March 31st, 2019

Pioneers of Precision Shooting — Legendary L.E. “Sam” Wilson

lewilson15001
Sam (L.E.) Wilson actively competed in benchrest matches until he passed. He’s shown here with an Unlimited benchrest rifle of his own design.

If you’ve used hand dies with an arbor press, chances are you’ve seen the L.E. Wilson company name. You may not know that the founder of L.E. Wilson Inc. was an avid benchrest competitor who pioneered many of the precision reloading methods we used today. Known as “Sam” to his friends, L.E. Wilson was one of the great accuracy pioneers who collected many trophies for match victories during his long shooting career.

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The photo above shows Sam (foreground) with all of his children at a shoot. Behind Sam are Jim, Jack and Mary, shooting in the Unlimited Class. What do they say — “the family that plays together stays together”? Note the long, externally-adjusted scopes being used. Learn more about Sam (L.E.) Wilson and his company on the L.E. Wilson Inc. Facebook Page.

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Unlimited Class was Sam’s favorite discipline, because in the “good old days” top competitors normally would craft both the rifle and the front/rear rests. This rewarded Sam’s ingenuity and machining/fabrication skills. In the “build-it-yourself” era, one couldn’t just order up an unlimited rail gun on the internet. How times have changed…

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September 3rd, 2017

Trimming Cases with the New Stainless L.E. Wilson Trimmer

Wilson stainless case trimmer clamp micrometer video Bill Gravatt Creedmoor sports

How do you trim your cases? We use a variety of tools, including power case trimmers. But our go-to trimmer for Benchrest-type cartridges is the L.E. Wilson Trimmer unit, now available in a handsome and durable stainless assembly. This thing is slick. It trims very precisely with the use of Wilson case holders combined with a micrometer-type stop for length control. As sold complete with micrometer, quick clamp, and metal stand, this new Wilson Stainless Trimmer is $139.95 at Creedmoor Sports. We think that’s a fair price for a unit that can last a lifetime, trimming many thousands of cases.

In this video, Bill Gravatt demonstrates the new Stainless Wilson trimmer. Gravatt offers some smart tips so this video is worth watching even if you’ve used a Wilson trimmer before:

Tips for Trimming with Wilson SS Micrometer Trimmer:

1. After inserting brass in the case holder, tap the case lightly to ensure it seats fully.

2. When starting your case-trimming session, do one or two test cases to check cut length. Adjust length with micrometer, then test length again. If “good to go”, set length stop. NOTE: Release the Stop Screw to make major adjustments. Use the Micrometer to make fine adjustments, in .001″ increments.

3. After trimming operations, be sure to chamfer case mouth after cutting to remove burrs. NOTE: After you have made the chamfer, we recommend gently spinning the chamfer tool backwards a couple times in the case neck. This will burnish/smooth the newly-cut champing, which helps with bullet seating.

Features of Deluxe Wilson Stainless Case Trimmer with Micrometer

    — Long lasting Stainless finish with Micrometer adjustment.
    — New 304 Stainless Steel Handle included with Micrometer Trimmer.
    — Rotary-style clamp swings to secure case-holder — quick and easy.
    — Larger stop screw adjustment from 3/8″ (old) to 1/2″ (new) with increased width on stop nut. Coated with black oxide for a long lasting durable finish.
    — Made in the USA with American Steel.
    — Power Adaptor compatible.

Wilson stainless case trimmer clamp micrometer video Bill Gravatt Creedmoor sports

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April 16th, 2016

Helpful Advice on Case Trimming from PMA Tool

Eric Cortina Trimmer
The Giraud power trimmer indexes off the shoulder of the case. It is costly, but offers high production rates, trimming to length and chamfering in one operation.

The folks at PMA Tool, makers of arbor presses, neck-turning tools, and other case-prep tools, offer some good advice about case trimming on the PMA Tool Blog. Here we reprint a PMA blog post that explains case trimming basics and helps you choose the right case-trimming tool for your needs.

Case Trimming Basics
Trimming the cartridge case to the proper length is a crucial step in case preparation that should not be overlooked or underestimated. The cartridge case or the rifle can be damaged, or even worse you get badly injured. In most instances cases should be trimmed after firing and sizing. Trimming new brass is necessary for a lot of wildcats and can be beneficial in some instances, but by and large, trimming new brass is not necessary for most situations (unless you are neck-turning). Cases should be trimmed after you have sized the case, because the expander ball on the decapping pin can (and will) stretch the neck. Those of us who neck size should get into the habit of trimming after sizing as well. This is a good rule of thumb to go by, and hopefully it will keep you safe during the reloading and shooting process.

