NEW Powder Dispenser TESTS!

Discussion in 'Gear Talk: What to Buy? and Gear Evaluations' started by Forum Boss, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    Check out our NEW detailed Digital Powder Dispenser Tests. We review the RCBS ChargeMaster Combo, the Lyman 1200 DPS II, and the PACT Dispenser/Scale System.

    This is a very heavy-duty review, with very detailed writeups and dispenser speed-testing. Our staff put about 8 full man-days into the project. You'll find some ugly truths revealed that no magazine would ever print. Yet, our overall results,especially with the RCBS) were surprisingly positive. Here are the links:

    Test Results Summary and Recommendations: http://www.6mmbr.com/powderdispensers01.html

    Unit by Unit Detailed Tests: http://www.6mmbr.com/powderdispensers01.html

    Companion Test of Balance-Beam Scales by Brand Cole: http://www.6mmbr.com/prometheus.html

    If you want to know how accurate a balance-beam scale really is, read the last article. It uses Six-Sigma analysis to achieve highly refined ES and SD.
     
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  2. eddief

    eddief

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    "Ugly Truth" is this was a product test for us shooters and if you don't like it go flame somewhere else. By the way, great informative test which I enjoyed reading regardless of where the products are from. Yes, it would be great if everything was made in the USA and we all had apple pie every night for dessert, but unfortunately World Trade is here to stay. No attack intended, just hate to see a good test and information ruined by unwanted remarks.
     
  3. Riverine

    Riverine Gold $$ Contributor

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    Hmmm, well them sweet NightForce scopes are made in Asia, Lapua brass comes from Finland, the Varget powder we like is made in Australia, my chronograph is made in Canada, Barnard actions come from New Zealand, and the trigger and action on my rimfire are made in Germany.

    I'm not really sure that country of origin is relevant to this kind of performance-based review. If an individual chooses to purchase only American-made products, that's fine, but I want to know what all the choices are. In my mind performance is #1.

    But bottom line, what I see is a very thorough review, more detailed and even-handed than anything I'd see in American Rifleman, and better organized than anything I'd see in Precision Shooting for that matter. It is obvious that a huge amount of time went into the review, which, BTW was delivered to you for FREE. And I don't see a bunch of advertising running on this site so I have to assume the review was put together by some dedicated folks who receive no compensation for their time and effort. Maybe we should be a little more appreciative and a little less critical...
     
  4. PatL

    PatL

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    Great review! I've been thinking about one of these units for a long time, but there were some things I never considered. Most important after accuracy was the charge dispensing time and warm up time. Lyman needs to work out that half hour issue of they'll only sell one - to TRA. As for the nasty comment. Save it for some other forum. There's too much good stuff here!
     
  5. jb1000br

    jb1000br

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    I guess SOMEONE wont be buying the RCBS :cry:

    Guess i'll have to save up for one :thumb:

    JB :rolleyes:
     
  6. KLENCHBLAIZE

    KLENCHBLAIZE

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    FORMER RCBS employee?!?!:cry:

    Simply must have one of these Green Machines and preferably without paying Import Duty!

    Long may $2 US buy you only £1 Sterling!:)

    Happy trickling!

    Klenchblaize
    ENGLAND
     
  7. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus

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    Good review, but the Lyman is by no means the "Dog" that it's insinuated to be...

    Warm up time is not the "issue" that you're led to believe, as it's a recommended time based upon the supposition that someone might have stored the unit in one place where the temperature was vastly different than the place it's going to be used... the warmup can be "bypassed" by simply pushing a button. I've found that 10 minutes is plenty as I store the unit where it will be used and I've checked this against a 10-10 just as they did in the test...

    Powder changes are also not the "hassle" that's alluded too in the article.... once you've done it a few times, it takes no more than a few minutes to change powders...

    Speed: even at the end of the article where they show you how to be more "productive" you can see that the "practical" difference in speed is pretty much nil....

    I've never had to "wait" on a charge to be dropped by the Lyman unless I'm dropping very large charges.... if you empty the charge into a case, push the enter button,to dispense the next charge) and then seat a bullet into the charged case, place it into a load box, place a funnel on the next case to be charged... the dispenser is already done.... This is based on various length stick and ball propellents that I've used in 223, 243, 22-250 6mmBr and 308.

