3 Carbide Dies VS 4 Carbide dies?


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Josh45
June 4, 2011, 09:09 PM
Hello fellow Reloader's. I have a simple question. Im going to be reloading for 9mm, 40 S&W, as well as .45ACP.

I know that the fourth die is the factory crimp die. My question is do I truly need the fourth die for any of these calibers? I read the .45 acp only needs a factory crimp only if really needed...How exactly would I know if it needed it? Im going to be buying the Speer Reloading Manual #14. I have the Lymans 49th edition.

Any information is welcomed and appreciated. I prefer the carbide dies so I can skip the lube part.

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cfullgraf
June 4, 2011, 09:16 PM
For 9x19, 40 S&W and 45 ACP you will want a taper crimp on the bullet. It is primarily to remove the belling of the case mouth for bullet seating.

This can be accomplished with a taper crimp die or a roll crimp die but the latter is more difficult to set up.

I am not sure what crimp the Lee seater dies come with. The other major manufacturers offer a choice with their auto pistol loading dies.

There are lots of different opinions on the value of the Lee factory crimp die. Personally, I feel it is a solution looking for a problem, but I will admit to having never used one.

Sport45
June 4, 2011, 09:46 PM
I like to seat and crimp in separate steps, so I buy the 4-die sets. The sizing ring on the pistol FCD doesn't touch a properly loaded round. It only irons out mistakes.

PO2Hammer
June 4, 2011, 09:48 PM
The fourth die is the factory crimp die only if you buy Lee.

Walkalong
June 4, 2011, 10:08 PM
Im going to be reloading for 9mm, 40 S&W, as well as .45ACP.
.................... do I truly need the fourth die for any of these calibers?
No, you do not. Millions of 9MM and .45 rounds, and quite of number of .40 rounds I imagine, were loaded with three die sets long before the advent of the FCD. There is so little "crimp" going on, and so little bullet movement during the crimp, that crimping in a fourth step, while having its positives, is not crucial.

Josh45
June 5, 2011, 01:09 AM
Thanks for the input guys. I would be buying the Lee Dies because I have the Lee press. I don't really think it matters what press goes with what dies but I rather have things matching. So it looks like I should stick to the 4 die set. Just in case.

Sunray
June 5, 2011, 02:04 AM
"...a roll crimp die..." No roll crimp on any of those.
"...long before the advent of the FCD..." Yep. You can set up the crimping die as the seating die. Don't load .40 S&W myself, but the .45 ACP feeds better with a light taper crimp. The 9mm doesn't seem to care. Mind you, my 9mm is an Inglis BHP.
You really don't need a Speer Reloading Manual. It only has data for Speer bullets. The Lyman is far more versatile. Certainly doesn't hurt to have another manual though.

ArchAngelCD
June 5, 2011, 02:11 AM
Just to address something above, the Lee dies supply the proper crimp die for the caliber you buy. If you buy .38 Special dies they supply a factory crimp die which applies a roll crimp. If you buy semi-auto ammo dies like the 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 Auto the FCD applies a taper crimp. You really don't want to apply a roll crimp on ammo meant for a semi-auto. (head spacing issues)

Lost Sheep
June 5, 2011, 03:30 AM
While you can produce excellent handgun ammunition with the 3-die set, there are three things the 4-die set does for you the 3-die set does not. Maybe two things and a convenience, depending on how you count.

The Seat/Crimp die (which is the same in both the 3 and 4 die sets, I am told) produces a crimp at the same time as the bullet is being seated. The few thousands of bullet movement into the case DURING the crimp application tends to make the case mouth dig into the bullet and sometimes (when applying a very heavy crimp) can crumple the case walls or dig into the sides of the bullet badly.

The FCD eliminates the possibility of those unfortunate consequences of bad adjustment.

Function 1: Better quality control of your crimp. The Fourth Die (Factory Crimp Die, or FCD) applies just the right amount of crimp and you don't have to worry about seating depth because there is no seating stem and the bullet is already seated. You just adjust the amount of crimp and it engages the sides of the bullet right where you put it.

Function 2: Post-sizing. The FCD smooths out any irregularities or bulges in the case walls produced by inserting the bullet during the seating phase. Sometimes happens with lead bullets which are sometimes slightly oversized. This is called the post-sizing step.

Function/Convenience 3: Easier die setup. Adjusting the seating in one operation and then adjusting the crimp in a separate operation in a separate die is a LOT simpler and somewhat easier than adjusting them both simultaneously in a single die.

