Hornady’s New Auto Charge Pro Electronic Scale
Date: Aug 17 2021
For most of us, charging cartridge cases can be as exciting as watching grass grow! We set up the measure, get it to drop a charge close to the powder weight and then trickle to get it exact. It takes time for sure, but now with Hornady’s new Auto Charge Pro scale, a handloader can be a master of multitasking at the bench.
Loading ammunition for many, many years has allowed me to go from the beam type of scale to newer electronic, present-day, high-tech products. This one is fun to use, very accurate to 0.1 grain, has a bunch of desirable features and with a “quick start” guide that gets handloaders up and running in no time.
Out of the box, the unit is ready to go with the extra parts like the power supply, 220-plug converter and draft cover packed separately from the main unit. Aside from the bold type stating, “NEVER use with black powder – for smokeless powder only,” the other warnings stated this is a precise unit, so don’t shake, drop or overload the scale. Set the scale up on a flat, level surface and when plugged in, let it stabilize for 10 to 15 minutes and keep it away from any drafts (fan, air conditioner, heater or a window) for the best in accuracy.
Starting up is fast and easy. Plug the unit in, calibrate it and with the powder pan on the scale the display should read “0.0.” If not, hit the calibrate button again. Fill the powder hopper making sure the hopper empty nozzle is closed (more on that later). Check the setting button so it reads NORMAL and tap the TARGET button. Enter the weight of the charge desired, in my case, 45.0 grains – then ENTER to store this charge weight. Now hit DISPENSE and let the magic happen. The scale will only overcharge by 0.1 grain as shown in my photo, which was my limit. If preferred, dump this charge and do another, but one-tenth of a grain is fine with me.
Okay, now the big question… Is the investment of the scale worth any time or powder savings in the end? Using the scale, here is what I found. Filling the hopper with the new StaBall powder for loading the 6.5 Creedmoor, it took 25 seconds to dispense enough powder to get to 45.0 grains on the high setting on the first go-round. On the low setting (higher accuracy), it took almost a minute to reach this setting.
On the other hand, if I go back to the old way of doing things manually, it took me four minutes to set the powder measure and to trickle the first load of my 45-grain setting. From here, it took around 25 seconds to drop the load and trickle it up to my setting. Once it is set up, both are about the same all around. The real advantage of the scale is the ability to multitask while the Hornady unit is dropping the charge in the pan. At this point, a handloader can seat and crimp the bullet on the next round as the charge is being weighed. Once a rhythm is established, it’s surprising how many rounds can be finished in a short time without the laborious process of dumping powder into the pan, then on the scale, then trickling to bring it up to the total weight.
The instruction book is only six pages, so the handloader can see how simple it is to set this unit up. It can store up to four custom loads, vary both the time and speed the unit will trickle, set it up for both grains and grams, allows easy dumping of the powder to fill up for the next brand. Additionally, this machine presents a small footprint on your bench and has a wide range of settings to ensure the accuracy for the loads.
To me, this is a worthwhile addition to any handloader’s bench. For pricing, the list is around $385.00, but checking online, I found the price could vary by as much as $50 to $60, so shopping online could be beneficial to any handloader. Visit hornady.com for more information.