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5 Best Case Trimmers for Reloading in 2021 (Reviewed)

5 Best Case Trimmers for Reloading in 2021 (Reviewed)

Table of Contents

    So you’ve been working on your shot. You’ve gotten to know your rifle inside and out. You’ve started settling on your favorite bullet caliber and the gun you learn towards loves to fire off casings of a particular length. Maybe you feel like it’s getting a little costly buying all of this ammunition, or maybe you’ve already realized that long ago.

    If you’re new to reloading or it’s old hat to you and you’re just looking for the perfect trimmer for your fully stocked reloading press and work station. We’ve taken the time to dig out the best case trimmers for the job. 

    The internet is full of them. There are mechanical ones you crank by hand that come with all of the pilots you could ask for, and electrical trimmers that only require a bushing or two before you can crank out the best cases for reloading. There are large ones, motors with variable speeds, detachable handles perfect for electric screwdrivers, full trimmers that fit on the end of your favorite drill, and classic trimmers that demand you bolt them to the table before you can get a single second of work done.

    It can be overwhelming to comb through all of those options. Well, never fear, we did the hard work for you and presented it here for your leisurely perusal!

    In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:

    Overview
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Title
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Price
    $189.95
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Title
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Price
    $189.95
    Rating
    -
    Details

    5 Best 1-4x Scopes for the Money

    Overview
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer 050140 - Reloading Case Trimmer Accurately Restore Fired Cases Up to 50 Calibers - Unique Brass Trimmer with Micro Adjust Cutter, 7 Pilot Sizes, & Large Diameter Cutting Head
    Little Crow Gunworks Worlds Finest Trimmer 223 Rem
    Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer
    RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder
    Title
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer 050140 - Reloading Case Trimmer Accurately Restore Fired Cases Up to 50 Calibers - Unique Brass Trimmer with Micro Adjust Cutter, 7 Pilot Sizes, & Large Diameter Cutting Head
    Little Crow Gunworks Worlds Finest Trimmer 223 Rem
    Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer
    RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder
    Price
    $189.95
    $118.80
    $78.95
    $119.99
    $149.49
    Rating
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Overview
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Title
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Price
    $189.95
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer 050140 - Reloading Case Trimmer Accurately Restore Fired Cases Up to 50 Calibers - Unique Brass Trimmer with Micro Adjust Cutter, 7 Pilot Sizes, & Large Diameter Cutting Head
    Title
    Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer 050140 - Reloading Case Trimmer Accurately Restore Fired Cases Up to 50 Calibers - Unique Brass Trimmer with Micro Adjust Cutter, 7 Pilot Sizes, & Large Diameter Cutting Head
    Price
    $118.80
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Little Crow Gunworks Worlds Finest Trimmer 223 Rem
    Title
    Little Crow Gunworks Worlds Finest Trimmer 223 Rem
    Price
    $78.95
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer
    Title
    Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer
    Price
    $119.99
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder
    Title
    RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder
    Price
    $149.49
    Rating
    -
    Details

    1Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System

    This case trim and prep system is the whole package. If you’re looking to keep your workshop tidy and cut down on the number of tools you’ve got lying around, you might want to look into his offering by Frankford Arsenal. You’ll be getting several tools along with an easy to use case trimmer. It’s an excellent addition to any garage for how much space you’re going to be saving, and you’re not going to have to bounce around from tool to tool to get the job done with this trim and prep system. You can chamfer, deburr, and clean out the pocket all along the face of your trim and prep system.

    The kit comes with: 

    • An inside chamfer tool
    • A deburring tool
    • A large and small primer pocket cleaning tool
    • A trimmer with 3 collets
    • 6 shoulder bushings 

    This little thing is incredibly durable. The die-cast gearbox and the aluminum housing come together to make a device that will last you through hundreds and hundreds of case trimmings. The case trim and prep system rests on an adjustable stand and a set of rubber feet. The adjustable stand allows you to use it in several different positions, which is great for long reload sessions, and the rubber feet keep the device still and reduce noise while you while the time away in your workshop.

    Use is pretty simple if you know your way around a case trimmer. All you’ve got to do is open up the trimmer and select an appropriate bushing and collet, slide them over your casing to attach them to your case trimmer. A few adjustments to the device and you’re good to go.

    Once you’ve got yourself set up, this case trimmer is about as hard to use as an electric pencil sharpener. 

