At a Glance: The Best Powder Scales For Reloading In 2020
Comparison of the Best Powder Scales For Reloading
Our Top Pick
|RCBS – Chargemaster Powder Dispenser / Scale Combo||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|A&D Engineering, Inc. – Fx-120i Precision Scale||View Latest Price|
|Frankford Arsenal – Platinum Series Precision Scale With Case||View Latest Price|
Many shooters choose to reload their ammunition rather than buying commercial ammo. Reloading your shells can improve accuracy and save you money. The benefits are countless.
However, without accurately measuring out your gunpowder, not only will the benefits be forfeit, but also, you could accidentally kill yourself. That is why having a high-quality reloading powder scale is vital. It’s a must have for getting the perfect amount of powder into each round, without dangerously under or overloading.
With the number of powder scales on the market, it’s important to research before making a purchase. If you’re looking for a scale that gives you confidence in your reloaded ammunition, here are the 8 best powder scales for reloading in 2020.
RCBS – Chargemaster Powder Dispenser / Scale Combo
The Chargemaster scale and dispenser combo is a brilliant choice for accuracy. With a 0.1 grain precision level, it gives the exact amount of powder needed for any size of cartridge.
As well as rating high for accuracy, using the dispenser saves a lot of time. Designed for smokeless powder, the average dispensing time for a 60-grain powder charge is roughly just 20 seconds! The assembly-line style process of weighing and dispensing eliminates any waiting time.
The machine comes in two parts with the scale and dispenser separate, but easily integrated for use. In addition, the setup is extremely easy to use. The electronic display allows you to simply enter the exact size of charge you need, plus it saves your favorite loads for extra efficiency.
The machine is very light, but the downside to this is that the base does not feel super stable. However, use it on a flat surface and you should not have a problem. Overall, the Chargemaster is an excellent tool for avid shooters.
- Unique 2-1 scale and dispenser
- Streamlined weighing and dispensing assembly-line style process
- Excellent accuracy with a 0.1 grain precision level
- Fast dispensing time
- 1500 grain capacity
- Easy to use with its electronic display and helpful manual
- Not the most stable machine
- Cannot be used with black powder
- Can take a little while to warm up and cool down
- One of the most expensive options
A&D Engineering, Inc. – Fx-120i Precision Scale
The A&D FX-120i is a great value precision scale that is specifically designed to withstand shock and stabilize loads quickly and accurately.
It features a 0.01g to 1mg resolution balance, a fast, one-second weighing response time, a compact super hybrid sensor, and an internal shock absorber that offers protection from both transverse and vertical overloading.
Another awesome feature of the A&D FX-120i is that it includes a small breeze break that helps to prevent drafts of air from disturbing measurements, giving absolute consistency every time.
This digital scale is ideal for weighing bullets for F Class Rifle Shooting or any form of long-range shooting, as it accurately weighs 0.02 grains.
- Excellent precision
- Protects from overloading thanks to a built-in shock absorber
- Great consistency
- High-speed weighing with 1-second stabilization
- Affordable price
- Not the most modern or widely available scale on the market
- Calibrating the balance and getting the scale to zero initially can be a challenge
Frankford Arsenal – Platinum Series Precision Scale With Case
The Platinum Series Precision Scale is a top choice for accuracy. The 0.1-grain accuracy gives precise measurement for powder, bullets, cases, and loaded rounds. It has a capacity of 1500 grains, and it comes with two different calibration weights allowing you to measure in grains, grams, carrots, or ounces.
This powder scale has everything you need. It has an Integrated clear protective cover, a large hi-contrast backlit display making it easy to read, and simple controls for changing units. Many accessories are included such as calibration weights, a powder pan, 110V power supply, and a 220V adaptor, making it great value for money.
Another nice addition is that it will automatically shut off after 3 minutes of idle time to prevent power from being wasted.
Moreover, the scale’s compact size and the carry case it comes with makes it easy to store and to transport. This easy to use scale can be operated on either 110 V, 220 V, or by using AAA batteries.
- Comes with a protector cover and carry case to prevent damage
- Space-saving compact size
- 1500 grain capacity
- Auto shut off feature for power saving
- Straightforward to use
- Easy to keep powered with 3 different power options
- The scale may need frequent recalibration as it easily slides off
- Small air currents can appear and affect the accuracy of readings
Frankford Arsenal – Ds-750 Digital Reloading Scale
The Ds-750 Digital Reloading Scale is a top choice for affordability and accuracy. What makes this scale such great value for money is its impressive performance features.
