RCBS Chargemaster Supreme (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)
RCBS Chargemaster Supreme (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)
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I started reloading back when we were still hiding under our school desks to protect ourselves from Brezhnev’s A-bombs.

My RCBS beam-style powder scale isn’t much younger than that. I still load thousands of rounds every year with it and a pair of RCBS single stage presses from the same era. In fact, almost all of the basic reloading gear I have is from RCBS, and all of it is many decades old.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

I’m all for trying new guns, new calibers, new bullets and new powders. But when it comes to new reloading equipment, I’m not what one would call an “early adopter.” It ain’t broke and there’s nothing to fix.

TTAG sent me the newest whiz-bang RCBS powder measure to review. There’s no beam.  It’s electronic and connected to an AC power outlet. It’s Bluetooth enabled. It’s unlike anything else on my bench.

And I’m never going back.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

Now my scale, my powder thrower, and my powder trickler are all stored under the bench. Why? Because the RCBS Chargemaster Supreme has replaced all of them, saving space. The Chargemaster Supreme is now also my log, my recipe book, and my catalogue too. My hard copies are now just backups.

Within a few hours of use, the RCBS Chargemaster Supreme proved to not only replace all of that equipment and documentation, but it performed the roles of all of that gear faster, more accurately, and with less potential for error than the equipment I’d been using my entire life.

My fellow troglodytes probably have the same primary concern I did — you don’t trust it.  I’m here to tell you that you can.

Prior to each use, you check to make sure it’s level using the adjustable feet and an integrated bubble level. Then, just as you would on a beam-scale, you calibrate and zero it using the two 50-gram supplied weights.

After that, there are tons of options, but if you want, you can simply fill the hopper, enter how many grains you want, (down to a tenth of a grain) and press “GO.”

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

Most of the charge weight will then quickly pour from the tube and into the powder pan on the scale, and then slowly trickle out the rest of the powder until the proper weight is achieved. Remove the filled powder pan and pour the charge into your case.

It’s that simple. No pulling a lever to throw your powder. No turning the tiny knob on the powder trickler. No carefully measuring on the scale. The Chargmaster Supreme does all of that for you.

To verify the Chargemaster Supreme’s accuracy, I loaded up 200 pistol rounds (.45ACP, .45AR and .38 Super) and 100 rifle rounds (.45-70 GOVT, 28 Nosler, .308 Win and .260 Rem) and then remeasured each charge with my well-proven RCBS beam-scale. They perfectly matched, every single time.

Note that it was with a wide range of cases, powders, and weights. It didn’t matter if I was using a flake, ball or extruded powders. It didn’t matter if I was loading four grains of Clays or 77 grains of H1000, the Chargemaster Supreme was right every single time.

That alone proved to me why the Chargemaster Supreme was superior to my old method. Not only was it faster and easier to load from the Chargemaster Supreme, it was less error prone.

If I’m using my old beam scale, every once in a while I’ll accidentally bump the right slider, if it’s set to zero. That’s because I’m taking the powder pan off and on right next to it, and it takes only the slightest of bumps to move it. I have to make sure I’m checking every single time I measure so this doesn’t occur.

With the digital scale, this simply can’t happen. There are no sliders to move. Either it zeroes, or, if you bump the Chargemaster Supreme while it’s pouring, it emits a beep alarm to let you know, and the digital readout shows an error message as well. Obviously, no such feature exists on the old school scale.

You also don’t have to be still as a deer when you’re loading. Any big bump, enough to move the device, will throw off the charge and set out an alarm to let you know that’s what’s happened. But little movements don’t seem to have any measurable effect.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

Next, the Charmaster Supreme counts off each and every charge. If I’m loading something like the .45 Colt with a traditional analog thrower and measure, it’s not a challenge to double-charge the case. It can be hard to visually determine if you’ve put too much powder into a case.

Most of us have some sort of double-checking process to make sure this doesn’t happen. But with the unit displaying the count with each pour, it’s hard to get it wrong. If the case count doesn’t match the pour count on the readout, it’s clear you’ve got a problem.

Because of the Powder Learn Process of the Chargemaster Supreme, it’s also fast. The Powder Learn Process feature is a simple series of pours you do once per load. It takes less than five minutes. The Chargemaster Supreme loads and weighs a small series of charges for a particular powder and somehow calculates and stores the pour rates.

Once you’ve done that, the Chargemaster Supreme can dispense powder at a rate of up to two grains per second. According to RCBS’s website, that’s an industry leading pour time, and there are 50 different memory slots for Powder Learn Process charges.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

I was able to verify this approximate pour rate with multiple powders. Is it the fastest out there? I have no idea. But it was certainly a heck of a lot faster than the way I’ve been doing it.

