How much crimp? Lee FCD guidance sought.


Lee Roder
August 19, 2009, 06:56 PM
38 specials here.

Cartridge A was flared about .005" with my expander die to reproduce my wackamole's flare which seems about right. Could probably get away with less but my feathers still haven't dried. Bullets (Dardas) seat comfortably, and for A, B, and D were all seated to the top of the crimp groove (OAL 1.468"). Cartridge B was crimped using the FCD's instructions for a "heavy" crimp (1 turn from seating on bullet) but the "crimp" seems only to have reduced the flare back to the sized case dimension (~.375")??? This is "heavy"? :confused: I didn't even try the "light" crimp. For comparison is cartridge C, an old factory from somewhere. To my eye, cartridge D possesses the "roll crimp" (2 turns) I want. But as yet I virtually no experience with roll crimps. You see the extent of it here.

I searched the forum but didn't find exactly what I was looking for.

Appearance wise, how "heavy" a crimp is desireable and how heavy is not shootable (:eek:)? Is D "too heavy"? What about B, the "heavy" crimp?

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August 19, 2009, 07:47 PM
A is no good

B is almost OK, for no crimp

C looks good

D needs the bullet seated a hair deeper, and the crimp is a bit too much

Medium roll crimp on a Hornady jacketed bullet. (My idea of a medium crimp in a cannelure)

August 19, 2009, 09:52 PM
I agree with walkalong. The design of your bullets crimping groove is a big factor when trying to get the perfect crimp. The Saeco has a more forgiving design and will give a better crimp. Even better if seating and crimping in the same operation. The case trim lenght is also not as critical with the Saeco design.

Lee Roder
August 19, 2009, 10:57 PM
Thanks guys,

I don't know what mold produced these bullets but their form is very similar to the Saeco posted above. The crimp groove seems wider than the RCBS example. Of the dozen or so I've pulled from the box, they do seem very consistent in weight (155 gr). My "factory" example (C) seems to use a lighter bullet.

Following your suggestions, I seated more deeply this time, right up to the very top of the crimp groove (OAL 1.450") and crimped only enough to bury the case edge into the groove (looking down the bullet). The difference between this setting of the FCD and that which produced D seems very small (about 60 degrees).

Would you shoot this?

August 20, 2009, 11:13 AM
do you see the smudge on case D thats the die resizing the "fat " 358 boolit , not good

i use lyman M dies to expand correctly for lead boolits

i roll crimp to C

nice pic , i think this thread is worthy of being a stiky????

Lee Roder
August 20, 2009, 01:41 PM
Thanks GP100man.

So does this mean my bullet (in D) was initially seated crookedly? I could certainly be more careful. This case also has a second scuff about 3/8" lower down (not shown in picture) very similar in appearance to the one you point to. These marks appeared AFTER polishing and trimming so maybe this one was due to slight "crumpling"? I thought this FCD wasn't made it impossible to crush cases (I won't post case pics of my first attempts at simultaneous seating and "crimping" :o... happens to everybody I'm sure when learning to set these things up).

FWIW my "final settings" cartridge pictured alone with the bullet above is clean so whatever caused the scuffing is not always a problem. I've read about the M die in my Lyman catalog. I'll see if I can route around for one to try ...

August 20, 2009, 02:00 PM
I think you need to find a crimp between C and D personally.

The C crimp is almost there, and D is a tad too much.

Practice makes perfect.

August 20, 2009, 03:04 PM
Would you shoot this?Yes, but I would seat the bullet a tiny bit less, and give it a tad more crimp the next try. :)

August 20, 2009, 03:27 PM
I'll concurr with the rest here.

I don't load .38, but LOTS of .44 Mag and Special.

I tried the Lee FCD for the first 1000 or so. It was a royal pain with lead bullets as it constantly tried to resize the bullet after it was in the case (because cast bullets run larger than jacketed by 0.002" or so). I fought every round through the sizing ring and left "scuffed" or polished marks where the brass was squeezed down needlessly. Just like the scuff mark you see on "D" but worse, and all the way around.

I ditched the FCD and went back to the traditional way of creating a proper crimp in the same step as bullet seating. With a revolver, there are no advantages to the FCD, anyway.

I like mine firm, but maybe not quite so firm as "D". Somewhere in between C and D.

You don't need a larger expanding dies to seat lead bullets, they'll make their way into the case and create their own room, providing just the right tension as they do so.

Looks like you've got it!

Good luck!


August 20, 2009, 03:39 PM
How much crimp you really need is determined by the choice of powder, and how much of it you are using.

Fast powders like Bullseye in a standard pressure .38 Special and such only require enough crimp to close the bell + a frog-hair more to make loading in the chambers slick & easy.

A healthy dose of H-110 in a .44 Mag requires a lot more to prevent bullets pulling from recoil and incomplete powder ignition.

No need to use any more crimp then necessary for the load in question.
Any more then that just makes the case-necks crack sooner.


Lee Roder
August 20, 2009, 04:14 PM
OAL now 1.458" with slightly heavier crimp.

Walkalong, your eyes are way better than mine. Under magnification, outside of both case and bullet collar of this one are virtually even. My fingernail can't even find an edge.

Thanks much all. I'll load a few and try them tonight.

August 20, 2009, 04:19 PM
Must be the camera playing tricks.

It sure looks like the case is bulged slightly below the crimp on that one right there.

Lay a straight-edge steel rule on it and see if there is a crack of light showing.


Lee Roder
August 20, 2009, 05:09 PM
Good idea rcmodel. Using my Lyman caliper as a straight edge to examine flatness, I see actually 3 high spots ringing this case - one at the level of the crimp, one near the bottom of the bullet, and one about 1/4" above the head.

I don't understand what causes the lower bugling. New ammo is pretty flat in the edge test. All my used brass come out of the sizing die slightly bulged (a few thousandths) at this lower level relative to the top of the case. I don't know what to do about this or the other "bulges" which clearly arise from seating or crimping issues. Just for kicks I'm going to try an M die soon.

These particular seated bullets are/were EXACTLY .358" in diameter. In contrast to posted optical distortions, physical deviations actually appear small. :) Hopefully they won't matter. These roll crimps are something else. I'd stick with jacketed bullets for this and a hose of other reasons if buying them weren't so bloody expensive.

When I bought my first gun 10 years ago, cast bullets ere my first shooting experience. Must have been loaded with black powder because I switched immediately to jacketed loads and never looked back. Until recently I've found some decent cast ammo at a reasonable price and these shoot very well for me, so I figure if I can MAKE them ... :evil:

Lee Roder
August 20, 2009, 05:16 PM
The brass is Winchester brass. I've heard, though not confirmed, that this brass is a bit thicker than others which may have something to do with "bulging" during seating?

Anybody confirm?

August 20, 2009, 05:29 PM
Some bulging is normal where the bullet is seated. I think what rcmodel was alluding to was the possibility of some bulge just under the crimp caused by a little to much crimp. It looks like it may be a hair too much crimp. That is one reason I like to trim revolver cases. It helps with uniform crimp, especially when one is as picky as me.

Also, like rcmodel posted, that crimp would be great for full load .38's with medium burn rate powders like Unique & AA #5, but way more than needed for light target loads with fast powders such as Bullseye.

Lee Roder
August 20, 2009, 06:18 PM
Good trend to know about crimips and burn rates. At my stage in this process, I never would have guessed. 10Q.

