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Gauge is the measure the deviation of the diameter of the ball from the nominal diameter in ten thousandths of an inch.  The M stands for minus and P for plus.  A gauge of XXX stands for standard diameter.

Example: HC01875003M01,  the nominal diameter (018750) is 0.1875 inches (3/16).  The gauge is M01 which represents -0.0001 inch.  This means the actual diameter will be  0.1874 inches.

For metric ball bearings the diameter is the actual diameter of the ball and they always have a gauge of XXX followed by MM to signify metric.  Example: HC01181125XXXMM is a 3.0mm (0.11811 inch) diameter ball.  XXX for the gauge means that the actual diameter is 3.0mm.
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