January 9th, 2018

Inside Chamfer Tools — Sorting Through the Options

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p
Shown is the Redding Model 15-P Competition Piloted Inside Chamfering Tool with pilot rod that centers in the case flash hole. Also shown is a Forster 45° Rocket Tool.

There are a wide variety of reloading tools designed to cut a slight chamfer in case necks and deburr the edge of the case mouth. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for an effective tool. A basic “rocket-style” 45° chamfering tool, such as the Forster, actually does a pretty good job taking the sharp edge off case mouths, particularly if you use a little scotch-pad (or steel wool) to smooth the edge of the cut. The Forster chamfer tool, shown below, is a nicely-made product, with sharper cutting blades than you’ll find on most other 45° chamferers. It costs $17.99 at Brownells.com.

forster rocket 45 degree neck chamferer chamfer tool

Redding sells a handy piloted chamfering tool with a 15° inside cutting angle and removable accessory handle. This Redding Model 15-P chamferer works really well, so long as you have consistent case OALs. The pilot rod (which indexes in the flash hole) is adjustable for different cartridge types (from very short to very long). This ensures the concentricity of the inside neck chamfer to the case mouth. This quality tool works with cases from .22 to .45 Caliber.

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p

Sinclair International offers a 28° carbide chamferer with many handy features (and sharp blades). The $29.99 Sinclair Carbide VLD Case Mouth Chamfering Tool will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. This tool features a removable 28° carbide cutter mounted in the green plastic Sinclair handle. NOTE: A hex-shaft cutter head power adapter can be purchased separately for $14.99 (Sinclair item 749-002-488WS). This can be chucked in a power screwdriver or used with the Sinclair Case Prep Power Center when doing large volumes of cases.

Neck inside chamfer chamferer case neck tool

Many folks feel they can get smoother bullet seating by using a tool that cuts at a steeper angle. We like the 22° cutter sold by Lyman. It has a comfortable handle, and costs just $10.75 at MidsouthShooterssupply.com. The Lyman tool is an excellent value, though we’ve seen examples that needed sharpening even when new. Blade-sharpening is easily done, however.

K&M makes a depth-adjustable, inside-neck chamferer (“Controlled Depth Tapered Reaper”) with ultra-sharp cutting flutes. The latest version, which costs $47.00 at KMShooting.com, features a central pin that indexes via the flash hole to keep the cutter centered. In addition, the tool has a newly-designed handle, improved depth-stop fingers, plus a new set-screw adjustment for precise cutter depth control. We caution, even with all the depth-control features, if you are not careful, it is easy to over-cut, slicing away too much brass and basically ruining your neck. We think that most reloaders will get better results using a more conventional chamfer tool, such as the Forster or Redding 15-P.

K & M K&M neck chamferer reamer controlled depth

One last thing to note — tools like the K&M and the Sinclair chamferer are often described as VLD chamferers. That is really a misnomer, as bullets with long boat-tails actually seat easily with very minimal chamfering. In reality, these high-angle chamferers may be most valuable when preparing brass for flat-base bullets and bullets with pressure rings. Using a 22° or 28° chamferer can reduce the risk of cutting a jacket when using VLD bullets though — so long as you make a smooth cut.

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September 14th, 2017

Versatile, Affordable, Compact Case Prep Trio Saves Time

Hornady Case Prep Assistant Trio

Nobody likes to spend hours manually chamfering cases and cleaning primer pockets. There are simple hand tools that will perform these tasks, but the process is time-consuming and tedious after a couple dozen cases. To speed up case prep duties, you can get one of the large, powered case prep centers. These function well, but frankly we didn’t want to give up that much precious space on our reloading bench. One good solution is Hornady’s compact Case Prep Trio (item 050160). This triple-threat tool packs a lot of functionality in a small package.

Hornady Case Prep Assistant Trio

This cleverly-designed powered tool has a small footprint, yet it can perform three tasks as well as much more expensive, tower-style case prep units. The Hornady Case Prep Trio is now $85.99 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. We’ve used this machine and it works well. The only negative is that you will get metal shavings on your bench (unlike some of the larger case prep centers). We’ve seen some guys put a small pan under the power head — then you can just dump the shavings out of the pan.

