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old dial caliper

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by thomis, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. thomis

    thomis Well-Known Member

    I have an old Sears (Swiss made) dial caliper. It has stopped working. It is really hard to move back and forth and I have to push hard, all you hear is little teeth stripping. I think its shot but was going to see if anyone has had this problem. Maybe something inside has jumped track. Not sure.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Little Teeth Stripping noises is a real bad sign!

    It's toast, unless you are a little Swiss Watch Maker who can make tiny brass gears with new teeth on them!

    You can buy a perfectly good digital caliper from Harbor Freight for $9.99 or $12.99 with a coupon.
    The coupons seem to be in every magazine I pick up lately.
    I'd do that.

    Since I bought one a little over a year ago, I have hardly touched my perfectly good dial caliper again.

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  3. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    Ouch, I certainly hope there was a little knob on the moving part that was tightened down.

    That is used to "lock" the moving part in place in case you want to use the calipers as a "go/no-go" gauge.
  4. thomis

    thomis Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen those coupons but I will keep an eye out.
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I had one of those cheap digital calipers last year.
    It was really convenient... as long as you had put in a fresh battery in the past week.
    It had some sort of constant drain that pulled the battery down fast, so I junked it and bought a cheap dial caliper the next time they were on sale someplace convenient.

    But for things like pistol OAL I still pick up my old plastic Sears vernier.
  6. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    Go on line to their website and sign up for their weekly spam email. Coupons fly at you from them every week. Sometimes several times a week.
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

  8. JohnM

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    thomis, you have a machine shop near you?
    One of the older pre digital machinists might take a look at it for you.
    All I've ever used is Starrett and B&S, so I don't know how a Swiss made Sears would be put together.
  9. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    Curious, is it steel or plastic... I remember years ago RCBS had their brand on a plastic Swiss made dial caliper, and by you describing the teeth stripping seemingly so easily, I'm curious to what it is made of. Not to say brass on steel, steel on steel could not strip, just that something is majorly wrong, or very dirty to bind like that if the lock is fully open.
  10. thomis

    thomis Well-Known Member

    Galil5.56 - you are correct. It is plastic. I used it for years. I was using it last night and it was stuck, wouldn't move. I jiggled it. Nothin. I forced it and thats when things went downhill, and fast.
  11. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    HB has some great working stainless steel DC's. I think mine was like $10-$12 10 years ago.
  12. mgmorden

    mgmorden Well-Known Member

    That's why I like my regular old plain vernier caliper. No dials, no batteries - just an easy to read scale. :)
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Easy to read Vernier calipers? :what:
    Thats easy for you to say!!

    I had enough trouble reading them when I could still see most of the hair on my arms! :D

  14. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member


    More than likely the battery drain was from the switch buttons being pushed while in the closed case.

    To those of you out there who have a set of H/F digital calibers releive the area on the inside of the lid where the buttons would touch. End of problem.

    I replace my batteries maybe every other year now.
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yep, I keep my Harbor Freight digital caliper out of the box and the battery lasts a very long time.

    And easy to read for us blind old farts. :eek:

    Besides, it is plenty accurate for 99% of reloading needs, and 100% of most folks reloading needs.

    My Mitutoyo stays out in the shed for lathe work, and my old Brown & Sharp caliper/micrometer set stays in the box for the most part. I have not used my ball micrometer in some time.
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    I have the instruction booklet folded double and make sure I put it where it bulges the case slightly and keeps the liner from pushing the go button.

    My battery is still going strong after almost a year of use.

  17. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Well-Known Member

  18. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    I got my Mitutoyo at a pawn shop pretty cheap. They didn't know what they had, I really liked pawn shops before the internet. I never go anymore, because instead of finding a low price gem, the internet made it easy to price all used items for twice what a new one costs.

    I'd be afraid to use anything from Harbor Freight that my life depended on, and I certainly don't think of them when I think of precision measuring tools. I have a Chinese micrometer, I can't recall where I got it, but it is junk too and I can understand now why Chinese junk is junk --if your "precision" measuring tool that measures .0001" is really only good for .01", well, you get junk with incorrect tolerance. Every tool I've gotten from Harbor Freight has broken in less than a year, some didn't make it past the first job, and I never got anything "Made in China" I was proud of.

    I'd say buy made in America, but not many precision tools are manufactured here. Our government made sure of that. So with that in mind, the Japanese really do make the most precise tools for the price. My vote is on Mitutoyo.

    My calipers are also older than I am, at least 40. They make a fine tool.
  19. JohnM

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    Problem with a 9.99 caliper is that's what you get, or less.
    Is the thing going to read at the accuracy you want? and for how long?
  20. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Well-Known Member

    My Mitutoyo lasted approx 40 years--it finally broke
    My harbor Freight has lasted over a year--if it brakes I have another--both at $9.95
    If that brakes I have a Franklin from Midway.
    One thousand of an inch does not worry me in reloading---most COL seating is a lot more than that from one cartridge to another

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