If precision and accuracy matter to you as a reloader, investing in the best beam reloading scale is worth it.
We have five of the best beam scales lined up in our review below; but before we get into the specs, we’ll be sharing some buying tips for looking at a scale. Use these tips when you’re at the local gun store or use them when you’re shopping on Amazon.
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Here are three ways you can use a beam reloading scale:
What makes a beam reloading scale better than the other? Below are a few points worth considering, which may help you find the right for you.
Accuracy is essential in reloading scales, if it’s off by half a grain, your load’s quality will decrease significantly.
Unlike other types, such as kitchen scales that only need to measure items within hundredths of an ounce, reloading scales should have an accuracy of at least 0.1 grains (~0.0065 grams).
With that said, if you’re new to reloading scales, having this kind of sensitivity can be challenging to learn. Consider your experience when deciding on accuracy.
How much will you measure at once? If you’re loading a single cartridge manually, a small capacity is sufficient. However, if you’re filling a hopper on an auto-press, you will need a larger scale to be efficient.
The size depends on your needs, a bigger capacity isn’t necessarily better. It also means the beam will be longer, and the scale will be larger.
How easy is it to calibrate the scale? To ensure accuracy, you have to calibrate the scale every time you move it to a new surface.
Is the beam easy to read? If the numbers are tiny and hard to read, the scale will be challenging to operate, and you may not use it at all. We recommend that you look for contrasting colors, such as white numbers on a dark background and vice versa.
You want your reloading gear to last you for years to come, but low-quality materials aren’t going to cut it. A scale that can handle a bit of abuse is ideal, especially if you plan on bringing it to different locations.
Avoid plastic scales as these can easily break or soften and misshapen if exposed to heat.
Buying a reloading scale isn’t a time to skimp, and you don’t want to sell yourself short by purchasing a cheap tool. Find one that suits your budget, but be careful not to compromise quality for affordability.
There are lots of reloading scales on the market, but which ones are worth checking out? Here are the five best beam reloading scales:
RCBS is a reputable brand in the reloading equipment industry, making this a go-to product for many. With an accuracy of 1/10-grain, consumers found the results precise, and many liked the larger capacity. Most users also reported that it’s easy to zero, even though it requires calibrating often.
The price is steeper than other similar scales. Some consumers didn’t feel the price matched the overall quality, whereas others were happy with what they got for the price, such as the clear plastic cover.
The brand is one of the industry leaders, with its scales often being the standard that others are compared to. Like the other scales, this one also features a magnetically dampened beam, which increases preciseness and gives you faster results.
Although it’s easy to zero, the screw is slightly loose, meaning you’ll have to zero it more often. The larger pan really stands out; it suits those who need to measure larger quantities as you won’t have to do it in batches.
The RCBS scale is a top-notch product that delivers accurate and precise results quickly. Unlike the previous scales we’ve reviewed, this one is made in China, which is a con for some, especially considering the price.
Consumers are impressed by the high accuracy, with many saying they see a clear difference with every grain added. Another big plus for this scale are the etched and painted numbers that are easy to read and won’t peel off with frequent use. High accuracy
It’s simple to zero, but some users wished it had more of a guide than merely a line to follow. Some users also reported issues with the beam sticking to the frame, however, this is easily fixed by grinding down the frame.
This scale is another high-quality, affordable option. It has a high accuracy of 1/10-grain and a 505-grain capacity, sufficient for most reloading.
We like the magnetically dampened beam as it enables you to get a fast and accurate reading. It’s easy to zero using the reasonably-sized screw located on the side of the scale, and it doesn’t require as much fiddling as the Redding we reviewed above.
The pan is molded and features a pouring spout for easy and precise pouring. Moreover, the spout is narrower than the Redding, making it easier for you to pour the content into smaller cartridges.
We like this reloading scale from Hornady; it’s well-built, has a good weight to it, the numbers are etched, and easy to read. You can’t argue with the high accuracy, and although it isn’t a cheap option, it’s still affordable and will suit most budgets.
Considering the price, most consumers are happy with the scale. It’s highly accurate and easy to use straight out of the box. A few users noted that they could get through an entire reloading session without needing to re-zero it.
It’s made in China, which worried some buyers—quality seems to vary slightly with some consumers receiving products ready to use whereas others needed to modify the scale slightly.
It’s a very affordable, well-built scale that does what it’s supposed to do. The numbers are easy to read as they’re black on white. We appreciate the convenient handle and pouring spout on the pan.
If you’re on a short budget, this is one of the most affordable options available that doesn’t compromise quality for affordability. It works well, but it isn’t the same quality as some of the other scales on our list.
Buyers are overall pleased with how easy the scale is to operate. The black numbers on the white beam are clear to read, and the fact that you can read it from both sides also scored it a few extra points.
It does come pre-calibrated from the factory, however, some consumers found it to be inaccurate, whereas others didn’t need to zero it before the first use. We recommend that you check it before using it to ensure you get accurate results.
Although the aluminum frame reduces vibrations, it’s very light, meaning it’s easy to knock over by accident.
The aluminum body is unlike most other reloading scales, but we quite like it as it does seem to reduce vibrations, although the weight is relatively light.
It has similar accuracy as most other scales, 1/10-grain. Furthermore, it also features magnetic dampening for faster results—as opposed to others, this scale is fitted with ground knife edges that give you a more precise result.
This scale is highly accurate and very well-built considering the affordable price. Again, Lyman is a reputable brand that can be trusted. We like the attention to detail, such as the two handles on the pan, the black-on-white numbers, and the double-sided beam, making it ambidextrous.
Consumers are overall pleased with the scale, praising its accuracy and quick results. It also doesn’t have to be zeroed as often as other scales, enabling you to get your measurements done quicker.
Several users were let down by the level screw, saying it’s tiny and challenging to use without knocking the pan off.
Redding is a well-known brand that produces high-quality, reloading equipment. All scales are made in the U.S. and backed by a lifetime guarantee, giving you a little more peace of mind if something was to break or malfunction.
What really stands out to us is the high 1/10 grain accuracy that allows you to get a precise reload for your cartridge. The pan itself has a 505-grain capacity, which is a good size for most reloading purposes. It features a spout for easy pouring, however, it can be tricky to pour the content into smaller cartridges, as some of the consumers reported.
If you want a name-brand scale but don’t want to break your budget, this Redding reloading scale is an excellent option. Although the level screw requires some fiddling, the accuracy is high and will give you precise results you can trust.
Having a beam reloading scale is convenient—here are a few benefits of having one:
Having a beam reloading scale can come in handy in any situation where you need to measure the precise weight of small items or powders.
Ease of use plays an important role in a good scale—if you find it difficult or inaccurate, you’re likely not going to continue using it.
We found the best beam reloading scale is the RCBS M1000 Magnetic Scale, it’s fast, accurate, and easy to use.
Have any further inquiries regarding beam reloading scales? We’re answering two of the most commonly-asked questions.
Beam scales are more accurate since most can measure 1/10-grain. With most beam scales, you can see a clear difference with each added grain. Digital scales are known to be precise but inaccurate.
Our no caps opinion: The GemPro 250 is known to be the most accurate powder scale with an accuracy of 0.01-grain. Although the accuracy is high, it can be challenging to use, especially if you’re new to reloading scales. Precision is also the name of the game and for tha reason, we like the beam reloading scales on this page, too.