With three active stations, you can chamfer, deburr and clean primer pockets without having to change tools. The Case Prep Trio ships with inside chamfer, outside chamfer, and deburr tools. You can also use the machine with other optional 8/32 threaded accessories such as primer pocket reamers and case neck brushes. Conveniently, the Case Prep Trio has on-board storage for your tool-heads. User reviews have been very positive.

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October 28th, 2016

New Convertible Case Prep Duo Tool from Hornady

Hornady 2017 Case Prep Duo reloading tool case chamfering

Wouldn’t it be great if a power screwdriver could also serve as a two-station case prep machine? Well now that’s possible with Hornady’s new Case Prep Duo. This rechargeable unit has a battery-powered motor that drives a dual spindle head. The back half of the unit rotates and tilts so you can use the tool in pistol grip mode or with a straight (inline) body. NOTE: The photo above shows the SAME tool in both modes — angled grip mode and inline mode.

Hornady says that “this cordless, rechargeable multi-function tool accommodates case neck brushes, primer pocket cleaners, and chamfer/deburr accessories. With the easy-to-swivel body and integrated rubber feet, use it in the straight configuration on your bench top, or rotate it … for an ergonomic, handheld power tool. Use with the 8-32 spindle head for various reloading functions or remove the spindle head and use as a powered screwdriver with standard 1/4-inch hex bits (not included).” The Case Prep Duo comes complete with deburr and chamfer heads, plus plug-in charger. The unit is affordable — MSRP is just $64.59 and we expect “street price” to be around $55.00.

IMPORTANT: The Case Prep Duo has a removable dual-drive (twin spindle) head. You can remove that head and use the Case Prep Duo as a standard, powered screwdriver. WATCH the VIDEO (at 00:20) to see how this works.

Hornady 2017 Case Prep Duo reloading tool case chamfering

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June 14th, 2016

Reloading Gear Review: Lyman Case Prep Xpress

Lyman Case Prep Xpress gear review

For a few years now, Lyman has offered the Case Prep Xpress, an all-in-one case prep center that chamfers necks (inside and out), cleans and uniforms primer pockets, brushes the inside of case-necks, and uniforms flash holes. The unit can also ream out the crimps on military brass. However, the Lyman Case Prep Xpress does NOT trim cases.

The Lyman Case Prep Xpress comes with all the necessary tools (listed above), so you don’t have to purchase extra accessories. The five (5) gear-driven heads on the unit are powered by a high torque, low-speed motor ideal for case prep operations. Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress features handy storage areas for accessories, a removable brass shavings dump pan, and a handy clean-up brush.

Sinclair Int’l video clearly illustrates all case prep functions. Worth watching.

In the 3.5 years that this product has been on the market it has been a strong seller. If you’re prepping hundreds of cases, this unit will save considerable time and reduce hand/finger fatigue. While the Case Prep Xpress is not as sturdy as the metal-bodied Hornady prep center, the Lyman unit offers a lot of functionality for the money ($115-$125 normal price, and sometimes around $100 on sale).

Lyman Case Prep Xpress Pros and Cons

GOOD Features
Quite Affordable (under $120)
Compatible with RCBS and Redding Tool-heads
Removable Bin for Shavings
Four Brush Sizes: .25, .30, .38, .45
Compact Footprint

Not-So-Good Features
Tool-heads Not Particularly Sharp
No Case Trim Function
No Flash-hole Uniformer
No Top Dust-Cover
Only 1-Year Warranty

Reviews by Verified Purchasers

“Case prep is the most tedious and boring aspect for hand loading in my opinion. The process center makes all the steps in prepping the case very quick and with consistent results. It has reduced the time required to do these steps with separate tools by easily 50% if not more. Highly recommended.” — Brandon G.

