At a Glance: Best Case Prep Center
Comparison of Best Case Prep Center
Our Top Pick
|Lyman – Case Prep Xpress||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Hornady – Lock-n-Load Case Prep Trio||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|RCBS – Trim Mate Case Prep Center||View Latest Price|
A case prep center is essential for the serious reloader who wants to make accurate reliable rounds. Here are the best case prep centers on the market today.
If you’re looking to reload high-quality ammo, then you’ll need to spend some time prepping your brass. This involves cleaning them, depriming and cleaning the primer pockets, lubricating them, and so on. Properly prepping your brass for reloading will allow you to make precision ammo for more accurate shooting.
The Best Case Prep Centers on the Market Right Now
The market for case prep centers isn’t too saturated, but that doesn’t mean choosing the right one is easy. As with any reloading tool, you’ll want to research thoroughly before making a purchase. Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work and narrowed the list down to the six top case prep centers.
Lyman – Case Prep Xpress
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is will give you shiny brass every time. This electric case prep center is powered by a single high-torque, low-RPM motor that can handle large batches of brass without showing signs of strain.
This case prep center has all the tools you’ll ever need to clean and prep your cases for reloading. You don’t need to worry about buying extra tools to add on later, it all comes included.
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress can clean and lubricate your case neck, deburr it inside and out, and it can clean and ream out the primer crimps in military brass. In short, it has everything you need to get up and running to start reloading your own competition-quality rounds.
It also comes with four neck case bushings in .25, .30, .38, and .45 caliber. You also get lubricant and a brush to clean up your case trimmings with.
Easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to clean, this is a case prep center for the shooter who just wants to get on with it.
- Has everything you need
- Easy to set up and use
- Easy to clean
- Comes with four case neck bushings
- Includes lube and a brush
- Not too expensive
- Not too big
- Can handle large batches of brass
- Might get features you won’t use
Frankford Arsenal – Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System
If you’re a shooter with a collection of rifles in different calibers, the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep System is ideal for you. It works with all shouldered cases from .17 Remington to .460 Weatherby. As long as your case has a shoulder, it’ll work in this case prep center.
This system uses Frankford Arsenal’s revolutionary adjustable case holder, meaning you don’t need to purchase or switch out any bushings to change caliber. Simply put your case into the machine and adjust the connector to clamp it on. From here, you can set precise increments for trimming.
You can add up to three more tools to the cutter to chamfer the brass and clean the primer pockets. These tools are included in the system, so you don’t need to buy anything else afterward. The tools are made of aluminum and steel, offering supreme durability and a long service life.
The VLD inside chamfering tool makes the cases accept bullets easier, making the reloading process more efficient. The ultra-hard HSS Cutters will stay sharp for thousands of rounds, so you don’t need to worry about replacing parts in a hurry.
This case prep center is perfect for any reloading bench as you can use it in a variety of positions, allowing you to find the most economical one for you.
- Great construction
- Has pretty much everything you need
- Accepts any shouldered case
- Well suited to large batches of brass
- Very easy to use
- Doesn’t clean or lubricate your brass
- Quite expensive
RCBS – Trim Mate Case Prep Center
Anyone who’s tried their hand at reloading has no doubt heard of RCBS. Their Trim Mate Case Prep Center is another fine example of American manufacturing at its best. The electric-powered five-gear rotating heads do all the work, leaving you with clean and high-quality brass for reloading.
The RCBS case prep center includes tools for chamfering and deburring the case neck, as well as cleaning the primer pockets, removing military crimps, and flash hole deburring. It doesn’t include a brass cleaner.
This case prep center is powered by a high-torque motor, which makes each stage of the prep effortless and allows you to quickly navigate the whole process.
You can add separate accessories such as the RCBS primer pocket uniformers and military crimp removers. There is also a VLD Chamering tool available to cut the inside of the case neck.
The extra tools make this a great case prep center for beginners who don’t need all the tools at first. You can easily scale up this RCBS case prep center with additional tools to make it an all-on-one brass prepping extraordinaire.
- Great construction
- Has all the tools beginners need
- Can add on new tools as and when you need them
- High-torque motor
- Not too expensive
- Doesn’t clean or lubricate brass
- Need separate tools for different calibers
Hornady – Lock-n-Load Case Prep Trio
Hornady is known for high-quality reloading equipment and their Lock-n-Load Case Prep Trio is an affordable and effective solution for ensuring you have high-quality for reloading. While it doesn’t clean or lubricate your cases, it does have all the other tools you’ll need for case prepping.
