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HF 4" Caliper Coupon $12.99

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bds, Oct 15, 2010.

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  1. bds

    bds Member

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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  2. Otto

    Otto Member

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  3. bds

    bds Member

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    You are indeed correct, my mistake. It is for 4" caliper. :banghead:

    Still, 4" should be long enough to measure most pistol/rifle cartridges, other than .50 BMG, right?
     
  4. Eagle103

    Eagle103 Member

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    I've had good luck with mine. Replaced the batteries a couple of times in the last 5 years or so but that's about it. I also have one of their dial calipers that also works well.
     
  5. bds

    bds Member

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    +1. One word of caution. You will never find me recommending Harbor Freight "DIAL" calipers. Yes, they are indeed junk. When they were on sale last, I checked one out of the box to buy for a new reloader I was helping to get setup. Although finish and construction looked good, it did not feel smooth in hand. It had difficult time measuring consistently. I went through about ten and gave up as none of them zero'ed and measured consistently. I cannot rely on an instrument that deviates 0.002" - 0.003". I do realize China makes many brand name calipers and these had to be either cheap copies or factory QC rejects.

    However, their "DIGITAL" calipers are another story. I have their 6" digital caliper and the construction quality and finish is very good, not like the dial calipers I checked out. Slide action is smooth and precise, like my dial caliper I bought 15 years ago (BTW, my dial caliper holds zero and still has very smooth slide action and consistent measurements).

    Many posted that HF digital calipers are the same as many branded digital calipers. I think their digital calipers maybe very good copies or the same calipers that many brands put their names on. I recommend you check the calipers out of the box and measure some "known" objects like jacketed bullet diameters before you buy one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  6. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    bds:
    Very good information.
    Not just a HF is junk post, but explains exactly which product is junk & which is good & WHY your of that opinion.

    Thanks for posting. This is why THR is such a good place for firearm enthusiasts.
    (or gun nuts if you prefer) LOL
     
  7. bds

    bds Member

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    Thank you Hondo. Glad to help out fellow THR members/lurkers.

    I have been a long-time lurker at THR and learned A LOT of reloading information, mainly why I should not exceed max load data (tried it once, and had that "Boy I won't do THAT again experience). :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  8. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    I use a lot of high precision instruments at work and paid well over $70 in 1990 for my personal dial calipers. Finding the Harbor Freight 6" digital calipers on sale for $13 about 18 months ago was a find I'm still celebrating. The fit and finish is very good, and the accuracy and repeatability is excellent. Certainly within the limits of what any reloader needs.

    The 6" HF units are certainly worth the effort to find and get my vote. :)

    The accuracy should be the same on their 4" model, but with my large hands I'd worry that they'd be harder to work with. There's a reason 6" is the "standard".
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, I find the 6" caliper handier as well, and, like rfwobbly, my HF calipers measure right on with my high priced calipers. Anything finer and I am breaking out the micrometer anyway. ;)

    Good news is 90% of our measurements are not super critical.
     
  10. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    At least that's two days before the batteries. Seriously dials are a lot better if you only have one set. If you don’t keep them in the box they come in you will have a lot better battery life. I think the foam pushes the button turning them on after you put them into the box.
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, keep them OUT of the box. Battery life is pretty good if you do.
     
  12. bds

    bds Member

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    Yes, I prefer the manual dial, but someone who has hard time reading the small numbers of the dial may find the larger digital display easier to read.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    but someone who has hard time reading the small numbers of the dial may find the larger digital display easier to read

    I resemble that remark. :p

    It is why I bought mine. They are plenty accurate enough for most measurements, and are easy to read.
     
  14. Taroman

    Taroman Member

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    I have several, both 4" and 6". The 6" is a little nicer to use in that it has a thumb wheel to aid precise movement. I use them a lot and have never had any issue other than repalcing the batteries. They use an odd little battery. I found them on ebay for about 50 cents each.
     
  15. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Ahem! I beg to differ, sir.

    Friend, with all due respect, IMHO that statement indicates inexperience with all 4 types of measuring calipers over a long period.

    Here's a simple example of something reloaders measure almost everyday that points out why I believe digital calipers are better...

