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Case trimming- how many times?

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Old 02-10-2005, 02:52 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K
Posts: 10
Case trimming- how many times?

I was reading the Lyman reloading manual last night (boring git I know) according to it you should never trim cases more than four times, is this right or wrong I thought brass
was usable untill it developed a defect that warranted it being thrown away.
What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:10 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Wis.
Posts: 150
Re: Case trimming- how many times?


I failed to read that statement, and made the mistake of trimming some of my brass 5 times. The Trimming Police were at my door the next day and pinched me for excessive trimming. Of course they had to confiscate my entire cabinet full of brass, roughly 10,000 cases. The guys at the gun club found out about me trimming 5 times and voted to eliminate me from the club. I had to sell my guns as I had no place to shoot them.

When my boss saw my name in the paper (court records) I was fired from my job. I had a nervous breakdown and started using drugs and soon lost everything. My family disowned me and I am living out on the street in a city that I don't even know the name of. (Oh ya, I still got my computer)

I guess you could say I am the "poster child, person" for the "Four Times and Throw Association."

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Old 02-10-2005, 09:09 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: La Grange, TX
Posts: 222
Re: Case trimming- how many times?

Have had loads that required tossing the case after 3-5 firings in 223. Also have loads that you can run 20-25 firings in them. I think they are assuming max loads and being trimmed each time you shoot them. Though I only trim about every 5 firings..... YMMV
Get as close as you can, but utilize your skills as needed.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:11 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Wis.
Posts: 150
Re: Case trimming- how many times?


My original post was only an attempt at humor. I was not making fun of your question.

Competition shooters often trim every time they reload. They know neck tension on the bullet has an affect on accuracy and necks that vary in length can cause accuracy problems. For these guys, discarding their brass after four trimmings would be foolish.

I routinely discard brass (for one of my rifles) after 10 reloadings, because I have found out through experience with that rifle, problems with the brass may arise. In all the years I have reloaded, and for all the guns I have reloaded for, the number of times the case has been trimmed has never been the deciding factor in case life.

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Old 02-10-2005, 11:30 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 398
Re: Case trimming- how many times?

How many times you have to trim a case has little if any bearning on case life. What you want to be looking for are not how many times I've trimmed the case, but that shinney pressure ring (streach mark) forward of the web, loose primer pockets, splits anywhere on the case, yes even the neck. Now you will find cases with 35 and 40 deg sholders don't grow vary much, I've never had to trim these cases more than twice before they had given up the ghoast anyway.
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Old 02-10-2005, 02:52 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: GF Montana
Posts: 467
Depends - Like how often do you change your underware ? :)

If you gun has <font color="red"> EXCESSIVE </font> headSpace - or you over FULL Length Resize it see Partial Full Len Resizing - It will grow <font color="red"> EXCESSIVEly </font> with each firing - which should be a <font color="red"> red </font> flag

Measuring Headspace

I can just picture the attorny saying "we need to prevent the stupid from suing us here"

I doubt you could get 5 trimmings before failure if you shot your hot 308 load in grandpa's '06 [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:08 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Potomac River
Posts: 5,057
Re: Case trimming- how many times?

In 1972 I got 100 17 Rem cases which have been partial neck sized and trimmed about 7-8 times each ( I have to type in a hurry because the trimming police are breaking down the door) with no case failures. In larger calibers for large game, really, really hot loads - Above max recommended -with heavy bullets may generate case failures within one to two firings. These failures typical occur in three places. Primer pockets too loose to hold a primer, split case necks, or as noted above, case head separation which is foretold by the shiny ring above the web.

Every case gets "looked" at after firing and "looked" at again before reloading. What I do is take 0000 steel wool and polish the neck with a couple of twists to clean any powder residue off it. This is a good time to look for case neck split and head separations. All of that said, the worst series of mistakes I every made was with "reduced loads" . Do not fall asleep reading that section nor forget whether you did or did not put powder in a reduced load case and charge it twice. If you do not wear glasses get some and wear them when shooting, I still have both eyes.
The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
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