Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer
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- Last updated: 29/06/2018
One of the most important parts of any reloader’s kit has to be the case trimming tool, as it ensures that all your brass remains at a safe and optimum length, as it’s a ductile material and will stretch as it’s used. This is very important, as it ensures correct fitment into the rifle’s chamber, bullet release and is essential for safe operating pressures.
There are many case trimmers and I’m looking at Hornady’s Cam- Lock model, which is easy to use and produces accurate brass for reloading.
In essence, a trimmer is like a mini, hand-operated lathe, with the head stock holding the case and the tail stock mounting the cutter. Hornady use this same chassis for other case prep tools! It’s made of cast aluminium and powder-coated in the usual red livery and can be screwed to your bench by mounting slots.
The system comes with a single cutter head that accommodates .22” to .50” and uses replaceable spuds/ pilots in the middle to centralise/ support the case mouth. It’s supplied with .22, 6mm, .270, 7mm, .30, .38 and .45. The cutter shaft moves in and out and is turned by a handle at the rear; an adjustable rotary collar allows you to set the length of cut. However, Hornady offers a Power Trim adapter that allows you to use an electric screwdriver and replaces the hand crank.
The Cam-Lock system accepts standard, reloading shell holders to hold the case base in position. Fit the one you need, slide in the case then turn the handle to lock it up. You can also adjust for length, as the shaft moves in and out and is locked by a side wheel. The maximum distance between the shell holder and cutter pilot is 4”, so good for most calibres.
With the case in the cam lock but not fully tightened, run the pilot/cutter gently into the case mouth until it stops, then tighten the lock to centralise and secure it between both ends. The length of cut locking ring needs to be run up to the rear of the tail stock, so that it acts as a datum point. Adjustments show one turn and make a 0.050” cut. So, using a vernier caliper you can measure the case, compare it to the length dimension in your reloading data and calculate how much brass needs to be removed. There are not any markings, so you need to measure as you go, but take is slowly. Once you have the length sorted, I’d recommend you keep a trimmed case as a set up gauge to save time! Once understood, it’s an easy job; though if you’re doing a lot of brass I’d recommend the power adaptor, as it gets tiring by hand!
I personally prefer the hands-on approach, as you can get a good feel on how the cutter is progressing and fine tune or back off if there’s a problem. The power adaptor does speed up the process but has less feel. Also, remember to place oil through the hole above the cutter spindle to reduce friction! You can also fit a chamfer or de-burring tool to finish the job inside and out.
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