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A Comprehensive Guide to Case Preparation Machines: Part 4 of Series

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

What's up reloaders! Hope you are all doing well.


One of the more overlooked tools for new guys and one of the biggest assets on the bench for more experienced guys to speed up that process.


What is it?


Case prep machines.


Why should you get a case prep machine?


Well, if you have ever deburred and chamfered over 100 pieces of brass, trim, clean primer pockets, or anything else by hand, you have definitely noticed the blisters and cramping after a few hundred.


I mean, hey, that's why pretty much every hand crank trimmer out there has a hand drill attachment. Why make it harder than it has to be?


With competitive low pricing, getting a brass prep machine that will last a lifetime is a no brainer. If it breaks, Brownells has products guaranteed forever.


It saves you time, processes brass faster, and gets you on the range with a bunch of quality hand crafted ammo.


Also, with these types of machines you can run multiple types of attachments at once. For example: Small and large primer pocket uniformer, chamfer and debur tool, small and large primer pocket reamer, Nylon brushes, military crimp removers, and many more.



Here's some details on ones you might like:


Lyman - Case Prep Xpress (link)


Specs: 125 RPM tool speed. Comes in 110 or 230 volt. For the international guys, you are given a proprietary plug for the 230 volt version.


What I like about this case prep machine is the ability to sweep your brass shavings or anything else into a little pan after you are finished for easy cleanup. Most case prep machines don't have this, and if you have your reloading equipment anywhere near carpet, good luck getting all the tiny brass shavings up. Your wife's ganna' kill ya, bud.


The machine itself is allowed to have up to 5 moving tool heads at once, with three brushes that come with the unit in .25, .30, .38, and .45. Along with those brushes, you are given Mica case neck lube and a clean up brush. Their is a little spot for your case neck lube to allow you to speed up the process further, so you will not have to apply it with your hands.



RCBS - Trim Mate Case Prep Center (link)


This unit allows 5 tools to move at once, along with two extra brushes for cleaning the inside of cases. A case lube tray is included in the unit for easy access. Just like pretty much all brass prep stations, the thread on tools is perfect from switching from small primer brass to large primer brass prep.


What is awesome about this unit that it includes large and small primer pocket brushes, inside chamfering and outside deburring tools, medium and small case neck brushes, and lube. Most other machines will require you to purchase the chamfering and deburring tool. This will save you a few extra bucks. This unit is a 110 volt.




Hornady - Lock-N-Load Case Prep Trio (link)


This unit comes in 110V or 220V. With only three tool heads, the Case prep Trio is perfect if you want something with low noise and takes up very little space. Unfortunately, you will have to hold the unit down while using it, unless, you build something that can hold it in place. Most individuals can run into the following problems with this unit, however. The outside reamer can start to develop a grinding noise from use. The unit can randomly shut off from use. reamers can fall off. In order to fix grinding, most individuals reported greasing the plastic gears inside which fixed the problem most of the time.


This unit is great if you can maintain it well. I have yet to run into any problems with this case prep machine after about a year, but I do not use at as much as I do the RCBS prep machine.



RCBS- Brass Boss Case Prep Unit (link)


"The RCBS Brass Boss Case Prep Unit makes cleaning and prepping your reloading brass faster, easier and cleaner than ever, thanks to a multi-faceted setup that ensures you have quality brass to work with on your reloads." "The RCBS Brass Boss Case Prep Unit is constructed with six separate rotating units, all with a variable-speed design." "The unit ships with all of the necessary elements needed at each station, including a deburring tool, primer-pocket cleaner, military crimp remover, primer pocket uniformer and case-neck brushes."

"Variable rotating stations operate between 350-550 rpm." "Powered by 120-240 VAC power output." "Available with US, UK, EU and Australian power cords." "Comes with dry case-neck lubricant."

"When not in use, the RCBS Brass Boss Case Prep Unit even includes specially designed storage spots for all the included tools" (Brownells.com)


If you have the room on your bench and want something bulky and super sturdy with room for other attachments, this is the one you should look into.


RCBS- Universal Case Prep Center (link)


"The Universal Case Prep Center is powdered by a 24-VDC motor that provides 9 inch-pounds of torque. Reloaders can also adjust the output shaft's RPM. There are six stations for case preparation; four offer up to 360 RPM, and two provide up to 550 RPM. The spring-loaded feed system offers hands-free trimming, and a single lever loads and unloads cases, then disengages them from the cutter. It has an ambidextrous design and the spring loaded shell holder accommodates case head diameters from .250 to .625 inch, and lengths from .720 inch to 3.375 inches. Micrometer adjustment allows for fast, precise cuts. A shell holder carrier assembly makes adjusting trim length quick and easy. The Universal Case Prep Center includes primer pocket brushes, chamfer and debur tools, and alignment gauge" (Brownells.com).

"Includes .22, .24, .25, .27, .28, .30, .35, .44, and .45 pilots; large and small primer pocket brushes; inside and outside chamfer/debur tool; and aligment tool" (Brownells.com)


You've read that right. This unit also trims your brass as well as every other step you might need.



Frankford Arsenal - Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System (link)


This case prep machine is pretty cool. Very sleek looking, minimalist, and trims your brass.


