Clay Learns to Reload: Ep. 3 Top-of-the-Line Case Prep Tools from Hornady

Not far into my journey to reloading, it became obvious I was going to need some case prep tools. Never one to shy away from keeping Visa in business, I decided to go big from jump street rather than piecemeal the products along the way. I picked the biggest and baddest options available from Hornady.

Hornady Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner

First up is the Hornady Hot Tub Time Machine Sonic Cleaner. This is actually a dual-use item, one that I already had for suppressor cleaning. With a quick switch of the cleaning solution from gun parts to cartridge-case formula, the Hot Tub was ready to go!

The Hot Tub 9L Sonic Cleaner in all its glory.


  • Cleans internal and external surfaces of cartridge cases and primer pockets.
  • Includes one inner tank for cleaning multiple smaller batches or to use separate solutions at the same time.
  • Hanging cords allow large objects to take full advantage of the ultrasonic energy.
  • Includes small parts basket.
  • De-gas function.
  • 5 temperature settings from 100-140°F.
  • Hot Tub main tank dimensions: 25.5″ x 7.0″ x 4″ (9 Liters/2.3 Gallons)
  • Internal divider tank dimensions (sold separately): 6.7″ x 4.7″ x 3.2″ (1.6 Liters/1.7 Quarts)

Easy to read display and simple controls.

Hornady recommends you deprime your cases first, as the sonic cleaner will clean out the primer pockets too. The Hot Tub has impressed me since I got it and it remains one of my best buys. With the two tank system, I could actually do brass prep and gun parts at the same time in the separate compartments.

Drain valve.

To drain, attach (included) hose and open the valve.  Easy day.

Using the full tank, the 9-liter Hot Tub ate my entire batch of brass with room to spare. The heating option is nice for really nasty brass and a miracle worker on carboned-up gun parts. Not a lot to the operation of this one for brass. Deprime. Add water and cleaning solution. Toss the brass in, hit go. 20 minutes later, lay them out to dry. Easy day.

MSRP for the Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner is $499.99.

Cleans a mountain of brass at one go.

Hornady Power Case Prep Center

Next up was the Hornady Power Case Prep Center. This has been an incredible time saver. The star of the show is the precision adjustable (to .001 inches) power trimmer. Once you have your case length set, lock it in and go to work.

Compact, but full of useful features.  I still need to bolt it down to the bench.


  • The trimmer is micro adjustable to .001″ for precise and consistent trimming.
  • Rugged housing and a powerful motor will give years of dependable service.
  • Trims small to large cases measuring ¾” to 3¼”.
  • Removable trays are easy to detach and provide ample collection space for shavings.
  • Innovative design keeps metal shavings in the catch trays and out of the cases.
  • Easy grip handle offers leverage.
  • Arrange the chamfer/deburr tools, primer pocket cleaners and neck brushes however you want on the front panel.

If you do large batches of brass at once, this is a lifesaver. The large T handle is comfortable for trimming, and the design allows you to use either hand. A very nice feature if you have a heavy shooting habit. In the front is space for 6 tools (chamfer/deburr tools, primer pocket cleaners and neck brushes, powered by the same motor. You can arrange them in any manner you see fit.

The panel up front allows you to arrange up to six tools in any manner you see fit.  All are powered by the same motor.

The only drawback with the whole system is that there is no index on top when you are trying to make adjustments to the .001.”  Not a big deal.  Just use a pen or pencil to mark the notch that you need to turn to and you’re good to go.

MSRP for the Case Prep Center is $409.99.

Locking a case into the trimming station is a breeze.


These two tools made case prep a cinch and will be useful for years to come. As mentioned, the time saved with the Power Case Prep Center and the Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner are well worth the price of admission.

For more information on these products as well as other cool reloading equipment visit

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • NotImportantToDiscussion August 7, 2020, 6:35 am

    Pistol caliber cartridges are fine in a wet cleaner, but DO NOT clean rifle caliber brass in this manner. Without(and sometimes even with) lubrication to seat bullets in a wet cleaned rifle cartridge can result in “bullet weld”. A phenomenon that will result in inconsistent velocities at best, at worst, well…….ask me how I know.

