calipers, which one?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Sleepy Time, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Sleepy Time

    Sleepy Time Well-Known Member

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    Have some Frankfort arsenal calipers and having trouble with them holding zero. Looking for suggestions for a new one. What are y'all using?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Edd

    Edd Well-Known Member

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    I've always used Starrett. I have used a model 120A-6 for about the last 20 years.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011

  3. 80Maro

    80Maro Well-Known Member

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    I find with the digital ones, no matter what name is on them, they all come from the same place. I use westward digital calipers but I have seen many other brands that are EXACTLY the same all at different price points, from $150-$20
     
  4. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    Go to amazon.com and buy a Mitutoyo 6" digital caliper. They are around $125, and are the very best.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  5. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I've been using a pair of 4" Mitutoyo dial calipers since March 1970. The zero has been reset about a dozen times at most. Takes about a minute and a half to do this. I also have two or three pairs of Starretts and at least one Brown & Sharpe, and who knows what else (think I have eight pairs). I do not like the Starrett dial calipers because of the crap you have to go thru to reset the zero. Accuracey wise they all seem to be about the same. They all are .001" measuring devices no matter what the resolution is. One nice thing about the Starrett digital calipers is that you can slide the battery cover about 3/8ths of an inch thus disconnecting the battery and making it last a lot longer. B&S maybe that way as well. All my Fowlers were different, and you had to completely remove the cover. I wish somebody would sell a pair like the bigger Fowlers and B&S that had pins on the top side for making measurments in I.D.s on small holes. The blades are not accurate
    gary
     
  6. bman73

    bman73 Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the mitutoyo. I use them at work for measuring clearances on precision bearings as well as at my reloading bench. I find that the 6" ones seems to give the easiest use for me. I do have a caliobration block that I used to use to check it with but quit doing it as it never seemed to be out in the 3 years or so that I was checking it.
     
  7. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    You say your caliper won't hold zero but you don't tell us which kind you have and that matters. If it's digital you may have a defective bit of electronics so toss it. If it's a manual you may need to clean the surface of the jaws; invisible stuff can prevent them from closeing properly.

    I've long had a Swiss made professional grade 6" caliper but it was expensive and if it gets dropped on a concrete floor it will convert to expensive junk. SO, for my reloading I've been using the cheapest Chinese calipers I can find, usually some $9-12 at Harbor Freight Tools when on sale. The digital version has been on sale for $9 in an add in the Am. Rifleman the last couple of months; that's an excellant value for reloaders.

    I do some machine work and now have four Chinese dial calipers and a digital, they are exactly the same tools sold by the reloading companies for three to five times more. And all of are well within the accuracy needs of a reloader, as well as most machinests; mine are off no more than a half thou and are much closer than that at most points. If I should drop one, who cares, I can get a dozen or more for the price of a single profesional grade tool.
     
  8. freelunch

    freelunch Active Member

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    I have the same Frankfort Arsenal calipers as you do and initially ran into the same problem. With a few small changes they now always work perfectly.

    The dirty little secret is that these electronic calipers are sensitive to battery voltage, and most importantly, they have a small drain on the battery when not in use. You can put in a new battery and they work perfectly. Leave the battery in and not use them for a month, and they may act up the next time you go to use them. The reason is that (I measured the battery voltage with a multimeter) it drained most of the useful battery life even though not used.

    The solution: Buy and install a new battery and check that they work the way they are supposed to. If you have had off-brand Chinese #357 batteries, try buying a 3-pack of Energizer batteries. It may be that the off brand Chinese batteries have a slightly lower initial voltage.

    If it works well with a new battery, then remove the battery after every use and just set it on your shelf. By doing this, I get 5-6 times or more the battery life and don't have a problem with these electronic calipers by Frankfort.

    If with a new battery they don't work correctly, then get a new calipers.
     
  9. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "It may be that the off brand Chinese batteries have a slightly lower initial voltage."

    I suspect the Chinese batteries have a bit of internal self-leakage that limits their shelf life.