Updated: September 05, 2020

Creating accurate ammunition is one of the most important things you can do if you are a person who regularly goes out to hunt, shoot targets, or is involved in some other kind of weapons endeavor. The truth is the creating your own ammunition is not only a great way to create accurate ammunition, but it is also one that will save you money over time.

Of course, creating good ammunition is like anything you do on your own. The better that your tools are the more efficient and successful you are going to be, and that is where having the best caliper can be of great benefit to you. That is the purpose of this review, to give you some good information on choosing the right caliper for yourself as well as getting information on some of the best options available on the market today.

How to Make the Right Choice?

When deciding on the right caliper for yourself there are some key factors you need to keep in mind. Here are some to consider:

  • Ease of Use. Some of these can be extremely easy to use, which are ideal for those who are using a caliper for the first time. However, a lot are a bit more sophisticated which makes it more challenging for those who have never used a caliper before. This is especially true when you’re talking about the movement of the thumb wheel as to how sensitive or smooth it moves.
  • Construction. As with any reloading equipment you could purchase, the materials used to build the device are important. You not only one something that is durable and sturdy but, with something like a caliper, you want something that is easy to hold and does not have a lot of weight to it. A lighter tool can be easier for you to use, especially if you have a lot of measurements to make and one day.
  • Relative Zero. If you are going to frequently compare different measurements, it is important for you to have a caliper that allows you to zero out the caliper easily. The relative zero function is what you need. This makes it so you can easily compare distances.
  • Measurements. Depending upon what kind of measurements you like to use, you want to decide whether your needing a fractional, Imperial, or decimal caliper. You may even want a choice that offers you more than one option.
  • Battery Life. If you are going to buy a digital caliper, then there are two parts you want to consider. The first of them is the battery life itself. You want something that is going to last for some time without a need to replace the battery frequently. You also want a caliper that will have an auto shutoff mechanism so if you are not using the caliper for some time it will automatically shut off.
  • Price. Price is always an important factor with any product you purchase. Make sure that something fits within your budget, but try to purchase something that is a little higher grade if you can possibly afford it.

Top 6 Digital Calipers on the Market!

It is out of this love for guns as well as the decades of experience that I have that have enabled me to be able to come up with a lot of information that I felt others can benefit from. Let me assure you that nothing in these reviews I am telling you is because I am paid to do so. I am not supporting any product for any other reason other than that I found it to be an outstanding choice.

#1 Mitutoyo 500-196-30 AOS Absolute Scale Digital Caliper

Mitutoyo 500-196-30 AOS Absolute Scale Digital Caliper Review If getting a quality digital caliper is what you are looking for, there is no better place to start than right here. This model uses the company’s advanced on-site sensor (AOS) which provides immunity from many of the common problems that people have with calipers, problems such as oil, water, or grime buildup.

The measuring range allows you to get values from zero all the way up to 150 mm and you can measure in both inches and millimeters on the scale. You are also able to switch between absolute dimensions and incremental dimensions as you need.

Included is a silver oxide battery which comes with the package and it is added to ensure that no electricity is used before you actually receive the battery. This is a fantastically built design which gives you great capacity and perfect readings each and every time that you use it. It’s durable and has a great look to it.

You can be sure that this is a durable caliper. It’s made with heavy duty materials that are meant to last, and the pincers of the caliper are solid so you don’t have to worry about them being bent or damaged. Plus, you will like that the display smoothly roles on the caliper.

The one concern you should have about purchasing this caliper is that there are many reports of people offering knockout models that they are claiming is the Mitutoyo. Be on the lookout for this to make sure you were getting the model made in Japan. If it is made in China you can be sure you’re being ripped off.

#2 Aickar Stainless Steel Electronic Digital Caliper

Aickar Stainless Steel Electronic Digital Caliper Review This is the perfect caliper if you are looking for one that is made with high quality materials but comes at a sensational price. Made of the finest stainless steel, it has a smooth beam that creates for a good glide. The jaws are made to provide a precision measurement each and every time and the measure marks are deep enough to provide the perfect accuracy each and every time while also giving a great look.

