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noobie, looking for case trimmer, scale and calipers

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by wolverine_173, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. wolverine_173

    wolverine_173 Well-Known Member

    i just got a used lee classic turret and i need a scale and case trimmer and calipers. Please offer recommendations that wont break the bank

    Also do i get #500 small pistol primers to reload 9mm? and what primers do i need for 223/5.56?

    thanks all
  2. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Most any bargain priced digital calipers will do you fine. Harbor Freight or the units from the major gun emporiums are two sources. There are others.

    Dial calipers do not need batteries but cost a little more and are not as sexy. But they will also do fine.

    The Lee trimmer system is a good economical trim system. To start, you need the cutter and shell holder stud (one package) and a case gauge and shell holder (second package). After the first purchase, you only need to add the case gauge/shell holder for any new cartridges. The shell holders are not the same as your press shell holders.

    L.E Wilson is another nice trimmer but more expensive. If you have deep pockets, go for the Giraud.

    Most any reloading beam scale will serve you well. The Lee scale had probably the greatest range of likes and dislikes. If you want a digital, there are lots opinions. My opinion is get one that has a 110v option and be at least in the $100 range. The sub-$50 scales are more problematic.

    Small pistol primers for 9x19. Small rifle primers for 223 Remington. Magnum primers are not generally needed but look at your load data.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    You don't need to trim 9mm.
    For the .223 I'd just get the Lee trimmer.
    It is cheap, and works just fine for a single caliber.

    Harbor Freight has digital calipers on sale with a coupon all the time for $9.95.
    If you have a Harbor Freight store near you?
    There is a coupon in every gun magazine I pick up, and one in the Sunday paper this morning.

    For a scale, I'd suggest a good balance beam like the RCBS, Hornady, Redding, etc.

    9mm uses Small Pistol Primers.
    .223 uses Small Rifle primers.
    I have used CCI in both for 50 years with no complaints.

    Sounds like you might need to get a good reloading manual, which answers the primer questions and lots of others beginners have.
    I recommend the Lyman #49 if you only can buy one.

  4. dbarnhart

    dbarnhart Well-Known Member

    How much trimming to you plan to do and how precise do you need to be?

    The Sinclair/Wilson is probably the most precise trimmer on the market and with the power-screwdriver adapter is pretty fast.

    It is a step below the Giraud and Dillon trimmers in terms of speed and cost, but it's still not cheap.
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

  6. wolverine_173

    wolverine_173 Well-Known Member

    i dont know how much trimming ill be doing. I have never done it before. Ill be doing 223 maybe 250 a year and 30 06 maybe 50 a year. I just want something simple
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

  8. wolverine_173

    wolverine_173 Well-Known Member

    So is this all i need?

    so this http://leeprecision.com/cutter-lock-stud.html

    and this for 223 http://leeprecision.com/gage-holder-223-rem.html

    and this for 30 06 http://leeprecision.com/gage-holder-30-06-sprfld.html

    do i need a chamfer tool or primer pocket cleaning tool?

    so how does this work. I attach the lock stud to my drill then attach the shell holder to the stud then the case. Then i attach the case length gauge to the cutter and hold it with my hand and insert the case length gauge into the shell case and turn on the drill and it will cut until the case length gauge hits the shell holder then it will be the perfect length and im ready to go?
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    Cutter & Lock stud kit + Case length gage & shell holder kit for each caliber you want to trim.

    You can use them in a cordless drill, or the optional Zip-Trim thing.

  10. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Well-Known Member

    For durability, a Lyman case trimmer, RCBS or similar beam scale, and a dial caliper.
  11. wolverine_173

    wolverine_173 Well-Known Member

  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Either caliper is accurate.
    You zero them every time you pick them up, and they should always return to zero when you slide them closed.

    I have the digital HF one, and an older Midway dial just like that one.

    The Midway dial 15-20 years old and still works fine.
    I use the two year old HF digital one way more often, as it's much easier to read with no way to read it wrong.

    Get the RCBS scale.
    It is much easier to use with less mass confusion Chinese fire drill mistakes then the Lee scale.

    Oh! Here ya go!
    Just cut, past & print and take it to the store.


    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  13. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    If you are on the lazy side of things and dont mind buying a battery or two on occasion get the digital one. If you are like me and want it to work even when there is no battery available and can reason how to read with accuracy a dial scale get the dial type. I am all for buy once and not bother having to "repair" it every so often. Same as the difference between a red dot and standard scope, the standard scope will still work when the "batteries go dead".:D
  14. Litefoot

    Litefoot Well-Known Member

    It's hard to argue against a $9.99 digital caliper, but you can buy a General dial caliper at any hardware store for about the same price. I've measured mine against an expensive digital caliper and it is always right on the money and it doesn't require batteries. It will give you roughly .005 resolution which would be good enough for most.
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    The HF caliper is very accurate to .001, and rounds up/down to the nearest .0005. That is good enough for 99% of reloaders needs. After that, he needs a good micrometer, and/or a ball micrometer.
  16. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    Or you can use the Zip-Trim chuck in a cordless drill by buying it separately and adding a cordless drill spindle:



    These two parts allow you to chuck any caliber faster and better centered than with the caliber specific holders that come with the pilots.

    Yes, you still need a chamfer tool. IMO, the cheapo Lee does the best outside chamfer when using a cordless drill. Does an acceptable inside chamfer, too. But it's faster to have two separate chamfer tools, once you get in the swing of things. Course, doing 250 cases a year, that probably doesn't matter too much.
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    The Harbor Freight caliper checking shoulder position on a .300 Blackout case. I get the same measurement with my Mitutoyo or Brown & sharp dial calipers.


    Attached Files:

  18. wolverine_173

    wolverine_173 Well-Known Member

  19. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    You will be very disappointed and probably frustrated with a digital scale that cost less than $50.

    Even a used beam scale, which can be had for less than a cheap digital, will perform so much better.

    For a reasonably good digital scale, you need to spend in the $90-$100 range and up.
  20. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    I have a 17 year old MidwayUSA dial calipers and Harbor Freight digital calipers and would gladly recommend them but NOT the Harbor Freight DIAL calipers.

    Last year, I did a random sampling of about 10 HF dial calipers and they would not consistently measure out to .001"! The construction, finish and fit between the digital and dial calipers are not the same. While the digital calipers showed better quality of finish, the dial calipers I sampled were rougher and inconsistent.

    Last month, to see if the quality of HF dial calipers had improved, I checked several and I was not impressed.

    If you are looking for dial calipers, how about Graf & Sons calipers for $21? (free shipping +$6 processing so $27 to your door) - http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/5376

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