Reloading ammunition is a fun, engaging hobby that comes with the added perk of saving you money. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced reloader, a good powder scale is an essential piece of equipment.
Although most starter kits for reloading come with powder scales, they can be inaccurate and/or tricky to use. Which set of scales is right for you will depend on a few things, such as whether you prefer electronic or a classic balance scale. Whichever you choose, it’s important that the scale is easy and intuitive to use, remains sensitive in a variety of environments for a long time, and is, above all, accurate.
We’ve looked at hundreds of reviews for the wide range of scales available. Here is what you need to know in order to choose the best powder scale for the money. We’ll also discuss our top picks.
Advantages of owning a quality powder scale
A quality powder scale is a useful investment that pays off in the long run. Ammunition is expensive, and reloading can turn used brass into big savings. For reloaders, the main benefit to owning a good quality powder scale is the extra precision. Reloading kits often include a scale that isn’t as precise, accurate, portable, long-lasting, or as easy to use as you want.
Other nice benefits to owning a good powder scale include being able to weigh jewellery, precious stones, or valuable metals. Skip the line and weigh your mail at home to calculate postage. You can even use a powder scale to measure out portion sizes and ingredients in the kitchen.
Whether you’re dealing with explosives, precious metals, or spices, accurate measurements get you the best results.
Powder scale buying guide
Before you go out and buy a powder scale, there are a few factors that you’ll want to keep in mind. In order to make the most informed purchasing decision possible, you need to know what makes a good powder scale.
The degree of accuracy and level of calibration available will be important for everyone. Just how accurate you need the scale to be varies depending on the type of ammunition you’re reloading, and the purpose for which you intend to use it. For example, is the ammo going to be used for hunting with a high-powered rifle, or for professional-level target shooting with a handgun?
Nearly always, a digital scale is more precise and easier to use. Electronic scales, however, require a power source. Additionally, note that some digital scales lose accuracy as the battery gets low.
What scale of production do you have in mind? Hundreds of rounds in one go, or a more modest amount? Think about how many cartridges you plan on reloading, as some powder scales are only suitable for making a few rounds at a time.
For some people, portability is also important. Some shooters bring their entire reloading setup to competition so they can adjust their ammo on site. If you regularly move your equipment, you’ll need a scale that’s extra durable.
Of course, price is always on everyone’s mind. We’ve found some top quality options at great prices, affordable for just about everyone.
American Weigh Scales 100G X 0.01G Digital Scale, with Seaside 100G Stainless Steel Calibration Weight
The AMW series is a high-tech digital scale with an accuracy of +/- 0.02g. The included 100g (exact) weight is a great bonus item that makes for easy re-calibration. It provides a clear readout in ounces, grams, carats or grains. Reviewers say they are very happy with the accuracy and reliability of the scale.
This stainless steel scale is protected by a flip-top lid, making it both durable and portable. While there are a few concerns about the longevity of this device, most units reviewed have lasted a long time with no loss of accuracy. Moreover, the manufacturer, American Weigh, has a good reputation and offers an outstanding ten year warranty with this product.
This low cost option is definitely accurate enough for most reloaders. The only potential issue with this model is that it’s not quite finely-tuned enough to get absolutely exact results. Competitive shooters might want to spend a little more for that extra edge.
American Weigh Scales GEMINI-20 Portable MilliGram Scale, 20 by 0.001G
This is a great little scale, again by American Weigh. Its quality and precision are top notch, but be aware it’s not suitable for weighing large quantities. It’s perfect, however, if you plan to weigh individual bullets, powder loads, and cartridges for reloading. This unit weighs up to 20 milligrams at a time and offers 0.001g of accuracy for powder measurements.
One particular feature to note is the clear, hinged draft shield. The shield greatly increases the precision of the scale. Users have been surprised to see just how much of a difference even barely noticeable drafts can make when it comes to getting accurate readings.
Offered at a very reasonable price, this scale is an excellent tool. The accuracy is remarkable for such an affordably-priced unit. Buyers say it performs extremely well for most uses, including reloading. Just don’t expect it to compete against laboratory scales that sell for over ten thousand dollars.
Get the most bang for your buck!
Owning your own high-quality powder scale will increase the accuracy of your measurements, be it for reloading or other activities. There’s a wide range of models available, both digital and analogue, at just about every price point. For reloading ammo, however, the best powder scale for the money is the Gemini-20 by American Weigh. This scale comes with calibration tools and tweezers, is incredibly accurate, and comes highly recommended.