Fx120i and auto trickler

  • I had given up on using my chargemaster and had gone back to throwing low and trickling. This is a very slow process as you all know...but with the satorius scale it is fairly precise. I wanted to speed that process up some but didn't want to spend the coin for a Prometheus. I feel like there are too many other kit pieces that should come before the Prometheus...like a good rangefinder.

    So...I sold the chargemaster and Prometheus and bought an fx120i by A&D and the autotrickler. It arrived yesterday and first impressions are pretty good. I thought my satorius was a good scale...but the A&D is much better. The satorius used a strain gauge which essentially is a wire that deflects to measure the weight change. The A&D uses rare earth magnets which is inherently more accurate. I pulled it out of the box yesterday and fired it up. Ran about 5 loads...but due to time I had to leave it till this morning. This morning it was still sitting on 0.00 even after warming up. It is not unusual for the satorius to change by 0.20 or more as it warms up.

    The trickler is not nearly as fast as the Prometheus...but is much faster than trickling by hand. I put the empty pan in and it starts. I then throw a charge from the powder thrower that is a couple grains low and dump it in the pan. The trickler then slows down and finishes up almost always within .02 gr. About 4 out of 10 were 0.02 low (one kernel) and about 1 out of 10 were 0.02 high.

    I am going to get some pics and some hard data soon. We will see. I figured that even if I step up to a Prometheus some day I will still be able to use a good quality scale for weight sorting bullets and such. After I sold the other two scales the difference wasn't too bad.

  • Very curious to hear your findings with this set up.

  • I've heard good things about this kit and scale from folks. It's obvious that it isn't a Prometheus. It's also obvious that it isn't Prometheus money. The question I have is whether it's a big enough improvement over a chargemaster to warrant the money. The Prometheus gives me piece of mind of being able to trust my own eyes. Confidence in charges is nearly absolute. Digital scales on the other hand can deceive easily. Odd things can cause them to behave strangely.

    I'll be interested in your results.

  • Ok...50 rounds done

    Total time: 36 minutes-- including time taken to add a kernel or subtract a kernel
    Target weight: 42.50 gr

    Actual weights

    42.46-- 4 times
    42.48-- 20 times
    42.50-- 18 times
    42.52-- 8 times

    This puts the ES at .06 or appx. three kernels of powder.

    Most of the time (all but 12) I either used it as it was or added one Kernel. Four more times I added two kernels. The eight times that I had to take a kernel out were not as easy...but still workable.

    In comparison...this is probably slightly slower than the chargemaster...but not by too much. It is much more precise and accurate. If I get a load in a good node I don't think three kernels will be noticeable.

    Total Cost: $837.50. This includes the Scale, 100g cal weight, auto trickler, and shipping.

    Now...this is more expensive than a Chargemaster by about three times...but the chargemaster scale is only accurate to plus or minus 0.1 gr yeilding an ES of 0.2...and that is when one throws back the overcharges. Besides that...when compared to a more precise scale I found that even though the chargemaster was reading the proper weight...it was often off by as much as .18 grains. When we take into account the necessity to have a nicer scale with which to check the chargemaster then the cost of the Fx120i and autotrickler is not too far out of line.

    @orkan -- please verify this info about the promethius as I don't have one.

    I would expect the Promethius to be within 0.02 grains plus or minus every time (0.04 ES). Orkan might can confirm or correct this. With this setup I can be within the same 0.02 grains if I am willing to add or subtract a kernel. If I am not willing to add or subtract...then the ES is at 0.06 on the autotrickler as opposed to 0.04 on the promethius (again...correct me if I am wrong). Another advantage to the promethius is that it is going to be significantly faster according to my judgement from the videos. So this setup is inferior to the promethius in both speed and precision...but I believe it to be great value for the price.

    BTW-- something I learned from the nice guy at Cambridge (where I ordered this from). If you touch a calibration weight with your fingers it will pick up the oils and the fingerprints will change its weight. Always wear gloves when touching a calibration weight and it will stay the same weight.

    A youtube video is processing and should be ready soon. I took the video before I ran the 50 rounds...but it has taken this long to upload.

  • Interesting test, thanks for the time to write it up.

    Are you using Varget? I don't imagine it'll matter much powder wise....

    And whats the weight of an average stick powder kernel?

  • That was varget. Each kernel is just less than 0.02 gr. A kernel almost always bumps the scale 0.02 which is the resolution.

