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Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Checking a Powder Scale (Gun) (Ammo)
I have loaded for years and recently came across a situation which caused me no small bit of concern. I like to use the powder Unique for reloading where ever I can because it has been around for a long time and if the shells ever get wet you can pull the bullet and after the powder and primer is dried you can put it back in the shell casing and the bullet will shoot as well as any other. The fact that the powder is known for long term storage is legendary. Picking a load for a different shell casing than I had loaded before I was greatly concerned because the amount of Unique being used. The powder nearly filled the case to just below the bullet. Now if you reload you will know that a pistol powder charge is very fast burning propellant and if you load too much you can louse a gun.
Being in doubt as to the accurecy of my powder scale something had to be done to have a comparison check of the powder charge. I had a set of powder dippers but had gotten rid of them some time ago as I never thought I would need them again as I had moved on to better equipment. My Lee powder throwing disks were not gauged to throw Unique for the project at hand as the powder chart attested. RCBS makes a set of weights to check a scale with but none were readily available and I wanted to finish the project.
I went on line and spent some time looking at comments on loading the shell with Unique and found that others mentioned the amount of powder being used in the shell casing prohibited a double charge if a mistake was made throwing the powder. This made me feel a little better but I am a careful fellow and wanted to be sure I was not climbing the wrong tree. I do not use an electric scale as in an emergency batteries may not be available. I reload in the garage and the scale had set for a while so the first thing was to take the balancing arm off and dust off the pivot point as settling dust and dirt could change the way the scale works. A small spider had nested in the spot where the balances pivot point were and he was so small you wouldn’t have noticed if you did not look for him. So if you uses a regular powder scale 1) dust off the pivot point before you start to reload. 2) Zero out your scale so when all the balances are at zero the pointer points at zero. 3) It is well to have the ability to check your scale before loading. This requires some method to throw on a known charge and compare it to your scale. I found myself looking for another set of powder dippers to do a comparative charge.
4) The RCBS scale check weights are
1……………… 50 Grain
2……………… 2 Grain
1……………….Pair of tweezers
The RCBS weight set is Farley pricey $40 give or take. It would be best to have a comparative scale to make these check weights (borrowed from a friend), yet in a time when you know your scale is working right you could produce these weights out of aluminum soda can cutouts and sand paper the edge of the cutout as you get close to the exact weight. I have made counter balances such as these and it takes about 30 minutes. Mark them with a permanent marker and put the weights in an old medicine bottle. It also will not matter if you fold them to make some of them more usable. A pair of old tweezers may be useful if the wife will part with them or loan them to you from time to time or buy them from the dollar store.
Richard W. Norman American Handbook on Guns Ammo and Freedom