Reloading the ammunition is an integral part of firearms as it saves you from buying new ammunition. Ever wondered why sometimes a reused cartridge does not fit properly into the loading chamber? The reason behind this problem is the stretching of the cartridge when fired through the gun barrel. To deal with this situation, the case trimming process and the case trimmers became popular.
The case trimmers, as their name suggests, are used for trimming the cartridge case. These machines are a smaller version of the lathe machines and work on the same principle of material removal. The trimming process is expected to be accurate enough to avoid jamming the cartridge in the gun barrel. Before understanding the trimmers, we must consider a few factors.
- Size compatibility: The cartridge size differs for various types of guns. The case trimmer must be compatible with the cartridge size, to accommodate it into the chuck. The current generations of the case trimmers come with adjustable sizes to fit smaller or larger caliber cartridges. The universal case trimmers have replaceable bits that fit different size cartridges.
- Cutter material: The cutting process of the cartridge happens only when it is fed against the cutter. Since most of the cartridges are made up of brass material, the cutter is made up of a tougher material. This allows the trimming of the cartridge at a higher pace while the cutter experiences negligible wear. Selecting a good material is important to prevent frequent resharpening of the cutter.
- Mode of power: a circular motion is needed to feed the case against the cutter. The arrangement of rating the cartridge is done either manually or with an electric motor. It is important to consider the mode of power depending on the trimming process. Choosing an electric motor can decrease trimming time but increase operational costs.
Understanding these facts allows you to narrow down a good case trimmer depending on your purpose. The market for accessories for ammunition is already flooded with various options. This article includes a detailed list of best-case trimmers to ease your selection process. We have also included a buying guide section to help you understand important aspects of the trimmer.
Best Case Trimmer Chart
Best Case Trimmer Reviews
1. Frankford Case Trimmer
Our fort product comes from a user-friendly brand, Frankford Arsenal. It manufactures all types of reloading tools and accessories. Its product range is designed for recreational as well as professional shooters.
The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trimmer is a multifunctional unit. It features over 4 different shafts, each for a unique purpose. The regular trimming shaft houses the ultra-hard HSS cutter tool. It supports the cartridge size of 0.17 Remington, which goes up to the 0.460 Weatherby. The trimmed cases are then sent to the chamfering shaft where a VLD tool removes sharp edges.
With the help of deburring and the pocket cleaning shaft, the trimmed edge gets a good finishing. The heavy-duty electrical motor eliminates the need for manual feed to the timer. The case trimmer also features a built-in storage box where all the tools, collets, and shoulder bushings are stored.
- Electrical motor-driven case trimmer
- Suitable for cartridges size between 0.17 to 0.460 caliber
- Houses HSS trimmer tool, VLD chamfer tool, deburr tool, and primer pocket cleaning tools
- 3 collets and 6 shoulder bushings included
- Built-in storage for accessories
- The universal design of the shafts makes them compatible with various accessories
- It offers a faster and more efficient trimming of cases
- The ergonomic and multifunctional design promotes comfort for the user
- It is one of the buky units available in the market
2. Hornady Case Trimmer
Hornady has been active in the personal security industry for over 7 decades now. It designs and manufactures products like bullets, reloading tools, and ammunition. These products offer good performance and are always priced aggressively.
The Hornady 050140 Cam-Lock CaseTrimmer is a manually-operated trimmer. It features a standard case holder chuck which fits cartridges easily. The cutting head houses a cutter made up of ultra-hard tool steel. With the help of the lever, the cartridges are secured in their place. A trimming depth of 0.001 inches can be achieved, to ensure precise trimming. With size compatibility from 0.22 caliber to a maximum of 0.50 caliber, the trimmer fits all popular cases.
With over 7 different pilots, the trimmer ensures wider compatibility with different cartridges. It has 4 screw holes that can be used for mounting to establish a firm base for the trimmer body. The cam lock is easy to use with a one-touch locking and unlocking feature. With the help of a lever handle, complete control over the trimming process is achieved.