  • @dddoo7 said:

    I would expect the Promethius to be within 0.02 grains plus or minus every time (0.04 ES)

    Not quite right. The Prometheus basically "can't" under-throw. So it is rated at - 0.00 / + 0.02 and will hold that with appropriately sized powder kernels. Larger kernels such as those found in retumbo will obviously increase that by a bit, but still it is basically - 0 kernels and + 1 kernel... but most of the time, like 98% of the time it is to the closest kernel, meaning it is not off by more than 1/3-3/4 of a single kernel weight.

    Here's what I see as the Prometheus advantages over a setup like you have:

    • It does not need to be "calibrated." It comes calibrated, and unless it is mistreated, doesn't need to be calibrated again.
    • Because it is a balance beam made of non-ferrous metals, it is not affected by electromagnetic fields in the way that a digital scale can. Cell phones and various other things can cause electronic scales to go batshit crazy, and you'll never see it on the display. Even electronic scales costing several thousand dollars can be affected this way.
    • It dumps powder directly into the case with each throw. No spilled or lost kernels on the way into the case this way.
    • Can be used and trusted even if power is lost by manually turning the trickler plate.
    • It's more precise/accurate, as covered above.
    • It's faster, considerably so.
    • All of the above leads to more confidence, which does translate directly to your mental game as a shooter. Try blaming your powder charges when loading on a Prometheus. ... try. ;)

    Having said that, if a shooter can not afford a Prometheus, or simply "isn't ready" for one... I think kits like the one you have are a significant improvement over an RCBS Chargemaster. To be clear however, they are most certainly not real competition to the Prometheus Gen II.

  • @orkan

    Thanks for correcting. I really like the Prometheus setup and might be there some day...just not now. Two years ago I didn't thing I would every spend the money on a tangent theta. A year ago I didn't think I needed a 40x. Things change and this will probably be one of them...however for now this will have to work. It is a great improvement over the chargemaster and a substantial improvement over even the satorius...and it is what I can afford right now.

    Here is the video of the first few rounds.

  • @dddoo7

    Try using a lee dipper it's a little faster.

  • @jibnast said:


    Try using a lee dipper it's a little faster.

    Yeah, those little lee dippers are handy!

    @dddoo7 another thing you'll want to do is get in the habit of putting the powder in the case, and then immediately seating the bullet. Don't charge all 50 and then seat separately.

  • @orkan

    Any reason in particular, or just to avoid the possibility of spilling powder in a double charge?

    Would the straw mod do any good in terms of helping it hit that 42.5 exactly?

  • @orkan said:

    @dddoo7 another thing you'll want to do is get in the habit of putting the powder in the case, and then immediately seating the bullet. Don't charge all 50 and then seat separately.

    I believe you...I'm just wondering why? Spill risks?

  • @ragnarnar said:

    Would the straw mod do any good in terms of helping it hit that 42.5 exactly?

    I don't believe so. I think it is programmed to shut off 0.02 early to keep from going over. I'm ok with that because it is easier to drop a kernel in than to take one out.

  • @dddoo7 said:

    @orkan said:

    @dddoo7 another thing you'll want to do is get in the habit of putting the powder in the case, and then immediately seating the bullet. Don't charge all 50 and then seat separately.

    I believe you...I'm just wondering why? Spill risks?

    Spilling powder. Stray kernels bouncing around and finding their way into your already charged cases. Accidents happen, and if an accident happens anywhere near your charged rounds, you'll wish they had tops on them. You'll go from being certain that each round is right to having no real idea, and that WILL enter your brain when you're shooting. Charge em, cap em.

  • Thats one habbit I was taught when I started relaoding. Charge the case, then seat the bullet, then box the round up. I've been enterupted when loading before. Not having to worry about going back and remembering which case I charged last is very nice.

  • http://www.autotrickler.com

    So I've been getting really pissed at my chargemaster lately. The display reads whatever I program it to throw, but I feel like it's just doing its own thing and throwing around it's target weight.

    I've been shopping around looking for alternatives and I came back to this unit.

    It looks like they're coming out with a auto throw thing, trying to speed up its output and make it hands off.

    It's still pre order, but I'll be grabbing one when they hit market. I thought it was worth a share. Maybe a stepping stone between chargemaster and Prometheus.

  • @ragnarnar

    I saw that. I do think the Fx120i and the auto trickler are probably the best option out there other than the promethius. The scale is 100x's better than the satorius I had and the trickler works pretty good. I would be buying the new "auto thrower" for mine as well if I had not already ordered a promethius. I figure I can wait another few months without it seeing as I haven't had it for all this time anyway.

  • I was going to come to Gunhive to ask about buying and running a 2nd chargemaster to speed up my process. Maybe I should look at this instead. I am definitely not ready for a Promethus yet.
    How are you guys liking this setup?

