For every shot, there are a few cents to account for. After all, ammunition doesn’t come free. Unless you’re a spendthrift, I’d say reloading ammo makes sense than buying. But some might argue that it’s a time-waster. Hold your horses; I think the best case trimmer will make you think twice. It can quickly restore elongated and deformed shells to a brand new look. Plus, new-generation case trimmers are fully adjustable. As such, they can trim any caliber shell.
There’s a multitude of case trimmers on the market. Surprisingly, they receive praise in equal measure from the different manufacturers. But for the savvy shopper, it’s easy to smell a rat. So, why fall victim to sugar-coated advertisements? To stay safe, I’ll round up the best reloading case trimmers.
10 Best Case Trimmer
1. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim
Frankford Arsenal is a top-of-the-line case trimmer. It has four work stations, making case preparation fast and precise. I’d recommend it to the seasoned hobbyist who’s willing to spend more money.
Unmatched power and speed
Frankford Arsenal plugs into your ac outlet. Hence, unlike manual case trimmers, it packs more power and speed. It trims brass cases in seconds, all with greater accuracy.
Remarkable power comes from heavy-duty motor and drivetrain. HSS cutters, on the other hand, rewards you with high-speed trimming. It comes in high carbon steel, enriched with tungsten. Such durability enables it to maintain sharpness for thousands of trims.
Four work stations
You only find one work station in most trimmers. Well, Frankford goes the extra mile to provide four work stations. It incorporates both a case trim and a prep system.
The case trim station comprises three collets and six shoulder bushings. Hence, it offers wide-range compatibility. It fits .17 to .46 caliber cases. The prep system makes up for the remaining workstations. It comprises the chamfer tool, deburrs tool, and primer pocket cleaner.
The chamfer station rewards you with a 3-way cutter. Using a 2-blade head, it trims and chamfer cases, all simultaneously. Hence, it saves you valuable time in the reloading process.
Also, the Frankford case trimmer boasts a deburr station. It removes burrs and bevels the inside and outside of the case. As such, it offers neat and smooth edges.
The pocket clean station cleans both large and small primer pockets. It enables the primers to be fully seated, hence improving accuracy and safety.
Built-in storage box
The integrated storage box keeps extra tools organized and within easy reach. Among other things, it holds bushings and spare collets.
The Frankford case trimmer combines one of the best materials. It has a die-cast gearbox, extruded aluminum housing, and steel stand. Hence, it offers rugged durability for years of use. Lest I forget, the steel stand is adjustable, allowing you to move it out of the way.
Such a combination of materials gives it a weight of 10 pounds. So, it’s easily the heaviest on the list, but no so heavy as to sacrifice portability. Also, more weight adds stability, eliminating the need to clamp to a workbench.
This case trimmer has rubber feet. It reduces vibrations and isolates the noise. Thus, it won’t be much of a nuisance to you and those around you.
Variety of orientations
You can use the case trimmer in a vertical position or laid flat. Whichever way, it sits remarkably stable.
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2. Lyman Universal Trimmer
Layman universal case trimmer offers more in one package. Plus, it provides wide-range compatibility, high-speed trims, and is fully adjustable. I’d pretty much recommend it to the budget-conscious, seasoned shooter.
Optional power adapter
Lyman is more than a manual case trimmer. Well, you can outfit it with a power adapter for high-speed trimming. It can trim up to 250 cases per hour, the fastest in its class.
Universal chuck head
Thanks to universal chuck head, Laymen ranks among the most versatile. It enables the reloader to lock and unlock case cartridges quickly. Also, the patented universal design accommodates any case from .17 to .458 caliber.
All the while, it eliminates the need for collets or special shell holders. Hence, it saves you the extra cost.
Two types of cutting heads
This case trimmer comes with standard and carbide cutting heads. Both are easy to retrieve, making the process straightforward.
Coarse and fine adjustment
Coarse and fine adjustments reward you with pinpoint accuracy. For instance, you can dial the case length up to one thousand of an inch. Such a brilliant feature offers the flexibility to trim the case to your preference. Aside from accuracy, the dial ring allows for quick repeatability.
An extensive range of trimmer pilots
Layman packs nine of the most popular trimming pilots. The pilots precisely guide and center the case. Hence, they keep the case from wobbling or deformation. The package includes pilots for 22-45 pistol and rifle calibers.
Durable and stable construction
Layman case trimmer comes in heavy-duty cast iron. Also, it boasts a diamond-tipped carbide cutter head. Hence, it offers long-lasting durability.
