Attention: This was originally written/published on 2007-04-25 for another blog which I retired and am in the process of restructuring/redesigning. I wanted to post this review here for archival purposes. Additional notes/edits made to review where required (i.e. price and contact information).
Case trimming is a critical, yet time consuming process in reloading. Using a manual trimmer, the process can also be quite strenuous. There are several power trimmer options available, some converting manual trimmers to a powered trimmer by using an electric drill or driver. Then there are trimmers that have been built from the ground up as powered trimmers using a motor. RCBS and Dillon are big name manufacturers with power trimmers in their product line.
But among the reloading community, the Giraud Tool Company (GTC) power trimmer is considered the best power trimmer available.
GTC is run by Doug Giraud of Richmond (Texas) who has roots in NRA High Power rifle shooting. According to the GTC website, the core goal of the company is to help shooters spend less time preparing for shooting so more time can be focused on actual shooting.
The Giraud power trimmer is a patented design that uses a 1/8 HP 120V motor to power the trimmer blade itself.
The trimmer unit has an on/off toggle switch that makes unplugging from power unneccesary.
The trim length of the case on a Giraud trimmer is based on the shoulder of the case itself. Thus, all brass in the batch to be trimmed should be resized using the same die setting. The case holder is spring loaded and when a case is inserted into the holder, the operator puts pressure into the holder which then presses the case into the cutting blade. The holder will have a positive stop which determines the trim length.
Adjusting the case holder to set trim length is somewhat awkward compared to other trimmers, but it is not difficult.
The real benefit to the Giraud power trimmer is the fact that it is fast. Not just fast on the actually trimming of a case, but fast in that it also deburs and chamfers the inside and outside of the neck as it trims. This saves an incredible amount of time.
When I trim .223 cases, I use an RCBS Trim Pro manual trimmer, which is a fairly efficient manual trimmer. But the time it takes me to trim using the RCBS trimmer is multiplied by at least 2 because I have to also debur/chamfer the inside of the neck, and then debur/chamfer the outside. So assuming it takes me two (2) minutes to trim ten (10) cases on the RCBS manual trimmer, it takes me an additional 2-3 minutes to debur/chamfer those same ten cases.
With the Giraud trimmer, it takes me one minute to trim/debur/chamfer ten cases.
One minute versus four minutes per ten cases is a three minute differential. With 100 cases, that is 30 minutes of time saved. For the high volume shooter on a specific cartridge (as are most High Power competition shooters), this could mean hours saved in one session where several hundred pieces of brass may be processed at one time.
Also, the amount of stress and fatigue on the operator’s hands is reduced significantly by using the Giraud trimmer. With a manual hand trimmer, inside debur/chamfer tool, and outside debur/chamfer tool, most people will develop fatigued hands/fingers after the first 100 cases. In a session where 500 cases may be processed, this fatigue builds.
With all the benefits of the Giraud power trimmer, you would expect reloaders to jump on the GTC product. There is one hindering factor against obtaining a Giraud trimmer: price. At the time this is being written, the Giraud trimmer is priced at $365 USD with a nominal increase to $375 USD in May 2007. Considering manual trimmers can be purchased for around $80 give or take depending on the manufacturer, many people opt for the less expensive option.
Note: As of 2010-01-15, the base price for the Giraud trimmer is $425.
For a long time I was in the same position. But eventually, as I started shooting NRA High Power competitions, my volume of shooting increased dramatically. Shooting anywhere from 250 to 400 rounds of .223 a month depending on practice time and matches, the time spent on case prep was increasing to the point where the Giraud was the only solution.
Is $365 worth it? Yes. $365 is a small price to pay to cut the amount of time in case trimming/deburring/chamfering by more than 60%.
I highly recommend this product to anyone that is a high volume rifle shooter. While there are other powered trimming options available on the market, the Giraud offers what I believe to be the best end-user solution in so far as combining the trimming, deburring, and chamfering in a single process.
For more information, you can contact Doug Giraud directly at:
Giraud Tool Company
3803 Dawn Lane
Richmond, Texas 77406
Addendum (added 2010-01-15):
After over two-and-a-half years later, my Giraud trimmer is still going strong. I’ve trimmed tens of thousands of times with this trimmer with zero issues. The only real problem I’ve had is the clear plastic shield that goes over the trimmer housing is cracked. It’s still fully intact, but it has cracks running through some parts of it. Obviously, this has no impact on the functionality of the trimmer. I really love this trimmer and I can’t imagine not having it as a part of my competitive shooting ‘workflow’. This isn’t just a reloading tool. It’s a tool for competitive shooters. You will spend less time reloading (brass preparation) and more time on the range and at matches.