October 13th, 2007

Neck Chamfering Tools–Assortment of Angles Available

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 to smooth the edge of the cut. The $13.00 Forster is a nicely made product, with sharper cutting blades than you’ll find on most other 45° chamferers.

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 under $9.00 at MidwayUSA.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.

Darrell Holland has offered a nice 28° chamfering tool for quite some time and we think it works very well. Sinclair recently introduced a 28° chamferer similar to the Holland tool, with some additional features. The $26.50 Sinclair Chamfering Tool (14 degrees per side) will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. The cutter head/shaft segment, with a .250″ diameter shank, can be purchased by itself for $16.95. This can be chucked in a drill or, with an adapter, it can be used with a power screwdriver when prepping large volumes of cases.

K&M makes a depth-adjustable “VLD” chamferer (“case mouth reamer”) which has very sharp blades and can be adjusted for cutting depth. It makes a very “steep” cut into the inside of the case neck. The latest version ($24.00 at PrecisionReloading.com), features a central pin that indexes via the flash hole to keep the cutter centered. However if you are not very 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 Lyman.

One last thing to note–tools like the K&M and the Holland 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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