Measuring the correct amount of gun powder when reloading ammunition, is one of the most important aspects of accurate rifle shooting. Without consistent powder weights in cartridges, repeatable precise shots aren’t possible. The whole point of load development, is to find a powder charge measurement that works for your rifle, and that measurement is done as weight of powder measured in grains.
A correctly functioning, accurate and precisely repeatable reloading powder scale is one of the main essential pieces of reloading equipment. When it comes to measurement technology, most often assume newer, electronic equipment is better, but that is not always the case, although it may very well be sometimes. Let’s explore the best powder scales for reloading updated for 2021, with reloading scale reviews for each of them.
- Best Reloading Scales
- Reloading Powder Scale Buying Guide
- FAQs About Reloading Powder Scales
1. Best Reloading Scales
If you do not want to read through the entire write up, we can tell you now that the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Precision Scale is best digital reloading scale for 2021 of all the models we compared, both for the price and for the feature and portability it offers to reloaders and rifle shooters.
The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Precision scale, is winner of best gun powder scale and the best electronic reloading scale on this comparison. It offers features found in scales twice it’s price, runs off 110V, 220V or 4 x AAA batteries so you can take it with you to use in any country, and even at a remote range where there is no power for benchrest shooters that load in the field.
This 4 x AAA battery power option, together with the 0.01 gram accuracy offered by this scale, also make it our winner for the best reloading scale for benchrest rifle shooters.
It includes calibration weights and a hard plastic protective storage and carry case.
If precision handloading and precision or long range rifle shooting is what you do, then a mechanical reloading scale is a must have as stated below.
Ohaus was the manufacturer or the old RCBS 505 balance beam scale that garnered a loyal following for it’s precision and accuracy. This Ohaus 505 reloading scale is our choice for the best reloading beam scale in 2021 due to it’s accuracy, precision, repeatability, built quality and affordable price.
This would also be our choice for the best powder scale under $100.
Although small, light low cost, we have found this little pocket scale to be significantly more accurate and consistent than the other small scales usually found in the reloading kits and bundles.
The 0.1 grain accuracy should be enough for even the most advanced long range rifle shooters if they have the other variations in their reloading method low.
Just keep in mind if you live in a dry climate, the plastic powder tray may be more susceptible to static electricity than metal powder trays.
If you shoot any sort of precision rifle matches like the NRL or PRS rifle shooting, or if you own a semi-auto rifle like an AR-15 or AR-10, then an electronic powder dispenser is an absolute must!
It will safe you a tremendous amount of time and effort especially if you load more than 50 cartridges at a time.
This new Hornady Auto Charge Pro is our choice for the best electronic powder dispenser for 2021. This new model is more accurate than the previous Hornady Auto Charge, and does not require the infamous straw mod that the previous model and other model required to be accurate. It is quieter, faster and more accurate.
We have had to include this scale in this new 2021 comparison review, because we have always kept getting the same question, “What is the most accurate reloading scale?”. Well, this Ohaus SPX123 is the most accurate reloading scale, and also the best digital powder scale.
Although there may be slightly more accurate, they come at prices ten times that of this unit, and the minute accuracy advantage they offer, is too small to pick up even in indoor benchrest matches. This is the best of the best precision reloading scale.
For the money, this Ohaus SPX123 Scout Portable Scale is the most accurate powder scale for reloading you will find. The 0.001g accuracy is far smaller than you will ever be able to notice given the other variables with a cartridge and rifle. But, if ultimate accuracy is your goal, this is the most accurate digital scale for reloading.
2. Reloading Powder Scale Buying Guide
2.1 Digital Reloading Scale or Balance Beam Reloading Scale
The best would be to have both, because scales have two uses. There are two kinds of reloading scales, balance-beam scales and digital scales such as the Frankford scale. Each suited to different uses. I have two and use both of them.
