If you are either an avid or new handloader, you absolutely know how important trimming your cases are; especially rifle cases. Cases that are too long can make your day one to forget as it can be destructive, detrimental and downright dangerous. Being that as it may, having a simple, easy and efficient way to trim the cases (that’s also inexpensive) is paramount. other people may have other priorities but these are mine and this is what I think of the Lee ZipTrim and Case Length gauge for the 8mm Mauser:
First things first…I have to honestly say that I envisioned a trimmer that used a pull cord like a lawnmower might be a bit “gimmicky” but I’m pleased to report that it has shown to be anything but that. Something that I have discovered time after time is that Lee seems to put a lot of thought into their products, presentation and price. The most interesting thing to me is that even though Lee is on the lower end of the price spectrum, they do provide tools to do the job and to do them well. There appears to be a lot of foresight concerning what they include with their products (aside from the obligatory advertisements). What I am referencing in this case is in regards to the packaging the ZipTrim comes in.
Here is one example:
Notice the two screws? Upon first glance, they appear to be there just to secure the ZipTrim to the box…That is part of the reason they are there but they also double as a way to secure the trimmer to the work area. The trimmer has a place for a screw on each side and these are the perfect size for them. To me, this little, inexpensive and dual-purpose inclusion shows that Lee actually thinks, cares and aids convenience. Either that or I could be looking too far into it. Either way, this is not the first time and it seems to not be coincidence. Definitely a nice touch and it made me happy to not have to go hunt for a couple screws to secure it.
There a couple ways you can secure this to your work area. You can use screws or you can use a C-Clamp if you want to go less permanent. Either seemed to work but the screws were best; obviously.
Using the ZipTrim was indeed, simple. Just chuck up the case length gauge shell holder onto it (instead of whatever else you would’ve used) and then secure a shell in the holder. Now, take the length gauge (which you attached to the cutter you already had) and insert it…Now, pull the cable (don’t yank it too hard). Now, measure…. This was super simple, easy and actually was very fast; once I got used to the new motion and figured out how best to secure it and set it up.
Additionally, using the chamfer/deburr tool on it and pulling the string about halfway worked great to smooth out the inside and outside edges.
Check it out:
This is EXACTLY the range the gauge holder said it would trim to and it took one pull of the string. This is something I can get used to and at a price point that most should love.
This is truly a simple, easy and inexpensive trimmer. I’ve read some mixed reviews and I could see some people not liking it as it takes a bit to get used to but once you do, it’s smooth sailing. If you have trouble getting a case off when you are done, put your finger on the back circle and prevent it from turning and use that for leverage. Worked every time for me.
I absolutely recommend the length gauge and ZipTrim. It’s a quarter of the price of some of the other brands and works very well.