Being able to reuse the brass expended after a day of shooting can be a great way for the gun owner to save money and avoid excessive waste. They can gather all of their spent rounds and then reload them for later use. Unfortunately, because case lengthening can occur after firing or when resizing the shells, many times it’s going to need to be trimmed. To handle that job, the consumer is going to want to buy the best case trimmer available. We’ve done quite a bit of research on this subject, and we feel that we have found the best ones available. Anyone who wants to check them out only has to continue reading, and we’ll introduce them to these awesome trimmers.
Quick Summary of the Best Case Trimmers
- Best Overall: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Trimmer (Amazon) – Review
- Also Recommended: Lyman Universal Trimmer (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider: Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Trimmer
When a gun owner needs to trim and prep their brass to the desired case length and do it with absolute precision, then they’re going to want to buy the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series. This case trimmer is designed to provide the user with the precision and speed they need to get the job done.
This product uses an adjustable collet system that’s been designed and perfected to handle shouldered cases that range in caliber from 0.17 Remington to the 0.460 Weatherby. This model also has a storage box that’s been built right into its design. This allows extra tools to be easily stored and retrieved for the trimming process.
What comes with this case trimmer? It comes with 6 shoulder bushing, 3 collets, a chamfer tool, a deburring tool, and pocket cleaning tools. This model can not only trim thanks to its three output shafts but can also chamfer, deburr, and pocket-clean casings as well. And because this system is made out of steel and aluminum, it’s designed to last for years and to hold up to heavy use. It also features HSS cutters that are extra hard, and are designed to stay sharp through hundreds, if not thousands, of different round trimmings. These cutters make this case trimmer highly effective and a pleasure to use.
One of the things that impressed us was how easy this unit was to use. Once the user has precisely set the cut length, then they can get perfect results every single time without fail. And unlike other motorized systems, this one not only does an amazing job of cutting brass, but it does it without making a lot of noise. It’s also a machine that feels extremely sturdy, so we have no fear that it’s going to fail before its time. All in all, we believe that this is one of the best case trimmers around and one that consumers are going to be happy with, despite it’s higher cost.
Also Recommended: Lyman Universal Trimmer
Lyman is a company that knows that consumers want a case trimmer that’s not only reliable but also affordable. Although there are certainly trimmers that are better than this one, this one has the advantage of being affordable enough for just about anyone to own. Sure, this product isn’t motorized, so the user is going to have to use a bit of elbow grease, but it does effectively do its job. Besides, if the consumer does decide to turn this trimmer into an automatic one, all they have to do is purchase an optional power adapter that’s sold separately. We don’t feel like this is a necessity, however, because in our opinion it works well as a manual trimmer itself.
One thing that we would like to say about this trimmer is that it’s one of the most versatile trimmers we’d have the pleasure of using. It’s capable of accommodating shells that range in caliber from 0.17 to 0.458. And it does this without the consumer having to spend extra money on shell holders or case collets. This system comes with 9 trimmer pilots that can be used for trimming some of the most popular pistol and rifle calibers. This includes 9mm, 35-caliber, 44-caliber, and 45-caliber guns, as well as 22-cal, 24-caliber, 27 and 30-caliber rifles. This trimmer also has coarse and fine adjustments up to 1/1000th of an inch.
Another thing that we feel is worth mentioning is that this product is manufactured in the United States, so consumers can be assured that it’s a high-quality product that’s going to provide them with years of use. Of course, if the consumer thinks that the manual nature of this trimmer is a little too slow or tedious for their needs, they can purchase the optional power drill attachment. With that optional attachment, the consumer can do a lot more trimming. However, with that being said, we don’t feel that is necessary, and that this product works well on its own as a manual unit.
Also Consider: Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer
Most people who purchase this case trimmer do so because of its low price, but we feel that it’s more than its price tag and is actually a decent trimmer. It’s designed to restore fired cases to their original length and do so regardless of the thickness of the cartridge’s rim. This model is equipped with a lever lock, a micro-adjust cutter that allows for 0.001-inch adjustments, and it’s made with a large diameter cutting head that’s made of steel and is designed for trimming cases up to .50 cal shells. This product also comes with 7 popular pilot sizes that include .22 caliber, 6mm, 270 cal, 39 cal, 38 cal, 45 cal, and 7mm sizes.
