Lyman 1200 DPS 3 Digital Powder System
1500 Electronic Scale and Powder Dispenser

By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff

Lyman 1200 DPS 3 Digital Powder System
Illustration courtesy of Lyman Products.

Combination digital powder scale/powder measure/powder tricklers are becoming increasingly popular with reloaders, as well they should. Although relatively expensive, they are far more convenient and accurate than old-fashioned balance beam scales, volumetric powder dispensers and manual powder tricklers. These digital devices are also great time savers.

Lyman's current entry in this market is their Model 1200 DPS 3 Digital Powder system, priced at $369.95 per the Lyman web site in 2008. Units designed to run on 110 VAC (North America) and 220 VAC (Europe) are available. The sample reviewed here was the 110 volt #7752400. Like the RCBS ChargeMaster Combo 1500 previously reviewed, the Lyman 1200 DPS 3 is extremely convenient to use. Here is how Lyman describes the 1200 DPS 3:

"Lyman's Revolutionary 1200DPS Digital Powder System combines a precision electronic Powder Scale and an automatic Powder Dispenser into one easy to use design. The new DPS 3 is more than twice as fast as the original DPS. Features a new Auto-Repeat Setting enabling you to throw a precise charge automatically each time the pan is put in place. This scale has the capacity to store up to 100 of your favorite loads. Best of all, you can easily recall any of them by Cartridge, Specific Powder and Weight. No powder calibration (flow rate) is required, just select the load you want and start dispensing powder. It dispenses powder quickly and is accurate to + or -  1/10 grain. It can be used as a complete Dispensing System, just a scale or as a Scale and a Powder Trickler. The 1200DPS 3 is faster, accurate and affordable. Note: not for use with black powder."

Basically, after the unit is initially set-up in a level location where it will not be disturbed--this is a very simple process as the 1200 DPS comes assembled--all you have to do is to turn it on a half hour before you intend to begin reloading. An automatically timed, 30-minute warm-up period allows the digital powder scale's precise electronic circuits to stabilize.

Once the Lyman Powder System has warmed-up, it is ready to be calibrated and begin dispensing accurately weighed powder charges. Calibration is a simple process that should always be performed before use.

To calibrate the unit, remove the powder pan from the scale. Press the CAL/ZERO button to set the scale to zero. Press and hold the CAL/ZERO button and the scale's LCD readout will show "Cal 20." That is your signal to place the supplied 20-gram calibration weight onto the scale's platform. Then press the CAL/ZERO button again (briefly) and the scale will display "0.0," at which point you remove the 20 gram weight. The scale will then display -308.6 (approximately). Press the CAL/ZERO button one more time to return the scale to zero (0.0). When you replace the powder pan on the scale's table it will show the weight of the powder pan, so press the CAL/ZERO button one last time to re-zero the scale with the pan in place.

Dump an adequate supply of whatever smokeless powder you wish to use into the scale's powder reservoir tube and you are ready to dispense accurately measured powder charges. For this review, we were reloading .220 Swift cartridges with 40.2 grains of IMR 4350 powder behind 55-grain Hornady SP bullets for an intended muzzle velocity of 3600 fps.

Use the scale's keypad to enter your selected powder charge (40.2 grains in our case) and push the ENTER key to dispense the first powder charge. The powder pan will fill until the scale reads "40.2 gn" and then cease dispensing, at which point it will display "CT=001," which indicates that it has dispensed one powder charge.

You can hit the enter key every time you wish to dispense another powder charge. However, if you intend to dispense a series of identical charges, as we did (we had 25 prepared cases to reload), the easiest way to do so is to press the AUTO REPEAT button. A red LED will come on. Press the ENTER button to dispense the first powder charge. Subsequent powder charges of the same weight will then be automatically dispensed as soon as the empty powder pan is replaced on the scale's table. When you are finished reloading, just press the CANCEL button to exit the auto repeat mode and the red LED will go out.

The Lyman 1200 DPS has memory locations to store up to 100 loads, an auto trickle mode and a manual trickle mode. These are fine and work as advertised in the easily understood instruction manual, but the auto repeat mode described above is so fast and convenient that we suspect most users will not use the other modes.

Everything you need is in the neat 1200 DPS 3 package, including an AC adapter, powder pan, 20 gram calibration weight, cleaning brush, dust cover and instruction manual. If you do not already have one of these amazing digital powder scale/powder measure units, check out the Lyman 1200 DPS 3 at your nearest Lyman dealer. Once you have tried it, you will never go back to manually weighing and dispensing powder charges. For additional information or to order a 1200 DPS 3, visit the Lyman web site at:

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