The jacketed loads I'm used to don't really look "crimped" but I guess "unfolding" the flare is called that just to be confusing. None of the bullets I've used except the very first even had a groove for a "fold". Only one out of several thousand ever reseated itself to the bottom of the case and that was due to rough handling in transit.

I was planning to load these up with HP38 starting from 3.6 grains so I hope that will be ok.

August 20, 2009, 06:48 PM
i`ve reread & really like this thread gettin to the bottom of crimpin. with perfect pics!!
one thing that has`nt been said ( i think) is that to have a consistent crimp the cases need to be the same length (trimmed) .
the bulges are normal on reloaded ammo the sizer just squeezes the brass smaller than factory. i had a set of dies with s&b brass that wouldnt hold a jacketed bullet.
the thicker the brass at the mouth the more bumps & the more influence the brass will have on boolit deformation & pull.
if ?? of boolit deformation , seat & crimp then pull 1 & measure it.

Lee Roder
August 20, 2009, 07:15 PM
I do resize all my cases (1.150") even though the FCD supposedly doesn't care. Can't hurt. I don't do high volume so it doesn't take that long.

August 20, 2009, 07:54 PM
Post 1 D , Post 4, Post 11 all OK to shoot. 11 is a little over crimped. If there is a large bulge, the round will not chamber. There is no need for a Lyman "M" die, unless you dont have an expander built in to your bell/decapper die like RCBS does.

August 20, 2009, 08:26 PM
I do resize all my cases (1.150") even though the FCD supposedly doesn't care.Taper crimps are more forgiving than roll crimps. The FCD taper crimp dies have an 0-ring that "gives" so case length is a little less important than with dies with the taper built into the die body. I don't know about the roll crimp FCD. Trimmed cases will still work better, even with the "flex" built into the Lee die. I just don't like the post sizing part. They crimp pretty well.

When setting up a crimp die, I will rotate the die in the ring only about 1/8" to 1/4" at a time until I get it just so. Sometimes I will go too far, and have to dial it back a bit to suit me.

Your doing just fine. It just takes a bit of trial and error until you get it just like you want it.

A side note. I like the Lyman M type die for expanding. It opens it up enough while not over belling at the top. I think they, and the Redding copies, do a great job of getting bullets started straight.

Lee Roder
August 21, 2009, 01:02 AM
Loaded 30 rounds with HP38 and this "roll crimp". All went bang but that's another story.

Anyway I've still got 10 left :D so thanks all! G'night

Johnny Guest
August 21, 2009, 09:43 AM
Please, friends - -
In a thread that has been floated, try to make your posts either a request for specific informatrion, or else a contribution to the discussion. In ANY thread, leave out "+1" and "me, too" comments.

Thanks for the cooperation.

August 21, 2009, 02:23 PM
Heavy crimp on 357mag using Lee FCD,work every time.

August 21, 2009, 07:56 PM
"Heavy" Taper Crimp on a Powerbond 125 Gr HP.

The crimp is between .110 & .125 long on the case and drops the diameter from .376 to .370.

I have used a heavier taper crimp than this, but not for plated bullets. I was experimenting with taper crimps and jacketed bullets.

For a "Medium" Taper Crimp, I use a .033 Spacer under the crimp die in the LNL bushing. For a "Light" Taper Crimp, I use a .063 spacer under the crimp die in the LNL bushing. This crimp die happens to be a Redding.

Other folks may think my heavy is medium, or my medium is extra heavy. It's all in how we look at it.

August 22, 2009, 11:33 AM
I used brass cases and no flash this time and got a better pic. Notice the shiny spot from the crimper goes about twice as far down the case on the Heavy vs Medium crimp. (Remember, light, medium, and heavy is in the eye of the beholder)

A "Medium" and a "Heavy" taper crimp on a 125 Gr Powerbond bullet in .38 Spl.

I set up the crimper die for a heavy crimp, and use spacers to get whatever else I want. Light, Medium, Heavy, or something in between.

Some of my spacers.

Lee Roder
August 22, 2009, 01:33 PM
Spacers are a good idea but require a nut capable of locking onto the die. My Lee dies only come with rubber O-rings which is fine if you like changing and adjusting dies. That's why I got a turret, so even with my dies when I get all this stuff figured out I can hopefully just set it and forget it.

Do you buy these spacers or have a punch and make them yourself?

Regarding your crimp, how would a roll crimp change your particular round's function (accuracy, cleanliness, ...)? :)

August 22, 2009, 02:54 PM
I replaced all my Lee rings with mostly Hornady rings, some Redding, etc. Lee rings are fine if you tighten them down on a turret or LNL bushing and leave them alone. Since switching to the LNL I have used some of those Lee rings to lock down some dies on the bushings. Works just fine.

I bought the spacers many years ago. I do not remember where offhand. .001 to .010 in thousandths, then up by .005 at a time if I remember correctly. (.033 one? dunno. I think I have a few from another set)

Crimps in general:

As far as crimps go, roll and taper crimps are both useful, it just depends on the application.

For lead bullets with a good, properly formed, crimp groove, nothing beats a good roll crimp.

For jacketed bullets with a good cannelure (A real cannelure with an indentation, not just marks), a roll crimp is usually best, but a good taper crimp will work as well. I like to taper crimp .223 blasting/plinking ammo, but have done it both ways.

As far as cleanliness, and good ES & SD numbers, you just have to experiment. With slow powders a heavier crimp is usually best, and as the powder speeds up in burn rate you will see it need less and less crimp.

For plated bullets taper crimps are the way to go.

August 27, 2009, 02:46 PM
I have been having to readjust my crimp dies as I change over to the LNL from my Projector.

Here is what I have named "Medium Plus" in my log book for .44 mag. I would probably call this "Heavy" in .38 or .357 Mag, but it is "Medium Plus" for .44 Mag, to me. I am running some loads over the chrono to see if they jive with what I was getting before with the "same" crimp.

Magtech 240 Gr JSP's in Hornady and FC range brass.

Lee Roder
August 28, 2009, 10:11 AM
I'd really like to see your roll crimp Walkalong, maybe your "light" versus "heavy" in a cast bullet if you get a chance.

After learning some things about my Factory Crimp Die here, I've had to go back two steps in the process to make my FCD work better for me.

I find seating these oversize bullets straight into cases flared by my Lee expander die not easy. While apparently starting straight by hand, rotating the cartridge 90 degrees around its major axis ALWAYS seems to show that my bullet is starting crooked. And my Lee seating die doesn't reliably straighten them for me. Sometimes they seat straight, sometimes not, so I end up with various asymmetric "bulges" which get smooshed over by the FCD as pointed to above. :banghead:

To the poster who originally suggested using Lyman's M die for cast bullets here,


In the photo, flare for all 3 cases measured .005" larger than case diameter (.375"). This extent is just enough to eliminate lead shaving during seating by me. (

My bullets fit snugly right into the case mouth of the Lyman flared case just as advertised and, unlike my Lee flared case, are held pretty firmly upright. I can shake the cartridge upsidedown even (gently) and bullet remains immobile, just like ammosmith on youtube. When fully seated, what case bulging there is is symmetrical, the bottom of the bullet being the most prominent though barely noticable, so final resizing by the FCD has much less to smooth out than before. After final resize by the FCD, case diameter over bullet is .377" which is almost what it should be given measured bullet diameter (.358") and wall thickness (.010") so bullet "resizing" by the FCD does not appear to be an issue for me.

