View Full Version : Lee "Zip Trim" vs. RCBS "Trim Mate"

January 10, 2011, 08:33 PM
I have looked at both and searched the forums somewhat. The Lee Zip Trim definately has the upper hand on price but i like the electic powered feature of the RCBS Trim Mate. Another plus with the Lee Zip Trim is the Lee case trimmer can be used with it. The RCBS cant trim cases so i guess thats the only down side with it besides the cost. Im aware of the random flaws of the 3 jaw chuck that the Zip Trim uses. I havent came across any comments of the RCBS unit having failure. Anybody have experience with both?

January 10, 2011, 09:33 PM
Why don't you use a cordless drill, and attach the Lee trimmer to it?
Do this, and now you have the best of both, plus a cordless drill ;)

BTW, This is what I use.

January 10, 2011, 09:46 PM
^^ My method and works just fine!

January 10, 2011, 09:49 PM
I thought about that. I was wondering if my bulky 18V would wear my hand out though. If i did that then i would like to have one of those small, straight electric screw drivers like black & decker make, except not a black & decker. I am curious if anyone has had durability issues with the RCBS Trim Mate. I honestly prefer it, i think. Im just looking at the $19 vs the $110 i guess. Im so cheap, its rediculous.

January 10, 2011, 09:50 PM
Got me a Dillon case trimmer motor and dies 24 + years ago. Sizes and trims in one shot..no problemo and spot on. No drills and alot less handling.

January 10, 2011, 10:06 PM
I first started reloading back in the early 70's. I have now started back and have enjoyed The Firing Line bringing me upto date on the current issues in reloading.

I recently purchased the Lee Zip Trim with the 3 jaw chuck with the thought of duplicating the You-tube video demonstrating the unit and the operator zipped through a number of cases and worked the mouth with the little Lee tool that looked like a sewing thimble. He was fast and that is the reason I bought the unit.

I could not develop the same speed and I guess that over time I could get close to it. Each shell (.223) was trimmed accurately to 1.75". My main problem was placing the shell in the chuck fast enough. I found that using the standard caliber specific shell holder that came with the trimmer worked best. Maybe the Zip Trim was still new and a little stiff but my guess is that I am old and a little stiff now myself.

I have an old Lyman electric trimmer and I pulled it out storage and decided it was not as slow as I had first thought. The biggest delay in the old Lyman electric trimmer was the set up. Once the set up was completed it was good to go for as may shells as I had. Note the zip trim would be very easy to switch calibers compared to the Lyman.

I saw a You-Tube video on the dillon electric trimmer and it was impressive. Cost considerably higher but did resize the case at the same time. Did not deprime the shell though.


January 10, 2011, 11:10 PM
I have the Lyman Universal and it works well. I just used a case that was already the proper length to set up with, and it went quickly, and painlessly. I am consideting the Lee Case lenght guage, and shell holder for .223 Rem. . For the drill I have a keyless chuck corded to use with it.

January 11, 2011, 07:48 AM
thanks guys. sounds like i need to research the dillon and lyman products first.

January 11, 2011, 11:14 AM
I have both the Lee and the Trim Mate. I did not like the Lee for two reasons, the trim length is not adjustable and I prefer to trim long, rather than to the minimum and the Lee system does not allow that. I also feel that the Lee is pretty poor at getting cases square to the cutter.

The Trim Mate is real durable, I think it'll last forever. However I don't think it's the most efficient tool out there. It does work though and I replaced the military crimp cutter with a primer pocket uniformer and it does as good or better for removing the crimp plus cleaning up the primer pocket.

If I were to do it all over again, I would go ahead and spend the extra bucks on the RCBS Trim Pro with the 3 way cutter head. Or some similar unit that does the trimming, chamfer and deburr all in one step. The time savings is huge.

You can get away a bit cheaper by going with the Possum Hollow Kwick Trim. Sometimes they are had to find in stock, but they work really well. However you really must use the power adapter so you can put it in a drill. A cordless drill works ok but an electric drill that runs at higher rpm works a million times better, trying to do it by hand is a waste of time and effort. The Kwick Trim is trim length adjustable.

You can also get chamfer/deburr tools that will fit in to that same power adapter and it'll make for a fairly easy task to do all your case prep. If you got one Kwik Trim, one chamfer/deburr tool and one power adapter you'd be looking at around 50 bucks. Or go full bore and get three adapters and two chamfer/deburr tools and the Kwik Trim for around 85 bucks.



January 11, 2011, 11:53 AM
Been reloading pistols for over a year, just starting on .223, so I also did a lot of research on trimmers, etc. Based on feedback here and other sites, I settled on the Possom Hollow trimmer, power adapter, and the LE wilson deburr/chamfer tool. I can chuck the trimmer then the deburr/chamfer into my drill press and rock through the cases. That's the plan at this point anyway. :D