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Old November 22, 2010, 04:19 AM   #1
kylewood
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Trimming cases with a file

Does anybody know where to get the trim dies? Not the RCBS dies that go in the press. I'm talking set your case on the bench, put the trim die over it and file away. Looking for them in 38 spl and 223. Thanks

Wood
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Old November 22, 2010, 05:19 AM   #2
Sport45
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These are easier, and work just fine....

This stuff may be cheaper at factorysales.com but I didn't check.

Lee Ball Grip Cutter $8.65

Lee pilot and case guage .223 $6.40

Lee pilot and case guage .38 spcl $6.40

Lee case neck chamfer tool $4.73

Although, I'll have to say I haven't seen a .38spcl case yet that needed trimming.
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Old November 22, 2010, 06:25 AM   #3
testuser
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I believe I've seen trim dies at Midway USA. Regarding the trimming of .38 Special brass, I can understand a need. For example, I have some off-brand .357 magnum brass (Jamison brass, I think? Anyway, it's new brass.) that for whatever reason is significantly longer than my other brands. Talk about a pain. Because of the difference in length, I have to readjust my case expanding die when loading it, otherwise, it bells the case too much. Anyway, cutting it all to the same length would solve the problem. I've always used Lee trimmers and an electric drill, though.
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Old November 22, 2010, 08:46 AM   #4
wncchester
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"I'm talking set your case on the bench, put the trim die over it and file away."

Interesting; I know of no full body, loose fit file trim dies. ??
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Old November 22, 2010, 02:09 PM   #5
rg1
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File trimming is tedious, messy, and time consuming. I'd recommend a case trimmer which does the job best.
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Old November 22, 2010, 03:05 PM   #6
PA-Joe
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Get the LEE trimmer!
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Old November 22, 2010, 05:03 PM   #7
Poodleshooter
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I've never seen trim dies that weren't press mounted. How would you hold the thing steady while filing? If it has to go in a vice, it might as well go in a press.

Off press trim dies seems like using tweezers to measure powder. For case forming and cutting off long necks I can see it,but for .38 and .223 there are much better and faster options.
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Old November 22, 2010, 05:50 PM   #8
dcody40
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There is alot of ways to do this.

I was using one of the popular hand cranked case trimmers for awhile, good exercise but I quickly tired of this, so splurged and purchased the Electric case trimmer from RCBS, now I just set for my wanted case length, clamp the case in the holder and pull the run lever, I can now crank out a 100 rifle shells in a pretty good time. I even debur the inside and outside after trimming, more exercise again. The little monster has already paid for itself several times. Just an example here, but this weekend, I managed to decap, vibroclean, case size and trim around 200 30.06 and 100 .308's in about 3 hours, naturally the cleaning was going on in the garage, and I was decaping the next batch while this was going on. Everyone does it a little different, but we should all come up with a good safe shootable round right !
Tonight, I should have all these two batches reprimed using an RCBS hand primer, and in the loading blocks for the powder run, and you know the rest.
I don't have enough loading blocks, so normally do 100 at a time. Full process, then move on to another load and caliber. A bunch of posters said they don't bother trimming pistol calibers, that's my finding also, So deprime, clean, reprime, and the rest. much faster than the rifle cases. Oh and all of my reloads go in a case gauge before getting put in the storage cases. I do this so I can get a final look at the finished rounds, I have found a few split necks this way. Before matches, I used to do the barrel test, now I just use the 16.00 $ chamber gauge. Keep em safe.

Duane USN/ret
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Old November 22, 2010, 08:24 PM   #9
kylewood
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Quote:
Although, I'll have to say I haven't seen a .38spcl case yet that needed trimming.
I like to trim mine to 1.145 (as I recall so dont quote me on it) to somewhat even up all the lengths.
Quote:
Interesting; I know of no full body, loose fit file trim dies. ??
My uncle used to hand make all his and case harden them so it would file the case and not the case gauge. I see some on ebay and other places for vare old cartridges. Its just a piece of round stock with a chamber reamed in it. you set the case on the table on its rim, and slide the gauge over it and file any excess brass off the top. L.E. Wilson Max Cartridge Gage 38 Special thats the same thing except nod made to trim cases.