Its 1/10th grain accuracy allows you to achieve the maximum potential for your ammunition. The response time is fast which means you can measure your powder quickly without pausing to wait for a reading.
This scale is simple and easy to use. It can measure not just in grains, but also grams, ounces, and carats. The scale itself also has a basic counting function. It is powered by AAA batteries and has a built-in 60-second auto-off setting for inactivity, meaning the battery will not be wasted.
The Ds-750 features an attached soft case which not only protects the scale when not in use but makes it easy to carry around too. The product comes with a calibration weight, 2 AAA batteries, and a powder pan. Moreover, the quick and easy set up will allow you to get started straight away.
- Fast response time
- 0.01-grain accuracy
- Come with a protective case
- Easy to transport around
- Sustainable and durable
- Can weigh in grains, grams, ounces, and carats
- A great choice for beginners thanks to its ease of use and affordable price
- May need to be recalibrated frequently
- 750-grain capacity only
- Although a great choice for beginners, it is a fairly basic scale which may not be the best choice for an experienced reloader
RCBS – Rangemaster 2000 Electronic Scale
The RCBS Rangemaster 2000 can handle up to 2,000 grains with 0.1-grain accuracy so that you can precisely measure your gunpowder, bullets, cases or loaded cartridges.
This high-performance electronic scale is one of the best powder scales for reloading. It has many great features. It’s fast and easy to calibrate and comes with two calibration weights. Moreover, the easy to read LCD screen is also a touchscreen and super easy to operate. Another clever feature is the auto shut off function to prevent wasting the battery.
What I like about this scale is its compact size as well as the ability to run on either AC or DC power. This means I can use it on the bench and also at the range. This is certainly a scale for those who are serious about DIY reloading and who are looking for a high tech scale with great performance.
- High capacity of up to 2000 grains
- 0.1-grain accuracy
- Easy to read and operate LCD touchscreen
- Auto shut off feature to save battery
- Can be used with AC or DC power
- Quite pricey compared to other similar products
- Requires a 20-30 minute warm-up period
- The touchscreen can be sensitive and cause problems with switching on and off
Hornady – Lock-n-load Balance Beam Scale
The Hornady Lock-n-load Balance Beam is a nice choice for shooters who prefer something more traditional. It is a classic manual balance system with 0.1-grain sensitivity.
The Balance Beam scale will easily handle most reloading tasks and provide fast, accurate measurements thanks to the magnetic dampener.
This is an extremely durable scale and one that will last a lifetime. It can serve as an essential tool for your reloading bench but it’s not the best option if you are looking for a scale to take to the range with you.
The only thing I don’t like so much about the Lock-n-load is the low grain capacity. This manual scale has a 500-grain capacity which is a bit too low for my needs.
- Top choice for reliability
- Great for those looking for a long-lasting traditional scale
- +/- 0.1-grain sensitivity
- Magnetic dampener for accuracy
- Easy-to-read laser-etched bar
- Hardened pivot pins & bearings for durability
- 500-grain capacity only
- Not lightweight or easy to transport
- Does not have the high tech features of the more modern electronic scale
RCBS – M1000 Mechanical Scale
If you’re after a mechanical scale, one of the best powder scales for reloading is the M1000 which boasts superb accuracy and a high 1000 grain capacity. The base provides great stability for weighing, ensuring that you receive an accurate measurement each time, and the metal tip-proof pan makes loading easy.
I found the M1000 to be one of the easiest scales to level out and calibrate. What I also like about this scale is how the grooves on it are the perfect depth. This ensures that they hold in place without constantly skipping over to the next one.
The scale is lighter than it looks, weighing in at 2.4 pounds. It also comes with a clear plastic cover to increase accuracy. This would be a brilliant option for shooters who prefer traditional mechanical scales but are looking for a scale that is easy to transport and take to the range.
The M1000 scale is a highly accurate choice with +/- 0.1-grain accuracy. It’s made in the USA from high quality, durable materials making it a scale that will last for decades, and overall, a great investment.
