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SmartReloader ISD Electronic Powder Dispenser Review

Category : Reloading, Shooting Gear Review, Video

This review is for the SmartReloader ISD electronic powder dispenser. I  found that the dispenser worked very well once a few issues were worked out. This machine is a great value and SmartReloader has good customer service. I used the machine to load ammunition that won a state long range championship and to place well at  F-Class nationals.

One of the biggest hassles when you are loading long range ammunition is weighing every powder charge. This is usually done hunched over a loading bench trying to watch a scale as you trickle powder kernel by kernel until the exact charge weight is met. It is time-consuming and pretty much sucks.

I had been looking into getting an electronic powder dispenser for some time. The biggest thing stopping me from getting one was price. This spring I finally decided to break down and give one a try. I decided to try a SmartReloader ISD because of price and I had heard that trickle speed is very adjustable. The first one I received would not calibrate properly; but, I contacted SmartReloader and they quickly sent me another one. The customer service was great. After I received the second one I pulled it out of the box, plugged it in and left it on for about an hour. This is recommended in the directions; it allows the machine to warm up and the scale to be more accurate.

When it had warmed up I put in some powder and began throwing charges. The powder I used was Hogdon Retumbo. I used this powder to do most of the testing because it is an extruded powder. The first few charges it threw where dead on but I was disappointed in the time it took. I found a YOU TUBE video done by Smart Reloader that explained how to adjust the speed of the dispenser.

The video explained that both the trickle speed and interval time can be changed with certain buttons that are not labeled as being able to tune the speed; they are labeled as doing different functions. I was slightly disappointed that the directions did not go over how to tune the speed of the dispenser and that I had to find a video to do it. In the video attached to this article I go over how to adjust the trickle speed. The chart below also shows the buttons functions and the settings I found to work best for extruded powders. I should note that I did not test the dispenser with ball powders. I feel ball powder throws out of a powder measure well enough that it is a waste of time to measure charges.

As you are entering in new charge weights and just before you hit dispense you can adjust the trickle speed and interval time of the machine. Here is a chart of button functions.

Edit Mem Turns Down Trickle Speed (Speed the Machine trickles once   it slows down)
New Mem Turns Up Trickle Speed
Trickle Turns Down Interval Time (Time before the target charge the   machine starts to slow down)
Mem Turns up Interval Time
Best Setting for Extruded Powder Trickle Speed .7 Interval Time 8.5


I found the SmartReloader to work great. I really like the almost infinite adjust-ability it has for both trickle speed and interval time. Interval time is the number of grains before the target weight, when the machine begins to slow down. Trickle speed is the speed it trickles after it slows down. I was able to get the scale to throw very quickly with these two adjustments and still be very accurate.

The adjust-ability also lets you do other things. For example if you are loading ammunition for hunting and you want to use extruded powder,  because of its temperature insensitivity; but, the charge weight doesn’t necessarily need to be dead on, you can adjust the interval time to be short and the trickle speed to be fast. The dispenser will over charge by a tenth of a grain  more often; but you can really crank out charges and keep up with a progressive press. I have found that ammo loaded this way still keeps a standard deviation of around 13 fps which is plenty good enough for hunting ammo. On the other hand,  you can increase the interval time and slow down the trickle speed to where the SmartReloader hardly ever over charges and I have been able to get the standard deviations down to 4-6 fps and extreme spreads very low for ten shots.

While I was using the SmartReloader this summer I bought a Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto Charge powder dispenser to compare it with. I liked the fact the Hornady has three simple to use speeds and I can find one that is accurate; or, fast with less accuracy. But, because of the ability to tune the SmartReloader to a finer level I can make it just as accurate and faster.

Overall I feel like the SmartReloader ISD is a great value. Other machines that cost more like the RCBS might be better; I don’t know for sure because I haven’t used one. I can say that the SmartRelaoder is as accurate as I need for the shooting I do and I won the Idaho State Long Range Championship in F/TR class in 2012 with ammo loaded using it. I also took 31st out of 91 at the 2012 F-class nationals with ammo loaded using the SmartReloader; even though this was not a win I was very competitive and I don’t feel like it was the fault of the dispenser that I didn’t place better.

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Comments (2)

I have one, am searching reviews tonight because mine quit dispensing tonight. I sure hope you are right about good customer service. Otherwise I will be buying a rcbs charge master as two friends have had that one longer than I have had mine and they are still working great.

Thanx for your great review and explaination of the speed and interval adjustments. I am trying to find out if it will allow you to throw a charge from a powder measure and then put the pan back on and finish the charge handsfree like the Hornady will do in manual mode? The only way I can do it is by holding the trickle key until I get to my charge weight, but it won’t let me enter a charge weight to do this handsfree.

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