    PROS

    • This comes with several tools you can use once it comes time to start your prep
    • Works with several calibers
    • Extremely precise
    • Easy to use once you know what you’re doing
    • Great for chamfering 
    • Excellent durability

    CONS

    • If you already have some of these tools handy you’ll just be doubling up
    • A little expensive if you’re only looking for a case trimmer
    • Not great for newcomers

    2Hornady Cam Lock Trimmer

    Sale
    Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer 050140 - Reloading Case Trimmer Accurately Restore Fired Cases Up to 50 Calibers - Unique Brass Trimmer with Micro Adjust Cutter, 7 Pilot Sizes, & Large Diameter Cutting Head
    • Accurate, Consistent Case Lengths - this Hornady Cam Lock Case Trimmer 050140 is a unique instrument that use standard Hornady removable shell holder heads and accurately restores fired cases to the...

    Hornady has never let us down, and this cam-lock case trimmer continues their streak. This case trimmer is an updated version of their previous case trimer, and during the transition, they added a number of features that make use a breeze. 

    The cam lock keeps your shells in place while you’re trimming your shells, so you don’t have to fuss with pinching them in place with your free hand. The handle is much more comfortable to use than their previous models, you’ll have no problem trimming dozens of cases at a time. The handle also has an adjustable lock nut. If your calipers are precise to the .001-inch this adjustable lock will get you the most precise case trimmings you could hope for

    This trimmer comes with ten of the most popular case pilots, so you’ll almost never find yourself at a loss once you’ve set your case into the trimmer and locked it into place. The spindle lock built into the trimmer allows your case timer to accommodate up to 50 caliber cases.  

    The cutter head is replaceable, so when you feel like it’s not trimming things down like it used to, you’re not going to have to scrap the whole thing and scrounge up a new trimmer.  There are also several accessories you can add to your case trimmer. If you’re sick of using the crank, you can nab a power trimmer adapter perfect for slotting your electric screwdrivers into. They also have a set of deburring tools that fit right onto the case trimmer, so you’re not going to have to pick up a separate deburr tool and clog up your workspace. They also offer a perfectly shaped trimmer dust cover, if your workspace has poor ventilation, or you’re just not willing to deal with shavings drifting through the air.

    PROS

    • As simple to use as an apple peeler 
    • Very accurate
    • High-quality, especially for the cost

    CONS

    • You’re going to be limited to Hornady brand ammo and shell holders. 
    • You’ll have to mount this to a workbench
    • Requires shell holders, so if you’re trimming several different calibers it can be a little annoying

    3Little Crow Gunworks Worlds Finest Trimmer

    If you’ve heard of Little Crow Gunworks it’s most likely because of this very trimmer. It’s a wonderful little piece of equipment that takes the case trimmer, strips it down to its most basic parts, and produces a device that allows you all of the luxuries of a more cumbersome case trimmer. 

    It’s incredibly easy to use. Once the world’s finest trimmer arrives at your door, all you need is an Allen wrench, the brass you’re going to trim, and the electric drill you’re going to install it on. You use the Allen wrench to adjust the end mill to the exact trim length of your spent casing, and fit it into the drill you’re using to trim your casings. There are no guides or pilots you’re going to need to fiddle with or mounting onto workbenches that will stand in the way of you and pristinely trimmed casings. 

    The piece is heavy duty and will last you a long time and several uses. You’re not going to be wearing down your end mill until you’ve trimmed down thousands of cases. This is one of the most popular case trimmers on the market right now for a good reason.

    The Little Crow Gunworks trimmer is something that any gunsmith should have in their workshop. This little handheld device does exactly what other much larger trimmers need about a foot and half of space and several attachments without sacrificing accuracy or power.

    PROS

    • Great for use in cramped spaces
    • If you’re not trimming multiple different calibers to multiple different case lengths, this is the perfect tool to set and forget
    • Guiding the cutting head to the case mouth is simple

    CONS

    • Fine adjustments are a little harder to make because the end mill sits inside of the trimmer
    • If you’re not willing to hold a drill while trimming your cases, this can become a little bit of a hassle to use
    • Not as consistent as larger or more stable case trimmers 

    4. Lyman Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer

    Sale
    Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer
    • Lyman’S Case Trim Xpress Gives Rifle Reloaders The Speed And Accuracy That They Have Been Looking For When Trimming Cases.

    This case trimmer trades pilots for a series of bushings. The bushings they manufacture come in a series of sizes. If you pick up a new caliber that needs trimming, then just pick up a new bushing. It’s quick and accurate, making trimming down your casings a breeze.

    It comes with its own power source, and this feeds a variable speed motor just plug in an adapter and you’re off to the races. No cranking required, and you’re not going to be locked into a motor that’s overly aggressive or incredibly lethargic. This is another pencil sharpener model. Once your bushings are in place all you need is a free hand that will feed the casing into the trimmer. 

    Adjustment is a breeze. The easily accessible dial on the outside of the case trimmer will change the length of the trimmer in .001” increments, for a precise trim on any casing. 

    This case trimmer has the upper hand over the Frankford Arsenal case trimmer in simplicity. You’re not going to be juggling burrs and cleaners. You’re just going to need the right bushing and some patience. 

