best-case-trimmers-reviews

Reloading spent brass is a normal part of many shooter’s hobbies.

Most of the ammunition I shoot on the range is reloads. One step in my reloading process is to trim any fired brass to factory specifications. Trimming brass cases to spec helps ensure quality reloads that feed and fire properly.

These are the best case trimmers I prefer to use when I reload ammunition for my pistols and rifles.

So, in case you’re in a hurry, here’s a list of the best case trimmers that you can get as of now:

When Small Changes Matter: Why We Need Case Trimmers?

Brass is a relatively soft and malleable metal. When stressed, brass tends to move, change shape, or stretch. Bullet cases to this as well. Bottleneck cases tend to lengthen with each reload. Straight wall cases may stretch or shorten over time.

Cases that grow in length need trimming to keep them at the proper length. You also need to make sure the mouth of the case is square with the base.

The changes in case length are minuscule. Often these changes are only thousandths of an inch.

However, in the gun world, thousandths of an inch matter. Tolerances in most rifles and pistols measure in the thousandths of an inch range.

If you reload consistently, trimming cases is a fact of life.

The World of Trimming Brass

Beginning reloaders are best advised to choose a manual case trimmer when getting started.

A manual case trimmer is easy to use for beginners and has other advantages. Reloaded brass can suffer from a variety of failures and defects.

Turning a brass case in a manual lathe-style trimmer is a perfect opportunity to examine these brass cases.

Much of my reloading is once-fired brass cases from a police training range. This brass is high quality and there is a minimal chance the brass has suffered from stress-related damage.

High volume reloading makes trimming cases using a manual case trimmer too slow. I use an automatic electric case trimmer mounted on my reloading press.

Other types of electric case trimmers perform other functions such as reaming primer pockets and prepping the neck and mouth of the brass cases.

Finding the right case trimmer for your reloading projects is as much about your shooting habits as it is about the cases your trim.

Choosing a Case Trimmer – What Features Matter

When you start searching for a case trimmer for your reloading bench, you may become quickly overwhelmed with the variety. Before you decide on a case trimmer, put a little thought into what you expect from your case trimmer, your reloading demands, and the reason you reload.

We have selected our favorite case trimmers for a variety of different uses and shooting styles. Reviewing our selections and our reasoning for selecting each case trimmer will give you a better understanding of what to look for in your case trimmer.

In general, we look for several features in each case trimmer. These features include:

  • Type and style of the case trimmer
  • Quality of construction
  • Cutter material
  • Price

No matter what case trimmer you choose, these features should be first and foremost in your mind as you make your selection.

Our List of the Best Case Trimmers

The following case trimmers are, in our opinion, the best choice in each category.

Price is almost always the last consideration we include. Most case trimmers will last for thousands of rounds.

I prefer to use the best possible case trimmer regardless of the cost.

The Ultimate Case Trimmer – Sinclair/L.E. Wilson – Stainless Ultimate Trimmer

Sinclair/L.E. Wilson – Stainless Ultimate Trimmer
56 Reviews
Sinclair/L.E. Wilson – Stainless Ultimate Trimmer
  • L.E. Wilson Inc. a family owned and operated business since 1927
  • In 1936 Sam (L.E.) Wilson had developed his first Case Trimmer. We have been making them ever since....
  • USE WITH L.E. WILSON CASE HOLDER (SOLD SEPARATELY) Able to trim Case Lengths from .650 to 3.000"...

If you are a long-range precision shooter who values consistency and accuracy in your reloading process, the Sinclair/Wilson stainless steel ultimate trimmer is an obvious choice.

The design of the Sinclair/Wilson case trimmer incorporates the proven qualities and reputation of the legendary L.E. Wilson case trimmer with the precision engineering of the Sinclair micrometer head.

No other trimmer can give you the precise control over your case trimming projects. Consider these features of the Sinclair/Wilson Ultimate Trimmer.

  • Stainless steel construction for durability, stability, and long-life
  • No pilots or collets. The Wilson case holder system secures the case and allows the case length to be measured accurately for the full case length
  • The Sinclair micrometer cutting head allows incremental adjustments of .001’s of an inch.
  • The Sinclair/Wilson system ensures exact and repeatable case lengths.

For most reloaders, this will be the last case trimmer you will need to buy. The quality of the manufacturing and the amazing accuracy of these micrometer adjustments will perform to the most exacting standards.

Sinclair Brass Case Trimmer

Who Benefits from This Case Trimmer?

