I recently bought a Lee FCD for my .45 Colt reloading. (I reload for a Ruger Blackhawk, Uberti Cattleman, and a Uberti '66 Yellowboy). I had noticed that after I have my cartridges loaded and run them through the Lee FCD the C.O.L. actually gets shorter by as much as .010 - .015". I adjusted the FCD and reduced the shrinkage amount to about .004- .005, but it doesn't seem to be putting much more of a crimp in the brass. That is where I left it, but can't help wondering if that is normal. There is definitely a crimp in the cartridge, but I thought the thing wouldn't effect the C.O.L. I followed the instructions to the letter, and that is what I get. Currently my C.O.L. average about 1.585" with a 250 LRNFP, that is where it seats nicely in the crimp groove. What would be considered too short with that bullet? I have been reloading for about 11 1/2 months now, and I enjoy it.
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November 11, 2010, 03:54 PM
Usually seating into the crimp cannelure is just about perfect, as revolvers go.
If it is an extremely long,heavy bullet designed for .45 cal rifles and HOT RUGER ONLY LOADS,you could possibly get into some pressure problems, from the deeper seating intruding on case volume.
But otherwise just seat the bullet to the intended crimp goove and every thing will be GROOVEY!
The Lee factory crimp die has it's place but the regular seating -crimp die provides plenty of crimp on the .45 Colt.
November 11, 2010, 06:31 PM
Are you getting significant resistance when your loaded round is just entering the die? I wonder if the carbide sizing ring on that crimp die is undersized, and hitting the ogive slightly (seating the bullet a tiny bit before you apply the crimp) I recently knocked the carbide sizing rings from all my Lee 4 die pistol sets. Just didn't see the point of resizing, already sized ammo. I got to thinking, "I take all this time to cast, size and lube these perfect bullets. Measure them to the bore diameters of my pistols. Then I smash them through another sizer once a round is complete??" I'd bet you knock that carbide ring out and your problems go away.
November 12, 2010, 12:27 AM
The carbide sizing ring shouldn't touch the bullet unless it's significantly oversized. The ring is set to SAAMI case size.
As a guess: You might try measuring the case mouth after the bullet is seated. It might be possible the FCD is engaging the top of the case mouth and compressing the case slightly as it moves south..
November 12, 2010, 12:42 PM
I can't imagine how a FCD could shorten a loaded round.
Or why you would want to use one in .45 Colt either?
But aside from that:
How about you smoke one with a candle flame.
Then run it in the FCD and see what is hitting what where??
November 12, 2010, 02:32 PM
The crimper for straight wall pistol rounds in the LFC die is a tapered sliding collar. If you are putting to much crimp it will push down on the case and may scrunch it a bit. I think you did the right thing by backing it off some. Some crimp grooves are too small and this could be the problem. I like the tapered Keith type groove for this reason.
The carbide ring in the FCD is larger than the sizer and should only iron out anything that might stop a round from chambering, not re-resize. If you are using oversized bullets as some guns require you could ream out the ring to the right size.
I like the FCD as sometimes you can get a bullet or case thats out of spec. The FCD will ensure it will chamber and not give you problems at the range.
November 12, 2010, 02:36 PM
I have also had the sliding collet become stuck in rifle FCD, and then you got big problems.
I would take the FCD apart, clean it & lube the collet or whatever with some good grease, then try it again.
November 12, 2010, 04:21 PM
Some crimp grooves are too small and this could be the problem. I like the tapered Keith type groove for this reason.
The big tapered kind of crimp groove tends to find it's own OAL. I don't use the FCD for revolver rounds anymore, but when I crimp 200 gr. LNFPs with either the FCD or with the seat/crimp die, that long taper always seems to draw the bullet down to its favored OAL.
I just go ahead and set the seat die to put the bullet where it wants to be and that way the bullet and crimp die agree with ME! ;)
November 12, 2010, 09:47 PM
I'm having the same issue. I need to call Lee, but don't know when.
I suppose the next time I need to make more 45 Colt ammo.
I took my FCD apart & cleaned it w/ Hoppe's #9, but that didn't help.
I'd bet it has something to do with the bullet's profile.
What bullet are you using?
I'm using Missouri Bullet's Cowboy # 4 200gr.
I can reload with Jacketed bullets (Hornady XTP 200 or 250gr) w/o issue,
but when I put the lead ones in it makes 'em too short.