Not often mentioned is that you can emulate a 4-die set (albeit without the post-sizing) by simply buying (or re-using) a seat/crimp die.

Use a seat/crimp die to seat the bullet and apply NO CRIMP. Then back the seating stem out a ways, readjust the die and apply the crimp. Easy to do if you are loading in batch mode. If in continuous mode (using a progressive or turret), the extra seat/crimp die for crimping only is a good idea.

Lost Sheep

Walkalong
June 5, 2011, 08:14 AM
It's all easy, jeesh. ;)

The FCD smooths out any irregularities or bulges in the case walls produced by inserting the bullet during the seating phase.
That is one way to put it.
Not often mentioned is that you can emulate a 4-die set (albeit without the post-sizing) by simply buying (or re-using) a seat/crimp die.
Yep.

bds
June 5, 2011, 10:14 AM
Wow, Factory Crimp Die discussion again. :D

This is THR and I think we should put forth some "truth in reloading" for the benefit of new reloaders. Many posted good answers and I'll add:

- FCD is a taper crimp die with a carbide sizer ring that will "post-size" the case and the bullet. It really was meant to be used with smaller diameter jacketed bullets (.355", .400", .451", etc.).

- For optimal seal with the chamber during powder ignition, case neck should be taper crimped .020" (average as brass case wall thickness varies) over the diameter of the bullet. Any less, and you are post sizing the bullet (reducing the diameter of the bullet). FCD will post size especially the larger diameter lead bullet and will affect bullet to barrel fit and bullet base bump which will result in gas cutting and leading.

Examples of taper crimp:
.355" jacketed bullet - .375"
.356" lead bullet - .376"
.451" jacketed bullet - .471"
.452" lead bullet - .472"

Many will taper crimp below the .020" over the diameter of the bullet for more "reliable" feeding/chambering. If you want more consistent chamber pressure, accurate match grade loads, do not reduce the diameter of the bullet for better seal with the barrel as many factory barrels are over sized.

- Those claiming they want to ensure reliable feeding/chambering will do so at the price of accuracy and possibly increased leading.

- Those claiming they like to seat the bullet and taper crimp in separate steps are leaving out "post-sizing" of the bullet. If you want to seat and taper crimp in separate steps, tap out the carbide sizer ring or get a separate taper crimp die.

- Is FCD essential? No. Many reloaders and match shooters have loaded their consistent and accurate rounds that reliably feed/chamber without using the FCD for decades. If you are match shooting and want reliable rounds that will consistently feed/chamber, use bullets that are consistently sized and enhance your reloading practice. If you want to increase the accuracy advantage, do a comparison test with FCD loads and loads that were properly taper crimped .020" over the diameter of the bullet. ;)

- So when is FCD useful? When you are using bullets that are not consistently/properly sized. When you want to correct sloppy reloading practice. When you want to sacrifice accuracy over reliable feeding/chambering of rounds. When you can't stand the FCD collecting dust when you paid for it. :D

<flame suit on>

Lost Sheep
June 5, 2011, 02:12 PM
BDS,

My only criticism of your post is that you did not point out that you were discussing only taper crimp FCDs.

Some of your comments would mislead a reader thinking of roll crimp FCDs.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Nothing you said seems to me to be particularly inflammatory. I appreciate that you posted your point of view (and included some of your reasoning).

Lost Sheep

PO2Hammer
June 5, 2011, 02:37 PM
Forget matching names on your press and buy quality dies like Redding.
Some of Lee's stuff is very good, I like their sizing dies in pistol calibers, but their seating and crimping dies leave a lot to be desired, 9mm in particular.
Nothing to do with FCD, their taper crimp dies use a very abrupt crimp angle which makes adjustment touchy. The seater dies have a poor design IMO in 9mm because they do nothing to align the bullets when seating. If the bullet is off center at all when it enters the dies, the Lee die will try to seat it off center, and the only thing that aligns it is the brass itself.
But they are cheap. I guess that's good.

ranger335v
June 5, 2011, 05:03 PM
"...do I truly need the fourth die..."

"Need" is a strong word. IF the fourth die was 'needed' in a three die set they would all be four die sets! Some like it, some don't. What YOU need depends on how you want to load, and what you use to do it with is YOUR choice.

bubbacrabb
June 5, 2011, 05:16 PM
I think that 4 die set would really help you out in 40. Chances are a lot of the brass you get will be glocked, and it seams to iron it out atleast for me. I have loaded without them in most of my calibers, and have not had any problems. But now I just put it on all my dillon tool heads. I like crimping in a seperate stage. Not much more getting the 4 die set. Just grab them online, or watch the classifieds here and other forums. Chances are someone is selling them for a lot less than you'd get them new.

