Welcome everyone to the TFB Armorer’s Bench! As mentioned in the little blurb, this series will focus on many home armorer and gunsmith activities. In this article sponsored by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal, I decided to go over my short experience using the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center since we took a closer look at the product itself last week. That being said, I hope everyone is having a great memorial day weekend! Maybe you folks had some time to do some reloading yourself. Let’s dive right into using the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center!
TFB Armorer’s Bench: Platinum Series Case Prep Center
Welcome to our recurring series of Armorer’s Bench which is made possible and brought to you by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal who are our sponsors. Here, we at TFB hope to inform, entertain, and even inspire any would-be gunsmith or armorer out there. Ideally, with the information I provide and with the help of our sponsors, you can have some useful knowledge pertaining to the conservation and improvement of firearms technology while at the same time sharing experiences and teaching each other new tips and tricks along the way in the comments. Digging deep into what it is to be an armorer or gunsmith has significance but what is important is what those people do to show they’ve earned that title. I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge and hope it is informative!
Make your personal safety a priority:
- Practice proper gun safety. Always make sure before the firearm hits your bench that it is unloaded and safe to be handled.
- Wear the proper safety equipment. The main one would be safety glasses (decent ones) since parts are often under spring tension and you may work with high RPM tools. Other honorable mentions would be latex gloves or a respirator when working with potentially harmful solvents and oils. Also hearing protection when working with loud machinery or test-firing firearms.
- Modifications, alterations, and customizations will void your firearm’s warranty 9.5 times out of 10. Please take that into consideration before attempting any at-home gunsmithing.
- If you are unsure about proper safety practices, disassembly procedures, or warranty standards, stop, put down the tools, and consult a competent gunsmith.
Brief Recap: Platinum Series Case Prep Center
Last week I wrote a Closer Look article that was meant to concentrate on what the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center is and what it does. This prep center is a compact offering equipped with four different tools to aid in cartridge case preparation. It features a small compact design that is capable of running four rotating tools at once.
The tools it comes equipped with would be an Inside Chamfer Tool, an Outside Deburring Tool, a Small Primer Pocket Scraper, and a Large Primer Pocket Scraper. Aside from those four tools, the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center has other accessories that can be bought separately in a pack such as a large and small primer pocket uniformer and also a large/small military crimp remover.
Previous Case Prep Experience: Platinum Series Case Prep Center
In the short few years I have dabbled in reloading, I have only ever used hand tools in order to do my case preparation. This is mostly a case of both costs and I do not reload large quantities on average. Hand tools take a significantly longer time than case prep centers. I had a very short experience with a case prep center when a coworker of mine lent me his case prep center in order to remove military crimps in some old 30-06 cases. This expedited experience encouraged me to work with one of my own in the future which leads us here.
First Impressions: Platinum Series Case Prep Center
Continuing on with my lot of .30 Carbine brass, after cleaning it with the Rotary Tumbler Lite (and going through the self-inflicted turmoil I covered) and separating the media with a media separator, I moved on to prepping the brass with the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center.
My first impression of using the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center, besides its compact size, was it was quieter than I expected. Every review or question and answer docket I have seen on the prep center usually brought up how little or how much noise it makes. Usually, I saw comments like “noisy enough where I have to use it out in the garage” or something like that. Regardless of where you do your reloading or prep work, I believe (from my own experience with my example) that comments like those are a bit of an exaggeration. It was not bad at all and in fact, the Rotary Tumbler Lite was five times louder and more annoying. I would compare the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center to a box fan set on its first setting with the occasional rattle caused by prepping cases.
Inexperience Strikes Again: Platinum Series Case Prep Center
Me being the open, honest, and transparent person that I am, I feel the need to talk about a very slight self-induced incident. Like the nightmare fuel that I went through with the Rotary Tumbler Lite, my ignorance of the product itself or the procedures thereof caused a small fairly insignificant incident. I cut my index finger fairly decent. Full disclosure this was entirely my fault and no fault is contributed to the construction or set up of the case prep center. In fact, this handy machine is made in such a way that all of the spinning tools should not harm you if you touch them while they spin. I say should not because any normal use you will be fine but obviously if you smush your fingers into a spinning bit real hard it is going to do to you what it would do to a shell casing. I brushed my fingers across all the spinning bits with the foreknowledge that the motor strength and speed should not harm me. They did not.
