The Los Angeles Handgun - Rifle - Air Pistol Silhouette Club

Return To The

Ranging Shot Index
Or Go To The
Feature Article Index
The "Ranging Shot" Is A Regular Column In The IHMSA News
Published in The IHMSA News, the Official Publication of The International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association
Published monthly except November/December - January/February
IHMSA on the web at
Volume 17, Issue 8 September
  The Ranging Shot Email Todd:
  With ( Comments or questions? )
Todd Spotti
Redding 2400 trimmer
     I doubt if two out of ten silhouette shooters own a case trimmer. It’s a shame really as case trimming is an essential step in producing the highly accurate ammunition necessary to be competitive in silhouette shooting. However in all fairness, I don’t think silhouette shooters are really any different in that respect than other reloaders. It’s just that for some reason or another, case trimming gets no respect. So let’s do a little review.
     New brass - We all know that the mouths of brand new cases are often irregular i.e. higher on one side than the other. That translates into irregular grip on the bullet and an uneven release when the gun is fired. Is it going to throw the bullet off into the next county? No, but will have an effect.
     We also know that the length of new brass will also vary significantly. So why should we care? For one, if the case is longer than the maximum recommended length, higher pressures are a sure result. So how can that be? Simple. When a loaded, overly long cartridge is chambered, the neck will be jammed into the rifling, which, will in turn, crimp the neck around the bullet. A significant boost in pressure is the result. If you’re already using a load that’s approaching border line crazy (not unheard of in silhouette shooting), that crimp could send you over the edge.
     New cases can also be well under the recommended trim length. Shorter necks = less neck tension on the bullet. The bottom line here is that you want to follow the successful example of benchrest competition shooters who are very careful to insure that all their cases are trimmed to the same length to insure consistent neck tension for consistent bullet release.
     Consequently, in order to insure that the pressures in a given load are the same from one case to another and that bullet release is smooth, even, and consistent we want to make sure the cases are all within a maximum of .003” in length to each other. How do we make this happen? Measure your cases and find the shortest one. Then trim all your cases to that same length.
     Fired cases - Similar deal. When a case is fired, fantastic pressures force the sides of the case outward where they meet the walls of the chamber and are restrained. Remember though that the gases in the case are expanding in all directions uniformly. This means that the front and the back of the case has just as much pressure working on it. The result is that the case will be stretched out both front and rear. Depending on several factors such as the load, the strength of the case, and the design of the case, this stretching will vary. However, you want to monitor the length of your cases to ensure that they don’t get too long and they start crimping the bullet. Case stretching in most modern rifle type cartridges is fairly modest. However, in revolver cases they can be significant. Consequently, you want to be a more careful about checking their length.
     Speaking of revolver cases, trimming is particularly more important to ensure accuracy. First of all, it is absolutely necessary that all revolver cases are the same length. This is necessary to ensure uniformity in the strength of the crimp on the bullet  Longer cases will enter a crimping die farther inside. The result is a “harder” crimp. Shorter cases will have a “lighter” crimp. These variations in crimp strength will correspondingly result in variations in pressures and bullet release and that = bigger groups.
      Then there is the issue of what crimping does to the mouth of a revolver case. It damages it severely. There’s no other truthful way to say it. The heavier the crimp, the more the severe the damage. When that case is crimped the next time, the damaged brass is less able to evenly hold the bullet in place during the gun’s recoil. After multiple crimping, the radically work hardened brass will even start to crack and split. Consequently, heavily crimped magnum revolver brass should be trimmed after no later than the third firing - ideally after the 2nd firing. Now, we’re not talking about removing a lot of brass - only just the bare minimum to get down to undamaged metal. So don’t go crazy with the trimmer.
     Therefore, because of the fact that revolver cases will lengthen faster than rifle type cases, and the fact that brass at the case mouth damaged by the crimping process has to be regularly removed, case trimming for revolver shooters is absolutely mandatory.

"The Redding 2400 is the most precise on the market."