“Quiet and capable. Worth every penny. I adapted a Lee Cutter and Lock Stud, to cut case lengths, and I can fly through my brass. I can do so much more brass without getting the sore, cramped-up hands.” — Dean Ellis

“This unit has plenty of torque, and my unit is very quiet. This unit will also work with tools made by RCBS and Hornady, or anything else with 8-32 threads. My Redding tools (specifically, my primer pocket uniformers) do in fact fit on this machine. This unit is certainly worth the money, and will revolutionize the way you reload by saving you massive amounts of time and wear on your hands/fingers.” — Mule

“A simple machine to perform complex solutions. I was up and running in about 10 minutes flat. This thing has made my life of reloading so much easier. I do wish there was a trimmer included, but I have a manual one from L.E. Wilson.” — Richard Niles

Lyman Case Prep XpressYou can find Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress for under $120.00 at Brownells and Midsouth, making it much less expensive than the larger Hornady Case Prep Center, which runs about $365.00. The Hornady unit is beefier, and will trim cases. However, we think the compact Lyman unit makes sense for guys who already have a good case trimmer, such as a Forster or Wilson. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is hundreds of dollars less than the Hornady prep center. The money you save will buy lots of bullets and brass.

Case Prep Xpress $115.45 at Midsouth
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is sold by most of the big vendors. The best current price we found was at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which sells the Lyman unit for $115.45.

Gear Review Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 9th, 2013

Reverse Your Rocket Tool for a Smoother Inside Neck Chamfer

Want smoother chamfers on your case-mouths? Here’s a simple tip that can: 1) remove the sharp edge left by chamfering blades; and, 2) create a smoother entry for your bullets. Smoothing the inside chamfer can avoid nicks on your bullet jackets, and can also make bullet seating more consistent.

If you are using a 45° rocket tool on newly-trimmed brass, start your inside chamfer with two or three turns in the normal cutting direction. Keep the tool centered, and use light-to-moderate pressure — you don’t need to remove a lot of brass. After your cutting turns (which should reveal a shiny chamfer line), take out the tool, inspect the neck and remove any small brass chips or shavings.

Now here’s the secret — put your tool back in the neck and go in the reverse direction for a couple partial turns. Again, be sure to keep the tool centered and use a light touch. The reverse rotation of the rocket tool inside the case mouth will burnish and smooth the chamfer. Next you can make a quick spin with some fine steel wool held in your fingers. Don’t grind away — you do NOT want to get rid of all the carbon in the neck. As a last step we run a hand-held nylon brush in the neck for 2-3 quick passes to further smooth out the chamfer and remove any residue from the steel wool.

Accurateshooter.com Neck Case Chamfer Brass prep

We think, if you use this procedure, your will find that your bullets seat more smoothly and consistently. That can improve accuracy and help avoid mysterious fliers.

Accurateshooter.com Neck Case Chamfer Brass prepYou can use this same technique even if you prefer a sharper angle chamfer tool for your initial inside-neck chamfering operation. Reverse your tool gently a couple turns to burnish and smooth the cut. And always remove brass chips and shavings before you run the tool backwards (in the non-cutting direction).

Don’t Forget to Smooth the Outside Chamfer Too
You can also use the backwards rotation trick on outside chamfers to smooth and soften the sharp edge. A little steel wool, applied judiciously, can help here. If you are chamfering a large number of cases after trimming, you may want to tumble the brass in corn-cob or walnut media after the chamfering procedure. Tumbling further smooths the chamfer. You want a nice, smooth chamfer with no burrs or sharp edges.

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December 3rd, 2012

Forster 3-in-1 Case Trimming Tool

We are organizing our crew for the 2013 SHOT Show, which runs January 15-18 in Las Vegas, at the Sands Expo Center. To whet your appetite, here is a product report from SHOT Show 2010 that you may have missed the first time around. In this video Robert Ruch, CFO of Forster Products, shows off the Forster’s 3-in-1 Case Trimming Tool. This is a very smart tool that can dramatically speed up your case prep operations.

Tool Cuts Brass to Length, and Chamfers Inside and Outside
Forster’s new 3-in-1 Carbide cutting tool works with all existing Forster case trimmers. This unit does three jobs at the same time. It trims the case to length, it puts a 14-degree chamfer on the INSIDE of the neck, AND (last but not least), it cuts a 30-degree chamfer on the OUTSIDE of the neck. It does this all quickly and efficiently — in a matter of a few seconds. We tested the new tool ourselves on a few cases. The tool is solid and well made. The carbide cutting tips do perform a very clean cut. Be aware, however, if you have turned your necks already, you may have to reset the blade positions before you start trimming your brass.

