I've been struggling trying to load stainless steel reels and using language that shouldn't be used. Could be the reel or could be my technique. I've used plastic for a number of years.

So I took a couple of my Omega brand 120 reels and measured with calipers (hey, it's -11 F outside so a good time to do this). Measuring the inside width at four equal opposing points I get the following: 2.225, 2.258, 2.270, 2.260 (measured in inches). I measured a second and got: 2.258, 2.254, 2.252, 2.260. I haven't yet measured a reel and then tried loading it to see how it correlates.

My question is how far out of alignment can a reel be before loading becomes an issue?

I'm pretty sure all my reels came to me used. Since I have a fair number, I don't want to jettison them if the problem is me. Right now, I need to load in a changing bag so that may at least part of the problem.

I know that Hewes reels are widely considered to be the best and perhaps I should just buy them. But I won't until I'm reasonably confident that the reels I have are bad.