Lee Case Trimmer Question


Active Member
Jan 18, 2010
West Virginia
I am new to reloading and have just received my Lee Case Trimmer, Cutter and Lock stud for 3 different cartridges.

It appears that with all three, the case trimmer is set close to the Max case length rather than the published "trim to length"

It doesn't appear to me that this can be adjusted using these trimmers.

Has anyone else experienced this? Is there something i can do to allow the case to be trimmed to the "trim to length"?
"Has anyone else experienced this?"


"Is there something i can do to allow the case to be trimmed to the "trim to length"?"

Well you could grind a few thou off the point of the length pilot but why would you wish to? All that "trim to" means is try not to trim shorter, it sure ain't a rule.
Sinclair makes an inexpensive gauge piece that will allow you to know the max chamber length of your rifle. You may find that the Lee apparatus doesn't really approach it.
My concern was that "trim to length" meant that this is the length i should cut the case to. If it means that is the shortest it should be, i guess i really am not concerned. Thanks

Winchester 69,
Interesting. So this guage measures the chamber length for my particular rifle. Do rifles of the same make, model and chambering usually have different max chamber lengths?

For now, what i was looking to do was cut the case to the max case length and then meet the max OAL of the finished cartridge. My thought was that this would keep me very uniform as far as length of brass, OAL of cartridge, thus giving me a uniform bullet seating depth. What i should then have is at least a consistant finished product.
Based on what i have been reading this may be fine but will not necessarily optimize accuracy.
I have a truck load to learn
The message you should be getting is that the Lee tool is going to cut to a length. If the brass is longer it will be that length. If the brass is shorter, it won't cut. Whatever spec SAMMI has published is pretty much irrelevant, whether its max or trim-to. Factory barrels, though cut with the same spec reamer, will vary, but will all be generous. What trimmed length adjusts is neck tension. If they're all cut the same, neck tension will track.

When you start shooting expensive, custom barrels, you may wish to be concerned with proximity of the neck to the end of the chamber simply to minimize erosion. Not everyone is. For that degree of attentiveness, the Sinclair piece and a lathe-type trimmer will be required. With the Lee tool, all you can do is to trim the things. You're avoiding having the case neck jam in the leade as much as equalizing the cases.
The “trim to” length is the minimum case length, but it does not have to be cut to min. SAAMI sets the range that you should stay within, but it is not a hard and fast rule. I have bought cases that were a little shorter than min. and shot fine. However, be careful not to let your case get too long (past max) as they could eventually crimp your bullet in the case on the end of the chamber (= catastrophic failure). The Lee trimmers are fine, but would recommend the Wison trimmer if you are able - very consistent quality cutter, allows much more flexibility on trim length. Sounds like you need to get your hands on a reloading manual such as Sierra, or Nosler (read it man).. good luck!
So far, in all of once fired brass that i have used the Lee trimmer has at least touched the case. This is true for my 30-30, 243 win and 7mm rem mag cases. I guess i have been fortunate with that.

If i were to run into cases that did not touch the blades then i would segregate those by measurement.

For now, with the equipment i have, i am looking to load good "hunting" rounds cheaper than i can buy factory. For me that means finding a load that will shoot 1MOA or better. Obviously nothing stellar but good for hunting and messing around with 400yds (max at the gun club) at the range.

So far, i have been able to achieve an average of .72 from my 7mm, .84 from the 243 and 1.07 from the 30-30. Nothing great but i am meeting my objective with 2 of the 3. I just got the 30-30 dies at christmas and have worked on only a couple of loads. All of my guns are off the rack (Rem 700, Savage 10, Marlin336 respectively) with no work done on them

It is obvious to me however that handloading is very addictive and lots of fun. I can already tell that down the road i will be looking at stepping up the performance on these guns. Like i mentioned though, i have a lot to learn

I have the Speer and Lyman manuals and i have been reading them. Funny thing is i actually have to look up a lot of the terms they use in the books because i really am new to understanding firearms. I'm 47 and just learning
..my bad !.. sounds like you are on the right track though ! The more you shoot, the more addictive ! :)
I haven't had the trimmer be longer than published specs, sometimes you have to give them a little extra tweek to get it tightened down all the way but as was said before grind some of if it is seated but long.
Winchester 69,
Interesting. So this guage measures the chamber length for my particular rifle. Do rifles of the same make, model and chambering usually have different max chamber lengths?

You can also make one of these case length guages real easy. I just made one of the sliding dounut neck ones (the 'poor mans gauge' from Varmint Al's) and found my Rem 700 .243 measured 30 thou over the SAAMI length so I don't need to trim nearly as often and can get shorter bullets seated out closer to the lands this way.

Reloading MATCH ammunition
Varmint Al's Mini Lathe Page

Good luck!
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