You can speed things up even further with the auto pour feature. Once that first charge is set in memory, it will pour that same charge every time you place the empty powder measure on the scale.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

Cleaning up is pretty easy, too. There’s a little drain knob on the side. Twist it open, a little or a lot, and an alarm will sound while the powder pours out. If there’s anything left in the powder dispensing tube, push the “Trickle” button and any remaining powder will fall into the powder pan to put back in the original container.

The Chargemaster Supreme even includes a small cleaning brush to get any tiny flecks of powder out of the powder load cell, although I found a little bit of canned air while the funnel is still open to be even easier.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

One of the touted features of the Chargemaster Supreme is its Bluetooth functionality. With the free RCBS app, you can control the functions of the Chargemaster Supreme with your phone. Yes, you can password protect it.

Do you need the app? You do not. There’s no part of the Chargemaster Supreme that’s not easy and simple to control without the app and most of the time, that’s how I ran it.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

I dismissed the app entirely for a while…until I finally downloaded it. Yes, you can use the app to control the Chargemaster Supreme, and that’s neat and all, but that’s not where I found its value.

The app also serves as a load log. In that log, you can include a photo, all of your normal load data, as well as ballistic data and atmospherics. That allows you to take your entire log, including every bit of your load data, with you everywhere you go. Want a hard copy?  Bring up the log, capture the screens, and print them out. The result is a pretty, legible, and standardized log.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

Finally, the app is also a searchable RCBS catalog. You can build a shopping list and order right from the app.

I still like my analog powder thrower, trickler, log, and scale. For very small jobs — loading one or two cases — that’s still probably the way to go, since you’d only need to use the scale and some careful pouring from the powder container. It’s also nice to have the portability of the analog tools.

Oh, but wait…no. The Chargemaster Supreme even has that beat. The whole thing will run off an available external battery pack. So really, just put one device in one box and you’ve got the powder aspect covered.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

The only downside to the Chargemaster Supreme over all of my old gear is the price. At a penny shy of $430, it’s not inexpensive. But it’s worth every one of those pennies. I added up all the other items it would replace and you pay about $100 more for the speed, safety, and convenience the Chargemaster Supreme provides over what I’ve been using. Right now, that’s about the cost of a tank of gas for my truck.

Sometimes progress really is progress, and the Chargemaster Supreme proves it. I’ve been trusting RCBS my entire life, and I’m not surprised this is the company to finally usher me into the modern age. The Chargemaster Supreme is an outstanding product.

The next thing you know, I might even buy a microwave. Well, probably not.

Specifications: RCBS Chargemaster Supreme

Bluetooth compatible with free RCBS app
Audible beep
0.1-grain accuracy; 1,500-grain load cell capacity
Proprietary Powder Learn Process
Powder hopper drain alarm (patent pending)
50 memory slots for favorite and Powder Learn charges
Available external battery pack adds portability
16-segment LCD touchscreen display
1,500 grain capacity
CE Approved 4 Country Universal Power Supply
Input 100VAC-240FAC 50Hz/60HzPower Consumption: Max current 80 mA
Two 50 Gram weights included
Wind Cover included
Brush included
Price: $429.99

Ratings (out of five stars):

Overall * * * * *
The RCBS Chargemaster Supreme is reliable, precise, safe, fast and convenient. It not only replaces, but improves upon several of the older tools I’ve used for decades. It’s simple to use, it’s right every time, and the app really does provide valuable functionality. It stands at the top of its class, and is leaps and bounds ahead of my old way of doing things.

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46 COMMENTS

  1. Impressive it was able to handle ball flake and extruded without issues. Was there any measurable deviation compared to more involved by hand measurements over 10 or 100 loads or is it precise enough for most anyone’s specific match loads over volume?

    • I’m not really sure what you mean.
      I only load to the 10th of a grain and only have ever measured to the 10th of a grain.
      At that level of precision, it matches my beam scale every single time, no matter what powder I used or what charge was thrown.

      • Sorry posting from work there and did not make that very coherent. I was trying to ask how precise/consistent the measurements were across the batch (if you check the measurement every 10 or 100 to confirm). And you are right not going smaller than 1/10 grain without a much larger budget for measurements.

  2. My Charge master lite every 200 rounds or so will drop a charge a tenth or two light. It does warn you and it’s easy to add powder to pan with the manual trickle button. Only Twice in about 5,000 drops has it been over a tenth or two. Definitely worth the $239 pre-covid price.

    • A few still around for near its MSRP of $299, but the item has been discontinued by RCBS. Cabellas cleaned out their inventory a few months back for $190 each.

      • Amendment: A new version of this called the chargemaster link, a less fancy of the reviewed item, is available for $299.

  3. “You also don’t have to be still as a deer when you’re loading.”

    It looks like it has a clear plastic ‘hood’ over the weigh pan.