     That brings us to the new Redding 2400 trimmer which came out on the market around the first of August. This is Redding’s best trimmer. The primary thing that really sets the new trimmer off from all other trimmers is the fact that it is equipped with a micrometer adjustment on the cutter head. Want to take of .002” from your cases? No problem. Making the adjustment is as easy as pie. When using other trimmers, making fine or even coarse adjustments is a irritating, slow, trial and error process. It drives me nuts. In fact, it’s probably one of the prime reasons why many people who do own a case trimmer never use them. Just make sure you write down the adjustment reading for a particular case length and so when you’re trimming that kind of case again, you can then turn the micrometer to the same setting and you’re good to go.
     There a lot of other things to like about the Redding. One of the best is the fact that the cutter head is stationary and the case is spun against the head. All other trimmers that I’ve owned has it the other way around. The result is that the case mouth is often not cut square. That drives me nuts. The Redding will give you a square and even cut.
     Another nice thing about the 2400 is that it uses a universal step type collet. You do have to be careful though that the base of the case is seated squarely and firmly in the collet before you tighten things up. To do so, just place the mouth of the case in the pilot on the cutter head. Then bring the spindle forward and push the collet firmly on to the base of the case. Now with your other hand push down the brass stud which is located on the top of the trimmer. This locks the spindle in place. Rotate the spindle handle clockwise, and the collet will tighten and grip the case. To release the collet, just lock the spindle again and turn the handle counter clock wise and the case will fall out.
     The Redding 2400 also comes with all the trimmings. You get a full set of pilots in rifle calibers, a couple of case neck brushes, primer pocket cleaners, a couple of washer type adapters to use to push the collet forward when trimming pistol length cases, and a couple of other do-dads. One thing that I wish were included were pilots for the 32, 357, 41, and 44 mag cases. Perhaps Redding could make available a package of pistol pilots. The pilots are available but have to be bought separately. Another accessory that that’s certainly worthwhile is an adapter to hook a power screwdriver up to the trimmer. It’s only $12.
     All and all, the Redding 2400 is certainly the most useful and versatile case trimmer on the market. Any reloader that doesn’t have one of these is missing a very large boat.
Some of Rocky’s Best
     I’ve been writing about Rocky Boots for many years now, basically because they’ve impressed me as the most technically oriented of the outdoor footwear companies in the U.S.A. Every year they come up with something that knocks my socks off. I mean for most, boots are boots and that’s it. Not with Rocky. I’ve never seen a company so successfully push the technological envelope the way Rocky does. What they don’t invent themselves, they acquire either through a purchase or a partnering agreement.
     For instance, right at the end of 2005 they formed a partnership with Buzz Off Insect Shield. As a result Rocky will be selling a complete line of outdoor and work clothing featuring Buzz Off’s safe to humans, all natural insect repellant. The Buzz Off process binds the repellant into the fibers of the garment so it remains effective after many, many washings. It repels, fire ants, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, flies, and midges.
     I’ve been wearing a very nice, heavy duty camo shirt treated with the Buzz Off process for a while now and I can tell you that is good looking and comfortable. I particularly like the nice wide and deep breast pockets as I regularly carry a small note book and a pen in my shirt pockets to jot down load and chronograph info, etc. I hate short pockets where the top of the notebook is sticking way out. The shirt tails were also nice and long as well so you don’t have them pulling out of your belt line every time you bend over.
     Additionally, there is no funny odor from the repellant and the shirt feels perfectly normal on the skin. I even took the shirt with me when visiting relatives back in the Midwest where the mosquitoes are the size of hummingbirds and have the appetite of a hyena - or so it seems, and had no problems at all. It really works.
     Fall and hunting season is very close now and a good pair of hunting boots is mandatory especially if you live in an area where conditions can be particularly rough. There is no better hunting boots made than those produced by Rocky, particularly their model #9340 Revolver. I believe they may just be the most technically advanced boot on the planet. But I’m not the only one who thinks so.

"Rocky's Revolver hunting boot is certainly one of the most technically advanced ever."

     “Field and Stream” magazine named these boots as one of the winners of their 2006 “Best of the Best” award. The magazine’s staff, can have and use any outdoor product that they like. The fact that they choose the Revolvers to evaluate is a kudo in itself. The fact that it won, out, out of who knows how many other footwear products says volumes.
     So what makes it so good?  First is Rocky’s traditional quality and toughness. The boot uses 1000 denier Cordura nylon fabric in a Mosey Oak camo pattern. The nylon is then covered with 100% waterproof leather trim in all the right places to protect and re-enforce critical areas. The aggressive sole pattern is patterned after shoes worn by NFL players on the field to provide exceptional traction and mobility. Inside, there’s 600 grams of Thinsulate Ultra to keep your feet warm. Additionally, a breathable waterproof Gore-Tex liner will keep your feet dry. BTW, when wearing Gore-Tex, make sure you wear socks that are compatible. They’re usually labeled as such. Street socks won’t cut the mustard to wick moisture away from your feet.
     However, the thing that really sets these boots apart is it’s “Boa” lacing system. Question – what’s the weakest part of any shoe or boot? Answer - the laces. They get wet, stretched, rotted, broken, abraded etc. etc. However, what if they were made of stainless steel? Whole different story - right?
     Who ever thought this up was really thinking. The Revolver uses a single loop of thin woven stainless steel cable that runs through six strategic points on the boot. At the top of the boot is a plastic knob about an inch and a half in diameter that looks very much like the elevation knob on a rifle or handgun scope. Turn the click adjustable knob to the left and the steel cable slowly starts to tighten just like a boa constrictor, wrapping the boot around your foot and ankle. The clicks make adjusting the tightness of the cable very precise. To release the steel lace, just pull out the knob.
     Besides providing a lacing system that will never wear out, it also makes putting the boots on and taking them off as easy as putting on a pair of slippers. In other words, there’s no time consuming lacing up process or unlacing later on to get out of your boots. This is because the cable isn’t removable. It stays in place and is either tight or loose, but never undone. I’ve been wearing Revolvers on my field jaunts since last year and I can tell you that this is the best outdoor boot ever.
     To find a Rocky retail or internet dealer and to see the huge selection which includes boots for kids and women, visit These are better than nice. They’re great.
Good luck and good shooting. Todd

Top of Page

Warning: All technical data mentioned, especially handloading and bullet casting, reflect the limited experience of individuals using specific tools, products, equipment and components under specific conditions and circumstances not necessarily reported in the article or on this web site and over which IHMSA, The Los Angeles Silhouette Club (LASC), this web site or the author has no control. The above has no control over the condition of your firearms or your methods, components, tools, techniques or circumstances and disclaims all and any responsibility for any person using any data mentioned. Always consult recognized reloading manuals.