If you’re considering a foray into reloading, know that there are those among us who would seek to keep you from knowing the truth. That truth: reloading — and I mean really doing it — can turn into a massive time suck. And the majority of your time is spent on brass preparation.
Everyone is happy to talk about filling cases with powder and topping that powder with bullets. But nobody wants to talk about less sexy topics like cases that are too long and need trimming. Paramount, California based Trim-It wants you to know that there’s a faster way to get cases trimmed to spec.
As a background on brass preparation, there’s something you need to know. Spent cases from your rifle are dirty and usually beaten up in some form or fashion. A tumble in your media of choice, and a trip through a sizing die will return your brass case to spec which ensures reliable feeding and safe firing.
However, every resized case must be checked for overall length before it can be considered safe for use. Too much length can result in unsafe pressure spikes – a surefire recipe for blowing up your gun. Every SAAMI approved case will have a spec for length, usually a max length and a trim length which is usually .010″ less than the max length.
The tried and true method for shaving some excess length is to mount the case in a mini lathe of some sort, spin it by hand and bring the length down to spec. There are roughly one ga-jillion devices out there capable of accomplishing this operation, several of which are pending review.
That’s not so bad when you’re putting together a few dozen loads for hunting season, but once the volume goes up, manual case trimming becomes a tedious and time consuming chore. Enter the EZ Trim It.
The EZ Trim It is a drill mounted cutter that indexes off the case shoulder by way of a specialty bearing. The Trim It promises to reduce trimming time and produce accurate results. Here’s how it works.
The first step is to select the appropriate bearing, called a caliber die, for the cartridge you’re working with. Quite a few are available, and each one will run you $19.95. Trim It lists them out separately, but common diameter/shoulder taper cases like .243 WIN and .308 WIN work fine off a single caliber die in my experience. Once you have the appropriate caliber die in place, it’s time to set the cut depth.
The Trim It features a locking micrometer ring, the big knurled piece you see above, that adjusts infinitely and is marked in .002″ increments. Simply back it off almost all the way, lock it down, and loosen the screw that holds the cutting head in place. Take a case that’s longer than your desired trim length, place it in the aperture of the caliber die, and drop the cutting head until it just makes contact. Once the cutting head is kissing the case mouth, set the lock screw.
Chuck the trimmer in your drill of choice, set it to the fast speed, and insert a case. Once the case is trimmed, measure the overall length, and adjust downward as necessary with the micrometer until the desired case length is achieved. Give a last check that all the lock screws are tight and then start processing brass en masse.
Total set up time is usually less than ten minutes for the novice. Now that I’ve spent a few months using it, I can swap calibers in a few minutes and be off to the races processing brass by the hundreds. Speaking of, let’s talk about speed! If I’m drinking a beer, listening to Bob Dylan, and feeling casual I can process ten cases per minute with the Trim It. Switch to coffee, change the music to Black Flag, and I’m up to something closer to fifteen cases per minute. Your mileage may vary, but it’s safe to say that the 200 cases or so cases I might process at a time can easily be trimmed in less than 20 minutes.
From a performance standpoint, the Trim It does a pretty good job, usually holding +/- .001″ and leaving a squared off case mouth ready for chamfering and deburring. When I first got the Trim It, I processed twenty five 300 BLK cases and found the lengths to be from 1.908″ to 1.911″. This is well within the my allowable window of error for brass ready to be loaded. After spending a few months with the Trim It, I’ve found that providing consistent pressure from case to case eliminates nearly all of the variation I previously saw. If you’re a benchrest guy/gal, you probably won’t use something like this tool, but for the high volume reloader, that +/- .001″ tolerance should be just fine.
After something like six months and nearly 3000 cases trimmed, the cutter head is still going strong and making clean, precise cuts on case mouths. I don’t own the necessary measurement tools to check for runout in the case mouth, but I haven’t had any issues putting together consistent, accurate, safe ammo using the Trim It either.
Specifications: EZ Trim It Case Trimmer
Built-in micrometer adjustment for cut-length control
Interchangeable die system, allowing you to trim a wide range of cases with one unit
4-Fluted High Speed Steel Cutter with a 3/8” chuck. Will trim anything from .17 to cartridges as large as the .50 BMG
Machined from 6061-T6 Aluminum.
100% Forever (plus 90 days) Guarantee.
Made entirely in the good ole’ US of A!
Price: $74.95 – additional caliber dies – $19.95
Ratings (out of five stars):
Durability * * * * *
This little trimmer has taken quite a few bench to floor tumbles and I’ve trimmed over 3000 cases from .223 to .308 WIN in the six months I’ve had it. In that time, the cutter has shown no signs of wear and it continues to hold +/- .001″ tolerances.
Utility * * * * *
Trimming cases by hand would be a chore of epic proportions at the rate I shoot and reload for TTAG. The Trim It has bought me uncounted hours of extra time to pontifidrink, smoke meats, and woo my wife.
Overall Rating * * * * *
At $75 to start and $20 per case after that, this tool is a solid investment for the reloader who processes several hundred pieces of brass at a time and also wants to have time to do other things too. I’ve found it to be durable, user friendly, and accurate in the six months and 3000 rounds I’ve used it for.