scale check weight ??

This is a discussion on scale check weight ?? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Do I really need to spend 35-50 dollars on check weights for my scale? couldn't I just use something like a marbel, factory loaded round, ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    scale check weight ??

    Do I really need to spend 35-50 dollars on check weights for my scale? couldn't I just use something like a marbel, factory loaded round, lead fishing weight, ect. ect. as long as when ever I put it back on the scale I keep getting the exact same reading I would know that it has not changed right? I have the lee scale that came with my press but it has no check weights and I don't feel like spending the money on weights if I don't have to, rather use the money on maybe a better scale or other equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by usmc0811 View Post
    Do I really need to spend 35-50 dollars on check weights for my scale? couldn't I just use something like a marbel, factory loaded round, lead fishing weight, ect. ect. as long as when ever I put it back on the scale I keep getting the exact same reading I would know that it has not changed right? I have the lee scale that came with my press but it has no check weights and I don't feel like spending the money on weights if I don't have to, rather use the money on maybe a better scale or other equipment.
    If you know someone else who has a scale and check weights you can use that person's scale to weigh an object you have and then use that object as your own check weight.

    As I have and use multiple scales I acquired a set of check weights. I encourage you to do the same.

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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    No. Just remember to start over at the min/start load each time you change components, buy new components, buy new scale - anytime something changes, including if you drop your scale. Don't go over max load and watch for pressure signs and you'll be fine. A few airgun pellets that weigh the same might be more appropriate as a check weight for powder charges if you want to be a bit more anal about it.
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    Get a new penny and weigh it. Should be 38.575 (38.6) grains (2.5 grams).

    Weigh 1 - 2 - and 3 to check the scale over a wide range. The main thing you want is repeatability more so than accuracy. If you weigh a penny five times and you get 38.4 every time, you know your scale is "consistently" .1-.2 grains off and you can compensate accordingly. Worse is inconsistency, with each weighing varying. The you can never be sure of accuracy. A scale that is "accurate within .1 grain" may read 38.7 one time, 38.5 the next, 38.6 the time after that, etc. The inconsistency makes fine tuning a load difficult.
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    Member Array noylj's Avatar
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    If you NEEDED check weights, they would come with the balance. Most digitals come with an adequate weight for calibration.
    The proper use of a set of check weights is for yearly calibration. One goes through all combinations of weights and plots the "actual" weight vs the measured weight so you can "correct" any measurement to what the check weights would have given.
    I don't know of anyone doing so. That, and I see people actually touching their check weights or polishing their calibration weights...
    Yes, you can take a penny into a lab and have someone weigh it for you. However, what does that tell you? You would still need a plot of several weights to actually be able to "correct" your reading and your loads are all based on your balance any way, so who cares?
    It is just another thing to sell you that is of very little help and more as a source of frustration.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmc0811 View Post
    Do I really need to spend 35-50 dollars on check weights for my scale? couldn't I just use something like a marbel, factory loaded round, lead fishing weight, ect. ect. as long as when ever I put it back on the scale I keep getting the exact same reading I would know that it has not changed right? I have the lee scale that came with my press but it has no check weights and I don't feel like spending the money on weights if I don't have to, rather use the money on maybe a better scale or other equipment.
    YES, you need check weights, but NO, you don't need to spend that kind of money. If you search for "check weights" or "calibration weights" you'll find plenty of sources which are affordable, and realistically you need 2 or 3, not a whole set. For example, McMaster-Carr will sell you a 1 gram stainless steel weight for $6.

    Where you need to be careful is in the selection of which weights. You want check weights ideally at the low end, upper end, and mid-range of the charges you'll be weighing. Recognize that an error of a few tenths of a grain might be disastrous if you're loading 9mm, but if you're loading .30-06 the tolerance band is more like a grain or two.

    If you are loading pistol rounds, you probably need a check weight in the 5 grain range, and that's one-third of a gram. You can find half gram weights, and that should be close enough.

