RCBS Trim Pro-2 Manual Case Trimmer Review

©2016 By Glenn Burroughs

My old case trimmer was made before micrometer adjustments were available, so each adjustment for case length was basically an educated guess… I just kept adjusting until the magical setting was hit. But after trimming several expensive cases too short I decided it might be time for an upgrade. The search was begun for a trimmer that was well made, easy to use, had a micrometer dial for case length adjustment, was reasonably priced and was made by a company that provided good customer service. After a few hours on the internet the RCBS Trim Pro-2 Manual Case Trimmer was chosen. To accompany the trimmer a RCBS 3-Way Cutter for 6mm cases was ordered.

Photo from RCBS website.

Several features made the Trim Pro-2 stand out. First, the overall case length is set using a micrometer dial designed for .001-inch accuracy. It has both a coarse adjustment and a fine adjustment. The second feature is the spring-loaded universal case holder that will accommodate case head diameters from .250-inch to .625-inch, smaller than a 22 Hornet and up to something like a 338 Lapua Magnum. There is no need to purchase shell-holders or install a different one each time a cartridge with a different case head size is used. And an attachment was available that provided case trimming, beveling and de-burring in one pass.

RCBS Trim Pro-2 comes in two versions; the RCBS Trim Pro-2 (retail $119.45) and RCBS Trim Pro-2 Kit (retail $143.95), the only difference being the kit version contains nine case neck pilots. As expected, with a little shopping lower prices can be found; Sinclair International sells the Kit version for $114.99. The RCBS Trim Pro-2 Kit comes in a small box and includes the trimmer unit, case holder handle lever, lever pin and pilots for .22, .24, .25, .27, .28, .30, .35, .44 and .45 calibers. Other calibers can be purchased separately and I opted for the .17 and .20 caliber pilots.

The only preparation necessary for the Trim Pro-2 is to mount it on a bench or other solid base. With little room left on the reloading bench I decided to use an 8x14-inch oak flooring board with flat, rubber pads on the bottom… the same arrangement that was used for the old trimmer. This option allows cases to be trimmed at the bench or anywhere else that’s handy. Only a couple of minutes were required to mount the trimmer. Then the case holder handle lever was installed with the lever pin. The unit was ready for its first task.

The instructions for the trimmer are well written and I had no trouble trimming my first cases. Here is a quick overview of how I use the Trim Pro. To start, the coarse and fine adjustment bushings need to be set so fine adjustments can be made later. To do this the set screw on the fine adjustment is loosened and backed off 5-7 turns from contact with the coarse adjustment bushing. This should provide an adequate adjustment range. Then the set screw on both bushings is loosened. The correct size pilot is installed in the cutter head and the set screw tightened.

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RCBS Trim Pro-2 Manual Case Trimmer Review

A sized case that has an overall length close to what is desired (preferably longer) is used to make the first adjustment. The case is inserted into the case holder by pressing down on the handle lever and pushing the base of the case into the two jaws in the case holder. The jaws hold the case firm and aligned. Still holding the arm lightly, the pilot is moved into the case neck and the lever released . With the cutter head touching the case neck, slide the bushings until they touch the cutter guide. Then lock the coarse adjustment set screw. The fine adjustment is now used to set the length you want. Once the desired length is determined the set screw on the fine adjustment is tightened and you are ready to trim. It sounds more complicated that is really is.

The first cases to be trimmed were the 17 Ackley Hornets.

The first cases trimmed were the smallest in the reloading room… 17 Ackley Hornets. These were selected to see how the universal case holder handled small cases. The 17 caliber pilot was quickly installed in the cutter shaft. The lever was pressed down and a case inserted in the universal case holder and the pilot moved into the neck of the case. The coarse and fine bushings were adjusted and the trimmer was set for a trimmed case to measure 1.390-inch. Once the trimmer was adjusted it was a routine task to trim the 17 Ackley cases. I was impressed with how easy it was to change cases… the lever is quite effective in speeding things up. Following the trimming a hand-held chamfering and de-burr tool was used to finish them off.

Trimming a 6mm BR case.

The next brass to be trimmed was a lightly used batch of 6mm BR Norma that had been given to me. The trim history of this brass was not known, but the case lengths varied considerably and this needed to be corrected, so I measured the majority of cases and picked the shortest one for the trim length. The 6mm BR Norma brass would be trimmed using the optional RCBS 3-Way Cutter attachment for the Trim Pro-2. This neat little device not only trims the case but chamfers and de-burrs the case at the same time, speeding up the process considerably. It also provides precise processing of cases, something not likely when doing it by hand with a chamfering and de-burr tool (not to mention the wear and tear on the fingers when doing this). The cutter head, along with the 17 caliber pilot, was removed and the 3-Way Cutter was installed. The cutter was adjusted to trim the brass to an OAL of 1.555-inch. Then the little blade that chamfers the neck was adjusted to provide the perfect angle to the outside of the neck. The blade that de-burrs the inside of the neck was already set to factory specifications.

The arrow points to the bevel on the outside of the 6mm BR neck.

When the trimming started I could see a small, shiny, precision bevel around the outside of the neck appear… much more precise than a hand held tool. Hey, this is really neat! In no time I completed a hundred cases, all trimmed, chamfered and de-burred. About every tenth case I would check the overall length and it would be right on the money. I love this little tool, in fact I think I will have to order 3-Way Cutters for some other calibers.

The RCBS Trim Pro-2 Manual Case Trimmer was found to be an excellent tool, well made, efficient, easy to use and provided excellent accuracy. The universal case holder feature speeds up the process and, at the same time, makes it easier to install and remove cases. And the 3-Way Cutter not only trims the case but chamfers and de-burrs at the same time. The 3-Way Cutter is a ‘must-have’ for serious reloaders. I believe my choice for a trimmer could best be described by the guardian of the Holy Grail in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade… he would have looked at me and uttered, “You have chosen wisely.”


RCBS Operations
605 Oro Dam Blvd East
Oroville, CA 95965
Phone: 800-379-1732
Email: [email protected]

Glenn Burroughs is a retired computer systems manager with a lifelong love of guns. His main areas of interest are accurate rifles, wildcat cartridges, reloading and bench shooting. He also enjoys an occasional trip out west to the prairie dog country. Glenn was a columnist for Precision Shooting magazine and also wrote articles for Varmint Hunter magazine. He resides in Lynchburg, Virginia.