While my experience here is admittedly small, the M die is a huge leap forward with oversize bullets. Thanks guys for the opportunity to share!

August 30, 2009, 07:56 PM
I like to use the whole crimp groove when roll crimping lead bullets. In other words, the crimp groove determines my depth of crimp.

I showed a 125 Gr bullet on top of a scrap .38 Spl case next to a .357 case with the bullet seated & crimped so one can see the crimp groove vs the crimp.

Medium Roll Crimp on a D&J 125 Gr RFN

Lee Roder
August 31, 2009, 06:02 PM
Thanks for taking the time to crimp a cast example and post a pic for illustration.

For future reference, I've tried to quantify this FCD's roll crimp in terms more repeatable than "light" or "heavy", etc, and at the same time get an idea of the possible crimps produced by this thing. Seating the die against the ram I can zero the crimp adjustment by turning it down to touch the top of a resized and trimmed but unflared case. Then crimping a single identically sized cartridge in increments of 90 degree turns of the adjuster, I see

Walkalong, none of these crimps produced by my FCD have that nicely rolled look your's or other's I've seen do. :confused: What crimp die did you use in your most recent example?

August 31, 2009, 06:40 PM
I pictured a bullet sitting on a scrap .44 Spl case to show the crimp groove vs the crimp again. As posted earlier, I like to use the whole crimp groove when roll crimping lead bullets. In other words, the crimp groove determines how deep (How strong) my crimp is.

To answer the question posed by Lee Roder...I used a Redding Profile Crimp Die for the .357 crimp, and an RCBS seater (Bullet pre-seated with another die) for the .44 Mag crimp. Those are my two favorite crimp dies.

The Redding die has a taper built in before the ledge for the roll crimp, while the RCBS does not. If you look close you can see the difference in the sharpness of the angles and the length difference in the crimps.

Medium Roll Crimp on a Magnus 215 Gr SWC in .44 Mag

September 13, 2009, 07:38 PM
Light Taper Crimp On Berrys 125 Gr TrFP In .357 Brass

Notice the bright spot at the edge of the case mouth from the crimp die.

September 16, 2009, 03:36 PM
Medium Plus Roll Crimp on a 180 Gr XTP

Using a RCBS Seater Die in station 5 to crimp with bullet pre-seated in station 4 with a Hornady seater.

September 18, 2009, 11:18 PM
Loading 35 rem 200gr hdy rn 37.5 grs varget, start load 36gr- max 39.5 gr. Any advice on whether I should use the lee fcd or just crimp while seating. Just working this up I have two rounds to test in the morning.Used the lee fcd seem pretty good to me couldn't push it in or pull it out with my hands fwiw

September 18, 2009, 11:59 PM

October 1, 2009, 01:43 PM
Heavy Taper Crimp on a Powerbond 125 Gr HP in .357

Used a Redding Taper Crimp only die in the 5th station after seating with a Redding Competition Seater in the 4th station. With this much Taper Crimp is absolutely necessary to crimp seperately.

October 16, 2009, 05:21 PM
I don't reload much of anything but 240gr LSWC for my .44Mag and whether I load it light or heavy I use the same crimp, about like your 720 in the photo above. Where do the rest of you get that pretty lookin high polished brass from? I run mine through a tumbler and it comes out looking sand-blasted.

October 16, 2009, 05:26 PM

What the heck are you using for tumbler media?

Ground walnut shell & polishing compound should give a less polished look with more of a "brass" color.

Follow with ground corncob & polishing compound and it will leave the "brass" looking like a 24ct gold wedding ring!


October 16, 2009, 05:33 PM
Hahaha, I forgot the damn polishing compound. I just got my tumbler, btw.

October 24, 2009, 03:01 PM
Haven't loaded any of these in quite some time. I used a light roll crimp. This crimp will stop bullet set back with plated bullets, but is too weak to indent a jacketed bullet with no cannelure.

Light Roll Crimp on a Ranier 155 gr TrFP in .400 Corbon.

October 31, 2009, 10:29 AM
In the previous post I showed a light roll crimp on a .400 Corbon, which is what I use now. I had previously tried a medium roll crimp. I pulled some bullets crimped that way and I found that it was pretty close to too much crimp for the Ranier bullet as it almost cut through the plating. Not quite, but close. After some testing I found that a light roll crimp worked just as well. It was accurate, gave just as good ES & SD numbers, prevented bullet set back just as well as a medium roll crimp, but deformed the bullet less and was not on the ragged edge of being too much crimp for the plating.

Pulled Ranier 155 Gr TrFP from a case with a Medium Roll Crimp

November 5, 2009, 09:41 PM
When I load 45acp with standard 230g fmj bullets, i set them for min OAL and crimp at 1/2 to 3/4 turn past contact on the FCD. They come out perfect, looks and feels like out of the box bullets.

December 5, 2009, 11:07 AM
Light Taper Crimp on a Zero 125 Gr JHP in .38 Super - Dillon Crimp Die

December 30, 2009, 02:01 AM
I have recently join this site and this is nice idea for providing us this information. Would you mind to let us know more about this? Thanks!

December 30, 2009, 10:51 AM
Looks like to much Roll crimp on this 45 Colt to me. What do you think?:confused:

January 2, 2010, 09:33 AM
That is a very healthy crimp. More than I would use, but not more than some people use. It's hard on brass, but if that much is needed, then so be it.

I would bet that much is not needed, but it could be with certain calibers/powder/bullet combinations. Never say never.

It looks like a bullet with a fairly shallow cannelure, but better than some. A good deep cannelure sure helps when applying a nice heavy roll crimp.

If I needed that much crimp, I would perhaps look to change bullets, but I would also take a very close look at my crimp dies crimp ledge.

Bottom line is it should work just fine, but be hard on brass.


January 10, 2010, 01:54 PM
.357 Mag 158 gr Power Bond Plated flat point. This is for my plink load of 5.8 gr Universal using a SP primer. I'm beginning to think this might be more of a medium crimp, than a light crimp.

It looks like the plating has been breached but with high power maginification that I can't capture well enough with my cheap camera, I see that there is no lead showing. The light makes it look like there is.

Since the plating has not been breached am I realistic that this would be considered a good crimp to have? I'll use this load for my 2 1/2 barrel revolver and my 20" lever action rifle.

Comment from the considerably more experienced than me?


January 11, 2010, 01:53 PM
PM sent. Sounds like you will be fine. They are tough bullets, and don't mind a heavy taper crimp.

February 7, 2010, 11:36 AM
Loaded 50 of these today.

In Post #30 I showed these same bullets in with a Medium Roll Crimp using a RCBS seater die in a separate step.

This time I used a Hornady seater, and I seated & crimped in the same step. I think it did a very good job. The crimp ledge in the Hornady pistol seaters is a nice relatively long tapered ledge instead of a very short almost 90 degree ledge in the RCBS and other similar dies. It worked very well. This is the first time I have crimped with a Hornady pistol die seater, despite having owned a few for some time. I give it an A. (They seat real well too of course)

Medium Roll Crimp on a D&J 125 Gr RFN - Using a Hornady seater to seat and crimp in one step.

