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Old December 3, 2008, 01:09 PM   #1
MDS
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Digital caliper

I see Midway USA has the Frankford Digital caliper for 20$ any opinions on these?
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Old December 3, 2008, 01:12 PM   #2
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Bought one at Bass Pro for the same price and I have no problem with it at all. All the reviews and posts that I've seen here and on Midway have all pretty much said the same thing. Plus you can't beat the price.
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Old December 3, 2008, 01:13 PM   #3
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They work OK. Better than using a ruler.
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Old December 3, 2008, 01:25 PM   #4
Smokey Joe
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Digital caliper...

Quote:
They work OK. Better than using a ruler.
Boy, that's damnation with faint praise if ever I met it!!

Personal opinion: I like my dial caliper. I can see on the dial where I am, between thousandths of an inch. With a digital, you read (for example) 2.556", and then it jumps to (for example again) 2.557" with nothing in between.

I bought a plastic dial caliper many years ago, and it worked just fine. Still does, FWIW. Replaced it a few years back with a steel dial caliper, which works just fine. (Mine is a Dillon, made in [darn it] China.)

My preference is for things without batteries, whenever possible. Hence I do not expect ever to get and use a digital, when the mechanical dial caliper works, and in one way, better.
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Old December 3, 2008, 01:29 PM   #5
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Probably work just fine for measurements such as COAL and such. Not so good for precision measurements on a lot of features. For instance one might be able to accurately measure to within .001", the outside diameter of nice, round, cylindrical object, but would probably not get that close measuring the inside diameter of a cylinder bore.
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Old December 3, 2008, 01:33 PM   #6
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Yeah, I just want one for crimp/OAL
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Old December 3, 2008, 01:57 PM   #7
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Hell, I can eyeball .001 !

I use an RCBS digital caliper I got from Cabelas. Costs a bit more but I doubt it does a better job.
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Old December 3, 2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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I've had good calipers and bad but right now, I have 3 of THESE...2 of the regular version and 1 of the titanium. I've found them excellent and the price you see is what you pay...free shipping. I suspect you can buy the regular version for what you would pay for Midway's "sale price" once shipping is included.
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Old December 3, 2008, 03:58 PM   #9
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Non digital calipers jump a thousand or so back and forth also, you just don't see it. You get that much just in the sping of the jaws.

I use digital calipers all the time, not just in reloading but in my machining. They work, you can get the feel, with practice to prevent the jump. And I do measuring to .0005. I have another one that measursed to .0001 or better but its a bit pricy.

One thing I like about the digital calipers is if you had to cut something down to say .375, you can set the dial to .375, and then measure the metal to be cut, it will tell you how much over without a lot of math, making it easier to set the depth of cut.

They Work.
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Old December 3, 2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
I have another one that measursed to .0001 or better but its a bit pricy.
Calipers to .0001"? You might have some with a resolution of .0001", but calipers will not accurately measure better than .001" or maybe a bit better than that for some straightforward measurements made by experienced people.
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Old December 3, 2008, 04:36 PM   #11
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Newbie here...

Just found this forum, lot's of good ideas. On the caliper issue, the very best calipers are only guranteed accurate to +/- .001". Some are good only to +/-.005". If you are really, really, needing/wanting to measure precisely, you need to look at that also. (and yes I do know what I am talking about, 10 years in CNC lathe work and QC dept.)
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Old December 3, 2008, 05:45 PM   #12
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The price just went up, I bought these a couple weeks ago for $17.31. Now they are on sale for $19.99. They work just great, I've loaded about 300 rounds with them so far. The cool thing about these calipers is that from the 'off' position you open up the calipers and they automatically turn on and keep zero! The one I have came with a dead battery but they include a spare battery so I installed the new battery and it works great. So far it has alway kept zero at exactly zero, no drifting or wandering at all. And it can be locked to hold any measurement so you can lock it open at a certain length and lock it in place and turn off the electronics to save battery power. That's a great feature for ensuring your OAL doesn't exceed max. Great calipers, buy it!
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Old December 3, 2008, 05:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
If you are really, really, needing/wanting to measure precisely, you need to
use a micrometer, or other precision measuring instrument, but caliper isn't the tool!

I like when someone says" I slugged my barrel and it is .4425" on the lands and .4483" in the grooves"... "I'd be more precise with those numbers, but that's as accurate as my calipers will measure". I have to bite my tongue to keep from telling them that they're probably not within .002" on that.
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Old December 3, 2008, 06:42 PM   #14
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I have three of the Chinese 6" dial calipers, one of their 6"digitals and one 12" dial. And one 6" Swiss vernier caliper. The vernier was my first, long ago, and is HIGHLY accurate but my eyes have gotten too bad to read the scale consistantly so I tried and now like the others.

The cheap calipers all work fine and give me good service. I really didn't trust those Chink thangs at first. So, I acquired two Johanson blocks, 1" and .3" for checking the range I use most. It was dead on so for the first one so I bought the others. I get mine from the local Harbor Freight Tool store on sale, as they often are. They sell for as little as $13, both dial and digital.

It appears that ALL of the house brand calipers are made in the same Chink shop. My HFs look exactly like those from Midway, Cabelas, RCBS, etc.

Only one of my dial calipers is off at all and that's, about .0005, it reads half way between the marks on the 1" jo block but it's dead on at .3". I can live with that in my reloading so that's where it gets used. Granted the digital is "easier" to see but that's pretty trivial even to me!

Bigger issue for me is battery life for the digitals. If I didn't have a dial type for back up, I wouldn't bother with a digital at all.

We all would much rather have good stuff but the prices forbid it for most of us. And it seems all we would get with a Starret, B&S or Mitotoyo calipers would be longivity and few of us reloaders will ever wear a cheap one out!

Keep them clean, use compressed air to blow trash out of the rack when they get twitchy and don't drop them. That applies to any brand.

No caliper will equal a micrometer for absolute accuracy across it's range.
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Old December 3, 2008, 07:42 PM   #15
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Sorry folks, I just went out to the shop and checked, it is .0005 not .0001.

My Bad.
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Old December 3, 2008, 09:18 PM   #16
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I have the Frankford Arsenal digitals.. .. The guts have a striking resemblance to a well known Japanese brand that costs alot more... They are made in China after all....

Anyway, they are now 1 year old and still holding calibration.. I would say I've used them alot during that time. May be the best $13.95 Ive spent in the last year. I keep them in the garage and they exhibit no signs of corrosion even here in the land of perpetual rain...

Battery life: They came with two hearing aid style batteries (only uses one at a time) and the first one lasted over 10 months. One feature I like here is the auto off after 5 minutes... Even better, they stay set where they were when you move the thumbwheel and the power comes back on. Another thing... No matter how long they are off, they have never required a zero when I turned them back on. Utterly dependable.

That said, I'm an aircraft inspector and I know how to care for precision measuring equipment. I keep it in it's case with the original dessicant pack and take care to not spill beer on them. I NEVER idly punch holes in the workbench with the jaws. Handle them with care and they are an excellent alternative for low budget guys like me.

Thumbs up from me.
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Last edited by Inspector3711; December 3, 2008 at 09:26 PM.
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Old December 3, 2008, 09:46 PM   #17
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I've retired my old RCBS dial caliper that read in hundredths and replaced it with a Harbor Freight digital that reads in thousandths. Great deal and accurate enough for my reloads.
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Old December 4, 2008, 12:40 AM   #18
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Very informative. Thanks, everyone.
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Old December 8, 2008, 12:52 AM   #19
#1 Moses
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For what they cost now. around $20 Bucks you cant beat it! just buy a few spare battries. and your ready to go . check e-bay
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