9mm Lee factory crimp die needed?


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ochadd
October 24, 2009, 09:11 AM
So I picked up a Lee 4 die set out of the bargain bin at Cabelas and apparently I got screwed and the factory crimp die is missing. Came with a 40 S&W expanding die instead. After checking Lee's videos and help it appears this isn't a mandatory step. The bullet seater gives instructions on setting a crimp and I'm a bit confused why the 4th die is needed. Is it just for confirmation that it will chamber?

It's not a big deal if I need to order a new one as they are $14 through Wideners but I would like to reload some this weekend if it's not a mandatory step. Reloading plinking/target rounds for a Taurus/Beretta 92.

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The Bushmaster
October 24, 2009, 09:19 AM
Load away. The FCD is not necessary at all. Just remember that all you are doing when you crimp semi-auto cases is to just remove the bell and maybe a tiny bit more.

If you are concerned about chambering. Use your barrel to check your finished rounds. Remove the barrel from the slide and drop the cartridge into the chamber. You should hear a solid "clunk" when the case mouth hits the raised end of the chamber.

rfwobbly
October 24, 2009, 10:12 AM
If you are using a 4-stage press, then I find it better to use the Lee TAPER Crimp Die in the 4th position. If you shoot soft plated or plain lead bullets, then crimping and seating in the same die (3rd station) can mangle the bullet nose if the seating ram doesn't match the shape of your bullet. You can buy those at Midway, Grafs, and other Lee dealers.

Walkalong
October 24, 2009, 10:20 AM
better to use the Lee TAPER Crimp DieGotta agree with that. (or any standard crimp die)

loadedround
October 24, 2009, 10:32 AM
From my experience with the 9mm, a properly adjusted seating/taper crimp die is all that's necessary in loading the 9mm. Since this cartridge headspaces on it's case mouth, just a "kiss of crimp" is needed to remove any mouth expansion from your second, or expander die. It is true however to use a four die set in a progressive press since it's much easier to set separate seating and crimping dies in a progessive press, or as a matter of fact in any press. It could be considered an unnecessary extra step in a single station press. Don't waste your money on a Lee FCD for the 9mm, it's not needed.

SSN Vet
October 24, 2009, 03:56 PM
well if you were supposed to get it, and the wrong die was in the box, I'd simply call Lee and have them swap out the one you have.

whether you use it or not, you paid for it, so you might as well have it.

In general, I like Lee equipment, but their product nomenclature is very confusing....

If you read through their web sight very carefully, you will see that the "Factory Crimp Die" can be different, depending on what cartridge you are loading. If you are buying the 4 die set for a cartridge that head spaces off of the case mouth, the "Factory Crimp Die" that you get with the set, will indeed be a taper crimp die (with Lee's "famous" post sizing ring in it").

Walkalong
October 24, 2009, 04:24 PM
whether you use it or not, you paid for it, so you might as well have it.Yep.

something vague
October 24, 2009, 04:36 PM
Absolutely get a hold of Lee and get what you paid for. I don't use the LFCD and also don't really like the idea of it. But it belongs in the set you bought and you might as well have it. You may end up liking it as others do but could also be helpful if you decide to sell the set in its complete form. Either way, get Lee to give you the right die.

If loading on a single stage you can go ahead and properly adjust your seater die to put the proper crimp on the loaded round. I would reccomend doing this in a different step rather than with the seating proccess. I never had good luck while trying to crimp while seating in the same step. It's odvious why this doesn't work well.

zxcvbob
October 24, 2009, 05:28 PM
Was it sold as an "open box"? If so, I don't think it's Lee's fault.

I load 9mm using a Lee 3-die set, and it works great. No need for the FCD die in a tapered cartridge. (I do use one, reluctantly, as a post-sizing die in .357 Magnum.)

ochadd
October 24, 2009, 05:59 PM
I'm using an RCBS rockchucker single stage. So the process would be to adjust the bullet seating die just to seat the bullet without crimping. Then run them through again in a separate step adjusted to just crimp? Sounds good to me. I bought 200 rounds each of 115gr JHP, 124gr JHP, and 250 Barrys plated 115gr RN to try out.

I'll give Lee a call on Monday and see if they will trade me dies. It's most likely Cabela's fault for not verifying all the dies were correct. Was bought out of the bargain cave and they don't allow returns. The case was all broken so I assumed that was why it was in there. Was taped shut so couldn't check it out in the store.

