Creating accurate ammunition is one of the most important things you can do if you are a person who regularly goes out to hunt, shoot targets, or is involved in some other kind of weapons endeavor. The truth is the creating your own ammunition is not only a great way to create accurate ammunition, but it is also one that will save you money over time.
Of course, creating good ammunition is like anything you do on your own. The better that your tools are the more efficient and successful you are going to be, and that is where having the best caliper can be of great benefit to you. That is the purpose of this review, to give you some good information on choosing the right caliper for yourself as well as getting information on some of the best options available on the market today.
Reloading Caliper Buyer’s Guide : How to Make the Right Choice?
When deciding on the right caliper for yourself there are some key factors you need to keep in mind. Here are some to consider:
- Ease of Use. Some of these can be extremely easy to use, which are ideal for those who are using a caliper for the first time. However, a lot are a bit more sophisticated which makes it more challenging for those who have never used a caliper before. This is especially true when you’re talking about the movement of the thumb wheel as to how sensitive or smooth it moves.
- Construction. As with any reloading equipment you could purchase, the materials used to build the device are important. You not only one something that is durable and sturdy but, with something like a caliper, you want something that is easy to hold and does not have a lot of weight to it. A lighter tool can be easier for you to use, especially if you have a lot of measurements to make and one day.
- Relative Zero. If you are going to frequently compare different measurements, it is important for you to have a caliper that allows you to zero out the caliper easily. The relative zero function is what you need. This makes it so you can easily compare distances.
- Measurements. Depending upon what kind of measurements you like to use, you want to decide whether your needing a fractional, Imperial, or decimal caliper. You may even want a choice that offers you more than one option.
- Battery Life. If you are going to buy a digital caliper, then there are two parts you want to consider. The first of them is the battery life itself. You want something that is going to last for some time without a need to replace the battery frequently. You also want a caliper that will have an auto shutoff mechanism so if you are not using the caliper for some time it will automatically shut off.
- Price. Price is always an important factor with any product you purchase. Make sure that something fits within your budget, but try to purchase something that is a little higher grade if you can possibly afford it.
Top 6 Digital Calipers on the Market!
It is out of this love for guns as well as the decades of experience that I have that have enabled me to be able to come up with a lot of information that I felt others can benefit from. Let me assure you that nothing in these reviews I am telling you is because I am paid to do so. I am not supporting any product for any other reason other than that I found it to be an outstanding choice.
#1 Mitutoyo 500-196-30 AOS Absolute Scale Digital Caliper
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Measurement Range: 0-150mm
- Accuracy: +/-0.001mm
- A great design that is easy to use
- The battery is made to give you extended life
- Provides an absolute and included zero making measuring easy to perform
- Provides immunity from you having to worry about outside debris causing it to become damaged
- You need to watch to make sure you are getting the authentic caliper
- No other worries with this product
The measuring range allows you to get values from zero all the way up to 150 mm and you can measure in both inches and millimeters on the scale. You are also able to switch between absolute dimensions and incremental dimensions as you need.
Included is a silver oxide battery which comes with the package and it is added to ensure that no electricity is used before you actually receive the battery. This is a fantastically built design which gives you great capacity and perfect readings each and every time that you use it. It’s durable and has a great look to it.
You can be sure that this is a durable caliper. It’s made with heavy duty materials that are meant to last, and the pincers of the caliper are solid so you don’t have to worry about them being bent or damaged. Plus, you will like that the display smoothly roles on the caliper.
The one concern you should have about purchasing this caliper is that there are many reports of people offering knockout models that they are claiming is the Mitutoyo. Be on the lookout for this to make sure you were getting the model made in Japan. If it is made in China you can be sure you’re being ripped off.
#2 Aickar Digital Caliper, Stainless Steel Electronic Digital Caliper
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Measurement Range: 0-150mm
- Accuracy: 0.0005″/0.01mm
- Extremely accurate and easy to use
- Sharp looking caliper that takes just a few minutes to get yourself going once you purchase it
- Display is easy to read and allows you to have three different measurements available
- An unbelievable choice for the price. It could easily be worth three or four times what I paid
- The measurements may fluctuate at points, requiring you to choose what you think is the most accurate
- A bit heavier to hold, making it a little more challenging use
- The sliding action is not comfortable
What I loved about this caliper was that the case had such a sharp look to it. Not only was this a fantastic looking and accurate caliper, but I felt very much like I had one of those cases that doctors use to keep their tools they use to check your ears and eyes. It’s just a beautiful looking apparatus.
Accuracy is fantastic on this device. It starts with the fact that you get a great digital display, that gives you incredible precision of up to 0.0005 inches or 0.01 mm. It was easy to convert within measurements, simply pressing a button to get a different value if I so desired, including fractions. The LCD display is also easy to read and gives great-looking numbers.
Included is a machine grooved thumb roller which makes fine adjustment easy and accurate. A brand-new 3 V battery is included and it took me just a few minutes out of the box to get the battery in and get this caliper running.
