RCBS Chargemaster 1500
In today’s article we are going to do a long term review of the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 digital scale and powder dispenser that has been in use for 10 years of fairly heavy use. From the manufacturer, there are a few short comings or irritations that we have found over time and will show you how to get past in this article. Once you have done these, this is a great unit and are quite handy for almost all usage.
First and foremost, this is a piece of electronic digital equipment. With that said it was meant to be used in a climate controlled environment, not an unheated garage or unheated basement, it really affects its operation as the scale becomes erratic. The electronics of this unit are also not a fan of static electricity, don’t wear your 70’s polyester leisure suit when reloading, the scale and powder won’t like that.
The first free fix is the addition of a 1” long piece of McDonald’s drinking straw to the dispenser tube. The reason for this is to prevent overthrows which these machines, you will have an overthrow issue unless you do this. The reason the machine will overthrow is the dispenser tube is internally threaded, this threading brings a large amount of powder down the tube in the valley of the thread with each revolution, the straw slows this into an almost single file row of powder that the machine can better control the output. It’s super easy, cut it, push it in leaving ¼” sticking out and voila, done.
Fixing this issue is super easy, cut the 1″ straw segment, push it in leaving ¼” sticking out and voila, done.
The next item of business is to mute the Beep, which is actually, BEEP! This will drive you crazy making ammunition as it is the indicator for charge complete even though the scale gives you a visual prompt, let’s shut it off. On the scale portion, find and hold the Zero button down, it will display “beep off”, that’s all it takes, to turn it back on if you want, same way.
The third item of business, the clear scale cover…The scale is used in a room with no breeze. This is an obvious situation to avoid when reloading. With the cover on or off, comparing the thrown charges on a quality balance beam scale no change was noted other than the slight variations that are limited by the scale itself. The door stays off on our scale, but again, user preference and responsibility.
With this unit the scale hopper can hold an entire pound of powder, this is a great feature for sure that way you don’t have a part full can sitting around and potentially get mixed up. This unit also has a well thought out powder drain door on the side of the hopper. Once you are done with that particular powder, open the door and it pours straight back into the can. This is far better than the manual powder thrower to change powders.
Confirming charge accuracy
Every time you sit down to reload make sure the scale has been on for at least an hour and that you calibrate it with the RCBS supplied weights each session. When using the RCBS Chargemaster, once it displays a charge weight in the pan, pick up the pan from the scale and then set it back on, confirm the charge is as it should be. This seems over the top but it only takes a second and is an additional confirmation you are making the most accurate ammo possible with the given equipment.
We also have the old balance beam on the bench that is set to whatever load we are doing that the dispensed load gets periodically checked against. Call it Old School suspicion of technology, this is unnecessary unless you are compulsive but is done here anyway.
You can also speed up the dispense speed of the RCBS Chargemaster if you so choose and those directions can be found online. This one has been adjusted to where we are happy with it but in reality the adjustment was not really necessary, all user preference
The RCBS Chargemaster 1500 is absolutely worth buying, no question. The time saved reloading hundreds of rounds in a sitting is enormous. If you are a volume shooter and you try one, it is very unlikely you won’t stay using it. We have also covered the RCBS Rock Chucker press and RCBS Priming tool in another review, check it out.