Good Calipers?

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ruger22
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Good Calipers?

Post by ruger22 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:55 am

After some frustrating experience trying to get a good "bargain" dial caliper, and returning three, I decided to get more serious. After a couple of hours online research, and learning more than I'll ever need to know about calipers, I settled on a particular older Mitutoyo, model 505-626-50.

Then, low and behold, I spotted a nice one on fleabay that had only been up a few minutes; Buy It Now, which is unusual; and a deal at $35. Most go for twice that. I should have it in hand tomorrow.

I know Bullseye is bound to use one or two calipers around the shop, and you reloaders probably have one.

One interesting thing I learned is dial calipers that register .2 inches in one turn (Zeros at the top and bottom of the dial) aren't made that way to be harder to read. It eliminates one gear and a hairspring, making them sturdier and potentially more accurate.

BTW, I didn't go for a digital set for the same reason I don't like plastic guns. I'm an old-fashioned fart.
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charlesb
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Post by charlesb » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:50 pm

Fowler makes some decent quality stuff that is not too expensive, but Mitutoyo is of significantly higher quality, well worth the additional investment.

My favorite brand overall is Starrett, excellent quality but pricey.

I have several dial calipers around the shop. An old favorite is a Craftsman 6 inch dial caliper that is old but very smooth and quite accurate.

My 18 inch "dial" calipers are digital, the advantage there being that there is no rack and pinion. I take the precaution of removing the battery when those calipers are not in use, and that practice has worked out well for me.

Something that is hard to find but very useful are 4 inch dial calipers. I find that 90% or more of what I measure is less than 4 inches.

I think you did great with the Mitutoyo calipers. Great stuff from Mitutoyo.

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Post by Coach1 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:56 pm

I have used an inexpensive (aka cheap) caliper for a few years now and - like you - thought about getting an upgrade in quality. I see there are several used Mitutoyo samples out there with prices ranging all over the map. I will be interested in hearing about how yours looks / works. Are you expecting a case with it?
(an advantage of analog devices versus digital... no battery)
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blue68f100
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Post by blue68f100 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:02 pm

I've tried the cheap digital from HF and they were inaccurate, not leanier. They would be right on at 1" inc but if I picked up my pin set and checked they were off as much as 0.003" in some areas.

I had an old pair of Starret #120 6" dial that was great but over 30+ yeas they ended up with a bad spot. Cost more to repair than replace. I ended up purchasing a Mitutoyo Absolute digital calipers and like them. They are dead on as they should be. I like the option of switching between in/mm buy just a button push. But these were not cheap but that was not my criteria. I needed a pair that was accurate and repeatable.

I gave my old Starret set to my dad to use in his wood shop. Being off 0.003" is nothing when your working wood.
David

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Post by stork » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:22 pm

I've been using my Mitutoyo for on at least a weekly basis for over 30 years and it still works like a new one.

Good stuff.
Al
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Post by Bullseye » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:48 am

I use Starrett dial calipers in the shop. I have a pair I use the most, 120X-6 and a 120Z-12, but for most applications the 6" is the "go-to" measurement tool.

R,
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ruger22
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Post by ruger22 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:39 pm

Got them yesterday, not long after I posted here. Really fast, like 48 hours from a Chicago suburb to western VA. Priority Mail works for me.

The calipers were a good deal. A very few light scratches on the metal and the crystal. I was hoping for that, as a new crystal is $20. I've checked my wristwatch case with some tested calipers, at 1.462 inches. This set reads the same, so that's great. Zero was set at 12 o'clock already. One plus on older Mitutoyos is they can be zeroed in about a minute with a paper clip.

The case is good, but the latches don't snap anymore. A big rubber band fixes that. As best I can determine, this set is around 20 years old, so they weren't used much.
Last edited by ruger22 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
*Two Bearcat stainless, w/ EWK ejector housings & Wolff springs
*SP-101 .22LR, w/ Wolff springs
*SP-101 .357 snub w/ Wolff springs
*10/22 Deluxe Sporter, unmodded!
*Two NAA Guardian 32

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Coach1
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Post by Coach1 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:09 pm

Ruger,
You got a good deal. A nice, accurate caliper set w/ case for $35.
Coach
"You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." The Rolling Stones

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Post by Hardball » Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:36 am

Bullseye wrote:I use Starrett dial calipers in the shop. I have a pair I use the most, 120X-6 and a 120Z-12, but for most applications the 6" is the "go-to" measurement tool.

R,
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Starrett for me too. But I do have a 6" dial caliper made in France branded Mauser.

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ruger22
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Post by ruger22 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:40 am

Online at least, this seems to be the place for parts and service on any precision measuring tools. Their info helped me decide on which model to look for:

http://www.longislandindicator.com/index.html

It's a big website with several hundred pages, so a little hard to navigate. They seem to think that Brown & Sharpe, and Mitutoyo, are the best of the newer calipers and micrometers; and that none are as good as they used to be. That seems to be true of practically everything! They claim that newer Starretts aren't hardened as well as in the past, FWIW.
*Two Bearcat stainless, w/ EWK ejector housings & Wolff springs
*SP-101 .22LR, w/ Wolff springs
*SP-101 .357 snub w/ Wolff springs
*10/22 Deluxe Sporter, unmodded!
*Two NAA Guardian 32

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