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Brass trimmer

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BigBL87, Nov 10, 2022.

  1. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Hey everyone, rounding out my reloading equipment before I get started, and one of the bigger ones I have left is something to trim my brass. I'm going to start out loading 38 Special/357 Magnum, as from what I've read it's a pretty forgiving cartridge to learn on. So, trimming probably is not as big of a concern immediately (I've read most pistol calibers the brass will probably get unusable before it needs trimming), but I just want to be ready for when I add my rifle calibers eventually.

    I'm trying to stay relatively inexpensive, I'm mostly loading for plinking/range use. Not getting super into precision quite yet.

    I can get a Frankford Arsenal Universal Trimmer for about $45 which is my cheapest option. I could also get their Trim and Prep Center which has the trimmer built in along with bits to chamfer and deburr, all powered. That would run me around $117.

    Then there's the variety of the "crank" style ones around $100, and some more than that.

    Juat looking for opinions on what the best option in my circumstances is. Like I said I'm going to start out on 38/357, then hopefully move on to 9mm, 45 ACP, 223, and 308, not necessarily in that order. 9mm and 223 will definitely be my highest volume once I get set up for them.
     
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  2. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I never trim handgun brass, only bottle necked rifle cases. Is it the correct way to do things? I don't know but it has worked since the early '70's for me. I started with and RCBS trimmer and except for a little stanning in the crackle finish that doesn't come off when I clean it is still just as good as new. Power wasn't an option back then and I have never felt a need for it.

    Cheapest? I recall a small sign stuck to to the front of a local bootmaker/shoe repairman's cash register years ago. It said "I have no problem with those that are sell for less as they know what their product is worth".
     
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  3. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Ya, I don't think it will be needed for the handgun brass, based on my understanding? More just looking down the road.

    I'm not necessarily looking for the absolute cheapest option, but I'm also not in a position to spend several hundred on a Giraud power trimmer either. I'm looking for a balance of value and quality. A big part of the reason I can get the Frankford Arsenal so cheap is they consider me a "qualified professional."
     
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  4. roval

    roval Member

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    i have the rcbs trimmer.i never trim my handgun brass. i used it to trim some 308 and 223. after a few times i bought WFT for 308 and 223. using a drill beats handcranking it(gripping the bullet is still hard on my hands after a couple of hundred). the deburring and chamfering is also best done with a powered case prep appliance. i have the lyman. doing these steps manually really put you at risk for repetitive strain injuries. if i were you I'd buy the first wft for the caliber you need. (223 i assume and see how it works for you) 2 wfts is more expensive than a good brand handtrimmer but less expensive than 2 wfts and a handtrimmer.
    i actually have to force myself to reload rifle as the case prep is tedious.
     
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  5. lightman

    lightman Member

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    The cheapest route is probably the Lee Case Gauge type of trimmer and the lock stud that fits in a drill. I recently bought a new Lyman lathe type trimmer just for pistol brass. It wasn't cheap but should last my lifetime. I bought the carbide cutter and the pilot set also.
     
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  6. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    Now that I am getting a little more serious about .38 Special target shooting, I've noticed a variety of case lengths from range pickups. To improve in target shooting, case length can make a difference.
    As for trimming tools, hand powered trimmers are the cheapest until your volume or age requires a change. When that change comes be aware of the warranty on the multi electric powdered "centers" that do everything.
    Hornady use to have life-time warranty everything they sold, but no longer do. RBCS has a variety of models and one might be better off buying top shelf for long term usage.
     
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  7. Mk-211

    Mk-211 Member

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    If you're going to use a hand powered trimmer, be sure that the handle can be removed. That way you can hook up a drill to the shank and get busy!

    Everything said above is spot on, 99% of reloaders don't trim pistol brass. If you get to the point that you're reloading hundreds or more pieces of rifle brass, get a powered trimmer.

    Here's one of the most popular. https://www.giraudtool.com/index.html
     
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  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I’ll never use a handheld trimmer ever again - likely not even a hand powered. For small lot ammo, I turn on a lathe type trimmer, RCBS TrimPro II, which I CAN turn by hand, but always use with a power driver. For larger volume, I use a Giraud trimmer, which for my largest of volumes, I have set up with a Dillon case feeder and AmpMate from AMP Annealing to automatically collate, feed, and trim.
     
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  9. Soonerpesek

    Soonerpesek Member

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    Since you have already stated:

    .......and reading is VERY hard............

    You would do well with the FA setup, since you can get a price break on it.
    Optionally, any hand powered lathe type trimmer (Lyman, RCBS, or the like), as mentioned previously, will get you set up economically.
    Down the road, should your volume increase, you can always step up to a more elaborate trimmer setup.
     
