Our Top Picks
Best Universal Case Trimmer
Lyman Universal Case Trimmer
This versatile case trimmer can handle all kinds of cases – from .17 caliber to .458.Check Price
Best Automatic Case Trimmer
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep Center
This case trimmer guarantees fast and accurate brass trimming.Check Price
Best Budget Case Trimmer
LEE PRECISION 90670, Deluxe Power Quick Trim Case Trimmer
This case trimmer accurately cuts down brass casings at an affordable price.Check Price
We know how cost-effective it is to reuse cartridges, but restoring their original length can be a lot of work. Worry not, because we’ll help you find the best case trimmer out there, then you’ll be producing consistent rounds in no time!
A Comparison of the 5 Best Case Trimmers for Reloading
How We Choose + Our Must-Have Features
Here are the features that you should take into consideration when shopping for a case trimmer.
Think of how much you’ll be reloading. If you won’t be using your case trimmer often, a steel cutter will be more than enough. But for high-volume reloading, we suggest you get a cutter constructed from carbide or something more durable.
If you plan on reloading different calibers, you should get a case trimmer that’s compatible with all your cases. It would be best to purchase a universal case trimmer so you can use them in the future in case you want to add more calibers.
Investing in something that you can use for a very long time is a wise decision. But it’s also wise to spend within your budget if you have one. Besides, there are plenty of affordable but reliable case trimmer brands out there.
Electric or Manual
This actually depends on your preference. But if you want your reloading done quickly, we suggest that you get an electrically-powered case trimmer.
This goes without saying, but we all want to buy something that’ll last for a long time. And we can never guarantee a product’s durability unless we use it. To save you time, we’ve gathered and summarized all the customer reviews for these case trimmer brands so you can compare and decide for yourself.
Ease of Use
Let’s admit it, trimming brass cases is a tedious task. But you can make it less exhausting by getting a machine that’s user-friendly.
Not all of us have a workshop or dedicated space for reloading. If you have one, you won’t have to worry about your case trimmer’s size. But if you don’t, make sure to get a portable case trimmer or one that fits in your reloading area.
5 Best Case Trimmers for Reloading
Best Universal Case Trimmer: Lyman Universal Case Trimmer
Lyman Universal Case Trimmer is highly recommended by most reloading enthusiasts. That’s mainly because it can accommodate all kinds of cases. What’s great about it is that you won’t have to buy expensive shell holders or case collets!
You can tell it’s a quality build right out of the box and the instructions are very helpful in walking you through the reloading process and how to do case trimming in particular.
In one package you get all of the common bullet pilot sizes and storage is right on the unit itself.
Lyman also takes pride in its pinpoint accuracy, thanks to its coarse and fine trimming adjustments. These features can be adjusted up to one-thousandth of an inch. You can set the primary length control and then fine tune with the marked adjustments from there for easy setup and excellent repeatability when processing a lot of cases.
A new case locks in with about a quarter turn of the chuck, so getting cases in and out is really quick. You can also choose to buy a power adapter to increase your production rate to up to 250 cases per hour.
The product also includes 9 trimming pilots for rifle and pistol calibers.
Tom Griffin, Ballistics Lab Manager at Lyman Products says,
“What makes the Lyman Universal Trimmer unique is it’s easy to use chuckhead which will accept any case from 17 to 458 caliber. Nothing else is needed other than the proper caliber pilot. Cases are simply slid into place behind the universal chuckhead’s two spring loaded fingers, and the outside of the chuckhead is rotated to lock the case firmly in place. Fast, easy to use and secure.”
- Fits any case from .17 to .458 caliber
- No collets required
- Optional power adapter
- Easy to set up
- The screw holding the trimmer pilot loosens up easily
What Customers Say
“This little thing is one of the easiest case trimmers to set up and use.”
“Great for trimming brass casings, especially if you get the drill attachment arbor to go with it. I did have to loosen the chuck retaining nut and rotate the chuck a little to adjust it to get the jaws to clamp correctly and turn the arbor depth setting nut around so it was facing the correct direction. After that, it works as advertised.”
Best Automatic Case Trimmer: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep Center
What we love most about the Frankford Arsenal Case Trim and Prep Center are its ultra-hard HSS cutters. These babies remain consistently razor-sharp even after multiple uses.
Not only that, but Frankford Arsenal also guarantees relentless performance and durability from its superior-quality motor and drivetrain.
This heavy-duty trimmer also allows you to set your desired case length and it will cut brass for you within seconds! Imagine how much time you’d be saving.
It’s also equipped with a built-in storage box where you can keep your tools, spare collets, and bushings.
However, it would have been better if the machine was a little easier to set-up, according to some customer reviews.
