Still relying on sticks and stones to reload? Or perhaps you’re looking out for a prep center to make reloading easier?
With the ideal prep center, you will be loading brass with ease in no time at all.
We sifted through all the different variants available in the market and reviewed them all in a concise manner so that you do not have to. Never used a prep center before? No worries, we have taken everything into account while doing the best case prep center reviews.
So sit back, relax, grab your snacks and your drinks and have a read.
5 Best Case Prep Centers Reviewed
A decent case prep center helps shorten case preparation times. On top of that, there were several other factors taken into account when choosing these top case prep centers. So, let’s get started with the reviews.
1. RCBS 90375 Trim Mate: Best Case Prep Center for the Money
- Easy to use, compact design; you can use it anywhere
- It is sturdily built and should last quite a while with proper use
- You can prep cases and trim them at the same time
- Comes with a host of good attachments
- Does not allow for crimping
It is easily the highest rated out of our selection, and you are not going to run short of all the glowing reviews concerning the 90375 from RCBS. And it is not difficult to see why. Made of high-quality materials, it is quite durable and should last you a while with proper use.
The included quality case neck brushes mean that you will be doing a lot of case preparation with ease. They also included a dry case lube for the neck. The best part about this prep center from RCBS is that it allows you to prep and trim at the same time. This massively reduces the downtime between prep and trim preparations.
We are pleased to report that the RCBS does not make any rattling noises during operation, unlike most other conventional case prep centers available in the market. They include chamfering tools and deburrs. Ease access to the case brushes is ensured through the inclusion of two stationary positions.
One thing to note if you are looking to buy this is that the accessories, although many in number, are quite expensive. You might end up paying quite a premium for additional attachments and tools if you are looking to work on more than one caliber.
In short, this unit does quick work of any deburring or chamfering that you might throw at it. It does not come with the option to remove crimping. A little pricey, but that is a premium you ought to consider for reliability and not end up prepping cases manually.
Verdict: The little unit from RCBS gets all things deburring, cleaning done without a hitch, making it ideal for your brass prep necessities.
2. Lyman Case Prep Center Xpress 115V 7810220
- Outstanding build quality; solid craftsmanship went into manufacturing this
- Easy to clean and maintain
- It can perform multiple functions at once, drastically reducing downtime
- The tools come well enclosed and protected
- Will save time and energy
- A host of features, which may cause confusion for some
- Creates noise during operation
Looking for a fast electric case prep? Not to worry, the 115V Case Prep Xpress from Lyman has your back. It takes away the pain and misery out of manually prepping cases by providing a speedy and autonomous alternative.
The unit is compatible with .17 and .45 caliber rounds, providing a smooth, seamless surface courtesy of the included chamfer and deburring tools. And the high torque motor operates smoothly and quietly. The included attachments help remove any and all military crimps.
Also, the included primer pocket uniformer is a great tool to set the primer depth, taking the precision and accuracy to a whole new level. Very versatile, you certainly cannot go wrong with picking this up for your workshop.
Moreover, the 115V rating might be confusing to some, but not to worry, the typical US voltage is rated at 110-120V, so you are all good. Trust us when we say this, your hands will thank you. You will save time and energy.
However, not everyone is familiar or feel comfortable with an electric case prep center. Since this is the first electric variant on our list, we thought it would help more if we stated our setup.
A clean pocket primer. We made use of the included wire brush type pocket cleaner. It has a uniform primer pocket. The military crimp remover and finally the inside neck chamfer. All in all, we would say it took us 15-30 seconds per casing an all five stations. We have been doing this for a long time, so your mileage may vary.
Verdict: Allowing us to perform multiple tasks at once, the Xpress is certainly all you need for an easy and precise brass preparation.
3. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System
- Constructed of high-grade steel and aluminum
- The motor is heavy-duty, should last for a while with proper use
- The cutters are durable
- The unit offers incredible versatility
- The collet is adjustable
- It can be a little difficult to operate
- Operation necessitates a manual for beginners, sadly not included
High-grade steel and aluminum construction? Check. Heavy-duty motor and drivetrain? Check. You simply cannot go wrong with choosing the Arsenal Platinum series from Frankford to meet your case prep demands.