    What you don't want to do is to to grab just any old thing, weigh it, and set it aside as a check weight. Any material that is prone to corrosion (e.g., copper, silver, iron) makes a lousy check weight. Stainless steel or possibly aluminum, and gold for certain are stable with respect to corrosion.

    If you can't afford real calibrated weights, lengths of stainless steel wire and small stainless fasteners (think washers, nuts) could be weighed and kept on hand. Using someone else's uncalibrated reloading scale won't give you the reliable calibration you want; ideally, the precision and accuracy of a jeweler's scale (probably good to 0.01 grams) is necessary to establish the weight of your check weights.
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    Senior Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    Use factory bullets with KNOWN weights to check scales. Or---a full sized asprin tablet weighs 5 gr.

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    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    I use and recommend them.
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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    YES, you need check weights, but NO, you don't need to spend that kind of money. If you search for "check weights" or "calibration weights" you'll find plenty of sources which are affordable, and realistically you need 2 or 3, not a whole set. For example, McMaster-Carr will sell you a 1 gram stainless steel weight for $6.

    Where you need to be careful is in the selection of which weights. You want check weights ideally at the low end, upper end, and mid-range of the charges you'll be weighing. Recognize that an error of a few tenths of a grain might be disastrous if you're loading 9mm, but if you're loading .30-06 the tolerance band is more like a grain or two.

    If you are loading pistol rounds, you probably need a check weight in the 5 grain range, and that's one-third of a gram. You can find half gram weights, and that should be close enough.

    What you don't want to do is to to grab just any old thing, weigh it, and set it aside as a check weight. Any material that is prone to corrosion (e.g., copper, silver, iron) makes a lousy check weight. Stainless steel or possibly aluminum, and gold for certain are stable with respect to corrosion.

    If you can't afford real calibrated weights, lengths of stainless steel wire and small stainless fasteners (think washers, nuts) could be weighed and kept on hand. Using someone else's uncalibrated reloading scale won't give you the reliable calibration you want; ideally, the precision and accuracy of a jeweler's scale (probably good to 0.01 grams) is necessary to establish the weight of your check weights.
    Exactly. Don't be "kind of confident" in the weight of your powder throws; that could be a painful mistake.
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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I use pennys. The material pennys are made from changed in 1982. Went from brass to zinc. Zinc pennys are lighter.
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    Member Array Springer99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecup View Post
    Use factory bullets with KNOWN weights to check scales. Or---a full sized asprin tablet weighs 5 gr.

    +1 on this. Also check on airgun pellets that can range from 5 to12gr. in weight. The Lee mechanical scales are known to be very accurate, but a bit fiddly to work with if you plan to weigh each charge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecup View Post
    Use factory bullets with KNOWN weights to check scales. Or---a full sized asprin tablet weighs 5 gr.
    That really isn't good enough; most factory bullets aren't held to even +/- 1 grain.
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  14. #13
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    It is if you use the same bullet, not just out of the same box. The most important thing is consistency - if the scale indicates that individual bullet weighs 56.2 grains now and the same bullet a year from now and 3 yrs from now, you can be sure your loads are gtg provided there were no other changes in the components, in which case you need to start over with min loads again. Stay with an object that won't readily oxidize/deteriorate over time. I would nix the aspirin idea, though.

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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    It is if you use the same bullet, not just out of the same box. The most important thing is consistency - if the scale indicates that individual bullet weighs 56.2 grains now and the same bullet a year from now and 3 yrs from now, you can be sure your loads are gtg provided there were no other changes in the components, in which case you need to start over with min loads again. Stay with an object that won't readily oxidize/deteriorate over time. I would nix the aspirin idea, though.
    The problem is that you can have some confidence in consistency (not necessarily accuracy of weight) when weighing something similar in weight to the factory bullet, but that does not ensure one will have the same level of consistency when throwing only 5 gr for a pistol load.
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  16. #15
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    check weight sets come with different different sized weights - no reason you can't keep different sized objects like another bullet or pellet; the theory stays the same.

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