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Case Trimming Conundrums

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by antsi, Apr 3, 2006.

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  1. antsi

    antsi Member

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    Went to go load up some .223 today and I find that after sizing, my cases are coming out too long.

    This will be the third loading on these cases (PMC factory load, first round of reloads, and now). I shoot these out of a DCM-type AR-15. I use a Dillon 550b. The purpose of this ammo is informal target shooting, and I will probably shoot a high power match or two this Summer (again, I am a casual shooter, not a hyperfanatical competitor).

    Before now, I haven't had to trim cases. .223 is the only rifle caliber I reload, and the first time I loaded this stuff, it was within spec and fairly consistent without needing to be trimmed. My other reloading is all pistol calibers and they don't seem to "grow" much.

    So, my options:
    1) Forget this brass. It isn't worth messing with. Just buy some new brass, or some pre-prepped brass. For those who do buy prepped brass, where do you get it?
    2) Get the expensive Dillon motorized case trimming set up. Unfortunately this isn't really in the budget right now, so it really isn't an option. Could wait and budget for it, I guess, but it would take a while to save up.
    3) Get some kind of less expensive tool for trimming brass. I intend to load about 500 rounds this time, so hopefully it would be some method that allows a fair amount of throughput without too much hassle.

    Do any of you have any suggestions on any of these three options?
     
  2. nvshooter

    nvshooter member

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    Too-long cases

    I trim my .223s every time I shoot 'em. I use the simple, handheld Lee trimmer set-up with a custom upgrade that I won't go into here, unless someone would specifically ask. I can trim a case to length and chamfer it, inside and out, in 24 seconds. I will sit for hours and do hundreds of them in a night or on a snowy, Nevada winter's day. I like the fact that I have prepped my brass to its utmost. This means only me, my gun, my load, the weather, my bench set-up or the stars in heaven could be screwing up my accuracy. I like to improve my odds, you know...
     
  3. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    If you don't trim once in a while, the neck will get long enough that it impacts on the end of the chamber. When you then fire your gun, the bullet will have interference leaving the case and pressure will rise and accuracy will deteriorate. You really must trim for safty and accuracy.

    I don't trim every time though. If you figure 24 seconds a case, it would be 40 minutes to trim 100 cases. I have better things to do with 40 minutes than trim cases that are in spec. I use a Lyman case length gauge that has lengths of most of the cartridges I shoot. It takes me maybe 5 seconds to see if a cartridge is too long; if it's too long, I trim it and if it isn't, I don't. If I have a batch of cases many of which need trimming, the I'll trim the whole batch just on general principles.

    If you're shooting a lever action, pump or semiauto gun, you pretty much have to full length resize and may even need small base dies. For bolt action or break open guns, you have some other options to minimize case lengthing during the resizing process and thus minimize trimming:

    1. Neck size only with a neck sizer die.
    2. RCBS X-sizer dies (you might even get by with this in a semiauto, pump or lever action).
    3. Lee Collet dies (you don't even need lube with this type which saves more time).

    My case trimmer is a Foster hand crank model; not particularly high tech. I really should get something faster.

    Of course, the above applies almost exclusively to bottle neck cases; you should rarely if ever have to trim a straight wall case.
     
  4. Matt Dillon

    Matt Dillon Member

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    I too use a Lee trimmer, with the cartridges chucked up to a cordless drill. It doesn't take 24 seconds to trim, but I have never timed the operation. I trim EVERY case, pistol or rifle, and never have difficulty chambering my brass. This is a good activity to do while watching the news, movies, or other activities in the house, and I can sit in my easy chair and trim over a paper plate all evening, while it is blazing away in the garage and outside here in tropical Houston, TX.:)
     
  5. greyarea

    greyarea Member

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    I use the lee also but in a slightly unusual way. I chuck the cutter/pilot in my drillpress and clamp the shellholder in its vise. This is very quick easy and cheep if you have a drillpress currently.
     
  6. P-32

    P-32 Member

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    I load a bunch of 223 for service rifle comps. I use a Forster hand cranked trimmer. After the case is sized, a few cranks on the handle and we are done. I could size, trim and prime a 100 cases in that hour.
     
  7. GunAdmirer

    GunAdmirer Member

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    I also use the Lee trimmer system while watching TV or otherwise wasting time. It does a nice clean job and is cheap. I think it is a great product.

    The trimmed case length came to right between the maximum and trim to lengths.

    The Lee chamfer tool works well too and is also cheap.
     
  8. 30Cal

    30Cal Member

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    I use the Lee hand tool and a drill press or cordless drill. Takes me about 10sec a pop including the chamfer and deburr afterwards. It's no Gracy or Giraud, but for $6, I'm not going to complain.

