Lee Zip-Trim, Hurrah!!


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Smokey Joe
January 3, 2009, 09:12 PM
OK, we'll try again.

Just finished sizing a bunch of .357 Magnum cases. Sized/decapped normally on my single stage press. Then checked 'em all for length. I like uniform length cases for shooting competition, so that the bullets are uniformly roll-crimped.

My Lyman's 48th edition says that .357 Magnum cases are 1.290" long, trim-to length being 1.280". I try to keep mine at 1.280-1.285" length. Probably too anal of me, but it makes me feel better about my ammo.

Sized/deprimed over 450 cases. Most were my previous reloads; 150 were bought as once-fired cases. All had been tumbled with walnut/corncob to clean and shine up.

On checking these for length, 9 were too short (these were all Starline cases, BTW) so I regretfully crushed their mouths. Price of being picky. And about 114 were over my imposed limit of 1.285".

Therefore, out comes the Lee Zip-Trim. I like it because it trims cases all the same, because it is quick & easy to set up/take down, and because it didn't cost a lot, even with all the extra bells & whistles.

The Zip-Trim doesn't allow for a choice of case length--you use the tool as pre-set. You can shorten the pilot, with a file, but then you are committed to the shorter length. My Lee equipment makes the .357 cases of 1.283-1.284" which is just fine with me.

Mine has a Universal Collet, and I use the cutter with the ball handle (Lee sells it with or w/o the ball). You have to buy a pilot for each cartridge you plan to trim. The Universal Collet easily clamps everything from .30 Carbine to .300 WSM, IMX. Collet does want to be kept cleaned and lubed, but that's reasonable.

Anyhow, C-clamp the trimmer to the bench, screw pilot into cutter, and you're in business. You just clamp a cartridge into the collet, insert the pilot all the way into the cartridge (so that the cutter bears on the case mouth) and pull the string handle (like starting a very small outboard engine.)

The case twirls merrily, bits of brass fall off, and after 3-4 pulls you're usually done. I measure each case afterwards; a very few need a second treatment.

Lee sells everything you need for trimming, or you can probably get a better price at a mail-order place like Midway, or, better yet, score at a local gun show and save the freight.

A handier method for trimming a relatively large number of cases I can't imagine.

Oh, and hurrah for me, too--this is my first post to include a photo; have been nervous about it.

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Dean Williams
January 3, 2009, 10:01 PM
Nice write-up, Smokey. I've been using the Lee hand trimmers for an age. Just got so used to it that I never gave anything else much thought.
Now I think I need one of these Zippy jobs.

dwave
January 3, 2009, 10:17 PM
I like the zip trim. Pretty quick system.

SSN Vet
January 3, 2009, 10:18 PM
I like my zip trim and have used it for 2+ years now.

For large batches, it can get old.

But if you are doing, say 50 cases, it's great!

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