Posted: 9/8/2013 9:33:17 PM EDT
I've been using a couple of cordless drills, some Lee case "gauges" and cutters, and a WFT to prep primarily 223 brass. My hands hurt So back in February I started eyeing the RCBS Universal Case Prep Center, but no one had it in stock. By the end of May Midway still had the lowest price of anyone who was accepting backorders . . . so I ordered one. The"date expected" kept moving out every time I checked . . . then I got notice it had shipped, and I received it today (Friday).
My own video would show you nothing more than RCBS's 2 minute promo video does:
The unit must be mounted since the pressure required to work the handle is high enough to ensure an unmounted unit will move around quite a bit. Six 1/4 x 2" flathead bolts countersunk from underneath the unit on a section of 3/4" plywood were enough to use the unit without a problem. IOW, it did not need to be clamped down.
I later discovered that the two bolts on the bogey end interfered with removal of the bogey for maintenance. Use 1 1/2" bolts, or remove the rear bolt like I did for now
2. On Arrival:
The three spring guide rods were not properly lubed, so handle operation was very difficult as well as squeaky - fixed with light grease lube.
The safety switch is designed to turn the motor off when you push down on the handle to withdraw the brass from the cutting head. It did not work until the handle was forced down to the very limit of its travel, causing unnecessary effort - fixed by adjusting the position of the safety switch as instructed by the manual.
No hex wrenches are supplied - 5/32 and 1/16 are immediately required, and 7/32 should be on hand.
The trimmer's cutting head has no runout visible to the naked eye due to a flexible linkage to the drive shaft that absorbs drive variations. Placing a tall tool (eg, neck brush or flash hole deburr) in any of the auxiliary positions reveals significant runout; however, the deburr, chamfer, and primer pocket tools operate with very little runout because their design tends to control it (see video).
3. The Manual:
The 20 page Manual is complete, but not totally friendly to non-machinists or employees of RCBS.
There are plenty of photos, but they are typical of RCBS and others in this industry - too dark to be as useful as they could be, and not annotated with the name of the particular subassembly they are illustrating. In fact, the subassemblies aren't defined anywhere - but you'll eventually figure them out.
4. First Run, 200 pcs 223 brass:
- .22 cal pilot installed with a 1/16" hex wrench (not the 1/8" called for in the manual)
- Deburr, chamfer, flash hole deburr (not supplied), military crimp remover (not supplied) tools installed in the four low speed positions.
- Primer pocket cleaner and neck brush (not supplied) installed in the two high speed positions.
- Motor was set to maybe 3/4 speed.
5. Trim length adjustment:
I found it extremely easy to set the length by inserting a case the length I wanted, pushing the bogey forward until the case contacted the cutting head, then backing off a tiny bit. Then I inserted a case that was too long and trimmed it, adjusting the micrometer until the case emerged the length I wanted.
For me, this is a benefit vs other trimmers that cannot hold their current adjustment while you adjust slightly to a new one.
6. Trimming and Prep:
The "universal" case holder uses the same principle as their Universal Hand Priming Tool. I have that tool, it works very well, so does this one, and I *love* them both lol.
The supplied cutter most certainly does NOT chamfer or deburr lol. However, if all you are doing is trimming, then the chamfer & deburr are not that painful as extra steps. (In the manual, RCBS claims another cutter they offer will do those steps as well.)
I had never cleaned primer pockets (beyond what my walnut tumbling achieved). deburred the flash holes, nor brushed the necks before. It took me roughly 20-25 seconds to trim and complete 5 prep operations per piece of brass (there were no military crimps during this run).
At 3/4 motor speed, my hands did not hurt at all after processing 150 cases lol. The only tool that required some finger pressure was the (outer) deburring tool.
Shavings did not fly around, probably due to low RPM. Brass and primer pocket residue tended to just drop from their respective tool and were easily cleaned up with a hand vacuum.
I measured every 3rd case, and found none shorter than the target length. The maximum deviation* was +0.0015 over target length, although that required a couple of second trimmings (see next). Frankly, this is as good or better than I have ever done with any trimmer, including the WFT.
(*A couple of trims were 0.002 to 0.003 over length. Eventually I realized brass shavings could build up on the cutting head. Since the cutting head is totally exposed, these were easy to see, remove and keep removed with a swipe or two of a toothbrush. Once I learned to look for the shavings, the deviations were as described above.)
For those of you who care about them, my primer pockets shine brilliantly now.
7. Two More Sessions, +300 pcs
After the first run, I disassembled then thoroughly cleaned and lubed the cutter and bogey. After that, trim lengths were varying several thousandths :( I learned its extremely important to make sure there is no play in the cutter head assembly! Once I followed the manual, accuracy immediately returned. Trim lengths stayed between 1.751 and 1.752.
I also removed the crimp on 150 or so of these cases. I used the RCBS Trim Mate Case Prep Center Straight Cone Military Crimp Remover, and it did its job well; no cases were ruined and all cases accepted a primer. There's only the slightest of bevel, so a rounded cutter or swaging tool would be preferable.
- The case prep center is easy to adjust and excells at giving me consistent trim lengths; it handles all the other jobs as expected.
- Shavings are deposited either at the cutter or prep tool, or within a very short distance of the unit. You will not need to "box it in" to confine the shavings.
- The unit is *incredibly* noisy lol.
Dunno why my link didn't work . . . it's just click the youtube video icon and insert the url lol.
What did I do wrong?