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Thread: Portable Kits -- Don't Forget Measuring Tools

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Portable Kits -- Don't Forget Measuring Tools

    Due to the need to be with an ill parent I'm loading and, now, casting more with my portable kit than I ever have before.

    Relying on preset dies, I'd never needed calipers or a micrometer for my more limited previous away from my loading desk loading; but I, now, do.
    The first purpose of the Second Amendment is too often overlooked, fostering a liberty of mind and action necessary in the people of a free republic.

  2. #2
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    bruce drake's Avatar
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    Yep. A caliper is a nice thing to have. a ruler works as well if you have really limited space.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    If room is an issue there are some 4" calipers made that will save some room over 6" or 8" ones. A 0-1" mic and 4" calipers would cover 99% of our reloading needs. Actually if not measuring case heads for pressure considerations the calipers will cover the biggest share.

  4. #4
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    mdi's Avatar
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    a ruler works as well if you have really limited space.



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  5. #5
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    A caliper was one of the very first things I got after I had a couple of those LEE kits . A very handy item to have a few years later I added a 0-1" micrometer I found at a gun show for cheap .

    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I've seen a little mic and caliper and, maybe, another widget or two in their own little fitted case sold as a 'Student Set.' This seems just what I need to get for my portable kit.

    Any leads on a sound (Honda-esque) but not extravagant (Ducati-esque) brand and / or source?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Landy88 View Post
    I've seen a little mic and caliper and, maybe, another widget or two in their own little fitted case sold as a 'Student Set.' This seems just what I need to get for my portable kit.

    Any leads on a sound (Honda-esque) but not extravagant (Ducati-esque) brand and / or source?
    IIRC, Lyman makes/made such a set (I know they sold a self marked mic and dial caliper) but you might also check the book store of your local community college if they have a machine trades program, I had one of those sets I bought before it dawned on me that the Lyman tools would do just as well. I've got Starrett for serious work but carry my Lyman dial calipers in some of my shooting stuff.

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  8. #8
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    Just make sure that you keep your calipers in the case when not in use. Dial Calipers are Rack and Pinion operated. Any bit of anything that gets in the rack will make the pinion slip and your zero will change. It is not easy to get it back, not impossible, just not easy.

    Another way to get around the need for Measuring Tools in your Portable Kit is to use Dead Length Trimming Tools like Lee Case Trimming Tools which completely eliminate the need to measure Case Length. As far as a micrometer about the only thing you would need that for is to measure Boolit diameter as Bullets will pretty much always be to the advertised size. If you are casting in the field then whatever sizing dies you are taking with you should be sussed out before you leave home, thus eliminating the need for that tool.

    As far as OAL of loaded rounds I bypass that step by only using bullets/boolits that have defined Crimp Grooves or Cannelures.

    IMHO the portable reloading kit should have all the things you need in one tool bag, like one of my Presses, dies, shell holders, a digital scale, case prep and trim tools, a priming die or tool, and whatever components you will need to complete the rounds you are loading.

    If you are casting remotely as well, then all that stuff would go into a separate bag or box. A Wooden Box might be more appropriate in that case due to the weight of the stuff you are carrying.

    If your entire reloading system is built around non bench based or remote loading IE: totally portable like in a camper or MH, then having all your dies in a wooden box, and all your components in another box is probably a good idea as well.

    I tend to spend time thinking about this stuff a lot, as I am always looking for ways to promote the Hand Press.

    randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
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  9. #9
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    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Randy, for a lot of years I kept all my loading stuff in an old salesman's display box - cut out foam for the RCBS Jr3, the RCBS powder measure and scale, dies, and I used the Lee trimmers for my rifle reloading. I would put things up on a dining room table or the kitchen bar with a towel under the press and a piece of wood under the table and C clamps. I kept components in ammo cans. This was while the kids were growing and before that when we were in apartments. The garage has always been the woodworking shop. I never did damage the furniture, either!

    Talking about portable units is applicable to a lot of situations, in other words.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the ideas.

    And yes, with the lead, lube, flux soot, and shear weight; the casting stuff has a tool box of its own.
    The first purpose of the Second Amendment is too often overlooked, fostering a liberty of mind and action necessary in the people of a free republic.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    Just make sure that you keep your calipers in the case when not in use. Dial Calipers are Rack and Pinion operated. Any bit of anything that gets in the rack will make the pinion slip and your zero will change. It is not easy to get it back, not impossible, just not easy.

