As a gun enthusiast, using the best case trimmer is one sure way of saving your money. You don’t have to buy fresh ammunition.
A case trimmer allows you to trim and reuse the empty scattered shells after shooting.
If you have an excellent case trimmer, the resizing process is fast and straightforward.
Besides minimizing costs for those who love shooting and hunting with a budget gun, they also get to carry out the process at the comfort of their homes.
When a bullet gets fired, its bullet shell gets roughened, elongated, or dented on the mouth as a result of the explosion.
A top case trimmer makes it possible to reuse the cartridges by trimming and conditioning them.
The market today gets saturated with various case trimmers that come in different sizes, shapes, materials, and colors.
According to our detailed research, the best case trimmer on the market today is the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trimmer.
In this article, you shall get insight into the latest leading case trimmers.
But first, let’s look at the top brands in a quick overview before getting into the uses for a case trimmer and in-depth reviews into each of these options:
|Overall best case trimmer and prep center: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series|
|Best cheap US-made case trimmer: Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer|
|Best easy to use case trimmer: Lyman Universal Trimmer|
|Best power trimmer adapter: Lyman Power Adapter|
|Best Lee’s Deluxe add-on: Lee Precision 90670|
In this post we'll cover:
- What is a case trimmer?
- What do I need to consider before buying a case trimmer?
- What features should I look for in a case trimmer?
- What types of case trimmers are there?
- What are the best case trimmer brands?
- Best case trimmers reviewed
- How do you use a case trimmer?
- FAQs around case trimmers
What is a case trimmer?
It is a machine used to reshape or resize a bullet shell after shooting to reuse it.
The cartridge elongates after shooting, but because the material used in making it is malleable, a fine case trimmer trims it back to size.
But you can’t just bump into a store and buy any case trimmer. There are factors you need to consider first to get the right case trimmer for your needs.
For insight, here are tips for buying the right case trimmer.
What do I need to consider before buying a case trimmer?
The market gets flooded with several best case trimmers designed for different things. Getting the right one for you might be a hustle.
But with the following tips, you get guaranteed to find a case trimmer ideal for your pocket and purpose.
Blade of the trimmer
If the case trimmer has a bad blade or it comes in the wrong size, you may not get the results you desire. If your shells get made of brass, any ordinary case trimmer will work out great.
But for better quality and precision metal trimming, you may need to consider a case trimmer with an excellent carbide trim.
Also, consider whether the blade can get adjusted or not. Adjustable case cutters are better because they provide better precision.
Consider whether your fired cartridges are of different types. If so, you may need to consider the best universal case trimmer that can resize different shell types.
Such a universal case trimmer gets to trim shells from different rifles, saving you money for buying case trimmers for specific guns.
It’s also sturdy and of top-notch quality, ensuring you enjoy its services for a long time.
Some case trimmers resize many shells and faster, while others trim slowly and few cartridges. Go for a case trimmer that will perform your job effectively.
If you need many shells resized in the shortest time possible, consider a power case trimmer or one that can get connected to a power drill.
A power case trimmer is also ideal to consider if you require to have your rifles reloaded urgently.
If you need only a few shells to get resized and are not in a hurry to use them, the handheld case trimmers can work out best.
Also, you may get some power trimmers that trim few cartridges only and at a low speed.
But they may come at a lower budget compared to those that do it faster and trim many cartridges.
A case trimmer that uses both power and manual handling to operate will provide the best value for money. It is more convenient as you can use it in both the present and the absence of power.
Also, you get to resize any quantity of cartridges using the same trimmer and at the comfort of your home.
Durability of the trimmer
You wouldn’t want a case trimmer that will serve you for a few months before it malfunctions. If you want to enjoy value for your money, consider a durable case trimmer. The kind of materials and the design used to make a case trimmer attributes to its strength and longevity.
For example, a case trimmer built using steel or aluminum will last longer than that with various plastic parts. A robust trimmer stays put despite the number of shells it’s resizing, while a weak trimmer keeps on malfunctioning and breaking down during operation.
Though some case trimmers are cheaper than others, it doesn’t mean that they are of bad quality. Also, you may get an expensive case trimmer but don’t work efficiently.