A scale can be used to determine the mass or weight of something, like how much does a quarter, a particular bullet or a gem weigh. An electronic reloading scale is excellent and gives accurate weights within seconds. Pick the thing up and put it back to confirm. They are accurate, consistent, and easy to use.
A mechanical reloading scale takes more time because, rather than telling what something weighs it tells whether your guess is high or low, then you adjust your guess accordingly, put it on again and wait for the scale to settle and repeat until the scale confirms you have finally guessed right. Something taking minutes with a balance beam scale takes only a few seconds with a digital scale.
Scales can also used to accumulate the desired amount of something like the exact amount of gunpowder or propellant to the milligram. So say for instance that I want 40.6 grains of powder; with a balance beam scale I add until the scale moves, then trickle more in slowly until the scale indicates it holds the desired amount. This may take a minute or so, but a good balance beam scale responds immediately to each bit of material added and so precise measurements are easy to obtain and stop at due to the speed and method used.
Digital reloading scales don’t respond to small changes as quickly until they suddenly report that you have possibly added too much. A relatively inexpensive electronic reloading scale will report that I have added 40.4 grains of powder, then I add a bit more, no change, a bit more, no change, a bit more, then the scale suddenly reports I have 40.7 grains, too much. If you have to do this a few times to get the exact accurate desired amount, then it may sometimes take longer than with a a mechanical or balance beam reloading scale.
For most this precision is unnecessary so a digital scale works great, if absolute precision is your goal, get both types of scale.
2.2 Importance of Decimal Accuracy
Many companies or barstool reloaders like to brag about the 0.00001 grain accuracy of their expensive reloading scales. Let us use a quickly calculate how much of an affect the 1/ 10th of a grain variance makes to a cartridge when shot, as most of the inexpensive reloading scales only go to 0.1grain accuracy.
If the load data for one cartridge is 25.0 grains to achieve 3,200 FPS muzzle velocity, this will mean 25.0 grains = 3,200 FPS. This means that each one (1) grain should theoretically be responsible for 128 FPS velocity and a variation in a tenth of a grain should be 12.8 FPS variation. Very seldom will even experienced reloaders focused in precision rifle shooting achieve an extreme spread (ES) of 12.8 fps in a string of shots. So if you feel you need to pay more than what the 0.1 grain accuracy entry level scales like the small Frankford Arsenal DS-750 above offers, just make sure the rest of your precision reloading process has smaller deviations or variation than that, otherwise you will be wasting your money.
3. FAQs About Reloading Powder Scales
3.1 Most accurate powder scale for reloading
That award goes to the Ohaus SPX123 Scout Portable Scale which offers 0.001g accuracy.
3.2 Best reloading scale for the money
Depending on your goal, we would choose either the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Precision Scale if you want an electronic reloading scale, or the OHAUS 5-0-5 Reloading Beam Scale if you prefer the best mechanical reloading scale.
3.3 The most accurate gun powder scale and dispenser
The award would go to the Hornady Auto Charge Pro above.
3.4 How do I ensure consistent measurments?
- 1) Keep the powder pan centered on the pad as possible.
- 2) Jiggle the pan LIGHTLY before placing it on the pad to spread the powder to evenly coat the pan surface.
- 3) Wait 5 seconds after placing the pan on the pad for the reading to settle.
Load Development: Marking Your Shots
One challenges most reloaders and hand loaders encounter, is how to mark the correct sequence of shots, and their speeds, when shooting at longer distance. We show you how.
Fast Automated DOPE Rangecard
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Correct Setup and Use of a Chronograph
Without your bullet velocity, accurate load development is not possible. A chronograph, needs to be used correctly in order to obtain the correct velocity.
Best Hand Priming Tool
Finding the best hand priming tool for reloading is important is you want to eliminate the variables in your quest for precision reloading and rifle shooting.
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Static Electricity Reloading Problems
Static electricity can cause havoc with your electronic reloading scale, however there is an easy way to get rid of it.