- +/- 0.1-grain accuracy
- A very stable base which ensures consistent precision
- Comes with plastic protective cover case
- Easy to transport
- Right or left-handed operation
- Durable and long-lasting
- Lacks the high tech features of modern, electronic scales
- Other scales offer higher grain capacity
Lyman – Accu-touch 2000 Electronic Scale
The Accu-touch 2000 electronic scale by Lyman is made for shooters that need to measure large powder charges, as well as reloaders who are looking for the most up to date, highest-tech option for weighing and reloading.
The Accu-touch 2000 has the most modern look and feel out of all the scales I reviewed. Lyman describes this scale as having revolutionary features. These include LCD touch screen controls, anti drift technology which assures accuracy to 1/10 grain, a removable powder trickler that can be mounted on either side to aid both left and right-hand users, and the ability to run on a 9-volt battery or by universal AC adapter, which is included.
This scale allows you to charge up to 2000 grains and can be set to measure in either grains or grams. Also included with the machine is a fold-back plastic cover to keep the scale protected, a powder cleaning brush, and a calibration weight. In addition to all of this, there is a nice pop-out tray which is handy for storing all these accessories.
One thing to note about this scale is that it needs to be calibrated between uses and it must be placed on a hard, flat, and level surface. Whilst this is a great option for those who love high tech gadgets, I feel it could be frustrating for shooters who are used to the traditional, manual scales.
- High grain capacity
- Sleek and modern design
- Comes with all the accessories you could need
- Anti drift technology for high accuracy
- Can run on mains power or by a 9-volt battery
- Needs to settle and be calibrated between uses
- Can be very sensitive to vibrations registering them as a weight value
- Not the cheapest electronic scale on the market
Types of Powder Scales
There are two types of powder scales – mechanical and digital, of which most reloaders will have their personal preference. Here are the main differences between the two.
- Weight is measured manually without the use of electricity.
- Beam balances detect the weight and take measurements.
- They are easy to zero and bring back to balance.
- Powder can only be weighed in grains.
- Most mechanical scales are made with high quality, durable material rather than plastic which means they are long-lasting.
- Grain capacity is usually from 300 to 1000 grains.
- No warm-up period before use is required.
- They are less costly than digital scales.
- Digital scales measure your powder electronically.
- They require mains power or batteries to measure weight.
- They use digital LCD screens to display the weight.
- They can be easier and faster to use than manual scales.
- Powder can be weighed in various measurement units such as grains, grams, and carats.
- Grain capacity can be up to 2000 grains.
- Digital scales need to be calibrated before each use. Most come with calibration weights.
- Some require a warm-up period of 20-30 minutes before use.
- They are more expensive than mechanical scales.
As you can see, both types of reloading scales have benefits. To determine which style is right for you, it’s best to consider your usage needs as well as your preferences.
Advantages of a Digital Powder Scale
Upgrading to a digital powder scale for your reloading process can have many advantages.
Faster response time
Digital scales do not struggle to balance out after adding weight the way balance beams do. The advanced technology can detect the weight and instantly show the number. There may still be a small ‘lag’ time of a couple of seconds but it’s much quicker than waiting up to 20 seconds for a mechanical scale to balance itself out.
Ability to weigh in different measurements
Unlike traditional manual scales, digital scales offer multiple measurement options such as grains, grams, ounces, and carats.
Can run on mains or battery
Many digital scales can be operated by battery (usually AAA or 9-volt) as well as through mains power supply.
Easy to transport
Some digital scales are very compact, light, and easily transportable. Whilst operating a mechanical scale on the go is not the simplest, digital scales are much more suitable for this.
Higher grain capacity
Some digital scales can weigh up to 2000 grains, whilst manual scales typically have a 300 to 1000 grain capacity.
What To Consider Before Getting A Digital Powder Scale
While you can still find traditional mechanical scales, the majority of the top powder scales for reloading on the market today are digital. If you are transitioning from mechanical to digital scales, or you’re new to reloading your ammunition, there are certain things you should take into account before making a purchase. Here are 3 factors you should consider before you buy.
Digital scales have a high level of sensitivity. This is what gives you great precision and ensures you don’t waste powder. When looking for a scale you may want to check what the grain inaccuracy is. A gain inaccuracy of at least 1/10 is ideal.