The material used in its making and the features a trimmer has attributes to its price.
A case trimmer made from steel will come with a higher price than that made from weak materials like plastic. But its high costs come with a bunch of benefits like sturdiness and durability.
Also, an expensive case trimmer comes with added features that contribute to a better trimming experience.
Cheap case trimmers may not have many features, but if your intention is just to resize the shells, then a regular standard case trimmer will work out great.
It doesn’t make sense to buy an expensive case trimmer with aspects you don’t need. Always consider a case trimmer that will meet your needs and fit your budget.
Ease of use
Don’t go for a case trimmer with a complicated installing and operating system. Consider trimmers that are not only user-friendly but also has a simple to understand instruction manual.
Carry out detailed research to know if a case trimmer is easy to use
You can start by checking genuine reviews online or from people who have such a trimmer. Also, a person with previous experience with a particular case trimmer can offer essential details about such a machine.
What features should I look for in a case trimmer?
Despite considering the above tips while buying a case trimmer, there are specific features to look out while searching for a top case trimmer. They are as follows;
A leading case trimmer on the market should trim shells accurately and of the same length.
Best case trimmers come with high cutting speed. You should be able to resize your fired cartridges within a short time.
Outstanding case trimmers always consist of additional features to enhance your trimming experience. For example, they can get transformed into power trimmers to increase their speed and operation.
Easy to operate
One main feature of an excellent case trimmer is its ease of operation. You get to load and offload the cartridge with ease.
The number of caliber pilots
Best case trimmers come with numerous pilots ideal for various shells from different rifles. It should resize cartridges of various sizes and designs.
A case trimmer gets termed best if it can produce the cartridge length you need. Also, all resized shells should be of uniform size.
It should also be adjusted to help set any shell range you want.
What types of case trimmers are there?
Case trimmers come in various shapes, sizes, designs, colors, and types. To enlighten you on the kind of case trimmers found on the market today, check out the following;
It comes in a simple design and supports only one size. As a result, you cannot use it to resize bullets of different calibers. But because of their simplicity and limitation, they come at an affordable price.
For a better trimming experience, this case trimmer gets designed with a stand mechanism.
Let the low-volume term not confuse you; this trimmer can be faster than renowned trimmers such as the Lathe types.
Because setting it up is a hustle, it is not ideal for a beginner. It’s also not ideal for a shooter using bullets of different caliber and sizes.
It is the most common type and comes with a holder to help clamp the bullet. Its cutter comes placed on the trimmer’s opposite side to trim the bullet.
Despite being very fast, you can adjust it to resize rough to fine shells but should use a slower speed for precision.
It is the fasted in trimming and deburring the shells. But for it to work properly, you need to have a reloading die of a full-length sizing. It also produces many ruckuses and is very bulky.
It is perfect in resizing many cartridges at a given time. Because of its flexibility, the chips are easy to manage, making the machine easy to use. It is not ideal for case-length varieties.
Though the best case trimmers come in various types as illustrated above, they also come in several brands. The following are the top case trimmer brands available on the market today.
What are the best case trimmer brands?
It is the leading and most trusted case trimmer brand. Apart from offering the best case trimmers, the company offers everything a re-loading enthusiast would need.
You will get corn cob media, scales, reloading trays for different caliber ammunition, tumblers, and brass sonic cleaners.
Lyman case trimmer brand makes the daunting reloading work seem simple by providing all the necessary equipment and supplies. The manufacturer consists of a group of shooters, explaining why they make quality and efficient trimmers and their accessories/tools. As a result, the Lyman brand has gained popularity as one of the top case trimmer brands.
It is one of the famous case trimmer brands on the market today.
With this brand, you get all you need to reload your gun – from the best case trimmers to dies, presses, measuring equipment, and case care.
The brand’s products are also top-notch in quality and offer services for long. It is the reason it’s a top brand in today’s market.
Best case trimmers reviewed
Overall best case trimmer and prep center: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series
According to our findings, the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim is one of the best reloading press case trimmer available today.
Most people that usually reload ammo frequently may be aware of this trimmer.
The trimmer comes with an impeccable and flawless design. This factor has contributed significantly to its popularity among its users.
