Dillon RT-1500 Case Trimmer Overview/Setup

The Dillon RT-1500 trimmer is a powered unit that you can install on any reloading press that takes standard 7/8″ x 14 dies. In this story, we’ll cover everything from getting the RT-1500 out of the box to high-speed case trimming on the Dillon CP-2000 processing press.

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About the RT-1500

From the Dillon RT-1500 product page:

Stock Number: 62164
The RT1500 Electric Case Trimmer is designed to handle the heaviest trimming jobs, including converting 223 Remington into 300 AAC Blackout. The RT1500 makes short work out of trimming large quantities of brass.
The RT 1500 trim die is used just like a standard size die. The big difference is that while you are pushing the case into the die to size it, a 1/4 horsepower electric motor driving a carbide cutter is trimming the case to length. Chips are drawn off through a vacuum manifold that clamps to the outside of the special size/trim die. (Vacuum cleaner and hose not included.) Outside diameter of manifold is 1.250″ where the vacuum hose connects.
The RT1500 is equipped with a quick-disconnect power cord; and it can be used on any standard reloader, single stage or progressive. See below for caliber exceptions.

Available only in 110 volt /60 Hz.
NOTE: Toolhead and Size/trim dies are sold separately. Case lube must be used to size and trim brass.

What’s In the Box

  • Motorized Trimmer Head Unit
  • Power Adapter
  • Vacuum Attachment
  • Instructions
  • Lock ring and allen keys

About the CP-2000

I recently published a detailed overview of the CP-2000 case processing machine. Here’s the video from that story:

This is the press we’ll be using to setup and use the RT-1500. As previously noted, you can use the RT-1500 on pretty much any standard reloading press.

Setting up the RT-1500 and CP-2000 for 308 Trimming

You will want to install the trimming/sizing die at least 2 stations ahead of the swaging station to allow room for the chip collecting components (shop vac attachment). Dillon recommends setting your die all the way in, and then backing off a half turn. Since I need to do some aggressive sizing for this .308 brass, I’m opting to not back it off at all.

Use some Imperial Case Sizing wax or something like it to prime your die. Even some Mobil 1 Oil would work.

After you screw in the size/trim die, you’ll want to size a piece of brass, and then check it with a case gauge. For this task I used the LE Wilson 308 Case Gauge.

Next, you’ll screw on the lock ring (has to go on before motorized trimmer head) and then screw on the trimmer head a couple turns:

Next, size a piece of brass but don’t retract the brass from the size/trim die, leave it fully inserted. Now screw down the motorized cutting head until it just touches the case mouth. Now retract the brass from the die and turn the motor in further (lower it). The distance you’ll want to lower the head will depend on how much trimming  you need to do for the brass. Make sure to tighten the lock ring each time you make an adjustment so that the motor doesn’t’ rotate on the die due to motor startup torque.

Next turn on the machine and trim a piece of brass under power. Then check cartridge overall length. Adjust the motor

Above you can see my 308 Winchester brass after trimming- 2.009″ is acceptable, but 2.000″ would also work (giving more room for growth before another trim is needed).

Setup is DONE!

High-Speed On-Press Case Trimming and Processing

After attaching the vacuum hose and loading up the press, I was ready for full-speed case processing, including trimming! I had lubricated the once-fired military 308 cases, filled up the case feeder, and was then off and running! The vacuum sucks up all of the chips from trimming which makes things nice and clean! (a welcome change)

Here’s my die station utilization:

  1. Case insertion
  2. Pre-size and de-prime
  3. [empty]
  4. [empty]
  5. RT-1500 Trimmer
  6. [empty]
  7. Swaging
  8. Case ejection

This is a real game changer for case prep for my shop. I love how quickly I can process cases, and I won’t ever miss swaging with a rotary cutter on a case prep machine (I’ve done too much of that).

Get the Gear

Here’s the list of gear used in this story:

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Thanks,
Gavin

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