Trimming cases is my least favorite part of the reloading process. Traditional hand powered trimmers are slow to operate and take up a decent amount of space on my reloading bench for a tool that doesnít need to be used every time a batch of brass is processed. Powered versions of the same trimmers can speed up the process but they still are bulky and I donít care to pay for one considering how often I wonít use it.
Recently Iíve been exploring a new breed of trimmer that spaces off the caseís shoulder (instead of the head) and they appear to provide accurate trimming in a small package. However, most of these require individual collets for each cartridge family and the cost can rise pretty quickly depending on how many collets you need. The Frankford Arsenal Case Trim and Prep Center (CTPC) follows the trend of spacing off the shoulder but also serves other case prep functions and I was very excited to get the opportunity to do a hands on review.
The Frankford Arsenal CTPC is a motorized unit designed to allow users to trim and chamfer cases as well as clean primer pockets all with one piece of equipment. The CTPC comes with an inside chamfer tool (VLD), outside chamfer tool, small and large primer pocket cleaners and the case trimmer. The trimmer itself may appear a little different to some users because it spaces off the case shoulder instead of the case head, but the chamfering and primer pocket tools will look familiar to anyone who has used a motorized case prep center before. It should be noted that the design of this trimmer only allows the unit to trim bottleneck cartridges.
Since the CTPC uses the case shoulder as a datum it requires various collets and bushings to adapt to different cartridges the user plans on trimming. Frankford Arsenal has come up with a neat system that uses 6 shoulder bushings and 3 case body collets (See Figure 1) to accommodate almost every bottleneck cartridge a user is likely to trim from .17-.45 caliber.
Figure 1. A bushing (left) and collet (right) system allows the user to get a custom fit for almost any bottleneck cartridge when trimming.
To get ready for trimming, the user finds the shoulder bushing that seats roughly halfway down the shoulder of the case and then uses the smallest plastic collet the case will pass through to complete the system (See figure 2). All of these bushings and collets are conveniently stored in a storage compartment built into the unit (See Figure 3).
Figure 2. Proper sized bushing on a 243 Winchester case (right) next to another 243 case for reference.
Figure 3. Built in storage compartment for the bushings and collets.