The best reloading scales
Want to save money on ammunition? A reloading scale is your best bet.
The age-old question among gun enthusiasts has always been, “is reloading ammpunition better than purchasing factory-new ones?” The short answer to this is a resounding yes.
The long answer is that you stand to gain several perks, from saving money to achieving better precision and being able to customize your own ammo.
Reloading gives you an opportunity to builld ammo in such a way that they fit your special guns. It’s also more affordable, especially if you shoot frequently. Besides, this also puts you in control of what components to use so as to achieve maximum accuracy.
But for you to reap these benefits, you need to have the right reloading scale. This way, you can measure the weight of the gunpowder, cartridges, cases and others, with utmost precision. Below, we’ve reviewed some of the best reloading scales to help you make an informed decision.
RCBS Scales Chargemaster Lite Reloading Scale
The main selling point of the RCBS Scales Chargemaster Lite is the fact that it’s well-rounded. It’s simple to use, and it comes with every accessory you’ll need to make the most of it. These include several adapters, a power cord, weights and a cleaning brush. The only drawback is that this reloading scale is quite expensive. If you have a limited budget, you can find more affordable models than this.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
Have you been searching for a reloading scale that checks all the boxes? If so, the RCBS Scales Chargemaster Lite is just what you need.
One of its key highlights is the user-friendly LCD display that makes it very easy to read measurements. The values displayed are a staggering 7/16” tall, and they can be viewed from any angle.
The whole display is 2 ⅜ inches in size and is backlit green when operational. This color provides a nice contrast to the keypad and scale readings.
Another area where this reloading scale shines is in its accuracy. The hopper it’s fitted with, can accommodate up to one pound of smokeless powder. And, it dispenses anything between 2 and 300 grains with an accuracy of +/- 0.1 grain.
Anytime you finish a reloading session or wish to switch powders, all you need to do is open the quick-drain valve positioned on the side. This allows the reservoir to drain the current contents in a timely fashion.
The fact that this reloading scale comes with a variety of accessories is the icing on the cake. And the best part is, each of these items has its own slot on the body of the scale.
For instance, the two 50g brass weights are nicely held in chambers on the corners of the reservoir. These weights help you calibrate the scale.
Also included is a cleaning brush, enabling you to keep your scale in tiptop condition. You also get a decent power cord and several outlet adapters to suit different types of wall sockets.
Best for powder measure
Frankford Arsenal DS-750 Digital Reloading Scale
The Frankford Arsenal DS-750 reloading scale has several key selling points, but the main one is its precision. This is what makes it suitable for estimating the weight of gunpowder. But you can use it to measure other items too as it has different measurement options, including grams, ounces, and carats.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
Looking for a reloading scale that can be used to measure gunpowder? Well, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better model than the Frankford Arsenal DS-750.
There’s a lot to love about this digital reloading scale starting with its accuracy. According to Frankford, it registers a precision level of +/- 0.1 grain, which is fairly similar to what you get from the Chargemaster Lite.
Another crucial point to note is the scale’s maximum load capacity, which is set to 750 grains. However, the scale can hold weights as small as 50 grains.
One other area where the Frankford DS-750 proves superior to the Chargemaster Lite is in portability. With the latter, you have to hook it to an electrical outlet. This limits you in terms of where you can use it.
Conversely, the DS-750 is powered using 2 AAA batteries. This means you can take it with you anywhere without having to worry about the supply of electricity. The batteries along with other accessories like a powder pan and carry case are included in the package.
This scale even boasts an auto shut-off feature, which prevents the batteries from getting drained too fast. This automatically shuts off the reloading scale if it remains idle for more than 60 seconds.
The fact that it can measure items using different metrics is another feature that sets this scale apart. It can estimate weight in grains, ounces, grams or carats and it has tare and counting functions.
RCBS 98915 M500 Mechanical Scale
For a minimalist but highly-functional reloading scale, the RCBS M500 is a great fit. It comes with a fairly similar set of features as the Chargemaster Lite, but at a more pocket-friendly price. With this scale, you’ll be able to estimate a weight of up to 505 grains with an accuracy level of +/- 0.1 grain. You will also be able to convert grains to grams for easier calculations, and enjoy the durability provided by its die cast aluminum base.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
RCBS is a leading manufacturer of reloading equipment. So it’s not surprising that another one of their inventions has made it to our list.
