Marlin Firearms Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started reloading a couple years ago after purchasing a Lyman kit from Midway USA...load mostly for .30-06 and .243. I have all the dies and accessories to load for .30-30 but have yet to roll my own...however, they are are on my to do list! My Lyman kit came with a powder dispenser that I've never used...I've opted to trickle the charge by hand and weigh it on the balance beam scale (Lyman Pro 500). This is a slow and tedious process but, it helps to insure that I don't overcharge a load, and for the most part I just enjoy doing it this way. Lately I've been doing some research on electronic scales and came across an RCBS Chargemaster 1500 at Natchez Shooting Supply for $289.95 plus $15.00 shipping...for the time that I've been looking at different electronic scales and/or dispensers; this is a decent price for this particular model. I'm not interested in how fast I can reload but, if I can improve on my weight and consistency with each load, I wouldn't mind doing so. I'm just wondering if this system is worth the investment?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,015 Posts
I am anxious to see what response you get on this PWB. I have thought about doing the same thing. I weigh all of my charges with the balance beam scales to get them all as close to the same as possible. Some say they are accurate and some have said that they can malfunction too often. Would it be worth putting out that much money and find that there would be problems using them?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
99 Posts
I have been reloading for almost 30 years and I have tried beam scales, powder measures, tricklers, dippers, etc. I use Varget exclusively in my match rifles and that powder is not well suited for powder measures. Well, not if you wanted an accurate consistent load. The precision demands of F-class competition caused me to revamp my handloading technique and equipment but when it came time to powder the cases, my technique of dropping a short load with the measure and then trickling up on the scale was too time consuming and frankly it was a royal pain in the butt; it was slow and tedious.

Four years ago, Mrs. Pegasus gifted me with a Charge Master 1500 for Christmas. What a machine. But like any other very sensitive piece of equipment, one has to get used to it and not fight it. You have to learn its idiosyncrasies. The first thing you need to do is read the manual. It’s not a big manual but you need to read it so you can learn the features because some of them are very useful.

Then CM1500 is a VERY sensitive device and it does NOT like to be disturbed while it’s doing its work. What this means is that you should put it on a table that is not in any way connected to your reloading bench. I do not care how sturdy you think your bench is, put the CM1500 on a side table or something. Trust me on this. Next, make sure you do not have a fan or a ventilation duct pointing at the device. It is also a good idea to leave your cell phone in another room or at least several feet away from the unit. It is also a good idea to not have dirty electrical equipment on the same circuit as the CM. Things like vacuum cleaners, fluorescent lights, etc. If that can’t be helped, you might want to invest in a power filter or a computer battery pack. This may be stretching it, but remember you have a device that is going to dispense and measure the weight of granules less than 1/70,000th of a pound. Your attention to the setup will be rewarded.

Plug the machine in before using it and turn it on. Give it a few minutes to become acclimated to its surroundings as you get your other stuff ready. When you are ready to proceed, go ahead and perform the calibration; I do it every time I use the scale. Then load the pan on the platen and zero the weight. My scale pan weighs 146.9 grains. I always look for that weight before hitting the zero button. Just another check.

Next, enter your desired load on the keypad and then hit dispense. The tube will spin rapidly at first, then it slows down and the proper amount is poured out. When the weight is stable, the CM will beep, the display will change and the number of the load will be shown for an instant and then the display will show the weight. I always wait for everything to finish before touching the pan. While I am waiting, I have a case in my hand and I have brushed its neck and placed a funnel over the mouth. I then pick up the pan and drop the contents in the case using the funnel. I put the pan back on the platen in the scale and I turn to my press, put the case in the shellholder, pick up a bullet and I seat the bullet in the case. I do a final inspection on the finished cartridge and I put it in the ammo box and pick up the next case. Then I turn over to the CM and usually it has finished dispensing the next load by that time. You see, I run the CM in automatic mode. While I am fussing with the charged case and the bullet, it’s doing its work. It starts dispensing the powder when you replace the empty pan on the scale and to me, apart from its speed and precision, the auto-dispensing feature is the best thing ever. I just pick up the filled pan, dump the contents in the funneled case, put the empty pan back on and the CM whirrs to life.

As you get used to it, you get into a rhythm and production gets moving. Every once in a while, the CM will throw .1 grain and on rare occasions even .2 grain over. With Varget, all I do is pick out a few kernels and the weight is back to my target weight. I have had it undershoot by .1 grain maybe two or three times since I’ve been using it. When that happens, just hit the trickle button, don’t hold it down. You will soon notice there is a lag between the dropping of powder and the detection of the added weight, it’s not long but it’s there. So don’t rush it, just take that into account. Give it time to do its work.