It’s powered by a high-torque motor, which allows you to get through each stage of the prepping process with minimal effort and high-speed. That means less time reloading and more time at the range!
The tools included in the Hornady Lock-n-Load Case Prep Trio allow you to chamfer and deburr the case neck, as well as clean the primer pockets. You can also add on a pocket reaming tool, case neck bushing, or a threading tool if you want.
All of this comes in a very compact and affordable case prep center that will fit on any reloading bench. It’s durable and reliable, delivering a massive bang for your buck.
- Very affordable
- Compact and lightweight
- Durable and reliable
- Includes all essential tools
- Allows you to add extra tools on
- Electric powered
- High-torque motor
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t clean or lube your brass
- Need to buy extra tools to remove military crimps
RCBS – Universal Case Prep Center
The RCBS Universal Case Prep Center is the ultimate reloader’s tool for prepping brass. It also has a price to reflect this, which will put many shooters off. Still, if you’re looking for something that accepts practically any caliber and will do a stellar job of prepping brass, then this is your go-to.
The Universal Case Prep Center works a lot like a progressive reloading press. You put the case in and it’s chamfered, deburred, the primer pockets are cleaned, and there is an alignment tool. You can cut through cases quickly and efficiently with a pull of the lever.
The high-torque motor accommodates six prepping stations and you can do it all hands-free. What’s more, you can make micro-meter adjustments to case trimming to get the exact result you’re looking for.
The RCBS Universal Case Prep Center includes .22, .24, .25, .27, .28, .30, .35, .44, and .45 pilots, as well as large and small primer pocket brushes. It definitely lives up to its name with regard to universal compatibility.
You might question whether all this justifies the steep price tag. If you’re new to reloading or you only have one caliber to worry about, then it might not be worth the cost. If you have a collection of weapons in different calibers and you want to prep your brass with extreme speed and efficiency, then the RCBS Universal Case Prep Center is definitely worth considering.
- Universal caliber support
- Very reliable and durable
- Great for high-volume case prepping
- Ambidextrous lever
- High-torque motor
- Very high-quality results
- Includes an alignment tool
- Can make micro-meter adjustments to case length
- Very expensive
- Not necessary for beginners or low-volume reloaders
Sinclair Internation – Sinclair Power Center
Sinclair International is known for premium reloading gear. Their Sinclair Power Center definitely lives up to expectations. It allows you to quickly prep brass so you can spend more time at the range with more accurate ammo.
The compact case prep center is powered by a monster 43-inch pound torque motor – far more power than is necessary, but it’s always better to have too much than too little. The motor has a slow rate of RPM, meaning it’s quiet and precise.
You can attach chamfering and deburring tools. This device will also do primer pocket uniforming, flash hole deburring, neck turning, and case neck cleaning. In short, it’s an all-in-one tool that leaves you with brass that looks and feels brand new, perfect for high-quality reloading.
The on/off switch is conveniently placed to allow you to quickly stop and restart the process when need be. In fact, everything about this case prep center has been designed for convenience. It’s evident that years of reloading expertise have been drawn on to design this product.
- Very reliable and durable
- Has all the tools you need
- Great for large batches of brass
- Easy to use
- Very powerful motor
- Compact design
- Great results
- Ambidextrous heavy-duty on/off switch
- Very expensive
- May not be suitable for beginners/low-volume reloaders
What is a Case Prep Center?
To have the best results when reloading rifle ammunition, then preparing your brass is essential. A case prep center is a machine that cleans, lubricates, and sizes your brass in preparation for reloading.
By using a case prep center, you can ensure that your brass is free of any deficiencies before you reload it. This allows you to produce high-quality ammo that will shoot just how you want it to.
Why you need a case prep center
In short, you need a case prep center to make better rifle rounds. If you’re not clearing, lubricating, and properly sizing your brass before you fill it with powder and a bullet, then you’re asking for trouble. Dirty brass will allow for inconsistencies when fired, which will reduce accuracy.
Using a case prep center lets you control the quality of the brass you’re using, giving you a solid foundation from which to reload professional-quality rifle rounds. Consistency in neck sizing is one of the crucial conditions for accuracy.
Clean, properly sized brass is happy brass. You wouldn’t allow the fuel tank in your vehicle to fill with dirt and muck, so why would you allow this to get into your brass when reloading ammo?
Using a case prep center is an essential step in a professional reloading process. It will:
- Increase accuracy
- Give a professional finish
- Eliminate defects at the start of the reloading process
Choosing the Best Case Prep Center
If you’ve come far enough as a shooter to be buying a case prep center, then you’re not new to buying firearms accessories and reloading tools. In other words, you know that the balance between affordability and quality should always be tilted towards the latter.
