Do you use FCD for lead semi-auto pistol loads?


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bds
October 7, 2011, 09:25 PM
This thread is not about using FCD for rifle or rimmed revolver cartridges. It is about the use of Lee Factory Crimp Die (FCD) for lead semi-auto pistol cartridges.

I am a fan of Lee products and use Lee dies. I am not bashing FCD as I feel its use for typical jacketed diameter bullets is fine (also works well to undersize bulged cases, except the tapered 9mm case).

What I have problem with is the use with larger diameter lead bullets as post sizing may contribute to leading problems in some barrels, especially oversized factory barrels. I was taught to reload without the use of FCD and have successfully made my loads work in 9mm/40S&W/45ACP even with larger diameter lead bullets (and many of you know I use tighter chambered Lone Wolf barrels for 9/40 and Sig 1911 for 45).

So, do you use FCD to load your lead pistol loads?

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beatledog7
October 7, 2011, 09:40 PM
I just posted a concern about this very topic when loading .40 S&W. With no crimp the cycling action of my Glock seated lead bullets deeper, but crimping even lightly with the FCD wiped out the case mouth. I'm stuck, and would love to hear how you manage to solve this.

FROGO207
October 7, 2011, 09:44 PM
I have them so I tried it way back when. I noticed NO improvement, if anything the ammo might have been slightly more inaccurate. This was a subjective trial with me trying to shoot about 200 of each in a test for accuracy. It all loaded fine however. This was with my pistols loading to my specs. YMMV

bds
October 7, 2011, 09:50 PM
Ran a little experiment today loading .40 S&W with .401" diameter 135gr cast PHP from Hunter's Supply. It didn't go well.

I seated one to Lyman manual depth of 1.090 (for 150gr which was closest) and added a light taper crimp with a Lee FCD, but that made the case mouth disappear into the lead bullet so nothing on which to headspace.. I couldn't get a light enough crimp to avoid this
beatledog, saw your thread after I started this thread. Looks like the carbide sizer ring in the FCD is post-sizing your bullet/case neck. Your bullet seating die will taper crimp as well. I would try setting the FCD aside and adjusting your taper crimp to .420"-.421" and see if the round falls in freely into the Storm Lake barrel chamber.

Walkalong
October 7, 2011, 09:54 PM
With no crimp the cycling action of my Glock seated lead bullets deeperYou need more neck tension.

cfullgraf
October 7, 2011, 10:45 PM
I have been reloading for semi-auto pistols for 31 years taper crimping in a separate step. No problems ever with rounds chambering.

RustyFN
October 7, 2011, 11:19 PM
I voted yes but for a different reason than most. I use the FCD but not to fix a bad round, I use it as a case gauge. If I feel a round get post sized it gets set to the side to get inspected. Sometimes they get shot and sometimes they get pulled. I size all of my cast bullets for 45 auto to .452 and have never had one get post sized.

ColtPythonElite
October 7, 2011, 11:22 PM
Nope.

beatledog7
October 7, 2011, 11:32 PM
Walkalong and bds:

You're both right it seems. I've reloaded these applying taper crimp with the seating die. Seems to have solved the problem.

I belled these mouths slightly before seating the bullets. I guess not doing so might have been better as it would seem to be the solution to not enough neck tension, but I did it to keep from shaving the bullets.

Never have these issues with revolver calibers!

CZ57
October 7, 2011, 11:33 PM
Rusty, are you saying that the pulled bullets measure .452"? I have wondered about post sizing. ;)

bds
October 7, 2011, 11:35 PM
Repost from another thread - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=618773

Ran a little experiment today loading .40 S&W with .401" diameter 135gr cast PHP from Hunter's Supply. It didn't go well.

I seated one to Lyman manual depth of 1.090 (for 150gr which was closest) and added a light taper crimp with a Lee FCD, but that made the case mouth disappear into the lead bullet so nothing on which to headspace.. I couldn't get a light enough crimp to avoid this
beatledog, saw your thread after I started this thread. Looks like the carbide sizer ring in the FCD is post-sizing your bullet/case neck. Your bullet seating die will taper crimp as well. I would try setting the FCD aside and adjusting your taper crimp to .420"-.421" and see if the round falls in freely into the Storm Lake barrel chamber.
Thanks, bds; that seems to have worked.

