What case trimmer is best?


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Lone_Gunman
August 25, 2006, 12:41 AM
I am looking to trim mainly 30-06, 308, and 223. Also 45-70, if that ever needs trimming.

What is a good quality case trimmer? My volume is low, so I dont think power is needed. My other reloading equipment is Lee.

I am looking at the Lyman Universal Trimmer. Does anyone have experience with this one? It looks like it uses a universal chuckhead, so I would not need to use shellholders right?

Can I trim all the calibers listed above with it?

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Encoreman
August 25, 2006, 01:06 AM
The lyman universal is the way to go. It will trim almost any caliber except .50 bmg and the like. I bought mine after talking with several friends who reload. I got mine on E-bay for about $15 or so. I probably bid on 20 or so, I always set 50% of new price for my high bid. Good luck. Mac

Grump
August 25, 2006, 02:06 AM
I don't like anything that uses one of those dumb collet things to grip the case--the one I used drew the collet BACKWARDS into the fitting, AWAY from the cutter. End result? If I had a burr on the casehead, or a different brand casehead that was a thousandth or three smaller in diameter, the "lockup" would be nearer or farther away from the cutter, resulting in very erratic lengths.

I worked around it by sorta standardizing how far I would turn the locking bar. Even then, the collet was still free to spin inside the fitting, and would still drift around and result in odd lengths.

Best for me? Wilson. Simple, dead-nuts reliable, and never goes out of adjustment.

I've *heard* that something like a Geraud is the best, and it includes a three-cutter system than deburrs inside and out at the same time. Motorized and somewhere north of $300, so it's too rich for my blood.

Also look into the Gracie (spelling?) unit--It's a handheld manual unit that, IIRC, also deburrs at the same time. Or maybe it was just a neck turner. Saw one while pulling targets in a match in the 1980s, but at $100 then, it was too rich for my poor broke college student lifestyle. It was all I could do to keep in powder and bullets then...

rbernie
August 25, 2006, 10:03 AM
I dont' have one yet, but I lust.... http://www.giraudtool.com/prod02.htm

halvey
August 25, 2006, 10:12 AM
Skip the Lee unless you like to buy a lot of aspirin also.

For a non-powered or drill powered: Wilson. Cuts perfect every time.

If you want a powered trimmer that is nice, get a Gracie or Giraud (?) I used one of these recently and it trims brass faster than you can trim a pencil. BUT, unless you get a custom holder, you will need to full length size your brass. Neck sized brass does not work in the above unless you get a custom holder.

fineredmist
August 25, 2006, 10:15 AM
I bought a RCBS trimer years ago and added a power head when I needed to increase my production. RCBS also has a 3 way cutter (trim and champher inside and out at the same time) which is wonderful. They are caliber specific and retail for about $40. They are worth the price for the convenience they offer.

BSlacker
August 25, 2006, 10:22 AM
The Gracey is fast but it does not set cartridge length from base to case mouth. The unit references the shoulder and cuts the case mouth, not base to case mouth. If you are full length resizing and it is accurate and the shoulder to base is consistant you will get good case length, if not it will be random. Most of the hand powered and drill powered units reference case base to mouth. Just my two cents worth. :)

P0832177
August 25, 2006, 11:15 AM
Giraud is the best powered trimmer bar none! Nothing else compares! Halvey speaks with a smile on his face!

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
August 25, 2006, 12:38 PM
I bought the powered version of the RCBS unit fineredmist mentions above, because I was shooting high power at the time. It was able to keep up with the demands I had, but I only shot a couple matches a month.

I think if you're low volume, the hand powered version of the RCBS unit would do you a fine job and like fineredmist points out, it has the capability of being upgraded to power later if you decide you need more volume.

It's a good compromise between power and manual.

Dave

Lone_Gunman
August 25, 2006, 05:52 PM
Do I have to buy RCBS shell holders or anything else to use the RCBS trimmer?

