Reloading ammunition is not an easy hobby. Most people get into this hobby as a way to save money on ammunition. Buying new rounds of ammunition any time you decide to go hunting or fire a few rounds in the practice range is not exactly practical.
By reloading spent casings, you can avoid buying new ammunition to some extent. However, to reload properly, you need a lot of tools. Getting a reloading press and scale are pretty standard.
But one thing that most beginners don’t know is that after firing a round, the case length can change. And you need the best case trimmer to shorten the length and bring it to a uniform size for you to reload.
When I first started reloading, I had zero knowledge about this tool. But over time, as I got better at it, I realized just how essential a case trimmer is to ensure even powder distribution and case performance.
But finding the right trimmer is a whole other matter. With so many different options on the market, things can get confusing even for someone who has been reloading for quite a while. And if you are a beginner, it is natural to feel a little overwhelmed.
In this article, I will give you a complete review of some top-tier case trimmers that you can find on the market to ensure even case length and a good reloading experience. So, without further ado, let us get started.
Top 6 Best Case Trimmers Reviews
Here are my top picks for some of the finest case trimmers for people of all skill levels.
1. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System
Let me start off my list with the most popular case trimming system on the market by a brand like no other, Frankford Arsenal. While they have a couple of different trimmers for you to choose from and most of them are fantastic, their Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System stand out far above the rest.
The thing that attracts me most about this case trimmer is its unparalleled versatility and flexibility. Featuring three output shafts with threads ranging from 8 to 32, you will be able to use a wide variety of accessories with the trimmer. And case compatibility is not a problem at all because of its universal design.
The HSS cutting tool is also pretty sharp, but even under frequent use, it holds its edge quite well. To reduce damage to bullets, the chamfering tool has VLD inside it. Incidentally, this also reduces reload times to a significant degree. And since you do not need any shell holders with the tool, chamfering is pretty much effortless.
This unit is powered by a heavy-duty motor and a drive train which can run as long as you want without any complaints. So if you have a large order you want to get through, your device will not shut down until your say so. It is also extremely durable and should serve you a long time without issues.
Another major upside to this unit is that it comes with a built-in storage box. So whenever you don’t want a particular bushing or tool, you can stow it away in its compartment. You would be surprised how much efficiency this one small feature can bring to your reloading experience.
The only real downside to this unit is that it is pricey. But if you prioritize performance over cost, this one is a no-brainer. Another thing that I want to mention is that it can really mess up your workbench. So after a reloading session, you might have to spend some time doing cleanup.
If the steep price of this model scares you, Frankford Arsenal does offer a decent alternative. You can go with the Frankford Arsenal Universal Precision Case Trimmer instead if you want to shave off a few bucks, as that is a pretty good bang-for-your-buck option. But as a top-tier choice, it is hard to beat the performance that the Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System offers.
- Durable HSS cutters
- Aluminum and metal construction offers excellent durability
- Versatile and flexible design
- Fast and efficient case trimming performance
- Not very beginner-friendly
2. Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer
The next option that really caught my eye when making this list was the Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer. It is an absolute beast that can make your case prep works a lot easier and more efficient. While it is still pricey, it is not as expensive as the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Trimmer.
Now, if you remember, the Platinum Series focused mainly on versatility. Well, the Cam-Lock Trimmer opted to go a different direction, ensuring stable trimming operation for all. And if you have done any case prep work in the past, you know how hard it is if the device is not stable.
This means, operating the hand crank will always be in your complete control. And if you want to make it even more stable, you can screw it on or clamp it down to your workbench. The centerfold design of the trimmer ensures you always get a solid finish after you are done prepping the case.
The construction quality of the trimmer is also fantastic, boasting a high-grade steel body that can take a lot of abuse. It features an ergonomic design that makes it suitable for lefties and righties alike. And winding the handle is pretty effortless as the crank is extremely smooth and well-balanced.
But just because I said that this unit focuses on stability does not mean it is not versatile. The manufacturer claims that it works with up to 50 different types of calibers, and so far, I never had an issue with compatibility with any of the case calibers that I reloaded with it.
In fact, the manufacturers even include seven different pilots with your purchase with calibers ranging from 6mm to .45 calibers to get you started. So if you are reloading a fixed type of caliber, and you check its compatibility, you should be pretty safe with your purchase.
