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Thread: LE Wilson Case Trimmer

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Decades ago we had case trim dies which were fast to use excellent in repeatability when the user kept his shell holders clean. Then other brands began to offer the hand cranked lathes. That's a bit sad because the trim dies were (IMHO) all that most of us would ever need; there's no way I'd part with the half dozen I still have.

    My first crank trimmer was Lyman's original "Universal" with a universal shell holder that works quickly and fine. IF I was careful in my work; nothing works well if the user is sloppy. And added lure to the Universal is the add-on tools for it; I love their military crimp removal cutter, their primer pocket and flash hole uniformers, their chamfer/deburr cutters, their outside neck turner. None of it is anything a competitive Bench Rester would lust for but they all do good case work for what most of us would ever need.

    I have used a few other lathe trimmers and liked Wilson's (second) best in spite of it being (IMHO) a bit clumsy and slow to use. I also liked Redding's trimmer because it spins the cases instead of the cutter and that method makes the mouths exactly square with the necks.

    Lee's unique trimmer tool is an excellent trimmer and is very fast, it's a great device for anyone trimming a large batch of cases.

    I don't have to impress anyone; after some 55+ years, the only case length things still in my bench storage boxes are the old Lyman, a few Lee's and the now ancient trimmer dies.

    Thing is, I truly doubt that microscopic differences in case length and mouth squareness, alone, make a measurable difference in anyone's group sizes. Selecting cases for uniformity and good necks, low loaded bullet run-out and well done load development have much bigger influence on groups than case trimmers!

  2. #22
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    alamogunr's Avatar
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    I've had a Wilson trimmer for several years. I have 8 shell holders for most used rifle cartridges. As Alstep pointed out, the .308 shell holder works for derivative cartridges. Same story for .30-06, .223 Rem, 6.5X55 Swede(7.62 Bel/Arg Mauser) These are the ones I have.

    There are differences in shell holders that I knew at one time but now excapes me. Has to do with new vs fired cases.
    John
    W.TN

  3. #23
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    Kevin Rohrer's Avatar
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    Another oft-discussed topic. I use and like mine for small jobs, while the Giraud is used when the brass runs in the thousands.
    Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA-Life, Varmint Hunter's Assn, ARTCA, American Legion, & the West Branch Gun Club.

    Caveat Emptor: Do not trust Cavery Grips/American Gripz from Clayton, NC. He will rip you off.

  4. #24
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    I have three original Wilson trimmers now. I built my own stands for all of them plus one in case I stumble into another unit some day.

    My idea is to acquire some of the other cutter accessories so I can process ex military brass in a sequence.

    One stays as a trimmer for case length, another with the inside mouth debur tool, a third for removing the primer crimp.

    Now I swage my military primer crimps and will continue to do so with a RCBS unit on a single stage press. But there is a small sharp edge that my swagger misses unless I set the unit to the point that my primer pockets are opened up.

    That edge bothers repriming, particularily in the instance of using a progressive load press.

    So the exercise is going to be inserting a case into the Wilson case holder that has had it’s pocket previously swagged. A pass on the trimmer adjusted for length trim, next it is moved to mouth debur and finnaly over to final crimp removal to take care of that pesky sharp edge. Each operation on a separate Wilson trimmer body.

    My plan is perform as many operations to the casings that are desirable and feasible (limited by the sort of accessories that Wilson produces) that can be accomplished with one insertion into the case holder.

    I am a confirmed inside flash hole debur fanatic with all my metallic brass and also cut the depth of my primer pockets to uniform them as well. I like my gun powder burnt well and I do not like high primers. Wilson does not make tools for those operations so they will still be done “old school”.

    Three44s
    Last edited by Three44s; 11-18-2019 at 11:56 AM.
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  5. #25
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    I forgot that I also have primer pocket reamers for the Wilson trimmer. One was given to me by a friend when I had a bunch of crimped 5.56 brass and I bought the large reamer when I fell into some military .30-06. Does get tiresome cranking that handle but overall not too bad.
    John
    W.TN

  6. #26
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    Get the power adapter but keep an oil can handy as the tool runs steel on steel and they warn to lube often.

    Best regards

    Three44s
    Quit fretting about climate change. Itís how much stronger gravity is getting every day that is bothering me!

  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    I have used Wilson case trimmer since 1959. It is slow, but very precise. I have no plans to change now.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  8. #28
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    Actually after I perfected my home made stands the Wilson is not that much slower. With a riser base and a secure hold down you would be surprised how convenient and comfortable running them becomes.

    Three44s
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Three44s View Post
    .... With a riser base and a secure hold down you would be surprised how convenient and comfortable running them becomes.

