Close-up on the Trim-to-Length cutter

UPDATE: Re: Jeb’s comment (and yeh the Wilson/Forster trimmer cranking is a pain!) “If you’re relying on the mandrel bottoming on the case web, then won’t you have a case length dependent on the thickness of the web?” I was worried about exactly the same thing, however taking a measurement seems (to me) to be reassuring as the picture indicates. If the pin-tip protrudes the same height and no more than the pocket/rim, then OAL for the case is/should be cut just right as indicated for .223 cases, which is 1.760″ in length… Anyhow I also just noticed that OAL for .223 cartridges is 2.260″ which is EXACTLY the cartridge-size limit indicated for the Piggyback II – so I hope it’s not a tight squeeze.


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7 thoughts on “Close-up on the Trim-to-Length cutter

  1. I am always a big fan of measuring. My cases come off the cutter at ~1.757. Now I’m assuming with the progressive, you’re trimming before resizing. So, if you’re trimming to 1.760, i.e. max length, then the case stretch during resizing will put your case at just a RCH over max, I think.

    Yeah, I’m pretty anal about this sort of stuff. I recently ran a few of a friend’s reloads through the AR — not firing, just chambering, and most of them locked up the bolt. That was mostly headspace, I think, but upon further investigation, the cases were just that little bit too long too.

    • Thanks Jed, good point. In fact I have no idea what I’m doing right now, it’s a new procedure and I’m running on fumes!
      The progressive isn’t running just yet, so no primers and powder are going through – and I realize that I’m a bit leery of setting forth on a new pathway.
      In the past I always tumbled, de-primed and then trimmed – then hand-primed and loaded the trimmed case.
      This new “dance” requires a different foot-step and some trust: 1.) lever DOWN pushes the case UP to de-prime and re-size. 2.) return the lever UP (forcibly) so the case goes DOWN ~and~ turns a sector to prime, then 3.) lever UP and…uh…maybe I need to move the powder-startion…but I don’t yet have the measure. It’s all a work in progress!

    • I’ve never reloaded, but it would make sense to me to shape (resize) it first, before cutting to length. Changing the shape will certainly have an effect on length, and the result of that may not be consistent from brand to brand and/or gun to gun that was used. So, get the variable out of the way, first.

    • And different chambers will impart different amounts of stretch to different brass. Maybe I should check the Federal .223 I just shot in the Noveske today compared to the Black Hills I shot in the White Oak match upper with the Wylde chamber…

    • I’ve never run a progressive. Would like to get one, especially for .223, but it’s low priority. Lately I’ve been prepping a big pile of cases, and I keep thinking, how would I do this differently if I had a progressive? For example, I always clean the lube off after resizing, and there’s no way to do that using a progressive. So do I just trust that I didn’t get much/any lube on the insides of the neck? (I use a spray lube.)

    • I clean off the lube after resizing too, but I just use a wipe of Imperial Sizing Wax instead of a spray lube. Maybe an application of dry graphite lube (like the stuff that came with my Trim-Mate Case Prep doohicky that I never used) would be OK and keep from getting gunked-up neck-loads of luby-goo. It’s supposed to be “A Good Thing” to lube the Powder Measure action internals with dry graphite stuff after you de-gunk it from the factory cosmoline…

  2. I have the Lee cutter, and I mostly like it. I’m using the “drill bit” case holder, which is sometimes a bit fussy. But it’s easier than the hand-crank Forrester job.

    I will mention that I think the trim length is supposed to be determined by the pin bottoming on the case holder. If you’re relying on the mandrel bottoming on the case web, then won’t you have a case length dependent on the thickness of the web? Might be fine, for many cases.

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