11 Factors to Look Out for When Choosing a Case Trimmer

Need a case trimmer but not sure which to buy? Keep reading to get the best value for your credit as we describe which factors are important and the one that is best case trimmer suited for you for your condition. My experience over the years has drilled some hard-earned knowledge when Choosing a Case Trimmer.

Extra Features

  1. Case Trimming Time.
  2. Motorized or hand-powered.
  3. Ease of operation
  4. Other available functions.
  5. Ease of setup

Whether buying a new trimmer or upgrading to a better trimmer, following the factors above in choosing a case trimmer will clarify the situation and help you choose the best case trimmer. But not all factors have equal importance some factors can be ignored for other must-have qualities. Continue reading to know which factors are must-haves.

While on this topic, If you are considering buying a new case trimmer, you must read my other article having a detailed review of 9 case trimmers, to help you choose the perfect case trimmer for the value.

While reading through these 11 factors do keep in mind that all persons are unique and the importance level of each factor may vary depending on the situation and person. Even then some factors will be pillar factors and will not deviate much from their importance level no matter the situation or reloader. I will try to elaborate on how these mentioned factors matter in choosing a case trimmer and their importance level.

1. Accuracy of the case trimmer.

We use the case trimmer to shorten elongated brass cases and increase the accuracy of the rounds. If the case length is higher than the tolerance level, then the gun will have a higher chance of jamming while firing rounds and if the case is too short then it may deform the firing chamber. Accuracy is a vital point that needs to be considered when choosing a case trimmer. 

Digital Slide caliper

Each case trimmer has a tolerance level — the precision and fine adjustments, that the trimmer can accommodate. The tolerance is the result of setting the collet, bushing, blade & human error. Even after the perfect fit and much practice, the trim length can vary slightly. 

To summarize, the trimmer with a hard stop will have less tolerance than the trimmer with a spring bushing. Because the hand gets tired and the applied pressure on the case gradually differs decreasing round precision.

2. Types of caliber cases the case trimmer can trim.

There are many types of calibers for many types of pistols & rifles in the market, all the way from .172 to .50, and not all of them can be trimmed with one brass case trimmer. Knowing which calibers you want to trim, will make selecting a case trimmer easier. To know more about the ammo types you can visit the Wikipedia page here

3. Budget

Case trimmers can range from $26 to $2000 plus. Most manual case trimmers will cost around $150, with some the option to change to a motorized case trimmer. Most motorized case trimmer has a variety of ranges of price. With higher prices comes higher accuracy and extra functions.

4. Reliability of case trimmer

This section covers in detail the stability and reliability of the case trimmer and its importance. The case trimmer needs to be stable, which directly means it needs to sit well on the table. The weight and dimensions are usually the factors.

Reliability is derived from stability. If a case trimmer is stable then it will cut reliably and you will not end up with half-completed case trimmers.

Some manual trimmer is shipped with a hand crank but can be upgraded with a power adapter and drill press. Or, you can get a motorized trimmer right from the start, though it will increase the cost. 

5. Quality of the trimmed cases.

When trimming the cases, we prefer a clean straight cut, to better sit the projectile. And higher RPM (Rotation per Minute) of the trimmer will result in a clean trim. If you are using a hand crank to rotate the blade or case, make sure you have spin fast. I learned to avoid a slower RPM case trimmer through experience. This factor is mainly focused on trimmers that come with a built-in motor.

6. Portability of the case trimmer.

The portability of the case trimmer is one of the least important factors, but helps the most during cleaning the brass or if you plan to reload on the shooting range. Hence a compact and lightweight case trimmer that holds all its equipment is more attractive and easy to handle than a large unit that you need to dedicate table space for.

If cost is not a major issue then our suggestion is to get a motorized case trimmer. RCBS, Hornady, Lee Precision, Frankford Arsenal, and others all make motorized case trimmers.

7. Time required for each trimming.

If you are an occasional shooter and have a few brass cases that need trimming, then this factor is not that important. But, if you are a regular shooter and have a bunch of cases to trim then the time required for case trimming can add up. Hence, even in this case a motorized case trimmer is faster.

8. Motorized or hand-crank case trimmer.

Case trimmers are usually of two types motorized and manually operated. The motorized trimmer usually has a higher price, faster cutting speed, and includes some features. But the hand-crank case trimmers are more classic and give you more feel towards the trimming.

9. Ease of operation.

How easy is it to operate a case trimmer? All trimmers are simple to use after you have set it up. But the point I’m trying to make is when a case trimmer needs caliber changing. For this feature usually, the hand-crank case trimmers are easier to operate than the motorized trimmers.

10. Other available functions besides trimming.

Some case trimmers have other additional features. A case prep station, containing Chamfer, Deburr, Primer Pocket Cleaner, neck cleaner, and storage compartment. Some extra functions are always welcomed and the quality of the function must be always considered. But these extra functions are a bonus and can not beat a trimmer that has a better accuracy but no functions.

11. Ease of setup.

This factor corresponds to portability. If it is easy to set up and operate it can also be easily transported where it is needed. Mostly motorized trimmers are more portable because manual trimmers require it to be screwed down to the table.

In short in choosing a case trimmer?

In short, we condensed the article’s 9 factors to consider when choosing a case trimmer are described in this article with their importance level and their needs. It does not take a genius to find out the key factors, But to make selecting a case trimmer easier, below is the table with the 9 factors in descending order of importance.

Sl. No.Things to ConsiderLevel of importance
1Accuracy of the Case Trimmer.10/10
2Types of caliber it can trim.9/10
4Stability and reliability of case trimmer.8/10
5Quality of trim.7.5/10
6Case trimmer portability.5.5/10
7Time required for case trimming.5/10
8motorized or manual trimmer.5/10
9Case of Operation.4/10
10Other Available Functions.4/10
11Ease of Setup.1/10

There is one more factor in choosing a case trimmer but I did not mention it till now in this article not because it’s the least important factor but simply because it does not fall into general discussion. It is whether the blade’s rotating motor comes along with the brass case trimmer or needs to be bought separately. If it needs to be bought separately additional costs must be accounted for.

If you already own hardware tools, chances are you possess a drill as well, and having a drill can reduce the stress on your wrist for hand-crank trimmers, and the price of the case trimmer significantly.

But it will cost you time to mount the case trimmer to the drill. Always make sure your case trimmer can handle the speed of the drill

After reading this article, I hope you gained the value of your time invested in this article and will be able to choose from a variety of case trimmers according to your unique requirements. To make choosing a case trimmer easier I have reviewed in detail the famous case trimmers and compared them in another article here.

If you want to know more about the components and how to use a case trimmer, I suggest reading this article “How to use a Case Trimmer”.

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