Lee scale

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pistolpositive
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:25 am

Lee scale

Postby pistolpositive » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:50 am

This weekend I set-up my first reloader, a Lee Classic 4-hole turret press. While I had some challenges with getting it all together, I was, with the help of youtube able to get it all going satisfactorily.
The Lee Scale is a royal pain to use and I am researching a digital option to it - probably the franklin digital scale I found at Midway. I would gladly accept other options.
One of the main issues I had was simply adjusting the .1 gram scale accurately. Am I missing something here, but identifying the mark for each .1 gram is hard to see.

zuke

Postby zuke » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:53 am

What I did is slide the slider as far to one side as possible,lock it there and carefully put some extra white paint on the raised surface's.
Let it dry slide the slider to the opposite side and repeat.
I've used the same scale almost exclusively for 20 year's.

On closer look, I poped off the slider to paint it.
What I do to set it is take it off the base set it where you want it and lock it in then trickle to that limit.
It is a sensitive scle.
Last edited by zuke on Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TPGS
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Postby TPGS » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:08 pm

ANY good beam scale is a much better option than a digital. Like digital calipers (and micrometers) digital scales are for those who chose not to learn something new and the cost is accuracy.

Look for the Dillon scale to go on sale (I think it is called the eliminator or someting like that) or it's equivelent. Dillon does NOT make this scale. I believe it to be made by Ohaus. So there are many variations out there of it. Like the Lyman (going from memory here), RCBS and even under the Ohaus name.

Stay away from digital. I realize the Lee scale is a little fussy. It is accurate. I would suggest you learn that scale then go to something different.

pistolpositive
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Postby pistolpositive » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:15 pm

TPGS - I might agree on the scales but on the calipers, I am not so sure. We have taken some basic inexpensive digital calipers and verified them with the equipment in the weights-and-measures lab at our plant and they are pretty darn accurate - more accurate then what is required for reloading.
The scales, don't know enough to respond, but even with my bifocals I find using the lee scale challenging.
I will take a look at some beam scales before moving over to and relying on a digital.

motopic
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Postby motopic » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:52 pm

I've got one of those little franklin electronic scales, and a hornady beam scale. The little electronic ones are horrible, they drift constantly, it turns off just as you are about to weigh something, and it needs batteries when you want to use it.

The $70 hornady beam scale is always ready to go and doesn't drift at each weighing.

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Hawkmoon
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Re: Lee scale

Postby Hawkmoon » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:48 pm

pistolpositive wrote:This weekend I set-up my first reloader, a Lee Classic 4-hole turret press. While I had some challenges with getting it all together, I was, with the help of youtube able to get it all going satisfactorily.
The Lee Scale is a royal pain to use and I am researching a digital option to it - probably the franklin digital scale I found at Midway. I would gladly accept other options.
One of the main issues I had was simply adjusting the .1 gram scale accurately. Am I missing something here, but identifying the mark for each .1 gram is hard to see.


It's a vernier. Using something like that requires a bit of practice. You're probably not old enough to have been using calipers back in the days before digitals, before even dial calipers, when all we had were vernier calipers and eyeballing which line aligned with the index was how you got the last significant digit. Micrometers were the same -- they read directly to .001, but the ones that read to .0001 used a vernier scale to get that last decimal place.

The Lee balance beam scale requires a subtle shift in thinking. It IS intended for weighing things -- and it isn't. The Lee beam balance is NOT the instrument you use if you have something of unknown weight and you wish to find out how much it weighs. What the Lee balance scale is for is setting the instrument for the weight you want, then putting your powder pan on it to see if you have the amount of powder you wanted. You're not asking the scale to tell you how much powder you have. You are TELLING the scale how much powder you want, and then using the scale as a GO - NO GO instrument. If the pointer lines up, you're good. If the pointer doesn't line up -- adjust the powder measure and try again.
Last edited by Hawkmoon on Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

pistolpositive
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Postby pistolpositive » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:29 am

That gives me a better insight into digital vs. beam. I will probably just look for a better (read easier to see and use) beam scale and perhaps get me an electronic for testing purposes.
My initial use would be primarily verifying the charges that my lee auto disk is dropping into my cases.
Really appreciate you guys sharing your knowledge.

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:02 am

pistolpositive wrote:My initial use would be primarily verifying the charges that my lee auto disk is dropping into my cases.
Really appreciate you guys sharing your knowledge.

That's what the Lee beam balance is intended for. But to do that, you set the scale for the charge you want to get, then pour the powder into the pan and weigh it. Either the pointer lines up with the zero mark ... or it doesn't. If you know you're looking for 5.3 grains, if it's off it doesn't really matter if it's 5.4 or 5.5 or 5.6 -- you can instantly see you're getting more than you want, so (with the Autodisk) you know you have to back off to the next smaller cavity.

