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Old July 7, 2006, 02:29 PM   #1
Tuf Toy
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Digital Calipers

Any one have recommendations (or advice on brands to stay away from) I need a new Digital Caliper. I see Sinclairs has Mitutoyo's for $119. and Midsouth has Lyman for $34. And I'm sure Ebay has a bunch , I just don't want to buy one that is used and inaccurate or a POS that is new and inaccurate. Any advice?
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Old July 7, 2006, 02:54 PM   #2
arthurrh
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I have the Frankford Arsenal one and I love it. It's on Midway for around $27 I think.
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Old July 7, 2006, 02:55 PM   #3
amamnn
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digital calipers

I bought a new digital from Midway when it was on sale. Seems to work fine so far. The brand is Insize. I got tired of squinting at dials, but before I gave away my old caliper I compared the two and the new one read the same as the old one only easier to see.
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Old July 7, 2006, 03:03 PM   #4
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Mitutoyo is good.

I'm a Mechanical Engineer with a major Fortune 500 manufacturer (4000+ engineers) and digital Mitutoyo's are extremely common in both in the engineering areas and the shop. Mine has worked reliably for, lessee, 8 years now. It is calibrated each year, need it or not.

Others are as good or better, I'm sure, but Mitutoyo's apparently are priced right.
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Old July 7, 2006, 03:10 PM   #5
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Frankford Arsenal works just fine for me. I think I got it on sale for $19.99 at midway a while back.
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Old July 7, 2006, 03:59 PM   #6
Foxman
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Even though a lot of electronic stuff has dropped considerably in price in the last few years, it hasnt dropped to the point where a $27 caliper is anywhere near as good as $119 one, you get what you pay for and no more. If you want to check the diameter of a nail or bolt to see if itis a 3/8" or 9/16" the $27 will do it fine, if you want to check bullet seating depth or case length, you might as well use a tape rule, it will be as close. The last digit on all calipers is the margin of error, i.e. least significant digit, most have a level of accuracy to the first 3 digits the good ones are accurate to the 4th digit remembering that the first digit is inches, the 3 digit one is only good to tens of thousanths of an inch the good ones are accurate to one thousanth of an inch, ( providing it is used properly and at a temperature near 60 degF).
It takes time and practice to use one properly and so buying the cheap one is going to compound the error, at least the decent one is getting you somewhere near.
+1 on mjrodney and the mitutoyo
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Old July 8, 2006, 11:59 AM   #7
BigJakeJ1s
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I bought the FA digital caliper from midway for ~$27 a couple of years ago. It reads to 3.5 decimal places (the 4th place is only 0 or 5).

I took it to work to a ME friend (I'm an EE), and had him test it against his Mitutoyo. It was within 0.0005 of the 'toyo. That was right after I bought it. I just took it in a month ago, and it was still within 0.0005", and the 'toyo had been checked/re-calibrated in between.

Now I don't use mine nearly as often as he does, and mine probably has a kindler, gentler life, but for < 1/4 the price, I'd say my FA was a bargain, but it is only a sample of one. I'm not experienced enough to be able to use it to that much accuracy anyway (i.e. repeatability in technique, that's why I had _him_ test it), so why pay more for something I can't use?

Buy what you want, but you don't always get more value by spending more. But if buying and using a Mitutoyo or Starrett gives you more confidence and improves your reloading/shooting/life, go for it.

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Old July 8, 2006, 12:42 PM   #8
bdarin
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I have a Mitutoyo digital and a Starrett mechanical. Use the Starrett almost exclusively. The zero on a mechanical is always where you set it. I've had the zero on the digital be off a couple of times causing a "problem" cuz I forgot to confirm the zero point. Any jaw opening can be a zero with the accidental touch of a button on a digital. Once locked in on the mech. it stays put. Just my $.02.
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Old July 8, 2006, 12:59 PM   #9
Nortonics
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Just saw this new product offering in the latest Sinclair mini-flyer in the mail for $48.75 - looks decent:

Sinclair Digital Calipers 6 Inch

Quote:
Digital Calipers 6 Inch
We are really impresssed with the quality of these 6 inch Digital Calipers. These calipers are almost identical to the more expensive Mitutoyo digital calipers that we sell but are $70.00 chaeper! They have the same stainless steel frame, easy to read LED (display), and the same one-touch zero function. They also can switch from inches to millimeters on the fly and back again. The sales guys used them and measured different items with them and a pair of Mitutoyo's to see if there were any differences. We saw nothing different between the two. These calipers measure to .0005 inch but display 1/2 thousandths.

If you are taking a lot of measurements such as sorting bullets by length, you may want to consider trying a pair of digital calipers.


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Old July 8, 2006, 01:19 PM   #10
skeeter1
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Maybe a mechanical caliper?

The one that I've got was from www.grizzly.com and it works like a charm. No batteries required. Then again, I've got a micrometer that I inherited from my dad, so maybe I've just gotten used to the simpler things. Might explain why I like revolvers and leverguns as well.
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Old July 8, 2006, 04:38 PM   #11
Tuf Toy
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That one looks very similar to these on ebay 200004529004
It's funny how they have one for $48. when all the stuff on Ebay is either $20 or $100 plus for the name brands. A friend at Sikorsky told me (for their quality control (far higher than mine I would think ) they generally use Mitutoyo, Starret or Brown & Sharp. They wont buy Fowler and never heard of Neiko. An ebay search on digital 6" calipers will make you head spin with $9. to $19. New in box calipers.
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Old July 9, 2006, 10:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Mitutoyo, Starret or Brown & Sharp
My Dad was a machinist, and used all of these, all are VERY high quality. But the only set fo dial calipers I inherited (Staret) got broken a few years ago. I bought a digital set from Harbor Freight a few years ago. I check them against Dad's Starrett micrometer from time to time, and the've always been right on (to .001). I can't imagine what you might need any greater accuracy for.
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Old July 9, 2006, 10:47 AM   #13
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I bought a cheap Chinese-made one from Harbor Freight. $12 on clearance, IIRC.

Works like a champ, with the same kind of accuracy reported by dfaugh.
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Old July 9, 2006, 11:57 AM   #14
Tuf Toy
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I guess if you have a way to check them and you are religious about it (like before each use) {Kind of like setting up your balance beam scale} there should be no need to buy an industrial grade one.
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Old July 9, 2006, 03:11 PM   #15
Mike Irwin
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"I guess if you have a way to check them and you are religious about it..."

A couple of new US coins work well. They are very precise.
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Old July 10, 2006, 09:07 AM   #16
dfaugh
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Mike Irwin,

Yeah, good tip. While I use the "mics", almost anything of known accuracy (I have spacing blocks, lathe cutters, end mills, and lots of other junk) can be used to make sure you're calipers are accurate.
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you've got to go in after it, and never be denied.
Time is running out...Let's roll.
Let's roll for freedom, let's roll for love.
We're going after satan, on the wings of a dove.
Let's roll for freedom, let's roll for truth.
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Old July 10, 2006, 09:30 AM   #17
Mike Irwin
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I found this list on a coin collecting website...

Lincoln cent = 19 mm
Jefferson Nickel = 21.2 mm
Roosevelt Dime = 17.9 mm
Washington Quarter = 24.3 mm
Kennedy Half Dollar = 30.6 mm
A Silver or an Eisenhower Dollar = 38.1 mm


Apparently the US mint works in metric...
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