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How slow is the Lee Precision scale?

05 Sep 2018
@ 02:49 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

My RCBS scale finally packed it in. Actually, it's probably been going bad for a few years, but as it was for my personal loads, it didn't really matter. After substituting my nephew's scale (same model), I realized it was not just the knives and bearings, but also the magnetic dampner. Pretty well the whole thing.

Now I need a new scale. Both the Hornady and the Lee are available. The Lee being 1/3 the price of the Hornady. But I've heard it said that the Lee is painfully slow to settle. But, how slow? Does it take a full minute to get an accurate weight? Thirty seconds? Or are people just in too much of a hurry and want instant gratification?

Anyone have a Lee scale? Are you happy with it? Or is it a royal pain?

Thanks for any input.


05 Sep 2018
@ 04:58 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
people who think its too slow are in too much of a hurry........ if you clever and use either teaspoon or better still set of lee spoons it works just fine. I dump slightly less powder than needed then tap side of thumb to trickle last wee bit in,the scales will rise slowly if you trickle slowly.....with large volume of powder they will see saw a bit..maybe 5-6 times but smaller amounts it moves very little.....I own a very accurate powder thrower and unless doing 40 or more loads at once I dont even bother using it,set of spoons and good technique and the lee scales are awesome.
05 Sep 2018
@ 06:43 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Paul I have Lee scales. I found out that using them in a area where you have a slight draught blowing around and they wobble and won't settle. They're so accurate and sensitive that slowly moving a flat hand up and down over the zeroed or loaded scales causes the beam to move! I got mine with the Lee 50th anniversary reloading kit. There good and everything Lee said they are.

05 Sep 2018
@ 07:01 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
It is the slowest part of my reloading process. They are extremely accurate, one kernel of powder can move my scale's level 2mm sometimes. I use mine like Mike does, I have a thrower which is set just low of my desired charge (at the moment 43.5gr of 2206H) then trickle the rest in with the Lee spoon that came with the die set. I find it is usually about 15 kernels of powder shy. Not much at all. But enough to bring the beam level.

I work in a wind free workshop so it's not an issue with wind...

I do find sometimes the dampener gets sticky and a quick tap will knock it free, usually takes less than 25 seconds to settle.

I find it most frustrating when I put too much in and then have to remove some powder... usually it's not much, but I find I always have to add a bit more back in to get it right.
06 Sep 2018
@ 01:49 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Thanks to all of you. This is the kind of info a guy needs. Real world stuff. You've convinced me, a set of Lee it is. Thanks again, much appreciated.
06 Sep 2018
@ 12:47 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Hi guys
I was using a Harrell powder thrower, it was very accurate but I've been using a Lyman Gen6 Digital Powder Measure Scale for a year or so, I'm very happy with it. Still have to the shut the door & keep any breeze away. It's very accurate occasionally it'll throw 1/10 gn low, I double check loads with my beam scale when I start. You place the pan back on the scale and by the time I seat a projectile the next load is thrown. It cut my loading time down by heaps ! Love it.
08 Sep 2018
@ 06:37 am (GMT)

Daniel Bourke

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Hey guys,i too have a set of the lee scales that came with my kit,like everyone is saying they are very accurate but i also found mine would stick now and then which had charge weights getting a bit heavy,and also watch your breathing,i have my scales on a shelf quite high and it took me a while to realize my breathing would stop them settling,i use a manual trickler which works great for slowly topping up the charge,i brought a set of lyman scales, they were going cheap and quite often compare the two and they are both as accurate as each other.
08 Sep 2018
@ 02:44 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
I should say first that I am almost clueless in general about reloading, so take anything I say with a bit of skepticism, but here’s something I’ve noticed about the Hornady automatic powder measure/dispenser:

My uncle got one several years ago, and despite the fairly high cost, he has said that he finds enough benefit from the machine that he will not go back to a scale like the Lee one.