February 7, 2010, 04:24 PM
I am new to reloading. I have read crimp descriptions in may forums and books all without pictures. It is a very hard subject to understand, until this thread started. I have read it from the 1st post and followed all the replies (many times). The photos included with the posts make following the written description very understandable and is what is missing in other forums and books. I want to thank everyone who contributed to it. I now have a very good understanding of the subject. :)

February 7, 2010, 04:55 PM
A pic is worth a thousand words they say.

I am glad the thread was helpful. Welcome to THR.

February 7, 2010, 04:59 PM
Hi Walkalong,

Do you have pictures of correct crimps for rifles (.223/,308)?

February 7, 2010, 05:08 PM
Taper Crimp on .223 - Using a Redding Taper Crimp Die in a separate step.

I do not crimp accuracy .223 loads, just blasting/plinking/SHTF gotta work ammo. A roll crimp will work as well, but is much less tolerant of inconsistent cannelure placement and brass length. I still trim all my .223 brass, even when taper crimping.

I don't crimp .308. I don't load any plinking/blasting .308. If I did, I would, but I only load it for accuracy.

Neck tension is all you need for most applications with either caliber.

February 7, 2010, 05:19 PM
Thanks Walkalong, I am going to play around with my Lee FCD now that I know what I am shooting for. I will try to take some pics along the way.

Great thread BTW.

February 7, 2010, 05:51 PM
Took me many pics, as usual, but here are a couple.

7.62 X 39 - Hornady 123 Gr FMJ - Lee FCD die crimp

Looking forward to your pics.

February 7, 2010, 08:51 PM
Ok, here we go. My first attempts with the Lee FCD on .223 (with practice brass).

1/4 turn passed touching the shell holder

1/2 turn

3/4 turn

1 full turn

February 13, 2010, 09:07 AM
How does this one look Walkalong?

February 13, 2010, 11:03 AM
It did not catch much of the case.

It looks like you need to take a little off the bottom of the collet to move the crimp down some, or you trimmed your brass too short. You would, of course, have to re-adjust the die down a bit afterward if you removed some material from the collet. A different shell holder might work better.Yours may be a little high.

The easiest way would be to trim your brass to match your collet, as long as that ended up with a reasonable brass trim length.

If it doesn't work at a reasonable trim length, assuming an in spec shell holder or plate, then the thing to do is trim the brass to the suggested 1.750 and cut the bottom of the collet down to fit the brass length. Easy to do with a lathe, but can be done VERY carefully with a file and sandpaper. The thing to watch for is to keep it square.

The case mouth must align properly (up and down) with the crimping part of the die. That relationship should remain constant, no matter how far you turn the die down. Turning the die down further will crimp deeper, but it should crimp in the same spot on the neck since the brass is riding up and down with the collet, not the die.

Turning the die down too far will get a crimp like your "1 full turn" pic. Kind of smeared looking.

I believe you ended up turning it down too far, trying to get more crimp, because of the poor relationship with the case mouth. IMHO - AC

February 13, 2010, 11:54 AM
Thanks for the info Walkalong. These were trimmed to 1.750" and crimped on a Co-ax so there isn't much I can do about the shell holder (unless I buy the adapter).

These were 1/4 turn after touching the shell holder, does the crimp depth at least look OK?

I will trim a few at 1.760 and see how it works.

I was under the impression that the FCD was not very sensitive to trim length.

February 13, 2010, 12:18 PM
It is much less dependent on trim length because it is not rolling or bending over the case mouth, just pressing it inwards at 90 degrees.

The collet still has to be in spec.

Crimp depth is hard to see, but looks light.

February 16, 2010, 02:01 PM
This is my first post or reply in this forum but after seeing the excellent pictures and reading the info posted I had to say something! I have been reloading only a year or so but have read extensively on the subject but have never seen any book show examples of crimping as I have seen here. Great work Walkalong and all who posted to this subject. Many thanks and I'll be spending much more time here!

February 16, 2010, 06:49 PM
Light Taper Crimp on some .45 ACP Loads

February 16, 2010, 08:50 PM
I don't know who made these. Haven't loaded any in a while. The box says Cullman Al., and that's all. The case mouth is right where the full diameter stopped. I could have roll crimped over it, but I chose to seat them to there and apply a very light taper crimp. They shot quite well, not surprisingly, at an Avg 742 FPS. I will probably try a bit more taper crimp next batch. Still light though.

Very Light Taper Crimp on .38 SPl HBWC

February 17, 2010, 06:28 PM
This time I seated the HBWC to 1.175 instead of 1.195 O.A.L. and used a light Roll Crimp over that little ledge where you can see some lube.

Light Roll Crimp on .38 SPl HBWC

February 17, 2010, 06:50 PM
This time I seated the HBWC out to 1.335 O.A.L. and used a light Roll Crimp in to the cannelure, like it is intended to be used.

Light Roll Crimp in to the cannelure on a .38 SPl HBWC

February 20, 2010, 02:03 AM
I generally put the same crimp on my 45 colt target and full power loads. Both pictured are Missouri Bullet products, 255swc and a 300gr ltc. The 300gr has wo crimp grooves, so I seat the bullet out longer at the second groove. I consider both to be heavy crimps.

February 25, 2010, 09:47 AM
My only question is that a crimp is typically used to keep the bullets in place during the recoil of the firearm. That to me says a 500 S&W mag would need more crimp than a 38 special. Why would a person use the "same" crimp on everything if a light crimp is equally effective? Wouldn't a light crimp be easier on the brass if it suffices?

As far as the "non" typical use it's used to make more consistent ignitition leading to better accuarcy with "magnum" and therefore "harder to ignite" powders. Has anyone been able to determine this to be true to any appreciable degree? I ask only because I've tried crimping for my rifle (I don't have a handgun) and I couldn't see a difference, except that it was a waste of brass on the first few as I squished some of them and a waste of time.

February 26, 2010, 04:40 PM
My only question is that a crimp is typically used to keep the bullets in place during the recoil of the firearm. That to me says a 500 S&W mag would need more crimp than a 38 special. Why would a person use the "same" crimp on everything if a light crimp is equally effective? Wouldn't a light crimp be easier on the brass if it suffices?

As far as the "non" typical use it's used to make more consistent ignitition leading to better accuarcy with "magnum" and therefore "harder to ignite" powders. Has anyone been able to determine this to be true to any appreciable degree? I ask only because I've tried crimping for my rifle (I don't have a handgun) and I couldn't see a difference, except that it was a waste of brass on the first few as I squished some of them and a waste of time.

It really depends. I have sen airweight 38s that would pull bullets better than my kinetic hammer, and 44s that wouldnt budge with a taper crimp. I like a moderately heavy roll for consistent ignition on my revolver cartridges.

Seismic Sam
March 9, 2010, 11:30 PM
Going all the way back to the beginning of this thread, what I noticed was that a .005" flare is WAAAYYY too much to begin with, so the resulting crimps are skewed by how much the case mouth is expanded by to start with. You only want to expand the case mouth enough so that the first 10 mils or so of the bullet base barely fit into the case. With cast lead bullets, it's pretty easy to see because if the flare is not enough, you will start shaving lead. If you get the flare perfect (requires about 4 or 5 tries) the bullet base will just fit, and the case mouth diameter will increase by LESS than a mil after the bullet is run into the case. That's how you want to set your expander die.

