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Bench Review: Lyman Case Prep Xpress

midnightrunpaintballermidnightrunpaintballer Member Posts: 2,233 ✭✭✭✭✭
Bench report: Lyman Case Prep Xpress

I bought this 2 days ago to help with 223 case prep. First impression is very nice. Everything I could want! Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that was not the case. The number 1 problem with this prep center is that it turns too slow.

Having the chamfer tools (ID and OD) spinning at the same time was convenient, I'll give it that.

I found the primer pocket cleaner to be useless. If you're uniforming the primer pockets, which you should be doing since brass expands when you fire it and the primer pocket is not exempt, the uniformer will scrape all the crud out anyways.

So now it's down to 4 useful tools instead of 5. I don't count the case neck brushes since I tumble after brass prep anyways to make sure all the brass shavings are out, and have no use for them. The chamfer tools are a given benefit, and you're left with the primer pocket uniformer and military crimp remover.

I have a lot of military brass so I was extremely disappointed to discover that the military crimp remover completely wore out after less than 20 cases. The cutting edges were simply gone. Yes, I'm using brass cases, not steel. Warranty would cover replacement according to lymans website, but to ship it back for warranty inspection plus down time is not worth the cost. It's cheaper to just buy an RCBS military crimp remover to replace it. After buying the RCBS replacement, I realized that it still spins too slow to be of any benefit. You can't tell when it's finished cutting so you end up sitting there for extra time to make sure it's done. Having a powered tool is useless if it doesn't save time. I ended up chucking the RCBS military crimp remover up into a cordless drill and zipping through my cases. Since I'm now removing military crimps with a drill and not on the prep center, the prep center is down to 3 useful functions.

The primer pocket uniformer cuts and uniforms well, but the cutting teeth clog up with brass shavings and you constantly have to brush it clean, multiple times per case, to ensure that it is no longer cutting because it's finished and not because the cutters are clogged. It does not spin fast enough for centrifugal force to make the cutters self clearing when you lift the case up. I took the primer pocket uniformer, chucked it up in my cordless drill, and went to town. Doing it horizontally allows the shavings to fall off thanks to gravity. Another function cancelled, case prep center down to 2 useful functions.

I'll admit, it doesn't take much rotational speed to debur case mouths, but for the cost of the unit, I'm better off to buy an outside neck deburring tool for around $10, chuck it up into another cordless drill, have the ID and OD drills sitting side by side with a hose clamp holding both triggers down to make them both run at the same time, and rock out some brass.

Obviously, the cost of the drills could be substantial if you don't already have them. The way I figure it, you could make do with 2, but would be better with 3. I've got 4 here already not counting my work drills so I'm not factoring in that cost. I'm returning the case prep center to the store. Of course, the case prep center has a nice little tray to catch all of your brass shavings. I will no longer have that, but I have a shop vac.

Overall, I'm just not impressed. I've got nothing against Lyman in particular (except the fact that the military crimp remover stripped out so easily. Shame on you Lyman!) But when doing my homework prior to purchase, it seems that ALL case prep centers spin at roughly the same speed. Why??? Why would anyone want a machine so slow? It has enough power. It has no problem actually cutting the brass. But it's just too freakin slow! Put a faster motor in it, offer an upgrade motor, or offer an adapter to power it with a cordless drill (like you do with your case trimmer) and you'll have a far superior product that would actually be time saving enough to be worth investing in! As it is, it just doesn't cut it.


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    charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 6,579 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Sounds like some parts missed the heat treatment.

    I have a large and small wood handled Lyman primer pocket tools that are over 50 years old. I have used them to cut 1000's of military crimps out, so did Dad and I bet the tools were used when he got them. They still work great. A sharp clip point blade is faster at cutting away the crimp. A buddy liked the RCBS primer pocket swedge but I thought it was slow and cumbersome.

    I like the Lyman flash hole de-burring tool. I use a Forster case trimmer. I chuck up the champher tool in the Unimat lathe to do the cases. The champhering tool with a stud in the center of the outside unit will save your fingers.

    I have selected sizes of vinyl coated wire cable that I chuck up in the lathe for primer pocket scraping. Cut the cable end square with a cut off wheel in the Dremal tool. Lay of the wire determines the best direction for rotation. Use knife to trim back vinyl about a quarter of an inch. Gyrate the case on the spinning wire brush and you are left with a very clean primer pocket.

    My last new reloading student (Thanksgiving) bought the Lee Deluxe trimmer die for use in the Lee hand press. It trims plus champher's inside and out at the same time. We had already trick out his brass on my tools so we didn't get to see how well that system actually works.

    One of these days I'll make an adapter for the shaft to replace the handle on Forster case trimmer so I can use a cordless drill motor.
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    midnightrunpaintballermidnightrunpaintballer Member Posts: 2,233 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Charliemeyer007 I have no doubt that your tools work perfectly. When it comes to reloading tools, it seems the older it is, the better it works. I read quite a few reviews on the prep center before buying it. The crimp remover stripping out seemed to be a common occurrence. I assumed that the reviewers were doing something dumb like attempting to decrimp steel cases, didn't know what they were talking about, or were just plain idiots. I was wrong. I suppose maybe a batch of them missed heat treatment, but maybe its just another case of "they dont make em like they used to" who knows?

    I bought this thing to speed up processing of my 5 gallon bucket full of mongrel brass for the ar. The prep center won't hold anywhere near a respectable tolerance, but I never expected it to. The tool heads are all crooked to start with. My precision stuff would never go anywhere near this thing.

    justC: i responded on the other thread
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    jwhardingjwharding Member Posts: 2,897 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm glad I saw this post. I saw an add in the paper and it was on sale. I was seriously considering buying it today. Saved me the money and frustration of fooling with it.
    Thanks Jw
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    midnightrunpaintballermidnightrunpaintballer Member Posts: 2,233 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Glad I could help!
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