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Precision is absolutely necessary when it comes to reloading ammunition successfully. While calipers can usually be used just fine for measuring the thickness of your casing necks, sometimes you want to work those casings with even greater precision and control. In that case, you need something that can measure down to the micrometer.
Therefore, a micrometer tool is your only option! In this guide, we’ll go over the best micrometers for reloading so you can pick out an excellent tool that will be perfect for your next reloading session. Let’s get started.
- 1 Best Micrometers for Reloading in 2020
- 2 What is a Micrometer?
- 3 What to Look For in a Micrometer
- 4 Conclusion
Best Micrometers for Reloading in 2020
This micrometer is a great example of this tool type specialized for reloading purposes. It can provide measurements down to 0.0001”, so it’s great for all of your brass measurement needs. It also features a carbide spindle that improves its overall durability and provides it with an excellent aesthetic.
Beyond that, it features a hammertone baked-enamel finish, and clear graduations on the satin chrome finish for the actual measurement dial. What this all means is that it’ll be easy to fine-tune the micrometer for all your measurement needs and you’ll be able to see each increment pretty clearly.
It even comes with a fitted plastic case so you’ll be able to take it with you to a gun range or keep it stored in your gun reloading workshop. Its biggest downside is that it’s quite pricey, even compared to other reloading micrometers on the market. This is probably due to its overall durability; few micrometers will be as tough or rugged as this.
This micrometer is a phenomenal choice if you want something that’ll last for years to come and continually provide you with precise measurements for brass thickness.
This professional and super precise micrometer is an ideal choice for gunsmiths and hobbyist reloaders. It uses a large LCD display to provide you with lightning fast measurement information as soon as you set it up. It’s also quite precise down to 0.00016”. This isn’t the most precise of our favorites, but it’s still far and away better than what a caliper can give you.
It also has two measuring modes: metric or standard. This means it’s a great tool both for Americans or reloaders used to another measurement system. You can switch between these with a simple button located on the handle.
Even better, you can take advantage of an automatic switch-off function that prevents you from wasting battery when you aren’t using a micrometer.
All in all, this micrometer is affordable and incredibly user-friendly, from its two measurement modes to its automatic battery saving function.
This elegant and affordable micrometer has everything you need to measure the thickness of your brass case necks without any difficulty. It features the same clear graduations on its satin chrome finish as we pointed out for our first pick, meaning it’s easy to read and use even in low light environments. It also has a durable carbide spindle tip.
It’s accurate down to 0.0001”, just like our first choice as well, though you can get it for much less money. We also like the fact that it comes with a dedicated carrying case perfectly sized for the tool. This makes it easy to take with you on trips for storing your tool chest.
You’ll want to make use of the included case since, while the majority of the micrometer is made from durable steel, a few pieces are made from regular plastic. These pieces won’t last for as long as the rest of the tool. This is probably why it’s so affordable, but it’s still a noteworthy downside.
This affordable and effective micrometer is a great choice if you aren’t super concerned about long-term lifespan.
This micrometer is another excellent choice, primarily because it’s one of the most accurate on the market bar none. It can provide measurements down to 0.00005”, which is far and away better than what most other micrometers can give you. It can also perform quick inch to metric conversions thanks to its high-quality LCD screen and included computer.
It’s mostly made with durable steel and has carbide measuring faces that are wear-resistant and quite durable. However, it does have a few plastic parts to lower its overall value and durability. Still, it’s pretty affordable compared to other micrometers on the market.
We also want to point out the “zero” button that lets you reset the micrometer very easily as well as its twin absolute and incremental modes.
All in all, this micrometer has plenty of features to make it worth your while and provides some of the most accurate measurements on the market.
Hornady is well known for the quality and care they put into each of their gunsmith tools, and this is no exception. It’s extremely high-quality and durable and made with excellent steel materials to afford it a long lifespan and wear resistance. Despite this, it’s very lightweight and can easily fit into the palm of your hand. As a result, it’s one of the easiest micrometers to use.
But it does have a notable downside is that it only measures down to 0.001” accuracy. This isn’t as precise as many other micrometers on the market. It’s still good enough for most brass case measurement needs, but hobbyist reloaders and gunsmiths that want ultimate precision might need to look elsewhere.
