10 Best Case Trimmer For The Money: Reviews To Help You Make The Right Decision
If you’re looking for the best case trimmer on the market today, this post is for you.
As you already know, it’s crucial to follow the recommended steps when reloading to ensure the entire process remains safe and gives you fully functional ammo for your shooting needs.
Investing in a good case trimmer helps you resize and reshape your empty shells to your desired length to prepare it for reuse.
That said, you’ll have to define your specific reloading needs for you to get the best case trimmer from the many variations out there.
In line with that, I’ve done some research on the different trimmers on the market. This has helped me pick the 10 best trimmers that I guarantee will meet your specific needs.
Below I’ll share with you these top trimmers as well as my exclusive method of picking the best trimmer for your reloading needs easily and quickly.
Read on to discover more details…
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Why You Need a Case Trimmer?
If you’re new to the ammo reloading concept, you might be silently wondering what a case trimmer is all about (and if you really need one).
Let me explain to you why you need the trimmer…
When you fire your rounds, the shells (or marble, if you like) get stretched beyond their maximum length. This lengthening is attributed to the pressure that comes from the firing process.
For this reason, you’ll need to resize all the empty shells you collect for reloading.
And this is where the best case trimmer comes in- it helps you easily and precisely cut back down your shells’ extra length for safe and correct reloading.
A typical trimmer uses just the same standard shell holder you use in your reloading. So, if you already have holders for the rounds you’re working in, the process will become even easier.
The case trimmer is usually adjustable to let you cut the brass according to your desired length.
If you have a lot of brass to cut, you’ll find the standard case trimmer slow and annoying.
Luckily, manufacturers have come up with power case trimmers to help you speed up the process.
Now you get why you need a trimmer, eh?
In our next section, we take a look at the most popular case trimmer reviews…
Our Best Case Trimmer Picks:
1. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System:
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The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System is one of the most popular trimmers you can find on the market today! It can help you achieve a lot of things- including accurately trimming your cases in seconds- all at a fair price.
The highly versatile system presents you with a highly innovative case holder with adjustable collect system plus bushing system. These work together to easily index your case shoulder and accurately trim your cases to your desired length.
Operating this system is quite easy! Just adjust the case holder, then insert your case into it, and the collect with correctly align it with the integrated hi-speed cutter. The moment your case mouth comes into contact with the cutter, it gets trimmed until its shoulder stops on the internal bushing.
Other than the cutter, this trimmer also provides you with another 3 additional tools. These include the inside and outside chamfer tools plus primer pocket cleaners that fully prepare your cases for loading.
Above all, this Frankford system is built to last. It features a heavy-duty motor plus drivetrain which are optimized for durability and A+ performance. Likewise, the cutter and chamfer tool boast of top-quality, hardened steel.
As a BONUS, the manufacturer integrated a convenient storage box into this system where you can store all the extra collects, bushings, and other tools.
Such a highly versatile trimmer, with a remarkable list of features, is an irresistible deal, no doubt!
2. Lyman Universal Trimmer with 9 Pilot Multi-Pack:
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If you’re looking for the best electric case trimmer to handle your large volume of cases, look no further! Lyman Universal Trimmer comes with a power adapter that allows you to quickly upgrade it to power in few seconds for speedy trimming of up to 250 cases per hour!
Other than power capability, this Lyman trimmer also ranks among the few versatile trimmers around. This is made possible by its patented Universal Chuckhead which accommodates a wide range variety of cases (from .17 to .458 caliber).
Layman understands the need for precise case length trimming. And they’ve included both the coarse and fine adjustment rings that you can adjust up to a thousandth of an inch. This ring allows you to dial into a particular setting for fast repeatability- making the tool even easier to use for everyone, including the first-timers.
With up to 9 most popular trimmer pilots- for both pistol and rifle calibers- included in the package, this is a trimmer that you can mount and start using instantly.
Lyman Universal Trimmer is probably the easiest, fastest way to trim your cases you’ll ever find.
3. Lyman 7862210 Accutrimmer With 9 Pilot Multi-Pack:
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Its Lyman again…our third place goes to their 7862210 Accutrimmer model which also comes with a budget-friendly cost while delivering the ultimate performance.
Like its cousin above, this Accutrimmer is also pretty versatile. It can easily trim all the cases ranging from.17 to .458 Win Mag. Though this Lyman uses the standard shell holder to position your cartridges, the manufacturer recommends you to use with their shell holder set (sold separately) so that you can enjoy universal ‘trimability.’
The trimmer uses the standard Lyman cutter heads as in all the other Lyman models.
Don’t forget it also provides you with the Lyman’s popular 9 pilots set to make it ready for use the moment it hits your doorstep.
4. RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder:
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Occupying the 4th spot on our top 10 case trimmer reviews is the RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit. I’d highly recommend all the beginners to invest in this tool due to its super-user-friendliness.
Right from the first use, you’ll agree with me that this is a trimmer designed with the ultimate precision in mind. After you set it up, an effective and accurate performance will follow.
Something else that makes this trimmer a top product in the reloaders’ world is its advanced spring-loaded universal shell holder. This securely locks your cases and the cutter to give you an easy time trimming the machine. The fact that this holder is universal means that you don’t need to invest your money in a shell holder to start using the tool.
Add to the fact that it comes with up to 9 different sized pilots (for calibers .22 to .45) and you’ll have an easy time working on different types of cases.
Thanks to the integrated power switch, you can also upgrade it to power for faster trimming experience if you’re reloading a massive volume of cases.
Since it's designed using highest quality materials, this Bushnell product will walk you through many years- offering you accurate case trimming results.
5. Hornady 50140 Cam-Lock Case Trimmer:
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The Hornady 50140 Cam-Lock Case Trimmer is the ONLY trimmer in its price range that presents you with a micro-adjustable cutting head for the most accurate trimming results!
It is also one of the easiest to use, most reliable, and precise trimmers around.
Because it’s an improvement of a previous model from Hornady, it comes with a set of improvements and features that Hornady customers have been asking for. Case in point, the newer model can now work with all the standard Hornady pilots and shell holders. This is good news for all reloaders as it allows you to work on nearly all handgun and rifle rounds.
It also comes with a newer, improved design that facilitates even easier and faster case trimming. For your info, you can trim up to 1000 cases in a single sitting with this tool!
The included user manual will help you get started using this machine quickly.
In my honest opinion, anyone looking for a high-quality case trimmer will find this Hornady a great deal.
6. Little Crow Gunworks LLC World’s Finest Trimmer:
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Let’s cross the half mark on our case trimmer reviews list with the Little Crow Gunworks LLC World’s Finest Trimmer. Fondly referred to as WFT, this is a precision tool designed to last and last.
I was attracted to this trimmer because it utilizes a power source that most reloaders own- the cordless or electric drill- for the ultimate convenience.
Other than this, the tool is pretty easy to run. You just adjust it to your preferences, chuck it up in your drill and start feeding the cases to be trimmed by hand. It can precisely trim up to 10 cases in a single minute, so it’s one of the quickest trimmers you can find on the market.
The razor sharp, high-speed cutters join powers with the incorporated sealed ball bearing to give you the smoothest cuts you’ve ever seen before! The cuts are so smooth that you might need to slightly chamfer the case mouth inner edge.
While most case trimmers use pilots for effective trimming, the WFT does not. Instead, your case gets supported by the shoulder and body of the case.
Trust me; this trimmer is worth every penny, and it’ll help you save a lot of time at your reloading and bench and in the range.
7. Lyman Power Adapter For Lyman Trimmers:
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Looking for the best power case trimmer? If yes, the Lyman Power Adapter For Lyman Trimmers is a sure bet. Despite the fact that it is also grouped in the category of trimmers with an affordable price, it is a top-performing tool that accurately trims a total of 250 cases in a single hour!
This trimming system is extremely easy to setup and use. It works by easily and converting your universal Lyman trimmer into a power trimmer model. To do that, it simply replaces the shaft of your existing hand trimmer with a power adapter shaft and a drill. When all is set, you can embark on precisely trimming your cases at an insane speed of up to 250 brasses an hour.
However, keep in mind that this adapter will only work with the Lyman Universal Trimmer.
Converting your original trimmer back to hand option isn’t hard either. And this is based on the little fact that the power adapter has its own cutter and stop collars for hassle-free switching between the hand and power options.
For those reloaders who already own the Lyman Universal hand Trimmer but are faced with tons of cases that need trimming, simply buy this Lyman Power Adapter For Lyman Trimmers.
It’ll upgrade your existing tool to a powerful power trimmer that trims 250 cases per hour.
8. Lyman Products E-ZEE Trim Hand Case Trimmer Rifle Set:
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Lyman makes a comeback with the E-ZEE Trim Hand Case Trimmer Rifle Set. This is one of the best rifle case trimmer models I’d suggest for those who load rifle-specific ammo.
The most amazing thing you need to know about this trimming system is that gives you the freedom to choose between trimming your cases by hand or with a power adapter (included in the package). If you’ve a few rounds to work on, you can opt for the manual trimming. But if you’ve more rounds to load, I’d recommend you to use the power attachment.
Just like all the other Lyman products we’ve discussed earlier, this trimmer is extremely easy to use. It sets up in seconds, after which it’s ready for use. The fact that it comes with precise pre-set length eliminates the need for making adjustments- making it even easier to use!