Choosing the right case prep center should be a decision based on your needs as a reloader. That said, there are some key things to look out for when buying one.
- Type: Whether you buy a manual case prep center or an electric one will depend on how much volume you need to prep. Always choose the right one for your needs.
- Tools and attachments: Generally, the more tools you can add on to your case prep center, the better. Tools can clean your brass, size it, chamfer it, lubricate it, and more. You might not want all of these tools, but it’s nice to know that you can add them later if need be.
- Ease of use: Life is easier when things are simple. It’s best to have a case prep center that isn’t going to be a headache to use.
- Size and weight: Your reloading bench only has so much room, plus extra weight means higher shipping costs and more effort lugging the thing around. A lightweight and compact case prep center is always preferable.
- Maintenence: Everything related to firearms requires steadfast maintenance. If your case prep center is a pain in the backside to clean and maintain, then your life gets more difficult. Best to avoid that
- Quality build: It should go without saying that you want the best quality case prep center you can afford. Whether it’s a manual or electric model, you want it to be made of durable materials that won’t wear with heavy use.
Manual vs Electric Case Prep Centers
There are two types of case prep center: manual, which is better suited to small batches of brass, and electric, which can handle high-volume case prepping.
If you’re strictly a hunter who is only going to reload 30-rounds per month, then you can comfortably make do with a manual case prep center. If you’re looking to prep large amounts of brass quickly, then you’re better off with an electric case prep center.
|Operated by a handheld crank||Powered by electricity|
|Better for small batches of brass||Better for high volumes of brass|
How to use a case prep center
Prepping your brass isn’t as straightforward as you might think. It’s important not to overlook any of the crucial steps in brass prepping to ensure that you’re left with high-quality brass for reloading. This will allow you to shoot more accurately.
Sort your cases
The first step to prepping brass for reloading is to sort it. This means separating different calibers from one another and also sorting by quality. Obviously, this isn’t an issue if you’re buying new brass from the store, but eventually, you’ll be recycling – it’s just a waste not to.
You can sort your brass by head stamps to ensure the best consistency when reloading, although this isn’t essential.
It’s best to keep the newer cases in one pile, and those that have been fired several times in another. Picking up used brass at the range is a great way to make reloading more affordable, but you should throw away any that have cracks, pressure signs, or broken primer pockets.
De-priming and cleaning primer pockets
Depriming your brass and cleaning the primer pockets is a vital step in making the most reliable ammo. You can’t reuse a spent primer, and any gunk in the pocket will affect performance. If you’re a competitive shooter, then this can’t be overlooked.
Reaming primer pockets
If the brass you’re using is military brass, then you’ll quickly notice the primer pocket crimps. You’ll need to remove these by reaming the primer pockets. This is much easier to do on an electric brass prep center – doing it by hand isn’t easy, especially if you’ve got a large amount of brass to prep. Reaming commercial brass is also a good idea to ensure consistency.
When you shoot rounds, carbon builds up on the brass. You need to clean this to ensure that your reloaded rounds are safe and consistently accurate. It’s important to complete this step before moving on to the rest of the process. Using a brass tumbler is the most common and convenient way to do this
Lubricating your brass is an essential step in prepping rifle cases. It’s important when reloading pistol brass as well, although you can skip it if you’re using carbide pistol reloading dies. There is no instance in which you can skip lubricating rifle cases.
You need to lubricate your brass before resizing it to ensure a smooth process without any damage to the brass or your reloading dies.
Sizing your brass changes the length of the case. It should meet the caliber’s spec for consistent accuracy and safety. Once you’ve resized your brass, measure the neck length to see if you also need to trim it.
Chamfering case mouths
If you trim your brass, you’ll have to chamfer and debur it. This takes off the hard edges caused by trimming, which in turn allows the bullet to seat better and stops it from being damaged when seated. This also allows your rifle rounds to chamber more effectively.
Our Favorite Case Prep Center
After careful comparison, I’d recommend the Hornady – Lock-n-Load Case Prep Trio above all other case prep centers on the market. If you’re just starting out but you still want something capable of doing everything you need, then I’d opt for the Lyman Case Prep Xpress. It’s significantly cheaper than the Sinclair and it performs most of the same functions.
A case prep center will save you hours of time when prepping large amounts of brass, so consider this when buying one. Time is money, and brass prepping takes time. Get some of that time back with our recommended products and enjoy more time in the range as a result.