45ACPUSER
June 5, 2011, 08:17 PM
Well, actually there are two brands of dies that have 4 dies in them the Lee Deluxe with the Factory Carbide Crimp Dies and the the Lyman 4 Die Set which adds an M die to the normal 3 die handgun or straightwalled cartridge die set of sizer decapper, case mouth expander, and combo seater / crimper.

I applaud BDS as his sentiments are the same as mine. Having been loading for a very long time with many thousands of auto loader and revolver rounds has never caused me to think I needed a Carbide Factory Crimp Die.

I leaned back in the early 80s that seating and crimping in separate steps was a good idea, as I was loading on SS press and then i carried over to the Dillon 450.

There are many ways around curing sloppy reloading habits. Stop reloading for one.
Adhere to stricter quality control when doing case inspection, you do inspect your cases prior to relaoding?

Usinga Carbide factory crimp die may in fact casue more problems then it is perceived to resolve. Like swaging cast lead bulelts to a smaller diamber, thus creating leading problems. And, a host other issues.

Josh45
June 5, 2011, 08:21 PM
I am new to reloading. Last thing I really want to do is make a mistake. I know that reading the books and paying close attention is key.

Im not going to be shooting IDPA or anything of the sort. This is just going to be a hobby and a way to decrease some cost of ammo. .40 and .45 in paticular.

I want to reload so I can practice for ACCURACY. My new gun needs a break in period and a polished feed ramp. That should help with feeding. Im much more concerned with my accuracy. I read many times here that reloading is a great way of getting a bullet with great accuracy.

I really don't care what name the dies are. I just want to make sure if I need the FCD die. Also, Im sorry for posting this thread. I should have did a search first.

Im still leaning towards the 4-die set. It just seems more convenient to me.

Walkalong
June 5, 2011, 09:05 PM
Don't be sorry. A good FCD discussion is always interesting and informative. Buy the three die set and a plain Jane Lee taper crimp die (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=673624).

the the Lyman 4 Die Set which adds an M die

I really like the Lyman "two step" type expanders. They, and the Redding copies, really help start a bullet straight.

they do nothing to align the bullets when seating. If the bullet is off center at all when it enters the dies, the Lee die will try to seat it off center,
And others of the same style.

I also like the Hornady seaters with the sliding sleeve. The only thing better is the Redding Competition die.

I have more than one set of dies with either a Lee, Redding, RCBS, Dillon, or Lyman sizer, a Lyman or Redding expander, and a Hornady or Redding seater. Most have a crimp die or seater with no plug to crimp after seating, but some loads are seated and crimped at the same time.

I like the Lyman type expander so much I made a two step expander plug for my Lee .32 ACP expander die.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=143534&stc=1&d=1307321875

The first few thousandths of the second step is tapered to aid in the transition from the first step, which makes the second step look tapered, but it is square with the body and the first step. The first step does nothing with most brass, and minimally expands the thickest brass. The second step just does allow a jacketed bullet start with finger pressure with no wobble at all. I set it so the second step goes in the case about .025 to .035, depending on the case length. The Lee taper crimp die in the fourth step takes care of that as well as giving the round a light taper crimp.

cfullgraf
June 5, 2011, 09:25 PM
Im still leaning towards the 4-die set. It just seems more convenient to me.

A four die set is just fine. I got in the habit of taper crimping auto pistol cartridges back in the early 80s when taper crimps were only available by purchasing a taper crimp die and you had to crimp in an extra step. I still prefer crimping in a separate step from bullet seating but it not a requirement.

Walkalong's previous post has lots of good information.

Twiki357
June 6, 2011, 02:13 AM
I never heard of a taper crimp die when I first started loading 9mm some 40+ years ago. I just used the sizing die to get rid of the mouth bell and any bullet bulg. I do the same now days for 9mm, 380, & 45ACP. Works for me. :-)

Josh45
June 6, 2011, 11:22 AM
Thanks everyone. All very useful information.

Well, I ended up finding the Lee 3 Piece Carbide Die for $25 bucks W/ S&H so I went ahead and bought them.

ranger335v
June 6, 2011, 03:50 PM
"3 Carbide Dies VS 4 Carbide dies?"