Thanks for all the replies.

zxcvbob
October 24, 2009, 06:44 PM
So the process would be to adjust the bullet seating die just to seat the bullet without crimping. Then run them through again in a separate step adjusted to just crimp? Sounds good to me. I bought 200 rounds each of 115gr JHP, 124gr JHP, and 250 Barrys plated 115gr RN to try out.I seat and crimp 9mm bullets at the same time in one operation. It's a little tricky setting up the die until you get used to it. I don't use a heavy crimp in 9mm; never found a need to.

Walkalong
October 24, 2009, 07:21 PM
.32 ACP, 9MM, .40, .45 ACP etc can all be seated and taper crimped in one operation because very little crimp is needed.

I do however, crimp in a fourth step for the majority of my loads now.

billybob44
October 24, 2009, 07:37 PM
Well, I might as well speak for the minority-I use the Lee Factory Crimp Die in my 9MM loads. I load on a Dillon RL550 with Dillon dies. I use the LFC die in place of the Dillon taper crimp die. I do this to avoid the "Glocked out" brass that sometimes goes through. The sizer ring on the Lee die helps a bunch for me. With this system in use, I very seldom have a load that does not go through my case gauge. I use a VERY small amount of Lee products, but their Factory Crimp Die I use in 9MM+.45acp loads.:neener::what::eek:

RustyFN
October 24, 2009, 07:52 PM
I am probably one in the minority. I use a FCD for every caliber I load. I don't use it to fix ammo, I use it instead of a case gage. I figure if the FCD doesn't post size the round then it is in spec and good to go. If it does post size the round then after I take it out of the press I inspect it to see if it needs to be pulled. I have never had a round not chamber or had any other problems so I guess it has been working good so far. I also like to seat and crimp in separate steps. Out of thousands of rounds I have only had two that were post sized.

armoredman
October 24, 2009, 09:02 PM
I also use the FCD, I like it, handy tool. Use it on 9mm and 38 Spl.

schmeky
October 24, 2009, 09:43 PM
If you are concerned about chambering. Use your barrel to check your finished rounds. Remove the barrel from the slide and drop the cartridge into the chamber.

With all due respect, it's not pratical to do this with every loaded round if you load a lot and time is a factor. Using the FCD is a form of QA/QC. Nothing wrong with using it.

I use range brass and load quite a bit. When a round meets with resistance on the FCD, I normally chunk it in the trash, cause the FCD is telling something is wrong. Typically, it's an A-Merc piece of sh_t case.

Like others said, I would call Lee, my gut feeling is they will make it right. Sounds like you bought the set expecting it to be included.

Walkalong
October 24, 2009, 10:31 PM
I use the LFC die in place of the Dillon taper crimp die. I do this to avoid the "Glocked out" brass that sometimes goes through.If your sizer will not size this brass enough, the FCD die will not either. It's carbide ring is bigger than 9MM sizer dies.

99% of problems "solved" with the Lee FCD die can be solved with better load procedure. IMHO of course. ;)

I don't use it to fix ammo, I use it instead of a case gage. I figure if the FCD doesn't post size the round then it is in spec and good to go.Can't argue with that. Sounds like a good way to find problems, then cure the cause.

SPW1
October 24, 2009, 10:49 PM
He said he got it at the bargain bin at Cabelas, I doubt it was lees fault that there was a 40 s&w die in there, probably more an issue of it being opened at the store and things getting mixed up there.

SSN Vet
October 25, 2009, 07:17 PM
you could just go back to Cabellas and buy the 40 cal. Lee set from the bargain cave and you'll probably get you 9mm LFCD..... :)

ochadd
October 25, 2009, 09:14 PM
Loaded the first 100 rounds crimping as a separate function. Did the second 100 rounds seating and crimping together. Both worked out great and cycled well.

I'm getting filthy cases. Factory cartridges are right at 1.167 COL but a couple manuals are calling for 1.1" so that's what Im setting them to. Throwing TightGroup at 3.9, 4, and 4.2 grains with 115gr plated RN. 124 gr JHP with four grains and the brass is coming out black with soot. Using CCI 400 small rifle primers.

Loading pistol really makes me want a progressive press.

Walkalong
October 25, 2009, 10:05 PM
Titegroup is bad about staining cases, even though it burns clean with almost no residue.

