Thursday, May 4, 2017

Product Review: Lyman GEN6 Compact Touch Screen Powder System

Reloading the old fashioned way is precise, but with the technology that has come out in recent years you can reload much faster and have it be as precise as ever. When my reloading mentor, Bill Gardner, and I spoke with Lyman Products at SHOT Show 2017, they gave us a solid rundown of their products and product improvements. It was impressive and with me getting back into reloading, they wanted me to see how great their products really are. The number one question I had was on powder dispensers, especially the Lyman GEN6 ™ Compact Touch Screen Powder System. I was invited to try the unit and give an honest review.

When the GEN6 Compact Touch Screen Powder System arrived I was like a kid on Christmas. My experience with powder dispensers had been limited to strictly manual use, which has been very time consuming. Using an electronic dispenser was going to be new and exciting! My first impressions were that it is lightweight, takes up little bench space, and was easy to assemble. It comes with a weight to calibrate the system, a brush for loose powder, powder pan, and a cord with interchangeable heads for use in other countries. Pretty cool to see that.

Assembling was easy, but I did have some trouble with the first unit (detailed below).

Using Unit #1

The GEN6 Compact Touch Screen Powder System was easy to set up and assemble. It only took us a few minutes and after we waited the three minute warm up, we were ready to calibrate and start dispensing powder. We calibrated exactly as the manual stated and then began setting up loads for my 300 WM. It took us a while to get the calibration to work for us. We kept having issues with it reading an incorrect number (see image above that should read 771.0). We calibrated and set the zero. We used another digital scale to verify the weight. The other scale read the correct weight.

The Lyman website states the GEN6 is accurate to one tenth grain. I set it for 57.5 grains of powder and when it dispensed the readout was 57.6 consistently. This was within specs, but it would never hit 57.5 on the nose. Thinking that it might be kicking out a little extra, we inserted the restrictor attachment into the dispensing tube. We again calibrated the GEN6 and then also calibrated the other electronic scale to verify weight. Calibration was right on for the other, but not the GEN6. It took some time again. We then set the unit to dispense 57.5  with the same results coming out at 57.6. We poured that powder into the pan on the other scale and it came up 57.2 grains. I was getting frustrated and confused.

We calibrated the GEN6 again (third time) and set it to dispense 57.5 grains again. The screen read 57.6 a few times and then 57.7 a few times. Each time we verified weight on the other scale and it was consistently 2-4 tenths lower than what was on the GEN6 screen.

After calibrating a fourth time, we tested out a different power for a different caliber and load. We ran into the same results again. Two tenths lower across the board. I contacted Lyman with my results and concerns as to the dispensing. Lyman was great and shipped out a new unit right away. Tech support reported they replaced the seals and cleaned the unit to working order. Kudos to Lyman for getting after the issue right away, but mainly for sending a new unit without question.

Using Unit #2

Once the new unit arrived, we again followed the directions as in the manual, calibrated and again set up loads for my 300 WM.  We calibrated this unit right away to 771.1 grains and it was within spec and was excellent this time around (I verified it on the other scale). When it came time to set some loads, I programmed in 57.5 grains and the scale dispensed exactly 57.5 grains each and every time (also verified on the other scale). I was very happy now. I reloaded 80 rounds, in very little time, with the new GEN6 and it worked like a dream. This is one stellar unit!

The only issues I had with the second unit was the touch screen. I had a difficult time having the proper setting turn on/off with the touch of my finger. Even Bill had to get his finger in the exact right place. It was a bit frustrating at times, but once set there were no issues.

Cleanup was very easy with the side powder chute and brush. Simply put the correct powder keg under the chute, open it and watch the powder empty back into the container. I was actually surprised at how easy this was. The small brush was great for sweeping up the loose powder. I did find a few grains of powder inside the machine after I thought it was clean, so be 100% you have all of the loose powder out before attempting to reload with another.

It stores easily and can be used with different powders. We tried it with ball powder and grain rifle powder. Just be sure it's completely cleaned out and then calibrate it for the new powder. Also remember that the auto dispense feature is awesome, but can drive you nuts when you forget to turn it off. I made that mistake one time! Okay, two times!

Overall, I think the Lyman GEN6 Compact Touch Screen Powder System is an awesome powder dispensing system. I would love to see the touch screen a bit more sensitive and easier to set, but it is a great machine. I have seen it listed from $189.99 - $299.99. Average price is around $230.00. Coming from someone who has reloaded by hand for much of his life, for near perfect precision powder dispensing, I think this machine like this is worth the money and I would recommend it to any reloader.

I received the Lyman GEN6 Compact Touch Screen Powder System for free from Lyman Products in consideration for review publication. All opinions are strictly my own.

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