The other issue is measuring, in mils, your crimp. None of this light, medium, and heavy qualatative stuff. To begin with, you take a round with the bullet seated according to the directions above where there is little to no case mouth expansion after bullet seating, and measure the case mouth diameter.

Then apply the crimp, and using the narrow inner edges of the caliper jaws, measure the diameter of the case mouth right at the very end. This is kind of a touchy-feely thing to get the caliper jaws level across the case mouth, but you can get the hang of it. Typically, you want a case mouth diameter reduction of .003", for stuff like 35& SIG and hot 10mm loads. For hot 44 mag and 50 AE loads, you want .005" reduction, and for the Smith 500 you want a solid 7 mil crimp to keep that bullet in place with hot loads. (Like a 325 grain JHP @ 1900 FPS :what::what::what:)

March 12, 2010, 03:30 PM
Remington 110 Gr JHP in .357 brass with a bullet sitting on a .38 Spl case to show the cannelure well.

I used a Hornady seater to seat and crimp in the same step. (Same as Post #50)

Medium Roll Crimp on a Remington 110 Gr JHP

Lee Roder
March 16, 2010, 10:16 PM
Going all the way back to the beginning of this thread, what I noticed was that a .005" flare is WAAAYYY too much to begin with ...

I was just trying to make crimping less subjective. The Lee loader's flare tool, being just about idiot proof, provides a convenient target flare when using "real dies" and a press instead of a hammer. It's not an unreasonable amount.

To see why, consider the outside diameter of my sized cases generally run 0.373" - 0.374". My brass thickness (Winchester, Remington) typically measures about 0.010" and this tends toward "thin" in my experience, some brass is a bit thicker. A bullet diameter 0.358" (or larger!) has to fit into a mouth flared to at least this inside diameter to prevent shaving, requiring a minimum case flare of 0.358+0.010+0.010-0.374 or 0.004"

This is not significantly different from my quoted 5 mil figure given all the variability inherent as to bullet diameter, brass thickness and case size.

March 16, 2010, 11:07 PM
a .005" flare is WAAAYYY too much to begin with
I don't think .005 is waaay too much.

Lee Roders flair in the pics in post #1 is a bit more than needed, but I wouldn't call it excessive for lead by any means. Any more than needed does overwork brass of course, and (IMHO) too much can also make seating the bullet straight a bit tougher.

March 20, 2010, 07:01 PM
I just got these Berry's 148 Gr HBWC's. I have shot their 148 Gr DEWC before with good success, but not these. I loaded them at 1.402 O.A.L. (About .125 out of the case) Crimp is about .001 to .0015

Light Taper Crimp on a Berry's 148 Gr HBWC

March 27, 2010, 02:01 PM
Somehow or another I screwed up the pic/description in Post #53. Here are the correct pics and descriptions.

Roll Crimp on a Winchester 55 Gr FMJ in .223.

Taper Crimp on a Winchester 55 Gr FMJ in .223.

The Taper Crimp was done in a separate step with a Redding die. The roll crimp was done in the same step with a Redding seater die.

June 2, 2010, 10:55 AM
I am loading .38 SPCL using 158 gr LSWC and 3.4 grains of WST. Bullet is seated to 1.475 and I don't crimp. In a light load as long as the bullet can't be turned there is no need to crimp. I fire these loads in a S&W mod 28 and find them to be very accurate.

With WST and this bullet the max recommended load is 3.7 grains. The only downside is in a revolver this powder is nasty.

July 3, 2010, 01:35 AM
OK, here goes. I have reviewed every possible forum rule category that I could find, PM'd a mod and can find no rules governing personal business links. I hope I am not breaking any forum rules.

This area of crimping drove me to distraction for years. How is that after such meticulous processing of brass, careful powder and bullet selection we press our loads through each die step and then the last step...the crimp step is upon us. The instructions are ...drum roll "put a good crimp on it?."
What pray tell is a good crimp and by golly if I score once and make a great crimp, how do I return to this crimp next time or what if I make a die change?

I worked on the idea until it hit me, I needed a way to quantify the input pressure in an accurate and repeatable way. After one and a half years my solution has gone from idea to prototype to production and is now available for sale.
Men, it works. Its simple and when you see it, it makes sense. The proof is in the targets. You see I discovered that the crimp actually affects Accuracy and Precision. One can actually see the bullet groups move around the face of the target, (accuracy), and see the group size shrink and grow, precision, as one changes the crimp pressure. Did you know that Lee Factory Crimp die can have over 30-50 footpounds of variance from open to closed collets? Did you know that almost every footpound step of the way between open and closed collets can affect the point of impact of your shot groups? Did you know that most of that powder and most of those bullets you thought won't shoot out of your weapon actually will perform wonderfully with the right crimp pressure?

My idea was to attach a Micro-Click torque wrench to a single stage press. First I discovered that the standard ratchet head-90 degree torque wrenches some of us own will not work correctly when attached to a press. I also found out that the standard torque wrench was not able to handle the footpound range needed for a wide variety of cartridges. It seems as though the same people that make those tackle box fishing weight scales make torque wrenches. Just as with the fishing weight scales, the torque wrenches seem to be made with footpound ranges that require the purchase of two torque wrenches to cover your working range. I found that some cartridges optimized at 5 footpounds and others at 30 or 50 or more. I own no super calibers but I expect some of them to require quite stiff crimp pressures both to eliminate bullet jump as well as to optimize performance. I then contacted a manufacturer to make specific shaft only torque wrenches that had interchangeable tool heads-so the pull for the torque release would be correct for accurate torque readings and had them make a footpound range that spanned from 5-75 footpounds and that allowed less than 1 footpounds increments. I designed and patented an adapter to mate the Consistent Crimp to the most popular presses to start the business. More adapters are in the works.
Don't be too hard on me for the website.. I am hiking up a steep learning curve. More videos will follow on installation and use of the Consistent Crimp.


As a side note I solved another nagging problem while working on the Consistent Crimp. See my Precision Barrel Temperature gauge when you are on the sight.
Thanks for reading.

July 6, 2010, 09:22 AM
hi, got some informations about crimping :

informations from Haendler & Natermann Sport GmbH website.

July 30, 2010, 01:48 AM

What is a crimp and what isn't is one of the least understood operations things in rereloading. IF your cases aren't the same length, you will never get conistent crimps in all your load. The only cartridges with good crimp were those that were the same length as the cartridge used to set up the crimp. Cartridges that are as much as .005" shorter will also pass muster. Cartridges that are longer IMHO, should either be trimmed or disgarded.

A good bullet puller will be a big help, But this is the way I teach learners in my home. A large bell of the case isn't really necessary, just enough to hold the bullet. I like the way #1 is belled. Now we are going to experiment. First, adjust the seating die so the crimp ring doesn't touch the case,, yet. You want to seat the bullet deep enough in the case so the bottom of the of the cannelure or crimp groove is above the the case. Now you're going to slowly lower the seating stem and seat the bullet again..and again. Until when your holding the case strait on, you don't see the crimp groove or cannelure. Now
screw the seating stem up until you think it's up far enough. Then go up a couple more turns. Raise the cartridge into the seating, and and lower the die until it touches the case. Now things slow down again. You want to lower the crimp until the type of crimp you want is reached. A methodI was taught almost 50 years ago is to hold the cartridge with one hand and too slowly pull a finger from the front half of the bullet to the case. If you do it and don't feel the sharp edge of the case, you're there. now run the case back up into the die and this will hold the die in alignment with the case. Now, lock that die in place. While the case is in the die lower the seating stem snugly against the bullet. Now whenever you work on a case of the same length you will get a nice crimp. If your cases are longer than the setup die, you're really locking the bullet in and only God knows what your pressures are going to be.
More than .005" shorter and you won't have a crimp.