Furthermore, this case trimmer has a weighted base. Plus, it can bolt onto the workbench. Hence, it stays firmly in one place.
It isn’t the lightest on the list. But in its category of tools, Layman case trimmer is super light. It weighs only 2.2 pounds, making it easy to handle and transport.
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3. Hornady 050140 Cam-Lock Trimmer
Hornady doesn’t have the power and speed of high-end case trimmers. But for the price, it’s more than exceptional. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s just getting started.
Hornady is mostly a manual case trimmer. But you won’t break as much sweat operating it. Thanks to the ergonomic handle, it allows for smooth and effortless use.
Also, this case trimmer has a seemingly high frame. Thus, it provides ultimate comfort to the arm.
Optional power adapter
Well, Hornady trimmer isn’t limited to manual use. You can make it more effortless using the optional power adapter. For that, you get remarkable power and speed.
Micro-adjustable cam-lock design
The cam-lock system makes it easy to lock and unlock case cartridges. Also, it includes a micro-adjustable cutting head that fits up to 50 caliber cases. You can trim the length up to one thousand of an inch. Hence, it’s remarkably accurate.
Pre-set case measurements
Thanks to the pre-set case measurements, Hornady ensures high consistency each time.
Incorporates popular trimmer pilots
Hornady case trimmer comes with seven popular trimmer pilots, from 22-45 caliber. Though it only fits Hornady shell holders, I don’t think it’s much of a deal-breaker.
Hornady case trimmer has screw holes at the base. Moreover, you can easily clamp it onto the workbench. Hence, it stays put for more accurate trimming.
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4. RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Case Trimmer
I wouldn’t say it’s the best overall. However, I can’t afford to ignore the value and efficiency of the RCBS trimmer. It provides consistent results and emphasizes compatibility.
RCBS Pro-2 comes in die-cast aluminum. Hence, it’s durable, dimensionally stable, and highly resistant to wear.
Spring-loaded universal shell holder
Thanks to the universal shell holder, RCBS Pro-2 accommodates different cases. It can fit cases with rim diameters of .25 to .626 caliber.
Precise adjustment is paramount, and this trimmer doesn’t disappoint. It offers both coarse and fine adjustments. Also, it has a micrometer adjustment of 0.001 inches.
Extensive pilot options
RCBS Pro-2 has nine trimmer pilots. Hence, it eliminates the need to buy different plates. These are standard trimmer pilots for the 22-45 caliber case. Also, the pilots are tapered, keeping the case from wobbling as you trim to length.
Built-in power switch
This case trimmer isn’t entirely manual. It boasts a high-torque, low rpm motor powered by a built-in switch. Hence, it makes trimming effortless and efficient. Overall, it can trim over 100 cases of brass in one hour.
5. Little Crow Gunworks Worlds Finest Trimmer
Little Crow doesn’t look like much. But don’t let that fool you. Little Crow is the world’s finest trimmer. It’s effortless, trims super-fast, and lasts a lifetime. For that, I’d recommend it to serious bulk reloaders.
Fast drill-powered operation
The WFT, as it’s sometimes known, fits standard 3/8-inch drill chuck. Hence, it guarantees super-fast, effortless trimming. It can trim more than ten cases in one minute. Well, that’s more than double the processing time of other case trimmers.
WFT is a caliber-specific case trimmer. Hence, it only trims a specific cartridge or cartridge family. It’s a good thing that it includes a cross-reference chart for reassurance.
WFT adopts a minimalist design. It neither has pilots nor case shell holders. Instead, it’s supported by the case’s shoulder and body. Hence, all you do is chuck and feed the case by hand. As such, it saves you precious time.
Razor-sharp high-speed cutters
High-speed cutters enable you to trim more in less time. However, they offer more than high-speed trimming. The cutters incorporate sealed ball bearing for extremely smooth cuts.
Case trimmers last for quite a long while. However, not many can promise lifetime service. So, it’s one feature that gives WFT case trimmer an edge.
6. Lyman Products E-ZEE Trim Hand Case Trimmer
The E-ZEE trim system adopts a simple concept. It offers precise, preset lengths without the need for adjustments. Also, it has a ton of extras that make case trimming fast, simple, and precise.
Power trimming adapter
E-ZEE is a hand trimmer. Nevertheless, it comes with a power adapter to speed up things. The power adapter allows the use of a drill or drill press.
Precision-machined case length pilots
The trimmer uses set length rifle caliber pilots. As such, it keeps the case length constant. The pilots can do cases as small as .22 caliber.
