Question about Lee case trimmer


Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2009
Evansville, WI
I recently switched from a manual lathe case trimmer to Lee's hand held trimmer. I like it better and it's faster for me. I have noticed the mandrel used by the Lee setup always trims cases to a length a few 1000's longer than my reloading guides (i.e. Sierra, Lyman & hornady) specify. Example: .308 recommended trim length is 2.005 with a max. case length of 2.015. The Lee mandrel produces a consistent case length of 2.009.

Do I grind down the tip of the mandrel by .004 to get the recommended 2.005? Does Lee deliberately set the mandrel a little longer to account for wear? Lee doesn't provide a support email address or telephone number. So I thought I'd post here to get feed back, better yet a veteran user of this style Lee case trimmer.

Any and all input is appreciated.
IMO the max case length is the more important dimension there and many manuals do not give the recommended trim-to length. I get the same results with the case length gauge setting the case length trim to ~.007" below the max case length.

So I would not and do not grind down the tip. Most guns have a chamber significantly longer than the max case length anyway which you can measure with the Sinclair Chamber Length Gauge

Case Gauges & Headspace Tools - Sinclair Chamber Length Gage
Hey woods - thanks for the reply. It was just one of those things that I was wondering about. I just wasn't sure, particularly with the 3 reloading manual always specifying the exact trim length. I have the Hornady setup for case length measurement.

I like the Lee setup. When I use the univeral collect with my Makita drill I can really fly through case prep.

Thanks again,

I have been using a Lee Case Trimmer and everything else lee have in case preparation equipment for quite a long time using for all my rounds from 223 to 308 and find it to be the most consistant for case preparation and ease of use and please do not trim down your mandrel waste of time gun)
I was able to contact Lee tech support through their website... don't know how I missed it when I first looked. Anyway, here is their response to my question -


The SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute, Inc.) tolerance for case length on most rifle cartridges is usually -.020 inch, so for the 308 Winchester, the tolerance would be 2.015 max. / 1.995 min. If your case length gauge trims cases anywhere between these two dimensions, they are acceptable. You can stone the tip down if you want, but 2.008 - 2.009 is within SAAMI tolerance.

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