Forster Case neck trimmer chamferer

Forster’s CFO, Robert Ruch, demonstrates the 3-in-1 case trimming/chamfering tool in the video below. As you can see, the tool turns very smoothly (no chatter) and the job is finished in a few seconds. The actual cutting time, per case, is just a few second. The tool has an MSRP of $70.00, but we expect it to sell for around $50.00 at major vendors. It can be fitted on Forster trimmers and other hand lathes with a .490″ shaft diameter.

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John Whidden Demonstrates Forster Co-Ax Press and Trimmer
In this promo video, produced for the Outdoor Adventure ‘What-the-Stuff’ TV show, John Whidden of Whidden Gunsworks, talks about the benefits of precision case trimming and demonstrates how to use the unique Forster Co-Ax Press.

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April 17th, 2012

Don’t Over-Chamfer Your Necks — Bullet Damage Can Result

Shaving bullet jackets is a problem reloaders encounter from time to time. It can be caused by excessive neck tension, burrs on the case mouth, or over-aggressive chamfering that leaves a ragged edge on the case mouth. Larry Medler discovered some rounds where the bullet jackets were getting shaved. Diagnosing the problem, he found that this was caused by his outside neck chamfer. He was using a powered screwdriver to rotate the case, and over-cutting plus tool chatter was causing the case neck to roll inwards. This created a thin, sharp edge that actually cut into the bullet jacket as the bullet was being seated.

bullet jacket shavingneck chamfering

Larry has a Load Force 250 measuring instrument that records the dynamic bullet seating force and displays the results on a computer screen. Larry noted that spikes in seating force were associated with the cases where the bullets were shaved. Inspecting the cases, Larry realized what was happening. Chamfering the outside after doing the inside allowed his tools to cut too much. Combined with tool chatter, this actually created a sharp, ragged edge that rolled inward towards the bullet: “I discovered I had rolled the case mouth rim inward while deburring the outer edge. When deburring the case mouth on the outside edge, every now and then I could hear some tool chatter. The effects of this chatter really show in the picture.”

bullet seating force

The above chart shows the dynamic bullet seating force for the bullet with the shaved jacket. Note the large initial force used to cut and scratch the bullet outer surfaces. The final seating force of 47 pounds is just before the Wilson Seating Die bottoms out and the force on the load cell jumps. The chart below shows normal bullet seating force.

bullet seating force

As a fix, Larry decided to reverse the neck deburring operations. Now he deburrs the outside first. This reduces tool chatter and prevents the edge from rolling over, because the neck thickness has not been thinned by inside chamfering. While Larry uses a powered screwdriver to speed his case processing, the lesson applies to those who chamfer manually as well–do the outside first and never overcut.

Remember, you simply want to remove burrs and create a slight chamfer. You don’t want to thin the brass significantly at the case mouth. This is why it is important to be very careful when using a deep-angle cutter such as the K&M inside neck chamferer. Click HERE to read Larry’s full report on neck chamfering, with more details on use of the Load Force 250 measuring instrument. Using device such as this, or a K&M arbor press equipped with a seating force gauge, will help you diagnose problems with your neck tension and reloading procedures.

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January 24th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: New Hornady Case Prep Assistant

Hornady has a new, compact, one-station Case Prep Assistant for 2011. This handy, affordable unit easily fits on your benchtop. The dual-voltage (110v/220v) Case Prep Assistant can power inside and outside chamfer tools as well as neck brushes and primer pocket cleaners/uniformers. Included with the Case Prep Assistant are chamfer and deburr tools, with plenty of onboard storage for optional case prep accessories such as primer pocket cleaners, case neck brushes and other 8-32 thread tools. The unit is compatible with both 110V or 220V power. The Case Prep Assistant retails for under $90.00 — Midsouth Shooter’s Supply has it for $83.88 currently.

