Test Report: RCBS Chargemaster 1500 Scale & Dispenser

As I noted previously, I purchased an RCBS Chargemaster 1500 back in May. I have since used it to load some .45LC and tonight some .308. I was asked a couple of times to report on how well it worked. As I noted in the previous post, I bought it because my standard powder measure, an old, pretty worn RCBS manual type wouldn’t throw Unique powder +/- 0.1 grain consistently, and fuhgeddabouddit if you were trying to throw an extruded powder like IMR4350. Unique is my go-to powder for .45ACP and was for .45 Colt (I’ve been using 2400 for the Colt recently and may have settled on that powder for that caliber.) I also use Varget in my .223 loads, and now that I’ve bought a .308 I will be using Varget there, too.

A few days before heading off to the Second Annual Gunblogger’s rendezvous I loaded up some .45LC with 2400 using the Chargemaster. Tonight, I loaded 50 .308 rounds. (Sooner or later I’ve got to load a bunch of .223!)

Conclusion: It’s not quite as fast as I am, but a far cry better than throwing the charges by hand and trickling them up.

The procedure for finishing a rifle cartridge is as follows, once the press and scale are set up and you’re ready to rock:

1) Press the “Dispense” button.

2) Pick up a piece of brass and the powder funnel

3) Mate the powder funnel and brass

4) Wait a couple of seconds for the powder measure to finish weighing out the first charge

5) BEEP! (Annoying tone.)

6) Pick up the powder pan, pour the charge into the case, replace the pan on the scale.


8) Put down the funnel

9) Pick up a bullet

10) Place the bullet in the neck of the case

11) Put the cartridge in the press and pull the handle

12) Remove the loaded cartridge and put it in the ammo box

13) Pick up a new case and the funnel

14) Mate the case and funnel

15) Wait for the measure to finish…. (Lather, rinse, repeat…)

Out of 50 charges, the scale was ready before I was probably five times. The longest time I had to wait for it (when I remembered to hit “Dispense” as soon as the pan was back on the scale) was probably ten seconds. The scale was dispensing 43.5 grains of Varget.

When I did 100 .45LC using 2400 I had to remove the case from the press, dump the powder charge into the case, and put it back in the press (Dillon RL-450). I have a powder-through-expander die, but no funnel to fit it. (Yet.) Again, the Chargemaster never made me wait more than ten seconds or so.

It doesn’t seem to matter much how large the charge is, it’s those last few tenths that take the longest to measure out.

I can unequivocally state that the Chargemaster 1500 is FAR faster than throwing low charges by hand and then trickling up to the desired weight. It is FAR more accurate with 2400 than the Dillon measure that came with my RL-450. In fact, the shape of the powder is immaterial to the function of the Chargemaster – it’s going by weight alone, not volume.

If, however, the volumetric measure you have does a good job metering the powder you prefer, the Chargemaster is most definitely SLOWER. I won’t, for example, be using it to measure out my 7.0 grain Unique charges for .45ACP – the measure on my Square Deal-B works just fine for that.

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