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Top 8 Best Case Trimmers For The Money 2020 Reviews

If you are into reloading, then you are also into case trimming. The high pressure of a cartridge when fired pushes brass forward, extending the length. To reuse your brass, you have to trim the case down to your required specifications. Proper case trimming does two things. First, it ensures that the cartridge will correctly chamber into your firearm. And second, trimming your cases down to an exact length gives your finished cartridges a consistent form factor.

And we all know that you are into reloading because you are a stickler for consistency.

So what is the best case trimmer on the market? That is the question we are seeking to answer with this post. We have reviewed 8 different case trimmers to help you choose the very best case trimmer for your needs.

Best Case Trimmers For The Money

Top 8 Best Case Trimmers On The Market 2019 Reviews

ModelRatingTypeMulti-Caliber?Value
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Type
Motorized, dedicated
Multi-Caliber?
Yes
Value
$$$$
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)
Type
Manual, dedicated
Multi-Caliber?
Yes, 7 Pilots
Value
$$
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)
Type
Manual, dedicated
Multi-Caliber?
Yes, 9 Pilots
Value
$$$
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Type
Manual, dedicated
Multi-Caliber?
Yes, 9 Pilots
Value
$$
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Type
Manual, dedicated
Multi-Caliber?
Yes, 9 Pilots
Value
$
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Type
Manual, dedicated
Multi-Caliber?
No
Value
$
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Type
Manual, dedicated
Multi-Caliber?
Yes, 9 Pilots
Value
$$$
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Type
Drill attachment
Multi-Caliber?
No
Value
$$$

1 Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System

The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System is unique among the models we are reviewing here. It is a fully motorized and dedicated unit. You will not need to lock your case in; you just insert them each by hand. That means that once this unit is set up to your specifications, you can fly through your brass. This is one of the fastest systems we have seen.

It also features a deburring and chamfer tool, as well as a primer pocket cleaner. That means that this is a one-stop-shop for case trimming. You can trim cases from .17 caliber all the way up to .460 Weatherby.

We liked the rubber feet on the back for vibration and noise dampening, and the adjustable feet on the front. The front adjustments make this unit very handy on low benches. You can angle up to comfortably insert your cases. Or, if your bench is higher, you can adjust this so that it sits flat. Or anywhere in between.

There is no way to permanently mount this onto your bench. And that is probably a good thing, because you can simply put it away when you’re done working.

If you are going to lose time with this unit it will be with the set up. It takes a few moments (and a little practice) to get it set just right. But the advantage is that once it is set up the rest is easy and super quick. This is the best tool on the market for bulk trimming jobs, hands down.

It is on the expensive side of the models we tested, but we think that is understandable. You pay a little more for a lot more speed.

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • Very fast trimming
  • All-in-one case prep (trimming, deburring, chamfering, and pocket cleaning)
  • Many options for set up
Cons
  • Slower to set up
  • Slow to change calibers or settings
  • More expensive than other options

2 Hornady 050140 Cam Lock Case Trimmer

From one of the biggest names in the biz comes the Hornady 050140 Cam Lock Case Trimmer. This manual unit is everything you need in a trimmer. It is bench mountable, and that is exactly what we would do. It can be tricky to use this when not anchored down.

It comes with 9 pilots, so you are covered for the most popular cartridge sizes (.22, 6mm, .270, 7mm, .30, .38, and .45). Many similar units came with three additional pilots, so having only seven seemed to be a “con” for this unit.

It works smoothly once you lock your case into the cam. Set up takes no time at all, except for making the very fine adjustments. This is one of the more accurate trimmers we tested. And consistency is as you would expect from Hornady. It is constructed of high-quality materials, and with excellent craftsmanship.

One advantage over motorized units is how quiet this model is. It turns smoothly and the only noise you’ll hear is the satisfying grind of brass being shaved off.

We should also note that this unit has one of the best value-quality ratios of all the trimmers we are reviewing here.

Hornady 050140 Cam Lock Case Trimmer
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros
  • Accurate and consistent
  • No noise
  • High quality-value ratio
Cons
  • Only 7 pilots
  • Fine adjustments take some patience to achieve

3 RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder

The RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit is another excellent case trimmer from a reputable maker. We liked the sleek design and the smooth operation. It is also bench mountable, and we would recommend mounting it either directly to the bench or to a larger square piece of heavy wood.

What makes the 90366 Trim Pro-2 a real standout in this review is the spring-loaded shell holder. You don’t have to lock every case in, as you would on other models. You just slide the case in for trimming, and out when it is cut down to size. There is a tiny learning curve to getting them in quickly. But once you get this, it is a synch.

The kit comes with 9 pilots (.22, .24, .25, .27, .28, .30, .35, .44, and .45). No metric pilots were included (so pay attention if you run 6mm, 6.5mm and 7mm – you might have to slap down for a few more pilots). The good thing is that it works great with standard pilots, so many of us have all we need besides what is included in the kit.