There are so many case trimmers out there that work, deciding which one is right for you can be confusing. Even though I have trimmed thousands of cases, using about every method possible, I can’t answer the question of what case trimmer is right for you because of all the variables that may be involved. I can, however shed some light on the subject.

Wilson Micrometer Case Trimmer

The two most popular designs of trimmers either index (1) off the base or the head of the case, (2) off the shoulder or datum line of the case. There are pros and cons to each and it all depends on what you are willing to live with.

Indexing off the Base (Case Head)
Let’s talk about the first one I have listed, indexing off the base, or the head of the case. The pros to this method are that you can achieve a very accurate over all length and that is after all, what it is all about. The cons to this method are that you can get some variation doing it this way. Let me explain, the base is not always square to the body or can be damaged during firing especially if it is fired through a military style rifle with a very aggressive ejector. These cases should be discarded, but sometimes they can be overlooked. This condition can lead to an over all length that is incorrect. The case head being out of square will be corrected upon firing, however that case will wind up being shorter than the rest of your cases, possibly creating a difference in the neck tension on the bullet. The more you can do to eliminate variables in your reloads the better off you are going to be. This method can also be very slow, and if the user gets careless the result will be a inconsistent over all length.

Forster Case Trimmer

Indexing off the Shoulder (Datum Line)
The second method I mentioned, trimming off the shoulder or the datum line of the case, has its pros as well. I have found this to be the quickest of the methods and very accurate as well. After the case has been sized through the die the dimensions (particularly the headspace) of the cases are usually very uniform and exact, this allows the case to be trimmed by indexing off the shoulder. This method can be done very quickly, by hand, or by powering either the case, or the trimmer. You also don’t have to worry about the case heads being out of square with the body using this method. Generally the trimming time is cut in half, and this leads to greater focus on the job, without becoming careless.

PMA tool case trimming trimmer micro-adjust

The PMA Micro-Adjust Case Trimmer indexes case length off of the shoulder of a properly fire-formed and full-length re-sized case. We accomplish this through the use of interchangeable Delrin™ inserts which capture the shoulder and neck of the case. This insert is contained in a spring-loaded tool head that rides on a linear bearing. When the case is captured within the tool head the tool head rotates along with the case, the spring allows for the case to self-align squarely to the cutter and allows you to control the feed rate into the cutter.

— Indexes off shoulder for easy, consistent trim length
— Fully rotating head with bearing for smooth operation keeps cuts square
— Large, ergonomic design fits the hand well
— Sharp carbide cutter for quick, smooth cuts with minimal bur
— Cases captured in Delrin™ (completely non-marring material)
— Spring loaded head allows complete control of rate of feed.

Our trimmer can be used in three ways. The first method utilizes our PMA Tool caseholder drivers and your power screwdriver, drill, case lathe, drill press or lathe. Trimming via this method the case is spun and fed into the trimmer while it is held in your hand. In the second method, the trimmer’s adjustment knob is removed (after adjusting and locking the setting) and the cutting shaft is chucked in a drill, drill press or lathe. Using this method, the case itself is held by hand and fed into the cutter. We’ve found this to be the quickest method to trim.

Summary
The choice is yours to make. I hope that this was some help to you, whether you are looking for your first trimmer or looking to replace the trimmer you have. Just remember to always put safety first and accuracy second, and you will start making little bug holes in no time.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. User Submissions are welcome.
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November 19th, 2014

Remove Military Primer Crimp with Wilson Primer Pocket Reamer

Many shooters, particular those who shoot vintage military rifle matches, reload once-fired military cartridge brass. This brass may be high-quality and stout, but you may encounter a primer crimp* that interferes with the seating of a new primer. There are a variety of dedicated, military-crimp tools on the market, such as Dillon’s excellent Super Swage 600 tool that “rolls the crimp away”. But the Dillon tool costs $100.95 and takes quite a bit of room on your reloading bench. If you don’t want to drop a C-note and give up valuable bench space — here’s another (much cheaper) solution.

If you already have a Wilson case trimmer set-up, you can ream away those military crimps using an affordable Wilson accessory — the Primer Pocket Reamer (large #PPR-210, small #PPR-175). This $32.99 accessory is used in conjunction with a Wilson case trimmer and case-holder as shown below.

Military crimp primer pocket reamer

Military crimp primer pocket reamer salazarIn the older Riflemans Journal website, the Editor, “GS Arizona”, shows how to use the Wilson primer pocket reamer to remove military crimps on Lake City .30-06 cartridge brass. He explains: “The case goes into the Wilson case-holder, the same one used for case trimming, and the reamer replaces the trimmer head in the tool base. The threaded rod on the left side, which is normally used to regulate trim length has no use for this operation and it is simply backed out. Hold the case-holder as you turn the reamer into the primer pocket, it cuts easily and quickly. The reamer will stop cutting when the proper depth is reached.”

