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Digitizing Your Reloading RoomWords by Chris Hendrix
Reloading is an old-school art that is often passed down through generations. It’s most common to start reloading because you have a family member who teaches you. Most people are surprised when they start reloading to see just how old some of the methodology and equipment really is. There are few, if any, digital tools in basic reloading setups. Most reloading setups contain a sliding scale, a pair of calipers, and a powder thrower. These relatively simple tools allow an experienced reloader to create ammunition to very precise specifications.
There is nothing wrong with using the old school tools and techniques of reloading and many old timers may refuse to change what’s worked for them for decades. However, the old way isn’t always the best way just because it still works. New technology and equipment has allowed reloaders to bring their precision to an entirely new level.
The benefits to digital and electronic material are self evident. Using digital and electronic equipment in reloading allows you to reload both faster and more precisely. Faster is better, because it allows you to load more rounds in less time. This can be very important when loading range ammo. When you’re able to load more precisely, however, you will see the benefits downrange. This is important if you handload your ammunition for match or hunting purposes.
Many serious shooters can improve their reloading experience with a few simple pieces of equipment from RCBS.
RCBS Electronic Digital Calipers
Regular dial calipers are a mainstay of reloading. They allow the reloader to precisely measure the dimensions of the rounds they are working on. It is all but impossible to reload without a trusty set of calipers. However, a downside to dial calipers is that they’re somewhat slow to use. And they don’t always provide the most accurate measurement without staring at the little hash marks and counting off where you’re at.
RCBS has changed that with their Electronic Digital Calipers. These calipers are quick and easy to use, instantly displaying your measurements in both either the imperial or metric systems out to three decimal places. These calipers allow you to measure internal, external, depth and step measurements. They also include a sturdy carrying case for storage.
RCBS Electronic Digital Micrometer
While most reloaders are content with their set of calipers, a micrometer is what can take their handloads to the next level. Typically, more serious reloaders include a micrometer in their process for measuring the smaller variables, which can effect accuracy. A micrometer can be used to measure anything from your bullets to case head expansion. Micrometers are typically much more precise than calipers due to the way in which they are constructed. RCBS’s Electronic Digital Micrometer is no exception. It features an easy-to-read screen, which can display values out to the .00005-inch or 0.001mm with an accuracy of .0001-inch/.0025mm. A good micrometer is a great tool to have in your reloading toolkit, especially if you care about loading the most accurate rounds possible.
RCBS Chargemaster Combo 120 Vac
A typical reloading setup uses a powder thrower and trickler in order to measure charges. The thrower is the most common option, and can measure powder charges with reasonable accuracy. Shooters requiring extra precision can use a trickler to get the final few tenths of a grain in order. With a thrower, it’s common to only actually weigh your charges every certain number of powder throws, and to trust the thrower to do its job accurately.
Once again, just because this method works does not mean it is the best option. RCBS’s Chargemaster Combo 120 Vac has everything you ever wanted for accurately charging your cases. The Chargemaster will work with any powder and can accurately dispense loads quickly. The hopper will hold up to one pound of the powder and it will dispense 60 grains of extruded powder in 30 seconds. The Chargemaster can accurately dispense loads from 2 grains to 300 grains to an accuracy of 0.1 grain. And it includes the Chargemaster 1500 electronic scale.
RCBS Rangemaster 2000 Electronic Scale
A quality scale is necessary to any reloading setup. Serious shooters will often weigh each component of the reloading process, and it is important that the scale they use functions accurately and quickly. With a standard mechanical sliding scale, it is hard to measure numerous components and charges quickly, and it takes a lot of experience to do it both accurately and quickly.
Electronic scales vary greatly in quality and often times you get what you pay for. However, the Rangemaster 2000 from RCBS is a great choice even on a tighter budget. The scale electronically measures your components to an accuracy of 0.1 grains quickly and accurately. Included with it are two calibration weights so that you can calibrate your scale as often as necessary to achieve peace of mind. The scale is capable of working both from A/C or with a nine volt battery. Additionally, for the left handed reloaders out there, RCBS has included an ambidextrous scale pan.
RCBS AmmoMaster Chronograph
Every reloader needs a chronograph. They are simply the best way to determine if you’re getting what you are supposed to out of reloading. So what sets RCBS’s offering apart from the rest? Well, right off the bat there’s the appearance. The unit is manufactured to look like a bullet, but that’s not just for show. All of the parts to the Ammomaster Chronograph fit within its body. Additionally, the “bullet” part of the chronograph separates from the “brass” part and will sit at your shooting station, linked to the chronograph by wires. This is a great feature. Any shooter who has used a chronograph knows they both work best in bright sunlight, but that is also when they’re hardest to read from your shooting station.
The ability to have the readout right in front of you is very nice. The AmmoMaster will also do some simple math functions such as calculating string averages so that you can record your data quickly and accurately on the range. The unit itself is quite sturdy, and it uses plastic side supports for its diffuser instead of metal ones. RCBS also sells the side supports separately online, because while none of us will admit it, we all know that accidents happen with chronographs.