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Old May 18, 2012, 10:36 PM   #1
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Trying to select a trimmer.

Hello all.
I am brand new to reloading (other than obsessively researching online). I have almost all the equipment I think I need (Lock N Load progressive press, dies, shellholders, an old Lee single stage press that's been in my attic years that has a manual primer and scale). What I can't decide on is which trimmer to get. I have searched and read everything I can but can't find a good answer other than the Giraud (which I think is more than I can justify right now). I like the Wilson but want to do higher volume too, which makes me think of the Possum Hollow. But I am hoping other's with experience can guide my decision a bit better.

I am planning on reloading 7mm Rem Mag (accuracy is top priority here), .223 (some for plinking other for accuracy), 45acp, .40SW, .38SPL, and probably .308 (accuracy and plinking). The volume on the 7 Rem Mag will be very low, the others will be much higher (a few hundred to thousand rounds a time).

So, is there a good suggestion that will do all of what I want or am I stuck buying a bunch of trimmers and/or a Giraud?

Also, I am wondering about chamferring and deburring, what tools are recommended for this?
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Old May 18, 2012, 11:30 PM   #2
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I am planning on reloading 7mm Rem Mag (accuracy is top priority here), .223 (some for plinking other for accuracy), 45acp, .40SW, .38SPL, and probably .308 (accuracy and plinking). The volume on the 7 Rem Mag will be very low, the others will be much higher (a few hundred to thousand rounds a time).
Start with realizing that you will probably never have to trim the 45acp, 40SW, and the 38SPL. So I don't know how much that reduces your number.

So you are really talking about trimming the 7mm Mag, 223, and 308. If you neck size, that will reduce the trimming needs for 7mm and 308. I assume you will be shooting your 223 in an AR.

I have been using the Lyman powered case trimmer for over 20 years and have trimmed way more than 50K on it. I have had no problems and only replaced one cutter head. I also use the brush attachment to clean primer pockets. So I have a lot of hours on this trimmer. Today's cost is around $220 but the reviews aren't that good so go figure.

Last edited by jepp2; May 19, 2012 at 08:52 AM. Reason: spelling correction
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Old May 18, 2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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all tho still not cheap the gracy is basically the same in operation as Girard as it indexes off the case shoulder but it's not quite as fancy made but made well. at the rate your talking loading you really should try a upper end cutter.

I load a lot of .223 and was hating life before i got my Gracy. best money i have spent at the loading bench yet and by far the most expensive single item i have for loading but no regrets.

my father accually makes the motor bases for them so it was pretty cool talking with them about there cutter. anyway take a look
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Old May 19, 2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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Are there any relatively accurate/speedy manual trimmers? I really like what I have read about the Wilson except for the slowness of it. I don't mind spending money for something I feel I need, but I want to start the "old fashioned" way and see if I really need to go powered.
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Old May 19, 2012, 07:07 PM   #5
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Get the inexpensive (not cheap as in quality) Lee setup. I have them for all my rifle cartridges. Dirt simple to use and very repeatable.
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Old May 19, 2012, 07:36 PM   #6
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I use a Redding case trimmer with a micrometer. I'm very happy with it.
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Old May 19, 2012, 08:33 PM   #7
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I have the Lyman set up with a power screw driver.

Turning that crank gets old really fast.

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Old May 19, 2012, 10:54 PM   #8
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As far as inexpensive case trimmers go my personal opinion is that the easiest to use is the Possum Hollow case trimmer. If you have a drill you can power the trimmer with it.

Here is a link to a guy trimming brass with the Possum Hollow trimmer:

Check it out it may work for you.
Good luck!

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Old May 19, 2012, 11:21 PM   #9
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I use the Lyman. It works well for me, I like it. I am looking for precision so I like doing it manually, it takes a little longer but each case will be as exact as you want. Depends on what your goal is though.
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Old May 20, 2012, 01:52 AM   #10
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I have the Wilson, Possum Hollow, and Lee. They all work well. PH is probably the most cost effective and fastest but hard to find in stock. But it seems the best design for adapting to a cordless drill.

Lee is the cheapest and easy to find locally and online. Only down side is you have to screw/unscrew the base on to each case, and it is a fixed length. Simpler and will meet most needs.

Wilson is the most expensive but very easy to adjust in tiny increments to exactly the length you want. You can go through cases quickly but hand cranked. I was not satisfied with the power adaptor. Since it is adjustable it takes the most time to switch between cartridges. PH is a separate trimmer for each cartridge family and indexes off the shoulder. Wilson and Lee are absolute total length indexes.

I waited a looooong time to get a couple of PH trimmers. In the meantime i bought the wilson and several case holders. Later I got several Lee trimmers. If I have 50 or more cases to trim I set up the Wilson. If I have just a handful to trim I use a Lee trimmer/gauge. For the two cartridges I have PH trimmers I just use them.
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Old May 20, 2012, 07:35 AM   #11
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Is/was Possum Hollow associated with EJS? I have a couple of other tools (flash hole uniformer and primer pocket uniformer) that are shown on their website. My EJS tools came in the clear plastic tube with the red cap.
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Old May 20, 2012, 10:37 PM   #12
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The Wilson is an excellent trimmer and very accurate. I use the power adapter and can trim cases fairly quickly. Trim cases within .001 accuracy consistently.
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Old May 31, 2012, 06:04 AM   #13
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I tried a Lyman case trimmer and didn't like it or I got a defective one, I am turning the handle forever to trim a 223 case.
Now I bought a Lee case trimmer and it is working great, the shell holder goes in a cordless screw driver and the trimmer has a wood handle on it that is easy to use and trims every case to exact length. Total cost less than $20.00
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Old May 31, 2012, 08:29 AM   #14
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I have the Giraud, Wilson, and Lee tools for different cases.

