In an era of digital weighing scale people might get surprised if they see someone operating a beam scale. But the reality is, beam scales have been around for centuries and still doing a great job when it comes to reloading. Besides, digital scales started to make an impression in the reloading industry only recently.
Digital scales specific and ease of use is truly a blessing for the newcomers. Nevertheless, when you’re using a digital scale you have to deal with battery power, breeze factor and most commonly zeroing problems, which are non-issues with beam scales.
Quality reloading beam scales still are more accurate than their digital counterparts. However, you have to make sure yours one tick all the boxes. Whether you can ensure it or not our entries below are among the best reloading beam scale, one thing for sure.
Editor’s Pick: Top 3 Best Reloading Beam Scale
Features A Quality Beam Scale Should Have
A considerable amount of money can be saved by reloading your own ammunition by self. When you reload your bullets all by yourself, the trajectory of precision and shooting results shows an upward trend. The core condition to achieve that is to have the best Beam scale for Reloading.
A lot of young newcomers to reloading these days don’t really know very well how effective a beam scale can be. Even if anyone approaches to buy one they aren’t quite certain what to look for on a beam scale. Let’s go over a few key features a Beam scale should have.
Your purpose of use will determine how accurate the scale needs to be. A range of beam scales with a variety of degrees of accuracy are available out there. The preciseness of a scale used to weigh objects of value isn’t necessary for a kitchen scale, where a slight deviation at best can cause a little variation in taste.
In general, reloading scales need to be more accurate than the other types of scales. Especially, when it comes to weighing lightweight substances that are being used in small quantities. Gunpowder, for example — a considerable degree of precision is what most shooters are looking for. According to international standards, look for a scale that’s accurate to at least 0.1 grains for the best outcome.
We often opt to buy a product without properly assessing our needs. Either we overspend to buy an item which capability is much higher than required, or end up with an option incapable to entertain our needs fully. Besides, be aware that if you choose to go for a large capacity variant the beam will be equally larger. A large capacity scale does give you more options, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better. Thus, buy one which truly meets your requirement.
How Durable it is
Buying a scale every year isn’t really an option. If the situation forces you to, then you have just made a wrong investment. Moreover, beam scales do not always get a favorable environment to operate, indeed in some cases it might be subject to a bit of abuse. Get a close look at its building materials and ensure that it’s sturdy enough to withstand various environmental conditions.
Looking for effectiveness and durability in beam reloaders doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be expensive. Remember, reloading equipment is an investment you make for years. Its proper functioning will make an impact on your business. Neither break the vault for the most expensive scale money can buy nor come short in budget to end up with the cheapest tools available. Rather, find out the best gear that fits your budget.
Top 8 Best Reloading Beam Scale Reviews
1. Lee Precision Safety Scale Red
“Before I bought this safety powder scale, I tried using a digital reloading scale. Taking all the conveniences of a digital scale into account I’M quite happy with Lee Precision. It’s incredibly consistent, easy to set new zeros for powder and highly accurate.” This is the statement of a user who recently switched from digital scale to this safety scale, manufactured by Lee Precision.
With respect to other beam reloader scales, Lee powder scale is an inexpensive option. Yields extremely accurate results, but settling it could be a bit difficult, since it weighs powder to 1/20 of a grain. Therefore, for a beginner, the learning curve on how to operate this scale will be steep. To achieve higher accuracy, we recommend zeroing it prior to every measurement. Environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity are thought to have an adverse effect on its calibration.
Likewise, all other scales, some people hate this particular scale, some people love it, while some others have a somewhat mixed feeling about it. But, at the end of the day you are the one who decides. I have witnessed people describing it as garbage, telling me it’s a piece of junk, some even went the extra extent to depict it as a perpetual motion machine. However, on the very next day, when they got tired of dealing with various unwanted issues with their digital scale, they came back to the basics and took this home.
- Incredibly accurate
- Reliable and inexpensive scale
- Effortless operation
- Manufactured with tough Phenolic
- Sometimes reading get affected by environmental conditions
2. Lock-N-Load Balance Beam Scale by Hornady
In the first place, it’s a budget option which is something that makes an appeal to most beginners. Those who are in search of an affordable Beam scale without spending much money will find it as a go-to option. Nevertheless, for the price, the accuracy that it yields is indeed great. Measuring capability ranges from 0 to 500 grains with a sensitivity of 0.1 grain, which is quite accurate for handling most of the reloading tasks.
