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Thread: pistol case trimmer

  1. #1

    pistol case trimmer

    I have been loading more pistol cases as of late and trimming is getting to be a chore. I have tried lee stuff it works ok at best and time consuming. A non powered trimmer is ok but it take a time and gets old quick. I have been trying to find a power trimmer for pistol brass and seems there is not a lot of choices. I looked at the Giraud power trimmer and it expensive and oddly enough I did not see a cartridge size for the 45 colt. Lyman power case trimmer looks ok as does the RCBS Trim Pro-2 Power Case Trimmer. The rcbs looks like it would be easiest. Any that I am missing or thoughts thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    I have been a long-time user and endorser of the L E Wilson case trimmers. They come "manual", and -- like you -- I found that becomes most tiresome, quite quickly! Hence, I picked up a Milwaukee power screwdriver, and use this to turn cutter. Some pistol brass is kind of a nuisance, as Wilson case holders for some require using a "wedge", which -- albeit it only adds a few seconds to the operation -- indeed, slows it down. Re the .45 Colt, however, a regular case holder works just dandidly.
    I have RCBS, Lyman, and Redding case trimmers, all of which have been retired in favour of the Wilson. The Wilson is not (imho) inexpensive -- BUT -- the repeatable accuracy it affords -- to me -- justifies the purchase price. I've pasted pictures of my Wilson gear; and, a Milwaukee driver like I use. I have seen ad's for "World Quickest..", "World's Best.." -- but have been so happy with the Wilson, I have not explored them.Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    Here's a solution,,, Don't trim Pistol brass unless it is "Grossly Over Length." .45 LC should never need to be trimmed more than once in its life if at all. I have .44 Magnum cases that have been loaded literally dozens of times and never trimed even once.

    Lee makes a little attachment that goes in a drill motor and spins the case that works really well for trimming brass. They also have a wooden ball that fits on the trimming cutter so you can hold onto it easier.

    I have a complete machine shop and have had every trimmer known to man. I used the Lee tools to trim 9x19 to 9x18 and did 500 of them in about 4 hours and this was the fastest and easiest method I could come up with. I tried lots of stuff including lathes and mills, nothing was as fast or easy.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I don't trim pistol brass.
    I figure if its stretched out enough to need trimming, its about at the end of its lifespan anyway.

    I don't shoot big revolver cals., so a taper crimp has always been fine to work well and compensate for case length differences.

    for rifle cases, I have a Hornaday hand crank trimmer.
    I take the hand crank off, and put a drill on the little stub
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy gumbo333's Avatar
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    I use a Lee zip wind up pulling the lawn mower cord. You can trim a bunch fairly fast. I mounted mine on a short 1 x 4 that I can securely attach to my bench then remove easily so it is never in my way. I had a Lyman, with the Lyman you have to precisely set it, but you can also vary the trim length. I gave that to my son. I have an old Wilson, my first trimmer, with a couple collets boxed up somewhere. I like the Lee. Shoot revolvers.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I'm another that does not trim pistol brass. But I would look at the Lee case gauge type trimmer.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I trim my .44 mag cases. I think it gives a more uniform overall crimp. I shoot the majority of my .44 in a rifle. Some that I just trimmed had been loaded about 4 times. Not a big problem for me since I have a RCBS power trim. Very easy once you set it up. It actually goes pretty fast to do a couple hundred. I then deburr and chamfer with the small Lyman hand crank unit about 50 at a time. I want the most accurate crimp I can get out of this rifle due to the fact I use it to hunt. My cases I use in this rifle stretch a bit more also because they arent mild loads. They aren max either. But my observation is they stretch. When reloading for my revolver I wasn't that concerned. But if you want the most consistent crimp the brass should be the same length.
    Last edited by doulos; 12-22-2019 at 07:31 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    I got the Lee zip trim chuck and chucked it into a drill motor, and, like Randy, trimmed a bunch of 9x19 to 9x18. Works well, have to lube the chuck once in a while.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The lee tool is useful and can be ran fairly quickly. I mount the cutter in a drill press or lathe and leave it run. the case holder is in a handle or the tailstock of the lathe. This way Im not waiting for the machine to stop spinning to change the case. A small electric motor with a 1/2" drill chuck mounted would work also. I would like to see lee reduce the cutters shaft to 1/4" diameter. While not easily adjustable the cutter studs pin can be shortened to reduce case length. Or a shim washer under it to leave longer

    Most of the lathe type tools have shafts available for mounting a drill motor to. Some times the handle screw can be removed and a set screw and jam nut used to drive with a drill motor. I find the drill motor to be a little awkward.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy Littlewolf's Avatar
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    i picked up a forster trimmer off ebay pretty cheap and then the 4 5/8" base .452 pilot and drill adaptor less than $80 total to trim my 45colt brass to a consistant length, then the trimmer gathers dust untill i find new to me brass.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I trim pistol brass for a consistent crimp. The RCBS trim pro (electric) is the best to me for powered case trimmers. It doesn't register off the case shoulder so you get a more consistent OAL after trimming.

    I trim 90% of my pistol brass. Its a one time proposition and gives me consistent crimp across the calibers I own.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Learning how to sharpen the lee cutter really helped. I have 2 and they both got very dull after trimming around 500 cases. They would trim other diameters but would eventually get dull there too. Someone posted a how to sharpen post on here then it disappeared. Thank you whoever you are.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master



    atr's Avatar
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    I don't trim pistol brass either,, .38 spl , .357mag or .44mag
    I do keep the brand of brass together and I do keep the same lots of reloaded brass together as that seems to help eliminate wide variations in crimping.
    Death to every foe and traitor and hurrah, my boys, for freedom !

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy


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    I have always used the Lee case trimmer for my bottle neck rifle brass. I chuck the lock stud in a small cordless drill and it goes real fast, a spin or two in the drill and they're done. I trimmed my straight wall pistol brass once when I was beginning. I haven't trimmed it since and it poses no problems.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    tied it once didnt like it .use lee trimmer in a drill for my rifle brass.

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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