RCBS Chargemaster Gun Powder Dispenser & Scale Review ~ VIDEOS

by Bob Shell
Reloading addict, Bob Shell gives us his report on his trial run of the RCBS Chargemaster Gun Powder Dispenser & Scale.

RCBS Chargemaster Powder Dispenser & Scale
RCBS Chargemaster Powder Dispenser & Scale
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- The RCBS Chargemaster Powder Dispenser & Scale, model 1500, is an advanced unit for measuring gun powder.

Accurate powder measuring is very important in order to have safe and good ammo. This unit does that plus other things including memory functions. There is a standard 1-year warranty covering the original owner. It is essentially for someone who has a lot of time and wants precision powder changes. If you are more interested in making quantity ammo then a mechanical setup will work better for you.

RCBS Chargemaster Powder Dispenser & Scale

RCBS 1500 Chargemaster Key Pad
RCBS 1500 Chargemaster Key Pad & Powder Tube IMG from atonefew

The Chargemaster is a fairly expensive unit ($500.00 MSRP, way less online) so I would suggest some research before buying as it isn’t for everyone especially the casual reloader. If it suites your reloading  needs then by all means buy it as it works as advertised.

There is an instruction manual (embedded below) and I strongly suggest that you read it thoroughly especially if you are not tech savvy like me. The manual is very helpful in navigating through this product.

If you make a mistake in using this unit it could be costly. For example, it warns against using black powder because the static electricity may set it off with bad results. When you get done with it thoroughly cleaning it is important to get all residue and eliminate any static electricity. There is a brush provided plus you can wipe down everything and I recommend that you follow that closely.

Another thing when changing powder, it is a several step process and it must be followed to prevent an accident. The powder trickle tube will have some powder in it so it must be thoroughly drained. There can be up to 24 grains of left over powder and imagine if it is WW- 231 and you are switching to a rifle cartridge. The left over 24 grains of pistol powder could be disastrous in a rifle case. If you have a preset load, you might not check the powder, which is a mistake. Never take it for granted that you have the correct powder and weight as that can lead to disaster. You should also remove the scale pan, plate calibration weights and unplug and hold over a container to insure that all powder is removed. Yes, it is time consuming but it is better than an accident.

RCBS Chargemaster Gun Powder Scale
RCBS Chargemaster Gun Powder Scale IMG from atonefew

My friend Norm Gray and fellow writer assisted me as I am not a tech person. And there are a number of features on the RCBS Chargemaster Powder Dispenser & Scale that some reloaders will find desirable. You can set up powder loads and put them into the memory and the next time you use that load it will be ready to go. There is a powder “trickler” function, which works well and is consistent. This set up is for someone who wants precision loads as opposed to someone who loads a lot of ammo and time is a consideration.

There is an included weight to check the Chargemaster’s scales for accuracy and the powder machine allows for adjustments as needed. I have found that with a mechanical scale the powder charges seldom vary over ½ grain which will make no difference in a typical rifle load and this unit is as equal or more accurate. Also you can use the Chargemaster scale as a separate tool if the powder measure is not needed, a nice feature.

RCBS Chargemaster Dispenser Drawbacks: In all honesty it takes over 18 seconds to throw a charge therefore if you are loading a bunch of ammo you might want to do it another way. The Chargemaster also takes patience and time to get dialed in for your particular loads.  The machine also requires a few performance tweaks to get that level of perfection. See my Video Playlist at the bottom of useful online videos that can help you with the set up.

If you are a match shooter then the exact charge each time may be more important. In addition, to realize that type of accuracy, the cases, bullets, and primers have to be exactly the same or you are wasting time. The rifle also has to have a lot of precision or it won’t be able to take advantage of the other precision items. If you are a serious long range match shooter then this RCBS product might be just the ticket.

The once properly set up the RCBS Chargemaster Gun Powder loads are precise so a match shooter would appreciate that. You can set up 30 charges in its memory as it has a redundant memory function. For success with these precise loads, there are other factors besides powder changes. The cases have to be the same or as near as possible plus the bullets have to be perfectly formed and round to enhance accuracy. Primers have to be the correct choice and the rifle has to have custom dimensions in order to be able to take advantage of the ammo.

In today’s world almost any new rifle is capable of putting 3 shots into an inch at 100 yards. Many guarantee that accuracy with select loads and that includes low dollar ammo models. I have tested quite a few rifles of various brands and they indeed live up to that promise. In fact, they will outshoot their owners most of the time. In order to improve that performance you need the precise ammo and gun if you want to win any matches. That will take time and money to achieve.

For that demanding a shooter the RCBS Chargemaster Gun Powder Dispenser & Scale is another tool to help you perform at that level.

Useful RCBS Chargemaster Gun Powder Dispenser & Scale Videos:

About Bob Shell:

A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. Visit: www.bobshellsblog.blogspot.com.

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David Davis

How well does it work for flake powder, that is, shotshell reloading. Thank you


Steve Clark

You should have given Eric more credit. You stole his pics and used his video. Why be rude about this? Share that you took the pics from Eric. Not sure this is the image you want to project to the reloading community. Don’t know you but Eric is a stand up guy. Make it Right!

F Riehl, Editor in Chief

Steve, nothing is “stolen” and we are not being rude, we have no idea who Eric is but the images & videos are all embedded from Youtube with links, that is how the internet works. Not quite sure what else you would have us do? PS: Not to mention they owe us for driving a ton of views to their videos…

Wild Bill

@Steve Clark, Seems like Ammoland’s use fits into the “Fair Use” doctrine to me.


I’ve been thinking about getting one. I may just upgrade to a digital scale.

Rick, Thanks for your comment. I’ll look into the red ones.


Initially it looked pretty cool but after reading all the steps you have to go through —— well, it may be fine for some, if I were still reloading I believe I’d stay with my old trickle charger. To each his own though.

Rick Cheatum

Make sure you understand it has only a one-year warranty. RCBS won’t honor any repair after that warranty period and does not offer any repair service, even if you offer to pay for it. Ask me how I know. I switched to red.