What I loved about this caliper was that the case had such a sharp look to it. Not only was this a fantastic looking and accurate caliper, but I felt very much like I had one of those cases that doctors use to keep their tools they use to check your ears and eyes. It’s just a beautiful looking apparatus.

Accuracy is fantastic on this device. It starts with the fact that you get a great digital display, that gives you incredible precision of up to 0.0005 inches or 0.01 mm. It was easy to convert within measurements, simply pressing a button to get a different value if I so desired, including fractions. The LCD display is also easy to read and gives great-looking numbers.

Included is a machine grooved thumb roller which makes fine adjustment easy and accurate. A brand-new 3 V battery is included and it took me just a few minutes out of the box to get the battery in and get this caliper running.

#3 Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper

Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper Review I really like the display of this option. It starts with the fact that you get a large sized LCD display, which displays the numbers in larger sized text, making it easy to read. Plus, with a click of a button I can switch between fractions, inches, and millimeters with ease.

The accuracy was fantastic, providing measurement ranges from 0 to 6 inches or 02 150 mm. The resolution is 0.0005 inches or 0.01 mm and the accuracy was 0.001 inches or 0.02 mm. That made it equally as good as any of the other digital calipers I tested.

This product is made with a finely polished stainless steel frame, with a knurled roller that was easy to adjust using my thumb. The locking screw ensured that I had a smooth motion when the caliper slid across the frame and I found the accuracy to be outstanding in the way that it worked.

You can measure not only the inside and outside, but also the depth and step as two different jaws are provided as well as a probe. Battery replacement is easy to use and it comes in a storage case that is durable, protecting the caliper while making it easy to store. A great option whether you are experienced at reloading ammunition were a beginner.

#4 VINCA DCLA-0605 Quality Electronic Digital Vernier Caliper

VINCA DCLA-0605 Quality Electronic Digital Vernier Caliper Review If you are looking for a high-quality caliper made of stainless steel that comes at a price much lower than you would find with many of the other options, this is truly the option for you. In fact, it was one of my very favorite options because of its look, design, and the accuracy that it provides.

The stainless steel is finally polished, and is processed so that each groove looks smooth, but his deep enough to ensure that you get an accurate result each and every time. It measures from 0 to 6 inches, and has an extra-large display making it easy for you to be able to read. The accuracy is one of the best, coming in at 0.0015 inches or 0.04 mm and the resolution is 0.0005 inches or 0.01 mm.

The caliper is ready to use right out of the box, requiring you to do no calibration whatsoever. Just simply ensure that the battery is properly installed and you are ready to go.

The caliper comes in a great package, contained inside a durable red box that makes it easy to store the device and protected. You not only receive a 1.5 V battery but an additional one, and the user guide answers any questions that you may have. This is a sensational choice which you will be happy you purchased.

#5 iGaging ABSOLUTE ORIGIN 0-6″ Digital Electronic Caliper

iGaging ABSOLUTE ORIGIN 0-6 This is one of the best options on the market, not only because of the great accuracy that it provides, but also because of the way that it resists dust, water, and other debris. This ensures that you get a quality caliper that is built to last and will be working fantastically for you for years to come.

I love the fact that this caliper came with a memory storage option, that allowed me to be able to store several different readings for me to be able to use for future reference. The LCD screen not only made it easy to read measurements, but to be able to work the mechanism so that I could score those values quickly and easily.

The caliper is set to give you accurate measurements from 0 to 6 inches, and provides accuracy of up to 0.001 inches or 0.02 mm. You can even set the resolution to as accurate as 0.0005 inches or 0.01 mm.

No doubt that this was built to give you a fantastic product that could count on each and every time. It comes in a fantastic case, making sure that you are able to keep it safe and secure during storage, and it is made of high quality materials to protect it. Great choice for those who want a product that is ready to use out-of-the-box and that will provide you great accuracy for years to come.

Top 6 Dial Calipers on the Market!

#1 Mitutoyo 505-746 Dial Caliper

Mitutoyo 500-196-30 AOS Absolute Scale Digital Caliper Review While many love the accuracy of the digital caliper, there are those who prefer the dial option, and this is an incredible one. This is a newly designed model, which gives the smoothest of sliding motion you can imagine, and comes with a high shock protection. This ensures that if you drop bumping against something you will have no concerns about it losing its calibration.