I reloaded the ones I did earlier, using the seating die crimp method you described. Each one is .4215 at the mouth and drops in ok now.

greyling22
October 7, 2011, 11:39 PM
I use them on 9mm and 45. they seem to work fine, and mostly I like the way they will fix the occasional oversize bullet. (my 9mm mold is kind of worn out)

mgmorden
October 7, 2011, 11:45 PM
I just loaded through a box of 500 125grn lead round-nose bullets using the FCD. Not sure what to say - they shot just fine, but I did get leading in the barrel. Not sure that the FCD had anything to do with it though.

After this brief little experiment, I don't think I'll be shooting these again. I've shot PLENTY of plated bullets before with no leading, but it's just too much work to keep the barrel clean like this. I'm thinking I'll be sticking with either plated, jacketed, or possibly moly-coated bullets from now on.

That said, I have recently done up some loads on some other bullets where I didn't use the FCD, and unless I move to a progressive where it's no extra work, I might stop using it too. It takes a tad longer to get my seater setup to seat and crimp exactly how I want it, but saving an entire extra trip through the press is definitely nice.

bds
October 8, 2011, 12:01 AM
mgmorden, I have shot thousands of Missouri 9mm lead bullets (.356" diameter) out of Lone Wolf barrels (.355" groove diameter) with Bullseye/Promo/W231/HP-38 with no leading and I did not use FCD.

What I found initially was that at max/over max load data, barrel leaded but at mid-to-high range load data, leading stopped. :D

mgmorden
October 8, 2011, 12:10 AM
Not sure what was contributing to mine. I was using Georgia Arms 9mm 125grn bullets with 4.8gr of Unique - 1.125" OAL, with the FCD as mentioned. That load doesn't seem excessively hot, but it could be the choice in bullets too.

This was out of my M&P. I'm probably going to drop in either a Storm Lake barrel in that gun soon (or the Apex/Bar-sto barrel if they get it out before I'm ready to buy), in which case I"ll probably reserve the factory barrel for shooting lead loads through and use the aftermarket barrel for jacketed/plated loads.

armoredman
October 8, 2011, 12:16 AM
Yes.
I started casting a few years ago, and it never occured to me not to use the same FCD I'd been using for years, so I went ahead and used it.

These are targets shot with FCD sized boolits, (to use the castboolits.gunloads.com spelling. :) ), at ten yards, two hand hold.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/Phantom%20targets/830111.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/Phantom%20targets/Phantomcastload.jpg

Same load as above shoot at 50 yards, taped standing, untaped rested.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/Phantom%20targets/Phantomat50yards-1.jpg

Now, I did have issues with post sizing with a Lyman boolit, the 356402 conical mold, which did cause issues...so I adjusted to taper crimp, and didn't use the FCD...and got FTF jams. Might not be related. :)

Just my $.02, worth what you paid for it.:)

dickttx
October 8, 2011, 09:57 AM
I learned to reload before Lee made dies. I also learned to drive before cars had auto transmissions.
As soon as both became available I started using them and have never went back.
I use .452 MBC bullets and, so far as I can tell I have never had a bullet resized. If I did, I would look to the bullet as the cause.
I have also never had one fail to chamber or extract.

jcwit
October 8, 2011, 10:12 AM
Nope, no reason to, crimp is perfect.

Nick93
October 9, 2011, 07:17 AM
Did you try to measure the bullet diameter before you seat and after you run the round in the FCD by pulling them ? maybe its a good way to determine if the die squezes the bullets too I would use a very thick brass to confirm that (maybe CBC)...

I dont have a FCD :)

Nick

bds
October 9, 2011, 11:44 AM
Nick, here are some threads that discussed the FCD/post sizing issues.

