Although I have been a hand loader since the mid ‘70s, most my loading was overwhelmingly for handguns. Trimming cases isn’t something I gave much thought to until I started shooting in 3-Gun competitions. Sure, I made the most of my hunting ammo, but that was such a small amount of what I was doing that the Lyman trimmer I got with my original reloading kit was more than adequate. I doubt I ever trimmed more than 40 cases at a time or even 100 in a year. But that all changed when I got into 3-Gun . . .
Now I’m reloading a few thousand rounds of .223 a year. Realizing that the old hand cranked Lyman wasn’t quite up to the task – or more accurately I wasn’t up to the task of using it – I invested a Lee Trimmer. At first I was happy enough with the Lee and still think it’s OK for what it is. But again, I’m not up to the task of trimming 2-3K cases with it. Enter the Little Crow Gunworks Worlds Finest Trimmer (WFT).
I gave Little Crow a call, and spoke directly to the owner, Dale Hegstrom. He said he would ship me a WFT right away. The price was only $75.95, including shipping and handling and sure enough it arrived by First Class mail a few days later just as promised.
How does it work? In a word, well. The principle behind the trimmer is to index off the case shoulder. To do this, the cases first have to be sized. This gives a uniform shoulder to trim toward. Being a skeptic – and a lazy one at that – I tried to skip the sizing and found that the designer-builder of this thing really did know what he was talking about. You really do need to size the cases first.
The trimming process is very simple once you have a good supply of sized cases ready. Just push them into the trimmer, turn it on and let the WFT do the work. You can feel the the blades cutting, and then not once the case has been trimmed to the correct length. Finally, before removing, turn the case a ¼ turn and that will help remove most burrs.
And that’s the only real problem with the WFT. Once it shortens the case, the mouth is left a little ragged and needs to be chamfered inside and out. I was able to skip this step with boat tail bullets, although I want to test accuracy before deciding that’s the way to go. But with flat bottom bullets like the DogTown HPs, the cases will definitely need chamfering. One advantage of the Lee trimmer is that the base is clamped into the drill chuck and the mouth is readily available for power chamfering.
How accurate is the W.F.T.? As a test, I selected 10 freshly trimmed and chamfered cases and compared them to some Scharch (Top Brass) prepared cases I had left over from another project. Scharch is not only a major reconditioner of once-fired military brass, they also make processing equipment that many other companies use. So they’re pretty much the gold standard for reconditioning once fired brass (http://www.top-brass.us/). Below is a chart showing how accurately WFT is compared to the commercial Top Brass cases in terms of the length of the cases, in inches.
As you can see, the W.F.T. held its own. The standard deviations for each were within .001 inches of each other over 10 cases (0.00232 vs 0.00241), with the Little Crow being slightly more consistent than the machined output from Scharch. Both are very consistent and only the most precision-oriented loader would ever fret over such minuscule deviation. Note that the WFT is adjustable and was trimming a little short as delivered. I will probably move the trimmer out the .005” to bring my average length to right at 1.750” as SAMMI suggests.
Overall I am very happy with the Little Crow. I am not sure it’s the equal of the $425 Giraud which looks to be an awesome piece of kit, but for someone trimming only a few thousand cases a year, the WFT is an excellent compromise of price and function.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ease of use: * * * *
The need to hand chamfer cases after trimming is about the only downside.
Overall Quality * * * * *
Well machined and very solidly built.
Comfort * * *
Hold the cases in by hand and that gets uncomfortable after a few dozen.
Overall * * * * *
Perhaps not quite the Worlds Best, but there’s no doubt about it being a best buy.