Weekly Gear Update – Auto Trickler, Auto Throw Combo with Area 419 Billet Base

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.

Product Observations:

  • 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 (steve@65guys.com)

Copyright 6.5 Guys LLC

Latest Comments
  1. Gabe

    Have you guys had a chance to quantify any improvement in ES and SD after using this setup, compared to your older equipment?

    Great videos and content- keep up the good work!

    Thanks,

    Gabe

    • 65guys

      Hi,
      Steve just started using this setup and we should have some data soon. Some improvement is expected.

      • Brad

        Have you guys tested and seen any better results using this equipment yet?

        • 65guys

          As we state in our article, if we compare the performance of the the Auto-Trickler and Auto-Throw combo versus the performance of a RCBS Chargemaster what you gain is #1 – an improvement in the speed at which you can perform a precision handloading process. Our experience is that that the it can throw a consistent and accurate powder charge about 3x faster than the Chargemaster and it will be slightly more accurate given the higher level of precision with the scale, however the RCBS Chargemaster does have a very good scale. Setting aside the speed improvement, the quality of ammo as far as improvements in consistency of chronograph results from the hand loaded ammo (extreme spread and standard deviation) is negligible.

  2. Court

    I bought the entire kit including the upgraded base. I ran out of time but left off confused as to how the trickled knows when to kick in to trickle the last amount? By example if my target weight is 40 grs and I get the Lee auto drop to drop 39.5 grs; how do I set the trickled to do the balance of .5 grs? I’m sure I will figure it out and will be something simple. I love the idea of the accuracy and speed, also calibration is not as tiresome as other regular scales…I’ll keep at it, worse case is I have a set of scales I can trust! Thanks for your video and wonderful videos and articles to follow your all’s progress…

  3. Burt Loudenslager

    Hello

    Please sign me up fro your weekly gear emails. Also any other email information that you send out.

    Burt Loudenslager
    Thin Air Firearms

    • 65guys

      Hi Burt,

      We don’t have an email list. The best thing to do is to subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook page and you’ll get notifications of any new material.

      Thanks for your interest!

      Regards,

      Ed

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