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Thread: Reloading Scale Problems

  1. #1

    Default Reloading Scale Problems

    I have a RCBS "5-10" reloading scale that has developed a problem: it won't always return to the same zero. I can "zero" the pointer with all the slider weights set to "0", then blow gently on the pan to make it move a little, then watch as it settles down either above, or below, the zero mark by as much as 3/10 grain. This inconsistency is NOT acceptable, in my opinion. It means my loaded ammo could have a variation up to 6/10 grain from one shot to another.
    Should I send it to RCBS for repair, or just junk it?
    If I buy a new scale, what make/model do you prefer, and why? Would it be better to adjust the scale with a calibrated weight, instead of the "zeroing" method? (like set the scale to 50 grs, then put a 50gr calibrated-standard weight in the pan, and adjust the pointer to zero...) What do you think?


    Thanks,
    Marshall/Ak
    "I love my country...it's the government I'm scared of"

  2. #2

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    Marshall - I would call RCBS to see what they have to say. With that said, I would go buy a new scale anyway (electronic) and if your current one gets fixed/replaced then you have a backup. I went through this same problem several years ago and just lost confidence in the scale and its ability to give me consistent loads. In my opinion, if a person doesn't have confidence in their equipment they'll always doubt if it is working correctly or will create problems for them down the road. Better to be safe.

  3. #3
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    Marshall, I use that same scale and have for years but never had the problem you are experiencing. Can't think of a reason why it would suddenly start to not return to zero? I have always just zeroed my scale without using the calibrated weights, but I do have a second scale that I will set up to make sure they are weighing close to each other. Not sure, but seems like it would still not return to zero even if calibrated/zeroed the correct way using the calibrated check weights.

    If it were me, I would look it over closely, maybe use some canned air like they use to clean computers to blow off any dust or crud, and look over the notches where the balance beam sit in. Maybe look for anything slightly bent or worn? Seems like it would possibly have something to do with the magnets and the metal part of the beam that floats between them. I know that is not much help, but there should not be much that could mess up on that design scale other than something bent, worn, or out of alignment?

  4. #4

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    I've run into that and found three causes, both fixable. First is the faintest bit of dust or even crud on the pivots or in their mating agate troughs. The tiniest grain of dust causes just what you say. I expect it on windy days around here due to airborn volcanic ash. I just clean both the pivots and the troughs periodically with a q-tip and alcohol, then blow it out.

    Second is when either end of the pivots gets pushed up enough to touch the "caps" at the either end of the trough they ride in. Friction there raises cob. I just make sure the pivots are clear of the end caps each time I set up the scale.

    The other cause I've found is if the copper "damper" behind the pointer gets bent a little, as in when the scale gets knocked off the bench (don't ask). To check, swing the balance arm up and down while watching the copper damper. If it's not staying well centered within it's track, just bend it a little to correct.

    If there's cause #4, I haven't found it yet and don't want to!

  5. #5
    Member kobuk's Avatar
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    i noticed mine doing the same thing. when i lift on the pan to drop the pointer and let it come back up it will come back to zero, but if i push down on the pan and raise the pointer, it won't go back to zero. when i load my powder i start a little low and use my trickler to bring it up to the charge so at least i am getting consistent charges. i am going to try brownbears cleaning method and if that doesn't take care it looks like electronic scale time. i do like seeing the analog pointer, it seems easier to read than jumping digital numbers. if i need to go digital, what are some reliable scales or what ones should i stay away from?

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    Yup. What Brown bear said is spot on including the off the bench thing.

  7. #7
    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall/ak View Post
    i have a rcbs "5-10" reloading scale that has developed a problem: It won't always return to the same zero. I can "zero" the pointer with all the slider weights set to "0", then blow gently on the pan to make it move a little, then watch as it settles down either above, or below, the zero mark by as much as 3/10 grain. This inconsistency is not acceptable, in my opinion. It means my loaded ammo could have a variation up to 6/10 grain from one shot to another.
    Should i send it to rcbs for repair, or just junk it?
    If i buy a new scale, what make/model do you prefer, and why? Would it be better to adjust the scale with a calibrated weight, instead of the "zeroing" method? (like set the scale to 50 grs, then put a 50gr calibrated-standard weight in the pan, and adjust the pointer to zero...) what do you think?


    Thanks,
    marshall/ak
    wipe it down gently with a dryer sheet to remove static thats what lyman told me to do to mine. in fact when I am done using it I leave the sheet in the box, fixed me right up
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
    "Rebellion is in my blood, I was born an American"
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  8. #8

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    Good suggestion Ironartist. I've always suspected that those agate pivot troughs were "magnets" for dust, which your suggestion might help aleviate, too.

  9. #9
    Member kobuk's Avatar
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    thanks for the tips, i'll let you know my results.

  10. #10

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    Thanks to all for the tips and suggestions. I'm going to clean the pivot and troughs with a Q-tip and alcohol like Brown Bear suggested (thank you BB!). It makes sense that a tiny piece of dust or dirt would cause the symptoms I'm seeing. And....I'm thinking seriously of getting a 2nd scale anyway...this 5-10 can be my backup. I just don't trust it anymore. The thumb-wheel for tenths/grain is a PITA to fool with anyway...I can hardly read the little numbers on it...

    Marshall/Ak
    "I love my country...it's the government I'm scared of"

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall/Ak View Post
    The thumb-wheel for tenths/grain is a PITA to fool with anyway...I can hardly read the little numbers on it...

    Marshall/Ak
    You too! I figured I was the only one.

  12. #12
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    the old Ohaus RCBS is my go to scale when I am too lazy to set up the DPS. I had some zero problems and just got new agates from RCBS. That will cure it.

  13. #13

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    I think BB has probally hit the nail on the head here but another thing could be your reloading bench. The scales should be on a flat level surface. My reloading bench used to consist of a 2X6 top and the legs would get in the joints and cause me some trouble. I found a scrap of granite from a counter top that I now use to set my scales on. They work well and I do clean them as BB said from time to time.

  14. #14
    Member MaximumPenetration's Avatar
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    Do yourself a favor and pick up a chargemaster 1500 combo. They are excellent.
    An unarmed man is subject, an armed man is a citizen.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I am a little disappointed as this is one question on here I had possible solutions too since I have been calibrating lab scales for years. Then I read BrownBears post and that pretty much covers it...

  16. #16

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    The tips suggesting cleaning of the beam knife edges, and the channels they rest in, were SPOT ON! I did so, using a Q-tip and some alcohol, and the afore-mentioned problem disappeared completely. I was surprised at how much "gunk" was removed. The scale now returns to zero every time. This makes me think it would be wise to clean those parts of the scale every so often, like maybe once a month...
    Thanks guys!

    Marshall/Ak
    "I love my country...it's the government I'm scared of"

  17. #17
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall/Ak View Post
    The tips suggesting cleaning of the beam knife edges, and the channels they rest in, were SPOT ON! I did so, using a Q-tip and some alcohol, and the afore-mentioned problem disappeared completely. I was surprised at how much "gunk" was removed. Marshall/Ak
    Thanks for the "Results Update,"

    This has been a good thread, I'm learning, that's for sure
    haven't had that problem yet, glad I won't, NOW.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  18. #18
    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I second the need to get a chargemaster 1500. Makes your day alot more productive and brings the fun factor back in check.

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