Anyone use a Gracey case trimmer?

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Larsen E. Whipsnade
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Anyone use a Gracey case trimmer?

#1 Post by Larsen E. Whipsnade » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:15 pm

Greetings all. I have a few thousand .223 cases I need to trim. I'm trying to set up a Gracey trimmer with a Bob Jones carbide cutter installed. I cannot seem to get a consistent trim length. I hold the case against the cutter till I can hear it's stopped cutting. I'll get one case that's right where it's supposed to be (1.750"). But the next might be as much as .005" too long, or .002" too short. I want to get these to a consistent length so I can set up a RCBS x-die & avoid having to do this again. The only thing I can think of, since the trimmer indexes off the case shoulder, is that the shoulders are not consistent. But the cases have all been full length resized, so they should be the same. It is mixed brass, a lot of it military but also some various commercial brands, so maybe there's a different amount of "spring back"? If anyone has any suggestions or ideas of what I'm doing wrong, please advise. Or am I expecting too much accuracy, and is a variation of up to .007 - .008 as good as I can expect to get & no big deal? (I'm not after extreme accuracy, as these will be fired in an AR & a Mini-14 - I just want to be able to use the x-die w/o any problems). I'd hate to have to trim all these with my hand cranked Foster! Thanks in advance for any insight.

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Re: Anyone use a Gracey case trimmer?

#2 Post by M. M. Wright » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:12 pm

I'm not familiar with the trimmer you are using but if it's indexing off the shoulder I doubt it'll ever be really consistent. I use a Lee that has a pin that goes through the flash hole and bumps against the shell holder. Thus indexing off the case head. Very consistent. I set it up in my drill press. Not as quick as I'd like but until I spring for something better I'll have to live with it. Oh, it's cheap too but doesn't have a carbide cutter.
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Re: Anyone use a Gracey case trimmer?

#3 Post by earlmck » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:46 am

I don't know anything about your Gracey trimmer, so can't give any help there. I do know that when faced with about 1500 mixed 223's to trim I abandoned the Lyman/drill press trim set-up I've used for years and got one of the Lee Quick Trim Deluxes purely for the reason that it does the inside/outside champfer at the same time as the trim. For some reason the champfering has always seemed to me to be a bigger PIA than the trim-to-length part, so therefore the Lee.

Since doing that batch of 223's and a smaller number of 30/30's all with the hand-turned cutter I have ordered the Quick-Trim cutter that is made to attach to a power drill but haven't got that yet so can't report. The Lee cutter is not carbide so is going to get dull -- I think it is not cutting as well now as when I started after doing maybe 2000 cases. As for consistency, I was occasionally getting one not trimmed sufficiently because it is hard to tell when you are done. But when given a bunch of extra turns to be sure I was done, the cases were very very close to all the same length.
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Re: Anyone use a Gracey case trimmer?

#4 Post by ywaltzucanrknrl » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:53 am

I use a Gracey---I generally leave it set up for 223 only. I use a Giraud cutter in mine--I've never tried the Jones. My biggest complaint is that they are hard to set up. What earlmck said is very important, give it a turn or two after you feel it has finished cutting, that will really help. Also, one on of the better things I've done is to set mine up-right so the cuttings fall away from the case indexer back into the covered container with the shaft. I found that before I did that, cuttings would get caught in the case indexer in the shoulder area and the length's would vary due to the cuttings not allowing proper indexing. If you are using mixed brass, it will be hard to get an exact length, but it should be within a couple thousands--for the reasons mentioned above, different brass, different hardness---so even after full length sizing the cases will vary a bit. Keep the shell indexer clean and use good clean brass---I tumble all mine in steel pins, water and soap and I think this helps. I know quite a few across the course shooters who use the Gracey and X dies and they have good luck with the combination.
FWIW, I really like the Gracey trimmer---I can trim a bunch of cases in no time and they all turn out with a nice chamfer----I don't use X dies.
Best of luck.

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Re: Anyone use a Gracey case trimmer?

#5 Post by AJMD429 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:13 pm

I don't have a Gracey either, but lathe-turned the 'cutter' portion of a Lee Case Trimmer to chuck in a 3/8" drill that I just C-clamp to the bench and leave running on slow speed. Then it is VERY fast to just grab cases from the 'to trim' box and slip them into the 'shell holder', locking them in with a quick twist. Then push 'em on the spinning cutter until they bottom out. Then another quick twist to unlock the case as I dump it into the 'trimmed' box.

I know that isn't much help with your Gracey, but for the cost of a $7.19 Lee holder and cutter, and a $5.39 223 spindle, it may be worth it. If your drill can chuck the 1/2" or so the cutter diameter is, great - otherwise you might need to turn it down to your drill diameter.
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