Originally Posted by varmintH8R
All of the above is GREAT advice.
I have no idea what small hole gauges cost right now, as the last set I bought was about ten or twelve years ago. I paid a little over thirty dollars for them. The last set I bought were the "D" shaped ones instead of the normal round ones. I can measure the I.D. of a bolt face with these and yet measure anything else I'd normally measure with the round ball type. I have Mitutoyos, B&S, and maybe Starretts. The only thing I like better are Unimics, and they are pretty expensive. Enco seems to have the best price on them, I might add.
Another issue that's out there, and most folks don't even know it exists is indicator quality. Yes most meet some Federal spec, and at least that's a start. A lot of guys depend on long travel indicators, but most of of them have about 10% backlash in them! Yes they do make jewelled ones, and they are pretty expensive. The better setup is the small "wand" type indicator that will have at the worst case 3% lag built into it. Some dont have any backlash in them. I've owned indicators that read as close as .000020", but these are a specialty item that are used to check gauging. I still own two or three .000050" indicators, but rarely if ever use them anymore. My goto indicators are the .0005" ones, but will use a one tenth one from time to time.
I recommend the B&S Best Test and the Interrapids.
I would not buy the typical carbide tipped micrometers. You just don't need them, and the standard faced ones have a better feel. Buy goods once, and never worry. I use mostly Starrett and Lufkins (no longer made), but also own several Brown & Sharpes. One pair of Lufkins I own were made in 1947, and are still very accurate.