- Lever-operated case trimmer with standard chuck
- Sturdy metallic body with built-in mounting holes
- Compatible with 0.22 caliber to 0.50 caliber
- Ultra-hard trimming tool made up of tool steel
- Includes 7 different pilots
- Cam lock with easy locking and unlocking
- The sturdy body offers stability during the trimming process
- It offers great precision in the trimming process
- The mounting of this unit is very easy
- The accessories are not universal and only work with products from the same brand
3. Lyman Case Trimmer
Our next product comes from Lyman, a brand known for its performance-oriented products. It uses advanced technologies to design its product range. Maintaining proper consumer feedback, the products are upgraded to suit the changing market.
The Lyman Universal Case Trimmer is a lightweight unit. With a simple design, this unit does not compromise performance. The cutting head houses a hard trimming tool that effortlessly removes excess material from the cartridge cases. The case trimmer features over 9 different caliber pilots in the built-in storage slots. As a result, the trimmer is compatible with cases between 0.22 caliber and 0.458 caliber size.
For a constant and controlled feed, it has an integrated handle connected to the cutting head. A ring lets you adjust the micrometer for a precision of 0.001 inches. It also has an upgraded power adapter to turn the manual trimming into an automated process. The power upgrade helps in increasing the output to 250 cases per hour. An adjustable chuck is also provided to hold the longer cartridges securely.
- Lever-operated case trimmer
- Compatible with 0.22 caliber to 0.458 caliber cases
- 9 different caliber pilots included
- A maximum trimming precision of 0.001 inch
- Compatible with power adapter accessory
- Upgradable with automated trimming for 250 cases per hour
- Supports bench mounting
- It offers a wide range of compatibility with cases
- A precise adjustment of 0.001 inches is allowed, thanks to the micrometer
- The universal chuck design eliminates the need for an external shell holder
- The mounting needs readjustment over long usage
4. RCBS Case Trimmer
RCBS was initially founded by a dedicated shooter, in search of high-quality ammunition and reloading equipment. Using die-manufacturing expertise, it quickly developed its own range of products. These products have maintained their quality and reliability all these years.
The RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Case Trimmer features a uniquely designed shell holder. With the help of a pre-loaded spring, the chuck securely holds all the cartridge cases in a straight alignment. This unit has a sturdy metal construction made up of a single die-casting method. The trimming head houses a cutter, capable of efficiently removing excess material. It can trim a wider size of cases, from 0.22 caliber to 0.45 caliber.
This case trimmer comes with 9 different caliber pilots with a tapered design. As a result, the caliber pilots do not wobble during the trimming process. With minor micrometer adjustment, a precision of 0.001 inches can be achieved while trimming the case. With the use of high-quality materials, this unit promises good durability.
- Lever-powered case trimmer with spring-loaded shell holder
- Compatible with case sizes between 0.22 caliber to 0.45 caliber
- Sturdy construction made up of high-quality materials
- Houses cutting tool and 9 different caliber pilots
- Adjustable micrometer with a precision of 0.001 inch
- Supports mounting on bench
- It is compatible with a wider type of cartridge cases
- The overall speed of trimming is fast
- It has a good build quality, which is essential for stability during the trimming process
- The mounting screws are not sufficient for a firm installation
5. LEE PRECISION Case Trimmer
Lee Precision uses its experience of 5 to 6 decades to manufacture a range of ammunition solutions. The products serve as a good alternative for recreational and professional shooters. With good quality and durability, it has garnered popularity amongst consumers.
The Lee Precision 90670 Case Trimmer is the most compact and portable unit on the list. It offers trimming of cartridges on the go, without needing a large setup. It features a steel cutter that efficiently removes extra material from the cartridges. The trimmer is compatible with cartridges sized between 0.670 calibers to 0.680 calibers. It can be mounted over external mechanisms for more versatile performance.
Along with the trimming of the case, it simultaneously performs chamfering and deburring of the trimmed edges. The precision of the case trimmer can be adjusted to a 0.001-inch limit with just a click of the micrometer. The plus point of this unit is that it supports connectivity with a power drill, to turn the manual process into an automated one.
- Manually-powered case trimmer
- Compact and portable design
- Compatible with 0.670 calibers to 0.680 caliber cartridge case
- Upgradeable with power-drill
- Simultaneous trimming, chamfering, and deburring process
- This case trimmer is priced lower than the other options
- It has a user-friendly design and thereby allows easy trimming of cases
- The trimming process does not need measurement or adjustment
- To use this trimmer for different caliber sizes, additional accessories need to be bought separately
6. Redding Case Trimmer
Redding is one of the older brands that develop solutions related to ammunition reloading. By using its expertise, it has introduced new products with the changing times. These products use good quality materials to ensure better durability and performance.
