Recently my RCBS Powder Pro digital scale went out of whack. It will no longer hold zero, weighing low by 0.6 grain or so within a few minutes of calibration. It also constantly asks me to press the "tare" key (that is, re-zero it), when it's just sitting there with nothing in the pan.
Powder Pros were originally made by PACT Inc. for RCBS. While PACT touts a "lifetime warranty" on their website, they wanted to charge $44 to $74 (depending on repairs required) to fix my scale. So I said, to hell with it, I'll just buy a new scale (of a different brand!).
I visited Sportsman's Warehouse today to shop for a replacement. I walked out with a Hornady GS-1500 electronic scale.
It was only $30 and change. Normally I would be suspicious of a scale so cheap. But it sure looked like a better deal than the other electronic scales, which were all $90 and up.
I'm not ecstatic about the fact that the GS-1500 runs only on AAA batteries. But at least it came with a set, and I doubt I will have to replace them very often. Also, I know that running on batteries eliminates some common causes of scale inaccuracy and malfunction, such as electrical noise on the circuit where the AC adapter is plugged in. Batteries give a nice, smooth, slowly decreasing voltage. The LCD readout is backlit, which doesn't hurt. The scale turns off automatically if not used, so I shouldn't be able to accidentally run down the batteries.
One thing I really like is the aluminum powder pan. The Powder Pro had a plastic pan, which I never liked. Several flakes of powder always stuck to it when I dumped it out. Metal pans usually don't have that problem.
The 100 g check weight that came with the scale, as well as the 20 g and 50 g check weights that came with the Powder Pro, weigh within a reasonable tolerance. When in "grams" mode, the GS-1500 shows 3 decimal places. That's rather ambitious, so I take the final digit with a grain of salt. I only needed 0.1 grain accuracy anyway, which is 0.0064 grams. The GS-1500 judged my "20 gram" check weight at 19.995 grams, within the advertised +/- 0.1 grain (0.006 g) tolerance. That's assuming my 20g check weight is exactly 20.000g, which is almost certainly isn't. Results were similar for the 50g and 100g check weights.
Curiously, the GS-1500 will also indicate weight in carats. Perhaps the GS-1500 was originally designed as a gemological scale.
Yes, it's a cheap scale, and I may well regret the purchase. I expect to decide whether I can live with it before the Sportsman's Warehouse's 30-day money back guarantee expires. I'll know more once I actually do some reloading. Further updates here if anything significant occurs.
OK so I spent some time with the GS-1500, my Redding mechanical scale, and the check weights. I also used the GS-1500's aluminum powder scale as an improvised "check weight" for the lower range of both scales (it weighs 120.4 grains). Again, the GS-1500 was consistently within 0.1 gr of the mechanical scale's reading. Most often, it agreed exactly. So the GS-1500 should do.
The true test will come tomorrow, when I actually weigh some powder. I will be down in the very low range of the scale, around 4-6 grains. That is the range of powder charges where I most often operate, because most of my Bullseye recipes for .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 10mm Auto are there.
I will have to back you up on this.
I've owned this scale for a couple of months now and have been very happy with it.
It's been used with quite a few pounds of H335 , then a couple of H110.
I still need to try it with some Bullseye I have, but at the 24.5 range it's been on the money.Seems to be my go to scale.
I know there is better more expensive ones ,but for the price well worth it. JMO
Thanks, it's always good to hear from other people using the same gear.
As an experiment, I took my old Powder Pro scale into another room & re-calibrated it there. Naturally, I now can't get it to do what it was doing before. At least not with the check weights. It figures. Could be it's only going to have a problem in the very low-weight range where I was using it for the last few years. Even if the Powder Pro does "work" fine now, I'm not sure I trust it, and it doesn't do me any good if I have to go to another room to use it. I wouldn't even like having it on another table in my reloading room. My powder scale needs to be within arm's reach when I'm sitting at my press.
I noticed the GS-1500 has an extra battery compartment and contacts for 2 more AAA's. Wonder what that's about? Mine also had a piece of foam stuck in this extra compartment.
I've now used my GS-1500 quite a bit. I'm still happy with it & will keep it.
Between my initial post and now, I borrowed a set of real check weights & put both the GS-1500 and my Redding mechanical scale to the test.
As expected, the mechanical scale was the more accurate one. The GS-1500 did no worse than I would have expected, reading within 0.1 gr. of the Redding scale's number.
The GS-1500 is nowhere near as jumpy as my RCBS Powder Pro was. The Powder Pro's reading would jump all around at the slightest disturbance, yet it wasn't any more accurate than the GS-1500 has proven to be. I could buy two replacement GS-1500s - plus batteries - for what PACT wanted to repair my Powder Pro.
So what I do now is, I use the mechanical scale if I want to know exactly what my powder dispenser is throwing. For example, when I've just adjusted the chamber volume, or suspect I'm not getting consistent throws. I use the GS-1500 mostly to confirm the throw weight at intervals.
I can also use the GS-1500 to weigh bullets, and other relatively heavy things, for which being off by 0.1 gr. is no problem. Its maximum capacity is about 1543 grains (100 grams), allowing me to weigh heavier things than the Powder Pro could handle (it maxed out at about half that).
The GS-1500 is a handy tool.
my first one was a lemon, hornady sent me a new one. it works fine. reloaded some fine ammo with it, but i would [ersonally prefer a larger scale, but thats not really the point of this