Owning this product gives you the honor of having a hi-tech item. Handling this trimmer is also very easy, making it ideal for beginners.
It can trim shells of various sizes, meaning that you can use it to resize cartridges used in different riffles.
It is the reason gun owners love it because it doesn’t matter the kind of gun, it will trim the shells to fit in any of them.
Besides, this trimmer guarantees cutting shells for an extended period. Thanks to its HSS cutters that remain sharp for years, even after trimming numerous rounds.
Fast and Easy to Use
The primer pocket cleaners, in addition to the outside and inside tools, help in preparing the cases for loading.
As a result, trimming and chamfering the cases becomes easy and fast. With this tool, brass gets accurately cut in seconds.
Check out OreGear on this baby:
Secure Storage and Additional Tools
The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim comes with in-built storage to keep its accessories.
Because all its items get kept in one specific place, it becomes easy to locate and store them. As a result, it is very convenient to use this trimmer.
It is not easy to spend more money on buying additional tools with the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim because it comes with extra tools.
For example, deburr, chamfer, six shoulder bushings, three collects, primer pocket cleaning tools that come in large and small sizes.
Serves for a Long time
Steel and aluminum get used in its making, explaining why anyone can recognize the build quality of this trimmer. It also attributes to its durability and long-serving years.
The process used to trim the shells using this trimmer also makes it last longer.
First, you need to resize the shells. Then do the chamfering, deburring, and pocket cleaning. As a result, the bullet gets protected, and the shooting experience becomes smooth.
If you are not only the hunting type but also love the intense shooting, you can add extra things in your tool kit to make the trimmer accommodate resizing other shell types like the military brass.
Even though the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim comes at a pocket-friendly price, many users give it fantastic reviews.
It, therefore, qualifies as a best-case trimmer on the market today.
- Offers service for many years
- Extremely durable
- Easy to use
- Ideal for resizing other shell types
- In-built storage space
- Contains extra tools
- Comes with a sleek design
- Most users can afford it
- The little noise it produces while in operation may be irritating
- To make it more versatile, you will have to purchase extra tools
Best cheap US-made case trimmer: Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer
Looking at this case trimmer, you will notice that it looks different. It is because it’s a manual trimmer, and Hornady, its manufacturer, has pumped it to add to its toughness and longevity.
As a result, it has successfully won itself a place as the current best bench mount case trimmer.
Having been made by professionals in Nebraska, this trimmer may appear hard to operate, but the truth is that it’s user-friendly. The shell holder uniquely locks the case, and it gets restored accurately.
The cartridge rim’s thickness does not matter; the fired cases get restored to the right length by this trimmer.
The trimmer’s lever locks the fired case in the right position to avoid falling out, and also maintain its correct position.
Unlike other trimmers, the Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer comes with a Micro Adjust cutter, which allows up to 0.001 changes to the case without moving it.
You need to buy a Micro Adjust cutter in other trimmers as an extra tool.
Besides been designed with a large diameter, the Hornady Cam Lock Trimmer’s cutting head is replaceable and gets made of sturdy steel.
It is the reason why this trimmer gets able to trim cases of up to approximately 50 calibers.
Hornady Shell Brand Only
Though you get to replace the cutting head in case of a problem or malfunction, you can only use it to resize shells from the Hornady brand only.
This equipment is not compatible with cartridges from other manufacturers.
Makers of this trimmer have also made standard shell holder heads that are removable to use with the Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer.
Though the shells resized are from the same brand, the good news is that it resizes all of them despite the size. You only need to mount this trimmer firmly on a bench or clamp it.
The do the trimming of your fired cartridges.
Talking of the pilots, the Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer comes with seven most famous pilots. It is not possible not to find your match among them.
The pilots include 45 cal, 22 cal, 7mm, 30 cal, 6mm, 270 cal, 38 cal.
Here’s how to set up your unit:
Experience and Affordability
In addition to been in operation since 1949, the manufacture has mastered the ropes of producing the best case trimmers.
With their experience and expertise, no one can fail to trust them on quality and technology. The customer service is also superb; they help you out in case of problems with your trimmer.
In case you have issues with another trimmer model, it gets advisable you replace it with the Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer. Despite its high functionality, any user can afford it.