#3 Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Measurement Range: 0-150mm
- Accuracy: 0.001″ / 0.02mm
- Large LCD display makes it easy to read
- Provides great accuracy and allows you to easily change within measurements
- Lightweight and durable
- Moves with smooth motion across the frame
- Easy to use straight out of the box
- The buttons were made of a cheap rubber causing them to get stuck at times
- There is a gap between the internal measuring jaws, which makes measuring internally inaccurate
The accuracy was fantastic, providing measurement ranges from 0 to 6 inches or 02 150 mm. The resolution is 0.0005 inches or 0.01 mm and the accuracy was 0.001 inches or 0.02 mm. That made it equally as good as any of the other digital calipers I tested.
This product is made with a finely polished stainless steel frame, with a knurled roller that was easy to adjust using my thumb. The locking screw ensured that I had a smooth motion when the caliper slid across the frame and I found the accuracy to be outstanding in the way that it worked.
You can measure not only the inside and outside, but also the depth and step as two different jaws are provided as well as a probe. Battery replacement is easy to use and it comes in a storage case that is durable, protecting the caliper while making it easy to store. A great option whether you are experienced at reloading ammunition were a beginner.
Top 6 Dial Calipers on the Market!
|#1 Mitutoyo 505-746 Dial Caliper|
|#2 Starrett 1202F-6 Dial Caliper|
|#3 Anytime Tools Dial Caliper|
|#4 Brown & Sharpe 599-579-5 Dial Caliper|
|#5 Hornady 050075 Steel Dial Caliper|
|#6 Fowler Full Warranty Shockproof Dial Caliper|
Digital vs Dial Caliper
Before reviewing specific products, I wanted to address the two different primary kinds of calipers you can buy: digital or dial. The primary difference between these two kinds of calipers is that one uses an electronic display to allow you to see exactly what the measurement is at. This is in the digital version.
- Dial Caliper.
The dial caliper uses a mechanical system where the primary apparatus is a rack and pinion system. There are gears inside that move in increments of 1/1000 of an inch to give you an accurate measurement. It is not the only one, however. The dial calipers can be knocked out of alignment by simply dropping them, which does not occur using the digital option. This is a big advantage if you are a klutz like I often am.
- Digital Caliper.
Digital calipers display their readings on a screen. Plus, they usually allow you to easily convert between millimeters and inches simply by pressing a button. That is one of the major advantages of using the digital caliper. The digital options can have issues as well. How they measure is there is a copper plate underneath the digital display that has a series of precise grooves engraved on them. If those engraved marks and get damaged in any way, you are not going to get accurate readings any longer.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Before closing out this review, I wanted to answer some of the more common kinds of questions that people ask me related to calipers used for reloading. Hopefully this will answer questions you may have.
#1 What is a caliper?
A caliper is a measuring tool that is used to give you an accurate measurement in the width of an object. It works very much like a tape measure a ruler, but provides you the ability to be more precise in your measurement through use of jaws that clamp closed over the object to hold it in place while you measure.
#2 Why you need to buy a caliper for reloading?
The truth is that you sure do. I caliper is used to take all kinds of different measurements related to reloading. This is especially true when you are reloading rifle cartridges or you find yourself using a new set of dies. The caliper will assist you in getting accurate measurements no matter what the gauge of the cartridges.
#3 What are the best caliper brands?
There are many great brands out there, but what you saw and this review is that there are some that stand out more than others.
- Mitutoyo. The two best calipers in this review came from this company. They not only make great digital options but dial options as well. In some reviews it would not be surprising to see if in a list of top 10 calipers that they would have three or four products in that list.
- Brown & Sharpe. I like this company because they have a history of creating products that are built to last. This is a company that many rely on to produce devices that provide accurate measurements, and you can be sure about the quality of their products in terms of caliper reloaders.
- Starrett. This is another company that has been around for quite some time and is known for the good products they produce. You really can’t go wrong when you use a Starrett.
#4 Are expensive digital calipers necessary?
This really depends upon what you are looking for. The truth is that many gun enthusiasts prefer to use the dial caliper because they started using this years ago and don’t feel comfortable with using the digital options. There is nothing wrong with that at all.
Those who decide to use the more expensive digital calipers are usually people that don’t have a lot of experience with the dial options or who have not been reloading their own ammunition for very long. The truth is that you need to be comfortable with what you are using because safety matters first.
#5 What size reloading caliper should I buy?
This all depends upon the kind of cartridges that you are going to be reloading. Anything that is between zero and 6 inches in terms of measurements that it is able to take is usually good enough.
#6 How much accuracy do you need?
Accuracy is very much determinant upon your experience. Once again, if you are an experienced gun enthusiast who has reloaded cartridges, a caliper becomes nothing more than a confirmation that you have already done the job correctly. Most people know exactly what they’re looking at and could tell you what the measurement is before they even put it inside the caliper. This is dependent upon your comfort level.