Hornady Case Prep Assistant

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The new compact Case Prep Assistant complements Hornady’s large Case Prep Center, introduced in 2010. The large prep center performs all case prep functions, including case trimming which is handled by a vertical (drill-press-type) motorized trim station. Cases are held with a cam-lock shell-holder and then lowered vertically on to the spinning trimmer head. Hornady’s Dave Emary demonstrated both products for us at the 2011 SHOT Show. Dave then told us about the Vintage Sniper Rifle Matches which he has helped organize for the CMP.

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January 14th, 2011

Nosler Introduces 17 New Types of Cartridge Brass

For 2011 Nosler will introduce no less than 17 new NoslerCustom® brass offerings. Most of the 17 new brass varieties are for large hunting cartridge types, not widely used. However, target shooters may be interested in Nosler’s new 7mm SAUM (Rem Short Action Ultra Mag) and 7mm RUM (Rem Ultra Mag) brass. The 7mm SAUM is becoming popular in F-Class circles. With slightly less capacity (and a longer neck) than the 7mm WSM, the 7mm SAUM is a good choice for shooting the popular 180gr High-BC bullets from Berger and Sierra. Tactical shooters will appreciate Nosler’s new .338 RUM and .338 Lapua Magnum brass. It’s nice to have additional brass choices for these big cartridge types.

New Nosler Custom Brass

NoslerCustom Brass is Weight-Sorted, DeBurred and Chamfered
Notably, Nosler does extra finishing steps on its cartridge brass, based on the notion that: “Life’s too short to prep your own brass”. As with other NoslerCustom cartridge brass, the 17 new varieties will come “semi-prepped”. Flash holes are trued and case mouths are deburred and chamfered. According to Nosler: “Every piece is hand-inspected, and weight-sorted within +/- .5 grains” (and then packaged by weight groupings).

New Nosler Custom Brass

All the new types of Nosler brass will bear the “Nosler” headstamp although it is rumored that some of Nosler’s cartridge brass is made for it by other highly respected companies, both domestic and foreign. As to the 17 new varieties, we can’t identify which cartridge types are produced in-house and which will be out-sourced. Overall, our experience with NoslerCustom brass has been good, though in 22-250 and .308 Win it is not quite as strong or long-lasting as Lapua brass.

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March 27th, 2010

New 8-Piece Case Prep Tool Set from Lyman

Case Prep Lyman toolsLyman Products has introduced a new Universal Case Prep Tool Set that contains all the tools need for chamfering case-necks and uniforming primer pockets on all common sizes of brass. The new Tool Set features eight (8) separate tools, all with ergonomic handles with rubber inserts. A handy zippered case with elastic straps allows you to keep the tools organized on your loading bench. The Tool Set, Lyman product #7810212, includes large and small primer pocket reamers, large and small primer pocket cleaners, outside deburring tool, inside (VLD) chamfer tool, and large and small primer pocket uniformer tools.

MSRP for the Universal Case Prep Tool Set is $69.95, but we expect the Set to sell for about $55.00 retail. Currently, Midsouth Shooters Supply has the 8-piece Case Prep Tool Set in stock for $51.30 (Midsouth item 015-7810212).

Case Prep Lyman tools

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January 21st, 2010

SHOT Show Report: New 3-Way Case Neck Trimmer & Chamferer from Forster

We saw a cool new product at the Forster Products booth. Forster has introduced a new 3-in-1 Carbide cutting tool that works with all existing Forster case trimmers. This unit does three jobs at the same time. It trims the case to length, it puts a 14-degree chamfer on the INSIDE of the neck, AND (last but not least), it cuts a 30-degree chamfer on the OUTSIDE of the neck. It does this all quickly and efficiently — in a matter of a few seconds. We tested the new tool ourselves on a few cases. The tool is solid and well made. The carbide cutting tips do perform a very clean cut. Be aware, however, if you have turned your necks already, you may have to reset the blade positions before you start trimming your brass.

Forster Case neck trimmer chamferer

Forster’s CFO, Robert Ruch, demonstrates the 3-in-1 case trimming/chamfering tool in the video below. As you can see, the tool turns very smoothly (no chatter) and the job is finished in a few seconds. The actual cutting time, per case, is just a few second. The tool has an MSRP of $70.00, but we expect it to sell for around $50.00 at major vendors. It can be fitted on Forster trimmers and other hand lathes with a .490″ shaft diameter.

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