Often we get exposed to errors owing to the surrounding conditions. However, for your convenience, this Lock-N-Load scale deploys a magnetic dampener. This magnetic device is tasked to earn a fast and accurate result regardless of conditions. Thus, saves your time and effort. Besides, it comes with a time-proven balance beam design which has a firm base that has the helpful weight conversion table printed on it.
The laser-etched bar of it is easy to read, and won’t peel or flake no matter what. As long as it’s in good hands, reading the bar will not be a problem. As a US-made device, extended service life is expected from this beam reloading scale. Made of high-grade metal body and beam, together with hardened pivot pins and bearings; enhanced durability ensured.
Above all, the strong presence of Hornady’s in the field of beam reloading scale since 1949 proves its worth. The quality of its reloading tools and accessories earned it a place of trust in the reloading industry. Hornady not only earned that reputation but nurtured that for over a few decades now.
- Easily readable, long-lasting marks
- Has a magnetic damper for instant stability
- Capable to notice the tiniest changes in weight
- High-grade metal made structure gives a sense of solidity
- Metal body makes it fairly heavy
3. Redding – Powder & Bullet Reloading Scale
Are you frustrated over re-zeroing your scale every two seconds? The good news for you, those days are over. If you already suffered too much, we are sorry. But, if you are new in this business, we have something to offer. Redding – Powder & Bullet Reloading Scale. If having a device that simply returns to zero after you weigh something is the objective, order a Redding straight away. With Redding, you are free to make as many measurements as you want without even bothering to zero it for once.
We all are aware of the fact that reloading your own ammunition saves you a sizable amount of money. Besides, precision and shooting results are considerably better when you care to reload your bullets all by yourself. However, things could turn the other way if the scale proved to be unable to earn you a precise measurement. Good thing is, so far it seems like you can rest assured in this regard. Accuracy and sensitivity standards were in the center of the attention during the design and manufacturing of the Redding Model No. 2 Powder & Bullet Scale.
For ultra-fast reading this scale features a magnetically dampened beam swing. Hardened ground knife edges and stainless steel structure will not compromise the alignment and resist crack. The pour spout pan and flat pan platform of this Redding produce will remind you of the conveniences of an electronic scale. In addition to that, the graduated plate at the beam pointer is marked in 1/10 grain increments; now you know the exact weight at a glance.
- Equipped with magnetically dampened beam swing
- Super convenient pour spout pan
- Simple and easy two counterpoise system
- Resembles the conveniences an electronic scale offer
- Lifetime warranty
- Damping seems less effective than what other contemporary model offer
4. RCBS M500 Mechanical Scale
Mixing the modern features with a traditional design isn’t that easy and not everyone can do that. However, alongside building the reputation of making exceptional scales RCBS has mastered this art. With M500, you have a perfect example of it. Besides, their moving away from older beam scale models has ended up with this successful project. The 500-grain capacity might not be something special these days, but in terms of usability and effectiveness this is the best.
No scale is 100 % perfect so does this RCBS M500. However, in comparison with other available models we are assuring you that you are accessing superiority. Easily adjustable beams alongside grooves with perfect depth safeguard the poise from inadvertently skipping over to the next groove. Apart from that, RCBS M500 is blessed with the pride of being built with USA made products.
One of the pioneers in the field of Beam scale, RCBS has been around for over 75 years now. Founded back in 1943, it established itself among the top US beam reloader manufacturers. Likewise most of the successful tech companies of our generation RCBS also made its first mark in a limited scale. Fred T Huntington – the mastermind behind this initiative founded the company in a temporary place. Indeed, that was the backyard of his father’s laundry and dry-cleaning plant situated at Oroville, California. From there the company and its employees have traveled extreme lengths to bring a dream into fruition. So that customers can access the highest quality reloading tools and accessories at an affordable price.
- A combination of modern features and traditional design
- Made in the USA by the Americans
- Standard quality product
- Extreme precision in measurement
- All these in an affordable price
- With a 1000-grain capacity scale around the corner from this manufacturer in almost the same price, investing on M500 isn’t a prudent step
5. OHAUS 5-0-5 Reloading Scale
OHAUS has been regarded as the standard in the bullet and shot reloading industry for decades. Might not be terribly well-known in the world of target shooting, however, in the industrial circle they’re very well-known for producing all kinds of measuring tools. However, in terms of this specific scale, apart from being accurate, OHAUS 5-0-5 is highly dependable. Among the models we have reviewed earlier, it is more compact than the others. Therefore, storage is easier than before.