700X, AA #2, N320, Zip American Select, & Red Dot are all good for light 9MM loads, and will leave cases cleaner.

My two favorites for light 9MM loads are N320 & 700X, with AA #2 close behind.

Dirty cases don't hurt a thing, but I do prefer loads that leave the brass clean, when I can get them.

ArchAngelCD
October 26, 2009, 02:05 AM
I guess I'm in the minority too because I like and use the Lee FCD for all my handgun ammo too, both revolver and semi-auto calibers.

I have to agree with "RustyFN", the post-sizing feature of the FCD is what I like most about it.

The Bushmaster
October 26, 2009, 09:13 AM
And if you need the "post sizing" feature of the Lee FCD you need to go back and review your reloading procedures. Something ain't right...:uhoh:

ArchAngelCD
October 27, 2009, 05:17 AM
And if you need the "post sizing" feature of the Lee FCD you need to go back and review your reloading procedures. Something ain't right...
I agree completely. I, like posted above, like the fact it can catch a mistake if one is made. I've yet to have one but it's nice to know there is a safety net. Besides, I have a 4 hole turret press and it fills the 4th hole... :p

Jeff H
October 27, 2009, 12:14 PM
And if you need the "post sizing" feature of the Lee FCD you need to go back and review your reloading procedures. Something ain't right...

I use the FCD on some but not all calibers and I find that the only cases that really seem to get any post sizing are a handful of 357 nickel cases I have. I guess the plating makes them a tad to wide after a .358" bullet is inserted. There is a definite difference between the feel between brass and nickel cases.

On my 45ACP dies, I use the FCD just to crimp and don't know that I have ever noticed any post sizing, maybe just a bit.

chris in va
October 27, 2009, 06:57 PM
I just started reloading but I find the FCD to come in handy as it flattens out the case mouth rim a bit for easier feeding in my CZ. It's had a problem with the rounds getting hung up on the next one trying to come in.

RustyFN
October 27, 2009, 08:11 PM
I agree completely. I, like posted above, like the fact it can catch a mistake if one is made. I've yet to have one but it's nice to know there is a safety net. Besides, I have a 4 hole turret press and it fills the 4th hole...

And actually does a nice job crimping also.

NuJudge
October 27, 2009, 08:30 PM
I load mostly cast bullets. I've used the FCD in the past on 9mm, but I have several 9mm pistols with large groove diameters and Leading problems. I believe the FCD is reducing bullet diameter in the case. I believe I am going to try just a crimp die, and see if my Leading problems go away.

CDD

jcwit
October 27, 2009, 08:40 PM
I load mostly cast bullets. I've used the FCD in the past on 9mm, but I have several 9mm pistols with large groove diameters and Leading problems. I believe the FCD is reducing bullet diameter in the case. I believe I am going to try just a crimp die, and see if my Leading problems go away.

CDD

You Sir have discovered the fallacy of the FCD.

RustyFN
October 27, 2009, 10:14 PM
I load mostly cast bullets. I've used the FCD in the past on 9mm, but I have several 9mm pistols with large groove diameters and Leading problems. I believe the FCD is reducing bullet diameter in the case. I believe I am going to try just a crimp die, and see if my Leading problems go away.

CDD

I think 9mm would be less of a problem being a tapered case but you are correct, there is a chance the FCD is sizing the bullet. What I have done for example is I cast my own bullets for 45 auto. Every case that goes into the FCD I can feel resistance and was worried about the same thing as you. What I did was backed out the crimp adjustment stem so the die wouldn't crimp. I loaded a few without primers or powder and after seating them ran them into the FCD all the way but no crimp. I felt resistance on every one. I pulled the bullets. I size all of my 45's at .452. Every bullet I pulled still measured .452.. I took one before I pulled it and pushed it into the bench very hard and the bullet didn't budge. Good luck and I hope you find your leading problem.

Edit: I forgot to add that I measured the case before and after with my caliper and came to the conclusion that what I was feeling was the FCD straightening out the bell that the powder/expander die put in.

Bear2000
October 31, 2009, 10:22 PM
I always use the FCD with my 9mm loads on my Classic Turret Press. I'm not sure I know why, I just followed the instructions when I first got it and now it's habit. My loads shoot very well - 125 gr Zero JHP over 4.2 gr of Titegroup, 1.125" OAL is my standard recipe.

