In this gear update we take a closer look at the Auto Trickler and Auto Throw combo and how it integrates with a the A&D FX120-i precision lab scale. This solution offers one of the fastest and most precise powder dispensing solutions on the market. We also review the Area 419 Billet Base that is an accessory offered for the Auto Trickler.
Autotrickler.com is a small company founded by Adam McDonald and based out of Canada. Auto-Trickler.com has quickly grown in the past couple of years through the introduction of an innovative product – the Auto-Trickler. This product is an add-on to lab-quality digital scale such as the A&D FX-120i or the Sartorius Entris 64-1S – Both of these scales are capable of measuring to within 1/100th of a grain. The product integrates the scales digital interface with a highly precise powder trickler powered by a stepper motor. The result is a very FAST powder charging mechanism that can obtain precise and consistent charges for precision hand loaded ammunition.
Another recent innovation from Autotrickler.com is an Auto-Throw mechanism that adds on a powder drop measure with its own stepper motor to quickly make an initial charge of powder near the target weight, and then the auto-trickler automatically kicks-in and trickles up to the desired weight.
Steve recently purchased both of these products that are being offered together as a combination auto-throw, auto-trickler for the A&D FX-120i scale. His primary goal was to save time in his precision ammo reloading process while also achieving more consistent powder charges in each case. Steve had been using a RCBS Chargemaster 1500 (with optimized/reprogramming) which could take anywhere from 9-12 seconds to create a powder charge within +/- .05 grains. Additionally, even with the McDonalds’ straw-mod Steve had observed that the Chargemaster was prone to creating an overcharge depending on the powder used by getting close to the charge weight and then a clump or a couple extra grains might fall into the pan. Thus, adding extra time to redo the charge.
- The products come with excellent instructions that are clear and easily understood.
- The products assembly easily and the Steve was able get from opening the box to having a fully assembled and operational unit within about 20-30 minutes
- Many of the parts are 3D printed, which is understandable for a small company – perfectly functional for their intended purpose but detracts from the overall fit/finish of the final assembled unit
- The goal of achieving a FAST accurate powder charge for a target weight was achieved. It takes about 4 seconds from the time the pan on the scales zeros out to when it is fully charged and ready to drop into a case.
- The auto-drop mechanism is prone to “splashing’ the powder out of the pan due to its height above the powder pan and having to use a drop tube. This can be mitigated through modifying the drop tube straw angle and having a powder pan with higher sides
- Unlike the RCBS Chargemaster, the Auto-Trickler has no real user interface. There is no ‘easy’ way to program the unit to charge a specific weight. The user must manually charge the pan with powder to the desired weight (which can take time, trial/error) and then press a button to set that weight as the desired charge weight.
We were asked how the RCBS Chargemaster scale compares to the A&D FX-120i with respect to consistency and accuracy. Steve tested 30 loads by programming a charge weight 42 grains on his RCBS Chargemaster and then weighing each on the A&D FX-120i scale to determine how close it achieved the 42 grains. Steve found that on average it was within +/- .04 grains or typically less than one tenth of grain difference.
In the final analysis, a valid question is if this piece of high-end reloading equipment is necessary or provides any obvious benefit beyond what and RCBS Chargemaster 1500 can do. The answer is it depends. First, the Auto-Trickler combo will undoubtedly be more accurate than the Chargemaster – but one could argue we’re splitting hairs here. Second, the Auto-Trickler is hands down faster and if your goal is to save a significant amount of time sitting at the reloading bench this will take you further towards that goal.
Another associated product we evaluated was from Area 419. They produce a number of very high quality machined aluminum products. In this case we evaluated a billet aluminum base made specifically for the auto-trickler. Our observations were that this would be very desirable accessory for the Auto-Trickler due to it’s weight. Thereby reducing vibrations being induced from the stepper motor to the scale. Also it provides the ability to adjust the height of the Auto-Trickler, relative to the scale.
Editor: Steve Lawrence (email@example.com)
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