Case preparation is a horribly tedious task. Even when buying new brass, there is a certain amount of prep that has to be done. Anything I can find to make this task easier and less time consuming, leaves me more time for the more enjoyable aspects of precision rifle reloading and shooting.
When I first began reloading, I did the whole trim/de-burr/chamfer process by hand. This caused many sore fingers and arms. It is probably still the reason I hate brass prep. As I progressed, I found that power trimers and prep stations eased this process. It still ate up time. The hot ticket is combining as many steps as possible into one powered operation. Henderson Precision is one of the latest companies to do just that.
Several months ago we received a bright new Henderson Precision Tri-Trim High Speed Cutter in the mail. When I say “bright” I mean it. This thing would look at home strapped to the hood of a top-fuel dragster. It is a lovely anodized red and polished steel machine. It definitely feels like a heavy duty tool. The finish is even and the carriage glides back and forth on it’s rods. The chip guard is a nice thick piece of polycarbonate and the mounting plate is thick aluminum.
As soon as we unboxed it, we realized we had a little problem. The Tri-Trim with a “bring your own motor” solution. We needed to somehow drive mechanical power to the unit. The recommended solution is to chuck an electric drill to it. Long ago I junked the last corded drill in favor of cordless. I could see how long trimming sessions would eat batteries fast. Off to WalMart we went and nineteen dollars later we were back in the shop with a cheap 110V drill. This may not be the quietest solution, but in works well. You also never have to worry about servicing the motor. If/when your cheap drill dies, you can just grab a new one. Additionally, the drill is not dedicated to the trimmer. You can still use it for other shop tasks.
Once we attached our drill, we clamped the Tri-Trim to the bench with a set of “grip clamps”. Then we were ready to go. The Tri-trim also comes equipped with four mounting holes in case you would rather permanently install it. Since our bench is crowded enough, the temporary clamp-on solution worked great.
The Tri-trim came out of the box ready to trim our .308 brass to “trim-to” length. It is a simple matter to reset the case holder to whatever length you prefer. The case holder screws into the carriage just like any die screws into a reloading press. You use the provided lock-ring to secure it at your selected setting. If you decide to swap calibers, the case holder and the cutter head are quickly unscrewed and replaced.
Once you have your brass full-length sized, trimming is as easy as sharpening a pencil. Just stick the case in. Hold it until it stops cutting, then remove. The limiting factor really becomes how fast you can feed it cases. It didn’t take anytime at all to burn through 100 cases. The Tri-Trim is a “power tool” so we don’t advise watching TV or any other distracting task while operating it. However, it really doesn’t take any mental power to get fast, consistent results.
While using the Tri-Trim we only ran into two drawbacks. The first is that the included case holders do not work well with neck-sized brass. Neck sized cases will usually not feed deep enough and will stick. Full length sized cases will run through easily. The second issue is that the Tri-Trim does not collect the chips from the trimming process. It does have a chip-guard, but the cuttings fall directly onto the bench. We resolved this by placing a piece of paper under the Tri-Trim and then using that to transfer the chips to the waste bin. I would love to see some type of tray or cover in future versions.
The Tri-Trim, setup for one caliber, lists at $275. Additional caliber kits are $85. When compared to the Giraud Power Trimmer at $460, the Tri-Trim is a reasonable option for those on a tighter budget.
Overall the Henderson Precision Tri-Trim is a well made, high quality tool that will work well to reduce the amount of time and frustration spent on case preparation.