If you reload ammunition for precision rifle applications, you’re probably familiar with manually trickling powder. You dump a charge, and then trickle the last 1/2 – 1 grain until you are “exactly” on your desired charge weight. Trickling can be fun- it makes you feel like you should be wearing a white lab coat, or something like that. But when you have many many rounds to load for a shooting competition or other precision-oriented shoot, it can be a pain. This is where automated powder dispensers can come in handy. With such a dispenser, you’ll know that your charges are dead-on, and you can multi-task and do other things while the dispenser is working on your powder charges. Nice. In this post I’ll demonstrate the new RCBS Chargemaster Lite: from unboxing, to setup, to demonstrating the features and capabilities of this automated dispenser and scale. Let’s get to it!
Opening the Box
I never grow tired of trying new products, and it’s always exciting to hold the box (as if on Christmas morning as a kid) anticipating what’s inside. The RCBS Chargemaster Lite comes in an attractive box- one that makes you want to open it:
AS you saw in the video, the packing is first-rate with this unit, and for good reason. Any precision measurement instrument such as a precision digital scale needs to be protected from shock, vibration and impact. This packaging is up to the task, and everything was in 100% perfect condition when I took it out of the box and packaging. I always like that! Here’s what’s included once you get things setup (only a few minutes of work with no tools required):
Here’s the breakdown:
- RCBS Charemaster Lite automated powder measure and precision digital scale with powder dish, dust cover, calibration weights, cleaning brush, 2000 grain hopper with lid.
- AC adapter with adapters for most regions around the world (120V / 240V).
- Instruction manual (available online HERE as a PDF).
RCBS Chargemaster Lite Features
The RCBS Charegemaster lite is packed with features including:
- Automatic (auto-repeat) and manual (press “Go” to charge) automated charging.
- Precision digital scale (grains and grams).
- Simple calibration procedure (zero, 50 grams, 100 grams sequence).
- Manual trickle (press and hold for continuous trickling).
- 2000 grain hopper with 2/7 (0.29) pound capacity.
- Powder drain.
- Integrated bubble level and leveling feet.
- Touch screen (see below).
Notice in the picture above how the screen is back-lit green- a very nice feature especially if you are operating the Chargemaster Lite in dim or dark lighting conditions.
Scale sensitivity and accuracy:
- 2000.0 grains ± 0.3 grain
- 1000.0 grains ± 0.2 grain
- 500.0 grains ± 0.1 grain
One thing I like about the scale on the Chargemaster Lite is its speed in reading and stabilizing a weight measurement. It’s very fast, and stabilizes quickly. This may become my “standard” digital scale setup- I like it that much. I also like not having to worry about replacing batteries.
Automated Charging with the Chargemaster Lite
In order to evaluate the charging performance of the RCBS Chargemaster Lite, I tried a ball powder, a short stick powder, and a long stick powder. Each powder behaves differently when charging, and performance varies to a small extend based on the characteristics of the powders being charged.
- Hodgdon CFE BLK: (ball powder) Ball powders meter well in the Chargemaster lite, and trickling is somewhat slower than with some powders due to the way powder flows down the discharge chute.
- Hodgdon Varget: (short stick powder) I would say Varget metered the best because it came up to charge quickly *and* tricked quickly as well.
- IMR 4350: (long stick powder) It’s great to meter long stick powders in an automated powder measure because you don’t have to worry about cutting powder sticks (granules) like you’ll have happen in some drum-type powder measures. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s a nice plus of this kind of powder measure. I observed that IMR 4350 metered really well, but probably took the longest time to trickle up to the final charge weight because of the spacing of the powder granules (sticks) in the discharge chute.
Overall the RCBS Chargemaster Lite performed really well with automated powder charges. With two dispensing speeds plus automated trickling, the Chargemaster Lite is both fast *and* accurate. It is faster than the other units I’ve used in the past, and got every charge dead-on during my testing. It’s also quiet in operation which is nice. If you want a great automated powder measure, check out the RCBS Chargemaster Lite- here’s the product page at Midsouth Shooter’s Supply: RCBS Chargemaster Lite Electronic Scale 120/240-Vac. If you want to get really extreme, do what some competitive shooters do: get two of these units for simultaneous powder charging and 2x the throughput.