Slightly the expensive side of things, we would say it is worth the money. Trimming a case is the most arduous task of case prep, and with this on your workbench, trimming cases is an absolute breeze. All necessary small and large primer tools come included in the package.
We were surprised by the built-in storage box. You can store all the brushings, tools, and everything else when not in use. It helps in keeping your workbench organized. The chamfering tool includes a VLD within. This immensely helps avoid damaging the bullets and makes loading that much easier.
The unit comes with three output shafts, compatible with a wide range of accessories ranging from 8 threads all the way up to 32. And the cutting tools are quite sharp, and we reckon they will hold up quite well. You do not need a shell holder with this unit. Therefore trimming and chamfering can be done quite easily.
Other than the cutting tools, all the other included tools can be used at the same time, immensely boosting productivity. We recommend this unit to anyone who has to trim through massive orders of bullets every session.
If we hand to complain about one thing, it would be that the case trimmer does not come with any methods or measures to capture the trimmed brass. Therefore, you will have to improvise. All in all, we would say that it is one of the best electric case prep centers in the market.
Verdict: The Platinum Series from Arsenal comes included with a nice set of tools that make trimming easier than ever, making it one of the best case trimmer kits in the market.
4. Hornady 050160 Lock-N-Load Case Prep Trio
- Works on both 110-volt and 220-volt outlets
- Sturdy build quality makes it durable
- A very powerful motor on a package with a minimal footprint
- Very easy to use, we highly recommend this for beginners
- The included storage space makes organizing an absolute breeze
- Noisy during operation
- Comes with only two attachments
The next contender on our list is the 050160 from Hornady. Sitting low and on the smaller side, this unit is no slouch when it comes to getting all the trimming and prepping done. We would say this unit is a must-have item if you are in the market for low profile case prep tools.
A smaller footprint does not equate to less sturdiness. The housing is made of durable, brushed aluminum and feels quite premium in hand. We reckon you should see a number of years of solid usage.
Three active stations for cleaning, deburring and chamfering. Meaning you can have all three functions and use them at the same time without the necessity to change up tools. This helps boost efficiency as you do not have to get up from your task as often as you would with most others.
And the unit comes with onboard storage, which has a mighty impact on the organization. You can stow away all the case accessories you do not need, such as pocket reamers and pocket cleaners, and have easy access to them whenever the need arises. Inside and outside chamfer tools come included along with deburring tools.
We highly recommend this unit if you are looking to work on bullets for long rifles, but even so, this unit is compatible with a host of others. The motor speed is on the slower side, but that counts as an advantage as that would help you break down sharp edges with ease and in removing crimps.
However, the one thing we would complain about is that the unit comes with only two attachments as standard, which may raise questions for some when it comes to long-term use.
Verdict: An affordable, built-to-last case prep center from Hornady, you cannot go wrong with picking up the Lock n Load Trio for your workshop.
5. Hornady 050012 Lock-N-Load Case Prep Center
- Highly recommended for heavy-duty work
- Includes a host of different tools
- Can trim cases from 7mm all the way to 22mm
- The handle is easy to grip
- Does not include primer tools
Ah yes, we’ve finally come to our recommendation for the best case prep unit, the 050012 from Hornady. Larger in size, this unit sits solidly on any given workbench and is highly versatile as well.
Its first notable feature is the micro trimmer. It is highly adjustable and allows for trimming up to .001 inches, that too, with a high degree of precision. Awesome! But it would be near impossible to achieve with a complimenting motor.
You can organize all the necessary tools for chamfering and deburring right on the main panel. When you are done, the very grippy handle really helps in holding the lock-and-load mechanism in place.
And its second notable feature is the included catch trays. The trays are aptly sized. You need not worry about the shavings and the trimmings as they fall right on the tray, and you can dispose of them whenever it is convenient for you to do so. And the collection space is ample, so you can work for quite a while.
Once you get the product, we recommend lubing it down in proper places. The anti-rust coating is okay but does not do the job of a lube. Do it once, and we can almost guarantee it will remain clean forever.
In short, yes, it is on the expensive side. But for your investment, you are getting quite a bit of value out of the unit with a construction that will last you years to come, a powerful motor, all the cutters, cleaners, brushers, and holders you will over need.