I hope you understand that only the sizers have any carbide at all, and that's only in a narrow carbide ring at the mouth of the die.

bayhawk2
June 6, 2011, 04:11 PM
Make sure you want just the 3 die set if that's what
you are going for.If you think you'll need that 4'th die buy the set.
A good example of this is on
Ebay.Sellers will remove the Crimp die on purpose then sell
a 3 die set.They then put that 4'th die on Ebay at a price of
about 20 bucks plus shipping.For $20 more you could have had the
whole 4 die set.How do I know?I bought the 3 die set.Then decided to get the
crimp die.HMM.

PO2Hammer
June 6, 2011, 08:53 PM
I hope you understand that only the sizers have any carbide at all, and that's only in a narrow carbide ring at the mouth of the die.
The Lee Deluxe factory crimp die has a carbide ring in it. Obviously it's larger than the one in the sizer die.
Lee-Carbide-Factory-Crimp-Die/ (http://leeprecision.com/xcart/Lee-Carbide-Factory-Crimp-Die/)

Josh45
June 7, 2011, 03:34 PM
Yes, I have heard and read that only one or two dies have the carbide actually working with them.

As to a question that was asked earlier, Yes. I do inspect the cases first. That would be a bad idea not to.

Even tho these are carbide dies....A little lube shouldn't hurt seeing as only one or two dies are carbide...

GLOOB
June 7, 2011, 03:48 PM
For those calibers, I know of 2 reasons an FCD might be useful:

1. In 40/45 for using as a bulge buster. Requires a push through adaptor. Will not work for 9mm.

2. For hollowpoints on a turret or progressive. If your seater plug is squishing the hollowpoints, it definitely helps to crimp in a separate step, so the pressure is not as great during seating. On a SS press, you can use your seater die to crimp in a separate step.

The only other time I've needed an FCD is for post sizing .38 special wadcutters. The thicker brass sometimes bulges so much at the base of the bullet, they won't chamber. The FCD fixes this. I'm not sure how accuracy is affected, but at least they'll chamber.

PO2Hammer
June 7, 2011, 05:32 PM
Even tho these are carbide dies....A little lube shouldn't hurt seeing as only one or two dies are carbide...
A little lube won't hurt a thing, but is completely unnecessary. The reason for carbide is in resizing a large cylindrical area like the outside of handgun cartridge. With plain steel there would be too much friction and you would rip the rim off the case trying to get it out.
Bullet seating and crimping don't involve any large cylindrical area contact. No real friction.

Lube if you want, but it just adds two extra steps, applying it and removing it.

cfullgraf
June 7, 2011, 05:46 PM
Thanks everyone. All very useful information.

Well, I ended up finding the Lee 3 Piece Carbide Die for $25 bucks W/ S&H so I went ahead and bought them.

If you find you want to crimp in a separate step, there are crimp dies, both taper crimp and roll crimp (not advisable for auto pistol rounds) available from other manufacturers. Don't feel that you are locked in to the Lee FCD die. I have taper crimp dies from RCBS, Redding, and one or two plain taper crimp dies from Lee, but I am not sure if Lee still offers these.

One advantage to a separate crimp die is you do not have to upset your seater plug setting if you want to crimp in a separate step. For many handgun cartridges, I rarely change bullets so I prefer not to change my seater setting anymore than necessary. It just wastes time the next time I load that cartridge.

Lots of folks put a little lube on their cases before resizing in a carbide die. Resizing becomes smoooooth with less effort than when dry. A little spritz-on lubricant may not have to be cleaned off but I prefer my rounds to be dry when finished. I do not bother lubing handgun cases resized in carbide dies.

Try it, you might like it.

Josh45
June 7, 2011, 09:26 PM
Bayhawk, That is one happened to me. I seen the 3 die set and went for it at that price. Then of course the 4 die set showed up. Same person with the same info....

Mainly, I wanted to reload for plinking / practice. I have a compact .45 and I know I need practice with it and the best way to get practice in is to shoot. .45 are expensive as everyone knows and reloading is a good way to get that cost down for this caliber as others.

I would like to load some HP some time near the future, But Im buying factory HP for now.

TonyT
June 10, 2011, 11:18 AM
Personally I believe the Lee FCD is an excuse for sloppy reloading practise. I have reloaded for ca 50 years and by paying attention to what one is doing one can produce excellent ammunition.

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