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Calipers?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by skypirate7, Feb 13, 2013.

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  1. skypirate7

    skypirate7 Member

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    Are calipers necessary for reloading? Or are there other ways of achieving the same check of proper length? I'm going to be reloading .308 Winchester.

    Opinions / experience / wisdom / dissertations - please share. :)
     
  2. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Yes. You'll find all kinds of uses for them.

    Besides, there are some pretty good ones that aren't expensive at all.
     
  3. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    I'd say yes. You really need to be able to check accurate OAL. Heck if you're really desperate you can get plastic vernier calipers for less than $2 off ebay. A nice pair is less than $20 (I prefer vernier over digital or dial. they're cheaper, simpler, and take no batteries).
     
  4. Searcher4851

    Searcher4851 Member

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    Yes, calipers are a must. They come in handy for a variety of measurements, and some measurements really need to be made. You can find them reasonably priced.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Harbor Freight digital.

    They are on sale for less then $10 bucks all the time.
    And they are pretty darn good.

    100_4898.jpg

    rc
     
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Yes they are are other ways a cartridge length could be measured, but adequate calipers are pretty reasonable in cost, do it quite efficiently, and have zillions of other uses.

    Not a place to be "penny wise and pound foolish".
     
  7. skypirate7

    skypirate7 Member

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    Thanks guys. I've got dial calipers on the way from Harbor Freight.
     
  8. Legion489

    Legion489 member

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    Are they REALLY needed to load ammo? No. Are they darn handy when loading? Yes. Of course just because the book, manufacturer or what ever said to use whatever as a OAL does NOT mean that will work in your gun! A friend was having problems and measured the .223 ammo and it was the right length for that bullet, etc., it just wouldn't chamber. What was wrong?! I said either the case was not resized properly (he said it was), shoulder/neck crumpled from over crimping (he claimed it wasn't), OAL length wrong (in spec), then the ogive has hitting the rifling, set it a .01" deeper, if that didn't work, another .01" until it was right. Guess what? THAT worked.

    Also they are just plain handy to have around and fun to use. So yes, get one. In fact as rcmodel pointed out (the first thing I thought of too) is Harbor Freight has them for $10 and they are perfectly good and well worth the money.
     
  9. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Member

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    Calipers are definitely a must.

    And if you're Obsessive Compulsive like me, they give you a reason to be angry at your Redding Competition seating die for randomly seating +-0.003" off.
     
  10. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    I had some electronic calipers for a while. They have to be rezero'ed often and blanked out when the little metal contacts lost connection.

    I much prefer the manual dial type as they are dead reliable and instant reading.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    So, how hard is it to zero them?

    I zero mine every time I turn them on.

    The zero button is right next to the power button!!

    rc
     
  12. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    RC, mine would lose zero during operation.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Hmmm?

    That shouldn't happen.

    Probably had something to do with the other problem with the battery contacts.

    My Harbor Freights have been dead nuts reliable for about three years now.
    And still on the first battery it came with in it.

    rc
     
  14. PJSprog

    PJSprog Member

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    I have both the dial and digital calipers from Harbor Freight. I use the dial almost exclusively. Never needs a battery, and have only ever had to zero it once. I find them quite handy.
     
  15. JSmith

    JSmith Member

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    I have a dial caliper from RCBS that works well.
     
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Yes, they are essential. I'd advise nice quality stainless steel analog calipers. I use mine all the time.
     
  17. edfardos

    edfardos Member

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    I have the ones rc pictured. They come down in price when the chinese container ship makes port and billions of them hit the market. They lose zero more often as the battery dies. I remove the battery between loading sessions.

    I like the caliper, but would like a more reliable/expensive one.

    you need'm for measuring length and crimp.


    edfardos
     
  18. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    I don't know what you guys are doing to the HF ones. Mine are four years old and are still working perfectly on the original battery. And it came with a spare :) They shut off automatically and rezeroing takes about one second to do. But I do realize its cheap Chinese electronics so there could be bad ones out there.

    No matter what you need a way to measure OAL. Calipers are the easiest way to do it. I'd go as far to say that you should have a micrometer as well. If you cast your own bullets you definitely need a micrometer. But I find use for it during reloading of jacketed bullets as well.


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  19. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    I got a steel set from Dillon and use them regularly.
     
  20. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    Glad you ordered a caliper. You won't be sorry.
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I have nice Mitutoyo and Brown and Sharp dial calipers, but since the old eyes are not what they used to be, I use the HF digital calipers for most reloading chores. They are very accurate as far as .001 goes, and we don't need .0001 accuracy for the vast majority of reloading.
     
  22. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    Is there another tool that'll measure to 1/1,000th of an inch?
    (with an overall length somewhere between 1/2 inch to 3 inches or so)

    If you have such a thing, then no a caliper isn't mandatory.

    But they're not expensive unless you buy a Craftsman, Starrett, Snap-On or some such.
    Any Lowes, Menards, Home Depot etc will have inexpensive ones.
    Harbor Freight is the cheapest I've seen.
     
  23. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I use $10 HF calipers a lot, if I need a more accurate measurement I will use Starrett micrometers.
     
  24. dsm

    dsm Member

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    Pony up and get a good set made by Starret or Mitutoyo. Will save you some headaches and money in the long run. I have a set of Mitutoyo digital and they are rock solid. Never needs to be re-zeroed and are consistent every time.
     
  25. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    +1 one ^^^^^^ but I ran a mill and a lathe for a living a life time ago, most of my stuff is over 24 years old , but I bet they out last me as there made for everyday use
     
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