Tin coats the sliding surface, not only making it so that the mechanism slides better but also increasing its resistance to where. The locking screw is used to create a digital bezel and creates a firm hold when you need the sliding job position locked.

You get a great range of measurement, allowing you to get from between 0 to 12 inches. Plus, it comes with a 0.001 graduation to give you incredible measurement accuracy. You are able to measure both the outside diameter and the inside with great accuracy as well as the steps and depth.

I will admit that this is a lot more expensive than many of the other Dial calipers you will find, which you can be sure you were going to get an accurate measurement each and every time, plus in this is built for durability and longevity. You are not going to have to worry about continually re-zeroing it.

#2 Starrett 1202F-6 Dial Caliper

Aickar Stainless Steel Electronic Digital Caliper Review Here is a great model that is far less expensive than the Mitutoyo without having to sacrifice much in terms of accuracy and durability. This caliper allows you to graduate measurements from 0.01 inches or to use fractions up to 1/64 of an inch. One revolution of the dial equals 0.100 inches.

This is extremely easy to use, as all you need to do is tune the fine adjustment using your thumb, making this a one hand tool if you so need. The lock screw holds the sliding job tightly in position ensuring that you get a consistent measurement each and every time. The rack teeth point down, which ensures that you don’t have any dust or debris clogging up the gears causing some kind of measurement error.

The bar is made of a hardened stainless steel, as are the measuring surfaces, the gears, the depth rod, and the rack. This will make sure that you get a durable product that is meant to last you for years, maintaining great accuracy at the same time. Plus, the graduations are displayed in a black color on the finished bar making it easy to read.

This is a company that has been around since 1880, so you can be sure that the kind of equipment they produce is fantastic. They have built that kind of reputation and it shows in this quality product.

#3 Anytime Tools Dial Caliper

Anytime Tools Dial Caliper Review This is the perfect kind of caliber to use anywhere you need it. It is built with a durable stainless steel, which is meant to last. Plus, I really like the size of the dial, making it easy to read it to be able to track values as you measure them.

Most of the parts of this caliber are built with stainless steel. This lets you know that when you take this out of the box you can have a great deal of confidence that you’re getting a quality product. The metal parts are well machined and finished and the racketeers are protected by a metal covering.

This is extremely easy to slide, silky smooth, as you will find that there is no binding. Measurements are displayed in both inches and millimeters and the pointers align at 16 different spots along the slide length. This gives you accurate measurements of the .005 mm. The display inside the dial comes in both black and red lettering to make it easy to determine which measurement scale you are reviewing.

If you are in need of a caliper that doesn’t require absolute precision, then this is really a great option for you. You will be satisfied with the readings that you receive, and know you have a quality device to take with you wherever you need it. It truly is built for anytime, anywhere.

#4 Brown & Sharpe 599-579-5 Dial Caliper

Brown & Sharpe 599-579-5 Dial Caliper Review This was one of the most accurate Dial calipers that I found. The graduations on the dial are 0.001 inches and one revolution is equal to 0.100 inches. The rotating dial is 1.25 inches in diameter, making it easy to be able to control and slide seamlessly. Plus, it comes with a lock screw that makes it easy to lock the sliding jaw in position so that you get an accurate measurement each and every time.

This is a product that was built for durability and precision as well. It is constructed of a hardened stainless steel that not only makes it durable, but is also corrosion resistant. Plus, I loved that the covered rack ensures that foreign matter is unable to get into the gears, preventing any error in measurements.

The caliper allows you to measure distances between two opposing sides of any object. This gives you the ability to measure both the inside and outside, as well as the step and the depth. This caliper is actually used in a variety of professions that require great accuracy, including mechanical engineering and metalworking, letting you know you’re getting a quality product.

As a quick little history lesson, Brown & Sharpe was one of the first companies to produce hand tools geared towards giving metalworkers the ability to measure accurately. The company goes back to 1833, so you can count on the fact that your buying quality equipment when you purchase their brand.