BigJakeJ1s
August 26, 2006, 12:25 AM
For low volume work, the Lee gauge/trimmer setup is inexpensive, accurate, and dirt simple to use. I use a small hex-bit screwdriver handle on the lock-stud (shellholder end). For more volume, use a cordless drill on the lock-stud. For even higher volume, chuck the cutter/gauge in a drill press, and just hold the brass against the table with a leather glove. Make sure you're not over a hole in the drill press table. Just let the gauge bottom out on the table.

Andy

MrBill-RWVA
April 26, 2009, 04:36 PM
For low volume high accuracy, NOTHING comes close to the Wilson trimmer. Sinclair makes several nice add-ons for the Wilson trimmer including a stand, and Micrometer adjuster that you can just dial the case length you want and don't even need to measure (I still do but it is always perfect) case length. The way the caseholders work for the Wilson the cases are always perfectly square to the cutter, and nothing touches the rim or head of the case. And the Wilson trimmers are cheap to boot unless you add all of the Sinclair goodies.

Now for volume, wondering if I would be better off with one Giraud and extra adaptors or two dedicated Graceys one for 223 and one for 308?

doubs43
April 26, 2009, 06:13 PM
I've had a Forster for close to 40 years and it's been great. Not powered but quick and easy to use.

the_right_reverend
April 26, 2009, 07:00 PM
I have Used the Lyman universal for 30 years and have been very happy with it. I recently acquired a Forster and attached a neck turner and set it to turn and trim at the same time :D

lykoris
April 26, 2009, 07:49 PM
Giraud trimmer all the way.

I bought a redding 2400, universal collet is horrendous to use, I used it for all of two hours before ordering the Giraud

ranger335v
April 26, 2009, 07:55 PM
"I am looking at the Lyman Universal Trimmer. Does anyone have experience with this one? It looks like it uses a universal chuckhead, so I would not need to use shellholders right? Can I trim all the calibers listed above with it?"

Yes. Yes. Yes.

It indexes off the case head, not the rims (really the same as Wilson) and is the fastest to use hand powered case trimmer I've ever seen/used. I got mine in the mid-70s because of a very good review in the Am. Rifleman. Never had any cause to reqret that decision.

It's probably true that the Wilson is the ABSOLUTE best hand trimmer, but not by much. IF I were a serious BR shooter I'd likely get one but I'm not and doubt I would ever see any useable difference if I were. The Lyman "Universal" (not the "Accutrimmer") is much more convinent to use and plenty "accurate" enough for factory rifles, IMHO. It includes nine of the most common neck pilots so once you have it you're ready to go, you never need to buy any case holders.

Wilson's trimmer, alone, is a reasonable price. Until you have to add several of those really nice case holders! Wow!

Walkalong
April 26, 2009, 08:24 PM
Hand: Wilson, Forster, RCBS, in that order.

Powered: Possum Hollow (supply your own power), then the big boys, Giraud, etc.

FROGO207
April 26, 2009, 11:52 PM
I own a forester and a rcbs with all the bells and whistles both now gather dust in the corner. I took an old battery drill bolted it down used a gel cell battery, trickle charger,and remote foot switch. couple that with the Lee cutter stud setup and a large wooden block (yes square) glued to the handheld cutter and I am at least five times faster than the other ones. No destroyed brass to set it up each time either, then use RCBS chamfer tool before removing ( also modified with a better grip in the center) and WOW can I go. Almost forgot,I wrapped self vulcanizing tape to the drill chuck so that it can be rotated to hold the brass from below when tightening the lockstud. See no aspirin just more time to reload.:D

dirtman
April 27, 2009, 01:13 AM
+1 grump... "I don't like anything that uses one of those dumb collet things to grip the case--the one I used drew the collet BACKWARDS into the fitting, AWAY from the cutter. End result? If I had a burr on the casehead, or a different brand casehead that was a thousandth or three smaller in diameter, the "lockup" would be nearer or farther away from the cutter, resulting in very erratic lengths.:

Thats exactly why i stopped using my RCBS and bought a Lyman Universal ... its just more accurate and does a better job....

jmorris
April 27, 2009, 11:41 AM
What case trimmer is best?

I have a forster trimmer that I use if I'm only trimming a few.

