Case trimmers - what is your preference?

BigDanSBigDanS Senior MemberPosts: 6,788 Senior Member
I have a Lee hand / power drill trimmer for my 7.62x39 and 30-06 brass, like this:

CaseConditioning(1).jpg

Generally I just hand turn the brass and trim them without using a power drill. After turning 200 my hands are definitely sore.

I am looking to upgrade that system to something easier if I do larger brass lots, like 100 or 200 at a sitting.

Do you have any preferences when it comes to brass trimming system?

TYIA!

D
"A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:

Replies

  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,009 Senior Member
    Although I don't like Lyman dies, I do like the rest of their accessories. I use the Lyman case trimmer. I screw it to the bench top, and remove when I'm not using it.
    795961.jpg
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    I use a Wilson. Ain't fast, but I like the system and for as little as I use it, I like it.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,101 Senior Member
    Trimmer #1.

    my first trimmer was a Hornady. used it manually for a year and then gave up on it. I have Lee shell holders but they wont work in the Hornady. What was nice about the hornady was that you could connect a drill to it. NEver got that far tho.

    Trimmer #2.

    Dillon. Works great. But is not consistent. There is axial play in the shaft. If you dont mind that its okay. I dont recall what the +/- is either. I used that alot for all of my trimming. What was nice was the vacuum port. If i had to use one again, i would put the vacuum somewhere else and use a long hose so it wasnt as noisy. drawback was that you had to get individual dies since the trimmer was also a "sizer". you also had to chamfer/deburr each case.

    Trimmer #3

    RCBS Trim Pro Case trimmer. This is sweet and i just love it. only draw back is that you need 3 hands to operate it. No problem if you can mcgyver things. I installed a foot sling to operate the in/out motion of trimmer so that frees my hands to do the rest. what nice about the "common" size pilots/trimmers is that it trims, in/out chamfers in one cut. Its also really easy to adjust for trim length also.

    so far those are the only trimmers i have used. Hopefully will be the last.
    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,440 Senior Member
    Dan,

    I'm gonna give you some advice that took me a while to believe.....

    You can trim cases after their first firing simply to get things uniform. If you want to. But.....I've yet to trim a case (or measure anyone elses) that needed trimming out of necessity. The "trim-to" length published in the manuals is, in my experience, so much shorter than any chamber I've measured (factory or custom) in any rifle that trimming is pretty much a do it if it makes you feel good kind of thing.

    I've got some pretty tight chambered rigs. But if the length of the case gets long enough to be problematic, the walls are going to be so thin that I'll start getting head separation before the neck hits the throat.

    Trimming sucks. Good thing it's rarely necessary.

    Mike
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
    KSU Firefighter
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,263 Senior Member
    Ditto to Mike's advice. When I'm prepping new brass, I trim all of the cases to the same length, and pretty much forget about trimming ever again. Unless you're running some whizbang max-pressure loads in a "Cripple and Kill" chambering, case stretch shouldn't be an issue.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • DurwoodDurwood Senior Member Posts: 970 Senior Member
    Put me in the with the these guys...I don't do it. It's rarely necessary and in my case, when it is it's time for new brass.
    You have the right to your own opinion, but you don't have the right to your own facts:guns:
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,500 Senior Member
    I use a Forster. Simple, easy, precise.
    I trim all my new brass to one length, mostly to square up the case mouth.
    That's it, never again.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 14,836 Senior Member
    Not that I do a lot of case trimming, but the set-up you're using IMHO is the best thing since sliced bread...no chance for screw up, no fiddling around, just chuck it up and get to work....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    So some of you guys never do it and some only on new brass. If I don't trim new or once fired brass will it impact accuracy significantly. The once fired was not fired in my chamber.
    Just when I think I have everything I need you guys come up with a new angle.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,263 Senior Member
    In my opinion, trimming brass just makes it more likely that each reloaded cartridge will be as uniform as possible. New in the bag brass could have had some pretty rough handling during shipping, and it's not uncommon to find out-of-square and/or out-of-round case mouths. I run new cases through a full length sizing die and trim to a uniform length, then chamfer the case mouth inside and out. There's a lot less chance of damaging a case during the bullet seating operation if every case is uniformed that way.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 25,794 Senior Member
    I use the Lyman on new brass, and range pickup brass to get all the cases one uniform length. I crimp for semiauto rounds and having them all the same length avoids problems with too long cases. After that initial trim, I don't bother, except for .22 Hornet cases. They seem to grow a bit over time with that loooooong shoulder if you load at the high end of the data.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    In my opinion, trimming brass just makes it more likely that each reloaded cartridge will be as uniform as possible. New in the bag brass could have had some pretty rough handling during shipping, and it's not uncommon to find out-of-square and/or out-of-round case mouths. I run new cases through a full length sizing die and trim to a uniform length, then chamfer the case mouth inside and out. There's a lot less chance of damaging a case during the bullet seating operation if every case is uniformed that way.
    Jerry