  10. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    The 9 and 45 don't need trimmed ever. The 38 can go either way but I trim mine. 357 and 308 should be trimmed for different reasons. 357 needs a good roll crimp to help ignition with slower powders. Your platform makes a big difference. I shoot any 38/357 load I make in a Marlin 1895 lever gun with a tube magazine. They all get a good roll crimp.
     
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  11. gudaki

    gudaki Member

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    Like others have said, I don't trim any pistol brass.
     
  12. deadeye dick

    deadeye dick Member

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    If you are concerned about trimming, I trimmed my .38/357 cases once for giggles to keep the crimps uniform. They will never change after that.
     
  13. Engineer1911

    Engineer1911 Member

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    If you have not trimmed handgun brass or rifle brass, I guess you don't reload much. Or else you have not had a case stuck in a cylinder or chamber. Good luck.
     
  14. PWC

    PWC Member

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    Lee trimmers work great as these pics fron the net show
    upload_2022-11-10_17-52-56.png upload_2022-11-10_17-53-28.png upload_2022-11-10_17-54-11.png upload_2022-11-10_17-58-32.png

    upload_2022-11-10_17-52-56.png upload_2022-11-10_17-54-11.png

    upload_2022-11-10_17-58-32.png
     
  15. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    If you are considering the Frankford Arsenal case prep center, I have one and generally like it. For $117 its a nice unit, but pretty limited to trimming, chamfering and deburring. It also cleans primer pockets. Cost was the main reason I chose it, as well as I didn't think I would use many of the other functions on more expensive case prep centers. My experience is that you can trim to within a few thousanths repeatability. Just bear in mind that it indexes off of the bottleneck case shoulder and cannot do straight wall cases.

    Many responses say they don't trim straight wall pistol cases and I don't either, except .38/.357. Successful roll crimping requires all of your cases to be the same length. I've found an initial trim makes life a lot easier down the road.
     
    kalielkslayer likes this.
  16. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    By the by - the RCBS TrimPro has the option of 3 Way Cutter heads for the lathe spindle which trim, debur, and chamfer all in one step. Throw a cheap power driver on the tail and use the spring loaded universal jaw set, and brass prep time can really improve, for relatively low cost. WITH the added advantage of consistent debur and chamfer, which typically is NOT consistent with other methods like the Frankford Arsenal Prep Center.
     
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  17. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    Those 3-way cutter heads are $60 each. Hardly low cost for multiple calibers.
     
  18. Cacas ex Fortuna

    Cacas ex Fortuna Member

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    I buy ONLY L.E. Wilson brass prep tools. They are most likely the most costly.
    Been using them since the 60s when the ole man and Mr Wilson would sit around the pot belly stove and chat reloading.
    I make super match rounds, each one is real close to being the same as the last one.
    I count by the diameter of a human hair.
     
  19. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Most folks really aren’t reloading multiple calibers, and most folks who are realize $60 dilutes to nothing relatively quickly if you’re actually shooting any real volume.
     
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  20. 50of4064

    50of4064 Member

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    I do not shoot large amounts of brass at any one time, I believe the most I trimmed at one time was some 700+/- LC 30-06 brass, and that was spread out over a week or so...most batches are under 100 pcs....I use an RCBS trim master II, take the hand crank off, attach my drill on the shaft and now it is powered...because I'm cheap and it gets the job done. It has all the shell holders and caliber collets that I shoot, I ain't in no hurry, and I don't see any need to replace something that ain't broken...there are some nice units out there, maybe if I shot more, I would dole out the cash...but I don't... ( insert sad face imogi here...lol)
    But there are some fellas that , well let's just say that they trim in one afternoon what I shoot in a year...just so you know which end of the spectrum I am on...good luck in your quest....when you do make your choice, send us some photos, we always like to see other folks toy's...makes the kid in us smile !!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2022
  21. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    Neither of those will work in trimming .38Spl or .357Mag. Those trimmers trim using the the shoulder of the case as a reference point, which is lacking in those cartridges.

    I use the Lyman E-Zee Trim for my competition .38Spl cases to get a uniform roll crimp
     
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  22. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    I only shoot pistol (45ACP & 9mm), pistol doesn’t require trimming, most here don’t trim pistol, trimming pistol is largely a waste of time, trimming looks like fun, ergo…I’m going to start trimming pistol.
     
  23. Soonerpesek

    Soonerpesek Member

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    I took his statement to mean bottlenecked cartridges.......maybe I misunderstood.....
     
  24. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Brass prep sucks.


    I started cheap, with the Lee trimmers, and they work well, but what a PITA!


    Ended upgrading to the RCBS with the drill adapter and I've never looked back. It makes brass prep suck less.
     
  25. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    I have a Forster trimmer and could never satisfactorily hook up a drill to the power adaptor. Power screw drivers aren't fast enough IME. I finally hooked up a small 120 RPM motor to mine.

    thumbnail_IMG_20220627_214514407.jpg

    I still find doing rifle brass on the Frankford is faster.
     
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