The Giraud is what I would call "the best"

The Dillon is the fastest.

ranger335v
April 27, 2009, 01:29 PM
"Hand: Wilson, Forster, RCBS, in that order."

Walk, any particular mechanical or design reasons you prefer the Forster and RCBS over the Lyman Universal?

Grump/Dirtman's experience is exactly why I don't care for draw-in collet type case holders.

Otto
April 27, 2009, 03:07 PM
I am looking to trim mainly 30-06, 308, and 223. Also 45-70, if that ever needs trimming.
Can I trim all the calibers listed above with it?

Giraud trimmers don't work with straight wall cases (45-70).

If you're low volume a Wilson would be fine.

Walkalong
April 27, 2009, 03:08 PM
Walk, any particular mechanical or design reasons you prefer the Forster and RCBS over the Lyman Universal?

The Wilson is slower, but very rigid, and cuts case mouths dead square. It's the best.

The Forster is more rigid than the RCBS, which means there will be less varience. (checked, not guessed at)

The RCBS is good, but you have to be carefull with hand pressure, as it flexes some.

The collet system the Forster and RCBS uses works very well.

I have never used the Lyman. I have the three I mentioned.

I trim match prepped 6PPC cases on my Wilson. Everything else is done on the Forster or the RCBS. I am just careful with the RCBS, since I know hand pressure from either side, or both at the same time, can flex it and cause more case length varience.

lykoris
April 27, 2009, 06:43 PM
Jmorris,

I don't believe you're right in saying the dillon is the fastest, you have to manually chamfer/deburr the cases after the dillon cutter has trimmed them...the giraud does everything in one pass

jmorris
April 28, 2009, 10:21 AM
Jmorris,

I don't believe you're right in saying the dillon is the fastest, you have to manually chamfer/deburr the cases after the dillon cutter has trimmed them...the giraud does everything in one pass

I size deprime and trim on a 650 then run through a 1050 with another size die and swage/expand die. Check the condition of the carbide blade before starting and you’re good to go. No deburr or chamfer used in many thousands of rounds. Mixed brass has more than enough accuracy for 3-gun and if I sort brass by head stamp and weight groups are under 1moa. As for speed, trimming is faster than this http://s121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/?action=view&current=1050.flv

lykoris
April 28, 2009, 10:32 AM
ok, a friend told me he found it a PITA to have to go through his brass with a deburring tool after he trimmed it with the dillon trimmer. I've seen it in operation and it's a nice set-up albeit loud.

that was the deciding factor for me in getting the Giraud.

nice 1050 btw.

dmazur
April 29, 2009, 01:37 AM
I reload reasonable volumes of rifle calibers (.30-06 Sprg and .243 Win) and I get pretty good results with the Hornady trimmer.

I checked a lot of trimmers before buying this one, which I guess is kind of "medium priced" at around $100.

Hornady cam-lock trimmer (https://www.hornady.com/shop/?ps_session=4089d7d432df94f0ed9fd97a488fe499&page=shop%2Fbrowse&category_id=3c9ed2b433d9b02ac7e10ac73321c437)

This design grips the base of the cartridge with a standard shell holder (no "collet") and provides a consistent length to the rim after trimming. Within rim thickness manufacturing tolerances, this is pretty good. The other end (the cutter) turns and that end has the "micrometer" adjustment. So, you set an approximate length and clamp it, then dial the cutter end until you are at the desired length. Pilots keep the cutter centered and square.

The only problem I noted (which was probably operator error) was that it works a lot better if you insert the pilot before clamping the shell holder.

Hornady sells inside and outside chamfer heads, and I tried these and didn't like them. It's easier for me to just use the two-ended Wilson chamfer tool before tossing the brass in the "done" bin. Higher volume reloaders may be happy with three passes through the trimmer (trim, inside chamfer, outside chamfer.)

4Shooters
May 3, 2009, 04:16 AM
Hornadys' trimmers are great, however be aware that not all shell holders will work with this product. The camlock requires a larger hole...rcbs shellholders are a no go. After talking with Giraud Tool back at Wanenmacher's I think that will be a future purchase worth saving up for.