    I'm sure the RCBS unit is indeed "faster" but from a "real value" sense, it means nothing.

    While I have no problems buying anything not made in the USA. I avoid buying anything made in China, and will not buy anything made in France. Paying people who are trying their best to screw you is not my idea of smart.
     
  8. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    Kaferhaus wrote: "Powder changes [on the Lyman 1200] are also not the "hassle" that's alluded to in the article.... once you've done it a few times, it takes no more than a few minutes to change powders..."

    We appreciate everyone's input. And it's good to know that the Lyman may perform better for the seasoned owner than our testers. But for us, time to remove powder is pretty important, because we never leave powder in a machine after a loading session. With the best performer, the PACT, we could dump the powder in a matter of seconds. "Flip, dump into container, plug back in and trickle". You can really do it about as fast as you can say that. No brushes, no J-hooks, no removing parts.

    The ease of cleaning the RCBS is somewhere between the PACT and the Lyman.
     
  9. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus

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    I never leave it in the dispenser overnight either... even though as long as it were marked I could see no problem with doing so.

    You only need to be dumping the thing with any regularity if you're testing a bunch of different powders. Most folks find a powder that works and go from there...

    I, however frequently load for many different cartridges, some of which don't like VV 135 which I use most... I still haven't found it to be much of a chore to change them out.

    With the RCBS unit being made in the PRC you'd think it'd be less expensive...

    But like barrels, dies and bullets, everyone will have their own preferences.

    I just think the Lyman got the short shrift on the testing, perhaps if the machines had been tested for a longer period of time and allowed the users to become better aquainted and experiened with each machine and it's capabilities the 3 machines may have been rated a bit closer.

    The extra memory is a BIG plus for me as I do load for so many cartridges... easy to just punch up your load and go....
     
  10. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    Re memory--The PACT has no load memory storage. The lastest version of the Lyman can hold 100 load in memory, while the RCBS holds 30 charges in memory.

    What we'd REALLY like to see is a button that could be pushed to increase charge weight by 0.2 or 0.3 grains--now THAT would be really useful in LOAD development. I doubt the lawyers will ever let them add such a feature. It would be too easy for careless folks to run an overcharge.

    In the future we'll try to do more speed testing on powders that are more popular for 6BR shooters--N135, N150, Varget, RL15--using charges around 30.0 grains. We'll also try running a ball powder, H380, through the RCBS and PACT.

    - - -
    3/21/05
    I just put up a companion page, written by Brand Cole, the guy who builds the Prometheus measure.

    Link: http://www.6mmbr.com/prometheus.html

    If you want to know how accurate a balance-beam scale really is, read the article. It uses Six-Sigma analysis to achieve highly refined ES and SD.

    For those curious about the kind of time the Digital Dispenser test involved--I know I'm approaching the 35 man-hour mark with this latest addition and I know Froggy put in a number of full DAYS.
     
  11. Changeling

    Changeling

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    Well this was a very informative review if you want an automatic scale.
    However, I currently own and have been using a "Hornady" beam scale "agate pivot" that is probably 20 years old. It has worked well for me but now you guys have me wondering! !!!!
    I do not want an electronic scale!! I feel my scale is accurate, but really slow! It is a finicky, slow, very slow scale! I would like to have something that is faster in a "Beam" scale, with "Great" accuracy!
    So, where does that put me, what is available,with price)?
    Change
     
  12. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    Changeling,

    Denver Instruments has some .001 gram TR-203 scales they are discounting as this model will be discontinued. Stabilization time is 3 seconds. The .001 gram accuracy will allow you to accurately load to half-kernals of Varget, about .02 GRAIN.

    Price, for 6BR.com users will be about $700--that's $400 off retail. Let me know if you're interested. This is a great scale. Anything significantly better will run closer to $950.

    FYI, it is an electronic unit. Basically ALL the current lab-quality scientific scales are electronic now.
     
