Date: Jun 02 2005
There are several ways to get powder from containers to cases. If you don’t have very many cases to load or are only an occasional handloader, the simplest balance scale will do.
However, most handloaders don’t realize that balance scales aren’t necessarily dead-on accurate. I checked a few several years ago and found that one of the most popular models on the market (at least my sample) was close to a grain off at 50 grains – around 2 percent.
In the real world, this doesn’t make much difference, as variations in powder from lot to lot often vary more than 2 percent. All a home handloader is trying to do is reproduce his loads, so repeatability is more important than absolute accuracy. It doesn’t matter if he’s really loading 49 grains of 4350, for instance, rather than 50, if the results in his rifle are satisfactory – and he can reproduce that load.
Nevertheless, handloaders interested in the utmost precision often own a set of “check weights” of absolutely known weight that can be used to check their scales. That’s what I used in my experiment. Check weights are available from most scale manufacturers and come with every electronic scale on the market, for rezeroing the scale each time it’s used.
Electronic scales are much more affordable than when they first appeared on the market – and much more accurate as well. Most retail for around $150 or a little less, but you can still get balance scales just as accurate for $20 to $50. Most handloaders are into the hobby either to shoot more, save money or both, so more shooters own balance than electronic scales.
The first addition most handloaders make to any scale is a powder trickler, a handy little gadget that dribbles a few granules into the pan at a time. This is far handier and more precise than using a spoon.