Looking for calipers


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grubbylabs
December 3, 2010, 05:22 PM
Who makes quality digital calipers that are good but don't cost an arm and a leg. I simply cant afford 100.00 for a set.

The Franklyn set are getting mixed reviews on Midway, it seems like quality varies by lot.

Open to any suggestions.

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RandyP
December 3, 2010, 05:32 PM
You may not believe it, but my Harbor Freight digital calipers work great, cost little (under $20). For 'my' needs they are more than sufficient and more accurate than I'd ever notice.

Honestly, IMHO, just about everybody's are made in China anyway. Your needs may vary, I'm just loading range plinking, low-mid power, MOD (Minute of Dead) accurate loads.

rcmodel
December 3, 2010, 05:40 PM
Yep!

I use an old Midway dial caliper. No batterys to fuss over!
If I have to be more precise, I have a couple of Starrett micrometers from when I had a real job in tool & die work.

But if I was to buy a digital, I would get a Harbor Freight "top of the Chinese line" model.

If it doesn't work, throw it away and buy another one.

PS: If you have a H-F store near you, take a jacketed bullet of known diameter with you and test it out before you buy it.

rc

ReloaderFred
December 3, 2010, 05:43 PM
I have a Mititoyo set that is fantastic, but I also have a Lyman digital set that is just as accurate, but it does require batteries.

Hope this helps.

Fred

rcmodel
December 3, 2010, 05:50 PM
Speaking of batterys.

I have seen here on THR several times where folks experiancing fast battery drain found the fitted case the H-F calipers come in turns them on when the lid is shut.

Cut away the lid liner to clear the ON button and the problem goes away.

rc

chagasrod
December 3, 2010, 05:50 PM
I have an RCBS one and am happy with it:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=899293

grubbylabs
December 3, 2010, 05:51 PM
Well I have a set of broken harbor freight ones so I don't think I want to do those again.

jcwit
December 3, 2010, 06:00 PM
Well I have a set of broken harbor freight ones so I don't think I want to do those again.
__________________


Well take them back to Harbor Freight and get them replaced. Should not be any problem at all.

Buzzard
December 3, 2010, 06:00 PM
http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=43546&cat=1,43513

They've got 'em from $30 on up, including a Starrett if you want to burn money. Great company, too!

1858
December 3, 2010, 06:04 PM
I have a Mititoyo set that is fantastic, but I also have a Lyman digital set that is just as accurate, but it does require batteries.

I've bought quite a few LNIB reloading related tools on Ebay. Recently, I bought the set below for $80. Both the Mitutoyo digital caliper and digital micrometer are in PERFECT like-new condition and came in the nice wooden box shown. I also bought a LNIB Mitutoyo dial caliper about a year ago for $26!! I bought a Mitutoyo dial indicator and a Mitutoyo analog micrometer a couple of years ago (both virtually new) for $22 and $25 respectively.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/reloading/tools/photos/mitutoyo_caliper_micrometer_01.jpg

rcmodel
December 3, 2010, 06:08 PM
Plus 1 on Evilbay.

You can also sometimes find fairly good buys on Starret & Mitutoyo in pawn shops too.

rc

243winxb
December 3, 2010, 06:26 PM
RCBS vernier caliper & Mitutoyo micrometer . Started years ago with the plastic one. A feeler gauge is handy for checking the gap between cylinder and barrel on revolvers, + setting shoulder bump when setting up FLRSing dies. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/IMG_3873A.jpg

cfullgraf
December 3, 2010, 06:30 PM
Speaking of batterys.

I have seen here on THR several times where folks experiancing fast battery drain found the fitted case the H-F calipers come in turns them on when the lid is shut.

Cut away the lid liner to clear the ON button and the problem goes away.

rc

Hmmmm, makes sense. Will have to check it out.

I have experienced short battery life with the inexpensive calipers although have not seen it turned on by the box. I do remove the battery when not in use.

I find the Frankfort calipers are adequately accurate but most of the time I use a solar caliper. It's a pain to use sometimes when the solar cell gets shielded. It is more expensive than what the original poster is looking for.

1858
December 3, 2010, 07:27 PM
Plus 1 on Evilbay.

All of the items shown here are in like-new condition and the total cost on Evilbay was less than $150 which includes shipping. They all came with cases too. To put that in perspective, a new Mitutoyo 6" digital caliper is around $150.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/reloading/tools/photos/mitutoyo_collection.jpg

Hondo 60
December 3, 2010, 07:35 PM
I went to Menards (a local Lowes/HomeDepot) type store.
Cost me less than $25

Walkalong
December 3, 2010, 07:36 PM
You can also sometimes find fairly good buys on Starret & Mitutoyo in pawn shops too.That's where my Mitutoyo caliper and my Starret caliper and micrometer set came from. Superb shape. Machinists tend to baby their stuff. I bought my Mitutoyo 1" micrometer and 1" ball micrometer new. My depth micrometers came from pawn shops as well.

