are all calipers the same?

Woods is right on point. Long Island Indicator Service has an outstanding website that goes into good detail about all kinds of instruments. Their customer support is excellent and received mine within several days. Here's the link to the pair of calipers I purchased from them and haven't looked back. To some may be pricey but worth every penny. I like to have confidence in the tools I use, after all safety is at hand.

185 : B&S Shop-Cal Digital Calipers
Starrett dial calipers have a marked disadvantage. The metal is soft and bends easily under heavy use. The jaws quickly become misaligned and errors appear. Plastic parts have shown up on recent models and no one is impressed. It is not clear where these are manufactured, but Starrett would like you to believe it's here in the States. One model of 6" calipers (1202A) is clearly made in China (but made of harder steel, so it's actually a better gage). Buy Starrett for the name but not for the quality. The crystal and bezel assembly can be purchased and installed without much trouble if you ever need to replace the plastic lens.
Mitutoyo is what I use. Bought them when I used to work in a couple Machine shops. They are the best calipers I used by far to date.....expensive but the best
sorry for the bad info haven`t needed to buy any lately.
Have a pair of Starrett`s from the fordging die shop days that I have had for about twenty years now and still work great. And yes most calipers will get mis aligned if not properly cleaned and taken care of.
Mitutoyo digital caliber is what i use. I like the digital readout instead of the dial. Easier for me to use.
Mitutoyo and others would be the tools of choice form mechanists using thm day in and day out for years. But that level of quality, and price, is a waste for reloading needs.

The Lyman/RCBS, etc. and other reloading branded calipers, dial or digital, all seem to be made in the same Chinese plant the ones from Harbor Freight Tools come from. Difference is H.F. often has them on sale for as little as $12-14! And they do come with a full guarantee of performance for a year. If anyone can't find out if he needs to swap one in that length of time he can hardly complain. ??

I've had a high quality Swiss made caliper for some fourty years. Fifteen yeas ago, I needed more. Finally bought a Chink made tool branded "Midway". It was so good I added four more dial types and one digital from H.F. They all give total satisfaction in my shop and loading room. And all six of them cost me maybe half of one Mitutoyo, which would likely also be ruined If I dropped it. Haven't used my really nice Swiss tool in years.

So, IMO, it's not neccessary to spend a bundle to get all the accuracy and durability a reloader needs from a micrometer or caliper. Handle them carefully, as you should for any precision instrument, and I know they will last at least 15 years, so far anyway.
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I started with a cheap RCBS (Chinese) dial caliper. Worked OK, but I did not like the read out. Then bought a Mitutoyo digital, and love it. Yeah, its a lot more $$ but worth it.
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