Three Best Case Trimmer in 2021

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Trimming cases is a job that every reloader looking to recycle their cartridges do. You can’t skip the job unless you’re up to purchasing a new one every time you load those bullets. And back in the days, you have no other ways than using a manual trimmer by turning your hand on the case that has been put on the holder.

It simply takes way too much time.

Seeing that the method isn’t exactly the most effective or maybe how your recent trimmer is probably losing its edge it used to have when you first had it, here’s the review you’ve been waiting for. The case trimmer you should get next for a better reloading experience!

How does a case trimmer work?

Various case trimmers work differently from each other. Almost all companies produce both the manual and automatic prep center. Manual case trimmer has a lock and handles turning system that has been made more convenient and precise. While the handles were initially made to be manually turned, they can be easily replaced with a driller to fasten the whole process.

Before trimming, one has to find the right case holder and size it by trimming one case before hand or follow the manuals that come with it. After you size the first case you trim, adjust it and there, you have got your trimming template. The case holder uses a sort of locking system by turning to loosen and tighten.

Lee trimming system is different in that it makes use of the reloading press. You only need to adjust the length of the screw and manually turns the handle to trim it. While a prep center is automated with three different trimmers. There’s a small adjustment needed depending on the length of the cartridge you want and the other two are for cleaning the mouth of the brass.

Top 3 Best Case Trimmer in 2021

These 3 case trimmers have their own strengths and can depend on your own preferences. Each brand has a different type of case trimmers and you may have your own preferences or budget that you want to stand-by.

1. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep SystemThe Frankford Arsenal is the best case trimmer that works differently and amazingly quick for us. It has 4 different functions. It trims, chamfers, deburrs and cleans your primer socket in 5 seconds. The whole set is portable and all the tools can be kept in the case that’s attached to the machine.

The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep come with the four mentioned tools, 3 collets, and 6 shoulder bushings to trim various cartridges into the sizes that you want.

Pros:

  • Quiet even though the machine turns three tools at once due to the fact that they are not necessarily turning like a drill, but at just enough speed to trim the cases at the right length. The rubber isolator at the feet also prevents vibration and dampens the noise.
  • Wide capability: Trims cases from .17 Remington to .460 Weatherby by adjusting the bullet with the right collet and shoulder bushing.
  • One template for all: After you get the right collet and bushing, you install it into the trim socket, lock it and adjust the length which has a visible mm knob.
  • 4 functions at once: Other case trimmers come with only trimming but this prep center also has deburring, chamfering and even cleaning the primer sockets in one run.
  • The adjustable position allows you to work in the most convenient position for you. You can place it face up, horizontal or even turn it upside down; whichever works best for you!
Cons: The plastic structure can make it seem a bit flimsy and the chamfering, as well as deburring tools, seems to wobble slightly while they don’t really change the results that still make your bullets look smooth.

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2. Hornady 050140 Cam-Lock Case Trimmer

Hornady 050140 Cam Lock Case TrimmerThe case trimmer here works with brass from Hornady only and makes it the choice for those who use the brand. It has easy prep and no electricity needed, while it’s manual and has to be turned by hand. But it’s a great choice for those of you who look forward to simplicity (and budget!). Comes in red color.

The trimmer can be attached to the bench and comes with 7 pilots for various mouth sizes. Adjusting it is as easy as locking the brass on the right case holder and adjust the length of the trimmer so it’ll stop at the right point. The handle is designed to allow you to use your palm to turn the handle and trim. Rinse and repeat!

Pros:

  • Simplicity is the great thing about using case trimmers like this if you don’t like having machines work the job and trim too much before you see it.
  • Hand-drill (optional) can be mounted instead to trim them faster, just place it at the right position to get it to stand
  • Affordable compared to prep centers and also works with the case holders that you probably already have from Hornady.
  • Range – trims case mouth of various sizes with additional pilots can be bought separately.
  • Accurate and quick as it trims cases down to 1000th of an inch and cycling each case is as easy as pulling out the trimmer, loosening the cartridge, and tighten them again.
Cons: You need the energy to turn the handle, something that automated machine can do without making your arm sore. While it can be changed to a drill, a driller is generally a little too fast and hot to trim a case. And you still need to chamfer & deburr them. Lastly, it’s strictly for Hornady’s brass only as you need the case holders of the same brand as well.