This crimp

July 30, 2010, 03:37 AM
The crimp seems to be the part about reloading that creates the greatest degree of confusion.But no sweat. A friend took pity on me about fifty years ago This is what he taught me. First, belling the mouth of a case to much isn't necessary. Part of the problem is that no one trims pistol cases. Once you have all your dies setup you will only get cases worked the way you want to be if they are all the same length, or very close to it. I like the belling of case #1. All a bell is needed for is to hold the bullet in a case on the way to the seating die. Now comes one of the two cases of problems. Use a case the has been sized and belled. It might be easier to have about four cases that are set up. It helps if the die locking ring can be turned without difficulty. Screw the seating die into the press so the crimping ring doesn't come in contact with the case. With a bullet on the case, move the seating stem to a point high in the die, run the case into the die. Now screw the seating stem into the die and check where the bullet is in the case. Repeat this until the cannelure or crimp ring are just above the case. Now we go slowly. Screw the seating stem in very small steps. What you're looking for is when you look at the case, and it's level with your eye, you can't see the cannelure or crimp groove. The bottom of the bullet above the crimp groove or cannelure should be resting on top of the case. Screw the seating stem well up and out of your way. Screw the die down, with the case up into the die, down until it makes contact with the case. Now it go slow and check time. lower the case a little bit screw the die down A LITTLE BIT, raise the case then take it out and check it again. The point you're trying to reach is when you hold the case in your hand and draw a finger from the middle of the bullet down to the case. Repeat this until when you draw your finger from bullet to case you don't feel the sharp edge of the case mouth. This will handle almost every need for a crimp except those shooting heavy magnum loads then just A LITTLE BIT more crimp is all that is needed. As I said when I started, this will give you the good crimp on only those cases that are the same length as the setup case to perhaps .005" longer. Cases that are longer than the setup case will have too much crimp and may raise your pressures higher than you want them.
Too show you how much I believe this, Friday I received 500 new cases from Starline, that evening I spent measuring them. I kept those that ran from 1.275" to 1.280" I ended up with 372 case. The rest are for trading.

August 3, 2010, 05:49 PM
Heavy Roll Crimp into cannelure on a Mag-Tech 125 Gr bullet in .357 Mag

The roll did not show as clearly as I had hoped. Regular brass does better for crimp pics.

I used a Redding Profile Crimp Die which has a taper leading into the sharp roll crimp ledge. It gives a longer crimp than a standard roll crimp die with a conventional sharp ledge only ( Both ways work well.


August 4, 2010, 06:29 AM

This is just my opinion, but I think the bullet needs to be seated just a little bit deeper. A ring is visible on the case that indicates where the crimp starts and that point is pretty low on the bullet. This may be the start of a bulge of the case. With the bullet deeper in the case, and not much deeper, your crimp would be an even heavier with less stress on the case.

Please let me say that I've known reloaders that would be happy with this crimp. I know that I'm a nit picker. I've had reloaders look at me as if I should never be let out without my keepers when I've suggested they trim pistol cases to the same length as their shortest case if they wanted uniform crimps. I'm convinced from match shooting that it does make a difference.
Thanks for putting up with this old goat.

August 4, 2010, 08:12 AM
A ring is visible on the case that indicates where the crimp starts and that point is pretty low on the bullet. This may be the start of a bulge of the case. With the bullet deeper in the case, and not much deeper, your crimp would be an even heavier with less stress on the case. As posted, this is from the type of crimp the Redding die makes. It is a long crimp compared to the old standard you are used to. The die has a taper leading to the sharp crimp ledge. This is the type crimp it produces, compared to a more traditional one like I linked to. There is no bulge at the bottom of the crimp in my post above. The case mouth is crimped into the center (deepest point) of the cannelure. AC

Here is a more traditional short crimp.

August 29, 2010, 12:29 PM
My first attempt at reloading .30-30. I finally found some 150 Gr Core-Lokt bullets to load for the Win 94 .30-30 ( my son has been hunting with. That is what he has been shooting in factory ammo.

I gave the brass just a little more roll crimp than the factory loads had. I bought RCBS dies and this round was seated and crimped in one operation.

Medium Roll Crimp on 150 Gr Core-Lokt in .30-30

September 10, 2010, 08:25 PM
I hope these shoot as good as they look. I have some lead 200 Gr bullets shaped just like these that shoot great in my 696.

Medium Taper Crimp on an X-Treme 200 Gr FP in .44 Spl

September 11, 2010, 12:26 PM
I agree with 'rcmodel,' (and possibly others, naturally). The trick is enough crimp, without working the neck brass so much that you get premature cracking. I load .38 Spl (the example given) to moderate velocities with a 158 gr. Rainer plated bullet, and shoot them in revolvers only. Given that, I'm belling the case (using the expander on a Dillon 650) around .004" (that's four thousandths), which is plenty large to avoid shaving the plating. I, too, use the Lee FCD in station 5, and following the included directions (I know, it's not very manly of me, but, oh well....) I bottomed out the die on the shell plate (necessary for the post-sizing operation), backed out the crimp apparatus, ran a case all the way up and screwed the crimper down until it just touched the case mouth. Then, when I loaded a round, I tightened the crimper 1/2 turn and checked:

1. The cartridge drops into the case gauge & the cylinder of my revolver.

2. I cannot budge the bullet with my thumb or by pressing with moderate force on the bench.

3. I conclude that this is enough crimp for these loads.

When I'm loading .45 Colt, I put a crimp more like "C" in the illustration in the OP, because there's a lot more inertia in the 250 gr. bullet to cause setback, and, more importantly, I shoot some of the .45 LC in a rifle with a tubular magazine that holds 13 rds., and I don't want those bullets moving in the magazine by a combination of spring pressure and recoil energy.

NB: For those who may be new to all this, when NOT using a separate crimp die like the Lee, i.e., you're using the standard seat/crimp die that comes with the majority of die sets, getting the die set to seat AND crimp is tricker, because you must allow some "windage" when adjusting the seating, and seat the bullet a bit further out to start. Then, when you crank the die down for the crimp, since you are simultaneously seating the bullet deeper it will come out right.

October 19, 2010, 02:18 AM
When I crimp a hair thick brass ring forms on the outside edge of the brass at the crimp. I can feal an edge with my finger nail. I have minimised the flare to seat the bullet. I am using the RCB bullet seater and crimper. I am measuring about .003 less at the crimp I am loading .44 mag 200 grain copper jackets. Trying to establish sufficent crimp to build enough pressure to seal the chamber so I don't get powder burns on the outside of the brass. I am concerned because this will reduce the life of the brass. Any suggestions?

October 19, 2010, 07:25 AM
If you have not deburred and chamfered the brass it is not uncommon to "shave" a very thin ring of brass off when crimping brass the first time, especially with new brass and new dies. It probably won't do it next time.