    Don't buy any trimmer with a hand crank (unless you can easily hitch a motor onto it).

    Ty
     
  9. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    If you are reloading for accuracy, you should *always* trim your rifle brass, even if it is not above maximum case length. This is to achieve consistency.

    1. I don't think anyone sells completely prepped brass. GI Brass sells unfired pull down 5.56 brass, so technically that should be under maximum case length. But even then, I'd resize and trim the brass for consistency. Most people I know resize and trim brand new brass.

    2. I honestly haven't heard much about the Dillon motorized case trimmer. I think the only reason people buy it is because it has the 'Dillon' name on it. You should get the Giraud trimmer if you want to go motorized.

    3. If you want a manual trimmer, I'm a big fan of the LE Wilson trimmer with the Sinclair clamp mount.

    I do a lot of reloading for 5.56 NATO spec loads since all the heavy bullet commercial ammo for .223 is loaded to SAAMI spec. I do fine with the LE Wilson trimmer and the RCBS trimmer. The RCBS trimmer is faster but the LE Wilson trims more square in my opinion.
     
  10. Matt-man

    Matt-man Member

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    The Dillon RT-1200, IMHO, is not a very good system for trimming rifle cases unless you have a case feeder. If you have a case feeder then you can automate trimming to some degree - just pull the handle on the press. Otherwise, it's pretty expensive for a motorized trimmer that doesn't chamfer & debur, and I don't see any advantage to having the trimmer mounted on the press.

    I've used the RCBS Trim Pro trimmer, powered by a cordless drill, and it works fairly well. The 3-way cutter upgrade that chamfers and deburs while trimming is worthwhile. It's not the fastest but it gets the job done. I currently use the Giraud, and I can trim/chamfer/debur 400 cases in an hour.
     
  11. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    RCBS Case Trimmer 2. does everything I want it to do. Trim cases. How many can I do in an hour?? Hell I don't know...Never counted. Not in that much of a hurry to worry about it. This is a hobby you know...
     
  12. 30Cal

    30Cal Member

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    Really?? Hmmmm... That's pretty fast. I just so happen to have a bucket with 400 cases out in the garage--I can time you!

    ;)

    Ty
     
  13. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I've got an RCBS. I took off the crank handle and found a metric cap screw with a hex head that was the correct thread. Put a hex driver in a drill and and a socket and you're good to go for cheap

    FWIW...I trim .200 off .30-30's to make .357 Herrett. Takes a couple minutes hand cranking or 10-15 seconds under power.
     
  14. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Redneck2...You have a photo of that set up? Or two...??:)
     
  15. Matt-man

    Matt-man Member

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    The RCBS power drill adapter kit works just like this. It consists of a socket-head cap screw and a ball-end hex driver that you chuck in the drill. With the ball-end hex driver you don't have to get perfectly lined up with your drill. You can find the same pieces at a hardware store for a couple bucks.

    Hey, if you want to time somebody, give them to Chris Z. He's faster than I am. :D
     
  16. SingleStack

    SingleStack Member

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    Dillon 1200

    I just bought a Dillon 1200. I didn't have a clear idea of how I was going to set it up for .223, but after calling them today think I'll follow their suggestion, which is to set up a tool head (for a 650) with FL sizer (I use a SB die) on station 1 and the timmer at station 2. The trim/sizer die resizes the case, but doesn't resize the inside of the neck, which makes the resizer at station 1 necessary. It will likely be a fast set up this way. The only concept I don't like (besides the price) is that it doesn't chamfer or deburr, but was thinking of skipping this.
     
  17. P0832177

    P0832177 member

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    You need to chamfer and deburr the cases. If you do not chamfer the case mouth you will more then likely collapse the case neck trying to seat the bullet! And, it will really probably have a greater impact on your accuracy.

    Hey you should of bought the Giraud!

    Doug makes the best!
     
  18. SingleStack

    SingleStack Member

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    All this talk of the Giraud is killing me -- easy to use, collects the brass shavings, chamfers and deburs. Now, is Dillon's no BS return policy really so? I'm seriously thinking of sending the 1200 and .223 size/trim die back to them for a refund.
     
  19. Dave R

    Dave R Member

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    How long are your .223 cases? Most commercial cases are over the max length in the reloading manuals. This is not an excuse to avoid trimming, just a note that it may not be panic time yet.

    If you reload centerfire rifle, though, you WILL need to trim eventually, or you'll be throwing away a lot of good brass.

    One other cheap option...Lee makes trim dies. Real simple, the extra length of brass sticks out the top of the die. You file off the excess, then chamfer. Slow, but cheap.
     
  20. antsi

    antsi Member

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    Thanks for all the input, folks.

    I got a Lyman hand crank case trimmer (it also has the drill adaptor as an accessory). It seems to work fine.
     
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