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'Best' Case Prep Tool

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by RVTECH, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I have twisted my last Lee Case Trimming tool tonight and have had it! What is you favorite case prep system based on the following criteria:

    - Speed & ease of placing and removing the case

    - Accuracy of trim

    - Least gagety

    Thanks
     
  2. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    RCBS has made some real advances of late with their lathe type trimmer. A lever lock case holder with some advanced cutters as accessories.

    I have and use almost daily an old "Trimmer II" by RCBS. It's the old collet type that grips the case head with a collet. I've replaced the cutter head with a Carbide cutter equipped 3-Way cutter. With one setup on the lathe I trim the case to length with accuracy of +/- .0005" in length. At the same time the 3-way cutter head is applying a uniform chamfer (adjustable) as well as deburring the outside of the case neck (also adjustable). I have the trimmer mounted on a lap board and can trim while watching TV from my recliner. I also have a cheap cordless screwdriver with a Redding Primer Pocket Uniformer at hand. If I'm working with new brass I make sure the pockets have flat, square corners, so the primer will seat properly. If a fired case, the uniformer does a great job of cleaning out the carbon as well as any metal that may have migrated under the firing pressures.

    With the carbide cutter on the trimmer it only takes a turn or two to trim, chamfer, and de-burr the case, all while in a single setup. No more multiple processes, just one.

    Now, for my .223 brass, that goes through the progressive press to be deprimed, sized, and trimmed using a separate tool head with a universal depriming die and a power trimmer from dillon. I can process close to 1,000 cases per hour with this setup.
     
    HotRod61 and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    Are you using the Lee trimmer by hand? I chuck my Lee trimmer in a DeWalt cordless drill and it works excellent! The drill sits flat on the table so I don't have to hold the weight, I place a hand towel under the drill to catch the trimmings. While the brass is still chucked in the Lee trimmer I inside/outside deburr the case mouth and deburr the flash hole after I've trimmed the case. Once that is done, I install my RCBS primer pocket uniformer into the drill and uniform the primer pockets. I have not found a faster, more reliable, accurate sytem yet, if you find one please let me know, as the case prep is the most time consuming process for my reloading activities.
     
  4. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Yes and I too have used the cordless drill method and it does work great - I even once chucked up the Lee shellholder in my lathe, slowed it down to about 50 rpm to do the same thing but the biggest grip I have is having to unscrew the shellholder from the 'base' part each time to change out brass. Maybe I just need to design a quick-change base/shellholder to eliminate the threaded setup and then the Lee will be a more acceptable system
     
  5. kburr64

    kburr64 Milwaukie, Or. Member

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    RCBS TrimPro with the 3-way TrimPro Cutter is what i've been using and it's extremely quick and does it all in one step, set it and forget it.
     
  6. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    I use the Possum Hollow case trimmer in a cordless drill for large batches of .223. It was cheap and really speeds things up. It indexes off the shoulder. You stick the case in it like an electric pencil sharpener. The Lee trimmers work well chucked up in a drill but could drive you nuts if you are doing large amounts at once.
     
  7. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    Ahhhh... Now I understand your frustration. I too think the shellholder part that screws onto the chuck could be better designed. Maybe attatch some type of larger diameter collar onto the existing shellholder that would give you more grip? Or tac weld on a lever type handle to it?
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    How can it be faster than the 3-way in an RCBS trimmer? You have to perform three SEPARATE operations while the 3-way does them all with a couple turns of the handle. If you don't want to turn the handle, they have a cheap power adapter for a cordless drill too.

    Cheaper perhaps your way but not faster. And way cheaper than a Giraud, Gracey, et al.
     
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    There is one that's better designed. It's made by Sinclair. The "collar" is wider so you can actually grip it.