This comes with the downside of being slightly less stable, which is in comparison to others quite insignificant. Die-cast steel made base of it is the source of its plentitude of heft which implies a good balance. The beam is made of black aluminum; you might grow concerned about readability. Breathe easy, integration of a black and white high-visibility faceplate makes things even simpler for you. Besides, for the main beam, the rider shifts in 10gn increments, while the minor beam has 2 riders.
The overall rated capacity is 500gn, while in practical you can get up to about 511 grains — a standard that can address the need of most of the reloader. Since the 1960’s a large number of professionals including hunters, competitive sport Shooters and archers are extensively using this. Other than that, whether you are weighing charges to reload shells, or checking ammunition and arrowheads, or even to design custom load OHAUS reloading scales are the standard. It has the sensitivity and convenience a standard beam balance offers and for a speedy reloading employs the original magnetic damping system of OHAUS.
- For a more precise measurement it has 3 riders
- A levelling foot helps in keeping it level
- Effortless handling as well as reading
- For the price, so far the best deal
- Comes with low strength hollow metal frame
6. M1000 – Mechanical Scale by RCBS
“If you really need a top class reloading beam scale, don’t waste your time or money on anything else.” This is how a user of M1000 warned others.
After analyzing around hundreds of reloading scales, we too believe that if maintained properly M1000 will serve for generations. In addition, without any doubt this is the most accurate powder scale you can get within this price range. Duly calibrated out of the box; all you need is to unpack and weigh with a high degree of accuracy. Yields very accurate results even when you are weighing a small amount of gunpowder.
RCBS integrated modern features in a traditional structure in M1000 and the outcome is just amazing. Its popularity shadowed the older models in such a manner that RCBS recently has stopped supporting their classic models, the RCBS 5-0-5 and the RCBS 5-0-0. After operating it for quite some time now, we have a feeling that this might be the best in the business.
Can weigh up to 1,000 grains at a time with an accuracy rate of 0.1-grain, which is obviously far greater than you will ever need for a single cartridge. Nevertheless, when it comes to fill a large automatic reloader hopper, it will get the job done quickly. Its cast iron made base is big and tough and has a wedge-shaped design. Consequently, when operated at maximum capacity it doesn’t lose balance or tip over. It’s ambidextrous, easy to adjust the beams, and the depth of the grooves is just right; what’s more one can expect from a beam reloader.
- Large capacity of 1000 grains
- Can be operated by both hand
- Perfect depth for the grooves
- Made of highest quality material, thus sturdy and durable
- Effortless operating and zeroing
- With all these conveniences, it still fairly expensive
7. OHAUS 5-0-2 Reloading Scale
Our quest for the best reloading beam scale never ends until we find the product exactly we need. Each and every model comes with some distinct features, where some core features remain the same. In terms of OHAUS 5-0-2, its weighing capacity of 505 grains with a readability of 0.1 grain is the key. May not be the most sought after beam scale, but for small businesses these features seem perfect.
The original OHAUS beam reloading scales are considered as the standard in bullet and shot reloading business for decades. It started drawing attention mainly in the 1960’s. Soon turned into the main go to option for a number of professionals namely, hunters, competitive sport Shooters and archers. Besides, it is regarded as the standard for weighing charges to reload shells and inspecting ammunition as well as arrowheads.
If we have to single out one thing about OHAUS 5-0-2, this is its accuracy. It will make you feel a sense of security knowing that your charges are accurate and repeatable for reloading. Features OHAUS’s trademark magnetic damping system, which empower it to perform speedy reloading. Together with that, the sensitivity and convenience of a beam balance is also attainable.
- OHAUS’s trademark magnetic damping system
- Large levelling foot for extra stability
- Quick levelling using single levelling point
- Mechanical scale, no need of electrical power
- Might need to seek help from professionals for calibration
8. Lyman Pro – 1000 Grain Scale
Measuring tools, especially scales need to be at least sturdy enough to handle the load about to be applied on it. Reloading Beam scales aren’t any exception. Buying a scale for the business is also considered as an investment. Besides, we don’t buy measuring tools for short term use. Thus, apart from being sturdy, it needs to be functional as well. With Lyman Pro – 1000 grain, you have all these in a single scale.