It also offers excellent precision thanks to the high-quality cutter that allows up to .001-inch adjustments. The shell holder pulls the case onto the bar without indexing the rim, which further enhances its consistency and accuracy. As for the locking mechanism, it locks and unlocks at a single touch giving you every bit of control over case length management you would want.
To be honest, I could hardly find anything worth complaining about with this trimmer. But if I had to nitpick, I would say that it could benefit from a wider base. Though it is stable enough when you clamp it down on the workbench, without clamps, it can be a bit wobbly.
- Excellent construction quality
- Consistent and accurate trimming
- Comes with an ergonomic handle
- Allows you to clamp or bolt it down on the workbench
- A wider base would have been better
3. RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder
When it comes to case trimming and prepping stations, RCBS is quite a popular brand. Well, if you are a newbie, you might not know them all that well. But any reloader who has been at it for a while knows how great the RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 kit is. And if you want to buy your first case trimmer, this one is a fantastic pickup.
So far, I have talked about two case trimmers, one of which focused on versatility while the other one ensures better trimming stability. Well, with the RCBS trimmer, what you will be getting is unparalleled speed and precision. It can get you through large volume reloading without any complaints.
And the element that is credited for its high-speed trimming performance is its spring-loaded shell holder. That, combined with a perfectly-sized handle, makes reloading a piece of cake even for a newbie. And as a bonus, it also makes the device more stable and eliminates the need to buy a separate shell holder.
The operating handle is extremely comfortable to operate and is balanced well to ensure trimming consistency. With its steel construction, I found no reason to doubt its durability. Mounting it on a workbench is also pretty easy, making it a solid choice for most beginners.
The unit also comes with a low RPM motor that features improved torque to trim away in any case you want to work with. It results in accurate trimming and amazing consistency with all the cases you prep with this case trimmer. It also has a built-in power switch which is a nice touch.
All these features make it a great choice for any type of standard pilot. In fact, you get nine standard pilots included with your purchase which I think is a nice gesture from the manufacturers. This way, you can get started with case trimming the moment you get it.
This makes this unit ideal for use with all forms of standardized pilots. The manufacturer included nine of these standardized pilots in the box. And the operating handle is ergonomically designed and is balanced quite nicely. It is sturdily made and composed of high-grade steel.
Yes, this device is a bit pricy compared to the Hornady Cam-lock Trimmer, but if you think about the level of performance it offers, you would not complain much. For a beginner, getting a decent trimmer is essential as it would dictate their overall experience. And for that, this trimmer is an amazing choice.
- Includes nine standard pilots in the box
- High-speed case trimming
- Easy to maintain and use
- Durable build quality
- The mounting bolts could have been better
4. Little Crow Gunworks – Best Case Trimmer For 300 Blackout
The World’s Finest Trimmer by Little Crow Gunworks is a bit of an oddball. But if you are trimming and prepping only one caliber of bullets, then this might just be the perfect addition to your arsenal. It is cheap, it works great, and this little unit put the brand on the map for many gun enthusiasts.
At first glance, you would think that it is just a pencil sharpener. And to be honest, you are not that far off. This is the same size as a sharpener and uses your corded or cordless drill for its power. It doesn’t even have a motor built-in and instead draws its power from your drill.
But how do you use it, though? Well, you simply attach the bottom end of the case with your power drill and feed the case with your hand. It’s as simple as that. And despite its simple design, it is fast and powerful enough to churn out 10 cases per minute.
Another advantage of this design is that it does not require any pilots. It is built around a specific caliber, and since there are multiple caliber options available, you just pick the one that you want when you buy it. Personally, I use it for my 300 blackout cases and get an accurate and consistent result.
While it is pretty accurate thanks to its high-speed cutters and built-in, sealed ball bearings, it is not as accurate as a truly top-tier option like Frankford Arsenal Platinum or RCBS 90366. After you are done trimming the case, you might need to chamfer it slightly.
The variance, though, is extremely minimal at around .002 of an inch, and for a beginner, this should not be much of an issue, especially if you are using the cases in the practice range. For professionals, though, this one might be more of a hobbyist tool rather than their go-to case trimmer.
It is pretty durable, especially when you consider the price. The manufacturers claim that the cutter is good for at least 4000 to 5000 cuts, and since it is so affordable, you can simply buy a new one when it gets dull and unusable. It might not be the best case trimmer out there, but it is certainly a great choice for beginners.