    You have a pile of 100 brass (or bullets, or crimps). You want to measure them to see how much variation is in the lot. Or you want to throw all the ones that are larger (or smaller) than XXX into a bin to be taken care of later. The measurement is derived from metric ammo, so the measurement is something weird (and therefore hard to remember) like 1.437". You have decided to discard all the samples larger than 1.439" AND smaller than 1.433".

    On a vernier or dial caliper you can 1) sit there and measure each piece trying to read a strange number repeatedly. In this case your eyes will soon glass-over and you're likely to fall out of your chair with sheer boredom. Or you can 2) lock the caliper jaws and use the caliper as a "go; no-go" gauge. But locking the jaws in place doesn't tell you how much smaller the "small ones" really are. It only tells you the big ones are too big. Follow?

    But with a digital caliper this job is SO MUCH EASIER! You simply run the caliper out to 1.437" and hit the "Zero" button. Now, when the caliper reads "0.000" you are sitting right on 1.437". Follow? Now, when you measure your piece under inspection, the caliper gives you a reading that tells you directly how much larger or smaller your part is. If the part is .001" smaller, then the caliper reads "-0.001". If the part is .0035" too large, then the caliper reads "+0.0035".

    By using a digital caliper you see the difference from "perfect" right on the screen. There is no guessing. There is no mental math to do. You can directly sort BOTH the pieces too small and the pieces too large in a single pass. And too, if you read a number like "1.347" you don't get dyslexic and put that one in the "perfect" pile. Your digital caliper tells you right out... that one is -.090 too short.

    For metal work, yes a dial caliper is wonderful. But for reloading, a digital caliper is such a time saver; it's simply invaluable. To me the clarity it lends to any reloading task adds safety to my hobby. That's why I highly encourage everyone to buy a digital caliper for reloading.

    All the best. ;)
     
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Mine uses a "357" battery, commonly found around town in three packs. The same battery is labeled many ways, but are all compatible. The pack lists all the different ones it works for.



    Many good points rfwobbly. Very good analysis of real use for a reloader.
     
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Cut a hole in the box padding so it doesn't push the power button on and the battery life is greatly extended!

    rc
     
  18. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I guess my inexperience reveals itself. I only use all types of measuring instruments as a profession everyday and have for decades but I only use 3 types of calipers, vernier, dial and digital (not counting inside, outside, bow or dividers because they are not precision measurement instruments) the fourth type is a tool I do not have in my arsenal.

    I will agree that a digital is easy to read but when the battery is dead it is much more difficult to get any accurate reading at all than the other two common instruments. Again, if the only thing you have is digital…your out of luck if you have no voltage. As long as you have eyesight (assisted if need be), the others will work for you, every time all the time.
     
  19. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    So you're telling mechanics is better than electronics?

    Wish you were designing some of the stuff back into the new autos.

    On the other hand how dificult is it to keep an extra few batteries on hand?

    Most of these digital calibers use the same battery as the small hand held laser pointers, not a diffcult battery to find at all.

    As for accuracy the digital caliber uses the same technology as the digital readouts used on metal working machinery and now also being used in the wood working field. Yup, we're now doing wood working to less than a thousands of an inch.
     
  20. bds

    bds Member

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    Check the local Dollar Tree/99 Cent stores for battery packs (as long as they are the same size and voltage, they should work). I've seen 10-12 packs for $1.
     
  21. Eagle103

    Eagle103 Member

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    Yep. Precisely why I keep a dial caliper handy.
     
  22. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    .

    My HF 6" has worked really well too, but looking at the catalog sometimes doesn't describe they have 'some' models/lengths that won't zero at any length and/or are made of diffent materials than the better ones.

    Buyer beware, especially by catalog description.
     
  23. Furncliff

    Furncliff Member

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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  24. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    As a happy owner of MANY Harbor Freight tools, none of which I use to earn my income, they fill a need for those of us looking for that one or two time use tool who do not make the kind of money to buy the 'name brand'. That said, my HFD digital caliper is terrific for my needs. Oh and my HF garage air compressor has been outstanding for years now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  25. bds

    bds Member

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