Several categories of reloaders benefit from an investment in a Sinclair/Wilson stainless steel micrometer case trimmer.

  • Precision shooters who demand extreme consistency in their reloading
  • Shooters who enjoy wildcatting new loads or cartridges
  • Hunters who reload and want the most consistent performance from their ammunition

Shooters and reloaders who demand precise, consistent case lengths are the chief beneficiaries of using a Sinclair/Wilson micrometer case trimmer.

The Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Probably the most precise case trimmer available
  • Case holders for almost every cartridge on the market
  • Durable cutting heads are easily replaceable when needed

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires separately purchasing a case holder for each caliber of ammunition you reload

There is no doubt that if making exact case lengths over and over is your goal, the Sinclair/Wilson case trimmers is your choice. It is a manual case trimmer, but if repeatable dependable base lengths are what you want, this trimmer will deliver.

Power with Precision – Giraud Power Case Trimmer

giraud power case trimmer review

If you load hundreds or perhaps even thousands of rounds, a manual case trimmer may not be an option. I load high volumes of both pistol and rifle ammunition for my personal use and my family. I am not so interested in precision. I want my case lengths to be uniform, but a small amount of variation is acceptable.

Giraud’s power case trimmer gives me the capability to trim thousands of cases quickly without a lot of mess. Many case trimmers that work quickly also leave a large amount of brass trimmings scattered about my reloading area. The Giraud cast trimmer includes a Lexan housing to contain the trimmings. This feature, with several others, puts the Giraud power case trimmer on my list.

  • The Giraud power case trimmer uses a 1/8 HP electric motor to operate using 120V standard AC.
  • Ball bearings in both the motor and the trimmer shaft
  • The cutter head enclosure is Lexan and contains the brass shavings
  • A carbide cutter head trims cases smoothly and chamfers both the inside and outside edges
  • Solid metal base for rigidity and an integral on/off switch

If speed and reliability are your chief concerns in a case trimmer, the Giraud power case trimmer is the top of the line. This case trimmer is also the cleanest to operate.

Who Benefits from this Case Trimmer?

If you reload more than a few hundred rounds of ammunition a year, you can certainly benefit from owning a Giraud power case trimmer. If like me, you routinely reload more than 200 rounds of ammunition a month, the Giraud power case trimmer will certainly pay for itself in time savings.

In general, any reloader in one of these categories will benefit from a Giraud power case trimmer.

  • Group or club reloaders
  • Anyone shooting in tactical or three gun competitions that require large round counts.
  • Plinkers or casual target shooters who fire large amounts of ammunition for fun
  • Range instructors who routinely fire high round counts during teaching exercises

The Giraud power case trimmer is beneficial for shooters who cannot physically manage a manual case trimmer.

The Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fast and accurate
  • Chamfers the case mouth as it trims
  • Clean to operate. No brass trimmings scattered over your work surface.
  • Easily replaceable cutter head

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Shoulder indexing requires brass to be resized before trimming

If your goal is to trim a lot of brass during reloading with better-than-average tolerances, the Giraud power case trimmer makes sense. It is a bit pricey to purchase and set up.

However, the ability to process thousands of rounds of ammunition in a short amount of time can be a money and time saver.

Check full details and price on the official website.

The High Volume Option – Dillon RT1500 Electric Case Trimmer

Dillon RT1500 Electric Case Trimmer
9 Reviews
Dillon RT1500 Electric Case Trimmer
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Stronger Motor

If speed and high volumes of reloads are your goals, you will want to investigate the Dillon RT1500 electric case trimmer. This power case trimmer fits your reloading press and allows both resizing and trimming of your brass cases as part of your reloading process.

I run a Dillon 550 press for most of my rifle reloading. Installing the Dillon RT1500 electric case trimmer on my press makes resizing and case trimming as easy as priming a shell case. Each Dillon RT500 electric case trimmer includes these features.

  • Resize and trim any rifle case in one operation
  • Allows trimming .223 brass and resizing to 300 Blackout in one step
  • Clean operation using a vacuum chip collection system to remove the trimmed brass
  • A ¼ HP electric motor drives the carbide cutter head
  • It fits any reloading press that uses standard reloading dies

For reloading and resizing rifle brass, the Dillon RT1500 electric case trimmer is unmatched. Combining the case resizing and trimming operation into one pull of your reloaders handle is the most efficient way to reload.

Who Benefits from this Case Trimmer?

When you are reloading massive amounts of rifle cartridges, you must consider the Dillon RT1500 electric case trimmer.   Typically, case trimming is a separate operation. Each case you trim requires handling the empty case at least once to perform the trimming operation. You must handle the case again to get it into the press for resizing and reloading.