This Lyman variant is sturdy and durable and can handle rough usage. Changes in environmental conditions seem to have little to no impact on its accuracy. High-impact molded styrene used to build its base, while for easy adjustment an extra-large leveling wheel was also installed. Precision of 1/10 grain showcases its accuracy and it is capable of measuring up to 1000 grains. It zeros consistently and too within seconds. Dual agate bearings and large dampener helps the scale to settle quickly so that you will have no problem using it efficiently.
Ensure periodical calibration to get the best out of it. While calibrating, it would be better to place it on the surface you will be using it on. Zero the scale by moving the big slider on the left of the beam. Move the small poise in the opposite direction. When the calibration is done, set up the slider and poise to the numbers you want to measure and then load the tray up.
- Extra stability earned by extra-large levelling wheel
- Effortless operation as well as calibration
- Renowned manufacture
- 1000 grains capacity and 1/10 grain precision
- For the features, it is quite expensive
- Not covered by long term warranty
Why Do You Need A Reloading Beam Scale?
If you reload quite often and search for precision as well as accuracy in your loads nothing can be handier than a reloading beam scale. Those who visit the range frequently can find themselves going through hundreds of rounds in an hour or two and can potentially cost up to hundreds of dollars.
Nevertheless, you can save a boatload of money if you choose to reload your used cartridges. In order to do so, you need to make sure you have quality tools and having the best reloading Beam scale is one of those tools.
Beam Scale vs Digital Scale
Even though both beam scale and digital scale do the same, there are some key differences in functioning. Comfort-wise, electronic scales are a breeze to use, however, for some specific tasks beam scales still outpace their digital counterparts.
- Functioning: In a beam scale, there are two platforms. One is for the object being weighed, while the other holds the weight of a known measurement. However, digital scales use a single platform to perform the task. It employs a digital sensor and an LCD screen to display the weight.
- Accuracy: Digital scales without any doubt are far superior to a beam scale in terms of accuracy. But, when you make changes in environmental conditions into account, beam scales are the best alternative.
- Power Consumption: Area where digital scales and beam scales differ the most. Measuring weight with a beam scale is entirely a mechanical process, which has nothing to do with electricity. But, with a digital scale, you have to ensure sufficient electricity to make your scale function properly.
- Cost: There isn’t much of a difference between the price of beam scales and electronic scales. Price may vary depending on how precise the scale can be and the quality of a scale’s construction.
How To Read A Beam Scale For Reloading
Despite the fact that beam scales have been around for almost a century now, a lot of people really don’t understand how to read them. Well, how difficult reading a mechanical scale can be? Indeed, it’s not even a concern. Read ahead to know how to read a reloading beam scale.
Your scale is marked with some lines on both sides. In the bigger portion, taller ones represent 25 marks and smaller ones represent 5 marks. It’s the same way all the way through from zero to 500 grain or 1000 grain, whatever mark your scale has. In smaller portions, taller ones represent 0.5 and smaller ones stand for 0.1.
If you set 100 in the bigger portion it means your scale will be levelled when it’s 100 grains in the powder pan. If you set 100 in the bigger portion and 0.5 at the smaller portion it will be levelled at 100.5 grains.
How To Use A Beam Scale For Reloading?
Before you start measurement, set the scale to zero. In order to do so, set all three weights to zero position. You have marking on the other end of the bar, which indicates it’s balanced. If the marking isn’t aligned perfectly with the zero mark in the scale body, use the spin wheel to level it up.
When you reach all the zero marks, your scale is ready to take measurements. If you want to take the weight of a specific amount of powder, pour it into the power pan. Now adjust the weights until the mark comes in complete alignment with the zero mark.
If you have a specific weight in mind, first set the weight on that specific mark. For example, if you want 100 grains, set the weight at 100 and start filling the powder pan. Continue until the scale reaches the zero mark. For the best outcome, set the sale at a hard and even surface. Ensure periodical calibration and avoid abusive use for long term use.
The beam reloading scales here are among the top picks and will feature in every list for best reloading beam scale. However, a few models have turned into a gamble recently, as following the global trend the production moved to china.
Which is why we recommend the Hornady Lock-N-Load Balance Beam Scale. The balance of it is somewhat enviable. Besides, the manufacturing process is still entirely being done in the USA. If it doesn’t match your requirement, you can try RCBS-M1000 mechanical scale, which is also revered for its notorious accuracy and precision.
Now that you have a proper understanding on the best scales and how to use them, you can come to a decisive conclusion. Just do yourself a favor, invest in a quality product that can last for years.