The 98915 M500 is a more affordable unit, and is particularly suited for buyers looking for a simple no-frills reloading scale.
One feature that sets it apart is its ambidextrous operation. So whether you’re left- or right-handed, you’ll find it incredibly easy to use this scale.
Furthermore, it comes fitted with a two-poise design, allowing you to weigh a whopping 505 grains. And like the other scales we’ve reviewed before, this one also delivers a precision level of +/- 0.1 grain.
The best part is that this accuracy doesn’t come at the expense of speed. The scale relies on RCBS’ magnetic damping system, which provides ultra-fast readings.
To add to this, this reloading scale gives you a grain-to-gram conversion table to ease calculations and conversions.
You also won’t have to worry about the durability of the M500 as its base is made of die cast aluminum.
Best with storage case
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Precision Scale
The Frankford Arsenal Platinum is a great choice if you’re looking for a reloading scale that you can take with you on the road. Not only does it have a protective cover, but also a dedicated storage case which makes for easy portability. Another appealing aspect of this reloading scale is the fact that it’s hybrid. You can decide to use the 4 AAA batteries provided or connect it to an electrical outlet.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
Do you plan to use your reloading scale on the go? If you do, a scale that comes with its own storage case really comes in handy.
Such is the case when you invest in the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Precision Scale, which not only includes a protective cover but a storage case as well. For the price, you also get a metallic powder pan, calibration weights, 110V power supply and a 220V adaptor.
One thing you’ll notice is that this is a pretty big reloading case. In fact, it’s the biggest in our review. The good thing about this is that it has a generous load capacity of 1500 grains.
Another feature that impressed us is the fact that it can be powered in two different ways. Either hook it to a 110V or 220V power outlet or simply install the 4 AAA batteries included.
The auto shut-off feature is a superb addition to this reloading scale. As implied in the title, it automatically switches the scale off if it remains idle for longer than 3 minutes. This way, if the scale is powered by batteries, it won’t end up running out of juice before you get to use it.
EGO DANTE Milligram Digital Reloading Scale
The Maxus Milligram Scale is revered for several aspects. But the most important of these is its affordability. It comes in at under $25, and yet it offers a broad range of features. For instance, it can be used to weigh different items, such as jewelry and medicinal ingredients. The scale comes in two different color schemes, is compact and highly accurate.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
Want to spend the least amount of money on your new reloading scale? If you do, the Maxus Milligram comes at a price that’s really hard to beat.
Right off the bat, one thing you’ll notice is that it comes in a pretty stylish and compact design. In fact, you get to choose from two color schemes: black/ gold and black/ silver.
Another thing that makes this scale worth investing in is the array of accessories included, despite the low price tag. In addition to the scale, you also get 4 powder pans of different sizes, 2 measuring spoons and a stainless steel tweezer.
If precision is important to you, then you’ll enjoy using the Maxus Milligram Scale that delivers highly accurate readings. It relies on the most recent precision sensor system and a sturdy wind shelter that’s able to weigh more precisely.
While it’s small in size, this reloading scale is pretty versatile. It can be used to weigh a ton of other items like capsules, jewelry, medicine ingredients and gemstones. Better yet, you’ll have multiple metric options to choose from, including grains, grams, ounces, troy ounce, and carats.
Best under $200
Hornady 050108 Electronic Reloading Scale
Some reloading scales are sold at very steep prices. Thankfully, this is not the case with the Hornady Electronic Scale. Despite its relatively affordable price, this scale has exceptional features and this includes a 1500-grain maximum load capacity. Plus, it can be used to weigh different things, including cartridges, and bullets.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
If you have a little more wiggle room in your budget but don’t want to spend more than $200, the Hornady Electronic Scale is the perfect fit.
One of the biggest highlights of this reloading scale entails its generous load capacity. Unlike other scales that can only hold 500 grains, this one is designed to hold up to 1,500 grains.
Important to note though is that it occupies a considerable amount of space. Measuring 4.75” by 9” by 7.1”, it takes up quite a bit of space compared to other scales.
The benefit of this is that it has a massive LCD display that makes it very easy to read. It’s also able to weigh items to a precision level of up to one-tenth of a grain.
Furthermore, the Hornady scale is not only used to measure gunpowder, but bullets and cartridges as well.
Another thing you’ll love about this scale is that it’s a low-risk investment. It’s backed by a lifetime warranty, which means the manufacturer covers any type of defects for life.
