In the realm of reloading there is gear you must have, and there is gear that is nice to have. Obviously, without a press and dies you can’t reload. Those are absolute must-haves. But sometimes it isn’t as clear-cut. For instance you must have a scale, but a digital scale is nice to have. For critical processes, like dialing in a powder measure for a new load, I use two balance beam scales so I can cross check results. But during that process, I have a small digital scale on the bench. As I’m adjusting the powder measure, I check each load on the digital scale until I have the measure throwing the charge I want. Then I verify the weight of that charge on the pair of balance beam scales on another table.
I like balance beam scales because I can visually determine if they are properly zeroed. With digitals I’d need to resort to the calibration weight, so I use balance beam scales to verify digital readouts. But there is no question that digitals are faster to use and you can pick them up and move them around without going through the time-consuming leveling process. So I like to have a small digital scale right on the bench while I’m reloading. I use a handy, very compact model from Frankfort Arsenal, which is the reloading brand of Battenfeld Technologies. It isn’t expensive, and it makes life easier for me.
In reloading you’ll find lots of gadgets in that same category—relatively inexpensive, and handy to have around. Usually they aren’t things you need often. But, when you hit the right situation, they can save the day.
RCBS Chamfering Tool
An example of that is RCBS’ chamfering tool. This is primarily useful if you buy new, unfired brass. The mouths of new cases can be a little rough. Running the chamfering tool around the case mouth cleans up the small brass burrs and makes them load more smoothly. This is a good tool to pick up if you load new brass.
Besides cleaning up case mouths, the RCBS tool can also cut the crimp out of a military primer pocket. This tool saved my bacon just recently. I had thought to save some money by buying 1,000 once-fired .40 S&W cases over the internet. I sized and de-capped a batch of this brass and started priming the cases. On the first case it was like the primer hit a stone wall. I put that case aside and primed the next few until I hung up on another case.