The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Henderson Precision Gen 3 Case Trimmer: Case Prep Made Easy



At RECOIL, we review every product fairly and without bias. Making a purchase through one of our links may earn us a small commission, and helps support independent gun reviews. Learn More

RELOADING SAVES YOU MONEY, OR SO THEY TOLD ME

Deep down, I don’t really enjoy reloading. For me, it is a necessary evil. I like precision ammo, and I like to shoot. So loading my own rounds makes it more economical. But the time I spend reloading is more often than not frustrating, hard, and messy.

Because of my general distaste for the actual act of reloading, I’m always looking for equipment that makes it faster, helps me make better ammo, and reduces my pain points.

For a long time, trimming has been one of my biggest pain points. A friend told me about Henderson, and from what I saw, it looked like a good idea. But woof, it ain’t cheap.

Can a trimmer really be worth almost $800? 

I’ll dig into the details and tell you about my experience with the Henderson, but the bottom line is: yes, it can be. 

CASE TRIMMING 

I think most people reading this article already know what case trimming is, but just in case, we’ll hit the basics real fast.

As you fire brass, it expands and lengthens. That’s why we run it through dies to force it back into shape. But something the dies don’t change is the length of the neck. For that, you simply need to trim it back.

Along with that, chamfering the edge makes bullet seating a LOT easier and more consistent. 

Finally, deburring the mouth just gets it clean and ready for use.

This is one of the steps of reloading that kind of sucks. It needs to be done, how much and how often depends on you, your brass, and your standards, but generally speaking, trimming is just something we all gotta do and embrace the suck while we do it.

Precision Case Trimming

If you want to load great ammo, you need everything to be consistent. Trim length is on that list, but is a little debated as to how important it really is. If the neck is too long, it won’t chamber in the rifle – but that’s a bit extreme. There is a fairly wide margin between too short and too long.

While some will disagree, my goal is normally to trim my ammo slightly longer than the minimum (about 2 thou over the minimum) and then trim them as consistently as practically possible. 

This (normally) means I can trim once, then never again for that piece of brass since I normally retire my brass after the 4th or 5th firing, and my necks are still under max by that time.

Your mileage will vary. If you anneal your brass and are getting 8 or even 10 firings, you’ll probably need to trim two or three times.

If you’re picky about neck length, you might trim after every firing. 

It really depends on you and what you want to do with your process.

ON THE BENCH

There are a lot of ways to skin a cat or trim a case. For many of us, a simple hand tool does the job and doesn’t cost a whole lot. If you want to speed things up, you can get a trimmer tool that adds a home drill to the mix to help make it faster. 

Henderson takes that idea and basically perfects it. There are two big names in case trimming right now, Henderson and Giraud. Personally, I’ve never used the Giraud trimmer, so I can’t speak to it. But for me, the Henderson does everything I wished a case trimmer did and does it magnificently well.

How It Works

Once you have everything set up, you take a case and set it in the collet. Turn the handle to tighten, and push forward. The trimmer head trims, chamfers, and deburrs the case, you pull back and twist the handle again to drop the case. I put a small box under where I drop the case so I can just drop it and move on.

That’s the whole process. This is crazy easy.

SET UP

Henderson comes in two options: with a motor and without. I strongly recommend getting the motor version. It costs more, but it’s way easier and better than trying to set up your own power source, like a drill or your own small motor.

Assuming you get the motored version, there is a little setup to do before you can trim. Mount the trimmer to your bench, wiggle on a couple of wheels and a belt, tighten down the screws, and you’re good to go.

If you’re a reloader, you must have some level of DIY in you. The instructions Henderson sends out are pretty easy to follow and set up only took me about 30 minutes.

The Trimmer

Take a look at your trimmer head before you start doing any trimming. It helps a little to understand what you’re looking at so you can solve problems later if they come up. For me, my only issues have been my own fault. 

The head is made of two blades and a pilot. The blades cut the case, the pilot guides the mouth of the case into the right position. 

The trimmers come adjusted or unadjusted. If you get the adjusted style, Henderson sends them out ready to go for the caliber size you select. But if you want to set yours up on your own, take a look at some of the videos on their website.

I went with the pre-adjusted type so all I had to do was insert it, tighten a set screw, and go.

Something I recommend, even if you get the pre-adjusted kind, is to double-check the set screws on the trimmer head and make sure they are tight. I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but my pilot set screw was a little loose when it arrived and needed to be tightened down.

Setting Trim Length

Again, Henderson has videos and written instructions on how to do this that are better than what I can write here. But it’s pretty easy to do anyway.

Basically, you’re using this large screw as a hard stop to set the length. The nut acts as a lock to keep the screw in the right place.

Adjust both until you’re trimming at the right length.

Henderson sends you several of the screws, each a different length. You’ll need more cutter heads for different calibers, but at least you have screws to cover most anything.