Some crimp ledges in dies are pretty sharp. A little polishing with a bore mop and flitz etc in a drill will help that. Trimming the brass to the same length, deburring and chamfering will help get rid of the "brass ring" as well.

.003 is not much of a roll crimp. A good crimp is needed on the .44 Mag for a good consistent "burn" of the powder charge in full loads with slow powders. Sure, crimping works brass harder, but it is necessary. Don't worry about it.

Welcome to THR

December 15, 2010, 06:37 PM
I wish I had read all this stuff back when I first started reloading. The roll crimp was the item that I wondered about the most. I know I probably overdid the roll crimp a bit when I first started because I sure didn't want those bullets backing out of the cases. Over time, I began to reduce the amount of crimp I applied and I didn't have any bad results. I would say that most of my crimps are about the same as what walkalong calls his "medium" crimp. It is plenty. One thing that convinced me that I was applying too much crimp was to look at some factory ammo. I still had a few diferent boxes of factory stuff for .44 mag leftover from my pre-reloading days. I was very surprised to see that even fairly hot ammo from different makers either had NO visible roll or a very light roll crimp. So now, even with hot loads in my .454 Casull, my roll crimps are fairly modest.

I compliment the posters here on their excellent photography skills. I like the comments made by Seismic Sam regarding quantifying the amount of crimp with a set of calipers. Applying a 0.004" or 0.005" crimp is much more meaningful than saying "light" or "heavy".

January 12, 2011, 10:21 PM
I'm just beginning to reload and still collecting equipment. getting a rcbs rock chucker and will load 9mm luger, .270 win, 300 win ma, and .223 for my ar15. It seems like after reading this it would be worthwhile to seat and crimp bullets without powder or primers till I get it right. Is that reasonable?

Jesse Heywood
January 12, 2011, 10:36 PM
Excellent way to start. And when you get one perfected save it as a sample. You can use it to set your crimp and sizing die in the future. I keep a sample of every case/bullet combination.

Also, I would start with the 9mm. Easier for the beginner than bottlenecks.

January 16, 2011, 07:57 PM
Trimming your pistol brass to length can be a somewhat painful process (did 100 357s yesterday) but it is one process that you usually only have to do once and will ensure uniform crimps. Accuracy follows consistency. I shot several 2" groups today with my Dan Wesson 15-2 at 25 yds. Open sights, resting the heels of my hands on sandbags. Using that trimmed brass and softcast 158gr SWCs from a Lee mold.

January 20, 2011, 06:13 PM
Is this an ok crimp for:
MO bullet 158/.38spl
new win brass trimed & deburred and chamfered
3.7 WIN 231 @ 3.7
Lee seater then FCD

Trying for a "medium taper crimp", buddy says I need to really roll it in...I'm thinking just a wee bit more...

Thanks for the critique, T

January 20, 2011, 07:08 PM
Red Dog Leader, that is just what mine look like. I am using the same bullet and seated to about same depth and with same crimp, by looking at yours. I use the Lee FCD on my test loads. I also loaded some with Lee seat and roll crimp in same step. Haven't shot any of either type yet to see how they shoot. trikerider

March 30, 2011, 09:00 PM
A light taper crimp on a .45 ACP. It is .471 at the case mouth & .472 under the crimp mark where the bullet is seated..

April 9, 2011, 01:27 PM
As I started reloading I always ran several rounds through without powder or primer to gain practice and the right crimp. Once done then I do save a round to use as a guide an example. 9 mm rounds are definitely a good round to practice with. Measurements are essential.

April 9, 2011, 05:34 PM
"C" looks just about perfect. All I'm looking for with crimp, especially on a straight wall revolver case, is consistent neck tension.


May 24, 2011, 09:02 PM
Light Taper Crimp on a Berrys .32 Long HBWC Feeds 100% in my Benelli (

Gato Montés
May 27, 2011, 06:30 AM
OK, so I started reloading using swaged lead bullets with no crimp groove. I found that, with a crimp groove, finding the right seating depth was a tad bit frustrating.

First attempt:

It's kinda deceptive (well, to me anyway) finding out where the crimp will end up until you actually crimp it. These first guys, the case mouth looked just about even with the top of the groove, yet crimped it ends up a bit lower than anticipated.

Here's where I'm at:

I lightened up on the crimp a bit and seated a bit further in. Mind you I'm not using perfectly trimmed brass. I'm looking for a compromise seating depth and crimp. These are just gonna be plinkers anyway. OAL is 1.462.

Soooo, lookin' good?

May 27, 2011, 07:31 AM
The one on the left looks real good.

Gato Montés
May 27, 2011, 11:26 PM
Thanks for the input. The one on the left is CBC (Magtech) brass, center is Remington and right is Winchester. CBC tends to be the longest brass and Winchester is the shortest, so I have to find a medium between the two (or just suck it up and buy a trimmer).

June 28, 2011, 05:52 PM
A Modified Roll Crimp on a 100 Gr XTP in .32 Mag.

July 25, 2011, 07:08 PM
Very Light Taper Crimp on .38 S&W

Berrys 148 Gr HBWC & X-Treme 158 Gr SWC - 1.035 & 1.075 O.A.L.

July 28, 2011, 09:34 AM
Walkalong, your bullet photos are works of art!

July 28, 2011, 10:51 AM
Thanks, but the pros here take better pics. I just take a whole bunch and delete most of them to get a couple that are satisfactory. :)

July 28, 2011, 11:19 PM
Walkalong, your bullet photos are works of art!

I agree. That .32 Magnum is definitely a work of art.

Thanks, but the pros here take better pics. I just take a whole bunch and delete most of them to get a couple that are satisfactory.

The pros throw out a lot of pics, too.;)

Thanks for taking the time to post them. I've learned a lot. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.:)

August 31, 2011, 03:24 AM
Thanks, but the pros here take better pics. I just take a whole bunch and delete most of them to get a couple that are satisfactory.

The pros throw out a lot of pics, too.

This is absolutely true. I've watched that process more times than I can count. It's why digital photography is such a blessing to amateurs - puts us on the same footing (nearly) as the pros, because most of us could never afford the film expense a pro write off as the price of getting that perfect shot.

This is a great thread. I just read the whole thing again, including the new posts from the last six months, which is about how long it's been since I read it last. It's brilliant to be able to actually see and compare to what I'm doing with my loads, too.

And I'm going to forward the link to a couple of people who are just starting out, so they can get better visuals of what things are supposed to look like.

I have a question about the .243. I just started loading for it, and I am wondering if I should crimp, or just rely on neck tension. Any thoughts?

August 31, 2011, 01:01 PM
Great thread!

I just loaded my first rounds last night. 30 rounds of .357 with, what looks like I've seen here, a heavy roll crimp.

September 20, 2011, 07:34 PM
The crimp on example "C" looks just about perfect. I use a LEE Factory Crimp Die. Just follow the instructions that come with the die and then feel your way along until you get the desired crimp. It wont take you long until you are crimping by feel and getting it just right.

September 20, 2011, 07:40 PM
The LEE FCD is the way to go.

September 20, 2011, 07:49 PM
It is a good method to start with. You can also start by getting some 55gr or 62 gr .223 bullets with cannelures and set the depth until you are just slightly deeper on the cannelure than dead center then crimp 'em right there. It's very important to get a good crimp on any semi auto like the AR to prevent bullet "set back" in the magazine due to recoil. Set back can drive the bullets in the magazine deep enough into the case to cause pressure spikes in subsequent shots, not good!