    Beware of welding any "lever" on a rotating shell holder. You could end up with a shirt or body parts (fingers) wrapped up in it in no time. Takes all the fun out of the process:)
     
  10. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    It is faster for me because I can perform 4 operations in one step without having to re-chuck the piece of brass. First chuck up the brass, trim to length, inside/outside deburr, deburr the flash hole. I have a rotary RCBS trimmer, but it makes my hand very sore when doing large lots of brass. If I use the rotary I can get the trim/inside/outside deburr in one step, but then I still have to deburr the flash hole, and uniform the primer pocket in 2 additional steps. If I were processing brass that already had the flash hole deburred, then the rotary trimmer would be the same ammount of steps as my system, but it would still make my hand sore.
     
  11. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Probably can't. I went across the street to Wholesale at lunch to look at it. Saw three actually, RCBS, Lyman and Redding. The RCBS was the supreme example. The Redding was probably my least favorite of the three as I did not care for the design of the shell holder system but if anybody has one let me know how well it works. It just appeared to be an inferior design that would wear quickly due to the the rotating action. Actually if I could come up with some kind of quick change system for the Lee I would continue to use it as I already have all the parts for the calibers I currently reload for.
     
  12. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    I just found something on MidwayUSA from Lee. It's called a 3 Jaw Chuck ($11.99) and you can get a power adapter for it and attach it to your drill motor. It is a universal fit so you don't use shellholders. It looks like it is quite a bit larger in diameter than the standard Lee trimmer set up so it would be easier to tighten. FWIW....
     
  13. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    That my friend is an understatement... This may be exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for the help!
     
  14. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    If you get one, please let me know how it works out for you, I may get one too.

    Sorry, but I dub thee "my guinea pig".:laugh::laugh:
     
  15. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I think I will - the price is low enough I'll take a chance and the spinner stud is only like five bucks more to make it drill ready. The Lee site says cases can be changed with just a slight turn on the chuck and that was the root cause of this issue. With this I can go back to using my lath - kind of overkill as a power source but I can stand at it and run the cases. Heck maybe even build a dedicated fixture for my lathe to quickly change it from the lathe chuck to my case holder. Regardless I think this puts me in the right direction.
     
  16. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I picked one of these up last year. Very cheaply built. Went back to my RCBS.
     
  17. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Well this may put me back to square one. I was concerned with the low price but was going to try one anyway but 'very cheaply built' is all I need to hear. Back to the drawing board I guess.
     
  18. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    Hey deadshot2 do you know where I can find the Sinclair unit you are talking about here? I can't seem to locate it on their website, or on Brownells (they own Sinclair). It sounds interesting but apparently my "Google-Fu" is not as strong as yours!
     
  19. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Here's the page in the Sinclair "Catalog" that lists the case holders:

    SINCLAIR DRIVER & CASEHOLDERS - Sinclair Intl

    Their website on this item is a little confusing as you have to order the "driver" separately. The driver is unique as it has a "Pilot" that fits into the primer pocket so the case is held nice and true. Just screw on the correct shell holder, insert case, tighten, and turn with your favorite cordless drill. For my purposes I went to O'Reilly Auto Parts and bought a really cheap. $20 Cordless drill. Works great and more importantly it turns slower without having to "throttle back" like on a regular cordless drill.

    Here's the link to the "driver" Sinclair Inc Search : Search Results for "#05-200 driver" -

    For less than $30 you have a tool that will grip the case tight enough to neck turn but still give enough grip surface to loosen without having to resort to the pliers.
     
  20. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    These are very nice looking tools that look very well built, Sinclair makes some really nice stuff. Thanks for the links and info DS2!

    I think the "pilot bump" that fits in the primer pocket will mess me up when using the Lee case length cutter since it is a fixed length. With the pilot bump in the primer pocked the Lee case length gauge cutter would not cut the case to the proper length. I suppose I could trim the case length gauge to the correct length, but I am concerned that it might wobble around on the pilot bump and cause problems. Would the Sinclair tool still be ok if the "pilot bump" were ground down so it did not protrude into the primer pocket? Would it still hold the case properly so the Lee trimmer could be inserted and ride on a flat surface?