Need help with case trimming


November 17, 2007, 10:08 PM
I've been reloading for about six months now. So far, I've noticed that trimming cases back to their proper length tends to take up the biggest chunk of my time. I always try to get the case length to the right length within 1 or 2 thousandths of an inch. Perhaps, I'm a bit too anal. I currently use a standard Lyman case trimmer:

Perhaps I'm doing something wrong or inefficient, but it takes close to an hour just to trim about 30 rounds of .308 casings on average. Does it normally take that long to trim once fired brass or is there a better way of doing it? Any comments on methods, different equipment etc is welcome. Thanks.

If you enjoyed reading about "Need help with case trimming" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
November 17, 2007, 10:11 PM
Well, I am no expert in rifle case trimming--I'm just learning to work up .223.

However, I have both a Lyman power trimmer package and the Lee hand tools (not that latest Lee pencil sharpener / top string thing.). With the Lee hand ones, I do about 3 a minute, including chamfering.

Jim H.

November 17, 2007, 10:15 PM
+1 on the power trimmer adapter. Should help speed things up a bit.

Car Knocker
November 17, 2007, 10:24 PM

Could you detail the procedure you use? I don't understand why it's taking you 2 minutes per case.

November 17, 2007, 10:44 PM
As to the procedure for trimming, it goes something like this (like I said, I'm somewhat new to this so I may not be doing it the best way)
I clamp down the casing in the trimmer, set the casing into the cutter and pilot, then I manually turn the handle for a period of time in a clockwise direction, without applying too much pressure. Every now and then I'll take the case out to measure its length, as I haven't found a really good way to tell the length otherwise. Then, I put it back in repeat until its trimmed to specification.

Also fmnnc, I'll definitely have to look into the power trimmer adapter, looks like it will help out immensly.

November 17, 2007, 11:02 PM
And you are fortunate to be in Richmond near Green Top. I'm sure they will have one.

I take a ride up there once in a while for reloading supplies. I would be broke all the time if I lived near there!

November 17, 2007, 11:12 PM This trimmer has worked well for me trimming bottle necked cases, I did have a issue with the shell holder in .308 Win not being concentric, I would ask Wilson if they have resolved this problem.

Car Knocker
November 17, 2007, 11:17 PM

As I recall, the Lyman trimmer has a depth of cut locking collar by the handle that can be set to maintain the proper case length. Trim a case to the length you want it, set the collar and every other case should be trimmed to the same length (or pretty darn close) without doing the trial and error bit for each and every case.

November 17, 2007, 11:46 PM
Car Knocker has it right about the Lyman trimmer adjustments. You should be able to set the stop collar where you want it and just turn and push and quickly cut them to size. No more than a few seconds and you should be done.

And, being anal about your loading procedures is a GOOD thing! Will hopefully keep you from making a mistake, but can cause much un-needed work.

Measure the cases, and if they are within the Max-Min range...they don't need trimming. Only if they go over the Max should you be bothering with the trimmer.

When you DO trim, cut them to the Min and you most likely will wear them out or lose them before they need trimming again.

Trim length is only critical in a couple of ways. First, they must be below Max to prevent them from binding the bullet in the throat of a closely chambered rifle. Second, if you are roll-crimping, the crimps will be consistant only if they are all the same length.

The crimping problem can be worked around by either not crimping, or using a taper or collet-type die. Lee's Factory Crimp Die is an excellent one and is NOT fussy about case length.

Oh, the Lyman trimmer seems to come with dull cutters (at least mine did) and works much better when they are sharpened.

November 18, 2007, 12:13 AM
I just adjusted the depth of cut locking collar, which I never noticed even was there :o I'll probably be getting the power trim adapter to further speed up the process. Thanks for your help guys. Its great to have a hobby that lets you keep the costs down.

November 18, 2007, 12:45 AM
The Giraud case trimmer is by far the best way to go. It will trim to length, debur, and chamfer in one easy step. It is like sticking a pencil in an electric sharpener. Thats all you have to do. It takes about 5 sec or less per case. This trimmer is expensive though. But if money is a problem, it is really worth it to sell off a gun in order to buy a Giraud. It makes life that much easier. It is so quick you will wonder why you didnt get it sooner. Of all the pieces of reloading equipment I own, this is absolutely, positively the best. I would quit reloading bottle neck rifle cartridges completely if I could not have my Giraud.

November 18, 2007, 06:02 AM
I'm Mr. el cheapo and I use the Lee zip trim. It costs about about $17.00 and I can trim and campfer a single round in about 30 seconds. Of course, I have the case length gauge and cutter;)

Ol` Joe
November 18, 2007, 11:13 AM
Try a Lee trimmer.

I have a RCBS trimmer that has sat for some time as the Lee requires no set-up, measuring, ect, and with a dremal tool I can trim 100 cases in less then 45 minutes, all to the same exact lenght.
Plus they are cheap!!

If you enjoyed reading about "Need help with case trimming" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!