- Restores cartridges accurately to the correct length
- The cutting head is replaceable
- Comes with seven famous pilots
- Robust and offers service for an extended period
- Easy to operate
- Unique design
- Quite versatile and works fast
- It resizes shells and pilots from the Hornady brand only
- You need to readjust it frequently while in operation
Best easy to use case trimmer: Lyman Universal Trimmer
It is the best power case trimmer you can get on the market today. Because it uses power in its operations, it trims many shells at once and in a short time.
As a result, you get to reload your gun conveniently. You use only a short time to resize and reload the cartridges.
The Lyman Universal Trimmer comes with a power adapter, and that’s why it gets to trim numerous shells in a short time. Also, you can use it to transform your universal shell trimmer into an excellent power trimmer.
This aspect makes this trimmer very versatile.
The transformation process is not rocket science. All you need is to connect the Lyman Universal Trimmer’s power adapter shaft to the drill of your universal trimmer.
As a result, your universal trimmer will become as fast as the Lyman Universal Trimmer.
For many re-loaders, trimming 250 cases in an hour maybe just a dream, but when you change your universal trimmer into a powerful one using the Lyman Universal Trimmer’s power adapter shaft, this dream becomes a reality!
Also, the Lyman Universal Trimmer gets fitted with a universal Chuckhead ideal to accommodate cases ranging from 0.17 to 0.458 caliber.
You do not require a shell holder with this trimmer.
With this trimmer, you get to decide how to use it. You can either use the power or the handheld operation. Regarding this, it makes it the best case trimmer for reloading.
If out of power, you can put your energy into use by operating it manually.
But if you have no time for manual operation or requires to trim many cases, running it with power would be the best option.
Impressively, changing to either way of operations takes none of your time. You should be through within 1 – 2 minutes.
Strong and Durable
The fact that this trimmer can withstand trimming many shells in a short time and with ease demonstrates its quality, efficiency, and strength.
Also, when you look at it, you will notice that its power shaft is robust. The sturdy materials used in its making also contributes to its strength and longevity.
Here’s the Hillbilly Angler talking about his experiences with this trimmer:
Without the case getting trimmed accurately, it is hard for it to function well in a gun. But with this trimmer, you need not worry about it because the cartridges get cut to the exact length and size.
It gets able to carry out both fine and coarse adjustments up to 1/1000 of an inch.
Also, when you adjust the ring, you get able to dial and achieve an appropriate setting that allows you to repeat the process quickly.
Nine Trimmer Pilots
The Lyman Universal Trimmer comes with nine trimmings pilots compatible with most rifles.
You, therefore, get assured to start resizing your used cases immediately with this trimmer as one of the pilots will suit your rifle type and pistol calibers.
The pilots include a 22 cal, 28 cal/7mm, 44 cal, 27 cal, 30 cal, 24 cal, 9mm, 35 (38/357) cal, and 45 cal. The good news is that this trimmer is quite affordable for many users.
- Quite versatile
- Precise trimming
- Nine trimmer pilots
- Fast and easy to use
- An excellent build quality
- Innovative and ideal to use by various shooters
- It works out great with a Lyman Universal Trimmer only.
- You will need to readjust it occasionally.
Best power trimmer adapter: Lyman Power Adapter
By looking at it and its price tag, you would tell that it’s an excellent case trimmer.
Comparing it with case trimmers of similar quality, the Lyman Power Adapter Trimmers not only comes with a fair price, but you can also use it to convert a Universal trimmer into a power trimmer.
The process of transforming your Universal trimmer to work as a power trimmer is like a downhill task.
You only need to replace the Universal trimmer’s shaft with the Lyman Power Adapter Trimmers’ drill and power adapter shaft. The process takes only a few minutes.
After the transformation, the Universal trimmer gets to carry out different tasks. Within an hour, you get to trim approximately 250 cases.
It, therefore, makes it ideal for active shooters and hunters.
To help you convert your Universal trimmer into a power trimmer using the Lyman Power Adapter Trimmers, it gets sold together with a kit.
Regarding this, it saves you money for buying extra tools to perform the transitioning.