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3. Lyman Universal Trimmer with 9 Pilot Multi-Pack Trims .17 Cal to .458 Cal

Lyman Universal Trimmer with 9 Pilot Multi-Pack TrimsLyman Universal Trimmer works similarly to the Hornady’s. The major differences are in the color and the handle’s shape. While the Hornady’s shape is much like a flattened cone, Lyman’s uses a knurled handle which can be changed into a drill as well. It can also be attached to a power adapter which is sold separately. And it comes in the color of orange.

Similarly, Lyman trimmer case can be screwed to the bench as the offset is provided there. It comes with 9 different pilots instead of 7 to give even better precision depending on cartridge size. The brass is locked in place similar to the Hornady’s; loosening and tightening the brass by turning the lever can easily be repeated.

Pros:

  • Simplicity is the great thing about using case trimmers like this if you don’t like having machines work the job and trim too much before you see it.
  • Hand-drill (optional) can be mounted instead to trim them faster, just place it at the right position to get it to stand
  • Affordable compared to prep centers and also works with the case holders that you probably already have from Hornady.
  • Range – trims case mouth sizes from .17 to .458 and 9 pilots are included with this trimmer.
  • NO case holders! As opposed to the Hornady’s that requires them, this trimmer case is truly universal for any brass so long as they are within the range of the pilots available. Simply lock it in place and you are ready to go.
  • Accurate and quick as it trims cases down to 1000th of an inch and cycling each case is as easy as pulling out the trimmer, loosening the cartridge, and tighten them again.
Cons: You need the energy to turn the handle, something that automated machine can do without making your arm sore. Additionally, the knurled handle is less effective than the Hornady’s. While it can be changed to a drill, a driller is generally a little too fast and hot to trim a case. And you still need to chamfer & deburr them.

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Related post:

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Things to consider before choosing a case trimmer

Things To ConsiderBefore you rush to the Amazon to get that new prep center or case trimmer, be sure that you’ve done a quick homework on them. They might not look that complicated, but choosing the right one will save you the pain of turning the handle hundreds of times while pouting or bewildered by the automated machine that seems to screw with your usually precise feelings.

  • Budget: With prep centers that runs on electricity and additional tools, you are expected to pay much more for a single device. It may cost 75% to twice the price of a trimmer case plus chamfering and deburring tools. You also need to think of the additional pilots that you need to buy for your brass.
  • Brand: Some trimmers are brand-specific, meaning you can’t use other trimmers on them. It could be because of the case holders or collets (which is often the only reason). If you use mostly Hornady’s products, you know that you’re not left with much choice but to use their trimmer tool. Or you can opt to get a prep center with suitable collets and shoulders brushing.
  • Capacity: Comparably, prep centers trim, chamfer, deburr and clean prime sockets much faster than a simple case trimmer. This means you are preparing more in a short amount of time. At the same time, automatic chamfering and deburring may not be recommended for beginners as you may instead sharpen the mouth too much.
  • Personal preference: Some people love being able to turn the handle and feel the brass being cut. You can also see how far it goes and if it’s clean-cut, or still require a couple of turns. With a prep center, it may cut a little too much at times, but high-quality ones generally don’t let happen.
  • Noise: A trimmer case with a drill as the handle obviously makes much louder noise. A prep center on the other hand, not so much. This is because a prep center is not turning as fast as a drill; just enough to cut the brass quick. The Frankford that we recommended is also great for not making a loud noise considering there are 4 different tools turning at the same place.
  • Electricity: Prep centers use electricity while turning handles don’t.
  • Convenience: A prep center is a little more complicated to prepare at first as you need to attach the tools to the machine and then choose the right collet and shoulder brushing. You have to lock it at just the right tightness. While a case trimmer is simpler to use with the right size of pilots and case holders attached and the right gap of a brass length set up.[x

Advantages of Having a Case Trimmer

A lot of times, we see brass in much less good condition, but not at the size we want. Others might notice that the mouth is a little cracked and wants to salvage what’s left by trimming the cracked edge. Whichever it is, here’s a good reason to get a case trimmer:

  • No need to buy new cartridges
  • Trim within seconds, especially if you get a prep center, everything is in one place and you don’t need to buy separate tools or be bothered to manually put pressure on your hand while trimming.
  • Salvage unused cartridges, such as the ones that you found or have been shot before. After tumbling them, you can trim them for other uses or salvage brasses that you found in ranges.