The scale has a nice selection of accessories too. Some of the items included in the package are an AC adaptor, a 220V adaptor, 2 calibration weights and a metal powder pan.
What to look for in a good reloading scale
There are a couple of things you should always take into account when choosing a reloading scale. These include:
The first thing you’ll want to consider is the capacity of the scale. Each reloading scale has its own maximum load size that you should adhere to.
This is particularly important if you’re planning to reload multiple rounds or much heavier shells. In such a case, getting an accurate weight reading for each round is crucial.
And remember, you don’t want to have to measure this weight multiple times. Not only would this waste your time but also pave the way for making errors.
The whole point of investing in a digital reloading scale is so that you can get a precise measurement.
Keep in mind that the performance of your ammunition relies heavily on how accurately you’re able to estimate the amount of gunpowder. As such, ensure you purchase a scale that delivers the best accuracy.
That said, it’s good to note that no one scale can provide the exact weight measurement. So what you should look for is a scale that offers a precision level of at least 1/10th or 0.1 of a grain.
This extent of forgiveness is okay and is not going to impact the performance of your ammo.
Quality of display
If you’ve been shopping for a reloading scale for a while, then you may have noticed that the majority come fitted with LCD displays. These are very straightforward display panels that make it easy to monitor measurements.
For the best outcome, consider one with a backlit LCD display. Such a screen offers exceptional brightness even when the lighting conditions are sub-par. This way, you won’t have to squint or strain your eyes to read what’s displayed.
In addition to this, be sure to account for the size. The bigger the display, the easier it will be to decipher the figures it showcases.
Speed of measurement
If you’re planning to use the reloading scale often, then speed is of the essence.
The good news is that most of these scales are designed to give you a reading relatively fast. Others, however, can have you waiting up to 20 seconds before they give you a precise measurement.
The time difference may not seem like much, but when you’re going through big batches of shells, those few seconds can add up fast.
This isn’t a mandatory feature for reloading scales. But, it certainly adds to the value of this item.
Most reloading scales estimate weight using one metric: grains. However, more advanced scales offer additional measurement options such as ounces, grams and karats.
The benefit of having extra metrics is that it increases its range of use. Essentially, you can use it to weigh other objects including jewelry, food, medicine and more.
Source of power
Another feature you’ll want to consider is the type of power the digital reloading scale uses. Is it a corded electric model? Or, does it rely on batteries?
For corded electric scales, you’ll need to connect them to an electrical outlet whereas the cordless models will require batteries.
If you opt for a battery-powered scale, ensure you check its runtime. You don’t want to have to recharge the batteries when you’re in the middle of the weighing process.
What’s the difference between a digital and mechanical reloading scale?
The main difference stems from the way these scales operate. A digital reloading scale relies on digital technology to weigh. It will typically have an LCD display that shows the resulting weight readings.
Its greatest benefit is that it’s very user-friendly. Even if you’ve never used such a scale before, you can learn how to use one in no time. Plus, when this scale works properly, it delivers unmatched accuracy.
However, a digital reloading scale is highly sensitive to surrounding factors, which can impact its precision. This explains why most digital scales contain a clear plastic or glass enclosure to protect the weighing surface.
Mechanical reloading scales differ in that they use a mass slide and graduated scale to provide weight measurements. The precision of this equipment is determined by the number of beams on the graduation scale.
The good thing about this scale is that it’s never affected by environmental factors.
Why is gunpowder usually estimated in grains?
A grain is one of the smallest unit of measurement. It’s so small that one pound comprises up to 7,000 grains. The benefit of using grains is that it provides a higher level of accuracy than you’d get from other measurement units.
What’s the best way to care for my powder scale?
If you want your reloading scale to last for the long haul, here are a few things you should do:
– Keep the scale in a protective case or box when it’s not in use.
– Avoid storing the scale in an area with a lot of traffic; it might get knocked over or bumped into.
– Wipe down your scale with a dry paper towel after each use.
– Keep the powder pan clean to prevent buildup of residue.
Buying your own reloading scale is an excellent and worthy investment. It will help you save tons of money when it comes to buying ammunition. Plus, you’ll be able to get accurate measurements of your gunpowder, which will significantly improve the performance of your ammo.
That said, there are a few things you should consider when purchasing a reloading scale. Always think about the speed of measurement, units of measurement available, accuracy and capacity.