Uncle Chan
November 1, 2009, 11:43 AM
I, too, use the LFCD in every caliber I load. Good habit to be in, IMHO.

Walkalong
November 1, 2009, 12:40 PM
I have posted this before, but here goes.

How in the world did reloaders get by all those decades without this wonderful cure all die. One can only wonder. :rolleyes:

The Bushmaster
November 1, 2009, 01:19 PM
And we got along just fine without a calculater at the loading bench all these years too, but I find one quite handy and faster then my pencil on paper. And more accurate...But...Like I said. I only use one for my .30-30 rounds and only for the better crimp...

jfh
November 1, 2009, 01:45 PM
As noted earlier, I have my FCD dies set up to "crimp only"--that is, with the die body set high enough, I am able to fine-tune the crimp amount. My #3 / Lee seater-crimper die has been carefully adjusted to 1) seat the bullet and 2) remove most (if not all) of the bell from the #2 / PTED.

Experimentation with new building as well as checking previously-loaded cartridges have shown me that it is easy to distinguish between the FCD crimping action and the post-sizing.

And, now that I am confident in my ability to do the right kind / amount of crimping (at least with my Lee dies), I will probably go back and set up at least one turret with a 3-die configuration. But, only after I have that particular caliber cartridge components--the brass and the bullet--standardized. One brand of case, one brand / spec of bullet.

If that is boringly reliable, I'll then get out old turret #1 (original turret, 3-die) and run that round from there--but then I'll get frustrated with 3-strokes-per cartridge, and move it all over to the Load-Master--and start all over again.

Winters are long for me.

Jim H.

RustyFN
November 1, 2009, 04:17 PM
I have posted this before, but here goes.

How in the world did reloaders get by all those decades without this wonderful cure all die. One can only wonder.

And since you can crimp in the seating die I guess every manufacture should stop making a separate crimp die. After all people loaded for years without one.

Walkalong
November 1, 2009, 05:27 PM
That is a mighty big jump, and silly as well. I believe you missed the point. It isn't the crimp feature that is touted. The pistol FCD crimps just like any other crimper. Not as well as some, probably better than some. The issue that is so touted is the post sizing feature. Some of us think it is a solution to a non problem. Some hail it as the savior of reloaders. You know the posts. "My reloads wouldn't work until I got the FCD die". After that they never look for the real problem/solution, and spread the great news of their finding with blissful ignorance.

I don't mean to say folks who know how to reload and like the FCD die should quit using it. I have never said that. I do mean that it is not the wonder cure that some tout it for, it doesn't crimp better than anything else out there, and hopefully new reloaders learning their trade will look further than it for their answers. :)

RustyFN
November 1, 2009, 06:32 PM
The pistol FCD crimps just like any other crimper. Not as well as some, probably better than some.

That is the only point I was trying to make. Trust me I am on your side when it comes to using the FCD as a fix all. It wouldn't bother me if they stopped making them and included a standard crimp die in the four die set, but I do like to use the post sizing ring instead of a case gage.

Walkalong
November 1, 2009, 07:19 PM
Gotcha. I misunderstood. AC

PO2Hammer
November 1, 2009, 07:45 PM
This won't be popular around here, but I went from four dies, including the FCD, to two dies. Sizer and competition seater. (auto pistol rounds)
The competition seater will seat any jacketed or plated bullet without flaring the case, no bulges, no scraped bullets, no crimp needed.
Bullet tension is improved, set back all but eliminated, and accuracy is better than ever. Brass life should be improved by reducing the working of the necks.

RustyFN
November 2, 2009, 07:46 PM
This won't be popular around here, but I went from four dies, including the FCD, to two dies. Sizer and competition seater. (auto pistol rounds)
The competition seater will seat any jacketed or plated bullet without flaring the case, no bulges, no scraped bullets, no crimp needed.
Bullet tension is improved, set back all but eliminated, and accuracy is better than ever. Brass life should be improved by reducing the working of the necks.

Single stage press? Just wondered if you are measuring every charge by hand now since you eliminated the powder die.

zeke
November 2, 2009, 09:18 PM
PO2Hammer-even less popular is the Lee undersize die route. Followed by the Lee universal plugger, than Redding Comp die. It does cure setback issues, when ya want/need to.

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