Interestingly, the tool can work with all standard shell holders – including the Lyman, Hornady, RCBS, and Lee Precision models!
The included rifle caliber pilots (.223 .243 .270 .30-06 and .308) extend the range of rifle cases you can trim with this system.
If you want to save as much cash as possible by reloading your own rifle ammo, start by investing in this Lyman E-ZEE Trim Hand Case Trimmer today.
9. Lee 90437 Deluxe QK Trim Case:
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The Lee Deluxe Quick Trim is probably the most affordable trimmer on our list for all the reloaders working on a very tight budget.
But don’t lead you into believing that this tool isn’t a performer. This Lee quickly and precisely trims your cases to your set length. Additionally, it chamfers the outside and inside of the case mouth to thoroughly groom your brass for reloading.
The user-friendly case doesn’t require you to use any calipers or make any adjustments/measurements. Rather, it uses a special die that’s fitted in the reloading press- just like all the other Lee products- for easy, hassle-free trimming.
An adjustable click stop lets you set your preferred trim length in 0.001 of 1” increments for the most consistent precise trimming results.
On top of all this, it comes with a simple and compact design that doesn’t clutter up your reloading bench with additional mountings. So, if you’ve limited reloading space, this Lee trimming system might also come handy.
If you’re a minimal reloader looking for something to help you trim a couple of different calibers on a regular basis, Lee 90437 is the perfect trimming system for you!
10. Lyman 6720092 Universal Case Trimmer W/Carbide Cutter:
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Our list ends with the gorgeous looking Lyman 6720092 Universal Case Trimmer. The system boasts of a brand new design on top of excellent craftsmanship that enables it to last a lifetime (or more).
One thing that puts this particular Lyman in its own special class involves its carbide cutter. As you already know, nothing beats carbide when it comes to cutting metal. This trimmer’s carbide cutter features an ultra-sharp edge plus fine grain construction. This blade is capable of holding its sharp edge for longer- allowing you to trim loads and loads of shells with the same cutting speed and precision.
For such a sharp head, you’ll end up with super smooth brass that requires pretty little chamfering on the inside only.
You’ll also appreciate the fact that Lyman’s patented Chuckhead is also included in this trimming system. Needless to explain, this head allows you to easily trim a broad variety of cases- ranging from .17 caliber to .458 caliber- without using any collects!
And like the other Lyman trimmers that we’ve featured on this list, this model also comes with the 9 most popular pilots for both rifle and pistol included. So, if you’re looking for a great pistol case trimmer, this can be a suitable pick.
Overall, if you need a basic but highly reliable that trims with the ultimate precision and won’t get dull year after year, Lyman 6720092 Universal Case Trimmer is your go-to tool.
Case Trimmer Buying Guide: How To Make The Right Choice?
As I mentioned earlier, the ideal case trimmer for you heavily depends on your specific reloading needs.
In this section, I’ll take you through the key factors that’ll guide you into easily selecting the perfect trimmer that will meet all your ammo reloading needs.
These factors include:
The first thing you should look for when buying a case trimmer is its overall performance.
The best performing tool should be able to trim each of your cases to your desired length with the ultimate precision. Plus, it should leave a good square case mouth.
And oh.. it should also be able to cut your cases quickly. This is especially true for people who have volumes of cases to work on per reload.
If you get the best-performing trimmer, you should be ready to meet its cost.
Ease of Use
When you get a great performing trimmer with a great deal of features, don’t forget to check how easy it is to use.
If you buy a model that’s tough to install or operate, it’s sure to give you frustrations ruing the reloading process.
I recommend you to go for a straightforward machine that doesn’t require you to make too many adjustments to get started. Moreover, it should let you easily and quickly load and unload your cases from it.
Makes sure it clamps into position quickly to let you get started ASAP.
How many shells are you reloading?
The volume of cases you’re cutting should also play a huge role in helping you determine the right machine for you.
If you usually reload 1-2 rounds, and you cut countable cases only, then you should look for something simple and basic.
However, if you usually reload huge volumes of cases, consider purchasing a more advanced machine that can handle your job efficiently.
Going for a power model cam even help you conduct the cutting process much faster.
Part of your selection process should also focus on getting a durable tool for the job.
Ensure the machine you’re planning to buy is made of high-quality materials that guarantee its durability and longevity.
A durable, well-designed machine ought to remain stable once clamped on the worktable to give you an easy time when working with it.
Shell holder versatility
Always go for case trimmers that come with versatile shell holders.
The holder is responsible for holding your cases during the trimming process.
With that in mind, going for a model with adjustable shell holder- or variable shell holder sizes- allows you to easily work on cartridges of various calibers.
Setting the amount of cash you plan to spend on a trimmer is quite important as it helps you narrow down your choices to fewer models.
