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Old April 27, 2011, 12:16 PM   #1
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Hornady lock n load headspace kit vs rcbs precision mic

What is everyones opinion on these two tools and if you like another one please let me know what type and why.
Thanks in advance
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Old April 27, 2011, 12:46 PM   #2
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I like the "Digital Headspace Gauge" from Innovative Technologies.
The wants of the many DO NOT outweigh my needs.
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Old April 27, 2011, 03:01 PM   #3
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Hornady's set will work with most all calibers while RCBS is one caliber specific with a few exceptions measuring headspace like 30-06 and 25-06 having the same shoulder dimensions. I like the micrometer dial read-out on the Precision Mic but the Hornady set with a good set of calipers is also repeatably accurate. I have the Hornady set plus a couple of Precision Mics. I use the Mic with 30-06 and 25-06 and another for .223 Rem and the Hornady set for all others. The RCBS Precision Mic tool for measuring bullet to lands doesn't work very well but with a lot of tinkering you can get accurate results. If loading for only one or two rifle calibers I'd rather have the Mic but it'd be expensive to buy Mics for several calibers. Either are good reloading tools which will help increase case life and cuts down on the chances of a case head separation.
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Old April 27, 2011, 03:32 PM   #4
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Same as Rg1, I own a couple of PM's and both the straight and dog leg Hornady Overall Gauges and the Hornady bullet and headspace comparator gauge insert sets (except mine were all made by Stoney Point before he sold the design to Hornady). I also have a Sinclair caliper adapter, which, aside from being green instead of red, centers the bullet inserts rather than offsetting them as the Hornady must for use with their Overall Gauge. The Sinclair inserts are stainless and a little more precise, perhaps, but none of that matters to a relative comparison, which most of the bullet seating measurements are.

Rg1 covered the main pluses and minuses. The Hornady system is more flexible and with the Hornady Overall Gauge setup, you use the ogive of an actual bullet of the type you are loading, and not the ogive of a fixed substitute, as the RCBS tool does. How much difference does that make? Probably never more than five thousandths and often less. But Hornady tool, on seating depth determinations, is just easier to make work properly and doesn't leave you guessing about whether or not the throat might have pulled the bullet out a little.

The Precision Mic is a better case headspace comparator mainly because it is steel and has less mouth radius at the critical diameter hole, as well as the convenience of the thimble graduations. This makes it's absolute accuracy a little better. However, neither is perfect, and both need a good quality headspace GO gauge to compare to if you want a true absolute result, and not just to make a before and after comparison to set up your sizing die. My .30-06 PM's headspace thimble, for example, reads a Dave Manson GO gauge 0.002" high, but I've verified on independent instruments that the GO gauge is off no more than half a thousandth at most and is probably better.

Also keep in mind that calipers can't normally be relied on to more than a couple of thousandths, especially not on measurement long enough to let the beam flex, so, though your's may be better, don't count on the precision to be higher than that anyway. Two thousandths is enough in most instances except bore slug diameters where a thimble micrometer with ten thousandths resolution should be used.
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