The process feels a little imprecise. But weirdly, it’s not that hard.

In my case, 6.5 Creedmoor minimum length is 1.910 inches from the base of the case to the end of the neck. I normally aim for 1.912 inches (two thousandths longer than the minimum), so I have a little wiggle room. 

Within less than 5 minutes, I was dead on at 1.912 inches, with a little plus/minus. More on that in a second.

HOW PRECISE IS THE HENDERSON?

I’ve trimmed almost 400 cases, all of them are 6.5 Creedmoor. Brands include Hornady, S&B, SIG Sauer, Lapua, and Alpha. I’ve taken random samples from every batch of trimming, and the results have been consistent from start to finish and from brand to brand. 

Grabbing 50 random samples and measuring them, 8 of them measured 1.913 inches, 34 measured 1.912 inches, and 8 of them measured 1.911 inches.

Nothing was longer or shorter than that. I took multiple measurements of each case and used the number that I was getting most consistently. 

In my book, that’s outstanding. Much better than I was getting with my old method of trimming and is definitely good for precision shooting.

HOW FAST IS THE HENDERSON?

You get faster as you go. It takes a little bit to get into the method of it and to get a feel for the collet clamping down on the case. Making sure the case is straight is important, and at first, you’re not going to get it set in correctly every time and will take a little adjusting.

I would recommend you start off with about 100 pieces of practice ammo or ammo you don’t care a whole lot about so you can get a feel for it.

Henderson has an addon that will hold a small box to drop brass into. But DIY works also.

After that, the process is super fast.

Once I was dialed in, I was doing about 1 piece per 3 or 4 seconds; 100 cases take about 5 or 6 minutes, depending on if I flubbed or anything.

The biggest gain to me wasn’t the time but how easy it was. No more pinching cases, no more cramps, just fly through the brass.


WHO IS THIS FOR

Given the price and the task at hand, this product is pretty niche. If you’re a precision rifle shooter and you shoot a decent volume of ammo per year, I think you’ll get a lot out of the Henderson.

F-Class shooters, PRS, NRL, Hunter, and even western hunters. 

I used to trim on a Franklin Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep Center, these run about $225 and require a separate station for trimming, chamfering, and deburring. Each case took me about 3 seconds per station and trimmed to +/- 2 thousand of an inch. 

Trimmed brass can get a little messy, but a hand-held vacuum works great for clean up.

For shooting, this worked great. But trying to process ~200-400 cases per month ends up taking a lot of time and left my hands painfully cramped from having to pinch down on the cases for so long. 

The Henderson trims to +/-1 thousand of an inch, does all three steps at the same time, cutting the amount of time spent trimming way down, and requires zero hand strength from me. I’m not a high-volume hand loader, but even by my medium output needs, the Henderson is 100 percent worth it.

Personally, I didn’t see my groups tighten after using the Henderson Vs. my old Frankford Arsenal trimmer. My match load shot the exact same either way. But the time and effort savings are massive.

CUSTOMER SERVICE ISN’T DEAD

Something you don’t see very often is the owner of the company picking up the phone when you call to ask a stupid question. But with Henderson, he did. 

When I first got the Henderson, I was a couple weeks away from moving out of state, so I shelved the box and ignored it for almost two months while I moved and set up a new reloading room.

Once I finally did, I went out to buy screws to mount it to the bench. For some dumb reason, I forgot to measure how big the holes were. So there I am, standing in front of the shelves of bolts and screws at Home Depot, when I realize my mistake that I have no idea what I need.

I tried Google, but didn’t find the answer. I jumped on the Henderson website and found a contact number under the Contact page. I gave it a call, but no answer. I didn’t bother leaving a message since, I assumed, no one ever really checks those these days.

I stood there for another minute or so, trying to Google more, when my phone rang, it was Henderson.

He called me back. I didn’t leave a message, I didn’t send an email, he had just missed my call, so he dialed me back to make sure I didn’t get truly missed. That’s a level of customer service that I truly didn’t expect.

He sorted me right out, and I was able to grab the right screws.

Bravo.


LOOSE ROUNDS

The Henderson trimmer isn’t for everyone. This is a niche product for a niche market, and with a not small price tag.

If you’re in the market for a precision trimmer that will massively speed up your process, this is every bit worth the money. The repeatability is amazing, the ease is fantastic, and the quality is jaw-dropping.

I have no negatives about the Henderson Trimmer. It is simply amazing. That said, I understand that it won’t appeal to everyone.

For those of us that it does appeal to, I don’t think we can settle for less.

READ MORE

This is the first in a series of articles dedicated to precision long-range shooting, so check back more for those. Until then, take a look at trh

Enter Your E-Mail to Receieve a Free 50-Target Pack from RECOIL!

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL

For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.

You want this. Trust Us.



Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter