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lee 3 jaw chuck for trimming?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by greyling22, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    so I use the lee case trimming system in a cordless drill to trim my cases. I have issues with cases (esp 30 carb) slipping in the standard holder. Sometimes I have to get pliers to tighten the ring to keep cases from slipping. Could I use the lee 3 jaw chuck for the zip trim in a cordless drill? Would it work? Does anybody do it? Here is the part http://www.midwayusa.com/product/352653/lee-zip-trim-case-trimmer-universal-3-jaw-chuck-case-holder I assume it just screws on the trimming spindle for the drill.
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    I didn't know you had to trim .30 carbine brass.
  3. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Well-Known Member

    That's two separate questions with two separate answers. You can use it-Lee even sells a separate adapter for that very purpose-but it didn't work worth a darn for me.

    There was so much fiddling involved in getting the brass in/out of the chuck that it ended up being 3X faster to use the original holders.
  4. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is about the only common use straight walled case that stretches through the firing and resizing process, at least when fired from an M1 Carbine.

    I am not sure about cartridges fired in a 30 Carbine Ruger.
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Get an open end wrench that fits between the case opening of the shell holder and the back. Easier to use than a pliers in the application. I think 5/8" or 9/16" may be the one but I have slept since I last used a wrench to tightened the shell holder. I keep a set of stubby combination wrenches at my reloading bench for various wrench tasks.

    I have heard of folks that have had success with the chuck. I bought one and have never really wrung it out and I do not remember why. It must have not rung my bell when I got it so I stuck it in a drawer.

    They are inexpensive enough to buy and try and if you don't like it, sell to some one else to try.
  6. kelbro

    kelbro Well-Known Member

    They work but if you need to torque it down, it gets pretty slow.
  7. plodder

    plodder Well-Known Member

    I've tried my best to get the Lee 3 jaw to work for trimming .223 but I am either too dense :)confused:) to figure it out or it is virtually worthless. It does not have enough relief between the jaws and the stop plate to allow gripping of the extractor ring at the base of the case, so the case is never secured no matter how tight I try to make it. So, I default to using the case holder adapter and tightening it and releasing it for each case I insert into the Zip Trimmer gadget.

    I would dearly love to get the 3 jaw to work. Anything that reduces case prep time is at the top of my wish list.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    If you have a drill press?

    Chuck the Lee cutter & depth stop pilot.

    Then hand holding the case, use the drill press table for the depth stop surface.

    Don't need no stink'n chucks.

    You can trim faster then you can pick them up and throw them down.

  9. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    30 carb stretchs at least in part because it is a tapered case like a 9mm, not a straight walled case like a 357. but that is neither here nor there.

    RC, I don't have a drill press, but I have played with doing cases by hand before, and the problem seems to be that the pilot sometimes rubs the case mouth so firmly that it twists it out of my fingers, and even the shell holder. By the time I've done a couple hundred cases my fingers are so sore that I can't hardly use them. The 30 carb was the worst offender, and I've turned the pilot down a bit with sand paper, but most of my cases wind up doing it to some degree or another. Thus I thought the 3 jaws might be the ticket.

    Elkins or cfullgraf, would you be interested in selling your 3 jaw chuck if you're not using it? I think I'd like to give it a go. But based on reviews here I'm not expecting a miracle.
  10. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Not to pick nits, the 30 carbine is a straight walled case, just not a parallel walled case.

    Check PM.
  11. trixter

    trixter Well-Known Member

    I have one and it works great for 223's. Sometimes you have to open it a little extra, place the shell and then re-tighten it, also keep it clean as possible.
  12. Rule3

    Rule3 Well-Known Member

    Here is another option if you have a vise and a drill.

    Using the regular Lee trimmer do dad. Lock the case holder part in the vise. Put a pair of small vise grips (Needle nose work well) Chuck the cutter end in a drill.

    Put case in case holder turn down vise grip to lock it in. Jam cutter on drill into case. Done. Raise vise grip up to unlock, repeat.

    Not the fastest, but saves your fingers and all that manual twisting.

    I just trimmed some 30-30 on the RCBS Trim Pro manual (around 30 cases) and even that was a pain. I really dislike rifle brass prep.:cuss:

    At least I have the WFT for the 223 Rem. That is slick and easy but I am not buying one for every caliber.
  13. Lee Roder

    Lee Roder Well-Known Member

    Actually, it's not straightwalled. If you check the SAAMI cartridge specifications for 30 carbine, you'll find the case has a short "neck" just over a quarter inch long before the taper back to the head begins. I thought my set of Pacific dies was bad as the resized cases had a distinctly different shape than any I had seen before until I looked it up.
  14. Dave Rishar

    Dave Rishar Well-Known Member

    I've actually had good luck with the Lee chuck, when used with the Lee trimmer. It seems to require a certain technique that's difficult to explain.

    Try this: star torque ("torque until you see stars") by hand on the first case. When you're done trimming, rotate your hand way over and unscrew the chuck about 270 degrees. Then insert the next case and crank it back over. When I do encounter problems, it was usually because I didn't loosen and tighten the chuck enough. In my experience, it takes more rotation than what Lee is recommending, although I'm trimming cases from mixed makers and this may be part of it. I had to play with it a bit before it started working.

    Obligatory disclaimer - I work with my hands for a living and have good grip and wrist strength. This may not work for everyone, but it's been working for me. I haven't tried the powered attachment yet but I will eventually.
  15. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    I love all things Lee as a rule, even the safety scale BTW.:) BUT I have had poor luck using the 3 jaw chuck.:mad: It will not unlock all 3 jaws at the same time----ever. I took everything apart and cleaned it with carb cleaner and then oiled well again---still did not work any better. I now use the same method as RC on my drill press and like it the best for the overall cost.YMMV
  16. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Well, you learn something everyday. Tnx for the correction.
  17. Duckdog

    Duckdog Well-Known Member

    Use it in the zip trim. Works much better. In fact, it works pretty darn slick once you get the hang of it!
  18. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    I'm not surprised that so many people have had issues using it. As Dave Rishar noted, it takes a certain technique, and no little bit of dexterity.

    Here's a video. It IS much easier to torque down than the regular lee holders, because the radius of the tool is about 3 times as large. But to get the case to center everytime takes a light touch.


    These are 223 in the vid. When doing 308 cases, there's not as much room between where the jaws are open far enough to take the next case, and where the two halves of the tool unscrew. I assume this has to do with the thickness and radius of the rim. At any rate, this makes it a little more fiddly. Also, the length of the case matters too. I don't know if my hands are big enough to do a 30-06 case this way. 308 is the longest case I trim.

    You need the "drill spindle adaptor" to put the Zip Chuck in a drill.

    This method works very well for me, but YMMV.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  19. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    wow gloob, you're a machine. (if that's you in the video)

    I have the spindle adapter for my existing trimmer. I assume it is the same part you are referring to.
  20. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    It took awhile before I figured out how to do it like that. Then one day I sat down with several hundred pieces of brass that had accumulated, and this just happened about halfway through.

    My initial batch of 1000 223, I trimmed on a Wilson. :banghead: The last one was just as tedious as the first!

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