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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.

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December 6th, 2009

More Women Hunters and Shooters, Surveys Reveal

Women Hunter NRAWomen’s participation in hunting and the shooting sports is going up, according to new data from the National Sporting Goods Association. Between 2003 and 2008, the number of women hunting with firearms rose from 2.1 million to 2.9 million; women who bowhunt rose from 400,000 to 600,000; and women who target shoot increased from 4.1 million to 4.8 million. Guides and outfitters are seeing women as a growing market, and gun clubs seeking members are often shocked at how many women will sign up, if simply given some friendly instruction. There is now even a dedicated magazine just for lady hunters, Woman Hunter.

These nationwide figures are consistent with the participation trends NRA has seen in its Women On Target program, which began in 1999. Women On Target conducts women-only hunts and instructional shooting clinics. Both provide a venue for experienced women hunters and shooters to mentor newcomers.

Women Hunter NRAWhile the mainstream media may be surprised that women have any interest in guns, the Women On Target program proves otherwise. The number of clubs running Women On Target shooting clinics rose 37% from 211 in 2007 to 289 in 2009. A total of 6,066 women attended those clinics in 2007, and there should nearly 8,000 by the end of 2009—a 32% increase. The program’s women-only hunts are growing steadily. Ten hunts are planned for 2010. Click here for 2010 hunt schedule.

Editor’s Comment: Signing up more women members may be the single most important thing gun clubs can do to improve “public relations”. In mainstream media reports on firearms, the bias is too often negative. However, when women shooters/hunters are the focus of a media story, the overall slant is often very positive. The news media like stories about women who succeed in a male-dominated sport such as shooting. Moreover, women-only shooting events are usually shown to be fun and “empowering”, while women shooters are, more often than not, portrayed in a positive light.

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