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Looking for calipers

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by grubbylabs, Dec 3, 2010.

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  1. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    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.
     
  2. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    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.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  4. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    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
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  6. chagasrod

    chagasrod Member

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  7. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    Well I have a set of broken harbor freight ones so I don't think I want to do those again.
     
  8. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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

    Buzzard Member

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  10. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Plus 1 on Evilbay.

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

    rc
     
  12. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    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. IMG_3873A.jpg
     
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  14. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    I went to Menards (a local Lowes/HomeDepot) type store.
    Cost me less than $25
     
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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.
     
  17. TexasShooter59

    TexasShooter59 Member

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    S&W brand from Midway. No problems so far. Had a $15 unknown brand caliper off of ebay and had to return it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  18. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    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.
     
  19. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    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.
     
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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...
     
  21. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Reads to the nearest .0005, and is accurate to .001. :)

    I like mine, as it is easy to read. Much easier than a dial for old eyes. If ever in doubt, break out the Starret. The HF caliper is more than adequate for 95% to 99% of reloading.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  23. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    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
     
  24. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  25. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    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.
     
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