Case Trimmers - Quality and Price


February 4, 2008, 07:32 PM
Ok. I am getting close to being done with my purchase list for reloading.

I was wondering if there is a big difference between case trimmers.

These prices are all from Midway.

The RCBS trimmer is $76.99.

The Forster is $54.99.

The Lyman is $87.99.

Do you guys know of any appreciable quality differences between these? The Forster is almost $20 cheaper. Is that because it is any lesser quality than the others or maybe not as easy to use?

Or is this simply a matter of brand preference?

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February 4, 2008, 08:04 PM
Forester is a top choice in anything they make......quality at it's best.
RCBS and Lyman are good as well.
You might check out the Hornady and Wilson too.

February 4, 2008, 08:20 PM
The Wilson trimmer is the one that all the other trimmers are compared to.


Quickdraw McGraw
February 4, 2008, 08:24 PM
Got a Redding and it is well made. The casing spins and the cutter is stationary. Go it from Natchez!

February 5, 2008, 01:46 AM
The Forester will not disapoint you. Very easy to use and if something (unlikely) wears out you can get replacement parts.

February 5, 2008, 07:54 AM
Wilson is best, Forster is next, RCBS is good too. I have and use all three. Wilson for critical trimming. Forster and RCBS for everything else.

February 5, 2008, 09:10 AM
I have the Wilson and love it..........wouldn't trade it for anything.

February 5, 2008, 12:18 PM
I like my Lyman, it requires no shellholders, you can add attachment to make it motorized. I bought mine on E-bay for 1/3 of the new price.FWIW

February 5, 2008, 02:26 PM
How many are you going to trim? If it's more than 20, then buy something with a motor (or one that you can spin with a drill). The Lee one is just a couple bucks and works both fast (when you spin it with a 1/2" drill or drill press) and accurately. Handcranks are bad. Spend money if necessary to eliminate them. Case trimming is an odious chore.

February 5, 2008, 04:03 PM
I have the Wilson and love it..........wouldn't trade it for anything.
+1 Midway has it for like $30 or close to it.

February 5, 2008, 04:53 PM
Lee zip trim, seen it in action and it looks quick and clean.

Ol` Joe
February 5, 2008, 06:15 PM
I`ve a RCBS and it works fine IMO. I also have a pile of the cheap Lee trimmers that I use with a cordless drill for power and love them. The Lee needs no adjusting and is as fast as the others to remove a case and reinsert one.

February 5, 2008, 09:55 PM
I had the Forster, and because I was too dumb to take the time to figure out how to properly use it, I got frustrated and sent it back. Wish I hadn't now. It is excellently made and fairly priced.

February 5, 2008, 11:20 PM
Get a Wilson and don't look back... when you start to use it, it just screams quality.

The great thing about a Wilson is that it will guarantee that the case mouth is trimmed exactly square to the case body, every time.

The price point should be right there with the others that you mention.

February 5, 2008, 11:33 PM
I have the Forster, and have no complaints about it. I find the hand cranking of the trimmer to be a lot less of a pain than using the manual chamfer/deburring tool, primer pocket tools, etc. My biggest complaint is that the brass shavings go everywhere.

If I were doing 1000 rounds at a time though, I would want the power tools for everything.

February 6, 2008, 12:30 AM
I had the Forster and it is more than adequate. I still use it for small batches. I also purchased a Giraud ($$$) for the larger quantities and it cannot be beat.

If I had to do it again, I'd buy a Sinclair enhanced Wilson for the occasional and a Giraud for the frequent.


February 6, 2008, 01:04 AM
Geez, you guys spend a lot of money for a trimmer. I use the Lee trimmer that 30 cal mentioned and it is a whole lot cheaper than the rest and darn near fool proof.

February 6, 2008, 03:19 AM
Geez, you guys spend a lot of money for a trimmer. I use the Lee trimmer that 30 cal mentioned and it is a whole lot cheaper than the rest and darn near fool proof.

I use an RCBS power pro does a good job on large lots but sure have been eyeing that wilson/sinclair with the micrometer for easy set up. and more uniform square cut. But I wouldn't give up my power pro if I could only have one (maybe for a Giraud) but my wife would shoot me if I spent that kinda money on another (second) power trimmer.

February 6, 2008, 09:37 AM
I have had great service from my Lyman. it works great, but a power unit would sure be welcome addition when I have to trim a lot of cases. That is the only thing I would change. But then again that RCBS power pro looks like a great set up.

good shooting

February 6, 2008, 01:27 PM
I wish I would have waited a little longer to order, but I ended up getting an RCBS.

It was ~5 off and ended up being 76.00 or so. I was itchin' get get going. I could always return it and get something that you guys recommended though, if you think it is worth doing.

The Lee Precision trimmer looked good for a cheap route to a power trimmer. I wasn't going to spend two or three hundred on a trimmer right off the bat, but I did like the idea of a powered trimmer. That looks like it may be a good start and then go from there.