    Another way to get around the need for Measuring Tools in your Portable Kit is to use Dead Length Trimming Tools like Lee Case Trimming Tools which completely eliminate the need to measure Case Length. As far as a micrometer about the only thing you would need that for is to measure Boolit diameter as Bullets will pretty much always be to the advertised size. If you are casting in the field then whatever sizing dies you are taking with you should be sussed out before you leave home, thus eliminating the need for that tool.

    As far as OAL of loaded rounds I bypass that step by only using bullets/boolits that have defined Crimp Grooves or Cannelures.

    IMHO the portable reloading kit should have all the things you need in one tool bag, like one of my Presses, dies, shell holders, a digital scale, case prep and trim tools, a priming die or tool, and whatever components you will need to complete the rounds you are loading.

    If you are casting remotely as well, then all that stuff would go into a separate bag or box. A Wooden Box might be more appropriate in that case due to the weight of the stuff you are carrying.

    If your entire reloading system is built around non bench based or remote loading IE: totally portable like in a camper or MH, then having all your dies in a wooden box, and all your components in another box is probably a good idea as well.

    I tend to spend time thinking about this stuff a lot, as I am always looking for ways to promote the Hand Press.

    randy
    I use one of your presses in my portable kit. Matter of fact I used it yesterday to load some 45 Colt ammo in my apartment. A small plastic bin holds the press, beam scale, pocket digital scale, RCBS caliper, trickler, lee dipper set, bullets/boolits, dies, funnel, reloading block, and a pound of Unique powder.

    All my major equipment is packed for storage. The BPM hand press allows me to reload away from home. I wouldn't do it if I had to use a bigger press because I have nowhere to mount it to, lol.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    I took a C press and pocket swage die with me on recent camping trip, along with one of the afore mentioned Lee trim dies. Figured picnic table was solid and why not process some brass while hanging out. I included in my gear a cheap harbor freight digital caliper. In own case. Allows me to check case length and sort by length, I get sort of a-retentive about crimps so length matters. I have used a really cheap plastic caliper and a "known good" sample case to use as a simple check gage.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    My travel kit has the RCBS dial caliper. Dead batteries? Ain't nobody got time for that.


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  14. #14
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    Yes Here's a pic of my Portable Kit which is currently living on our dining room table as I have been doing all my loading there lately.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You will see that there is the Press in its case, dies in the end pockets, a small digital scale, various small tools, primers powder and bullets. Everything you need to load anywhere,,, even if it is only a few steps from your Loading Bench.

    This is the beauty of these tools, they allow loading of precision ammo or just plain plinking fodder anywhere you go. You can work up a load at the range and not have to pull down rejected loaded cartridges after the fact. You can load small quantities or a batch just as easily, and you can get back to the joy of Reloading Ammo without being tied to a bench. There is also a huge amount of Tactile Gratification thrown in too boot.

    "Tactile Gratification" is the feeling you get when you handle or use something that just feels good in your hands and brings joy in the process.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    I use a portable mobile workshop box. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-22-...0381/300658825 and http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-22-...0378/207138794 it holds everything including brass, bullets ext. I live in an apartment so the wife keeps me moving around when I get too comfortable in one room. Makes it nice for range day. Just load the case in the back of the truck. Drop the tail gate and I have an instant reloading room with all components organized. I have taken it to work a few times to load ammo.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Rcmavieric,

    I respect your no compromises approach.

    Instead of limiting your loading kit, just get a bigger and better toolbox with wheels.
    The first purpose of the Second Amendment is too often overlooked, fostering a liberty of mind and action necessary in the people of a free republic.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Most of the electrically powered (i.e. battery powered) dial calipers use the batteries up even when powered off.

    Solution: Remove batteries when not in use. Solves it.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    The newer calipers have a much better battery life now. My Mityos I used at work and now at home will go 2 years on a set of new batteries. I have taken to buying my small batteries at the local jewelry store as he goes thru them faster and has a fresher supply usually. We had a set of 4' digital calipers ( older or earlier version) at work that woulkd only go about 6 months on a set of batteries. Just about everytime you got them out of the crib you had to get a set of batteries.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I imagine the cheapest "Made in China" calipers still have the same issue. (But cost-wise are cheap to buy.) Best to not leave the kit in the vehicle unattended!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check