#5 Hornady 050075 Steel Dial Caliper

Hornady 050075 Steel Dial Caliper Review While this is not the very best caliper on the market, there are many things that I really liked about it. First of all, it starts with the dial display, which comes in larger size lettering making it easy to read.

Zeroing the dial was a snap, and it was built with a screw lock that makes it easy for you to be able to lock the jaws in place. This makes re-measurement a lot easier as you don’t have to worry about the jaws slipping.

This is a good caliper, not providing you with the most accurate measurements, but is ideal for those who have a lot of experience in reloading cartridges and just need a caliper to recheck a lot of the measurements they need to ensure that they have done the job correctly.

It’s a solid and durable caliper, that gives you measurements up to 0.002 inches, and allows you to measure both inches and fractions. For a person who is looking for a quality product at an affordable price, especially one they wish to take with them than this is a perfect option. You simply can’t go wrong.

Comparison Chart

Caliper Pros Cons
#1 Mitutoyo 500-196-30 AOS Absolute Scale Digital Caliper
  • A great design that is easy to use
  • The battery is made to give you extended life
  • Provides an absolute and included zero making measuring easy to perform
  • Provides immunity from you having to worry about outside debris causing it to become damaged
  • You need to watch to make sure you are getting the authentic caliper
  • No other worries with this product
#2 Aickar Stainless Steel Electronic Caliper
  • Extremely accurate and easy to use
  • Sharp looking caliper that takes just a few minutes to get yourself going once you purchase it
  • Display is easy to read and allows you to have three different measurements available
  • An unbelievable choice for the price. It could easily be worth three or four times what I paid
  • The measurements may fluctuate at points, requiring you to choose what you think is the most accurate
  • A bit heavier to hold, making it a little more challenging use
  • The sliding action is not comfortable
#3 Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper
  • Large LCD display makes it easy to read
  • Provides great accuracy and allows you to easily change within measurements
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Moves with smooth motion across the frame
  • Easy to use straight out of the box
  • The buttons were made of a cheap rubber causing them to get stuck at times
  • There is a gap between the internal measuring jaws, which makes measuring internally inaccurate
#4 VINCA DCLA-0605 Quality Electronic Digital Vernier Caliper
  • Incredible accuracy
  • Well-designed and sleek looking
  • Comes in a nice case that protects the caliper
  • One of the best options, especially for its price
  • The battery wears out quickly lasting up to six months at most
  • The use of a plastic tab makes it look fairly cheap
  • Need some time to be able to break it in
#5 iGaging ABSOLUTE ORIGIN 0-6″ Digital Electronic Caliper
  • Resistant to both water and dust
  • Allows you the ability to store several different readings within the memory
  • There is no need for recalibration with this device
  • Gives you the ability to connect using USB
  • The battery life on this device is not great
  • Comes at a higher price than many of the other options out there
  • The friction of the slide doesn’t have a good feel
#6 Mitutoyo 505-746 Dial Caliper
  • Fantastic design that is durable and provides easy sliding motion
  • Built for larger caliber rounds as you can measure up to 12 inches
  • Tin coating provides great action
  • Provides great accuracy
  • You simply can’t argue with the quality of the Mitutoyo brand
  • Sadly, the case is not built with as durable a materials
  • Really no complaints with this otherwise
  • A lot more expensive than other Dial calipers
#7 Starrett 1202F-6 Dial Caliper
  • All parts are built of a hardened stainless steel to give great accuracy and durability
  • Easy to operate one-handed and can be used with either hand
  • Gives you accurate measures
  • Easy to read graduation markings
  • Quality is diminished because it is made in China
  • Take some time to learn how to use accurately
#8 Anytime Tools Dial Caliper
  • A product that is made with a hardened steel to ensure that it is built to last
  • Comes in a great-looking case that makes storage and protecting the caliper easy
  • Device slides easy
  • Difficult to zero accurately
  • The design of this is all wrong as the inch dial and metric dial spin at different rates. They didn’t sync them at all
#9 Brown & Sharpe 599-579-5 Dial Caliper
  • A name recognized for greatness
  • Built to prevent corrosion and clogs within the mechanism
  • Easy to use and provides great accuracy
  • Can be used in a wide variety of measurements beyond reloading
  • Makes measuring two opposing sides a snap
  • No thumb wheel included making it a little more difficult to use
  • A lot heavier than most Dial calipers you will find
#10 Hornady 050075 Steel Dial Caliper
  • Built with heavy duty materials so that it will last
  • You will get accurate measurements according to the guide
  • Another great product by Hornady
  • Not as accurate as other options
  • The gear track is slightly warped and it is a little more difficult to slide the mechanism
  • The jaws are not exactly parallel to each other