The Redding Model 2400 Case Trimmer is a precision-focused unit. It has an improved micrometer which can be adjusted to a 0.001-inch precision. Due to a sturdy cast iron frame, the case trimmer remains stable during trimming. It houses a titanium Nitride-coated cutter, which efficiently trims the cartridge cases. The size compatibility of this unit ranges from 0.22 caliber to 0.30 caliber.
With over 6 different caliber pilots, the case trimmer caters to a wider range of cartridge cases. The chuck can be adjusted with a push button to secure the cases. It is upgradeable with a power adapter to turn the manual operation into automatic. Two neck cleaning brushes of 0.2 and 0.3 caliber size are also provided with this unit.
- Lever-operated case trimmer
- Micrometer with a precision of 0,001 inch
- Titanium Nitride-coated cutter
- Rigid construction made up of cast iron frame
- Compatible with .17 caliber to 0.50 caliber cases
- Includes 6 caliber pilots sized between 0.22 to 0.30
- Built-in storage for storing the pilots
- 22 and 0.3 caliber neck brushes
- A compact and portable design allows easy transportation and storage of this unit
- As the unit is upgradeable with a power adapter, it becomes suitable for automation
- The chuck is adjustable and hence accommodates a wider type of cases
- It is priced higher than the other competitors on the list
Buying Guide For The Best Case Trimmer
The case trimmers have made it easy to resize the cartridges within less time. These trimmers are important accessories for firearms enthusiasts. We have already gone through the detailed list of the best-case trimmers available in the market. To further understand the importance of a few factors, we advise you to go through this buying guide. These factors control the performance of a case trimmer which is essential for an accurate trimming process.
1. Size Compatibility
Size compatibility is an important factor for case trimmers. The trimmer must fit the cartridge correctly to remove the material at the cutting edge evenly. Uneven trimming can cause sizing issues and even lead to improper refilling of communication. The case trimmer is equipped with various caliber pilots, which fit the same caliber cartridge.
The pilot is fitted on the cutter side which also acts as a guide for the cartridge. It also keeps the cartridge secured during the trimming process. To change length, the spindle of the case trimmer can be adjusted in a horizontal way. This helps in making space for the longer cartridges to fit them properly on the chuck.
2. Cutter Material
The cutter material is important for its own durability and trimming efficiency. The material used for the cutter is usually harder than the cartridge material. This helps in the efficient cutting of the softer material (in this case, the cartridge material is softer). A high-quality material stays sharper and resits any wear for a long time.
Good material will reduce the overall operational time without affecting the precision of the trimming process. Good material also supports a higher depth of cut which eventually removes material in lesser rotations. High-speed steel (HSS) is popularly used for its properties like wear resistance and hardness. The HSS material does not need resharpening even after longer trimming sessions. It is important to check the cartridge material before buying the case trimmer.
3. Mode Of Power
A case trimmer needs continuous rotation for the cutter to start material removal. The cutter head is thereby connected to a power source. This power source is chosen depending on various factors like speed, duration, batch load, etc. A normal hand-crank is popularly used for the case trimmer where few cartridges go under the trimming process. Since humans rotate the handles, there is no need for external power.
For a larger load of cartridges, the cutter head is connected to an electric motor. The motors offer precise control over speed and increase trimming efficiency. Some of the case trimmers also support connection with the electric drill’s motor. The case trimmer is therefore suitable for both manuals as well as electrical power.
4. Body Size
The body size of a case trimmer is also given importance due to various reasons. The case trimmer’s overall size and weight determine the ease of portability. The body contains all the necessary parts of the case trimmer, from the cutter to the holder chuck. The body should offer good stability while using the trimmer. Every body size has its own advantages and disadvantages.
A smaller body is easy to carry due to its lightweight construction while costing less. However, it does not provide stability when the trimming process is being carried out. It also lacks extra space for storing the caliber pilots. A larger body can accommodate various accessories that a trimmer needs. It also has a sufficient weight that offers stability while trimming the case. The large dimension however takes up more storage space. Therefore, the trimmer must be chosen by keeping the space constraints in mind.