    Three44s
    The reason I have long had a sturdy 3" swiveling machinist vise at the left end of my loading bench is that I can mount occasional use tools to a wood block and quickly grip them firmly in place. (case trimmer, bullet/neck concentricity gage, Dremel tool, etc.)

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    The reason I have long had a sturdy 3" swiveling machinist vise at the left end of my loading bench is that I can mount occasional use tools to a wood block and quickly grip them firmly in place. (case trimmer, bullet/neck concentricity gage, Dremel tool, etc.)
    No doubt it works well. I went further by including hold downs to also secure the case holder. Each unit I built bolts down on a some what broad base, I used retired plastic food cutting boards.

    One hand rests on my home made unit with no wobbling or shifting and the other running the crank. It is fast and very portable as any decent table is sufficient to work from.

    Three44s
    Quit fretting about climate change. Itís how much stronger gravity is getting every day that is bothering me!

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
    Another oft-discussed topic. I use and like mine for small jobs, while the Giraud is used when the brass runs in the thousands.
    This is pretty much where I am at.

    I've used most of the trimmers on the market and like the Wilson the best. Once you develop a technique its just as fast as the other rotary trimmers. I liked the universal case holder on the Lyman but the chuck finally began to let the case spin. The trimmers that use collets can vary the case length by how you tighten the collet. Not very much, but they can vary a little. The Wilson does not do this.

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy
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    But you don't have to buy a caseholder for every cartridge. One caseholder fits .30-06 family, .25-06, 6.5-06, .270, .280, .338-06, .35 Whelen. Same for .308 based cartridges, and so on.
    After using a Wilson trimmer for 30+ years I cannot imagine reverting to a trimmer that only grips the case head.

  13. #33
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    I am a big fan of the Lyman Universal. Once I sunk the big bucks and acquired a carbide cutter for it it out ran all my other trimmers hands down, however there was always that 2 or 3 thou drift between cases and case mouths slightly uneven.

    The Wilson solved that.

    With my riser base and hold down for the case holder the Wilson is just about as fast as the Universal. The factory riser and hold down would yield the same result but I wanted three of them (one each trimmer body I have) so cost was a factor.
    Last edited by Three44s; 11-22-2019 at 12:27 AM.
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  14. #34
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    I found about the same variations ... until I tried withdrawing the cutter head and reinserting it to complete the trim of each case.

    After I learned how to get consistent lengths from my Lyman Universal I measured and loaded a box of perfectly consistent cases. After firing and resizing them I found a few thou spread.

    So, just to see what difference those length variations actually meant, I refilled them with the same load and once again fired them all at the same target; there was no detectable difference in group size. I immediately quit agonizing over minute case length (and tiny mouth squareness) variations.

    If anyone has found that absolutely consistent case lengths actually affect accuracy I'd like to hear from them.

    I don't average my test groups, averages only serve to make spotty accuracy look better. I want to know my dependable group size so after I find a load that looks good I'll load and shoot twenty rounds and look at the total spread, "fliers" and all; only that way can I KNOW what my reloads can be counted on to do!
    Last edited by 1hole; 11-21-2019 at 10:43 PM.

  15. #35
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    My inside flash hole deburing tool indexes off the case mouth so I have a second reason to want more precision. With a sharp cutter my Wilson’s keep up.

    Three44s
    Quit fretting about climate change. Itís how much stronger gravity is getting every day that is bothering me!

  16. #36
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    How I automated my Wilson Trimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    I have used Wilson case trimmer since 1959. It is slow, but very precise. I have no plans to change now.
    Been using my Wilson trimmer since 1968. I speed up the process with an elec. or battery powered drill. First remove the crank handle and I screwed on a 5/8" nut where the hand crank was. Take the 3/8" drive socket holder that fits into the impact and elec. screw diver sets and insert the socket to fit the nut you screwed onto tool where the crank was.... Harbor Fr. has the 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" socket adapter kits for $3.00 with coupon. Hope I am not too wording decribing such a simple thing. Make sure you put a drop of oil in lube hole on the lathe. I put a drop motor oil to keep the wear factor down. Presently I use Mobil 1 0-20 is what I have. Experiment and adapt your proceedure so that you are comfortable. Fairly quick and accurate too. afish4570

  17. #37
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    I believe it’s 7/16” x 20 TPI (NF) and a 5/8” wrench size for the jam nut. I have looked at using a threaded rod coupler nut or even a High Nut and running a short threaded rod out the back of them turned down on the “outside end” for a drill to chuck up on.

    Keeping the spinning cutter shaft lubed is very important to prevent galling.

    Best regards

    Three44s
    Quit fretting about climate change. Itís how much stronger gravity is getting every day that is bothering me!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check