I think the point to remember is that people have been reloading lead bullets for A VERY LONG TIME before FCD was introduced. :D For new reloaders, it will erase mistakes made by other 3 dies and not help identify where the mistakes were made.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=592428

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=577526

RustyFN
October 9, 2011, 01:05 PM
Rusty, are you saying that the pulled bullets measure .452"? I have wondered about post sizing.

Yes. There was a discussion on a different forum about this. I had somebody tell me I was crazy. They said my bullets were getting sized and I just didn't know it. I took a hand full of my cast bullets and checked them with my caliper, all measured .452. I loaded them in mixed brass with no powder or primer. When I got to the FCD stage I backed out the stem so there would be no crimp but they would still have to go through the post sizing ring. I pulled all of the bullets with a hammer type puller and they all measured .452. The post sizing ring is only going to size something that is out of spec.

Uniquedot
October 9, 2011, 01:29 PM
Yes. There was a discussion on a different forum about this. I had somebody tell me I was crazy. They said my bullets were getting sized and I just didn't know it. I took a hand full of my cast bullets and checked them with my caliper, all measured .452. I loaded them in mixed brass with no powder or primer. When I got to the FCD stage I backed out the stem so there would be no crimp but they would still have to go through the post sizing ring. I pulled all of the bullets with a hammer type puller and they all measured .452. The post sizing ring is only going to size something that is out of spec

Same thing with me. Someone starts an internet rumor and voila millions of experts are born! i have experienced no sizing of bullets when using the LFCD in semi auto calibers, but they do shrink my bullets in every revolver caliber i have tried. Some people only load for revolvers and some might only load for semi autos and each will have drawn their own conclusions about the LFCD, but it doesn't help a newcomer to the hobby when one or the other claims to be an expert on both subjects and poor advice is given which is then spread around by the information super highway experts. I loaded and extracted bullets in the same manner as you and they were exactly the same size as they were when loaded. I don't know what the difference is in the LFCD dies for revolvers and semi's as far as the carbide ring (not talking about the crimp function roll/taper) is concerned, but there definitely seems to be a difference.

bds
October 9, 2011, 02:01 PM
That said, the carbide sizing ring in the die shouldn't even touch the case if the rest of the reloading operations are set up correctly. It is just there to iron out mistakes.

The post sizing ring is only going to size something that is out of spec.
My question to the users of FCD is this. Many say, if their finished rounds are within specs, the FCD won't do anything to the case/bullet diameter. If that's the case, then why use the FCD? I am assuming that one would use the FCD because they NEED to use the FCD for their finished rounds to pass the barrel drop test and reliably feed/chamber from the magazine.

Some have said that they use the FCD as a Quality Control die so all of their finished rounds feed/chamber reliably. But this carries little weight as there are many other reloaders who produce quality reloads without the use of FCD. I wonder if regional/national level match shooters use FCD to do QC on their match rounds? I really doubt it.

I have successfully used Lee 3 pistol dies to load 9mm/40S&W/45ACP with jacketed/plated/lead bullets, even for tight chambered Lone Wolf 9/40 and many 1911 45 barrels. I leave the FCD in the box because my finished rounds have worked in all the pistols I have shot them out of.

Now, if I wanted to seat and taper crimp in separate steps, knocking out the FCD sizer ring and just using it as a regular taper crimp die would be a viable option.

RustyFN
October 9, 2011, 05:50 PM
My question to the users of FCD is this. Many say, if their finished rounds are within specs, the FCD won't do anything to the case/bullet diameter. If that's the case, then why use the FCD? I am assuming that one would use the FCD because they NEED to use the FCD for their finished rounds to pass the barrel drop test and reliably feed/chamber from the magazine.

BDS it's just the opposite. I use the FCD to catch the ones that are out of spec and when I find one I set it to the side and don't use it. When I am done loading I don't need to do a drop barrel test or case gauge them all because I know they are in spec because none of them were post sized. I can go to a match and be confident that the only problems I will have will be my poor shooting ability. :D I have never had a ammo problem at a match. I have also been reloading five years and have loaded thousands of rounds in four different calibers and have only had two rounds get post sized. They were both 9mm using FMJ bullets.

bds
October 9, 2011, 05:58 PM
Rusty, I do see the value in FCD.

