I been using a set of Lyman plastic dial calipers for some time, want to up grade to something different. I have a micrometer, so what do you fellow reloaders use. Have to keep the price reasonable so it doesn't cut into my reloading funds too bad.
Any steel caliper should be an improvement over the Lyman. The Lyman is useful, to be sure, but will wear out.
None of the reloading tool manufacturers build their own (I'd be really surprised if they did, anyway). I'm sure they outsource to some tool company and put their name on it.
I got my first caliper and micrometer from Wholesale Tool. I think that pretty much all of them will do about the same thing.
If you have a micrometer, then you can check the caliper against that. I would not be without either one. I use the micrometer for bullet diameters, and the calipers for cartridge OAL (where being off by 0.001" is not really a big deal). There is a lot of technique involved with both tools, as they can spring if you put too much pressure on, or give a false reading if the jaws are dirty.
Just keep them clean and don't put away with the jaws completely closed, and any of the name brand tools should work fine for you.
I have Sterret tools here at the shop, but a set of these lays on the bench all the time rather than the spendy stuff! If there's something really critical, I get out the "good" calipers, but the truth is, that I haven't found that much difference in measurements between them... not enough to warrant the expense, at least for handloading sake!
I started out with the RCBS plastic ones. After years of use they started to get a little sloppy from wear +/-.002. I got a Starret micrometer but found it was too slow getting the readings off it. So I bought a Enco ร stainless steel dail caliper. It was faster and checking it aganist my Starret mic it was dead on.
After helping a friend make a couple 100,000 tracer and incendary bullets. Making these bullets from scratch required using calipers allot. Measuring the jacket cups and when they come out of the first point form die,second point form die,core insertion die,tracer pressing die,boatail forming die,etc....... Setting up the dies to make bullets involves measuring a bunch of bullets. Making these bullets and using my friend's new 赨 digital calipers was quicker than using dail calipers.
Needless to say I saw the digital light after this bullet making exspearence.
Midway had their digital calipers on sale(๋) one month so I bought them. Digital is the only way to go very easy to read and it will give you the metric reading with a touch of the metric/inch button. When emailing people that I have met on different bulletin boards that are in Europe or Down under digital calipers are real handy. When talking about cartridges,case,bullet,etc.. measurements all I have to do is grab the digital calipers. Open the calipers to the correct inch measurement and hit the metric/inch button instant metric measurement! No math formulas or conversion charts needed.
Once you go digital you never go back!
WELL LET'S SEE...I OWN A MITUTOYA 4" DIAL CALIPER, A STARRETT 6" DIAL CALIPER, AN 8" CANON VERNIER CALIPER, A MIDWAY ELECTRONIC CALIPER, AND A NEW RCBS ELECTRONIC CALIPER.
BUY THE MECHANICAL DIAL CALIPER FIRST.
IN MIKES, ALL IN .0001" VERSIONS, I HAVE A MTUTOYA 1", A MITUTOTA 1" BLADE MIKE [ VERY HANDY FOR MIKING CASE HEADS ], A MITUTOYA 1" TUBING MIKE, AND ONE OF THE NEW RCBS ELECTRONIC MIKES THAT READS TO A HALF OF A TEN THOUSANDS. I PUT THIS ONE IN THE MIKE STAND AND IT IS HANDY AS ALL GITOUT; ALMOST INSTANT READOUT ON BULLETS AS FAST AS I CAN PUT 'EM BETWEEN THE JAWS. COOL. I LIKE IT.
THAT BEING SAID I TRUST ANYTHING ELECTRONIC JUST AS FAR AS I CAN KEEP IT IN MY GUNSIGHTS. ALWAYS USE A SETTING STANDARD TO CHECK THESE OR YOU'RE GONNA BE DAMNED EMBARRASSED SOMEDAY.
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