First, as stated earlier, you a not likely to ever trim the handgun cases. They actually tend to shrink slightly rather than stretch, as rifle cases do. I lose about half a thousandth per loading cycle with .45 ACP. This has to do with both the brass shapes and the lower pressures involved. The only exception is that revolver cases are sometimes trimmed to make them more uniform so they will crimp more evenly. Because of the tendency they have to shorten, you have to trim them all to match the shortest length in the group, and it is usually shorter than standard trim length. For that reason you need to use either an adjustable trimmer or to grind a little metal off the end of a Lee tool to do the job. This is a match load technique and not normally required for standard accuracy revolver loads.

The Giraud is obviously the fastest trimmer for some of the same reasons the Gracey is fast: The motor spins faster than a drill motor and the cutter is designed to trim, chamfer, and deburr simultaneously, so you don't have to take those two extra steps afterward you normally would with square trimmers. A number of folks have said the cut is so clean on a Dillon motorized trimmer and on the (more expensive-than-Possum Hollow) WFT that they don't need to chamfer and deburr. I am less sanguine about it, as I think most bullets need all the help they can get starting in straight. I'm not sure I would not have been just as happy with the Gracey as I am with the Giraud, but once I'd figured I was going to spend a lot of money to speed up trimming, I went for all the horsepower I could get. If you have to trim 1000 cases in one sitting, that pays in time.

One difference in simultaneous chamfering and deburring becomes apparent when you run some cases whose neck walls are thicker on one side than the other. The outside stays pretty concentric and the deburring job is good, but you get an uneven chamfer inside. On the one hand, that's not helpful for straight seating in those particular cases. On the other hand, it gives quick visual identification of the cases you don't want to use for your most accurate match loads, anyway.

The Gracey and Giraud have long setup times when you switch calibers and you may mis-trim two or three cases setting them up. That's why I got separate cutter heads for the .224 and .308 caliber cases for my Giraud. One cutter setup and done.

For chamberings I shoot less frequently, the Wilson gets the work if I'm at home. The Lee trimmer I have lives in my range box for use during load workup at the range.

There is a simultaneous chamfering and deburring cutter (3-way cutter) available for the RCBS lathe trimmers. They also make a power version of their trimmer. I've not tried one, but since it costs almost what a Gracey does and still has a collet-type case holder, for the money difference I would go to the Gracey. I note RCBS claims to have improved the shell holder and I have not tried that improved version personally.

The Wilson is probably the least expensive and most consistent of the lathe trimmers since it not only keeps the case perpendicular to the cutter, but its case stop that sets the trim length is smaller than the rim diameter on larger cases, so it dodges inside bent rims on those cases. It has a slow, but very good primer pocket profile cutter optional tool available. It has reamers available for inside reaming wildcats conversions and for removing donuts. However, I recommend you get the Sinclair stand for this trimmer to get a case holder hold-down. That eliminates errors you can make as your hand gets tired from keeping the case holder in place. However, adding the cost of the Sinclair platform makes the trimmer no longer any more economical than some others.

An alternative is the CH4D trimmer, which works on the same principle as the Wilson, but had the hold-down built in for about $5 extra.

I'm not sure what my case trim rate is in the Wilson. You get to where you knock the cases out of the holder and set new ones in pretty quickly. Perhaps it's on the order of three or four cases a minute when the flow gets smooth. Then I chamfer and debur, so I suppose I might spend an hour per hundred cases between the two sets of operations. The Giraud can do about 20 per minute by way of comparison.

Another method method is the Lee tool with Lee Zip Trim with their universal shell chuck accessory added to it. This video shows a fellow getting about 4/minute with the chamfering and deburring included. He uses the Lee chamfer and deburring tool, where I would use a Wilson or RCBS or Lyman type for the sharper edges, but this works. It looks like it could get you 200 per hour pretty easily, but you'll have some arm work in it. Figure about $40 with zip trim, accessory chuck, Lee cutter and a Lee case gauge for the two calibers you are using. About what the basic Wilson unit costs, but it would be quicker.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:05 AM   #15
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I actually have the lee zip trim and am very happy with it. I already had my lee case lenght gauges so thought i would try this...very fast..very easy..and only out $20 if u dont like tube and u can see even a couple of guys that have put motors on them. Get the qick chuck and i think u will like it even more. Just my two cents.
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Old May 31, 2012, 07:59 PM   #16
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UncleNick's review should be a sticky for case trimming. Excellent.

For my cases that I use the Lee trimmers on I ground them down to the length I like to use. For instance, the .223 Rem case length gauge was about 1.755", so I used emery cloth to grind it down to my preferred 1.750" length.
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Old June 1, 2012, 01:05 AM   #17
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Great post Unclenick. Great info

Ill add the Forster trimmer to the mix. I havent had it very long but its working great for me. Dont know what else to say about it
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