@ 08:37 am (GMT)
Calin BrabandtI'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!