  13. Asa_Yam

    Asa_Yam

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    The Denver Instruments unit is inferior to the A&D GF series of analytical balances. The 210 gram unit,GF-200, about 3200 grains) stabilizes in under a second, the measurement element is self-correcting for changes in temperature, well shielded against RF interference, and resolution is .02 grains. Measurement units are selectable,mine has been set to turn on in grains mode). Current price is $765, this varies with the exchange rate. Go to www.balances.com for more details.

    Balances.com also carries the Tanita 1210-50 and 1210-100 and My-Weigh Gem Pro 50 scales. .05 Grain resolution, with a capacity of 155, 308, and 155 grains respectively. Battery powered, with a settle time in the 3 second range. These units are pocket sized, and prices are under $220.

    Food for thought.
     
  14. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    Asa,

    Thanks for the further recommendation. We're not trying to push anything. We just heard about the Denver Ins. sale from another board member who was happy with his TR203. If there's something better out there for the price, by all means go for it.

    I'd actually visited the balances.com site but there is such a wide variety of scales listed, it was hard to determine what was a good value or not. Many of the better .001 gram scales are significantly higher in price than the A&D unit.
     
  15. Asa_Yam

    Asa_Yam

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    The beauty of the balances.com website,aside from prices - they're usually a bit lower than the competition) is that if you click on the link bringing up the unit of interest, not only do you get a detailed spec sheet, but comparable units are displayed off to one side as well. Makes it really easy to compare the various products side by side without buying an example of each.

    Another thing I liked about the company: they also talked me out of buying a GX-200,several hundred more than the GF), as it didn't meet my needs.
     
  16. Travelor

    Travelor

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    I'm on my second RCBS ChargeMaster as the first would throw a charge and indicate the desired weight, BUT the weight was not correct in all cases. It would usually be +.1 to +.2 grains with occasional +.3 grain error. The RCBS customer service was great and sent a second out with a free return ticket for the first.

    BUT, the second is no better than the first. After doing a test run of 100 charges it is running about 50% in error with the same +.1 to +.2 grain with occasional +.3 grain error after throwing the charge and indicating that the charge was the desired weight+/- nothing. I think this is called a failure to maintain zero.

    What is interesting though is that after removing the pan with the thrown powder charge and returning it to the scale, it will show the load at the correct weight,i.e. the +.1 to +.3 grains over the desired weight). I have tried turning it on 30 minutes ahead of use, closing the plastic door, etc, with no apparent effect of increased accuracy.

    Haven't called RCBS back yet as I am afraid they will want to refund my money and what I want is a Chargemaster that is accurate. This thing is really addictive to watch work - but don't need it to throw erroneous loads.

    Anyone else had this problem and know of a fix?

    George Toney
     
  17. trev

    trev

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    I use a chargemaster, I have noticed that with long grain powders that sometimes they can stick together or just roll into the pan,just 2 or 3 grains as the thrower slows down,with finer grain powders varget etc I have not had any problems.
    Trev
     
  18. mikecr

    mikecr

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    Mine does the same thing. Same error. A combination of integration which is too slow for drop speed, and a poor programming scheme, displaying the desired value by default,rather than actual weight), once desired OR GREATER is reached.
    Slowing the powder drop has reduced the rate of fault for me, but has not fixed it completely. I did this by taping over 1/2 of the trickle tube load port,centered). This causes the 3rd-slowest charge speed to happen more often, and the error rarely occurs if you can get there. I need a way to force this slowest speed for every charge.
    Need to find out who makes the dispenser.
     
  19. mikecr

    mikecr

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    I opened up both units and now see that there is really nothing in the dispenser other than a keypad interface and motor driver. The brain resides in the scale. No mfg data on the scale circuit card whatsoever. There is a switch for "adj" or "lock" which I assume allows for calibration and/or programming.
    I can't do anything with it without a programming manual or atleast a schematic.
    Next week I'll see if I can monitor control between the units and affect it in a way which would resolve the problems without ugly compromises.
     
  20. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    Mike,

    RCBS told us that there is a reprogramming procedure that can be done remotely that will affect the speed switch-over parameters. It's a matter of pressing the right buttons on the keypad in the right sequence. I was told they can walk you through this over the phone--but not all the customer service reps at RCBS are aware of the process. If you get a "never heard of that" response, ask to talk to the tech dept.
     

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