    That’s pretty much standard on high resolution balances used in analytical chemistry labs. They tend to be so sensitive, even the slightest breeze caused by the weigh technician moving around a bit will make the measured weight jump around a bit, and that screws with the repeatability of the weigh…

    • I think an actual breeze is the bigger concern here. Some of the finer powders go everywhere with any air movement, like from a fan.

  4. I’m sorry, but I cant believe pouring powder from the pan into the cartridge case one at a time is faster than using my old powder measurer. And on a different topic, Why do I have to scroll through many, many pictures of the same just to get to the comments?

    • You can be seating bullets while it’s dispensing. Although this iteration may be so fast you may not have the time for that either.

      No cut grains, no leaks, yeah, pretty hard to beat with old school stuff.

    • Marty, it’s been a while since I reloaded and I have no doubt your powder measure is faster than a scale. Speed is not the issue here. With a scale, any scale, it is the accuracy and repeatability of the powder charge.

    • It depends on the precision level you seek. For many it may well be fine to use a conventional powder measure. For others,they may need the reduced ES something like this provides especially with powders like Varget that are temperature stable but harder to throw consistently with a measure.

      Your needs may not reflect that. Shooting at steel at 200 yards or maybe some handgun? A conventional powder measure will almost certainly serve that role well. Looking to do some work at 600 or 1000 yards? This is better option.

      If you want to see some real insanity go look up a Prometheus Power Measure on Youtube. Your mind will be blown, it makes this look like a toy believe it or not. From what I understand they’re something like $15K. You’re talking people that want to be consistent within the quantization error afforded by the kernel weight of the powder its self or a half grain of that even.

      • Andrew, you are correct. It does depend on the precision you seek. I admit my experience with a powder measure is limited to black powder.

      • “You’re talking people that want to be consistent within the quantization error afforded by the kernel weight of the powder its self or a half grain of that even.”

        There are some other ‘tricks’ (but not “One weird trick”) you can do to enhance repeatability, like have a controlled flow of air in the room where the balance is used (and the balance room itself was separate from the rest of the lab), and the balance itself is bolted to a masonry ‘pier’ going through the floor, down to the bedrock, isolated from the rest of the building. The pier is completely decoupled and never touches the the building where the weighing is taking place. That is because vibrations from people walking around, and whatever electrical equipment is running in the building like A/C or heating blowers adds ‘jitter’ to the weigh…

      • This. If I just want to drop a charge and not care if it wobbles a few tenths of a grain, just using my old RCBS tool works just fine. But I’ve never been okay with that. Even when I’m reloading for cowboy action matches, I weigh every charge.

      • I am not a long distance shooter. Most of my shooting is handguns, 357, 44 mag, 10mm and some rifle, 556, 7.62X51 and also 300 WSM for hunting. For my hunting, I charge the 300 WSM case with IMR 4350 and then powder trickle to make each case nearly identical. Needless to say, for this cartridge, I may load 20 rounds a year. It is outstandingly accurate for hunting ranges at 1 MOA. I love my RCBS equipment, and also my Ohaus 10 10 scale. The Ohaus scale is impervious to knocking out of whack, unless it gets moved on the bench. I’ve had all my reloading gear for decades and have no intention of fixing something that isn’t broke.

  5. Pretty sweet. My powder thrower does NOT like extruded powders, and weights vary as much as 3 or 4 tenths. I find myself weighing every charge in order to get consistency, which really slows things down.

    P.S.: what powder are you using for .45-70? My die set has been ordered and should be here soon, but I haven’t researched powders yet.

    • Man, that really depends. The 45-70 is three different cartridges. So I load it with black powder, trail boss, varget, IMR 3031, and others, depending on the use.
      If I’m hunting I really like a 400 grain bullet pushed by varget or 3031. Most the time I don’t mind sacrificing a little velocity to gain the temperature stability varget gets me over 3031.

      • Thanks. I will likely start with 50 rounds with 70 grains of FFg, just for old timey sake. The IMR is a solid choice. I am not familiar with the Varget.

        I’ve loaded 45 Colt with 40 grains, and man, they pack a punch! I am not surprised that the Army had the cartridges downloaded to 35. Cowboy loads are tame by comparison.

  6. JWT, I share your affinity for RCBS. After my ETS I went to a local GS and ordered a Big Max and an RCBS starter kit. Later I added a Rock Chucker. And other accessories. I only loaded for my hunting rifles and magnum revolvers. When premium bullets became available in factory ammo I eventually stopped handloading and sold my equipment. That was a shortsighted mistake.

    • It still comes up for sale from time-to-time, like when the older folks pass on. Put the word out, and you might get lucky and find a widow who was lied to about how much it all cost.

      Some serious good deals on guns can be had as well… 🙂

    • Garage sales are the key around me. One time I bought two milk cartons full of dies for something like $25.

    • “Geoff, I try to always have something working.”

      I love it when a sweet deal just drops into my lap.

