Case Trimming Question


July 25, 2009, 04:36 PM
I have recently started loading .223 for my M4 and I was wondering, do I need to be trimming the brass after every cycle and if so please tell me there is a easier way than the Lee Zip Trim. Thanks in advance for your help.

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July 25, 2009, 04:54 PM
I generally measure and trim rifle cases, if necessary, after about 5 reloads with moderately heavy loads. With light loads it's seldom necessary at all.

July 25, 2009, 04:55 PM
You do not need to trim cases after every firing, but you should acquire and use a digital caliper or a specific case head gauge to determine when trimming is necessary. Calipers may be purchased very reasonably from Ebay and various case head gauges are listed in both Brownells or MidwayUSA catalogs. Several types of "lathe type" rotary case trimmers are available, both manual and electric. There are also trimmer accessories made to fit portable drills or electric screwdrivers. Again the MidwayUSA catalog is a good source for these trimmers and they will mail you a copy free upon request. :)

July 25, 2009, 04:57 PM
Giraud is the easiest (and most expensive way). Think "electric pencil sharpener" class easy. I own one, love it.

It also makes trimming every time easy enough that I don't sweat it anymore.

July 25, 2009, 04:58 PM
You may need to trim it to the "Trim Too" 1.750" after the first firing / resizing cycle.

After that, it will not need trimming again until it gets longer then the SAAMI 1.760" max length.

Trimming every time and having them all the exact same length is not critical unless you are trying to crimp them with the seating die.

But after they have grown a full .010" in length, I would be very cautious and expect to see an internal stretch ring you can feel with a L-bent paper clip.

If you can feel it, pitch it in the recycle bucket.
Not worth the hassle of broken cases pulling off in the chamber or sizing die and getting stuck.


July 25, 2009, 05:18 PM
Another question..... How many firing cycles with moderate loads can I expect to get out of the brass before it needs to be thrown out?

July 26, 2009, 07:14 PM
Any help on the loading cycles? How many times should I reload before I throw the brass out with a moderate load?

July 26, 2009, 08:21 PM
With moderate loading brass life can be extened, but it will also depend upon your rifle's chamber and headspacing dimensions as well as neck or full length sizing (working brass a minimal amount).

Like RC suggests load them until you find evidence of a pending problem with the cases ie stretching and weakened case walls etc.

I have cases with over 20 loadings on them and still going, in another rifle calibre I can only manage 3-5 loadings before the brass is scrapped.

July 26, 2009, 08:49 PM
tell me there is a easier way than the Lee Zip Trim

Holy cow, dude. How much easier could it be?

Actually, I do know an easier way. It's called a 10 year old son!

July 26, 2009, 10:37 PM
I just started reloading recently and I bought a Fosters case trimmer and once you set it up it's really fast and easy. I'm withing .001-.002 within each case.

July 27, 2009, 07:30 AM
I count the number of times I trim my brass instead of reloads to determine max brass life. For 223 I can trim four times before I start to show evidence of head seperation. I usually get three to five loads between trims.

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