- Simple and easy-to-use design
- Comes with a durable cutter
- Can trim 10 cases per minute
- Portable, compact, and lightweight
- It might not be the right choice for professionals.
5. LEE PRECISION 90670, Deluxe Power Quick Trim Case Trimmer
If you loved the World’s Finest Trimmer that I just reviewed, then you might also like this next unit that I have in store for you. But this time, I am going with a well-established brand that everyone knows about, Lee Precision. Their 90670 Deluxe Power Quick Trim is a portable case trimmer that offers you a great value for your investment, especially if you are a beginner.
First off, it shares a lot of similarities with the Little Crow Gunworks Case Trimmer. That means it is a tiny, little portable machine that draws power from a cordless or electric drill and trims a specific caliber casing. And similar to the last one, this one too is available for different calibers.
The thing that makes it different, though, is the ability to integrate it into a mounting mechanism sold separately by the manufacturer. This feature can do wonders in its stability and can offer you higher trimming accuracy and consistency. As you know, this was the main drawback of the previous trimmer.
Using this trimmer is quite straightforward. All you have to do is install the correct quick trim die and install the trimmer. After that, you can start trimming brass until the adjustable click stop activates. It allows for .001-inch increments to ensure the casing length is as close to accurate as possible.
You can also mount the Quick Trim to any reloading press for better and more accurate performance. But to be honest, I did not have a lot of issues with getting a decent bit of consistency out of this unit, even when I did not go with the mounting option. So you should be fine with some practice.
While it does offer a decent bit of consistency and accuracy, a professional trimmer would still prefer going with a complete kit for better performance. The cases from this trimmer may work fine in the practice range, but for hunting or sports, they might not hold up against the competition.
However, if you consider the value that it offers, it is a decent option for beginners. It can help you learn the basics of trimming cases and help you get started with your reloading hobby. And once you understand more about the intricacies, you can move on to bigger and more expensive options.
- Amazing value for the price
- Decent build quality
- It is extremely easy to use
- Consistent and accurate trimming
- Not suitable for professionals
6. Lyman Reloading Universal Trimmer
After giving you so many different options for affordable case trimmers, I did not want to go with a cheap option for my last product. Instead, I want to talk about a top-tier trimmer by the brand Lyman which, while it costs more, offers every bit of performance you can expect from your device.
This trimmer comes with a brilliant design that makes it one of the most versatile options that a reloader can pick up. It supports a trim range from .17 caliber to up to .485 caliber bullets which makes it the most widely compatible trimmer on the market. If there was a universal case trimmer, this would be it.
What this means is if you reload professionally, you would not have to invest in a new reloader for different bullet calibers if you just buy this one. Since you also don’t have to swap between your trimmers, you will be able to save a lot of money, time, and effort with this unit.
This unit can work both manually or via electric power. Of course, you can trim manually by hand like most of the other options on this list. But by hooking it up to a nearby power outlet, you will be able to churn through large volumes of cases within an hour. I could get to about 250 cases in an hour.
It is also pretty easy to set up and use. So even if you are a beginner, you should not have too much trouble with it. It is accurate and consistent and offers coarse and fine adjustments without too many issues. The adjustment options are precise to .001 of an inch, making it extremely accurate.
With your purchase, the manufacturers include nine pilot adjustments which include 22mm, 9mm, .45 caliber, and .357 caliber, which are pretty standard. But the rest of the calibers are a lot rarer to find, making it a prime pickup for people who take orders on reloading regularly.
The chuck head in the unit is amazing and helps you dial in adjustments almost effortlessly. In addition to making adjustments easy, it also makes sure that you can input the exact value that you want to maintain consistency and accuracy across all your case trimmings.
The build quality of the unit is also top-notch, and you get a power adapter included with your purchase power hookup. Honestly, if you don’t mind the steep price, there is very little that you can complain about with this unit.
- Amazing build quality
- Universally compatible with all calibers
- Easy to use
- It can be used manually or via electric power
- Not very affordable
The Bottom Line
A case trimmer is not exactly a cheap investment, I know. But it is a necessary device if you want to make sure your case lengths are uniform.
While someone who reloads for fun might not get much use out of an expensive case trimmer, if you want to take reloading seriously, you need to buy one.
Hopefully, my review of the best case trimmers could help you figure out which case trimmer is suitable for your skill level. Good luck!
Larry, who is a family man and a gun enthusiast, enjoys keeping his collection in pristine condition. He also likes to take his kids shooting as often as possible.