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RCBS Charge Master 1500

RCBS 1500 Charge Master Powder

Charger Combo


Abstract:
A user review of the RCBS 1500 Charge Master Powder Charger Combo. With a brief discussion of the physical attributes and the actual use of the unit. Also included is accuracy and speed data.


These automated powder measure/scale combos are becoming very popular.

After carrying one home, I was amazed at how large it is.  This thing is Huge. It takes up a lot of bench space six inches wide by 13 inches deep. And that does not allow for access to the drain plug on the fight side of the charger.

After assembly, the first thing I noticed was that this thing takes up as much space as my progressive loader. It is so long that I had to push it al the way to the back of the bench. Fortunately it would fit under the shelf but there was not room to access the powder tube.  In order to be able to pour powder into the tube from a one pound canister, the shelf would need to be 20 inches above the bench top.

Loading is a problem if you need to slide it under a shelf. Unloading is a nightmare no matter what. The drain plug is low on the bottom of the right side. Obviously the drain must be at the bottom, I can't fault them for that. The problem is that the drain is so low to the bench that you cannot put any reasonable sized container under it to catch the powder.  I find it necessary to move the unit out from under my shelf, pick it up and drain it into a container.  While doing this, I must also insure that the dispenser tube is slanted up or the powder in that tube will run out on the bench.

They are reputed to be accurate but slow. Well the next order of business is to find out how accurate and how slow.

Accuracy is spectacular. After about 2,000 charges, all but two have been spot-on +/0 zero. Two went over a tenth due to "lazy powder grains that fell after the charger had "turned off".

The next issue is speed. Rather than offer an opinion that you might find unreasonable, I will just give you the numbers and let you decide if it is fast enough, or too slow for your use.

Charging speed was measured with ball powder and extruded powder, Times were long enough it was deemed satisfactory to measure them with a sweep second hand.

Charges were thrown by setting the weight in memory and setting the automatic  mode so that the charger begins to dispense automatically as soon is it detects the pan on the scale.

Not sure about this but many of the on-line reviews claim it will clog up with very fine grained powder. The smallest grain powder I know of is Accurate No. 2. I ran almost 2,000 grains of this powder through the unit with out a hitch.

 

Powder  IMR 4198

Charge Weight in grains. Times in seconds.

3gr 6gr 12gr 24gr 50gr  
7 18 17 28 21  
7 20 18 24 17  
10 18 21 19 30  
9 16 20 28 32  
10 19 22 19 27  
           

Ball Powder  Accurate 2015

3gr 6gr 12gr 24gr 50gr  
15 25 19 21 26  
14 22 19 23 27  
16 25 19 31* 23  
11 24 20 25 26  
10 22 21 22 24  
           

* That 31 second reading is not a typo.

 

Pro:

Easy to set weights. Easier than a beam scale.
Much quicker to set or change weights of ( the same) powder than a conventional powder measure.
For me, it produces more accurate charges than drop and trickle with a balance beam. ( I can do just as accurate with the balance beam, I just get in a hurry and take "close enough".

 

Con:

Entire unit is made of plastic. DO NOT LEAVE DOUBLE BASE POWDER IN THIS MACHINE.
Granules fall out of the charging tube after you have removed the pan from the scale. They will be weighed with your next charge but will not be included in your next charge.
The powder hopper fits very loosely. It is very easy to knock off the unit and spill a pound of powder.
Filling the hopper is easy but emptying the powder is quite a chore.
Takes Much longer to change powder than with a conventional measure.
Instructions are confusing
User interface is decidedly not user friendly.
The computer dies occasionally requiring a power off reset.
Powder dispensing tube extends almost completely over the scale pan making it very difficult to weigh other things like bullets or cases.

Reliability is highly suspect. Review of over 250 on-line customer reviews indicates a very high occurrence of DOA units and failures of the keyboard/display unit.

Gotha's:

Normal scale stuff:  No fans, no breezes.
Normal Electronics stuff no Fluorescent lights close by. No static electricity
Normal computer stuff.  When it begins to act crazy and doesn't do what you tell it to, reboot it. Turn the power off, wait 60 seconds then turn it back on.
When the scale reads your target weight, DO NOT remove the pan from the scale until the scale beeps. The computer will go berserk if you do.

 

Summary:

This is the one single reloading tool in my entire reloading career scanning 50+ years that I absolutely hate everything about. I literally do not like anything about it.

Inexplicably, it is still on my bench after a year. It is not for sale. I use it for every powder charge I load for any cartridge I am loading on a single stage press. I use the conventional powder measure now only on my progressive loader. My family must be correct, I am crazy.)

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 
 

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