The cutter head is sharp and seems like it will stay plenty sharp for many long- days in the reloading shed. The construction seems to be to very high standards, and we liked the heft of this little unit. It just feels like it is well made!

RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros
  • Heavy-duty and quality construction
  • Spring loaded shell holder makes it a little quicker
  • 9 different pilots
Cons
  • The shell-holder design takes some getting used to
  • No metric pilots included

4 Lyman Universal Trimmer

The Lyman Universal Trimmer is another benchtop trimmer with the classic-design sported by many of the trimmers reviewed here. We have no complaints about the quality of the unit overall. It feels sturdy and turns smooth.

It is manual trimmer, but you can purchase a power adapter if you don’t enjoy turning the crank. We think that would be worth it for big jobs. But going the manual way is fine too.

This is an accurate trimmer, giving you consistent and square cuts every time. That is, once you get the set screw to stay in place. We found that if you don’t tighten it down enough, it will wander a bit. This is a minor design flaw that can be easily corrected.

It comes with the 9 most popular pilots (.22, .24, .27, .30, 9mm, .28/7mm, .35, .44, and .45), so you’re pretty well covered unless you reload for 6mm or 6.5mm. With the popularity of the Creedmoor cartridges, we would like to see more units coming with .26 pilots (or their equivalent metric pilots).

This is a great trimmer, and you are sure to get years of use out of it. We would still mount this to a bench even though its wide base makes it painless to use unmounted. It is a middle of the road unit when it comes to value and features/quality. We highly recommend the Lyman Universal Trimmer.

Lyman Universal Trimmer
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros
  • Classic design and great build quality
  • 9 Pilots included
  • Converts to power in seconds (with optional power adapter)
Cons
  • Set screw must be very tight or it slips
  • Pilot for 6.5mm not included
 

5 Lyman 7862210 Accutrimmer

The Lyman 7862210 Accutrimmer is, unsurprisingly, a very accurate trimmer (+/- .002 on average). So if you’re looking for ultimate consistency and accuracy, you might want to consider this one. Like many other models it comes with 9 of the most popular cartridge pilots.

The design is interesting. It is taller than many standard bench trimmers, and the base is quite narrow. You will want to mount this to something to make it quick and stable to use. The operation is smooth, and the Lyman standard cutter is sharp and seems that it will stay sharp.

We did have some minor quibbles. The arbor takes quite a bit of pressure to remove after trimming. This isn’t a big deal though, unless you have thousands of rounds to unload at once (and, in that case, think of it as a workout). Also, the set screw had the same issue as the Lyman Universal Trimmer. It needs to be very tight so that the pilot doesn’t slip.

If you want to make this your go to trimmer for all you reloading needs, you will want to purchase the Lyman shell holder set (sold separately).

We liked this unit. It is a very good trimmer, even though it is not perfect. 

Lyman 7862210 Accutrimmer
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros
  • Very accurate
  • Fine adjustments are a breeze
  • Good value
Cons
  • Set screw must be very tight
  • Arbor more difficult to remove from case after trim

6 Lee 90437 DELUXE QK TRIM CASE

If you don’t like dedicated trimmers, then you might want to consider the Lee 90437 DELUXE QK TRIM CASE. This unit is an attachment that fits into a standard reloading press, such as the Lee Turret Press (sold separately).

It is both very slow and quick. And no, that is not a contradiction. It is slow in the sense that it takes a few steps to get the case loaded and then pressed so that you can turn the handle and trim the case. It is quick in the sense that it not only trims, but chamfers and deburrs all at the same time. It’s still on the slow side, but it is a peppy kind of slow.

The best way to use this is to purchase a few quick trim dies for your favorite calibers. This makes adjusting it not necessary, and speeds things up quite a bit. The unit also comes with a little brass catcher tray, to keep your work area tidy.

It is very accurate, and we loved the consistency. We think that is the big advantage of press-attachment trimmers: accuracy! It is also built tough. You can feel the quality by just holding the trimmer in your hand.

This is also an excellent value. So if you are budget-minded and already own a compatible press, this should definitely be considered as an option. You won’t break any speed-loading records, but it gets the job done.

Lee 90437 DELUXE QK TRIM CASE
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros
  • Budget friendly
  • Accurate
  • Easy to use
  • 3-1 action (chamfer, deburr, and trim)
Cons
  • Slow operation
  • Dies are sold separately
 

7 Lyman 6720092 Universal Case Trimmer

The third and final Lyman in our line-up today is the Lyman 6720092 Universal Case Trimmer. It is a rather subjective call, but we think this is the best of the Lymans reviewed here too. The build quality is excellent, and it comes with a carbide cutter.

You will probably get away with just what comes in the kit for your trimming needs. It comes with the 9 pilots, in the most popular flavors between .17 and .45. You might need to buy a pilot if you shoot an exotic or eve a 6.5 (sigh!).

