"When a person that should be the expert in a given field offers his opinion I listen. So your qualifications seem great but I don't totally understand your statement . Would you please expound on your 2nd sentence and then tell me what you use."
Well, okay, that's valid. But I had hoped to save energy!
I use an old beam type, Lyman M-5 made by Ohaus. The current RCBS 1010 is virtually the same thing and it's also made by Ohaus. But, what I use and what works just as well mine is different. Actually, ANY magnetically damped beam powder scale is just as good, anything from Reddings to others from RCBS, etc. Well, maybe not Lee's little "Safety Scale"; even tho it's really quite accurate and sensitive, it's so light and small that the ergonomics aren't much.
Any beam scale will last a hunded years - or more - unless it's abused and will do so with the same accuracy and sensitivity the whole time. My old scale reads a 260.9 gr. test weight exactly the same today as it did when I first opened the box in '65.
Beams are driven by gravity so they don't change with powder line voltage or noise, ambient temperature, external magnetic fields, etc. and don't, as MikeG rightly suggests, need an expensive eternal computer type power conditioner. Beam scales only need be zeroed ONCE (unless moved and there's rarely any reason for that). And not calibrated at all, the calibration is built into the mechanism and it doesn't change over the life of the instrument.
So, what does anyone hope to gain from a digital? Accuracy? All of them claim accuracy/sensitivity to .1 gr. and, believe me, that's more accuracy than reloaders really need. But that's also the accuracy of any beam scale so accuracy is a wash.
Speed? Maybe, in some applications, but not for weighting powder charges. I mean a digital IS a fast way to weigh bullets and cases, anything that varies more than the +/- .5 gr a beam scale shows. But few of us do that, not for long anyway. A swinging magnetic beam settles in two swings, a couple of seconds. How much slower than instantaneous is that in the real world? And a LOT of digitals take at least a full second to actually settle on a single reading so they lose half of their supposed advantage. Worse, to me, is many digitals are reluctant to follow trickled-up charges in real time, at least some have a time lag between the drop and showing it so it's easy to over-trickle and have to remove a bit to make it right. Time saver? Bah.
Easier to read? I suppose it's theoritically easier to read a number than to see where the pointer is, like a digital watch is "faster" than an old one, but for the life of me I can't understand it really making any difference. Guess I've just been using real clocks and watches and scales so long they are easy for me. ??
Are beam scales "hard to see?" Maybe. Especially if they are sitting down on (or under? ) the bench top (as they are in a lot of web sites and many advertising photos) but that's not where they belong! They shouldbesetting on a shelf that raises them to maybe chin/nose high. Poor tool location isn't the tool's fault!
Hard to use? What I usually see on web bench photos is some of the poorest reloading tool/scale locations possible. Many could only be worse if they did mount their tools under the bench! Make for a smooth work flow for yourself when mounting tools. Put the press where it's wanted, place a manual powder dispenser hard stand behind the press and turn it so the measure itself is easy to reach and use without moving, put the scale and a dribbler to the left of the measure so it is also easy to see and reach. That will leave room on the bench for a loading block and bullet box, right where they are easy to use too. With the major tools placed like that, we can size, prime, dispense charges, weight them, seat bullets without moving a step.
I've never watched any of my younger friends with digital powder dumpsters load much faster than me with my all manual tools. And at what price do they match me?
We often make a lot of things hard on ourselves, it's not so much the tools. And, if we take into consideration all the time they spend "warming up, zeroing, calibrating" their super time savers I think I'm faster for at least one or two boxes of rifle ammo. And I NEVER weigh pistol charges after setting my old Redding Master measure. I don't have too, it never moves. So, it looks to me like how much is gained by a digital anything (which for sure won't possibly last as long as my original tools which are still going) is mostly a measure of how poor the loaders work process is.
I also belive the current digital scales/dumpsters are VASTLY over priced. The makers must be rolling around laffing at the profit margins they get for the flaky things. I remember when four function hand calculators sold for over $400 dollars, mostly because some guys just had to have the latest gimmic no matter the price. Last such calculator I bought is sitting in my shirt pocket, I paid $1 for it and that was plenty. Well, I actually bought my first one when they finally dropped to $10 but thought that was excessive and the current prices proves I was right.
Figger all a powder scale has to be off is once and I may never care again. So, maybe I'll eventually buy a digital scale for weighting cases, after they drop to $10, but I'll still use my beam for powder.
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