There are all manners of tricks on the Internet to make it work “better” or “faster”. You will read about special codes or using McDonald’s straws or pencil erasers. I use none of these tricks; my device is exactly as it was when I took it out of its box four and a half years ago. I have loaded several thousand rounds of F-class match ammo and I believe that if it were not for this device I would have had more difficulty reaching my classification. The precision requirements for the ammo are extremely demanding and you need a lot of it. I travel a great deal and it’s not easy loading match ammo after getting off a plane the night before a match. I keep several hundred cases in play in various stages of preparation and then using the CM1500, I can load highly precise match ammo for a match in less than one hour, where this could take me 2-3 hours with the dump and trickle method.

As far as I am concerned, the Charge Master 1500 is THE device for loading gobs of precision ammunition. Nothing better has come along on the last several years but this does not mean it cannot be improved on. Currently, it’s the best, certainly in that price range. And RCBS customer service is hard to beat, though I have not had to use it for this device so far
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Peagasus...thanks for your response...I've read several reviews and posts concerning the Chargemaster and comments about the sensitivity seems be a common issue but not a problem...I've seen several post where others recommended using the CM in a location separated or away from your reloading bench due to the vibration, same with lights, fans or anything that may cause a disturbance or vibration...I guess it attest to the accuracy of the scale that it would be that sensitive...at any rate the check is in the mail today and I should have it in about a week or so...when I have it up and running I'll post some results and let y'all know how it preforms.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
99 Posts
PWB, you are totally correct. It is a very sensitive instrument by its very nature. Treat it well and you will wonder how you ever got along without it.

I look forward to your first impressions, I think you will enjoy this device.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
784 Posts
PWB ,
Well looks like you've made your decision and so this doesn't matter , but having owned the RCBS charge master combo for about 4 years and then it failed , ( l left it on over night which is a NO-NO and apparently it screwed up the electronics in it ) and RCBS does not warrant their machine for this after a year , and it PO'd me so bad l went out and bought a Hornady LNL powder dispenser to replace the RCBS . The Hornady was so inaccurate after a month l just quit fighting it and got rid of it.
The RCBS is accurate and l never have had it under charge a load yet but it will over drop up to .2 grain as Pegasus has said but it doesn't happen very much and is easily remedied . Pegasus' account is spot on and very good description . My count in 4 1/2 years using it is over 20,000 rounds which really isn't that much but it is all that time has allowed me to shoot.
RCBS warranty is not impressive !!!!!!!!! Dillon warranty is impressive !!!!!!!!!But and it is a big but the ChargeMaster is impressive , not quite worth the money but it is accurate and that makes up a lot of ground.
Pegasus,
Your accounting of this machine is exact . You have done a great service to anyone reading this to find out about this machine
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
377 Posts
While looking at the RCBS Chargemaster, I noticed the Smartreloader Digital Scale & Dispenser. It's listed at $164.99. Anybody have any experience with it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,422 Posts
I can second the response from Peagasus. keep it on a separate stand and make sure it is level. Mine would not feed powder and I couldn't figure it out, I moved it back a little and bingo, it worked perfect. Having it just a bit high on one corner and it wouldn't dispense powder.

Follow what other have said and it works great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
882 Posts
rockridge said:
While looking at the RCBS Chargemaster, I noticed the Smartreloader Digital Scale & Dispenser. It's listed at $164.99. Anybody have any experience with it?
I bought a Smartreloader Priming tool once! It was a Chinese p.o.s.! I sent it back without priming a single case.
M.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
445 Posts
Outfitter said:
<snip>...l went out and bought a Hornady LNL powder dispenser to replace the RCBS . The Hornady was so inaccurate after a month l just quit fighting it and got rid of it.
I have the Hornady, and haven't had any problems with it, other than it being VERY slow. Even when set on high speed, I can seat a bullet, go back into the house, get a cola from the fridge, and walk back to the bench (behind the house), before it has dispensed the powder for the next cartridge. I timed it once, and it was over two minutes to dispense 14gr of TrailBoss. Now, granted that this gives me enough time to make sure I don't miss anything, but it is a little annoying.

As for throwing off-weight charges, I've had two .2gr overweights in the last month, and I can live with that.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
99 Posts
Two minutes to dispense 14gr of Trail Boss? You are a much more patient man than I. I would have dropped kicked that bozo machine already. My CM1500 takes about 20 seconds to dispense my 44+gr match load of Varget. When on a roll, I get about 2 cartridges powder-charged and bullet-seated per minute.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
377 Posts
Thanks 80HP !!

That's about what I thought might be the case.

Ed
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,841 Posts
In the Reloading Stickies section there is a decent video of the Chargemaster Combo in action. Warn out for that feller's Texas/Okie drawl though.

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
"I'm not interested in how fast I can reload but, if I can improve on my weight and consistency with each load, I wouldn't mind doing so. I'm just wondering if this system is worth the investment?"

For the purposes you state, NO.

What could possibly be more consistant than what you're already doing, and you already do it with far less fussiness and much greater long-term reliability, never mind paying some $300+ for absolutely no gain in what you can accomplish without it. Set up your Lyman measure, learn to use it correctly and you can speed things up to a draw with most digital dumpsters.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top