The machine has it’s own quirks like most reloading products, but if you set the speed to the lowest setting, it is extremely convenient and very accurate. He calibrates it before each reloading session, just to be sure that the charge weights are accurate.
08 Sep 2018
@ 03:17 pm (GMT)

Hamish Gibbs

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Good to hear that Ryan, was considering the auto hornady as an upgrade as maybe doing a little more reloading for mates in the near future.
I still have the basic Lee Anniversary setup but the two upgrades I have made are to purchase a powder trickler then to upgrade the scales to hornady.
I would say depends on your budget(put it into the wants and needs category), the lee does the job just fine but the hornady are sooo much nicer, a worthwhile upgrade in my opinion but like I say certainly not a neccesity.
Has anybody else removed a balanced charge from the Lee, moved the charge in the pan slightly then rehung it? Found them to be a little sensitive to such things but possibly not enough to worry about as they are so sensitive in the first place? Dont seem to have the same issues with the Hornady.
Found to settle the Lee faster just resting your scoop on top of the frame over the damper was the fastest way to settle then trickle up to weight, others are more skilled with a teaspoon or scoop than me, as Andrew said doing an overthrow is a pain.
I'm sure you wont go wrong with either, good luck with it.
16 Sep 2018
@ 03:44 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
The Lee scale showed up in the mail the other day. Set it up as per the instructions, and ....hmmm. It is going to take some getting used to. Nothing bad to say about it, but there are, in my opinion, a few things that could have been done different. The first big difference that I noticed was the distance between the beam and the "zero" indicator on the body. Maybe it's me, but I found it to be a little far away to accurately gauge the readings. I have used the scale for making up twelve test rounds, and it is getting easier, but another 1/10th of an inch on the beam, and it would have been great from the get go. The second draw back that I found was the way the poise locked on the beam. Not sure about anyone else, but with sausages that I have for fingers, it's not really conducive to ease of operation. I have to take the beam off the scale, make my adjustments, then replace the beam. As well, I have to be very careful about how and where I lock it down. Again, it is probably sausage related, but I find that it shifts as I lock it. The third on the list is the pan. I have a real problem grabbing hold of it when loaded and have to be extremely careful not to spas out and spill the charge. Again, my bad, something I will have to deal with.

Other than that, I like it. It is simple, very accurate, and well built. Not sure about anyone else, but I found that if I am using a powder like Superformance, the extreme level of accuracy is going to be a challenge. These powder kernels are very small and even three of these tiny little buggers will tip the scale. Not a bad thing, but it certainly steepens the learning curve.

As to Hamish's experience with re-hanging the pan. Once, I thought this may have happened, but when I went to remove some powder and bumped the pan, it may have corrected it self. So, not conclusive, but a possibility. But the scale reading was way out of whack, there would be no way that it could have been a heavy (or light) charge and mistakenly loaded.

For now, I am happy with it and good to go. But I think I hear the Fantom Fiddler knocking at the door. Will let you know how it goes in the future.
20 Sep 2018
@ 11:09 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
I've done some reloading since the scale showed up, and for the most part, my comments above still stand. It is getting easier, probably through familiarity and adapting methodology to suit the situation.

On a side note, this is more of a testimonial to Lee Precision tools in general. I loaded up nine rounds for node testing last night, and wanted to check just how exacting Lee tools could be. Without deliberately selecting the best brass (fireformed, shot at least twice), I ran it through the process as normal. After the loads were completed and crimped, I checked the run-out on the bearing surface of the A-Max, and of the nine rounds, one was at .0025", two showed no significant needle movement (<.0005"), and the other six were between .001" and .0015". The high one could have been bent back to zero, but for my needs in this ammo it was not necessary, and as I had said, part of this was just to see what can be done with the tools on hand. Pretty impressive.
22 Sep 2018
@ 08:07 am (GMT)

Robert McLean

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
the Newbie experience...

I traded a well used sporterized 303 that no longer had a good clip for an old RCBS 505 scale, Lee Hand Press, set of 3 dies, various other important tools, an hour's training and 4 rounds of experience on how to use it. Really the only thing missing was the concentricity gauge... This was before I read the books... Fired off those 4 rounds and they literally went all over the page.

Did some more loading myself, but doubt crept in about my scale, getting back to zero seemed too irregular. I also talked myself into wondering if I had the weight in grains set to the 50's or the 45's. Small error to make with bad eyes, but 5 grains out is scary... Probably not the first person with 505 to have that doubt. So I abandoned those cartridges.

Took the scale to a friend who is a millwright & fellow loader and he fixed it up for me so that it zeros well now.

