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I have a dillion dial..wasn't expensive. And I also have a cheap harbor freight digital caliper.
 

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What are you planning to use it for? If you are just measuring cases, OAL, crimp, etc., then the cheap harbor freight will work just fine. Hornady, RCBS, and others sell the exact same caliper but with their name slapped on it for up to 2x more.

If you need better accuracy you will have to go a little above your budget IMO.
 

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Bought mine at Lowe's Home Improvement store and it's worked very well. Measures to 1/2 thousandths. It's a Kobalt model. Don't remember the price but a lot less than $75.
 

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I found my 200 dollar Digi-magic for 40 bucks at a pawn shop.these can be hard to find but they normally have plenty of the Dail calipers.

I started with a cheap generic digi and was having trouble with crimps and once I got my new one I knew why.the cheapo wasn't right.i junked it and never looked back

So check your local pawn shops on the way home from work Tom.I'd be surprised if you didn't find a nice one far below your budget.
 

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Bought mine at Lowe's Home Improvement store and it's worked very well. Measures to 1/2 thousandths. It's a Kobalt model. Don't remember the price but a lot less than $75.
Don't have their dial caliper, but as a 40 year professional grease monkey SnapOn/Matco fanboy, I've been quite favorably impressed with KOBALT tools I've tried, especially their 1/2" torque wrench.

Bob
 

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google "Harbor Freight coupon" get a 20% off coupon and go buy the dial caliper from HF

they're the same Chinese calipers that Dillon, Lowes, Franklin Arsenal, Hornady, et al sell for two and three times as much

so go HF or go pro


..L.T.A.
 

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For pistol ammo, go cheap. The tolerances produced in say a progressive press will negate the need for more than +/- 0.001" and the cheap things can certainly handle it, you as an operator can throw it off by more than that much with poor technique. If you need more accurate measurements a caliper is the wrong tool, period.

We're not building rockets, we're loading ammo, and unless you have a need for super consistency and accuracy like some bench rest guys you gain nothing from high end calipers here.

And for those who say there is a difference I actually have about $5-7k(which is pretty small amount) worth of Starret and Mitutoyo precision tools.
 

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In my experience the Harbor Freight digital calipers are NOT the same as most other brand. I had one and using the thumb slide on it was very rough and small corrections with the wheel were also hard. Bought a $30 pair of Hornady and they are much nicer and easier to use.

Bill
 

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If half-thousandths are important, you need an instrument reproducible to tenths. You won't find that kind of accuracy at Harbor Freight (or Dillon). Quality instruments are also more durable and have better ergonomics than bargain varieties, even if you don't need Bureau of Standards performance.

Amazon is the most reliable way to find bargains in professional grade instruments like Starrett, Brown & Sharp or Mitutoyo. I found a 6" Mitutoyo digital caliper for $125, which will last a lifetime with accuracy. It is easily set to read absolute values, or relative values for rapid comparison testing, inches or metric. The zero hasn't changed in two years of moderate use.
 

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Pawn shops near companies that do a lot of machining, like aircraft manufacturers etc. I got a dial Browne and Sharpe for 40 bucks.
 

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I just bought another Harbor Freight digital caliper this weekend. I now have a total of 5. Every one of them is accurate. And not one of them cost me more than 9 bucks. The one I just bought cost 6 bucks. :)
 
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