Compatible with all brands of shell holders
Well, E-ZEE doesn’t limit you to the brand of shell holders. It’s compatible with all standard shell holders.
CNC machined solid steel construction
CNC machined construction offers precision. At the same time, it uses solid steel for long-life durability.
Fast and easy setup
Pre-set lengths and lack of adjustments allow for easy setup. You can set the E-ZEE case trimmer in seconds, saving you a great deal of time.
7. Lee Precision Deluxe Power Quick Trim
Lee is not a new contender in the world of case trimmers. Well, Deluxe Quick Trim happens to be one of its best creations. It trims and deburrs at the same time, saving you the time and effort.
Compatible with a power drill
Lee case trimmer chucks into a power drill. For that, it saves you a great deal of time and wrist pains. But for better results, I’d recommend running it at a lower rpm.
Lee is pretty much a no-fuss case trimmer. It eliminates the need for calipers, measurements, or adjustments. Still, it’s highly accurate.
Precise pre-set lengths
This case trimmer trims brass to precise lengths. It accommodates .670 to .680 caliber cases. Also, it allows for micro increments of 0.001 inches.
Lee case trimmer comes wit a chip catcher. Using magnets, it catches the savings as you trim. Hence, you don’t have to clean after the trimming process.
Best Case Trimmers for Reloading: Complete Guide
Do you want a case trimmer for bulk reloading? If so, speed is paramount. High-speed trimming enables you to reload a high number of bullets.
Keep in mind, not all case trimmers have the same efficiency. So, it would help to find a fast model that will save you the frustration. Case trimmers, such as Frankford Arsenal, trim four cases in one go. The likes of Little Crow Gunworks trimmer can do over 10 cases in a minute.
Well, speed is among the criteria I used to prepare the list. Hence, all case trimmers on the list are up to speed.
Chamfering and Deburring
Trimming, in itself, doesn’t do much to rid of sharp edges. Hence, the shape of the bullet won’t be as perfect. As such, it would be best to have chamfering and deburring tools.
Well, case trimmers, such as Frankford Arsenal, is pre-installed with these tools. If your trimmer lacks one, consider getting an aftermarket deburring tool.
A shell holder is crucial, but not a must-have in all case trimmers. It holds the shell, keeping it stable as you trim.
Well, the size of the shell holder tends to vary for different sizes of caliber. So, I’d recommend you find a case trimmer that provides room for adjustments. Also, you can settle for a case trimmer with versatile shell holders.
Not many case trimmers can boast polishers. Though not popular, it provides additional benefits. It keeps the mouth of the cartridge and the internal chamber free of debris. As a result, it improves the accuracy of the bullet. Well, the Frankford Arsenal case trimmer affords a polishing tool. It comes in the form of a pocket cleaner.
Ease of Use
Of course, you want a case trimmer that’s simple and easy to use. Also, it should be quick and easy to set up.
Furthermore, settle for a unit that allows for easy adjustments. Easy mounting will also be a huge plus.
Do you want to work at a faster pace? If so, I’d recommend a powered case trimmer. Some can be plugged into AC outlets while drills power others. But if you’re not in haste to reload, the standard handheld trimmer will suffice. Keep in mind; most handheld units also support power trimming.
Most blades can handle brass shells. But for better quality and precision, I’d recommend carbide trim blades. Also, the cutter should be adjustable for pinpoint accuracy.
Case trimmers aren’t cheap. Hence, you want something that gives you more years of use. For that, consider a case trimmer that offers long-life durability. Steel and aluminum are a top priority for case trimmers.
Price always takes center stage. I’d recommend that you get a case trimmer within your budget. But ensure it’s something that works effectively. Also, if your budget allows, you can spend extra on a high-grade case trimmer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the best power case trimmer?
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series is easily the best. It’s exceptionally durable and handles more rounds at a time. Also, it has other extras you don’t find in other case trimmers.
What’s the best handheld/powered case trimmer?
Well, there’s a good number of serious contenders. However, I’ll more than recommend the Layman Universal case trimmer. It’s pretty fast and handles as small as .17 case calibers.
Which case trimmer machine offers the best value for the money?
All units give excellent value for money. But I think Little Crow Gunworks WFT trimmer tops the list. It’s pretty straightforward and one of the fastest case trimmers. Also, it promises to last a lifetime.
It looks pretty simple. But selecting the best case trimmer for reloading is no easy task. Among other things, it should be fast, durable, precise, and have wide-range compatibility. Such are the specs you get from my top recommendations. So, which case trimmer do you find the best? Please, share in the comments.