  • It is head and shoulders above a chargemaster. My chargemaster was only within + or - 0.3 grains or so which is quite a difference. I know it reads 0.1, but when compared to a quality scale it is not near that accurate.

    The auto trickler setup is not any faster than the chargemaster...and might be slightly slower but it is much more precise. When it auto trickles it is usually within a kernel or two of powder. I manually drop the last kernel...and yes, it sees individual kernels.

    I don't think you will find a better set up for the $850 or so that I spent on it. However after using it for a year or so I have a promethius on order.

    If you are happy with the chargemaster and want more precision then the a&d is fine. If you want ultimate precision and speed then the promethius is the way to go...although quite more expensive and more wait time too.

  • I like doing it my way.


  • DDD did you have a battery UPS supplying power to your Chargemaster?

  • @martino1

    Nope. And I may be wrong...but I don't think it would fix that much variation.

    At times it would creep in order to read properly when no more powder was actually added. i can get just as close of charges with my $20 lee perfect powder measure.

  • My auto trickler came in yesterday for my sartorius entris. I played around with it last night just to get the fill for it and so far I'm very impressed. What I did notice is that it was consistently throwing under my charge weight though. I think this has to do with the fact the sartorius reads to the thousandth of a grain vs the fx reading to the hundredth. My charges were consistently .01-.02 grains low, so I set my target weight .02 high and so far that seems to fix the problem

  • @dddoo7

    He only reason I ask is that I have UPCs on all my computer equipment in my office. The newer units have digital displays of the incoming voltage. I see variances during the day on these displays. Usually 3-5 volts.

    I'm not an electrical engineer of course, but I would suspect that varying power to an electric device would have some effect. It's likely that the more expensive units would have circuitry to allow for variability in power supply.

    I would check the manufacturer of your newer high end units if they recommend a upc as protection from voltage spikes. Voltage spikes are known to crash computer hard drives which is why I spend the money protecting my machines that cost on average $1500-$2000 each.

    Just a thought.

  • @martino1

    A upc will likely help the chargemaster some...but it still is inherently flawed for someone looking for precision. The variations I was talking about happened over the course of minutes as I compared the throws to a more precise scale. I also only compared throws that hit the actual target weight.

    My auto trickler is usually 0.02 low as well. I leave it like that because it is much easier to drop a kernel in than to take one out. About 6/10 mine is 0.02 low. Usually about 4/10 will hit the target...but they would be high if I set it 0.02 higher.

  • @dddoo7
    Been playing around with mine more today and was starting to see more over throws set .02 high like you mentioned. Right now I have it set at the actual target weight and my old dandy trickler beside it, if it throws low I just bumb the dandy one time and it's straight. The only problem I have is I can't keep up with the thing. Currently I'm throwing a charge low with my powder throw in a separate pan, dumping it in the pan on the scale and while it trickles up to weight I throw another charge in the separate pan set it down and seat the bullet then repeat. The auto trickler out runs me two to one, I'm going to keep playing around with my sequence but I can see one of his auto throws in my near future. Be kinda like a poor man Prometheus.

  • I would order his thrower if I didn't have a Prometheus ordered. My rythm is similar to yours. I have gotten now though where I am waiting on the trickler almost every time. It is much better than hand trickling.

    When it throws low, you can also turn the auto trickler by hand. I usually just keep a dozen kernels sitting There and drop one in by hand.

  • My current batch of brass is 180 pieces.

    Yesterday I annealed, sized, tumbled, trimmed, and primed all of them. With the tools I have every one of these processes were painless and somewhat enjoyable.

    Then I am sitting there staring at 180 pieces of beautifully cleaned, primed, chamfered brass and realize that although I have enjoyed the process so far...I absolutely dread having to charge those cases. The auto trickler is obviously better than a manual trickler, but I just can't get myself to enjoy this process. Can't wait for the Promethius to be finished. The right tools always make the job easier.

  • The true speed with the Prometheus comes from the fact that I don't have to handle powder, pans, or anything like that... which allows me to seat bullets at the same time the machine is busy prepping my next charge.

  • @orkan

    not handling the powder, trays, funnels, etc also means there is less "slop factor". less spilt powder or lost kernels.

  • I'd love to have a promentheus but it's just not in the cards for me right now, with that said so far I'm very pleased with the auto trickler and plan to add the auto throw shortly. The big advantage I see in the promentheus over the auto trickler/throw set up is the reassurance that a balance beam scale brings. My satorious has never given me a single problem but it always in the back of my head that it could.