- Works with any case, from.17 Remington to .460 Weatherby
- High-quality cutter material
- Shell holders not required
- Can be a little difficult to set-up
- Can be a little loud
What Customers Say
“A must-have if reloading a large amount of rifle brass.”
“Works great! Don’t be anxious because of a few folks who are bagging on the debur tools. Go ahead and buy it if you are sick of holding a drill and switching off to hand tools for every case.”
Best Budget Case Trimmer: LEE PRECISION 90670, Deluxe Power Quick Trim Case Trimmer
As one of the leading manufacturers for high-quality reloading equipment, Lee Precision swears by this case trimmer’s reliability.
The Deluxe Power Quick Case Trimmer allows you to chamfer, deburr, and trim your brass casings simultaneously, and at an affordable price!
You just have to set the machine to your desired setting and you can trim away endlessly.
However, some customers complained about how the adjustment ring is not sturdy enough.
- Quick trimming
- The adjustment ring is made of plastic
What Customers Say
“Used this in combination w the Lee .223 Quick Trim Die using my Wireless Drill. This combination is a Total GAME CHANGER. Not only that I was able to save a lot of money compared to RT1500. Was able to save time and effort by utilizing on my Progressive Press. Plus, I dont have to deburr afterwards coz this thing cuts em clean.”
“Simple and easy to use, very good value for money, I used an electric screwdriver to make it easier.”
Hornady Cam Lock Trimmer
There are two things that we love about the Hornady Cam Lock Trimmer.
One is its Micro Adjust cutter that allows up to an incredible .001” adjustment without having to move the brass casing. This feature costs extra with other brands, so it’s a great bonus.
Another neat feature is its locking mechanism that holds the case in the shell holder. With it, you can trim cases accurately no matter how thick the cartridge rim is.
The Hornady Case Trimmer is also equipped with a replaceable ultra-hard steel cutting head for more effective trimming. It also has a power adapter where you can plug a battery-operated screwdriver for a quicker operation.
Some customers mentioned that it would have been better if rust didn’t form easily on the machine’s surface.
- Shell holder locking mechanism
- Micro Adjust cutter
- Replaceable steel cutting head
- Easy to use
- Rusts easily
- The base could have been wider
What Customers Say
“It’s a lifesaver, trimming cases was a long drawn out process and this trimmer makes super short work of it.”
“I’m very happy with this trimmer and find that it suits my needs and has made this part of reloading more enjoyable for me.”
RCBS Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder
The RCBS Trim Pro-2 Kit has a spring-loaded shell holder that holds the cartridge case securely so it remains aligned with the cutter throughout the trimming process.
This case trimmer’s design also keeps a case from wobbling while its length is being restored.
Customers also mentioned how easy it was to assemble the machine and how consistent the RCBS was once it’s set up.
One thing that some customers complained about was that loading the shells into the universal chuck takes longer than most brands.
- Spring-loaded shell holder
- Easy to set up and use
- Loading the shells takes longer
What Customers Say
“I trimmed over 300 5.56 cases and it worked flawlessly. Once I got it set up I began trimming cases to specs per the Hornady manual, the first and the last case were EXACTLY the same length with no deviation or deterioration in cutting quality. The universal shell holder seemed a little wonky at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll love it.”
“I like the universal shell holder, my hand loader has the same style, they are quick and eliminate the need to replace the shell holder for every caliber. Plus the kit comes with all the necessary pilots.”
Advanced Case Prep for Reloading
This short video is a great summary of the steps to full prepare your brass for reloading.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best case trimmer for reloading?
This depends on your preference. But if you want the best universal case trimmer, we recommend the Lyman Universal Case Trimmer. We’ve listed four other leading case trimmer brands above for you to choose from.
Who makes the best case prep center?
For the best case prep centers on the market, we recommend these brands – Lyman, Frank Arsenal, Lee Precision, Hornady, and RCBS. For more details and information on these prep centers, check our list above.
Is case trimming necessary?
If you want to increase your accuracy by producing consistent rounds and reduce the chance of dangerous pressure build-up from stretched cases, then yes, case trimming is necessary.
Do I need to trim every case?
There is no official rule on how often cases should be trimmed. But you don’t need to trim yours every time you reload. This depends on the caliber you’re using, as some calibers need more frequent trimming than others because the bullets stretch more when firing.
How does a case trimmer work?
Old brass cases stretch as you fire and reload them. A case trimmer restores your cartridge’s original length by cutting the excess brass. The trimming process depends on the manufacturer. Some models use a hand crank to cut brass, while others use caliber-specific length gauges. There are also brands that use electrically-powered cutters for quicker and more accurate trimming.
Trimming cartridge cases is no walk in the park. But we’re sure it’ll be more fun now that you’ve chosen your case trimmer. In no time, your brass casings will be good as new!
Last update on 2023-11-25 / Images from Amazon Product API