Digital vs Dial Caliper

Before reviewing specific products, I wanted to address the two different primary kinds of calipers you can buy: digital or dial. The primary difference between these two kinds of calipers is that one uses an electronic display to allow you to see exactly what the measurement is at. This is in the digital version.

  • Dial Caliper. The dial caliper uses a mechanical system where the primary apparatus is a rack and pinion system. There are gears inside that move in increments of 1/1000 of an inch to give you an accurate measurement. It is not the only one, however. The dial calipers can be knocked out of alignment by simply dropping them, which does not occur using the digital option. This is a big advantage if you are a klutz like I often am.
  • Digital Caliper. Digital calipers display their readings on a screen. Plus, they usually allow you to easily convert between millimeters and inches simply by pressing a button. That is one of the major advantages of using the digital caliper. The digital options can have issues as well. How they measure is there is a copper plate underneath the digital display that has a series of precise grooves engraved on them. If those engraved marks and get damaged in any way, you are not going to get accurate readings any longer.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Before closing out this review, I wanted to answer some of the more common kinds of questions that people ask me related to calipers used for reloading. Hopefully this will answer questions you may have.

What is a caliper?

A caliper is a measuring tool that is used to give you an accurate measurement in the width of an object. It works very much like a tape measure a ruler, but provides you the ability to be more precise in your measurement through use of jaws that clamp closed over the object to hold it in place while you measure.

Why you need to buy a caliper for reloading?

The truth is that you sure do. I caliper is used to take all kinds of different measurements related to reloading. This is especially true when you are reloading rifle cartridges or you find yourself using a new set of dies. The caliper will assist you in getting accurate measurements no matter what the gauge of the cartridges.

What are the best caliper brands?

There are many great brands out there, but what you saw and this review is that there are some that stand out more than others. The two best calipers in this review came from Mitutoyo. They not only make great digital options but dial options as well. In some reviews it would not be surprising to see if in a list of top 10 calipers that they would have three or four products in that list. Brown & Sharpe have a history of creating products that are built to last. This is a company that many rely on to produce devices that provide accurate measurements, and you can be sure about the quality of their products in terms of caliper reloaders. Starrett is another company that has been around for quite some time and is known for the good products they produce. You really can’t go wrong when you use a Starrett.

Are expensive digital calipers necessary?

This really depends upon what you are looking for. The truth is that many gun enthusiasts prefer to use the dial caliper because they started using this years ago and don’t feel comfortable with using the digital options. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Those who decide to use the more expensive digital calipers are usually people that don’t have a lot of experience with the dial options or who have not been reloading their own ammunition for very long. The truth is that you need to be comfortable with what you are using because safety matters first.

What size reloading caliper should I buy?

This all depends upon the kind of cartridges that you are going to be reloading. Anything that is between zero and 6 inches in terms of measurements that it is able to take is usually good enough.

How much accuracy do you need?

Accuracy is very much determinant upon your experience. Once again, if you are an experienced gun enthusiast who has reloaded cartridges, a caliper becomes nothing more than a confirmation that you have already done the job correctly. Most people know exactly what they’re looking at and could tell you what the measurement is before they even put it inside the caliper. This is dependent upon your comfort level.

Derrick Irvyn

Derrick Irvyn

A passionate researcher and marketing manager. He made hundreds of reviews on various safety products for the last decade. He is fond of blogging and also likes to hear from the curious people about their experiences and opinions. Derick had a lot of expertise and knowledge, but did not have a lot of experience in writing, although this was something he had longed to do. The opportunity to join the team at DefenseHacks was a dream come true of sorts, as he not only could share his insights with us, but with the world as a whole.

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