November 3, 2011, 11:24 AM
For auto calibers with just a hair of a taper crimp ( you can seat and crimp in the same step with no problems. The bullet moves so little and the "crimp" is so light it is not a problem. Crimping separately does nothing to increase function or accuracy. It doesn't matter if it is plated, lead, or jacketed. Deburring and chamfering the brass lightly is always a good idea, but I never do it for 9MM, .40, or .45.

Some will say other wise, but that is my take on it.

A medium ( to heavy ( taper crimp on plated bullets in revolver calibers needs to be crimped in a separate step since there would be too much bullet movement during the crimping while seating/crimping in a single step.

For jacketed bullets ( with a well made deep cannelure, or a lead bullet ( with a proper crimp groove, there is no need to roll crimp in a second step.

I trim all my revolver brass, as this makes a big difference in the consistency of the crimp. If you do not want to trim revolver brass, I would not recommend seating and crimping in the same step.

I crimp in a second step on most pistol loads, and one or two rifle loads.

Seated and crimped in one step with a Hornady seater.

December 12, 2011, 10:09 AM
The LEE FCD is the way to go.

I bought one of those when I ordered a carbide 3 die set to start loading .30 Carbine.
Tried it on quite a few rounds, but it just seems to work the mouth of the case too much for my liking.

The taper crimp shoulder in the regular seating die seems to give a much smoother crimp to the case.

I also batch load on a single stage and seat bullets, then reset the die and apply the taper crimp.

December 17, 2011, 07:22 AM
The LEE FCD is the way to go.

This is open for debate. I’ve never found the need for using a FCD for any of my pistol or revolver ammo. The crimps supplied by the seating die has done the job well, rolled or taper. Seperate operations.

If the FCD works for you don't assume it will be good for every one else.

The only rifle ammo I crimp is 30-30 with the roll crimp working just fine. 223, 308 and '06 is not crimped using SMK's.

December 30, 2011, 09:19 PM
Medium Roll Crimp on a .45 Colt 265 Gr SWC-HP (Cast by one of our own) Redding Profile Crimp Die

January 2, 2012, 08:45 PM
If I'm having issues with my .45 pushing the bullets in the case when feeding does that mean there is too light of a crimp?

January 2, 2012, 09:26 PM
Assuming .45 ACP, you do not have enough neck tension. Either the sizer is too big, or the expander is too big, or a little of both. Remington brand .45 ACP brass is the thinnest there is. Some sizers will not size it enough to give adequate neck tension. I have three .45 ACP sizers. One is too tight with thick brass, one won't work with thin Remington brass, and one is just about perfect.

January 10, 2012, 01:52 PM
Any chance of getting a few pics of your .30-30 crimp using a lee FCD ?

January 11, 2012, 03:29 PM
Walkalong, your bullet photos are works of art!
Definitely agree!

January 11, 2012, 03:30 PM
If I'm having issues with my .45 pushing the bullets in the case when feeding does that mean there is too light of a crimp?
Yup! That's what I'm thinkin'

January 11, 2012, 07:25 PM
If I'm having issues with my .45 pushing the bullets in the case when feeding does that mean there is too light of a crimp?Lack of neck tension. No amount of proper crimp on .45 ACP can fix poor neck tension. )

January 12, 2012, 07:27 PM
Where does the lack of neck tension come from? Over belling the case to accept the bullet? or not having the seating die set up right? Or something else?

January 12, 2012, 09:24 PM
The sizer is too big, or the expander is too big, or some of both. Try sizing some cases and loading them without using the expander. If you have enough neck tension then, the expander is too big. If you don't, the sizer is too big.

April 11, 2012, 09:52 PM
Bump. Too good of post to get lost.

May 10, 2012, 10:33 PM
another bump to keep it alive.

Any chance this thread can become a sticky?

May 11, 2012, 07:08 AM
It is in the Sticky "Reloading Library of Wisdom (", along with some other useful threads.

September 8, 2012, 11:42 AM
A crimp on a pulled Argentine 147 Gr FMJ-BT bullet. They have a built in tapered crimp groove. The roll crimp edge pushed the case mouth into the groove quite nicely. I used an insert I machined for a Hornady seater.

147 Gr FMJ-BT in .300 Blackout.

October 23, 2012, 04:33 AM
This is really a great thread! I am new to reloading and have owned a Hornady LNL press for 6+ months. To this day, I still haven't produced any rounds due to me second guessing my taper crimps on .45 acp rounds. Does anyone have any tips to test a crimp for sufficient setback? Thanks for the help guys, and I hope soon I'll be able to contribute too!

October 23, 2012, 07:44 AM
Neck tension holds the bullet in straight walled auto calibers. No amount of "crimp" can fix it if there is not enough neck tension. Test rounds for setback before "crimping". The crimp should remove the bell, or perhaps .001 more. Any more than that can be detrimental. I adjusted my .45 ACP crimp die so that the shortest cases get the bell removed and the longest cases get a hair more.

November 30, 2012, 08:40 PM
There's a great, comprehensive article on crimping in the Dec 2012 issue of "Handloader".

December 30, 2012, 01:18 PM
A Medium to Heavy Modified Roll Crimp. I used an RCBS "Taper Crimp" seater with no seater stem. The crimp ledge is not nearly as sharp an angle as the common roll crimp die of old, and is not anywhere close to as small an angle as a true taper crimp die, but is around 45ish degrees. It is about the same as the crimp ledge Hornady is putting in the sleeves for their seaters. This new angle seems to be the new "thing". I wanted to crimp to help with bullet setback if the bullet banged on something on the way to the chamber.

.300 BLK with a Speer 130 Gr Hot Core JSFP

December 30, 2012, 01:21 PM
A Medium to Heavy Modified Roll Crimp. I used the same RCBS "Taper Crimp" seater with no seater stem as I used for the Speer 130 Gr above.

.300 BLK with a Hornady 123 Gr Z-Max (.310)

April 26, 2013, 04:51 PM
Great thread...

Thanks all....

I have tested a few Rounds and had some Bullet Movements... so Back at the crimp Process again...

Thanks again THR... always some GREAt info to be found

April 14, 2014, 11:22 PM
Guess my question is what each of these look like recovered from a swimming pool after firing.

August 25, 2014, 09:23 PM
Great thred

August 26, 2014, 03:59 AM
I don't load lead, so it's difficult for me to gauge your crimps. But for heavy +p jacketed loads, I would be perfectly comfortable with (D). I have a revolver or two lock up due to bullet jump, but I solved that by using a good stout roll crimp, but once again, I'm talking jacketed bullets and full tilt loads.


Green Horn
October 30, 2014, 05:29 PM
Even though I am new to reloading this is really good stuff to consider because I have both the lee FCD and the Hornady die I will be using however I had planed on using the Lee FCD so this will help. Yep I'm a green horn!

Matt Dillon
October 30, 2014, 08:15 PM
I use the Lee FCD for taper crimped rounds, but NEVER use it for 38 special or .357 Magnum. I just use the roll crimp built into the seater die. Works great, and produces a nice roll crimp.

December 12, 2015, 06:57 PM
Medium Roll Crimp on an ACME coated (HiTek) 158 Gr SWC

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