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Best Dial Calipers for Money

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Triumph, Feb 21, 2013.

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  1. Triumph

    Triumph Member

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    Bingo!!!

    Have a pair of digital off Amazon & they are very inconsistent!!
     
  2. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    The "best" calipers for the money----Starrett.

    For what you need when reloading ammunition----The $25.00 stainless ones that Midway have for sale.
     
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    My most used dial calipers are RCBS branded ChiCom.
    But I still find myself picking up the $4.00 1970s Swiss made plastic Sears vernier for routine pistol OAL adjustment.

    I have a set of Frankfort Arsenal/Midway branded ChiCom in reserve, exchanged for a dud digital.

    I have a Starret micrometer if that last .0001" up to 1.0000 matters.
     
  4. Triumph

    Triumph Member

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    Only problem is "Made in China". Also found out RCBS "Made in China". I already have a cheap Chicom pair that don't work well.

    Anyone know of a reasonable "made in USA" pair of dial calipers?

    I would be ok with Japanese (Mitutoyo) but don't see any with a dial.
     
  5. HexHead

    HexHead Member

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    I started with some digital calipers and disliked them for the same reason you stated. I ended up get an RCBS dial caliper and could't be happier with it. Probably was around $50.
     
  6. Triumph

    Triumph Member

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    That may be a good option. Even thought they are Chinese - RCBS has great customer service. If I had a problem with the pair I get I can always call RCBS
     
  7. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    if your looking for calipers for under $50.00 and don't care where there made , then Lyman, RCBS , or a set of MidWay's will work and they have better customer service than the junk tool deelers out there, but I would keep an eye on e-bay for Starrett , or Mitutoyo for just a few buck more
     
  8. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I posted one above already, but that is just one.

    Look for any 6" Mitutoyo dial caliper with .1" per rotation on the dial.
    The colors of the dial make for a lot of different part numbers.
    The color does not matter..... to men.
    Look for sales.
    Enco is a cheap place to buy things and they have sales all the time, and those are on sale often.
    Amazon is also a good place
    http://www.amazon.com/Mitutoyo-505-675-56-Stainless-Accuracy-Resolution/dp/B000VBCF0Q/ref=pd_cp_hi_0

    As was stated above, many do not need great accuracy and resolution for handloading.... but I do. I have pin gauges, a ball micrometer, and dial indicator in my reloading room.

    Also, if you know how to check out used calipers, Starrett calipers in a pawn shop can be a great deal.
     
  9. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    There was a thread just like this here the day before yesterday. I've got some good stuff but just use a $10 Harbor Freight dial.. works plenty good
     
  10. rikman

    rikman Member

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    Another vote for Mitutoyo...buy once cry once...
     
  11. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "I am thinking RCBS because of their spectacular customer service (from what I hear)."

    Calipers are only expected to be +/- .001" tools. The RCBS, Hornady, Lyman, Midway, Grafs and Cabalias' calipers, dial and digital, are from the same Chinese maker. And they all tend to work fine so the only thing you would be paying for above the basic low price of the Harbor Freight tools is the warm fuzzy glow of a "better" plastic name plate; we pay a LOT for the 'spectacular' RCBS 'free replacement' warranty and no where is that better exhibited than in the cost of their caliper.

    My 6" Chinese Midway (dial) and Harbor Freight (2 dial and 1 digital) and my fine professional grade Swiss calipers are all within a half thou of each other according to my precision Jo Blocks. The Swiss tool is much smoother working - but I can buy some 15 Harbor Freights (often on sale for $10-12) for the cost of ONE new high grade tool. It is possible to buy a good grade caliper for much less on eBay and, if you're lucky, you may even get a good one but, to me, the better choice for most reloaders is obvious. HF often has sales in men's magizines, including the Am. Rifleman.

    Anyone wanting tighter measurements than 1 thou should also have a micrometer but that's rarely helpful for reloading, what we do simply isn't that precise. I usually keep my B&S mic (that reads in tenths) stored and use my no longer available inexpensive 40 year old Craftsman mic instead. And, IF I ever drop it, I'll replace it with an inexpensive HF mic.
     
  12. nofishbob

    nofishbob Member

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    Great information in this thread!

    After all of the experienced caliper users have weighed in on their favorite high-end brands, I was disappointed to not see Mahr (Mahr Federal in the US) mentioned.

    They make some of the smoothest hand held calipers and micrometers in both dial and digital versions.

    All of the top brands of these instruments compete on a very high level of quality. When you are looking for a quality instrument, Mahr should be on your list of brands to consider.

    Full disclosure: I work for Mahr Federal.

    Bob
     
  13. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    I see no one said Fowler or Snap-on eather
     
  14. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    My dial is a Fowler, it matches my HF/FA/whatever digital. I prefer the digital, fast to use, and old eyes. But one day I'll forget to buy batteries or it'll die maybe...the dial is a good back up.
     
  15. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I've been using a pair of Starrett model 100 for 30+ yrs. For reloading you normally do not need a high accuracy set to check OAL.
     
  16. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    Uhhhh....everybody's missed the best answer. Pawn shop. Any decent pawn shop will have multiple good quality ones for cheap. I bought a set of Starett digitals years ago for $15 IIRC
     
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have a Fowler vernier caliper. Works great. Never needs batteries. But digital or dial are more convenient to use.

    They are a reminder of the "good ole days".:)
     
  18. Skyshot

    Skyshot Member

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  19. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    I have a Mitutoyo (12") digital that I rarely use. I have a larger Starrett dial caliper that is even used less. I mainly use my 6" Frankford Arsenal for gun stuff.
     
  20. tbob38

    tbob38 Member

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    I went through 2 cheap Chinese digital calipers over the years and have finally bit the bullet so to speak and bought a Starrett digital. Couldn't be happier.
     
  21. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Harbor Freight offers a lifetime warranty on all their hand tools which the calipers qualify for. How much better warranty do you want?
     
  22. engineermike

    engineermike Member

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    A 6 inch one will work just fine but a 12 inch one is more impressive when you take if off your bench and show it to your friends. :neener:

    Sorry, I'm just now waking up. (No coffee yet)
     
  23. Still Shooting

    Still Shooting Member

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    I have a Starrett #799 digital that I love to use, but my backup is a 25 year-old Lyman polyamid dial that has been used/abused for everything (reloading, car repairs, checking screw diameters, etc.). The Lyman is still repeatable, and it agrees with the Starrett to a thou.
     
  24. deadeye dick

    deadeye dick Member

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    I also like Starret s/s dial calipers and Mitutoyo. I used mitutoyo Dial comparaters professionally for years.They are the timex's of dials(take a licking and keep on ticking) I also have a Mauser vernier caliper pre wwll with the proof papers still in the original box. Took it from a nazi.:D
     
  25. hueyville

    hueyville Member

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    If your making sloppy loads for sloppy Combloc guns then Chinese harbor freight may be what some want. That lifetime warranty is a deal of you want to take the time and burn the gas to return them every few years. Starret, Mitutoyo, Brown & Sharpe will all last a lifetime. Dial or digital your choice. Pawn shops are a good source but I look on them on sale from one of my reputable vendor or have them kick in a free set to close the occasional deal on a high dollar machine tool. I actually got a free 18" Mitutoyo dial caliper when I purchased my endmill sharpener. Salesman wanted to close the deal as unit was a Swiss made sharpener in five figure range that had been in inventory for longer than expected. Never be afraid for a kicker when buying machine shop tools if you do that. I also got several off ebay from reputable vendors that checked out just fine.
     
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