Verdict: One of the very few case prep centers with an integrated case trimmer, the Lock-n-Load makes brass prepping an absolute breeze.
How to Choose the Right Case Prep Center
There are so many offerings available in the market, all claiming to be the best case prep center. The key point to note is that you should only go for the features that are important to you.
- Included Tools or Attachments
Ideally, the more tools, the better. However, that does come at a premium. Primarily we should be looking for prep centers that include chamfer tools, pocket cleaners, neck brushes. Do not go for tools that you do not need.
- Overall Profile
As with most tools, with size comes more power and case preppers are no different. Choose one that strikes a balance between weight and size and best suits your needs.
- Versatility And How Easy It Is to Use
You want to invest in a case prepper that is easy to use and can accomplish a lot of tasks with a single all-in-one tool or prep center.
- Reload Capacity
A few case preppers are made for heavy workloads and others for lighter tasks. When we say heavy workloads, we mean that you are prepping more cases in a given period or for a longer period, both of which are applicable. Choose one that best compliments your workload.
- Handling and Adjustability
Your case prepper should feel natural in your hands, the grips should compliment your work, not make it harder. Make sure that the trimmer can be adjusted for precision work.
- Expandability and Maintenance
Does your case prepper come with the option for expansion? A very important thing to consider if future-proofing is a factor for purchase. A decent case prepper should be easy to clean and should include mechanisms to clear out metal shavings.
- Electric vs. Manual
It goes without saying, use of a motor anywhere is bound to increase efficiency. The same goes for case prep centers. Electric case prep centers make it easier to get involved in the case prep process. However, it is not for everyone as the prices can be on the steeper side of the scale.
If you were prepping a substantial number of rounds per day, we would recommend looking into an electric case prep center. Otherwise, you are better off with a manual case prep station.
A tool you purchase should be convenient to use, ergo it should add value to your work while making the process easier. You should not have to put in additional effort to get the machine to work.
How to Use a Case Prep Center
Now, the process is most likely going to vary from model to model. However, there are a few steps that can be applied to all variants. Below we have given steps that take into account a variety of different models. Your model may not necessarily require all the steps detailed below.
- Prepare your lock by securing it into your workbench.
- Do check that you have properly set your power settings.
- Place a caliber specific pilot within the cutter. Hex wrenches might come handy for tightening it.
- There should be an adjusting handle near the back. You can try adjusting it.
- Make sure your shell holder is facing forwards. And then proceed to place a case in it. You can adjust your shell holder by tinkering with the positioning screw, right until its shell holder is facing forwards. Proceed to lock everything in place.
- Place position screws wherever relevant.
- Replace the shell holder along with the plunger. Note that one of the units we featured does not come with a shell holder.
- Place a case within the shell holder and set it till the plunger is dead set on the base. An existing cam lock helps to lock the shell in place.
- Spin the adjustment knob before you rotate any other adjustment handles.
- Set a micro-adjust counter. The trimmer and the case mouth should touch just barely.
- Keep an eye on the stationary spindle and lower it to your desired length.
- Repeat the above steps until you achieve the desired trim.
Note: Healthy brass casing is key to good ammo reloading. check this article to learn how many times can you reload brass.
Top Case Prep Center Brands to Rely on
Let’s get to know the top brands on the market.
A premier case prep center manufacturer based in the US, made by Americans for Americans. Only using high-quality materials in manufacturing their products, the case centers they produce are quite versatile and can be used across a range of projects.
Frankford is a manufacturer well known for manufacturing prep centers, which are convenient and highly adjustable. They also manufacture a wide range of accessories for their prep centers, and their cutters are also widely known for their durability.
They make top-notch products that are versatile, powerful and includes several tools to make brass preparation that much easier.
Made a name for themselves for their powerful case prep centers, which come equipped with various tools for chamfering, priming, deburring, etc.
Of course, there are many more brands than the ones we have stated. It is not possible to include them all in this concise article. Honorable mention includes the CTS case prep center.
Using a prep case center really makes all the difference in the world when it comes to prepping cases, and there is hardly an excuse to not make use of one. So there you have it, our reviews for the best case prep center.
We hope our article helped you gain insight into the world of case prep centers. Happy case prepping!