Case Gauges

Case Gauges

Case gauges are probably one of the simplest and most underappreciated tools in the reloader’s arsenal.  Precision-made with an internal diameter and overall length identical to a specific caliber; this is the perfect tool for quickly and easily ensuring a cartridge will feed and chamber properly in your firearm.

Using these tools couldn’t be easier; simply take a once-fired cartridge casing and drop it into the gauge.  If the casing drops all the way flush, it is the correct diameter and can be reloaded.  Alternatively if the casing stops or binds, the diameter is too large, and the case should be resized.  Case gauges can also be used to determine trim length in much the same way; simply drop the casing into the gauge and check the opposite side to see if any brass is extending past the opening.  If the case mouth isn’t flush, this indicates it should be trimmed to the correct length.

Case gauges can also be used to check live ammunition in the same manner.  This is particularly useful if you have a picky firearm with demanding specifications, rather than arriving at the range to learn your ammunition won’t load.

Cost-wise, case gauges tend to be fairly affordable.  Prices will vary from one manufacturer to another, however as of the date of this article’s publication, gauges are generally available for around $15-$20.  At that price point, it’s not hard to justify owning one for each caliber you load, as the time saved relative to fiddling with a Vernier caliper or micrometer cannot be overstated.  For reloaders with young children, checking cartridges and casings with a gauge can also be a fun way to give them some hands on experience without exposing them to more challenging or sensitive components and exercises.

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