Military crimp primer pocket reamerMilitary crimp primer pocket reamer salazar

Do you really need to do this operation with military-crimped brass? Yes, and here’s why: “any attempt to prime the case without removing the crimp will simply result in a mangled primer that cannot be expected to fire and certainly won’t fire reliably.”

Read Full Article on Riflemans’ Journal Website (more photos and detailed write-up).

*Why does military brass has a primer crimp? GS Arizona answers: “The crimp is nothing more than an intentional deformation of the case around the primer pocket, the purpose of which is to retain the primer in the case despite high pressure situations in machine guns and other automatic weapons where a loose primer may cause a malfunction. As reloaders, our task is to get rid of the remnants of the crimp in order to allow re-priming the case.”

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March 26th, 2012

Save $20.00 on Sinclair Stainless Ultimate Case Trimmer

Now through April 6, 2012, Sinclair’s Stainless Micrometer “Ultimate Trimmer” system is on sale for $159.99. That’s a $20.00 savings off the normal $179.00 price. This unit comes complete with micrometer cut-length control, stand, Shark Fin clamp for the case-holder, and a stainless Wilson cutter housing. NOTE: Caliber-specific case-holders are sold separately.

Sinclair Ultimate Trimmer

The Sinclair Micrometer head allows reloaders to easily adjust trim length in .001″ increments with an adjustment length of over 2″. The micrometer features easy-to-read, engraved unit markings and may be locked in place. The Ultimate Trimmer can trim cases from 22 Hornet up to 416 Rigby.

The Sinclair Stainless Ultimate Trimmer comes with Sinclair Mounting Stand and handy Shark Fin Clamp. This system makes easy work of installing and removing your trimmer case holder in a smooth “swing-arm” motion. The Shark Fin trimmer clamp secures the case head firmly against the micrometer adjustment head for a quick and accurate, chatter-free trim. NOTE: We have found that you will get the most accurate, repeatable trim lengths if you set the shark fin to a firm tension and do NOT hold the case-holder with your hand — let the Shark Fin clamp do the job. The video below shows how to use a Wilson case trimmer (with micrometer, stand and Shark Fin).

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November 29th, 2009

Holiday Bargains at Sinclair Int'l… Plus 10% off Promo

Sinclair International has some nice deals for the holidays. And, through Monday 11/30/2009 at 11:59 pm, if your online order totals $200.00 or more, you can save an additional 10% using Promo Code SAVE10. Here are some of the good holiday deals.

Wolf Small Magnum Primers: $31.24 per 1000 primers
Wolf Large Rifle Primers: $32.25 per 1000 primers

The Small Rifle Magnum primers work very well with BR, 6.5 Grendel, 6-6×47, and 6.5×47 cases. The Large Rifle Primers are a good choice for 6XC, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .284 Win and 30-06. We list this product here, not so much because the price is the best, but because readers are constantly asking us “where can I get Wolf primers?”. If you need them, Sinclair Int’l has them in stock right now. (NOTE: Wolf regular Small Rifle Primers, which shoot great in PPCs, are still out of stock.)

Wolf Primers

RCBS ChargeMaster Combo, Scale and Dispenser: $299.99 (Reg. $328.40)
This is the device that created an electronic revolution in reloading. The latest generation of Chargemasters is more reliable than ever. If you make sure the unit is level in all planes, and you have good, uniform current, the Chargemasters will deliver very consistent charges. With H4350, a fairly long extruded powder, our tests showed that 48 out of 50 throws were within the claimed ± one-tenth of a grain (0.1 grain) spread. Sinclair’s $299.99 price is very good, and with the 10% off SAVE10 Promo Code you’ll pay $269.99, which is cheaper that both Midsouth ($279.99), and Natchez ($279.95)

RCBS Chargemaster Combo

Sinclair/Wilson Ultimate Micrometer Trimmer w/ Shark Fin, $134.95 (Reg. $145.00)
By most standards, this is the best manual case trimmer on the market. The micrometer on this trimmer effortlessly adjusts cutting lengths, so it’s easy to change from one cartridge type to another. Changing trim length on a Forster or Lyman trimmer is much more time-consuming, requiring you to fiddle around with set screws, and possibly replace pilots and collets. With a Wilson trimmer, you DO have to purchase case-holders for your cartridges, but that’s often cheaper than buying the pilots and/or collets required by other manual trimmers. Remember that a Wilson case holder will often work for a whole family of cartridges. For example a single .308 case-holder will work for a .243 Win, Rem 260, 7mm-08, or .308 Win.

RCBS Chargemaster Combo

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