Last Updated :: 6/17/2010 12:12:08 AM EDT
Time to Eat Some Crow
A Review of Dillon's Rapid Trim 1200B and Super Swage 600
Submitted July 2008
I had been a proponent of both the Possum Hollow Trimmer and the Hornady reamer (still think that they work well for small batches) and felt that both the Dillon Rapid Trim 1200B and Dillon Super Swage 600 were too expensive for their function. In April of this year I had the opportunity to go in with 2 fellow reloaders and buy both a trimmer and swage and divide the cost 3 ways.
However, after they arrived, my two 'buddies' weenied out on me explaining that they both had 'buyer's remorse' and really only wanted to get processed brass. As a compromise, we agreed that they would each put their $100 share towards 1,500 pieces of processed .223 brass. I explained that I only had some FC Denver Police pickup that I was willing to give them for they money. Surprisingly, they both agreed to take it in lieu of they ownership share in the trimmer and swage.
So, I set up both items and proceeded to process 3,000 pieces of FC brass to split between them. Both items worked very well and in only a few hours, I'd processed all the brass. They picked their shares up and I was the proud owner of the trimmer and swage.
I wrote about how they worked here and, in truth, gave a report that my opinion was that while they functioned well, their price was high enough that I'd have a hard time recommending them as full purchases. As I only paid $100 for my share plus 3,000 processed cases (which I got from our range for free), I explained that I thought that both were certainly worth the $100.
Fast forward to today and I've finished processing the last batch of 10,000 .223 cases using both tools. I must admit, I've gained a healthy respect for both items and concede that, even at full price, they have turned out to be well worth the money. Why the change or heart? Here's why.
First off, 10,000 cases are a bunch to process over 4 months! While I didn't process them all in sitting as some have done, I did them in large enough batches to really learn to appreciate the value of Dillon's trimmer and swage.
The Dillon Rapid Trim 1200B - The real beauty of it is that it eliminates an entire step in case processing; one that with any other method is done by hand. Its not that the trimming cycle was made easier or more accurate, but rather that the cycle was eliminated completely.
Everyone has a decapping cycle and most of us combine the decapping and resizing cycle together into one. The real beauty of the Dillon trimmer is that it operates during this existing cycle with absolutely no increase in process time. In other words, its like getting the trimming done for free (process wise).
You don't have to touch a single case to accomplish a first rate trim job with a smooth case mouth and no burrs. It saves me between 1 and 1┬Ż hrs per 1,000 cases processing time (from setup to teardown). That means that I saved some 12 to 15 hrs extra work on the 10,000 cases I completed!
In addition, there is no need to sort the 'to trim' from the 'good to go' length cases. Rather, you dump them in your casefeeder and run them through the case prep cycle. If they need trimming, the Dillon trims them; if not, it doesn't. Simple as that. No fuss, no muss, no extra work at all.
Dillon Super Swage 600 - The Super Swage's value was a bit more esoteric to me at first and I only really understood it's true value after I had reloaded a couple thousand of the swaged cases. My Hornady reamer worked well mounted in my drillpress and I could smoke through 1,000 cases in an hour. My hands were tired and my fingers were sore but I got them done.
The Dillon swage allowed me to process the primer crimp about as fast as the Hornady trimmer (maybe a bit slower but not much) without the cramping hand and beat up fingers. So, you might ask, what's that much better about it? Why is it worth the extra $90?
It turns out that the swager's real value comes when you decide to reload those processed cases. You find that it processes a much more consistent, smoother, and evenier primer pocket rim. That translates into a much more relaxed and enjoyable reloading session as the primers literally slide into the case. I can now feel how firm the primer is being gripped by the case walls without any annoying dragging or hangups starting the primer into the case.
In truth, it turns out that a consistent primer pocket rim, with the well rounded edge to aid in primer insertion, is worth a lot in ease of operation, speed of operation, lack of hung primers, and an overall increase in priming quality.
So, I guess its time for me to Eat Crow and admit that I was wrong. Both the Dillon Rapid Trim 1200B and Dillon Super Swage 600 are in fact worth every penny of their purchase price in ease of use, time savings, and quality of the finished product.
The trimmer gives a smooth, even, burless trim while saving a ton of time and the swage provides a more even, finished, and repeatable primer pocket which allows for an easier priming cycle. I must say that both are truly worth their full price.
You know, that crow wasn't so bad. Maybe a few too many small bones, but all in all, it was OK.