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Old August 13, 2012, 09:04 PM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: March 16, 2010
Posts: 733
When new, a cheap dial caliper is just as good as an expensive one in most cases. Its down the road that the differences will show up. A good set will be hardened, while the cheapies will be unhardened, or inconsistently hardened, which is just as bad. They will start to wear and introduce slop, which will throw off your measurements.

A cheap electric on the other hand, is crappy from the start. There are less parts to wear, but its also harder to tell when things go bad. Many times you can zero a cheap set of calipers, then take a few measurements, and the zero will start to drift, which is bad.....

In all honesty, in the reloading world, you're not really likley to wear out even a cheap set unless you reload a LOT, in which case you arent likley to be satisfied with a cheap set for long. For most people all that matters is consistency, and even .005-.01 drift isnt the end of the world. Its going to affect accuracy sure, but if you are the type of person who is happy with cheap calipers you probably arent worried about the difference between .75moa and .9moa on your targets.... Of course there are exceptions, but one thing is sure, you can bet the top shooters arent using harbor freight calipers....

I use a dial at work. I wouldn't mind a digital, but they cost more so I havent been able to justify it yet. Even at the high end of things, digital's arent better, they just require less thinking and counting, but I would definitely rather use a cheap dial caliper than a cheap digital any day....
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