February 6, 2008, 02:39 PM
+1 to the Giraud trimmer. Got one for Christmas and it made trimming my 3500+ pieces of .223 brass a snap.

February 6, 2008, 04:44 PM
One thing about the RCBS. You can purchase the power unit for it later. If you are not into large runs then I would trade it in on the sinclair/wilson. If you plan on a power unit later then I would just keep it and later get the S/W.

The giraud might be a little faster but in the long run I can pretty much keep up with my RCBS. I'll go ahead and explain this before somebody says no way.

I use a 3-way cutter with a standard pilot so it is more like a 2-way cutter I do this cause I use a VLD deburring tool head on a trim mate. I can put a case in the trimmer and let the handle go. It is spring loaded so it applies the force to trim only takes a couple of seconds but while it is doing that I can be deburring the cas I just pulled and grabbing another case to put in as I take the other out of the trimmer.

Now the Giraud Does a VLD deburring but not as much as a dedicated tool. They work great only takes one tool to do what takes me two. But like I said I like the VLD tool.

February 6, 2008, 05:28 PM
I've graduated to the Giraud, but I still occasionally use the Forster for small batches. Do NOT get the Forster without the screw-on spud that allows you to use a drill to power it (the blisters you prevent will be your own):

One more thing that is nice about the Forster is that you can buy exta cutter shafts and stop collars, so you are not resetting the lock collar when you switch calibers:

I did not like the quality of the Allen screws that came with my Forster almost 30 years ago, but everything else about it has been first rate.


February 6, 2008, 08:26 PM
Actually, you are mixing apples and oranges on your price comparison -

The Forster(which is the one I bought based on a recommendation of a friend) does not come with collets or pilots. The RCBS & Lyman units looks to have those items.

Midway has a Forster unit sold as a kit with a number of standard collets and pilots - that is actually the way I bought mine. The kit is $71.99 (there goes your $20 savings :( ) Here's a link:

Hope this helps.

February 7, 2008, 09:18 PM
That Forster kit is what I bought. I like it a lot. Real quality made machine.

February 23, 2008, 04:14 PM
I spent $8 and 15 minutes to upgrade my Lee trimmer + Drill arrangement. Now faster and more finger friendly. I spin the cutter&pilot (not shown) in my drill press.

February 23, 2008, 04:33 PM
I use the Dillon RT1200. I can trim a boat load of brass with that thing mounted on my 650. You still have to deburr. I wish that I would have at least seen the gerard before I made this purchace. Don't get me wrong. I am satisfied with the RT1200, but the gerard deburrs while it trims.

March 18, 2008, 06:06 PM
I would take my Rapid Trim over the Gerard any day of the week. It is so fast (probable in the range of 1000 per hour), it makes trimming a joy compared to others.

Chamfering is no big deal. I'll sit and watch a movie while chamfering, and be finished by the time the movies over.


March 18, 2008, 08:21 PM
I was considering this Hornady. It is about $65 and comes ready to go for nearly all calibers.

Anybody have any experience with this?? Heard anything good or bad?

March 18, 2008, 08:24 PM
Sorry myrockfight did not mean to...

Steve H
March 18, 2008, 08:29 PM
I've had the Forester for about 12 years. It's great for small batches. VERY accurate - not the fastest operation but when you load 'em one at a time you're not looking for speed.

March 18, 2008, 09:58 PM
The Forster you can add primer pocket reamer latter if you want and trims great.

March 18, 2008, 10:39 PM
Wilson for small batches.

The Giraud for big ones.

Everything else is over priced or under powered.

March 19, 2008, 12:08 AM
i Have the Hornady timmer as well as a Giraud (shared with other guys). The hornady is very well made and shows no wear after thousands of cases, though i only use it for small batches now. I found the Hornady to be fast and extremely accurate, and I thought it looked the coolest on my bench, and still do. The Giraud is an ugly machine.

March 19, 2008, 01:34 AM
Giraud is the Ferrari of Power Trimmers!
Wilson is the Rolls Royce of Lathe Trimmers!

That new Redding is not a bad deal for reloader!

March 19, 2008, 01:51 AM

Wilson for small batches.

The Giraud for big ones.

I agree -


March 19, 2008, 08:12 AM
I have the exact lyman as een in the link. While it does good for what I need it for. If I were going to replace it it would be with the Forester hnds down. My father had one that was the grandfather to the forester and it worked great for 60+ years. It is still going strong and still trimmin cases like it is brand new.

One thing I have the power drill adapter for my lyman never use it to much hassle to deal with it. Plus mine would wobble all over the place. The one thing I do not like about the lyman is the fact that the utter shaft is held in with a plastic insert in an aluminum ring. This ring when trimming tends to grind down and then if you se grease like I do on the shaft for lube you have the sticky gooey black mess from it.

March 19, 2008, 10:07 AM
the giraud puts all other trimmers in their place. imagine sharpening as pencil, that is just how easy it is with a giraud. i did over 20Kpieces this winter and i was smiling and enjoying the case prep as it makes it not that hard of work at all!