This makes your selection even easier.
And when setting your budget, be sure to factor in the features and kind of performance you’d expect in the best case trimmer for reloading for you.
If you’re on a tight budget and don’t know how to get the right tool for the job, go through our reviews section above for budget-friendly trimmers that work just great!
Because you’ll definitely require these tools, if a trimmer comes with them as well, it’ll save you the extra cash you might have to spend to get them.
Mind you; a thoroughly cleaned shell also enhances the accuracy of a bullet.
How to Read a Case Length Gage for Headspace and Trim?
Reading the case length gage for headspace and trim is a necessary ritual for all hand loaders.
It ensures that you end up with ammunition that’s easy to chamber, feed, extract, eject, etc. in your gun.
If you don’t know how to case check your ammo, I’ve prepared a brief guide below that will take you through the key steps you need to follow.
TIP: For you to conduct this process, you’ll need a case gauge. This is a fairly cheap and handy tool that helps you easily diagnose and troubleshoot any ammo related issues with your gun.
Steps to follow:
If you check the flat of your gauge carefully, you’ll notice that it features a slight groove. This is put in place to help you determine the min and max headspace; your case head should fall between top and bottom portions of this groove. This is one method of case checking your ammo.
Most reloaders don’t like this method due to the small depth of the groove which might affect your eyeballing accuracy.
An alternative method:
Check if the case head sits flush with the flat of your gauge. If it doesn’t, this means that your ammo is out of spec (has an undersized base or body or a bad headspace) and shouldn’t be used with a firearm.
Do I Need to Trim 9mm Brass Before Reloading it?
So you’ve got a bunch of 9mm cases to reload, but you’re not sure if it’s necessary to trim them first?
Well, let’s discuss some facts about trimming your 9mm or pistol brass;
The 9mm brass has a length of 0.754-inches which you should adhere to during the trimming.
If you check your reloading manual, it shows you the mini and max length your case should fall it. If you find it exceeding the maximum length, then you’ll have to trim it to the factory spec for safe reloading.
The 9mm case is unlike the other models in that it’s straight-walled, slightly tapered and headspaces off the mouth of the case.
With that in mind, you’d want to be very careful when doing the trimming to ensure you obtain a proper length while leaving a good square case mouth.
Good news is that you don’t have to trim your 9mm cases as often as with the other models as it length doesn’t change much after firing.
Overall, trimming a 9mm base should only be done when it’s necessary (when the length exceeds the maximum value indicated in your user manual).
Frequently Asked Questions About a Case Trimmer?
Q: What is the importance of a case trimmer?
A: A case trimmer helps you to easily and accurately resize all your empty shells. When you fire your bullets, the length of the shells is stretched extensively due to the pressure attributed to the firing process.
As a result, you will need to cut back the extra length of the shells for re-use.
Q: What criteria should I use when choosing case trimmers?
A: Well, I would definitely look out for five factors as stated below;
1. Ease of use: The case trimmer should not be over complicated or require too many adjustments. The trimmer should be easy to clamp on the worktable for stable and quicker trimming.
2. Design Features: A trimmer with a simple design is always great. If you go for an electric-powered one, ensure that it has loads of useful tools like an adjustable case trimmer, a deburrer, and a smoother.
3. Versatile Shell Holder: A shell holder holds the shell while you trim it. Therefore, a case trimmer with a versatile shell holder that is adjustable and has different holder sizes is excellent.
4. Polishers: these are important as they can prolong the life of the shells by removing debris.
5. Durability: The machine you wish to buy should be made of high-quality materials so that it can last long to serve its purpose.
Q: Can you give me some recommended case trimmers for beginners?
A: Itdoesn’t sound the right thing to do. But, if you insist, these are the three I would mention as per my expertise and research benchmark;
The RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit, Hornady 50140 Cam-Lock Case Trimmer, and the Lee 90437 Deluxe QK Trim Case.
Q: How can I keep my case trimmer tools from rusting?
A: A good method is to keep the tools coated with a non-petroleum based coat that prevents rust when you’re storing them for a long time.
Q: What is the benefit of chamber-type dies over threader dies?
A: Chamber-type dies utilize the concept that straight line seating is the ideal method of aligning the bullet with the case before it is set on the die.
Since the threads are not included, and the die is seated on a flat surface, you will achieve a more precise and consistent setting of the bullet.
Getting the best case trimmer for the money shouldn’t be hard for you anymore!
Before making a purchase, I advise you first to define your specific reloading needs and the amount of cash you’re willing to spend on the trimmer.
In the above post, you’ll find the 10 most popular case trimmers that are pretty cheap, easy to use, and suitable for both beginners and experienced reloaders.
If you order your trimmer from the above list today, I guarantee you that you’ll get the real value for your money.
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