Unfortunately, we do have to say that this case trimmer isn’t without its flaws. One of the things we didn’t like was that it can only be used with Hornady shell holders and pilots. It also doesn’t come with a cam-lock trimmer cutter, a power trimmer adapter, or a deburring tool. All of those things have to be purchased separately and can end up contributing significantly to the cost of the unit.
All of this means that the consumer might end up purchasing this case trimmer to save a bit of money, but after buying all of the additional or optional components, they’ll probably end up spending as much as they would for any other trimmer.
Another thing that we weren’t fond of was that the setup learning curve was a bit high and once the consumer had changed adjustments, it can be difficult to get back to the original adjustment precisely. After a little bit of practice with this unit, we had fewer problems, but it is worth mentioning. Overall, we feel that this is a decent case trimmer that does a good job if the consumer is willing to spend a little bit of extra money and take a little bit of extra time using it.
A Gun Owner’s Guide To Case Trimmers
Since choosing the best case trimmer and/or using that trimmer effectively isn’t something that everyone knows how to do, we’ve decided to write a guide on this subject. We hope that this guide will illuminate this subject for many consumers and help them not only choose a model that suits them but also helps them use it to the best of their ability.
The Consumer Should Ask Themselves Some Important Questions
As they begin their search for the best case trimmer, the consumer should know just exactly what they’re looking for. And to do that, they need to ask themselves some important and hard-hitting questions. Below is a small selection of some of the questions the consumer should be willing to ask themselves. If they can provide answers to the following questions, then they’ll be one step closer to finding a case trimmer that suits their needs.
- Is the case trimmer easy to load and/or unload?
- What additional accessories need to be bought to get the trimmer to work?
- What functions can the trimmer do for the user?
- Does the trimmer make a clean cut?
- How accurate is the trimmer?
- Is a manual or automatic cutter needed?
- What is the cutter made out of?
- What is the base of the trimmer made out of?
- How much does the case trimmer cost?
How To Use The Case Trimmer
After the consumer has decided on a case trimmer, they are then going to want to put that trimmer to good use. Although every trimmer is different from every other trimmer, most of them have a similar operation method, so we can outline the basic procedure below. As is the case with any piece of equipment, however, it’s important to use the case trimmer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Step One: Setup Pilots & Collets
The first step to using the case trimmer is to set it up. And the first part of setting it up is to select the right pilot and the right collet for case trimming. The pilot is inserted into the cutter-shaft, and then the collet is placed into the collet screw. When that’s been done, place the case into the trimmer and move on to step two.
Step Two: Adjust For Length
The pilot then needs to be moved into the neck of the case, and the crank handle should push the bottom of the case against the base of the collet. Once the cases’ base is firmly in place, the consumer should then tighten the collet. After that’s been done, the consumer should ensure the cutter’s teeth come into contact with the neck of the case. After that, the stop collar’s coarse adjustment screw should then be tightened.
Step Three: Make A Trial Cut & Then Adjust The Stop Collar
The next step is to make sure that the case length is accurate. One way to do that is to do a trial cut and then compare that cut to the measurements required. Once it’s been determined that the case length is indeed correct, the consumer can then worry about making the fine adjustment they need to make to set up the stop collar. This can be done by turning the stop collar fine adjustment screw clockwise to increase case length or counter-clockwise to decrease case length. When the stop collar has been finely adjusted, it needs to be locked into place using the adjustment lock screw. A final test cut should be performed by the consumer to ensure that it stops at the proper case length. If it doesn’t, then the consumer might need to readjust their setup. Now the cases can be trimmed.
Some Final Tips
Before we leave our readers to their case trimming endeavors, we’ve decided to leave them with a few final tips that will help them get the most out of their case trimmers. By keeping the following tips in mind, the consumer can ensure that their case trimming is performed perfectly—regardless of whether their case trimmer is a premium model or a budget one.
- Make to save a master case, label it and set it aside for future reference. That will save setup time in the future.
- Make sure that the cutter shaft is lubricated with oil every once in a while.
- Make sure to read all of the trimmer’s instructions and follow them to the letter.
- Use a dust cover on the trimmer whenever possible.
- Keep the work area clean of all unnecessary tools and/or debris.