Reloading can be slow. Reloading that box of 50 rounds is awful once you start looking at how much time you had to put into it. So, on any step in the process, if you can automate or reduce time without sacrificing quality, it can make reloading a lot more enjoyable.
Volume vs Weight Charges
When measuring powder, there are 2 major choices: by weight or volume? For pistols and rounds with less stringent requirements, you can meter by volume and double check weight a few times until your powder thrower of choice is throwing reliably, and then you can choose to weight every 10 rounds or whatever interval you’re comfortable with. With a precision rig or if you have a powder that dispenses unreliably, you may choose to weigh all charges. This can slow down production incredibly. With an arm scale, you need to wait for the arm to stop moving, trickle more powder in or scoop a bit out, and then wait another few seconds while the scale balances again. If it’s just you reloading, this bottlenecks your reloading time. If only there was a way to dispense weighted charges automatically….
Enter the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Combo
The RCBS ChargeMaster combo includes their 1500 digital scale and their ChargeMaster powder dispenser. Combined, the scale provides feedback to the dispenser and enables it to accurately and quickly dispense out powder charges. The RCBS ChargeMaster Combo competes with the Lyman 1200 DPS II and the PACT Digital Dispenser/Scale. PACT recently updated their scale to dispense faster but before that, it was pretty much all RCBS.
In use, a combo scale/dispenser unit like this is slick as snot. You place it on a separate bench, or the same one if your bench is very rigid, you place the empty pan on the scale to dispense, and by the time you’ve lined up, seated a bullet, and placed the finished round in your cartridge box, it’s finished dispensing and time to charge the next case. It feels almost like you’ve eliminated a step. Still not as fast as progressive loading, but we’re talking much more precision and a process that can support big rifle cartridges that aren’t well suited to progressive loading. It’s also a dream to use for working up loads, since there’s no re-calibrating time for every step up like you’d have with a volume measure. There’s no tapping grains of powder into a pan on a scale and waiting for it to stop dipping up and down, just set it to the weight you want and keep going. Unloading the powder from the unit is only a small nuisance. The bottom of the dispenser is very smooth and contoured so that few grains remain behind after dumping, and the trickle tube can be emptied in about 5 seconds at full speed.
I’m not sure what else to write about the ChargeMaster. In use, it’s practically invisible. You don’t have to touch any buttons, you just put that pan on the scale and you get your weighted charge and continue on with the rest of your reloading process. If you shoot a lot of rifle or you have an expensive, high precision cartridge you load for, this might be the ticket to satisfying the inner OCD reloader, and not killing yourself on time spent per cartridge produced. Because even though reloading is fun, I’d still rather be shooting.