In the mean time I read the books endlessly, found Lee Classic Cast press, a Lee scale, and a set of Lee Scoops on sale. So now I first find out what Lee scoop is recommended for the middle ground on the load. Use that to scoop into the 505, then pour from the 505 into the Lee scale and then into the shell.

The fullness of the scoop shows clearly as I graduate my load what I am pouring into the 505, which I trust now, and then into the Lee scale to verify. Rarely have to add any powder at this stage so no Lee beam swinging up and down.

Now that I have a 3 stage verification, I feel so much more confident now. Took all my fear away. Slow process but I can now focus on all the other details and not worrying about a powder measure.

What did it cost me? The 505 was in the trade, $40 for the Lee scale, and $13 for the dips. Not bad for my piece of mind... Would I trade them for any one reloading scale? I don't think so at this point.
22 Sep 2018
@ 10:59 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
I'm waiting for a set of digital scales to arrive.
They look like a set of Frankford Arsenal scales
I am not expecting them to be much. I'm just
curious to see how good they are? And the scales where free if I paid the postage NZ$6 lol.

Don't worry fella's I'll be using my Lee scales.
23 Sep 2018
@ 08:18 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Robert - couldn't agree more. After having used the Lee scale and getting used to it's idiosyncrasies, I would not go back. I did what Lee said about cutting the piece of paper to size and weighing it, not so much to measure accuracy, but to see how much beam movement equated to 0.1gr. Kind of gives you an optical margin of error to go by.
27 Oct 2018
@ 09:26 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
One tip I have found recently with my scales is to add some weight to the pan.

I found by adding a few layers of tape to the under side of the pan it gave the tare weight a little more heft. Essentially making the weighing time faster. I have found it to be less fiddly and quicker to balance.

On a different note I recently purchased some digital scales.

Link here:

Very excellent for the price. Extremely accurate. Not great for trickling. Need to lift the pan off the scales and place it back on again but on the money every time with the weights given by the Lee scales.
28 Oct 2018
@ 06:50 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Andrew - I also found that by gluing the sharp end of a toothpick helps to speed up the process, as it is closer to the balance mark and parallax doesn't affect your readings.

28 Oct 2018
@ 06:51 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Sorry, apparently the resize didn't take.
28 Oct 2018
@ 08:46 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Yeah nice one Paul.

That's great. I think I'll add this modification.

One thing I've been curious about is how much weight is represented by the movement of the beam.

For example: if it is 1mm high or low, how much do you need to remove/add to get it on the money?

My guess (after using the digital scales which give measurements in the range of 0.02grains is that 2mm above/below is roughly 0.1 grains.

That is for the 47.5 gr loads I was doing. I assume the weight differs depending on the size of the charge you are loading. A percentage would help...

That said I didn't test this and would actually need to do so on a various range of weights. So take this estimate with a grain of salt.

30 Oct 2018
@ 02:18 pm (GMT)

Dan Keene

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
I came up with a cunning plan while using my Lee scales.
Either powder thrower or spoon to dump just less powder than I need.
While the beam is making its mind up seat a projectile in the previous load.
Once the projectile has been seated the beam has stopped.
Top up using a powder trickler. This does not upset the beam and set it oscillating again. Once you are up to weight dump it in your next case. Throw a load onto the scale and seat a projectile.
This kept me busy and not staring at that bastard beam swinging away!!
Cheers guys.
30 Oct 2018
@ 11:54 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
Got lucky with the photo not resizing. If you look just above the tip of the toothpick, there is a blurry little black dot. This is pretty close to 1/10th of a grain....close, not exact. The pen hit the scale before I wanted it to, but it was good enough, just an estimate, more of an indicator than anything else. What I have noticed is that when adding to a "low" charge, the beam moves less than if you were to remove the same amount from a "high" charge. This doesn't seem quite right to me, so like you said, take it with a .1 grain of salt.

Dan, look underneath your scale (inside) and see if it has the little piece of plastic glued in there. This is supposed to be the "close to weight" dampener. It's not real effective, but it does help somewhat.
01 Nov 2018
@ 08:37 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
I'm a new member here and figure I'll say hello by responding to this thread before I start asking questions in general.