We liked the smooth action of this model. It turns like butter. We also really liked the carbide cutter, and we would wage money that it will stay sharp longer than many other models on the market today. This is a classic design, and like the other bench top models, we recommend bolting it down.

Once you get set up, trimming is fast and accurate. If you want to make it even sweeter, purchase the power adapter and let electricity do the work for you.

Lyman 6720092 Universal Case Trimmer
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros
  • Excellent build quality
  • Sharp and durable carbide cutter
  • Fast and smooth operation
Cons
  • None

8 Little Crow Gunworks LLC Worlds Finest Trimmer

I know. A lot of the trimmers in this review look very similar. But not this one! The Little Crow Gunworks LLC Worlds Finest Trimmer is a completely new spin (no pun intended) on case trimming. This nifty little device attaches to a drill or a drill press and you just insert your case and it is trimmed! We love it.

The big advantage of this unit is its speed. You can plough through a huge pile of brass in a short time. And the Little Crow trims accurately and consistently, so it won’t look at all like a rush job.

There are a few different ways to use the Little Crow. You can attach it to a handheld drill and then lock down the drill in a vise and set the drill to ‘continuous on’. Then just insert your cases one by one. Or, you can use a drill press, which is a little more-steady. You can also just hold the drill, but this might be fatiguing after a while.

We think this is the ideal trimmer if you have only one cartridge size to reload. So if you are a 5.56 or a .308 purist this would be the tool for you. However, each unit is caliber specific. You have to buy a separate Little Crow for every caliber you reload. Keep that in mind as your purchase.

This one is also the messiest one we reviewed. It flings brass quite a ways, so keep the broom or vacuum handy when its time to trim your brass.

Little Crow Gunworks LLC Worlds Finest Trimmer
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros
  • Fast and efficient
  • Easy to use
  • Accurate
Cons
  • Each unit is caliber specific
  • Messy
  • On the costly side (especially if you have to buy several)
 

Best Case Trimmers Buying Guide

So which case trimmer is best for you? That depends on a few different factors and a few of your own preferences. The major factors to consider are speed, ease of use, range of calibers, and budget. Let’s run through those and see what we come up with.

Best Case Trimmers Buying Guide

Speed

If you reload a lot of brass, you are probably going to be concerned with speed. It is difficult to justify spending hours and hours trimming. So if you are more than the occasional reloader, consider choosing a model that is quick.

The two quickest models we reviewed are:

  • Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System, and the
  • Little Crow Gunworks LLC Worlds Finest Trimmer

All of the other models take about the same amount of time to trim. The RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder has a slight advantage over the other models because of the spring-loaded shell holder.

The slowest unit we tested was the Lee 90437 DELUXE QK TRIM CASE, just because of the way it works with the press.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is kind of subjective, because some of the models we reviewed were easier to set up, and some were more difficult to set up but easier to use. But all things considered, we think the easiest four models to use are:

  • Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System
  • Little Crow Gunworks LLC Worlds Finest Trimmer
  • Lee 90437 DELUXE QK TRIM CASE
  • RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder

The most difficult model to use was probably the Lyman 7862210 Accutrimmer, and that is mostly because of how much pressure is needed to remove the arbor.

Range of Calibers

If you have many calibers to reload, you want a trimmer that can handle them all. The prize for the most caliber-flexibility will have to be shared by five of trimmers:

  • RCBS 90366 Trim Pro-2 Kit with Spring Loaded Shell Holder
  • Lyman Universal Trimmer
  • Lyman 7862210 Accutrimmer
  • Lyman 6720092 Universal Case Trimmer
  • Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System

The looser in the range of caliber contest is the Little Crow Gunworks LLC Worlds Finest Trimmer, since it is a single-caliber model.

Budget

And, the last of our factors for choosing the best trimmer guide is budget. How much are you willing and able to fork over for your trimmer?

The two most budget-friendly models are:

  • Lyman 7862210 Accutrimmer
  • Lee 90437 DELUXE QK TRIM CASE (if you own a compatible press)

Conclusion

Taking those factors into consideration will ensure that you will find the best case trimmer for your needs and preferences and budget.

Which one did we like the best? We are glad you asked! There were two that really stood out to us. We think the Little Crow Gunworks LLC Worlds Finest Trimmer is a fantastic little device. It works well. It is quick (both the set up and use). It’s only drawback, besides a little messiness, is that it is caliber specific.

For a multi-caliber winner, we would probably go with the Lyman 6720092 Universal Case Trimmer. We like the classic design and build quality and we can’t think of a single drawback with this model. It is an excellent case trimmer.

Case trimming is an essential step in the reloading process. You want a trimmer that can do that well and in a reasonable time and for a reasonable cost. We have reviewed several to help you trim down the choices and make the very best decision for your next trimmer purchase!

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