I like the lee trimmers so I think I'm going to go that route. Appreciate all the help.

Wood
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Old November 22, 2010, 08:25 PM   #10
kylewood
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My uncle used to make these so he could take them wherever he went so he could trim brass. I would imagine this was well before the lee trimmers came along.
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Old November 23, 2010, 10:54 AM   #11
F. Guffey
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My favorite trimmer system is the RCBS file/forming die, I use a 308 forming die to form 7.7 Japanese cases, my favorite because it is adjustable in thousands with the companion too to the press, the feeler gage. and if I had but one form/trim die, it would be the 308 W.

Then there is the 'who did it first' I have two Wilson case trimmers, the the date on the instructions is 1953, all of the adapters have the same diameter and set on the bed between the trimmer and adjuster, cost? Using a pilot to center is cheaper, a universal chuck is more convenient than changing shell holders and then there is the two shell holder thing, one for the trimmer and one for the press and one for the auto hand primer.

The RCBS file/form die cost $30.00 + or -, my favorite because of utility can be used without a press, the case indexes on the shoulder, when a case in installed only the case protruding above the die is to be trimmed meaning the RCBS trim die can be used as a case length gage BUT requires the reloader checking the length of the case in the gage to keep up with more than one measurement at a time.

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Old November 23, 2010, 10:46 PM   #12
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My grandpa made his own for the 7.7x58 Arisaka (formed from .30-'06) that my brother now has. He found two 40 year old sockets he had lying around in his auto shop, that worked pretty good.

Run '06 brass through 7.7x58 sizing die.
Turn one socket right side up, insert case, with case head down.
Take second socket, place upside down on top of case.
Take hacksaw and cut off protruding case neck, file down remaining case neck until flush with socket.

Leaves the cases a couple thousandths too short, but not really enough to worry about since the case heads will swell and split after a few reloadings anyway.

I am not sure if the sockets were hardened at all, but he used that setup for a few years, with no measurable damage to the sockets.

This method is a more than a little time consuming, but he hasn't worked since the mid '70's (had a mild heart attack, doctor told him to "take it easy for a while", so he never went back to work and "retired" at around 35 years old), so spending a few weeks sorting through sockets until he found one that fit, and then spending the time to use this method to trim his brass wasn't a big issue to him.

All things are possible if you have the time, patience, and ingenuity to put forth..............but I would rather just buy a good trimmer.
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Old November 23, 2010, 11:06 PM   #13
Loader9
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Yeah Kylewood, Wilson made some of those many years back. I've never seen any for a pistol case though and I highly doubt your gonna find one for a 223 as the 223 is too new. I have one for the 222 and a couple of others but they are all old bottle neck cases. Gees, I haven't seen those things in decades and I own them. I've also got a double handful of the Wilson hand loaders for various cartridges- no press required. I used one of these for the .261x 47 TNT sleeved bench gun I used to shoot. Fits in the shirt pocket.
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Old November 24, 2010, 11:44 AM   #14
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You could get the Lyman or LE Willson cartridge case gauge. Set your shoulder and put the case back into the gauge flip it over and file away.

BUT you will be filling the gauge at the same time. (not a good idea).

Just get a Lee Zip trim, cutter ball, trimmer and case lenth gauge for the caliber you want to trim. Not expensive.

Jim

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Last edited by Jim243; November 24, 2010 at 12:03 PM.
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Old November 24, 2010, 07:49 PM   #15
F. Guffey
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Again my favorite trim system is the RCBS case forming/trim die, on occasion it is required to trim.200 thousands, first option is the hack saw, then the file, somewhere in between there is the aircraft counter sink, when using the counter sink the case mouth flares, when the ram is lowered, the flair pops off., for trimming a file is used, the top of the die is said to be harder than the file. then there is the file die, install a case, smack the case head with a soft hammer, then file any case protruding from the top of the die and it to is harder than the file.

Again the RCBS form/trim die can be used as a case gage and a file can be use because the top of die is harder than a file.

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