    Well great, just great. Something else I have to buy. I never even thought of it when I was loading straight walled pistol cases.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,263 Senior Member
    At least 75% of my reloading equipment is "pre-owned". Browse ebay, flea markets, garage sales, and horsetrade with other shooters/reloaders. This stuff is virtually impossible to wear out, and if a piece of equipment has bits and pieces missing when you acquire it, spare parts are available, and pretty reasonably priced in most cases.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    In my opinion, trimming brass just makes it more likely that each reloaded cartridge will be as uniform as possible. New in the bag brass could have had some pretty rough handling during shipping, and it's not uncommon to find out-of-square and/or out-of-round case mouths. I run new cases through a full length sizing die and trim to a uniform length, then chamfer the case mouth inside and out. There's a lot less chance of damaging a case during the bullet seating operation if every case is uniformed that way.
    Jerry

    :that:
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    In my opinion, trimming brass just makes it more likely that each reloaded cartridge will be as uniform as possible. New in the bag brass could have had some pretty rough handling during shipping, and it's not uncommon to find out-of-square and/or out-of-round case mouths. I run new cases through a full length sizing die and trim to a uniform length, then chamfer the case mouth inside and out. There's a lot less chance of damaging a case during the bullet seating operation if every case is uniformed that way.
    Jerry

    This is what I do. But, after that initial trimming, I've never had need to do it to them again.........as Linefinder mentioned.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    jbohio wrote: »
    I trim all my new brass to one length, mostly to square up the case mouth.
    That's it, never again.

    And this.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    At least 75% of my reloading equipment is "pre-owned". Browse ebay, flea markets, garage sales, and horsetrade with other shooters/reloaders. This stuff is virtually impossible to wear out, and if a piece of equipment has bits and pieces missing when you acquire it, spare parts are available, and pretty reasonably priced in most cases.
    Jerry

    That's pretty much what I've been trying to do, still it's a lot of stuff. What about hand gun brass? for instance I shoot enough .45acp that with saving my brass, by the time I get around to buying those dies I won't need to buy any. Would you still trim those?
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,583 Senior Member
    An RCBS case trimmer for me with a rill adapter on it, work well for me. I am also one for trim the first time then never again.
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,263 Senior Member
    Straight wall handgun brass virtually never needs trimming. The only exception is when I'm prepping new .45 Colt cases for my 300 grain hardcast loads. I trim all the new cases to a uniform length so I can put exactly the same HEAVY roll crimp on the cases for consistent ignition of the slow-burning magnum powder I use. .45 ACP and 9MM, and other rimless cases should never get a roll crimp because they headspace on the case mouth.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • ojrojr Senior Member Posts: 819 Senior Member
    I have a Redding, works for me but as I have no knowledge of an others I have no recommendations to make.

    However I find some some posts puzzling, those that mention never having to resize.
    I also trim to the same length with new brass, but after a few fireings say 5 or so I do find I have to trim every third or fourth firing with my Lapua 6.5x55 brass, this maybe because my loads are fairly stout or because I usually neck size only and F/L resize after those third or fourth firings which may lengthen the brass, after all it has to go somewhere.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
  • sarg1csarg1c Senior Member Posts: 1,705 Senior Member
    I always use the Lee trimmer, chucking the cutter/pilot in a drill press unles I \'m only doing a box or so. Actualy it would probably be better to chuck the shell holder in the press, but started the other way, BEING A CREATURE OF HABBIT. Dan, I forgot to mention that I have two styles of Lee shell holders for the Lee trimmer, I have one with a round stem, another with a 1/4" hex stem which I use a short hex magnetic screwdriver. works great.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,985 Senior Member
    Big Dan, there is a wooden ball/knob/handle about as big as a Snooker red ball for the Lee Cutter which is much easier on your hand/fingers, especially if you do it manually.