TexasShooter59
December 3, 2010, 10:32 PM
S&W brand from Midway. No problems so far. Had a $15 unknown brand caliper off of ebay and had to return it.

grubbylabs
December 3, 2010, 11:13 PM
Well I went into harbor freight and since I did not have a receipt and did not remember when I bought them, (at least a year a go and I told them that) they sold me the warranty for ten bucks and gave me another pair. Guess I can't ask for much more than that from them.

Jesse Heywood
December 3, 2010, 11:15 PM
For digital I have 3 different brands. HF, Carrera and Wixey. Apart from the display differences, I can't tell the difference.

My issue with most calipers is the thumb wheel. Any that I have tried had edges that hurts my thumb. We do have a Starrett dial without a thumb wheel, which I like. But you have to pay for the name.

ArchAngelCD
December 3, 2010, 11:19 PM
I bought a set of digital calipers from Harbor Freight and they work just fine. I tested their accuracy against several others and they are right on...

1SOW
December 3, 2010, 11:22 PM
Harbor Freight works fine IF:

you buy the slightly more expensive stainless steel 6", and that 1. will zero at any length 2.has auto shut-off 3. comes with spare battery 4. reads to the nearest .0005 and accurate to .0001

The price is less than $20-on sale is about $15. Their less expensive shorter ones are poorly made (plastic or other) and won't zero at any point in the movement.

I had a Franklin and dropped it, so I bought a Harbor Freight. I like the HF best and they BOTH still agree on length

Walkalong
December 4, 2010, 12:02 AM
Reads to the nearest .0005 (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=115369&d=1265927183), and is accurate to .001. :)

I like mine, as it is easy to read. Much easier than a dial (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=120345&d=1272497933) for old eyes. If ever in doubt, break out the Starret. The HF caliper (http://www.harborfreight.com/6-inch-digital-caliper-47257.html) is more than adequate for 95% to 99% of reloading.

HOWARD J
December 4, 2010, 12:26 AM
I have a Mitutoyo -- about 36 years old--still very accurate.
two digital from Harbor-Freight---one very accurate--one - 1000th of an inch off--not bad for$10 on sale
A Frankford from Midway--dial unit--very accurate--about $30--on sale right now $21

1SOW
December 4, 2010, 12:31 AM
Walkalong: And that's the truth. 4-decimal display-4th digit is 'either' 0 or 5, accurate to the +/- .001". If your oal is 1.1353, the readout will be 1.1355. If the oal is 1.1352, the readout is 1.1350.

Sure 'sounds complicated, doesn't it. :D Works well and is easy to read.

Arkansas Paul
December 4, 2010, 12:38 AM
Try your local pawn shops. We got a Starrett dial caliper that retails for over $100 for $15. Just be sure to test them out first.

korben88
December 4, 2010, 07:27 AM
http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNSRIT?PMCTLG=00&PMAKA=FN76832294&partnerURL=http://catalogs.shoplocal.com/mscdirect/index.aspxopagename=shopmainPcircularid=16832Pstoreid=1040626Ppagenumber=49Pmode= That is a pretty good deal. I personally prefer starett or mitutoyo but I have used spi and they are good quality for the price.

abq87120
December 4, 2010, 08:40 AM
http://www.reidsupply.com/Detail.aspx?itm=YPI-1

Just got mine. Shipping was more than I expected but the total was still only $21.24. Works great and returns to 0 accurately.

It's description says you have to order 50 but I thinks that's wrong. I ordered one and it was shipped quickly.

Dan in ABQ

RandyP
December 4, 2010, 10:24 AM
As I and others have posted, for 'most' of us recreational reloaders-shooters, buying very expensive measuring devices is just not warranted. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, the pricier ones of course perform better overall, but you don't always need a BMW to drive to the store for a gallon of milk. lol

The Harbor Freight and similar 'branded' digital calipers are more than adequate to the task for the majority of us. And I say 'digital' because I too have them 62 year old eyeballs - lol

I appreciate that accuracy to the 5th decimal place might be dandy, but as an experiment, measure some factory ammo sometime and let me know if all the rounds fall within that 5th decimal place - lol

ChefJeff1
December 4, 2010, 12:22 PM
Hi fellow Idahoan, mine aren't digital. I got a set of browne and sharpe's on ebay for about$25 or so. I love them. They came in a nice wood case and work great. Easy to read, easy to zero, smooth as butter. Just don't spill gunpowder in the slide, it makes it hard to move.