Conclusion

Once you get your case trimmer, you’ll know how much time you will be able to save in the long-run. You don’t have to worry about buying new cartridges every time you want to reload. A case trimmer isn’t exactly costly considering the cutters and pilots can be used for a very long term.

The Frankford is the best value that we have to recommend due to how there are many tools available in a single device. The Lyman is our next favorite guy being a universal trimmer and trims a brass like a pro. The Hornady is a great addition for Hornady lovers and we love the handle shape that makes it easy to turn and trim with the palm of your hand.

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AUTHOR
Hans Wimberly
Hi. I`m Hans Wimberly. My hobbies are fishing and hunting. I use a lot of tools for my housework. If you want to choose the best gear, my experience will be useful for you. Thanks for your attention.

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6 thoughts on “Three Best Case Trimmer in 2021”

  1. Thanks for the reviews on this and other equipment. I think I heard you say to trim then rotate the brass 180 degrees and trim again to make sure it’s square. If the first trim isn’t square, rotating the brass 180 and trimming again will not make it square, it will make the next shaped like a tubular spearhead. Sloped so slightly you can’t see it, bu tit will not be square. If the machine doesn’t trim square on the initial insertion, it is defective

    Reply
  2. Hi Gavin thanks for the review, However, how does the Lyman compare to your earlier reviews of the L.E. Wilson case trimmer with the micrometer and slow speed drill attachment you reviewed. BTW I always enjoy your video however I get confused as which you recommend since you seem to review something new every week. Therefore which I would buy is always a toss-up when comparing similar tools with all the reviews you have published. In addition, I will be waiting to hear your final recommendation for Single Stage press reviews you have mentioned in a shoot out.

    Reply
  3. This is a very good presentation as are all of your discussions that you provide to us. I would like to suggest that when you evaluate a (new product) that a comparison be made to another product of the same function in order to benchmark the results of the new product. Of all your products, you may have the opinion of a “favorite” and why for comparison to the new product evaluations.

    Reply
  4. I used mine for the first time yesterday for 30-06 brass. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to adjust and use. Now I don’t dread trimming rifle brass. Now they need to come up with some kind of adapter for straight walled brass.

    Reply
  5. A quick comment to the folks talking about the varying trim lengths; those aren’t a result of this case trimmer being “inaccurate”. Any case trimmer that uses the case shoulder to index (such as the Giraud, WFT, Frankford Arsenal, Lyman etc.) will only cut as accurately as your shoulder bump. You’ll notice in the video he’s getting varying trim lengths on the .308 batches; this is most likely a result of him using mixed headstamp brass, unannealed brass that has a mixed number of firings; or his sizing die is setup to ‘over bump’ the shoulder beyond what is required, and you’re seeing the varying springback in the brass. Regardless, it’s not an issue with the trimmer. The adjustment on where the trimmer indexes never changes/moves.

    You can think of any ‘shoulder indexing’ case trimmer as effectively the same thing as a trimming headspace comparator. Any deviation in the brass is going to show up in your trim lenghts. As a result, to get an accurate trim (within .001 across ~100 cases), the rest of your process needs to be wire tight (same headstamp, annealing each firing, dies setup properly). That said, having a few thousandths (.001-.005) difference in brass length is not going to affect your groups at all, at any range, or any discipline.

    83

    Reply
  6. Sorry Mate but it is incorrect to say that the Hornady Trimmer will only trim Hornady Brass. I have one and it will trim any brand of brass.

    However you do have to use Hornady Shell Holders the the center hole of which is slightly larger than other Manufacturers. The centre hole of other Shell Holder brands will not allow the locking pin of the Trimmer to protrude and lock the case.

    My experience is with .308 and .222 brass of various makes.

    I have tried them all including Wilson and I prefer the Hornady over all others.

    Good review nonetheless.

    Reply

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