo product allows you to transfer the powder charge directly to your cases. Now you don’t have to pick up a separate funnel, put that on the case, and then take the powder pan off the machine and pour powder in the funnel. The RCBS Scale Pan Funnel can save time. And, you avoid the possibility of a spill (or tip-over) when you pour from a normal scale pan into a separate funnel. The hood on the Scale Pan Funnel also helps to keep kernels from bouncing out of the pan when dispensing.

Permalink Hot Deals, News 2 Comments »
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.
Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
October 8th, 2012

TECH TIP: How to Speed Up Your RCBS ChargeMaster 1500

RCBS ChargeMaster 1500The RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 electronic powder scale and dispenser is the most popular product of its kind on the market. In our original Electronic Powder Dispenser Comparison Test, the ChargeMaster normally dispensed most kinds of powder faster than competitive units from Lyman and PACT. However, after the initial release of the ChargeMaster 1500, RCBS “tweaked” the software a bit to achieve more consistent charge-throws. This slowed down the process somewhat. Some owners have wanted to speed up their ChargeMaster. This IS possible with a relatively simple reprogramming. Most of the internal parameters of the Chargemaster can be modified, under guidance from the tech staff at RCBS.

Gunsmith and Forum member NAT Lambeth reports: “I thought My RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Combo was fast enough. But I still called RCBS and asked for the programing changes to see if I could speed it up. It was a lot easier than I thought. My 1500 Combo was taking from 15-30 seconds to dispense the powder to the tenth of a grain. I reprogrammed the numbers and now it takes between 7 and 15 seconds to dispense to a tenth. This effectively doubled my loading speed. I only changed the HSB_A1, HSB_B1, and BSP_C1 settings.”

Key ChargeMaster Parameters with Default Settings
HSB_A1 (15.68) Grains under target weight to go from full to high speed
HSB_B1 (3.42) Grains under target weight to go from high to slow speed
BSP_C1 (1.08) Grains under target weight to go from slow to final trickle speed

Nat cautions that you should talk to a RCBS tech before attempting to re-program your ChargeMaster: “You will benefit from talking to the RCBS tech. I have now gone back and played with the numbers a couple of times. (The numbers given to me by the tech at RCBS were still a little conservative.) I think each machine may have its own likes and dislikes. If you get too aggresive with lowering your numbers it will over-throw your intended load.

Source for ALL the Parameters
There is an extensive discussion of RCBS ChargeMaster programming on the South Africa Hunting Rifle Shooting Assn. (SAJSV) Forum. In this SAJSV Forum ARTICLE, Jaco Brink lists virtually all the programming codes. Importantly, Jaco also provides the default values for various parameters. This is very important, because the ChargeMaster does not have a “return to default” option. Once you change any value, if you want to return to the original value you must enter it manually.

Jaco cautions: “I have to advise you to only make changes to your scale if you are confident to do so, and remember that there is not a ‘return to default’ setting in the scale. If all else fails return your scale to the default settings [I have listed].”

CLICK HERE for list of RCBS ChargeMaster Default Programming Values

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 clutter less, and reduced the amount of overthrows dramatically.”

CLICK HERE for more ChargeMaster 1500 optimization TIPS.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 8 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 »
December 6th, 2009

Hot-Rodding the RCBS ChargeMaster Powder Dispenser

RCBS ChargeMaster 1500The RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 electronic powder scale and dispenser is the most popular product of its kind on the market. In our original Electronic Powder Dispenser Comparison Test, the ChargeMaster normally dispensed most kinds of powder faster than competitive units from Lyman and PACT. However, after the initial release of the ChargeMaster 1500, RCBS “tweaked” the software a bit to achieve more consistent charge-throws. This slowed down the process somewhat. Some owners have wanted to speed up their ChargeMaster. This IS possible with a relatively simple reprogramming. Most of the internal parameters of the Chargemaster can be modified, under guidance from the tech staff at RCBS.

Gunsmith and Forum member NAT Lambeth reports: “I thought My RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Combo was fast enough. But I still called RCBS and asked for the programing changes to see if I could speed it up. It was a lot easier than I thought. My 1500 Combo was taking from 15-30 seconds to dispense the powder to the tenth of a grain. I reprogrammed the numbers and now it takes between 7 and 15 seconds to dispense to a tenth. This effectively doubled my loading speed. I only changed the HSB_A1, HSB_B1, and BSP_C1 settings.”