  • Thomas Gaffey May 4, 2018, 12:11 am

    guys and gals a couple of points, started to reload at the range with a Lee loader when ammo for my .303 Savage Model 99 started to get expensive, now it’s non existing, remember 1 thing , patience, that was almost 50 years ago. Second, think about a lower wheeled tool box, ie Harbor freight, I added a 1 1/8″ piece of plywood to the top and have 5 presses mounted to it, 20 ga, 12 ga, progressive, 2 Lee progressive loaders, 1 in .38/9mm range and 1 in 45acp/45LC range, just ‘cuz I’m lazy and a single rifle press. With the Lee’s just changing the dies and the shell holders let’s you change faster.

  • Jay April 26, 2018, 6:58 am

    Clay, you might be surprised when you’ve been around for a while longer just how many sharpshooters and bench rest shooters don’t clean their brass with no effect on accuracy! I’t really just for the looks unless you have some exceptional situation. I was thrown back when I found this out and now I’ve done it both ways with nice shiny looking cases and some that haven’t been cleaned for the last 12 or more firings with no problems encountered! I do not use wet or ultrasonic cleaners the old fashion way of dry media has always given me better results with far less hassle and time involved in the cleaning process, bottom line experiment, find your groove!

  • Ron C April 25, 2018, 11:00 pm

    Didn’t see a flash-hole deburr tool there ??

  • markle laws April 24, 2018, 1:49 pm

    I have been reloading since 1972. If you want to learn how to reload talk to someone who has been there and done that.

    • Jay April 26, 2018, 7:02 am

      I always like to thank men like you Markle laws. If not for people like you and my Grandfather keeping reloading around early on where would we be today! It was far more pain staking work to reload back then verses today. My Grandfather got me interested in it way back when as he was a marksmanship pistol shooter!

  • BRASS April 20, 2018, 2:32 pm

    I suspect Clay is not an obsessive type like many of us reloaders are, so he won’t want to spend lots of time tinkering with his equipment. In general reloaders never have enough bench space or shelving so they like to make their equipment as mobile as possible while still being rock solid on the bench. Bolting down equipment is great if you have enough dedicate bench space, if not, lots of solutions are available.
    If long range/precision rifle is the main goal, using rock solid precision equipment securely fastened to a bench that’s attached to the wall and can’t move is essential. As soon as things start moving, dimensions start varying by those critical thousandths. If practice ammo for steel shooting or pistol is the goal, more flexibility is available in terms of equipment used and how it’s used.
    I doubt you have lots of spare time to spend on loading/reloading so a well thought out and planned set up to start with is needed. Better off spending a little more time planning than time undoing and redoing what didn’t work out the first or second try.
    Good luck.

  • Jim Morris April 20, 2018, 12:19 pm

    This does not strictly deal with the subject matter of this episode, but I wanted to mention the importance of proper crimping semiautomatic pistol loads such as 9mm and .45ACP. Revolver cases have a rim at the base which prevent them from sliding into the chamber. Semiautomatic rounds have no rim and/or “head spaced” on the mouth of the case. If you’ll examine the barrel of a semiautomatic pistol, you will see the chamber is minutely larger in circumference than the barrel. The round is stopped when the edge of the case mouth reaches the step down between the chamber and barrel. If one over crimps rounds, the rounds very likely will not properly seat in the chamber. I learned this the hard way. The rounds were very inaccurate and tumbled on the way to the target, causing very jagged entry holes in the target. One should set their crimp die so that the circumference of the crimp is the same as the rest of the loaded case. Hopefully this will prevent headaches for pistol loaders.

  • MIKE MISCHE April 20, 2018, 10:23 am

    Clay, If you are really serious about this….. One word…. Gracey

    Contact Dakota Gracey

  • Matt April 20, 2018, 8:48 am

    I like this series, but it should be pointed out that there are cheaper alternatives. I do case prep by hand!! I know surprising.

    Also, I bought my sonic cleaner for $80 from Harbor Freight 4 years ago and I reload several thousand rounds a year and it still runs. While Hornady makes good products, I think its important to point out you don’t have to spend a 1,000 dollars on the items in this article.

  • Jimmy April 20, 2018, 8:33 am

    Clay – Pretty cool brother. I am also a newbie into the Reloading world. I have just about purchased everything I needed to do things correctly. I was lucky enough to score an entire RCBS set from an awesome gentleman – I was able to pick up not just 1 brand new press but 2 and about 12 bottles of new powder, few thousand CCI Primers and like 95% of everything I need for $500!! I might be dumb but I am not stupid and purchased just about everything he was selling 🙂 Can’t wait to get started.

  • BILL April 20, 2018, 7:42 am

    Easy to go all biggest and baddest when I’m sure you “pay” little to nothing isn’t it. Makes me sick.

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