Dillon RT1500 Electric Case Trimmer Review

The Dillion RT1500 electric case trimmer cuts the number of times you handle each case in half. Using my Dillon 550 press, I insert a case into the turret, pull the handle once to both resize and trim the case, pull down and set the primer, turn the turret and repeat. After four pulls of the hammer, each subsequent pull puts a completed reload into the catch bin.

A typical visit to the range for my family and I can burn through 500 to 1000 rounds of .223 rifle ammunition. Adding a Dillon RT1500 electric case trimmer to my Dillon 550 press cut the amount of time to reload this much brass by at least one-third. Anyone reloading these kinds of volumes of ammunition can certainly benefit from the Dillon RT1500 electric case trimmer.

The Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • This press-mounted case trimmer is fast and efficient.
  • The Dillion RT1500 can resize and trim .223 cases to .300 Blackout in one step
  • The vacuum enclosure traps and collects the brass shavings efficiently and safely
  • Mountable on any reloading press that uses standard reloading dies

The Cons

  • Expensive
  • You must buy special resizing dies and adapters to make the .223 to .300 Blackout conversion.

With a Dillion RT1500 mounted on a progressive reloading press, you can efficiently process hundreds of reloads an hour.

High-volume shooters, shooting clubs or ranges who process reloads for resale will all benefit from adding a Dillion RT1500 to their press.

The Best Budget Option – RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder

RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit Case Trimmer
402 Reviews
RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit Case Trimmer
  • Made of The highest quality materials
  • Trimpro 2 Kit with spring loaded shellholder
  • The kit contains nine pilots: .22, .24, .25, .27, .28, .30, .35, .44 and .45

If budget is an issue, but you still demand high quality, you won’t do better than the RCBS Trim Pro-2 Kit. This manual lathe-style case trimmer features all the quality that you expect from an RCBS product. You will get the following when you purchase an RCBS Pro-2 case trimming kit.

  • Spring-loaded shell holder that fits most rifle cartridge sizes without adapters or changing shell holders.
  • The kit includes the following pilots: .22, .24, .25, .27, .28, .30, .35, .44 and .45
  • Accurate to .001 inch
  • Includes one cutter head

You probably won’t set any reloading speed records using the RCBS Pro-2 case trimmer, but you can expect to turn out precisely trimmed cases with clean case mouths.

Who Benefits from this Case Trimmer?

Anyone who needs a high-quality and precise case trimmer at a moderate price will benefit from the RCBS Pro-2 manual case trimmer. The quick-change spring-loaded case holder speeds operations up a bit. Your reloading won’t suffer from a lack of precision because you used the RCBS Pro-2 case trimmer.

RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit Case Trimmer

For the average reloader, the RCBS Pro-2 case trimmer is a solid and dependable choice. Your reloading can be done efficiently and effectively without a huge investment in a case trimmer.

The Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • The RCBS Pro-2 is a budget-friendly case trimmer
  • Reliable and precise for high quality reloads
  • The base is bench mountable
  • All metal construction for years of reliable service

The Cons

  • Chamfering your cases requires another step
  • Additional pilots may be necessary to trim some specialty cases

If you are an average shooter and reloaded, the RCBS Pro-2 case trimmer is a logical choice. When you need to trim a few cases at a time, it is hard to justify the cost of some other case trimmers.

The quality you can expect from the RCBS Pro-2 case trimmer certainly makes the price seem affordable.

The Alternative Solution – Little Crow Gunworks World’s Finest Trimmer

Little Crow Gunworks World’s Finest Trimmer
907 Reviews
Little Crow Gunworks World’s Finest Trimmer
  • Works with a cordless or electric drill
  • Trims at least 10 cases per minute
  • Does not use pilots, the case is supported by the shoulder and case body

If you are looking for an alternative case trimming solution that is a hybrid of a manual and an electric case trimmer, look at the Little Crow Gunworks case trimmer. These case trimmers are cartridge-specific. The trimmer measures the cartridge length using the cartridge’s shoulder, so case resizing before trimming is a must.

Each Little Crow Gunworks case trimmer is compact and includes these features.

  • Works with any cordless or corded drill
  • Caliber specific.
  • No extra parts to adjust or set before trimming
  • No calibration or measuring
  • Small and easy to use

What could be simpler?  Chuck the Little Crow Gunworks trimmer into your drill, pull the trigger and insert a case into the trimmer. The carbide cutter trims the case, and you don’t worry about over-trimming. The Little Crow Gunworks case trimmer is fast and easy to use.