Key ChargeMaster Parameters with Default Settings
HSB_A1 (15.68) Grains under target weight to go from full to high speed
HSB_B1 (3.42) Grains under target weight to go from high to slow speed
BSP_C1 (1.08) Grains under target weight to go from slow to final trickle speed

Nat cautions that you should talk to a RCBS tech before attempting to re-program your ChargeMaster: “You will benefit from talking to the RCBS tech. I have now gone back and played with the numbers a couple of times. (The numbers given to me by the tech at RCBS were still a little conservative.) I think each machine may have its own likes and dislikes. If you get too aggresive with lowering your numbers it will over-throw your intended load.

Source for ALL the Parameters
There is an extensive discussion of RCBS ChargeMaster programming on the South Africa Hunting Rifle Shooting Assn. (SAJSV) Forum. In this SAJSV Forum ARTICLE, Jaco Brink lists virtually all the programming codes. Importantly, Jaco also provides the default values for various parameters. This is very important, because the ChargeMaster does not have a “return to default” option. Once you change any value, if you want to return to the original value you must enter it manually. Jaco cautions: “I have to advise you to only make changes to your scale if you are confident to do so, and remember that there is not a ‘return to default’ setting in the scale. If all else fails return your scale to the default settings [I have listed].”

CLICK HERE for list of RCBS ChargeMaster Default Programming Values

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 [few kernels] of an extruded powder to cluster less, and reduced the amount of overthrows dramatically.”

CLICK HERE for more ChargeMaster 1500 optimization TIPS.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
November 29th, 2009

Holiday Bargains at Sinclair Int'l… Plus 10% off Promo

Sinclair International has some nice deals for the holidays. And, through Monday 11/30/2009 at 11:59 pm, if your online order totals $200.00 or more, you can save an additional 10% using Promo Code SAVE10. Here are some of the good holiday deals.

Wolf Small Magnum Primers: $31.24 per 1000 primers
Wolf Large Rifle Primers: $32.25 per 1000 primers

The Small Rifle Magnum primers work very well with BR, 6.5 Grendel, 6-6×47, and 6.5×47 cases. The Large Rifle Primers are a good choice for 6XC, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .284 Win and 30-06. We list this product here, not so much because the price is the best, but because readers are constantly asking us “where can I get Wolf primers?”. If you need them, Sinclair Int’l has them in stock right now. (NOTE: Wolf regular Small Rifle Primers, which shoot great in PPCs, are still out of stock.)

Wolf Primers

RCBS ChargeMaster Combo, Scale and Dispenser: $299.99 (Reg. $328.40)
This is the device that created an electronic revolution in reloading. The latest generation of Chargemasters is more reliable than ever. If you make sure the unit is level in all planes, and you have good, uniform current, the Chargemasters will deliver very consistent charges. With H4350, a fairly long extruded powder, our tests showed that 48 out of 50 throws were within the claimed ± one-tenth of a grain (0.1 grain) spread. Sinclair’s $299.99 price is very good, and with the 10% off SAVE10 Promo Code you’ll pay $269.99, which is cheaper that both Midsouth ($279.99), and Natchez ($279.95)

RCBS Chargemaster Combo

Sinclair/Wilson Ultimate Micrometer Trimmer w/ Shark Fin, $134.95 (Reg. $145.00)
By most standards, this is the best manual case trimmer on the market. The micrometer on this trimmer effortlessly adjusts cutting lengths, so it’s easy to change from one cartridge type to another. Changing trim length on a Forster or Lyman trimmer is much more time-consuming, requiring you to fiddle around with set screws, and possibly replace pilots and collets. With a Wilson trimmer, you DO have to purchase case-holders for your cartridges, but that’s often cheaper than buying the pilots and/or collets required by other manual trimmers. Remember that a Wilson case holder will often work for a whole family of cartridges. For example a single .308 case-holder will work for a .243 Win, Rem 260, 7mm-08, or .308 Win.

RCBS Chargemaster Combo

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 2 Comments »