What ended up cutting me was my initial step-by-step process which in hindsight was flawed and out of order. For my case prep, I bought the accessory kit that had a few extra tools. I used a Small Military Crimp Remover, Small Primer Pocket Uniformer, Chamfer Tool, and Outside Deburring Tool. Unfortunately, I started to use them in the following order: Chamfer Tool – Deburring Tool – Crimp Remover – Primer Pocket Uniformer. If you are an avid reloader you can probably predict the outcome. After making the case mouth sharp by chamfering and deburring, when I used the Pocket Uniformer it grabbed hold of the case because I hadn’t properly removed all of the crimps and when I tried to pull it off of the uniformer it sliced into my finger as it spun. It was a thin deep clean cut so all in all not very painful but plenty of blood followed before I took care of it. A small precautionary tale yet again to demonstrate my being new to using some of these products that are much nicer and slightly more complicated than I am used to.
Nitty-Gritty: Platinum Series Case Prep Center
Using the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center is really straightforward besides the aforementioned chronological mishap. The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center is corded and once plugged in it can be used vertically or horizontally. Slipping is prevented by the rubber pads on the bottom and side of the prep center. The top portion of the prep center has a rubber strip with four holes to put four prep tools in while idle or in storage.
Turning the prep center on or off is done by the simple teeter-totter switch on the side. All tools rotate at the same speed and any can be used independently. The threads come very greased from the factory so that is satisfactory considering the tools may torque down when in use. While using primer pocket-related tools, it may be helpful to have a set of soft pliers on standby in case the shell is grabbed or you want a better grip than your finders provide. All in all, it is a very easy-to-use tool.
Conclusion: Platinum Series Case Prep Center
This helpful tool turned the average prep time from a huge chunk of the hand cramping day to a couple hours of sitting back and not trying too hard. It is not just a quality of life tool, it feels like an obvious necessity. Regardless of what type or brand you decide on, I recommend upgrading and I highly recommend this compact and handy tool. If you do not have a case trimmer make sure to check out the fancier version of the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Case Prep Center!
As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Armorer’s Bench brought to you by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.
Caldwell Pro Range Glasses, Clear
The Caldwell® Pro Range Glasses feature a stylish wrap-around design and are a great choice for all shooters. They feature an adjustable nose piece and temples for all day comfort. The scratch resistant lens meets ANSI Z87.1 standards and offers 99.9% UV protection.
Platinum Series Case Prep Center
Have all of the case preps tools you need in one place with the Frankford Arsenal Case Prep Center. This little station allows for 4 heads to be run at the same time, allowing for a quick and smooth preparation experience. Never let a head be out of reach, by utilizing the retention slot on the side of this efficient, compact machine for storage while not in use.
Platinum Series Case Trim and Prep Center
Frankford Arsenal®’s Case Trim & Prep Center accurately trims brass in seconds. An innovative case holder with adjustable collet and bushing system indexes the case shoulder and can be set to precisely trim brass to the exact desired length. Once the case holder is adjusted simply insert brass into the case holder as a collet aligns the case squarely with the hi-speed cutter. As the case mouth contacts the cutter it is trimmed until the case shoulder stops on an internal bushing. A series of three collets and six bushings (all included) accommodate any shouldered case from.17 Remington to.460 Weatherby. In addition to the cutter the station operates up to three additional tools at the same time. Inside and outside chamfer tools and primer pocket cleaners are included to fully prepare cases for loading. The heavy duty motor and drivetrain are optimized for durability and performance. Cutters and Chamfer tools are constructed of high quality hardened steel. A convenient built in storage box holds spare collets, bushings and tools.
Case Prep Expansion Kit
Use your Case, Trim & Prep Center to uniform primer pockets or remove military crimps
Wheeler Universal Bench Block
Made of non-marring urethane, the Universal Pistol Bench Block is perfect for use on M1911 pistols as well as other firearms such as 10/22s.
STAINLESS STEEL TUMBLING MEDIA
The Magnetic Stainless Steel Tumbling Pins are designed to clean brass cases giving a “like new” look. Unlike other media like corn cob or walnut, stainless steel doesn’t create dust and also cleans the inside of cases, primer pockets, and flash holes. Stainless steel also doesn’t damage brass and lasts for multiple uses.
Tipton POWER SWABS – PISTOL CLEANING KIT, 500 COUNT
Tipton’s new Power Swabs are an essential part of your cleaning kit. They’re disposable, fast, and easy to use, plus they provide no-mess cleaning with all your favorite solvents and oils. They also fit lands and grooves better than a patch for maximum cleaning.