Still, there’s plenty of value here for someone who wants a durable piece of equipment for a reasonable asking price. In fact, it’s the most affordable micrometer overall, both from our favorites and across the market.
This micrometer is perfect for bullet reloading due to its affordability and high-quality design, even if it doesn’t go down to quite a precise level as some of its competitors.
What is a Micrometer?
Lots of people might not even know what a micrometer is, especially since the caliper is the more commonly used tool for reloading measurements. But in a nutshell, a micrometer is a specific measuring tool used for very precise measurement types. They are typically used for measuring outside only or inside only dimensions, rather than a mixture of both. This specialization allows micrometers to be used when precision is of the utmost importance down to the millimeter or even less.
Inside micrometers measure the distance between two points while outside micrometers measure the thickness or with of an object. You can, of course, get both kinds of micrometers if you want to measure both aspects of your casings’ necks, although many reloaders and gunsmiths only rely on one and extrapolate the rest of the information.
So what you use micrometers for? It all has to do with the reloading process, and micrometers are typically used by advanced reloading professionals or those who’ve reloaded their own ammunition for quite some time.
When reloading, the thickness of a case neck is extremely critical. It has to be uniform across the board, as the case thickness around the neck determines the accuracy of a bullet along with many other physical characteristics. Micrometers can provide measurements down to about 0.001 mm resolution, which is far superior to what a caliper can provide. Thus, micrometers are used to make sure that the neck of the cartridge is uniform all the way around.
Is It the Same as a Caliper?
Calipers are different tools more commonly used in reloading. They are also precision instruments, but they can measure multiple parts or types of measurements using the same tool. They aren’t nearly as specialized and aren’t as precise as a micrometer. As an example, many calipers come with around 0.02 mm resolution.
Still, you can use calipers to obtain precise measurements for case neck thickness. It’s just that micrometers allow you to be even more precise and are better if you want to make your reloading cases as accurate and excellent as they can possibly be.
What to Look For in a Micrometer
Of course, micrometers are heavily specialized instruments. So you should keep the following factors in mind as you search for an ideal micrometer for your reloading needs.
For starters, consider the size widths available for a given micrometer. You might measure the typical thickness of your brass casings in use this as a starting point. Look for a micrometer that works within the typical thickness ranges of your chosen casings and you should be good to go. Micrometers typically come in increments between 0 to 1 or 1 to 4 µm depending on the model you choose.
Digital or Standard?
Micrometers come in either digital or standard formats. Digital screens use LCD displays to showcase your measurement reading. These displays are normally pretty clear and may have backlit lights so you can use a micrometer in low light environments. They have an advantage in that they don’t allow for human error as often, so they might be helpful if you have trouble keeping your fingers or hands still.
Standard micrometers provide you with a physical measurement on the sleeve of the device itself. This has a benefit in that it doesn’t run on battery, so you’ll always be able to rely on these micrometers. However, they are usually a little more expensive and can wear down over time, so you’ll need to take care of these micrometers for the best results.
As previously mentioned, micrometers come in several main types. Outside micrometers are excellent for measuring the outside thickness of a brass casing. You can also use an inside micrometer to check out the interior of your casing. Either one of these types will be fine for reloading; it all depends on your preference and experience level.
Depth micrometers probably won’t be used for the reloading process, although they might have some use if you want to customize the weight and powder amount in your brass casing. As the name suggests, these micrometers measure the depth of a material.
For reloading, you’ll want a micrometer that has a spherical or tube anvil. These micrometers are easy to insert into your cartridge tube, which allows the device to measure the casing thickness.
This means that you’ll want to consider the anvil diameter of whatever micrometer you are looking at. Make sure that the diameter of the anvil isn’t bigger than the diameter of your casing or cartridge tube. If it is, then you won’t be able to actually insert the micrometer into your casing.
Finally, this optional feature will be more useful for reloaders that like to do their reloading work on the gun range or while camping. Weather-resistant micrometers will last for a longer time if they are exposed to inclement weather, as well as be a little more durable overall. But the majority of micrometers will be used in dry garage or workshop environments, so this feature is not necessary for most reloaders.
Ultimately, any of the above micrometers will do an excellent job in terms of precision. After all, they’ll each be more precise than even the best caliper. Consider their other aspects – like their weight, features, and build – and you’ll have a great chance of finding an ideal micrometer tool that works perfectly with your reloading kit. Good hunting!
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