      A Christmas surprise can come a few times a year… 🙂

  7. Got my RCBS gear in the early 70’s, and still use it now. (Wish I could get my ROCK CHUCKER Press re coated, as the Green coating has worn through in several spots.) Only problem I have with RCBS is that the heirs are already agruing about who gets what. Told them I ain’t dead yet, and they have to wait/

  8. There is net one way to trust these things…you have to dive in with both feet and just do it. If after using it, you still feel you can’t trust it then ok. But there just is no other way to develop trust.

    • Agreed. I don’t think I would have ever have gotten one if it wasn’t for the review. Now I’m totally sold.

  9. Is this the same powder dispenser that used to cost $1000? Is that another model or did they drop the price?

  10. My jeweler’s scale was maybe $40 on ebay, and it registers to the hundredth grain. An individual piece of H4350 will register.
    The rcbs scale is neat, but if I’m measuring individual loads for rifle, I don’t want the scale rounding to the nearest tenth grain.

    • Are you loading smaller than that? Where are you finding load data more precise than a tenth of a grain? I’ve never seen a powder scale go smaller than that.

      • I’m trying to land on the tenth exactly, or within .02. If the digital scale is rounding, and you were going for, say, 39.5gr, you could be getting anywhere between 39.46 and 39.54. Which ought to increase your SD and your groups’ vertical spread at longer distances.
        I’m not an experienced long range shooter by any means, but if I do know that getting the most consistent powder drop possible is nothing but good for accuracy.

        • I know of all of one person that goes lower than .1 grain and it is a time sink as any loading he does is multiple stages of trying to get the perfect accuracy node to the nearest .025. He has had to stop for a while as powder got low and he would usually take 3 times as many shots to get there compared to the nearest tenth. I think he had a jewelers scale as well come to think of it but beyond my free time to mess with.

  11. I’d been waiting to see a good review on this item. All questions and concerns addressed. You just sold one to me.

    Thank you.

  12. All that info and TTAG STILL can’t bother to mention WHERE IS IT MADE?

    Chicomland or in the free world?

  13. Unfortunately, most of the replacement parts I’ve received from RCBS have been made in China. Originally, all my equipment was made in the USA. I can’t say this was made in China for sure, but my guess is YUP.

  14. That’s why I say we have no hope for change except by force. This country has been taken over by corrupt politicians for over 45 years. Everyone one that in government from the past 45 years has baggage. They all need to be put on trial and investigated.i do home work ….. 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤.𝐜𝐨𝐦

    • You’re nothing but a no-good traitor, Mr. Fake-Name Coward.
      You aren’t good enough for America.
      Take three running jumps and go straight to hell.

  15. Hey, “jaraha”: you’re nothing but a no-good traitor and a fake-name coward.
    You aren’t good enough for America.
    Take three running jumps and go straight to hell.

  16. I have the older Chargemaster. (had it for 5-7 years).

    and still love it.

    Looks like they added some nice features such as the integrated bubble level. (I bought a $5 one that I throw on the band when I need to check my level.)

    Bluetooth could be nice. I don’t use the memory feature much. I keep my load logs in a Google spreadsheet.

    – as for the comment “don’t see how it could be faster” – you put your pan on the plate, set it to auto dispense. zero the pan. it fills the pan. you dump the pan into the bullet, set the pan back on on the plate – it starts filling. set your projectile. Pan is full – rinse repeat.

    Lessens the risk of double charge in my view, as you seat your bullet immediately after filling. Instead of filling the whole loading block with powder, then going back to do your bullet.

    For handgun I do run the Hornady AP, and only use the chargemaster to double check my powder thrower periodically. Once leveled and calibrated, it’s great. Does not seem to have any drift.

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  18. Great review on a good product! I bought my RCBS Rock Chucker, scale and powder trickler back in the mid 1970’s. They made good stuff back then and I’m sure they make good stuff now. All my reloading stuff has been packed away for the last 35 years since I got married and lost the spare time I used to have for my hobbies. I should get it all out and blow the dust off and use it.

  19. Yes you should, it’s a wonderful way to spend your time. My first, and only press is an RCBS Junior. I bought it in the late sixty’s along with the RCBS Uniflow measure. I later added the RCBS bench top priming tool and the RCBS case trimmer. My press has loaded 10’s of thousands of cartridges, both rifle and handgun, with zero problems. I originally had a RCBS scale, wasn’t real fond of it and replaced it with a Ohaus 10-10 scale. This scale has been bullet proof for decades. I am starting to see some small problems with the scale and of course they are no longer made. However, I just found one on Ebay. The description was slightly used and the photos show it’s is practically new. I ordered it today, we’ll see.
    Luckily I ordered lot’s of powder and primers years ago from Natchez Shooters Supply and have a good supply of some bullets so I can reload well into the future for most loads. I have been loading for many decades, and still love doing it.

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