To put it plainly, trimming cases is a pain. Many people start on the LEE system because it’s very inexpensive. That system works just fine for less than 50 cases at a time, but going further starts to get ridiculous even with running the head in a drill. The Little Crow Gunworks “World’s Finest Trimmer” trims huge numbers of cases accurately in a hurry.
Video Review of Little Crow Gunworks World’s Finest Trimmer
Rather than a system that allows for inexpensive cartridge additions (like the LEE system) or one that is entirely flexible like a lathe-style trimmer, the World’s Finest Trimmer (WFT from here on out), is purpose built per cartridge. It’s designed that way because instead of going off raw length, it trims according to the shoulder. This frees up the trimmer to do something that few others can claim: you don’t need to lock the case base into a shellholder or chuck. With the case holder out of the way and a powered source like a drill press or electric drill, your cycle times on trimming cases drops way down. The manufacturer claims that you can trim 8-10 cases per minute, but I found I could trim much faster than that: around 15-20 cases per minute if I was putting my mind to it and still being careful.
Now, even though the trimmers are purpose built for a cartridge, they’ll work for that family of cartridges. So the 308 version will work with 243, etc, etc. Little Crow Gunworks has a cross reference guide. So there is still some flexibility, but I’d see myself having one for any cartridge I do a lot of shooting with. Because they stay set, your setup time is essentially nil. Pop it into your drill or drill press and you’re off to the races. Most serious bulk reloaders have tool heads or setups specific to a cartridge they shoot often, so this concept of preset, ready to roll tools should be familiar.
I primarily stopped reloading for 223 because I didn’t want to trim the vast quantities of brass in order to keep up and feed my 3 gun AR-15. Trimming 100 cases on my old system was a total pain in the butt, yet it wasn’t even enough for 1 of my matches and most of my lovingly prepared brass would be ejected into the grass never to be seen again. So instead, I shot inexpensive, somewhat inaccurate, steel cased ammo. I did the same when faced with the prospect of feeding my Norinco M14. What using a trimmer like this does is open up the prospect of reloading again and subsequently, shooting bulk ammo that’s more accurate. It’s nothing to trim 500 brass at a leisurely pace in under an hour, and 1000 if you boogie.
Using the Little Crow Gunworks World’s Finest Trimmer
To adjust the case trim length, the WFT uses allen key set screws to allow the cutter to move in and out. It may take a bit of fiddling but once it’s adjusted, you’re done! Cases need to be full length resized prior to trimming in order to trim to the correct length. If you’re reloading for a semi automatic, you should probably be full length resizing anyways.
I chose to run my WFT in a drill press. It has a lot of torque, is relatively quiet compared with a smaller electric drill, and will have no problems with extended run times. Now, the WFT will collect brass shavings inside it if trimming vertically like in a drill press but once you trim a few hundred cases, brass shavings will start flinging out of the side holes. I chose to minimize the splatter of brass by shaping a cardboard box to collect most of the shavings. Some still ended up on my hands/arms, but that happens with many other systems as well. Because the flung brass shavings can have a mind of their own, you should wear eye protection while trimming with the WFT. Using a drill press at about chest height, I had no shavings get even close to my face, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
You’ll have your own process, but I found holding a case in each hand, trimming one, and then trimming the other to be quick for me. Inserting the case in the trimmer, hang on because some long cases will want to jump out of your hand as the trimmer grabs them.
After trimming, cases will need to be lightly chamfered. With heavily trimmed cases on other systems, I’ve had the case mouth need a lot more chamfering in order to get a bit of a bevel, but it wasn’t required with this system, no matter the amount trimmed.
I wish I would have come up with this trimmer; it’s so simple, it’s beautiful. A cutter, housing, and a ball bearing. The bearing is there so that you can seat the shoulder and not have it bind against the rapidly turning cutter and housing. The steel on brass contact will ensure repeatability in trim length, doesn’t scuff brass, and won’t hold brass shavings to it like plastic can. The 3/8 shaft will work with pretty much any electric drill out there. Extra cutters are available at $10 for high speed steel and $25 for carbide.
I don’t say this in a lot of my reviews but my god, how did I live without this before? Most reloaders slowly add gear to their system, reducing the time it takes to do certain steps or increasing the quality or quantity of output. Adding my RCBS Chargemaster allowed me to charge cases accurately and quickly, and my Lyman Case Prep XPress really helped process military brass by taking out the crimp, but those were both $100-$400 purchases for a modest bump in efficiency. The WFT goes for $70 per and REALLY cranks up production speed. If you’re looking at an ice cream pail or more of .223 or .308 brass that you’re dreading, you HAVE to take a look at one of these trimmers.