Clark
May 3, 2009, 02:32 PM
I like to trim with an RCBS 3 way cutter mounted in the mill, with the case secured by Lee shell holder lock stud, and operated with a pair of vise grips.

This is the fastest except..... I like no trimming best, and it turns out most load books are wrong about max case length.

Once the case is determined to be short enough [with reality, not load books] then the Lee Collet die use will keep it short after subsequent firings.

rsilvers
April 23, 2010, 10:39 PM
Dillon does not chamfer like the Gracie.

BigJakeJ1s
April 23, 2010, 11:37 PM
I don't use the Lee system anymore except for pistol brass (when it needs it).

I switched to the Wilson trimmer for rifle brass. I use the hand crank, but they offer a power adapter for it. Sinclair had really sweet accessories for it, including a micrometer adjustment, and while they are very nice, they are also not at all necessary for easy, accurate trimming.

It is incredibly accurate, square and consistent. It does not need pilots, and does not use a collet to grip the case head/rim. It uses a taper-bored cylinder to grip the tapered case body. Unlike other tools, the case holder simply keeps it centered and square to the cutter, and an adjustable stop for the case head sets the trim length, immune to variations in rim thickness.

In spite of the quality of the unit and its results, it is pretty inexpensive, ~$40 for the base trimmer, and ~$8 for a case holder. Each holder fits an entire family of cartridges that share the same case body (e.g. 308/243/7mm-08 or 270/280/30-06, etc.).

Regarding the comments about inserting the pilot into the neck prior to tightening the collet on the case head, that is true of any trimmer that grips the case head and uses a neck pilot.

Andy

Brian10
April 24, 2010, 11:03 AM
I own a forester and a rcbs with all the bells and whistles both now gather dust in the corner. I took an old battery drill bolted it down used a gel cell battery, trickle charger,and remote foot switch. couple that with the Lee cutter stud setup and a large wooden block (yes square) glued to the handheld cutter and I am at least five times faster than the other ones. No destroyed brass to set it up each time either, then use RCBS chamfer tool before removing ( also modified with a better grip in the center) and WOW can I go. Almost forgot,I wrapped self vulcanizing tape to the drill chuck so that it can be rotated to hold the brass from below when tightening the lockstud. See no aspirin just more time to reload.

If you could post a picture of this setup it would be great...

I've been thinking about mounting the lee cutter and the chamfer tool on a wooden wall. The shell holder will go in a powered hand drill and I can then trim and chamfer, but your solution sounds better.

roc1
April 24, 2010, 09:20 PM
I also think the Hornady works great. I would get the adapter if you trim a bunch.I trim small amounts so hand method is ok. I think for a very small batch the Lee is fast and works great but not good if you trim a pretty fair amount of brass.
roc1

wild willy
April 24, 2010, 09:56 PM
You posted that your volume is low and listed four cartridges Get a Wilson

RVenick
May 11, 2010, 06:08 PM
I am amazed at the simplicity of the Possum Hollow trimmer. Has anyone used one with any regularity? I was all set to buy the RCBS Trim Pro with the 3 way cutter setup and run it with a drill but, I am now thinking about the Possum Hollow Trimmer.

Walkalong
May 11, 2010, 06:22 PM
I chuck mine up in a mini hobby lathe. Works great, very fast, 2 to 3 seconds each. You do still have to deburr and chamfer. You do need a way to power them to be useful.

RVenick
May 11, 2010, 09:54 PM
I think if I buy the drill attachment it will also work with EJS, Forster, RCBS or Wilson Deburring Tools. At least that is what their website says.

JimKirk
May 11, 2010, 10:02 PM
For you folks with RCBS and other draw type collets, who have problems getting consistent lengths due to varying rim diameter and extractor marks....go to this link and look at post #22:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=500593&highlight=RCBS+Color

and then this link to follow up:Post #6 & #10
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=6326953#post6326953

Simply stick the case on the stud(one for large primer and one for small), hold the case with your fingers and turn the handle.

Walkalong found that it did not work to well with power, but it does work good for me with hand power.

Jimmy K

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