It’s worth noting that sensitivity can sometimes be a problem with digital scales. Whereas mechanical scales are designed to prevent outside forces from affecting the accuracy results, digital scales have calibrators to improve accuracy.
The problem is, calibrators do not work seamlessly in all digital scales and a common complaint from buyers is the interference from environmental forces such as wind distorting the weight. To ensure you don’t experience this problem, it’s wise to read some buyer reviews beforehand. With that being said, be sure to reload in a quiet place and rest your scale on a flat, hard, and even surface to eliminate any potential weight disturbances.
Grain capacity determines how much the scale can weigh. Even if you’re a reloading newbie, it’s best to opt for a high grain capacity scale as your needs can quickly grow.
A great thing about digital scales is that they usually have higher grain capacity than mechanical scales. Whilst manual scales have a grain capacity between 300 and 1000, digital scales have a capacity of up to 2000 grains.
A higher capacity will allow you to measure once rather than multiple times. As well as this saving you time, getting the measurement done quickly makes error less likely to occur.
A scale can either speed up or slow down your reloading time. Unless you don’t mind waiting 20 seconds between adding small amounts of powder, you will probably want a scale with a fast response time.
Thanks to the advanced technology used in modern-day digital scales, opting for a digital scale over a mechanical one is a good way to speed up your reloading time. For example, some digital scales response time is as quick as one second.
Why is gunpowder measured in grains
- A grain is a very small unit of measurement, so small in fact that there are 437.5 grains in just one ounce, and 7000 grains in a pound.
- Grains are the universal measurement for reloaders and shooters for both bullets and gunpowder.
- Grains are the top choice for weighing powder because they give the most accurate measurement.
To throw charges with a minimal amount of variation, you’ll need to ensure that you have the same charge for the powder every time. To do this you need the most accurate unit of measurement possible, and as grains are such minuscule units of measurements, weighing in grains is far more accurate than any other unit.
Many modern digital scales now give the option of weighing powder in grams or ounces, however, these are bigger units of measurements and reloading manuals don’t use them. Therefore, most reloaders will only consider weighing their gunpowder in grains.
Exploring this further, weighing in grains is much easier than weighing in grams as one gram is equivalent to over 15 grains. So if you only need to weigh a very small amount (which is very common) then measuring 4 grains of powder would give you a much more accurate and precise result than measuring one-fourth of a gram.
How to take care of your powder scale
If you want your scale to continue working for years to come, you’ll need to ensure that you are taking proper care of it. This includes regular maintenance and safe storage which will protect it from damage and wear and tear. The more wear and tear your scale accumulates, the more likely it is to lose accuracy.
Here are some tips on how to best look after your powder scale:
- When not in use, store your scale in a protective case or box.
- Some scales come with covers or cases, however, if yours doesn’t, you can simply store it in a big enough storage box.
- Wherever you choose to store it, ensure it is in a place where it will not be knocked over or continually bumped into.
- Clean your scale after use either by wiping it down with a dry paper towel or with a mild soap and water solution.
- Don’t flip your scale over and shake it to dislodge powder grains as this could permanently damage the load cell.
- Clean your powder pan to prevent residue build-up with a drop of liquid soap, then rinse and let dry.
One last word of advice, read the instruction manual before setting up and using your scale for the first time. Although this may seem obvious, if you are new to reloading or this is your first digital scale, make sure you are clear on how to operate it beforehand. This will prevent any potential accidents or damages from a lack of understanding.
So, what is the best powder scale on the market in 2020?
As you can see, all of the scales I reviewed have pros and cons. However, the scale that stands out the most to me is the RCBS – Chargemaster Powder Dispenser / Scale Combo.
This is certainly the most unique scale on the list as no other scale allows you to both weigh and dispense your gunpowder. I found most options would either give great accuracy but would lack in grain capacity, or vice versa, but the Chargemaster gives absolute precision and has a very respectable capacity level of 1500 grains. I personally love the advanced technology of this scale and feel it is the best powder scale for reloading for serious shooters.
With that being said, if I was new to reloading and wanted a cheaper option, I would opt for the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Precision Scale instead.
However, I would recommend considering your personal needs and preferences when making your decision as no one scale will suit all reloaders. Whichever you choose to go for, all of the scales I reviewed are of high quality and provide excellent accuracy and performance.