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Thread: Case prep

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master

    imashooter2's Avatar
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    Case prep

    Reloading for me has always been a means to an end. Usually shoot more for the same money, sometimes superior accuracy or ammo for competition that you just can’t buy. I don’t mind most of the reloading tasks. I even enjoy some of it… casting for instance is almost therapeutic. But rifle case prep is the worst, and the worst of that is trim and deburr.

    I’m in the middle of a 522 case batch of 300 BLK. I formed them all yesterday and now about 150 into trim and deburr my arthritis is yelling at me. Had to take a break and post this rant.

    -sigh- Nothing for it except to work it to death. Back to it.
    ”We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, yet they are still lying.” –Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    My sympathies shooter, I feel your pain. At 75, Arthur visits daily, usually the hands and hips.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Yea, I just got done prepping a bucket of LC 308 brass.

  4. #4
    I agree completely.

    The "solutions" for rifle case trim and deburr out there, and yes I am including the "amazing super all fixing all knowing" ones like WFT and similar from various small manufacturers, as well as the big name ones, are disappointing at best involving holding cases by hand or trimming from the shoulder instead of the head. A serious lack of innovation here. What is needed is a tool that:

    a) trims from the head
    b) cuts repeatably +/- .001" with easy adjustment of .001" (doesnt have to be micrometer, but should be easy to precisely adjust it to 3 decimal places)
    c) does not require you to hold anything by hand
    d) works on a progressive or single stage, automatically activating
    e) trims and deburs inside and out
    f) has a positive termination that does not require you to "feel" or "hear" when its done trimming

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    dillon rapid trimmer is an option when doing large lots of brass

  6. #6
    Boolit Master JoeJames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcslotcar View Post
    Yea, I just got done prepping a bucket of LC 308 brass.
    Oh man! I did a tub of LC awhile back. More than half needed extreme trimming. Not sure what it had been shot in, but it sure had lengthened. My cousin said we'd all be better off if we just shot straight wall rifle cartridges.
    Britons shall never be slaves.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Motorized Lyman trimmer. RCBS neck turner, motorized with drill. Arthur and I don't like each other. he usually wins.
    Whatever!

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    JoeJames
    Used to get a lot of 7.62x51 (308) that had been fired in M60 machine guns. Some of those chambers where really "generous" . Lots of trimming and the first sizing was a chore.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I don't mind trimming brass when I am converting it to another caliber. I loathe and detest trimming commonly available brass.

    I have tried: 1. The Lyman (Universal I think) with a drill for power. Don't like it, the adjustments are sketchy at least in my mind.
    2. The Forrester, Liked the collet holder, too bad I only have one pilot for it. If you screw the handle off you can tigten a drill chuck tight enough to trim brass and not hurt the threads.
    3. The Lee system (the one available twenty years ago) powered by a drill is much easier than doing by hand. I never tried the zip trim; I got tired of pulling strings on lawnmowers, why would I want to do the same thing to trim brass?

    If you can live with the length Lee thinks you need, it may be the best system out there.

    Robert

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have used the old Lee system. I find it no better or worse than the RCBS I’m using now. At least the RCBS lever locking system is convenient for changing cases. I deburr with a hand held RCBS cutter. Just kills my wrists and fingers. I keep looking at the motorized case prep centers, but haven’t managed to pry open my wallet yet…
    ”We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, yet they are still lying.” –Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master JoeJames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paper Puncher View Post
    JoeJames
    Used to get a lot of 7.62x51 (308) that had been fired in M60 machine guns. Some of those chambers where really "generous" . Lots of trimming and the first sizing was a chore.
    That was exactly what I figured. Lot of trimming, and lot of case lube.
    Britons shall never be slaves.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    The topic of case prep sure invokes a whole range of emotions amongst reloaders/handload eras and some very choice comments.

    As mostly a varmint/predator hunter I embrace case prep as likely the most influential activity that enhances accuracy the right after rifle selection and load development.

    Once your brass is “prepped” it will now serve its owner with little intervention for quite a number of firings unless it’s loaded overly hot or shot in an oversized chamber, and yet, great numbers of shooters get very animated and angry at the mere mention of the topic.