    Now they have a new "Quick Trim" fits on a single stage press and has a manual handle /crank

    https://fsreloading.com/lee-quick-trim/

    I guess you have to buy specific special trimming dies for each caliber????? Anyway it trims and champers inside/outside the case mouth as it trims.

    Yep, here are the dies for specific calibers:

    https://fsreloading.com/case-trimming/

    You got to hand it to Lee for being innovators. I also heard the earlier Zip Trims is a piece of crap , think I inherited one too, but never have used it.

    I inherited an RCBS Trim-Pro electric trimmer and trimmed a couple hundred .223s with it so far. I use a power strip outlet with my foot to hit the on/off switch. I broke the little metal contact that cuts it on and off when you slide the lever by making contact with a micro-switch. My fault, I didn't read the instructions first! Easy fix when I get around to it.

    I probably don't trim as much as recommended. I assume you guys neck size only for your bolt guns? And FLR for your semis. And they keep your brass separated after firing if you have multiple guns chambered in the same caliber, like in .223 for me, 2X bolts and a Ruger Ranch Rifle.

    In the case of my Mosin Nagants, up to about 7 or so so they all get FLS. The only one I may keep the brass separate for and neck size only in my Finnish rework and the reloads because it is much closer to .308 than the .310/.311 bullets I use for the stock Russian Mules.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • sarg1csarg1c Senior Member Posts: 1,705 Senior Member
    Big Dan, you using the Lee decapper and base, do you also prime with the Lee load-all Die set?
    Chief, would the wooden ball knob have to be used with the Hex stemmed or round shell holder?
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,788 Senior Member
    sarg1c wrote: »
    Big Dan, you using the Lee decapper and base, do you also prime with the Lee load-all Die set?

    My reloading setup is a total mish mash, all good and all used, but from various manufacturers.

    Press, Lyman Orange Crusher, and every shell holder
    Hand Primer - Lee - different shell holders!
    Scale - RCBS
    Trimmer system - Lee
    Tumbler - Thummlers
    Powder measure - Lyman model 55
    Dies - Lee, Hornady, RCBS, Lyman and Redding

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,552 Senior Member
    I don't trim much, because I've always had enough brass to find what I want by sorting. But I do have a Forster that has yet to come out of the box, that I intend to use some when I get around to 'mass production.' I've mostly always stored components and just loaded small batches, as needed. I intend to change that, when I can spend all the time I want on load development (retirement in 68 days - Woo-Hoo!)
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,669 Senior Member
    I use the Lee as well, only difference is that I use a B&D "screwdriver" for mine. I have one that takes AA batteries and has opposing buttons for forward and reverse. That way I power tighten, trim chamfer and deburr and then power loosen for the next case by just changing which finger I press a button with.

    I normally only trim brass once, before the first time I load it. Finding uneven case mouths is nothing unusual, and trimming squares them up nicely plus my bottle necked cases need to be chamfered to ease the bullet seating and prevent shaving material off the bullet base.
    The only exception is the Alexander Arms brass I use for the Grendel and Beowulf, since it's nothing but "rebranded" Lapua brass. I don't do anything to a new bag of it, but prime and load
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • jwv2001jwv2001 Member Posts: 125 Member
    If you crawled your way to the top of a mountain in Nepal and asked a monk this question, he would say "Read Linefinder's post on the subject."
    .....if evil men were not now and then slain it would not be a good world for weaponless dreamers. --Kipling
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,263 Senior Member
    I use an RCBS Trim Pro with a variable speed electric dill motor adapted to the cutter shaft. I can length-match a 100-count bag of new brass in about 15-20 minutes, then switch to a chamfer tool in a cordless screwdriver to finish the job in another 10 minutes or so. That's a several-year supply of new hunting brass for any new rifle I acquire in a cartridge I'm not currently set up to load. I just did that with the Marlin .243 a few days ago.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
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