Lee 357 Sig Die Installation/Adjustment


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Falconeer
December 20, 2005, 08:20 AM
Greets folks.
I'm hoping I can leech some experience here. :) I'm starting to load 357 Sig (I also load 9mm), and want to find a consistent way to install/adjust the dies. I'm using the Lee steel 357 Sig set with the Lee Factory Crimp Die. I'm primarily concerned with the expander/powder through die and the FCD.

I have the expander set up to just barely flare the mouth of the case. My understanding is it's not a good idea to flare it any more than necessary. The bullet (I'm currently using 125 grn Speer TMJ) fits into the mouth snugly.

My main concern is the FCD. The instructions are slim with the die, and Lee's home page has a video for a 'carbide fcd' that describes a slightly different process. They both say something to the effect of 'adjust to get the crimp you want'? What crimp do I want? What does it look like? :banghead:

Any thoughts/suggestions would be most appreciated. :)

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Sport45
December 20, 2005, 08:52 AM
I don't load for .357sig, but I do for .400cor-bon. Should be close, so here's what I do. With the ram at the top of its stroke and the shellholder in place, screw the FCD in until the base touches the shellholder. Lower the ram and screw the die in an additional 1/8 turn. Place a lubricated, spent casing in the shellholder and run the ram back up to the top. Tighten the die lock ring. Your die is now centered in the tool head.

Back the adjustment stem out. Back it out some more. Place a sized round that has had a bullet seated to the proper depth in the shellholder. Run it up into the die. Turn the crimp adjustment down until you feel it touch the case mouth. If it doesn't turn down easy, you probably didn't back it out enough to begin and will have to start over. Once the adjustment touches the case mouth lower the ram and turn the adjustment down an additional 1/4 turn. Run the ram up and to crimp the cartridge. Test the cartridge by pressing against the edge of the workbench. If a pretty heavy push (30# or so) results in any bullet setback turn the adjustment in an additional 1/4 turn and try again with another round. (Did I mention these were brass and bullet only so yuo can pull bullets and recycle the brass?)

Once you have the crimp set to your liking keep the dummy cartridge for resetting the die. You can run the adjustment down until it touches the mouth of the crimped die plus a "smidge" and you're good to go.

Hope this helps.

JDGray
December 20, 2005, 09:06 AM
I would get a factory round, take your calipers and measure the crimp they use and use that measurement. If you use plated bullets like Rainiers, you can over crimp, but with FMJ bullets, you are really just removing the belling. JDGray

Falconeer
December 20, 2005, 01:19 PM
This sounds great! I'll give it a shot this evening. Thanks much!
I don't load for .357sig, but I do for .400cor-bon. Should be close, so here's what I do. With the ram at the top of its stroke and the shellholder in place, screw the FCD in until the base touches the shellholder. Lower the ram and screw the die in an additional 1/8 turn. Place a lubricated, spent casing in the shellholder and run the ram back up to the top. Tighten the die lock ring. Your die is now centered in the tool head.

Back the adjustment stem out. Back it out some more. Place a sized round that has had a bullet seated to the proper depth in the shellholder. Run it up into the die. Turn the crimp adjustment down until you feel it touch the case mouth. If it doesn't turn down easy, you probably didn't back it out enough to begin and will have to start over. Once the adjustment touches the case mouth lower the ram and turn the adjustment down an additional 1/4 turn. Run the ram up and to crimp the cartridge. Test the cartridge by pressing against the edge of the workbench. If a pretty heavy push (30# or so) results in any bullet setback turn the adjustment in an additional 1/4 turn and try again with another round. (Did I mention these were brass and bullet only so yuo can pull bullets and recycle the brass?)

Once you have the crimp set to your liking keep the dummy cartridge for resetting the die. You can run the adjustment down until it touches the mouth of the crimped die plus a "smidge" and you're good to go.

Hope this helps.

Falconeer
December 20, 2005, 01:26 PM
That's a good thing to know. I did read some crimp tests on the Pete 357 page (http://www.handguninfo.com/Archive/www.Pete-357.com/357.safety.reload.htm) where he cautioned using hard jacketed bullets with strong crimps. I believe the problem is the hard jacket resists the crimp, which doesn't give it anything to 'hold on to'. I'm not planning on racking these rounds a lot (they're for target practice), but I'm anal about 'doing it right'. :p

I would get a factory round, take your calipers and measure the crimp they use and use that measurement. If you use plated bullets like Rainiers, you can over crimp, but with FMJ bullets, you are really just removing the belling. JDGray

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