What Makes This Trimmer Different?

If you want the power of an electric case trimmer with the simplicity of a manual case trimmer, the Little Crow Gun Works case trimmer may be your answer.

I owned and used a Little Crow Gunworks case trimmer for several years to trim .223 brass before the Dillon RT1500 came to my reloading bench.

I like the simple design and easy operation of these case trimmers. You can’t find a more rugged or reliable case trimmer.

Little Crow Gunworks brings a range of features to the table with their case trimmers.

• Works with any cordless or corded power drill
• You can trim up to 10 cases per minute with this case trimmer
• High-speed ball-bearing design for easy operation
• Carbide cutters deliver clean and precise trimming
• No pilots required

If you are space limited in your reloading area or want the benefits of a powered case trimmer without the costs, the Little Crow Gunworks case trimmer should be on your list.

Who Benefits from this Case Trimmer?

Beginning reloaders or anyone who reloads regularly but doesn’t have the space to set up a bench-mounted case trimmer can benefit from the Little Crow Gunworks case trimmers.

These case trimmers are easy to store, quick to set up and use, and can turn out an amazing amount of trimmed brass in a relatively short time.

WFT case trimmer review

Almost everyone has a cordless or corded drill around their shop or reloading bench.

Add a Little Crow Gunworks case trimmer to your collection, and you instantly have a powered case trimmer.

The Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Inexpensive but highly efficient
  • Small and easy to store
  • Quality manufacturing for long life
  • Complete case trimming solution with nothing extra to buy

The Cons

  • No filing containment. This case trimmer can be messy to operate
  • Caliber specific means you need one case trimmer for every caliber you reload

The Little Crow Gunworks case trimmers are extremely efficient and effective for their cost. However, they can be messy to operate and require a fair amount of hand strength to use. Trimming very many cases can leave your hand tired and aching.

Big Features in a Small Footprint – Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer

Sale
Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer
484 Reviews
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...
  • The Unit Has Its Own Power Source, And A Strong Variable Speed Motor, So There Is No Need To Use...
  • By Using Bushings That Contact On The Shoulder Of Bottle Neck Type Cases, The Case Trim Xpress Will...

Many reloaders suffer from a lack of space. We often find ourselves tucked into a corner or a small area where we must make do with limited benchtop space. Every piece of equipment we want to mount on a bench must be carefully thought out and planned.

Lyman, a well-known name in reloading equipment, offers space-challenged reloaders an efficient and powerful case trimmer that makes the most of your benchtop space. The small footprint of this Lyman case trimmer doesn’t mean fewer features for the reloader.

  • Built-in variable speed motor. No electric drills or hand cranks.
  • Bushings for the ten most popular case sizes are included.
  • Carbide cutters ensure long life and precision cuts on your brass casings.
  • You can dial in your case length using the adjustment knob for .001” incremental changes.

Lyman says that the average reloader can trim fifteen cases per minute using the Lyman Brass Smith case trim Xpress case trimmer.

Who Benefits from This Case Trimmer?

Almost any reloader will find the Lyman Brass Smith case trimmer a benefit on their reloading bench. The Lyman Xpress case trimmer is simple enough to use for the first time reloader.

Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer review

The experienced reloader will find all the features they want in a brass case trimmer.

If you are short of space on your reloading bench, the Lyman Brass Smith Xpress case trimmer deserves a look as the best case trimmer for your situation.

The Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Well-built and rugged design
  • Easily mounts to a reloading bench using the flange and holes on the enclosure
  • Accurate and fast. Easy to adjust cutting depth
  • Quiet even when trimming

The Cons

  • The Lyman trimmer does contain the trimmings somewhat but dumps them down onto the benchtop. You should put something under the cutter to catch the trimmings as they fall.
  • Some Lyman Xpress case trimmer users note that the depth of cut can be hard to change.

Lyman’s reputation for building quality reloading parts doesn’t suffer from the Lyman Brass Smith Case Xpress case trimmer in their product line.

The Lyman Xpress is a good trimmer selection for most shooters who reload.

Best Multi-Purpose Powered Case Trimmer – Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System

Sale
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Case Trim and Prep System
895 Reviews
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Case Trim and Prep System
  • EASE OF USE: Trimmer indexes cases on the shoulder for speed and precision
  • VERSATILE: Adjustable Collet System works with all shouldered cases from .17 Remington to .460...
  • DURABLE: The HSS cutters stay sharp for thousands of rounds to make trimming quick and easy and the...

