RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Review: Not 'Lite' on Ability
If looking to acquire an automated powder-charge dispensing unit to speed up precision reloading, don't judge the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite powder scale and dispenser by its name; the Little Green machine packs a heavy-weight punch with speed and accuracy
Like many, I’ve never been a big fan of spinoff products labeled as a lite version. Lite versions of computer software, lite versions of smartphone apps and especially products stripped of functional bells and whistles are normally on my list to avoid. Over the years, my experience with these products has left me with some disappointment and buyer’s remorse. Not the case with the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite cartridge powder charge dispenser.
The RCBS ChargeMaster Combo Dispenser and 1500 Scale has been a part of my reloading arsenal for years. Countless times it has been placed on my reloading bench and commanded to dump charge after charge. Though it has been the beating heart of my rifle cartridge reloading hobby, I never realized how important it was to me until disaster struck.
To make a long story short: I keep most of my reloading equipment on a metal bread rack in my shop; the ChargeMaster Combo's home was on the top shelf. A careless mistake sent Big Green crashing to the concrete floor. May it forever rest in peace.
While searching for a powder-dispenser-and-scale combo replacement, I stumbled onto the newly released ChargeMaster Lite. Seeing the word “Lite” automatically gave it a strike, and with it being so new, there wasn’t much information to be found about this little brother to the ChargeMaster Combo, which was the second strike.
Luckily, I put my stubbornness aside and read what RCBS had to say about this new product. On paper, it fit the need, the price fit the budget, so I took a chance.
Editor's Note: The RCBS ChargeMaster Combo Dispenser and 1500 Scale is still available for reloaders wanting additional features and functions.
Fast forwarding a week and after pressing a 55-grain BT Nosler into a .223 Remington case for the 150th time, I realized this lite version didn’t hinder my way of reloading. Actually, it improvement my game.
This won’t apply to all reloaders, but here’s what I found to be benefits:
- Smaller footprint and lighter weight: Doesn’t take up as much space as the larger ChargeMaster Combo, though it will still hold the same amount of powder.
- Easier to level: I’m a fan of ultimate accuracy and exact charge weights, so I always leveled my ChargeMaster Combo by sitting a round-bubble level on top of it and adjusting the feet accordingly. The ChargeMaster Lite has the same adjustable screw-in, screw-out feet but has the added feature of a built-in bubble.
- Improved dispense accuracy: Though hitting an exact charge-weight target time after time depends much on how well the selected powder meters, I was very impressed with Little Green’s ability in this area. Using Hodgdon H4895 in Big Green, I often would get over-weight charges. With Little Green, I had one charge, out of 150, go 0.1 grain over.
- Straight forward, easy to operate: There were many features of the ChargeMaster Combo I never used. The ChargeMaster Lite is simple and easy; it fits my way of reloading. Power up; let it warm up for 15 minutes or so; calibrate scale; zero scale with the powder pan; fill the hopper with powder; set to auto dispense mode (default setting); punch in the target charge weight; press “Go.”
The ChargeMaster Combo was programmable to fine tune powder dispensing. In other words, you could spend the time to adjust dispense trickle speeds based on powder type, which would yield better accuracy on charge weight targets. I don’t know if the ChargeMaster Lite is programmable the same way; I haven’t checked. Due to the improved powder dispensing tube, I doubt I would make adjustments anyway; it’s plenty fast and accurate to fit my needs.
For the first 150, Little Green would drop a charge every 20 to 30 seconds. This gave just about the right amount of time to complete a charged cartridge in my single-stage press on an adjacent bench.
If you’re looking to speed up your precision reloading hobby with automated powder-charge dispensing, or if you’ve had a mishap like me, don’t judge the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite powder scale and dispenser by its name. This Little Green machine packs a solid punch in speed and accuracy abilities
RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Notables
- One-piece unit
- LCD touchscreen display
- Hopper holds nearly a pound of smokeless powder
- Can dispense between 2 to 300 grains with a +/-0.1-grain accuracy
- 120/240 switching power supply (EU/UK/AUS compliant)
- Includes a cleaning brush and two calibration-check weights