Case Trimmer FAQS
Ans: Trimming is done to ensure proper reloading of the cartridge into the gun. The length of the cartridge extends each time it is fired. Over a long period, the length increases to a level it starts hindering the reloading process. To prevent improper fitting, the length of the cartridge case is shortened by using a case trimmer. It also increases the reusability of the cartridge, preventing the user from buying new cartridges.
Ans: The resharpening of the trimmer’s cutter depends on its overall usage. The material of the cutter also affects the durability of sharpness. The material of the cartridge must be softer than the cutter’s material for easy trimming. A regular inspection is also needed to check the sharpness of the cutter. This helps in maintaining the sharpness of the cutter and increases the resharpening intervals.
Ans: Several finishing processes are performed on the cartridge to ensure its accurate loading in the gun barrel. Chamfering and deburring of the trimmed edge are done to remove any sharp corners. Proper cleaning is done to remove any remaining dirt from the inner and outer sides of the trimmed edge. The last stage includes the inspection and polishing of the trimmed edge.
Ans: It is advised to check the cutter and the cartridge material before initiating the trimming process. By using caliber pilots, the cartridge must be properly secured on the cutting surface. The chuck must be fastened tightly to avoid free rotation of the cartridge case when fed to the cutter. The speed must be kept constant to avoid uneven trimming. Ample lubrication is also advised for smooth trimming of the edges.
Case trimmers have become an essential tool for the efficient reading of guns. It helps in resizing the cartridge cases to make them suitable for reloading firearms. The trimming is done so accurately that the diameter and length match the original specifications. This article includes a detailed compilation of the best-case trimmers. A buying guide is provided to understand the technical aspects of these case trimmers. The FAQ section further deals with all the common queries related to the case trimmers. With the help of this decision, we have chosen our favorite option from the list.
- When it comes to choosing a multifunctional unit, the Frankford Case Trimmer is an ideal choice. It is a versatile trimming tool that features several different shafts, each with a unique purpose. The primary shaft is equipped with an ultra-hard high-speed steel (HSS) cutter tool that can trim cases sized between .17 caliber to .460 caliber. Once the cases have been trimmed, they move on to the chamfering shaft where a VLD tool removes any sharp edges. The deburring and pocket-cleaning shafts provide a smooth finish to the trimmed edge. It uses a heavy-duty electric motor to replace the conventional manual operation. Additionally, the case trimmer comes with a built-in storage compartment where all the tools, collets, and shoulder bushings can be conveniently stored.
- If you do not want to halt your recreational shooting activities due to a limited budget, the Lee Precision Case Trimmer will fulfill your wish. This trimmer features a compact and portable design that allows the trimming of cartridge cases on the go. This design eliminates the need for a large setup. It features a steel cutter that effectively removes excess material from cartridges. It is compatible with cartridges sized between .670 caliber to .680 caliber and can be mounted onto external accessories to trim other sizes of cases. The trimmer not only trims the case but also simultaneously performs chamfering and deburring of the trimmed edges. Its precision can be adjusted to a .001-inch limit with a simple adjustment of the micrometer. An added benefit of this unit is that it can be connected to a power drill, converting the manual process into an automated one. We get all these features at a very lower price, making this unit a budget-friendly option.
- With a balanced performance and good pricing, our Lyman Case Trimmer outshines every other option as a value-for-money unit. It is a lightweight unit that delivers high performance despite its simple design. The cutting head is equipped with a hard trimming tool that easily removes excess material from cartridge cases. The trimmer has built-in storage slots that hold 9 different caliber pilots, allowing it to trim cases sized between .22 caliber to .458 caliber. To ensure a constant and controlled feed, the trimmer features an integrated handle connected to the cutting head. The micrometer can be adjusted for precision up to .001 inches. Additionally, it comes with an upgraded power adapter option to enable automation of the trimming process. This upgrade can increase the output to 250 cases per hour. The trimmer also includes an adjustable chuck to securely hold longer cartridges. All these features justified the price tag of this unit, making it a feature-rich and value-for-money deal.