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You can get a fairly nice brand new digital micrometer at Harbor Freight for under $20.00 works great for reloading and measuring in general. Mine has worked just fine.
 

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I hate to sound like a nitpick but a micrometer and a caliper are two different things. I believe what we are referring to in the thread is a caliper and not a micrometer. Unless I am mistaken and folks really are measuring their cases and reloads and other gun stuff with a micrometer?

I would personally vote for a dial caliper and slightly better budget - Lyman makes a dandy and it will never need batteries, which always seem to die at the wrong time. Starret and Mitutoyo are OK too...
 

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You can get a fairly nice brand new digital micrometer at Harbor Freight for under $20.00 works great for reloading and measuring in general. Mine has worked just fine.
Been using Harbor Freight Calipers for a couple years now for reloading and they have held up fine. Can usually find a coupon and get them for around $10.

I don't have calibration blocks or pins but when I measure a drill bit or a brand name bullet they usually measure the diameter of the drill or bullet as what they should be. Good enough for my needs.
 

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Some of these responses amaze me.

I'm a retired machinist (used to own $8000+ worth of Starrett, sold them) and needed a 1" Micrometer for reloading. Bought this Lyman and it's got all you need (ratchet stop, carbide faces, reads to .0001").
https://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item/000157832230/1inch-reloaders-micrometer

If you want to check the size of a hole (cylinders?) buy Small Hole Gages and learn to use them.
https://www.amazon.com/small-hole-gage-set/s?k=small+hole+gage+set

Those Pin Gage Sets are expensive and totally unnecessary.

I use the Harbor Freight digital calipers for 90% of my guns/reloading; mine are 10+ years old and still accurate. I use that Lyman Mic for more accuracy and bought the Hornady Dial Calipers to double check when needed, and for when the batteries run out.
 

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Randy your link for a micrometer is helpful since the photo shows what a mic really is. I'm guessing most in the thread are thinking calipers and use them to measure case length for trimming and COL on the reloaded cartridge, which would might require a set of mics depending on ammo.

My reference to Starrett and Mitutoyo was tongue in cheek - like saying Craftsman are good tools but Snap-On are OK too....

Do you have a preference for a cost effective caliper? I've bought the cheap digitals and had one die completely, one I bought in haste and discovered it had a plastic slide that would easily distort and I have one that isn't bad but the battery died at an inconvenient time. So I'm starting to think I like my sturdy old dial model. Lyman sells one for around $30. But maybe that's just me and I'm becoming more of a Luddite with each passing year.
Digital readouts are easy but if you can read a micrometer a dial caliper is pretty simple by comparison.

Those small hole gauges look pretty nifty. I feel the need....
 

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Randy your link for a micrometer is helpful since the photo shows what a mic really is. I'm guessing most in the thread are thinking calipers and use them to measure case length for trimming and COL on the reloaded cartridge, which would might require a set of mics depending on ammo.

My reference to Starrett and Mitutoyo was tongue in cheek - like saying Craftsman are good tools but Snap-On are OK too....

Do you have a preference for a cost effective caliper? I've bought the cheap digitals and had one die completely, one I bought in haste and discovered it had a plastic slide that would easily distort and I have one that isn't bad but the battery died at an inconvenient time. So I'm starting to think I like my sturdy old dial model. Lyman sells one for around $30. But maybe that's just me and I'm becoming more of a Luddite with each passing year.
Digital readouts are easy but if you can read a micrometer a dial caliper is pretty simple by comparison.

Those small hole gauges look pretty nifty. I feel the need....
I get confused when someone gets the terminology wrong; I bought a "hobby" micrometer before I was a teen as it was useful for building plastic models and slot cars. Measuring sheet brass and plastic, drill bits etc.

Before I bought the Lyman 1" Mic I considered getting an import 1" - 4" set but decided that brass length didn't need that much precision.
That 1" is great for precise bullet diameter, bore and chamber size (with gages) and things like that. Much more accurate than calipers.

I've used the Harbor Freight digital calipers for over 10 years and like them OK. No problems other than battery life can be short.
The 4" is really handy and the one I use the most. Then I double check with the 6" if needed.
I've looked at others in the $30+ price range but didn't think they were worth that much more money.

I did buy the Hornady Dial Calipers last year when on sale. Good for backup, possibly more accurate than cheap digitals, and work without batteries.
https://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item/00005050075/steel-dial-caliper
 

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I really like Starrett conventional and Mitutoyo digital micrometers. Both can be found used for reasonable prices and will last a lifetime. I also like Brown & Sharpe dial calipers, no batteries and very smooth. Most professional machinists like Mitutoyo digital calipers for long battery life, but I still prefer the B&S dials.
 

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+1 on the Brown & Sharpe dial caliper. Just got one and enjoying it. Wasn't all that expensive either but then I kinda have a weakness for tools and don't mind spending $50 for a good tool that should last forever and never need batteries. Buy once cry once....
 

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I tested a few Harbor Freight digital calipers with a Multitoyo and gauge pins and, out to .0001, they were dead on. I prefer the Multitoyo but could go through a dozen Harbor Freights before paying for the cheapest Multitoyo. Keep extra batteries on hand, they only fail when you need them.

Jeff

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