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reloading equipment question?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by socalfamous87, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. socalfamous87

    socalfamous87 New Member

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    is it nessasary to get a case trimmer with my initial set up? so far i have the rcbs single stage press, books/manuals, tumblers, some dies, scale, powder measure. not sure if i should spend the extra money right now and get the case trimmer or by more components to start reloading. i load 9mm, 38/357, .223(ar15)
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Your 38 and 9mm will never need trimming. Anyone that trims straight-wall pistol cases is going waaaay beyond the need.

    Your 223, though, is gonna stretch. First, bottleneck rifle cases stretch when you resize them, and then you're shootin' them in an AR, and they're gonna stretch in an automatic. You might get two, maybe even three, reloads out of them before they are too long and have to be cut back.

    I'd get one of the Lee trimmers, if I was you.

    I bought - hell, I don't even remember if it was RCBS or Lyman. They're pretty much identical. I remember it was grey. You adjust the depth of the cut with a set-screw, and if you applied too much pressure when turning the handle, the collar slipped and you cut too much off. Ain't got no idea where that thing went, 'cause when I found the Lee doober I got one of them for each caliber, and I ain't never looked back.

    But, yeah, you are going to need one, sooner or later. Unlike powder tricklers, and a lot of other junk they make for reloading, this is a "I need it", rather than a "ooooh, that's cool, I want it".
  3. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    You also need calipers by the way. A case trimmer is only used on rifle ammo.
  4. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

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    I'll second the need for a caliper.
  5. socalfamous87

    socalfamous87 New Member

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    the lee was a good price right?
  6. socalfamous87

    socalfamous87 New Member

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    any suggestions? figured that would be the easy part
  7. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    I am very satisfied with my Harbor Freight 6" digital calipers - $10 on sale. Usually a coupon in their ad in American Rifleman and elsewhere. By all visual cues they are made in the same plant in China that makes a lot of big box store 'branded' calipers for about $5-$10 more.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2011
  8. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the Lee trimmer is caliber specific. They are made up of two parts, and each of them has two pieces.

    You got this threaded thing called a "lock stud", and another piece that does the cutting, called, amazingly enough, the "cutter". So you buy a "cutter and lock stud". You only need one.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/476992/lee-case-trimmer-cutter-and-lock-stud

    Then you have the other part. It consists of a shell holder that threads onto the lock stud, and a "case length gauge", that threads into the cutter. The "case length gauge" is the exact length. You cannot cut the case too short. It won't let you. You need one of these for each caliber you trim. In your case, you need one, for .223.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/107333/lee-case-length-gage-and-shellholder-223-remington

    The bottom of the "lock stud" has a short 1/4" hex shaft coming off of it, so you can chuck it in a drill. or the edge is knurled, so you can turn it with your fingers, but using a drill is much quicker and easier. Most people, these days got a cordless drill or powered screwdriver around, so it's not another expense.

    As you buy more bottleneck cartridges, you just need another 4.50 gauge.
  9. socalfamous87

    socalfamous87 New Member

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    thanks randy!!! i was thinking the same but you know how it is with harbor freight sometimes. you get what you pay for, but in some cases its just perfect.
  10. socalfamous87

    socalfamous87 New Member

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    i think thats right up my alley. seems easy enough
  11. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    One tip is to keep a supply of batteries for both on hand and when in doubt, change 'em out. I found a TERRIFIC battery source on fleabay the vendor's name is 'battmanaz' super low prices and free shipping - no I am not affiliated, just a satisfied customer. here is an example:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-CR2032-D...815548941?pt=US_Batteries&hash=item4ab218ca0d

    I did however just place another order with him for a card of 10 LR44/357 lithium batteries for my calipers for a whopping $1.29 TOTAL free shipping. At under $.013 per battery (and they work just fine) there is little reason for me to pay the ridiculous costs for Eveready or Duracell at the local stores.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  12. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    And that right there is a good plug for an old-school dial-type caliper. :)
    Actually, I have both digital and dial types.
    The digital is nice to have and that's what's on my reloading bench...but out in my unheated shop I still use my dial caliper. I hate having the batteries die right when I'm in the middle of a project too.


    BTW, yes there is a difference between the cheap Harbor Freight chinese models and a good Mitutoyo, Brown&Sharpe, or Starrett unit.
    But for reloading use, the price difference and need for that level of consistency isn't needed. Plus you're not using it heavily everyday so the cheap on will last a long time.

    Visually, the Chinese ones are a VERY close knock-off of a Mitutoyo but they are different. Made in different factories, the steel alloy is different (the cheapie wears out faster), and the circuit board is different.
    We've crunched a few good Mitutoyos at work and a few guys have bought the cheap ones for in their tool kit that didn't last more than a couple months. We've dissected a few.
  13. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    I should note that I was NOT comparing my Harbor Freight digital to any precision caliper makers.... I was referring to the Chinese made digital calipers sold under the Cabelas, or Bass Pro, Frankford Arsenal etc. banners for 2-3 times the sale price ($9) of the HF ones.

    As to digital vs mechanical scales and calipers? My tired old eyeballs make that choice a a very simple one - lol - and mechanical loses every time.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  14. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    I will add my 2 cents worth on this also. I have been using the Lee cutters and length gauge for quite a while, along with my Harbor Freight calipers. They all work great and the prices were right. Even if this is rocket science, on a small scale, you don't need to spend the NASA budget to accomplish it.
  15. carver

    carver Moderator

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    :yeahthat:
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