    PROS

    • The trimmer is a tough carbide cutter, much more durable than steel
    • Very compact, doesn’t take up a great deal of room on your workbench
    • Very easy to adjust with the dial built into the trimmer
    • Pretty quiet for the work it does
    • As long as you have the right bushing this is incredibly easy to use

    CONS

    • If you’re not keen on using your hands to apply pressure, this isn’t the trimmer for you
    • Needs to be mounted on a work surface

    5. RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder

    This simple hand-powered universal case trimmer is a simple affordable choice for discerning reloaders. It comes with all of the parts you’ll need to trim down cases of nearly any caliber and length. You’re not going to have to come back to Amazon and poke around for additional pilots or bushings to fit a new caliber. 

    The spring-loaded shell holder locks basically any size case you’ll come across neatly in line with the cutter, letting you worry about getting the casing on and nothing else. It’s easy to use, and once you’re comfortable getting it set up, you’ll be getting precise and pristine cases.

    All of the popular pilots store nicely on the side of the trimmer, keeping your workspace tidy, and making it easy to keep track of all of the parts. It’s compact enough to set up without sacrificing too much of your workspace to the trimmer, and the form factor is pleasant. It’s not garish or too unassuming. It a nice splash of color that’s the perfect blend of sturdy and nice to look at.

    PROS

    • Great for nearly any casing on the market at this time
    • Caliber specific pilots keep cases steady throughout the trimming process
    • Spring-loaded case holder accommodates a wide range of casings
    • Incredibly precise
    • Always cuts to a consistent length

    CONS

    • Needs to be mounted on a work surface
    • Not great for converting to an electric motor
    • Because you’re cranking it by hand it’s a pain to use for high volume reloads

    Our Winner

    Overview
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Title
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Price
    $189.95
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Title
    Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System with Hardened High Speed Steel Chamfer Debur Tool and Primer Pocket Scrapers with Trimmer
    Price
    $189.95
    Rating
    -
    Details

    The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System. If you’re the type to go at your casings with a micrometer, and you’re not satisfied until the job is done perfectly, then this is the case trimmer for you. It’s high-quality and multi-functional. This case trimmer belongs in any prep center. The collet system alone is enough to put this at the top of anybody’s list, but regardless of that, it’s a solid piece of equipment. 

    When you’re setting up a system for reloading your spent casings, you’ll quickly realize how much space and how cumbersome it can be if you’re hopping from tool to tool. This case trimmer is more of a one-stop-shop for your workspace. If you’re taking on this kind of project, you’re probably going to need all of the functions of this trim and prep system eventually. You might as well pack them all into one piece of equipment. It’s a cost and space effective method of getting all of the tools you’re going to need for quality reloading. 

    If you end up picking this trim and prep system as your winner as well, you’re going to having to make some room in your workbench because of its sheer size. It’s better than cobbling together a cutting station and a burring station and a collet station and a reload station, though. What you lose in a sleek presentation you get back tenfold in the effective use of space.

    It’s incredibly sturdy. You’ll be using this for thousands of casings before you need to replace any worn down parts. It’s nice to know that you’ll be able to purchase something and use it for a long time. The plethora of parts that come along with it also makes this a solid investment. You won’t have to run out to the shop a million times whenever a slightly different length or caliber comes across your table.

    Let’s also not forget the little rubber feet and the adjustable stand. They allow you to fit this behemoth into your shop without having to permanently attach it to anything. If you’d prefer moving it into and out of position after uses, then you’re more than welcome to. If you have a lot of projects, but limited space, this can be stored away and retrieved for another round of work at a later date. 

    All around, this is an absolute winner. Your output shafts will always be clean, your case heads will be flush, and your case prep will always be straightforward and simple. If you’re stuck between case trimmers, rest assured that this one will get the job done for you, and then some.

    Do I Really Need This? 

    If you’re fine with leaving all of those spent casings in the trash and going out to stock up on new bullets, then there’s really nothing tying you to a case trimmer. This is a tool for the most dedicated gun owners. If you love feeling connected to the guns you own, if you can’t get enough of that gunpowder smell or that feeling of pride every time you load a new bullet into the chamber, then you’re the one that these case trimmers are calling out for. 

    Reloading your casings has a little bit of a learning curve and a touch of upfront investment, sure, but in the long run, you’ll have the opportunity to take all of those casings that are just lying around after a good day of hunting or target practice and turn them into money and a brand new skill. This isn’t hard to learn, and the more you get to know the ins and outs of the bullets you shoot, the more you get to appreciate the craftsmanship and ingenuity that goes into these amazing little containers.

    Bonus tip: For our visual learners, we’ve got a little how-to video. Get out this handy walkthrough video, and up your case trimming game!

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    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.

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