Hansli
December 4, 2010, 12:33 PM
Harbor freight, had mine 2 years, 1 battery replacement, I use it for lots of things. Certainly accurate enough for reloading and general shop work.

1858
December 4, 2010, 04:36 PM
As I and others have posted, for 'most' of us recreational reloaders-shooters, buying very expensive measuring devices is just not warranted. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, the pricier ones of course perform better overall, but you don't always need a BMW to drive to the store for a gallon of milk. lol

I used the same RCBS stainless steel (made in China) dial caliper for almost 20 years and managed to assemble tens of thousands of high quality loads with it. There was one piece of pot metal on it that was full of cracks (the serrated piece you push with your thumb), but that caliper worked just fine until the day I dropped it on the floor (about two months ago). Word to the wise, don't drop your calipers!!

Ghosty1
December 4, 2010, 04:54 PM
thats crazy. im a machinist, a starret for 15 bux? wow, good on yah!

for practical advice, can you read them, why do you want them?
avoid harbor frieght at all costs. they simply stink. i had a few crap pair that would not calibrate.
and they are very...uncoopertative
best bet, my opine, as this is about guns and you are asking, dial calipers
mitutoyo is really good. almost a standard...used. but a set of used 6" mits, dial
if they are off (they wont be) you can rezero them.
if you have money to burn and need to get closer than .005...then its a silly q, lol.

whatever you do, dont do home depot plastic. might as well use a scale...

-G

Ghosty1
December 4, 2010, 04:55 PM
1858, thats a thumbwhell btw...
it worked perfectly only as far as you know....

id trash it, but thats just me. you have more faith in your guns, than i do in your loads.
(not a slam...just poor tooling....)

-G

jake556
December 4, 2010, 05:05 PM
These are what I use awesome calipers no regrets!

http://cgi.ebay.com/6-150-mm-Digital-vernier-Caliper-gauge-micrometer-15cm-/280585007417?pt=Radio_Control_Vehicles&hash=item41542b7139

Ghosty1
December 4, 2010, 05:08 PM
thats not a very near caliper though!
just get a 6 inch dial caliper from mitutoyo. used even is ok.
you are working with guns, remember? are we gonna cut corners????

-G

Jesse Heywood
December 4, 2010, 05:16 PM
Harbor Freight works fine IF:

3. comes with spare battery

I learned that means you get two dead batteries.

RustyFN
December 4, 2010, 05:33 PM
I'm with RC, I prefer a dial caliper. For me it's easy to read, just as fast and I don't have to worry about batteries. Got these at HF for under $20.

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7ce35b3127ccec209c23f90a300000010O00DZOGblm4Yg9vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

1858
December 4, 2010, 05:58 PM
1858, thats a thumbwhell btw...
it worked perfectly only as far as you know....

Not the wheel, the wheel "carrier" for want of a better word and yes, it worked perfectly ...

Walkalong
December 4, 2010, 08:05 PM
you are working with guns, remember? are we gonna cut corners????
We are talking reloading, where the nearest .001 will do 99% of what we need, and where being a couple thousandths off won't hurt a thing. Unless you are loading for a tight necked chamber and cutting it close (.0005 clearence for instance), the cheaper cailpers work just fine. The nearest .001 will do 100% of what most reloaders need.

We are not talking about cutting chambers, setting headspace, etc, etc. :)

1858
December 4, 2010, 08:27 PM
you are working with guns, remember? are we gonna cut corners????

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=558622

its more fun to post. im a new reloader...perhaps you could give me tips?

So how much reloading experience do YOU have?!!!

Some folks such as Walkalong and rcmodel have been reloading before many here were born. I've been reloading since '92 and have assembled over 100,000 rounds of numerous pistol and rifle cartridges ... maybe even twice that number. In the early days, I didn't keep records of the 1000+ rounds I reloaded and shot EVERY month. I'm still learning and folks like Walkalong and rcmodel are a big part of that. Reloading is both a science and an art, and the bright people continue to refine both week in and week out. So before you start making posts telling the rest of us what we should or shouldn't be doing, take a good look at how much experience you have.

Art Eatman
December 4, 2010, 09:30 PM
I started reloading for an '06 in 1950. Used to own a serious % interest in a machine shop. Arguments like this make me grumpy.

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