    Three44s
    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207

    “There is more to this than dumping lead in a hole.”

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    RCBS has an adjustable cutting head that does all 3 reasonably well. The trim 0ro II with motor and universal case holder takes a lot of the physical stress out of the job. But it is slow. The adjusting has a fine control but, trial and error still rule.
    QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    I do my rifle stuff in batches of 1000 for 7.62 and .223. Then lots of 500 for the others.

    I'll spread it out over a few days, doing one aspect one day- like trimming, then another evening for de burring, and another for
    primer pocket cleaning, etc. using as many power tools as possible.

    Then priming, charging, and seating on a single stage in batches of a 3-5 hundred per evening goes by pretty fast.
    It works for me without much dread or getting too bored.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    I do my rifle stuff in batches of 1000 for 7.62 and .223. Then lots of 500 for the others.

    I'll spread it out over a few days, doing one aspect one day- like trimming, then another evening for de burring, and another for
    primer pocket cleaning, etc. using as many power tools as possible.

    Then priming, charging, and seating on a single stage in batches of a 3-5 hundred per evening goes by pretty fast.
    It works for me without much dread or getting too bored.
    +10 For common sense!

    A fellow member loaned me his Lyman Prep Center and I am amazed at how many operations you can accomplish with minimal wear and tear on your hands and joints. The spindles point straight up and the weight of your hand and arm work in your favor. It spins fast enough to accomplish each task quickly but slow enough with acceptable torque to be reasonably safe.

    Three44s
    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207

    “There is more to this than dumping lead in a hole.”

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I will offer one tip I have mentioned recently in another thread:

    I take my cases and caliper their length and then sort into length ranges or groupings. Then according to how much has to trim off, I inside case mouth chamfer the overly long cases more and the less over length ones some less.

    My goal is to remove some brass ahead of the length cut. I have found that a sharp chamfer tool ahead of the length trim hastens the case getting to length spec far more quickly than just length trimming from scratch. The reason is that any trimmer that tends to flatten the leading edge of a case mouth (and most do) is being counter productive and to resume progress, one will likely have to remove a case with a flattened mouth, chamfer it and then resume trimming and perhaps even have to repeat the above sequence again.

    As I continued to pursue case trimming in my earlier years I noticed that those flattened case mouths often got so pancaked that the edge of the brass mouth even got stuck between the back side of the pilot and the cutter on the trimmer. Further, the outside of the case mouth needed more deburring.

    So it dawned on me! Cut a healthy bevel on those overly long cases, then trim for length. The cutter does not have as much material to remove and the added step gives one a faster overall process ................... with a lot less frustration baked in to the “cake”!

    Enjoy

    Three44s
    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207

    “There is more to this than dumping lead in a hole.”

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Ithaca Gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdfoxinc View Post
    RCBS has an adjustable cutting head that does all 3 reasonably well. The trim 0ro II with motor and universal case holder takes a lot of the physical stress out of the job. But it is slow. The adjusting has a fine control but, trial and error still rule.
    Bingo! Hornady has one now also. I have the RCBS 3-way trimmer heads in .30 and .22.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Like winger Ed, I break up the amount over a few nights. I use a food tray and debur or chamfer cases while watching tv with the lee trimmer.
    It hurts as much to hold a drill in my hand. If it was mounted on a bench and locked on at the desired speed that might work better.
    I’ve never used a prep center, it too might save some pain.

    Mike

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I don't load in the quantities some of you guys are doing, I did find the little Lee case length gauges can be used in a cheap Harbor Freight drill press to speed things up.

    I have come to like file trim dies the past few years and have several for things I shoot a lot now. Slow, but it works well and seems easier somehow.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    I use the Lyman Case Trim Express. Like others, I break it down into steps and batches.
    I do 1000 or so at a time too.
    One step at a time.
    Polish, resize and deprime, trim, chamfer & debur, primer pockets cleaned now ready to reload.
    It is no better or worse than any other aspect of casting/reloading. How can sizing 1000 cast bullets on a Star be any better or worse?
    It DOES give you multiple opportunities to inspect the brass.
    Hey....winters are long and hard here in NH. What else are you gonna do?
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

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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