Keep in mind that unless you use the microdisk adapter, it's not possible to get exact weights with the Autodisk unless you get very lucky. Moving from one cavity up or down by one size will change the powder by more than 0.1 grain, typically, so you look for the best compromise -- the closest you can get to what you want without going over the maximum.

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:07 am

pistolpositive wrote:That gives me a better insight into digital vs. beam.

My comments do not apply to all beam balances. The Lee is the only one I know that has a positive lock to hold the setting. Others, such as Dillon, just have notches that the slider drops into. They can be used the same way -- as a GO - NO GO checker for the correct weight, but they are also easier to use for weighing unknown charges by sliding the balance weights until you get a reading.

pistolpositive
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Postby pistolpositive » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:51 am

Do I need something as nice as:
RCBS 1010 Magnetic Powder Scale
Or can I go with any major mfg's balance beam scale that seems to fit my needs. In other words are the $70/80 that much less useful the $130+ scales? This scale does reference 1/10th grain, while some have indicated .1 gram.

pistolpositive
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Postby pistolpositive » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:06 am

Now I did pick up a set of digital calipers - performance tools - that were inexpensive (about $20). Just verified them on a half-inch standard and my calipers read 0.499. I can live with that.
While I am in Houston this weekend, I intend to look around at some scales.

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daboone
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Postby daboone » Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:32 pm

The VERY BEST advise for the use of the Lee Safety Scale has been right here: http://forums.loadmastervideos.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=59&highlight=scale

There is a lot of bitching about the Safety Scale but it is a very fine and accurate scale. I gotta agree with a previous poster, a beam scale is a MUST! Indeed I think you need 2, one as a back up just to make sure as a double check from time to time. Just as the guy with 2 watches never knows exactly what time it is, even 2 lee scale will rarely agree perfectly. But a tenth of a grain assurance is better than no comparison and wondering if you scale is going to give reliable loads. Better to be safe than sorry, injured or dead.

Another thing I like about beam scales is they "warm up" faster than electronic. :)

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:32 pm

I have two of each -- a Lee balance and a Dillon balance (which I was given, by a friend who had three -- he gave me one that needed to be refurbished), and two electronic scales. One of the electronic scales is useless -- it eats batteries so fast that keeping it fed would eliminate any savings realized from reloading. The other one works, but I'm an analog person stuck in a digital world. You have to READ the digital scale -- with the beam balance, if the pointer aligns on the index mark, I'm good to go.

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:48 pm

pistolpositive wrote:Do I need something as nice as:
RCBS 1010 Magnetic Powder Scale
Or can I go with any major mfg's balance beam scale that seems to fit my needs. In other words are the $70/80 that much less useful the $130+ scales? This scale does reference 1/10th grain, while some have indicated .1 gram.

What will you be reloading? Rifle and pistol, or only pistol?

The Natchez catalog shows me an RCBS RC-130 beam balance for $42.95. It handles up to 130 grains in weight, and is accurate to +/- .01 grain (I think that's a misprint -- I think it's really 0.1 grain).

From there you move up to the Model 5-0-2 scale for $69.95, the Model 5-0-5 for $88.49, or the Model 10-10 for $144.95. ALL are accurate to the same 0.1 grain. The difference is that the 5-0-2 has a capacity of 505 grains, the 5-0-5 has a capacity of 511 grains, and the 10-10 has a capacity of 1010 grains. If you don't need to weigh charges heavier than 130 grains, why spend extra money for an extended range you'll never use?

The Dillon "Eliminator" beam balance scale has a capacity of 511 grains, is accurate to +/- 0.1 grains, and sells for $54.95 on Dillon's web site.
Last edited by Hawkmoon on Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pistolpositive
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Postby pistolpositive » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:18 pm

Visiting family in Houston I ran across a store called 10ring - it has just about all the lee equipment made. What a store. Anyway, I went ahead and bought the RCBS 505 scale - looked at the 1010. They have the electronic scale I want (the Frankford Arsenal model) and may go back and get it tomorrow (they are open on Sunday - cool).
Kind of an odd thing about zeroing out the RCBS 505 - you set the three "dials) to 0 and then if the scale is not registering balanced you adjust a leg to raise or lower it. Learned that after I got it home - at the store a couple of veteran reloaders, myself and store staff could not figure it out (none of would open the two page manual). They simply moved one of the adjusters to the left.
I won't give up on the Lee scale, but have another scale now.
Paid a couple of dollars more for the 505 - $92. In hindsight, probably should have purchased the smaller one.


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