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>> Simplified Case Trimming :: By Ray Koehler on 2001-02-23
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The Lee Case trimmer pilots are really an excellent value and are very versatile. The trimmer unit consists of:

  • the Pilot shaft/case length gauge
  • the shelholder
  • a cutter head
  • a lock stud/base

The pilot shaft itself can be adapted easily to other cartridges that fall within the length of the particular pilot shaft. For instance, I have taken a pilot for the 30/30 Winchester, chucked it in a drill press, and filed it down to the diameter needed to fit the neck of a sized 7-30 Waters case. As you know, the Waters case runs the same length as the 30/30. My latest modification has been a pilot for trimming a wildcat based on the 444 Marlin case. Called the 358 Bellm, itís based on a necked down Marlin case with a longish neck which is nicely suitable for cast bullets. I simply chucked a pilot for the Parent Marlin case into the trusty drill press and filed away until I reached the proper diameter for the case neck of the sized Bellm case. I also have a slightly shorter trim to length on this case so, I simply stoned the guide pin down on a sharpening stone, as this pin is hardened steel. Now, after case forming it is a simple matter to trim all cases to the proper length.

The beauty of these trimmers is that they are very fast to use, relative to a lathe type trimmer, as the length is already preset. No trial and error as with a lathe type trimmer. They also provide a quick check for case length. The base can be either chucked into a cordless screwdriver or a cordless drill, set on slow speed for increased production rates. A drop of light oil on the pilot shaft also helps when using this method every 5th case or so. Then simply deburr and toss the cases in the tumbler to clean for an hour to remove all oil residue.

As a handgunner, I no longer look at trimming new cases to square up case mouths as an excersize in masochism. You would be surprised how lengths vary on new brass. The case trimming also helps with crimping uniformity.

Lathe type trimmers have their place on the bench but, for the majority of my case trimming, I find myself grabbing for these Lee Trimmer pilots more and more.

At about $5 for a pilot and shellholder, they are certainly reasonable enough to try. The cutter and base are interchangeable and are also availablefor about $5.


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