"Frankford Arsenal's Platinum Series Case Trim & Prep Center accurately trims brass in seconds. An innovative Case Holder with Adjustable Collet and Bushing System indexes the case shoulder and can be set to precisely trim brass to the exact desired case length. Once the case holder is adjusted simply insert brass into the case holder as a collet aligns the case squarely with the hi-speed cutter. As the case mouth contacts the cutter it is trimmed until the case shoulder stops on an internal bushing. A series of three collets and five bushings (all included) accommodate any shouldered case from 17Rem-460Wby. In addition to the cutter, the station operates up to three additional tools at the same time. Inside and outside chamfer tools and primer pocket cleaners are included to fully prepare cases for loading. The heavy duty motor and drivetrain are optimized for durability and performance. Cutters and Chamfer tools are constructed of high quality hardened steel. A convenient built in storage box holds spare collets, bushings and tools. Patent Pending. Patent Pending Adjustable Collet System works with all cases from 17 Remington to 460 Weatherby (Cases must have a shoulder) Indexes cases on the shoulder for speed and precision Makes Trimming and Chamfering Cases fast and easy with no need for shell holders VLD Inside Chamfering Tool makes loading easier and prevents damage to bullets Outside Chamfer Tool, Large and Small Primer Pocket Cleaning tools included 3 Output shafts accept all case trimming accessories with 8-32 threads Aluminium and Steel construction for extreme durability and long life Ultra-Hard HSS Cutters stay sharp for thousands of rounds to make trimming quick and easy Can be operated in a variety of positions with included adjustable stand and non-skid feet Built-in storage box holds extra tools and keeps everything ready and organized" (Brownells.com)


~Adjustable Collet System works with all cases from .17 Remington® to ~.460 Weatherby® (Cases must have a shoulder)Indexes cases on the shoulder for speed and precision.

~Makes Trimming and Chamfering ~Cases fast and easy with no need for shell holders.

~VLD Inside Chamfering Tool makes loading easier and prevents damage to bullets.

~Outside Chamfer Tool, Large and Small Primer Pocket Cleaning tools included.

~3 Output shafts accept all case trimming accessories with 8-32 threads.

~Aluminum and Steel construction for extreme durability and long life.

~Ultra-Hard HSS Cutters stay sharp for thousands of rounds to make trimming quick and easy.

~Can be operated in a variety of positions with included adjustable stand and non-skid feet. (Brownells.com)





Hornady- Case Prep Duo (link)


Description: " Make quick work of various reloading chores with this cordless, rechargeable multi-function. Hornady Case Prep Duo that 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 180 degrees 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 ¼-inch hex bits (not included). Comes with plug-in charger, deburr and chamfer tools" (Brownells.com)


This is great if you want to process brass in a super small space. However, it seems pretty pointless for an individual to have if they have a bench or just 1 foot of room for other brass prep stations. You can spend $20-30 for something that accommodates 2-3 more tool heads with storage, brass lube and more. You'll also have to buy more tools that most case prep stations come with. The only real benefit here is that it is cordless.


In my opinion, almost seems like a double headed screw driver.


Bottom line. Does it get the job done? Hell yes. But theirs definitely better options out there.




Frankford Arsenal- Platinum Series Case Prep Center (link)

This is literally the same as it's brother, except does not have a trimmer.


Description: "Frankford Arsenal's Platinum Series Case Prep Center has all of the case prep tools you need in one place. This little reloading station allows for 4 heads to be run at the same time, allowing for a quick and smooth case preparation experience. Never let a head be out of reach, by utilizing the retention slot on the side while not in use. This of this efficient and compact reloading center saves time and reduces the number of tools needed to reload your own ammunition.

This center features 4 powered tool stations and comes with (1) inside chamfer tool, (1) outside deburring tool, (1) small primer pocket scraper and (1) large primer pocket scraper. Hardened High Speed Steel (HSS) tools stay sharp for thousands of rounds. 8-32 threaded output shafts accept a wide variety of aftermarket case prep tools. 200 RPM output shafts prep brass quickly and efficiently. Features a durable aluminum design" (Brownells.com).




Hornady- Lock-N-Load Case Prep Center (link)


This is an absolute beast of a case prep station and literally combines everything you would need besides maybe a case neck trimmer if you do that.


"The Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Prep Center combines all of the essential case prep tools with a power case length trimmer. This saves the hand loader valuable time and bench space so more time may be spent at the range" (Brownells.com).

"The Hornady Case Prep Center is heavy-duty cast construction with a powerful motor. It includes the following: power trimmer, chamfer/deburr tools, primer pocket cleaner, and five neck brushes. This tool requires the use of press type shell holders for the trimming feature. A flash hole deburring tool, primer pocket uniformer, and primer pocket reamers are sold separately. The Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Prep Center is also available in 220 Volt for international customers" (Brownells.com).

Features: - Micro adjustable trim length to .001"" - Trims Cases from 3/4"" to 3-1/4"" length - Vertical trimmer design keeps brass chips and shavings from entering the case - Inside and outside chamfer/deburring tools included - Large and Small primer pocket cleaners included - Comes with five popular neck brush sizes




As always, stay safe, shoot straight, and happy reloading!








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