Inside the kit, you will also find an easy to understand manual with instructions on how to do the transformation.
It will take you a short time to convert your Universal trimmer if you follow the instructions carefully and to the latter.
Here’s Bob Seal on how it’s helped him:
The Lyman Power Adapter Trimmers trims the cases to the exact length and size. Also, all the resized cartridges turn out to be of the same consistency in size.
Easy to Use and Durable
Thanks to the material used in making the Lyman Power Adapter Trimmers, it ensures you enjoy its services for long.
Because of its sturdiness, it can effortlessly trim many cartridges, making it convenient and ideal for a busy gunner.
The handle is ergonomic, explaining why this trimmer is soft to touch and comfortable to use. It is also easy to turn, making it ideal to use for both right and left-handed people.
But if you use it manually for a long time, your hand may begin to cramp.
Setting it for use is also a piece of cake. You only need to screw it tightly on your workbench. When mounted correctly, it offers greater stability.
But if you want it to work out effectively, use it as a standalone appliance.
Note also that you need to oil the shaft after trimming 10 or 20 cases. Otherwise, you may experience problems while trimming
Enhanced Speed through Its Versatility
The fact that you can attach a drill to this trimmer comes with a bunch of benefits. First, it helps transform the Lyman Power Adapter Trimmers into one of the fastest trimmers.
Also, you get to adjust the speed as you wish. You can set the trimmer to operate at slow or fast cutting speed.
It illustrates the big difference between using a power adapter and a hand-crank.
The fact that you can use this power adaptor to transform a Universal trimmer into a power trimmer at will makes it the best universal case trimmer.
- Easy to install or mount
- Trimming is a breeze
- Easy transformation of a Universal trimmer into a power trimmer
- Durable with a replaceable shaft
- Easy to operate
- Efficient and fast
- If used manually for a long time, one can experience hand cramps
- You need to oil it after trimming every 10 to 20 shells
Best Lee’s Deluxe add-on: Lee Precision 90670
Having been produced by Lee Precision Company, which has been in operation for the last 50 years, this trimmer is nothing less of the best automatic case trimmer.
It trims cases very fast and accurately, making it one of the best innovations of top-notch technology.
It does an excellent job of resizing the shells. While chamfering and deburring the case’s mouth at the same time, it also trims brass precisely and in the correct length.
What’s incredible about this trimmer is the fact that all you need to do is to install the right quick trim die. Then install your trimmer and start resizing the brass.
Once you set it correctly, you get to enjoy unlimited repeatability. This trimmer can resize over 1,000 brass in the same setting.
But remember to grease the cutter shaft for better results and to ensure that the dies stay cool.
Easy to Operate and Shorter than the Standard Case Lengths
But the LEE PRECISION 90670 doesn’t come with a quick trim die. You have to buy it separately, and that’s why it’s important to pick the right one.
With this trimmer, you get to adjust the shells’ length in 0.001 increments attributed to the adjustable click stop that comes with it.
But if you need shorter than the standard case lengths, you get free to adjust the trimmer to produce cases of your preferred size, which usually turns out of a uniform range.
The trimmer gets made with strong steel and plastic. It is the reason the LEE PRECISION 90670 trims a lot of cases with ease and offers services for many years.
If you are looking for the best general use case trimmer to use for an extended time, this trimmer will work out great.
But because the ring brakes get made of plastic, they don’t last long, forcing you to keep on replacing them.
If you are the innovative type, you can use this trimmer in combination with another die like the Lee 0.233 Quick Trim Die or a suitable wireless die.
You will not only get to save some money but also utilize your Progressive Press. It makes such a combination a game changer!
Besides, you need not deburr your cases as this combination ensures they come out clean cut.
- Gives accurate trimmings in a short time
- Serves you for a long period
- You can cut shorter than the regular case lengths
- Ideal to use in combination with other trim dies
- Easy to install and operate
- Comes with an affordable price tag
- Top-notch quality
- Impeccable design
- For excellent results and to keep the dies cool, you need to grease the cutter shaft frequently
- Since ring brakes get made of plastic, you get forced to keep on replacing them since they don’t last long.
With the above knowledge of the best case trimmers on the market today, you may decide to get yourself one.