March 19, 2008, 10:30 AM
Obviously they all work good and have proponents here. Things that vary are in the details and personal preference more than over-all quality.

I have an OLD Lyman Universal and prefer it for common reloading over all others. It's fast to change cases, it does not need shell holders, it comes with a good assortment of neck pilots and Lyman markets several neat acessories for it - deburring tool, pocket cleaner and reamer, outside neck turner, etc. But perhaps the single most attractive feature to me is that it indexes the cases off a solid steel head, much like the excellant but slow Wilson, so finished lengths don't vary because of case head diameter differences.

March 19, 2008, 10:40 AM
I must be the odd man out... I have an L. E. Wilson trimmer, and I hate it.

Going to buy a Redding 2400 when the cash comes in.

Quickdraw McGraw
March 19, 2008, 08:48 PM
I got the Redding 1400-XT for $65 from Natchez and I like it. Its built like a tank and is easy to use. I like the universal collet that fits all brass. Wouldn't want to trim thousands on it but it works for me!

March 19, 2008, 11:26 PM

I'm trying to decide between the Forster and the Wilson. What do you not like about the Wilson?



March 20, 2008, 12:50 AM
I like the Wilson for tapered cases, I don't think it would work well with straight walled cases. I have a Lyman trimmer which has turned into a sloppy pile of cr@pp.
I had a problem with the Wilson trimmer, the hole bored in the shell holder was not concentric with it's out side diameter.

March 20, 2008, 07:13 AM
Wilson is the Rolls Royce of Lathe Trimmers!



March 20, 2008, 01:54 PM
I have one of the lymans,had it for a million years it seems,i have to say,im not in love with it,i trimed some 223,i had smoke coming out of my ears i spun that handle so hard and so long.i worn holes in my fingers,and not to mention how it killed my elbow.i stoped said thts it,I want a power one,I need something i can just push the button and let it trim with out all that pain,So i will get that atactment they have so i can add my drill,i did how ever buy the new cutter heads,i wish i would have bought the carbide cutter,maybe thats a better deal.So maybe one of you guy know whats wrong with my trimmer,I might need to get one of the other thats been discused here,

i guess the botom line is you buy what you can aford,

March 20, 2008, 02:40 PM
I won't recommend one over the other as they are all good trimmers. I can only add that I have been using my Lyman for probably about 20 years and it still works like the day it was purchased. The only thing I did was to replace the cutter with a carbide one.

March 20, 2008, 02:58 PM
From Febuary :)
Wilson is best, Forster is next, RCBS is good too. I have and use all three. Wilson for critical trimming. Forster and RCBS for everything else.

The Wilson is the best for turning or reaming cases, as well as getting a uniform length. The Forster is good, very good, but not as good as the Wilson. The RCBS will flex if you are not carefull and give some differences in case length, but does well enough for most things if your careful.

The Wilson is not quite as quick as the others and just works differently. That may be what some folks don't like.

March 20, 2008, 04:04 PM
What do you not like about the Wilson?

1. It requires different shell holders for each cartridge.

2. I can't seem to get it adjusted to reliably trim each case to the same length.

3. It is small and very narrow with no way to mount it to a bench. Very difficult to use in your hands. I think you're supposed to mount it in a bench vise... which I don't have. Like most people, I like to trim in front of the TV. With the Redding, I can mount it securely on a 1x12, and carry it where I want.

4. It didn't come with any instructions on how it should be used... and yes, I bought it new from Midway... It just came with an advertisement on why you should "Trim, Ream, Gauge"

5. If you want to trim handgun cases, forget it. You have to tap the cases into and out of the shellholder. Most people don't do this anyway, so it doesn't matter for them.

6. There are some cartridges that have two different shellholders: one for unfired cases and one for fired cases.

7. They don't make shellholders for every cartridge. The .284 Winchester shellholder mostly works for 7.5 x 55 Swiss, but not entirely.

1. It is really well built. You can tell that a lot of craftsmanship went into the trimmer and the shellholders. Everything is nice and solid.

2. It is inexpensive. I paid like $25 for it. The shellholders are like $6 each, and are really works of art, so I guess I should complain about them either.

3. Did I mention that it is really well built? I mean that sincerely.

March 20, 2008, 09:55 PM
Thanks Redactor,


March 20, 2008, 10:38 PM
The Lyman is nicer with the carbide cutter upgrade. Use mine with power drive adapter and a cordless driver. Dreaming about a Giraud...

March 21, 2008, 02:10 AM
2. I can't seem to get it adjusted to reliably trim each case to the same length.

I had a problem with the Wilson trimmer, the hole bored in the shell holder was not concentric with it's out side diameter.
I took my Wilson .308 Win, .243,260,7mm-08 ect. shell holder back to the place of purchase, out of the five other shell holders in stock I found only one that was bored correctly. The result a Wilson shell holder bored off axis is that the case is not trimmed square, and depending on where you measure it you will get different reads.

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