How to make brass prep not suck – part 1


The process of loading rifle cartridges is conceptually a simple process:

  • Clean the case
  • Lube the case and case mouth
  • Size & deprime
  • Trim for length
  • Chamfer the case mouth
  • Clean the primer pocket and swage if necessary
  • Clean the case again
  • Prime the case
  • Charge
  • Seat the bullet
  • Crimp

(Obviously I have over simplified this process a great deal with my list. If you want a good tutorial on how to do it properly, grab a cup of coffee and head over to Carteach0, and read his articles on case prep: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3)

Half of the process of reloading rifle cases is case preparation. It’s an important process because it helps to ensure that your ammunition will feed and extract reliably, and it affects the accuracy of your ammunition.

And. I. HATE. It.

I especially hate it when producing ammo in any amount of significant volume. Case prep on my .30-06 and .243 Winchester cases doesn’t bother me too much because I “might” load at most 50 at a time. .223, on the other hand, I might want to load several hundred at a time.

For me, the biggest consumer of time is trimming the brass. I’ve tried a couple different methods. The first involved using the Lee Case Trimmer. I’ve also used the Lyman Case Trimmer. Both worked, but after a while my hands get tired, and I spend more time locking the cases in place to trim them than I did actually trimming them.

What to do?? I have two options. 1) Somehow incorporate the trimming into the sizing/depriming process. Or 2) find a way to make the trimming faster.

Since I load on a Dillion 550B, the logical choice would be to use Dillon’s Rapid Trim Case Trimmer. By the time I purchase the motor and the die, add in shipping charges, I’m out $303. I could buy a bunch of already loaded .223. That option is out.

Since I’m not going to easily incorporate this into my press, the next option it to look at motorizing some parts of the process. I could buy the adaptor for my case trimmer, but I still have the same problem as before. Hornady makes an interesting case prep center, but it’s $350. I like the idea of the Giraud Power Trimmer, and that would also take care of the chamfering part of the process. But, it’s $425… My options are heading in the wrong direction from a price perspective.

There has to be a better way.

Part 2 coming soon….

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