How do you use a case trimmer?
With the knowledge of the best case trimmers, current leading brands on the market, the types available, and what to consider before purchasing a case trimmer, you may have been in a position to get yourself a case trimmer.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to use it. To grasp some knowledge on how to operate a case trimmer, check out the following;
Case trimmers come in various varieties, and how to use them may differ. But here are general to use guidelines that apply to all of them.
- Mounting: Start by mounting or fixing the trimmer firmly to an appropriate and spacious place. Some come with tools and instructions to help you install them properly.
- Loading: Load a flushed case inside the case holder.
- Operate the Cutter Shaft: Then move the trimmer’s cutter shaft towards the case holder until it’s against the case’s mouth.
- Turn the Cutter: Using a clockwise motion, turn the cutter until the case gets finished. When the bushings and guide come into contact, the trimming has gotten accomplished.
- Remove the Resized Case: After you finish trimming the shell, remove and finish it off by chamfering or deburring.
For better results, always lubricate and service your trimmer regularly.
Case trimmers are essential to re-loaders as they come with the following benefits;
What are the benefits of using a case trimmer?
It is the best benefit you get from using a case trimmer. Because there’s nothing like perfect in reloading ammo, a case trimmer helps in increasing the accuracy and consistency.
Also, all resized shells come out uniform in length.
Time and energy saving
Best case trimmers will resize your ammo very fast, saving you time and energy you’ll have spent resizing them manually or using equipment not designed for reloading.
The work of resizing shells is long and hectic, but a top case trimmer makes it fast and simple.
The brass usually gets trimmed in a consistent length, minimizing the possibility of jamming. Chamfering becomes easier when all rounds come in the same size.
When you use one of the best case trimmers on the market today, you enjoy a high-quality finished product. Unlike the untrimmed shells, the trimmed cartridges come consistent and accurate.
Busy shooters and hunters get convinced when they use a reliable case trimmer. First, they get to save money they would have spent on buying new rounds.
Also, when you require to reload your rifle urgently, a top case trimmer will help resize your fired cartridges in a short time. You also get to trim as many rounds as you want.
If you have various rifle types, a top case trimmer will resize all their shells. Some case trimmers resize different types and sizes of cartridges.
FAQs around case trimmers
Despite grasping some knowledge on everything you need to know about the best case trimmers, you may have some questions that require answers.
To help you answer some of those issues you require clarified, here is a list of the frequently asked questions and their answers.
Can I use a case that is deformed?
It depends on the degree of deformity the case has. If not severely deformed, yes, you can use it as long as it fits the holder. But if the case comes while too deformed, it may not fit the holder, and resizing it may be difficult. It would be best not to use such a case.
Do I need to trim every case?
No. If the case comes in the right length, there’s no need for trimming it. But most cases become longer after firing as a result of pressure from the gunfire. You have to resize such cases to use them. The cases need to be of the same length for a smooth operation.
What should I do if the case is too big for the case holder?
You have two options. First, you may just decide to buy a case trimmer that can trim such a big case. Also, you can opt to adjust your trimmer by installing it with a case holder that can fit the large case. But this is only possible if your case trimmer can allow such an adjustment.
How do I set up the trimmer the first time I use it?
As a beginner, the process may seem complicated. Fortunately, most case trimmers come with instructions on how to set them up. If you follow them to the later, you will have no problem installing your trimmer.
What is the fastest case trimmer?
The fastest case trimmer is the one that uses a power adapter. If you have a universal case trimmer, you can make it faster by connecting it to a power adapter. To help your trimmer maintain its speed, you should grease and service it regularly.
As illustrated above, the best case trimmer is an essential tool for any shooter or hunter. It not only helps in saving money that could have gotten spent on buying new rounds but also makes it convenient for the re-loader.
A case trimmer that can resize shells of different types and sizes and trim multiple of them in a short time makes it handy for a gunner.
But you can’t just go into a store and buy a case trimmer, as explained above. You need to consider some factors.
First, know the type and brand you require. Then based on your needs and budget, use the tips explained above to choose a case trimmer right for you.
If you are confused about what case trimmer to buy, use the best case trimmers discussed above as your starting point.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.