Frankford Arsenal has become a go-to name in reloading and gun accessories for many shooters. The quality of the Frankford arsenal products, coupled with their excellent customer service, certainly supports this decision.

The Frankford Arsenal Platinum series case trim and prep system is an excellent example of keeping the customer in mind when designing products.

The Frankford Arsenal Platinum kit is not just a power case trimmer but also a power chamfering, deburring, and primer pocket prep tool all in one.

With this kit, you get features like:

  • Shoulder indexed trimming for precision and speed
  • An adjustable collet that with all shouldered cases from .17 Remington to .460 Weatherby
  • High-Speed Steel cutters for precise cuts and long service life.
  • The kit includes a chamfering bit, a deburring bit, and a primer pocket reamer, as well as the case length trimming cutters
  • Built-in storage for the extra tools

Who Benefits from this Case Trimmer?

If you want to consolidate multiple steps in your case preparation procedure into one machine, the Frankford Arsenal Platinum case prep station fills that ambition.

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System review

No more trimming, then manual deburring and chamfering, and primer pocket prep as separate steps.

With the Frankford Arsenal station, you can perform all these functions in one place without separate tools.

We admit that this is not a precision tool like the Giraud unit, but for the average reloader who wants to step up their production and shorten their reloading time, this is the best case trimmer to consider.

The Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Multi-stage workstation design puts all your case trimming and preparation in one place.
  • It comes complete with everything you need to trim almost any shouldered case on the market, deburr, chamfer, and prepare the primer pocket for reloading.
  • The versatile design is useable in a variety of positions to suit any reloader
  • Tough metal housing comes with an adjustable metal stand for years of reliable service.

The Cons

  • Relatively heavy and bulky.
  • No carbide cutters. The tools are high-speed steel.

We like the concept and design of the Frankford Arsenal multi-purpose case preparation and trimming station. The concept and design are good.

However, we would like to see carbide cutting tools included with this trimmer rather than the high-speed steel tools.

The Lowest Cost Case Trimmer – Lee Precision Cutter and Lock Stud

Lee Precision Cutter and Lock Stud
645 Reviews
Lee Precision Cutter and Lock Stud
  • Made in USA
  • Works on all brass less than .475 base diameter
  • Use with with the Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder to trim cases

Just because a case trimmer doesn’t come with a premium price doesn’t mean it won’t do a premium job. The Lee Precision Cutter and Lock stud kit is a perfect example of this concept.

Finding a reliable and accurate case trimmer for under $20 is unheard of.

A product so small and seemingly insignificant offers a rich features list that should impress any shooter.

  • First and foremost, the Lee Precision Cutter and Lock stud are manufactured in the USA.
  • This case trimmer will work on any brass case less than .475 inches in diameter.
  • You can use this as a manual trimmer or mount it in a power drill or drill press to make the process even faster.
  • Simple and quick solution for small batch case trimming.

Using this case trimmer by hand will limit the number of brass cases you can process before your hands begin to tire.

Mounting the case trimmer in a power drill or drill press is the better option and allows you to trim many more cases without fatigue.

Who benefits from this Case Trimmer?

Beginning reloaders or experienced reloaders who work in small batches will find the Lee Precision Cutter an excellent choice for case trimming.

Lee Precision Cutter and Lock Stud review

The small size makes it easy to store, and the precision manufacturing ensures proper case length and preparation at an easy-to justify cost.

The Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Inexpensive to purchase but made to last for thousands of rounds of case trimming.
  • Small and lightweight.
  • Useable as a manual trimmer or mountable in a power drill
  • Made in the USA

The Cons

  • Requires you to purchase other parts to trim your cases. Each case size requires you to purchase the appropriate case length gauge and case holder from Lee Precision.
  • The Lee Precision Cutter and Lock stud don’t capture or contain the brass shavings.

For a truly inexpensive way to trim small batches of brass cases, this is a good option for any reloader.

We suggest that all reloaders have one of these in their reloading bench drawer as a backup or trimming small brass lots while working up new loads.

Finding Your Case Trimmer Solution

The best case trimmer for your reloading bench depends on your expectations and needs.

A trimmer that meets the needs of a high-volume competition shooter may not be what fills the role for an average hunter who only reloads a dozen rounds a season.

Finding the best fit for your reloading bench can be challenging.

I hope that the information in this article helps you find the perfect match of needs and features to put the right case trimmer on your reloading bench.

Good luck and Stay Safe.

Last update on 2021-12-02