I've used the Lee balance for about 10 years and found everything reported here to be true, but I'll add a few things. Every balance scale that I've used has been touchy (even the very expensive ones I used in chem lab at college many decades ago).

I had a problem with my Lee scale that plagued me for a couple of years after I purchased it. For reasons unknown to me, the scale just wasn't consistent at all. I finally called Lee Precision about it and they sent me a new pan which cured the problem. It turns out that they had a production defect and the little divot in hook of the pan's arm was not correctly formed and it didn't rest on the beam in a repeatable position. When I received the new pan I noticed that, sure enough, the divot was different, but the difference was barely noticeable. Lee Tech support also suggested that it's a good idea to "season" the scale after by pressing the pan all the way to the table once and releasing it before accepting charge weights. I've found this to be a good practice and I always try to keep the pan as well aligned as possible during operations too, which is challenging for my sausage fingers too!

As also reported here, I've felt there's sometimes a little stickiness in the beam pivot, despite implementing the seasoning process described above. The technique I used to preclude it is to gently slide the beam's knife edge fully back and forth in its "valley" notch of the base a few times. For the beam's final resting place, I slide it forward and then back it off from the most forward position a barely perceivable distance--about .010" or up to 1 mm (.040") or so. It's definitely bad to leave the beam fully aft (away from my body), because my beam will drag a little in that position. Again, consistent positioning is the key to maximally consistent charge weights.

My rules of usage are:

1. Always "season" the scale as the final zeroing step.
2. Adjust the beam knife edge immediately before doing #1 above.
3. If I remove the beam from the base (to set and lock-in a charge weight for example), or accidentally disturb the scale (clumsily brush or knock it on the bench), I re-adjust and re-season the scale, as in #1 and #2. This can be done with an approximate charge resting in the pan to provide a near-balance condition. With practice, all of these procedures become standard operating procedure and don't take much time.

I use Lee powder measure spoons or a Lee Auto Disk powder measure on the press to obtain a starting charge of powder (slightly light). When using the Auto disk, I dump the powder from the case into the scale pan (flicking the case with my finger to remove all powder) and then trickle the remainder with an RCBS "twist" trickler or when loading more than a tray of cartridges, my Dandy Products Auto Trickler, which is picky to setup but I think it works better than my all my friends' Chargemasters and similar!

Perhaps the Dandy Products Auto Trickler is a topic for a new thread. It makes weighing charges thrown from the Lee spoons or a mechanic press-mounted or table-mounted measure very fast and accurate, but it's only compatible with the Lee scale if you stick a small piece of tape (I use black electrical tape) on the end of the beam to break the light beam of the trickler's position sensor.

I like your toothpick mod too, Paul. As I recall, Dandy Products used to sell a reasonably inexpensive prism/mirror thingy that would allow a user to view the scale pointer from above, without bending down to avoid parallax sight error. I just looked on their website and I don't see it anymore. Too bad. I'd always planned to buy one.

BTW, I'm not affiliated with Lee Precision, Dandy Products, RCBS, or any other reloading supply company, nor do I have any financial interest is such companies. I'm just a gun hobby guy like most of you guys!
08 Nov 2018
@ 08:07 pm (GMT)

Jon Short

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
I do exactly what Dan does... coz he explained this to me some time ago & it is a v good process / set up to follow. The trickler is a bloody good & essential bit of kit. makes it fast & easy to be accurate, literally by the granule.

Occasionally I have found my Lee scales to be a little sticky, so I always double check the charge for every load on some v cheap electronic scales PURELY to suss out if there is an obvious error as a back up. While cheap electronic scales are not that accurate they will pick up an obvious f-up or inconsistancy.

I also make sure I'm in a room with the door closed & no draughts. Essential.

Just gotta take the time to get set up right at the start, & then work methodically with no distractions...

Simple is best in my mind. The more automated the kit the more the chance of mistakes & inaccuracies in my mind... & the less you are truly reloading I reckon. It takes skill.

If you want the best amo, take your time to make sure it is right, &don't be in a hurry ... c that way you can be sure you have it right when you pull the trigger. ;-)

08 Nov 2018
@ 08:09 pm (GMT)

Jon Short

Re: How slow is the Lee Precision scale?
And if you are worried about speed, whatever you do don't get into neck turning, primer pocket uniforming & flash hole uniforming... he he ;-)


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