Recently we have seen many seasoned reloaders move over from good old fashioned balance beam scales, to the modern electronic scales, or even electronic auto-tricklers or auto dispensers, believing that they offer modern technology and improved accuracy. This unfortunately is not always the case, and there are a few reasons why. For this post, we will be focusing on one of the most common problems ammunition reloaders encounter with electronic powder scales, and that is interference from static electricity during reloading, and what makes the most accurate reloading scale.
Static electricity causes the powder to cling to the sides of the components like the pouring bowl of the scale and the case funnel that it is poured through into the cartridge. This could often cause some of the measure powder to stay behind either in the scale bowl, or the funnel, causing the load weight to be lower than measured.
The other major headache that static electricity causes, is for the reading of the electronic scales to be out, drifting zero, changing readings when you bring your fingers close and so forth. This has caused endless hours of frustration for many reloaders, and can sometimes even become quite dangerous, as I personally have had a very accurate scale under read by 2 whole grains, which could easily push the load of a cartridge over the maximum pressure threshold and cause serious problems or harm. Usually the static electricity would not cause that great variation in reading, but I have personally had it, just showing that it can occur. But even under or over reading by less than that can be problematic.
For many reloaders or hand loaders, 0.2gr or more out, would not be a train smash, and for normal hunting rounds, where the average distances animals are hunted at range between 60 to 160 yards, it certainly would not matter that much. But for the bench rest, or competition shooter, that makes all the difference, and having something as simple as static electricity causing your load accuracy to be out by 0.2 or more grain, defeats the whole purpose of load development for shooting accuracy.
Static electricity is caused when objects or persons pic up a charge because or either friction of moving along a surface, or from touching an object that already is holding a charge. Static electricity often only becomes a problem during very dry seasons or climates, as during more humid seasons, the humidity in the air absorbs the charge and the static electricity dissipates.
One of the easiest solutions then to prevent static electricity problems, is then to place a humidifier in the room during a dry season, before loading, to keep the humidity to around the 50% mark. Be careful during very wet and humid seasons, or with your humidifiers not to take the humidity in your reloading room up to much higher than 50%, as this could cause components to rust more easily, and cause your gun powder to clump together.
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If your static is a major problem in your reloading room, caused by magnetic fields acting on it or fluorescent tube lights or other sources, you can even go so far as placing a anti-static mat on your reloading bench to work on, and a anti-static bracelet around your wrist that you are working on. There then connect through wires to either an earth in your wall electric socket, or to a metal or copper plumbing pipe in your house, both of which will prevent the static charge by earthing it. These are usually found at computer stores, as they are used by technicians working in ESD safe-rooms on sensitive computer hardware.
We have mostly found that just removing most other interfering electronic devices from the room, and keeping the humidity to 50% during the dry season has kept our static electricity problems during reloading to a minimum.
More often than not, when considering what is the most accurate reloading scale, it is not necessarily just about the scale itself. As some of the modern electronic scales can be more accurate and much more sensitive than traditional balance scales, but that accuracy is only achieved through precise sensitivity and that sensitivity is too reliant and affected by other external factors, like magnetic field and static electricity. These problems are not much of an issue for a traditional reloading balance scale, so under most circumstances the balance reloading scale proves more consistently accurate.
Although not offering the smaller decimal precision of many modern most accurate digital scale for reloading, we often find that the most accurate powder scale for reloading is the one that can provide consistent results under all circumstances, and for that, nothing beats this traditional reloading balance scale from Ohaus. The same manufacturers of the now legendary RCBS 505, this is exactly the same scale, just with Ohaus’ own branding.
For most circumstances, this is without a doubt our choice for the most accurate powder scale for reloading if you require consistency no matter the weather.
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