Having read a similar thread on another forum (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=465091), I have a thought.

Since the use of FCD for jacketed diameter bullet is fine (as stated in OP, my contention with FCD is with the larger diameter lead bullets), how about if Lee offered another FCD with a LARGER diameter carbide sizer ring for larger diameter lead bullets?

That would address the "brass case spring back" issue when post-sizing of larger diameter lead bullet does occur. So far, I haven't heard anyone complaining of using FCD for jacketed diameter bullets, mostly for larger diameter lead bullets.

If Lee does offer two FCDs, maybe label the FCDs with the size of the carbide sizer rings?

What do you think?

RustyFN
October 9, 2011, 06:07 PM
If Lee does offer two FCDs, maybe label the FCDs with the size of the carbide sizer rings?

What do you think?

If they were marked from the factory good it would be OK. Still might get a little confusing. The only lead bullets I have loaded have been in 45 auto and 9mm. Didn't have any problems with the FCD in either. I am hoping to get a mould for 38/357 soon and will see if the FCD passes the lead bullet test in that caliber.

bds
October 9, 2011, 06:25 PM
How about FCD with replaceable sizer insert? This way you can use:

1. FCD without the carbide sizer (essentially a taper crimp die for separate seat/taper crimp operations)
2. FCD with smaller carbide sizer for smaller diameter jacketed/plated bullets (.355" sized bullets)
3. FCD with larger carbide sizer for larger diameter lead bullets (.356" sized bullets)
4. FCD with even larger carbide sizer for even larger diameter lead bullets for oversized barrels (say .357"-.358" sized bullets)

Do you think Lee would go for something like this? :D

oldreloader
October 9, 2011, 06:37 PM
Just for kicks and giggles I loaded some lead bullets in 9MM and 45 ACP with a taper crimp die and then the same loads with a FCD. I thought the FCD would not work well with lead bullets. To my suprise the groups with the FCD were smaller than the regular taper crimp.

Uniquedot
October 9, 2011, 07:49 PM
how about if Lee offered another FCD with a LARGER diameter carbide sizer ring for larger diameter lead bullets?

They do offer oversize factory crimp dies they just don't advertise them. I emailed with this question a couple of years ago and the response i received was "contact the factory if you wish to purchase oversize factory crimp dies for your revolver loading as they are available"


How about FCD with replaceable sizer insert? This way you can use:

1. FCD without the carbide sizer (essentially a taper crimp die for separate seat/taper crimp operations)
2. FCD with smaller carbide sizer for smaller diameter jacketed/plated bullets (.355" sized bullets)
3. FCD with larger carbide sizer for larger diameter lead bullets (.356" sized bullets)
4. FCD with even larger carbide sizer for even larger diameter lead bullets for oversized barrels (say .357"-.358" sized bullets)

Do you think Lee would go for something like this?

Now there is an idea! it seems it would be simple for them to offer them with replaceable rings as their speed dies allowed the carbide sizer to be screwed on and off the die body. I sold all of my speed dies, but the bodies would be perfect for this use.

Uniquedot
October 9, 2011, 07:55 PM
For those that may not be familiar with the speed die mentioned in my above post i found this one on egay

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEE-CARBIDE-SPEED-DIE-9MM-LUGER-/370548216748?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item56466513ac

Note the knurl on the bottom of the die. This is the removable carbide sizer which threads inside the die. BDS i do believe your idea warrants a string of harassing emails and phone calls from thr users. :D

Walkalong
October 9, 2011, 08:13 PM
That idea would work. Just buy different ID carbide inserts.

bds
October 9, 2011, 11:51 PM
Uniquedot, good idea! FCD with the removable carbide sizer.

I wonder if Lee would consider making the taper crimp die with the speed die bottom that can take different size carbide sizer?

BDS i do believe your idea warrants a string of harassing emails and phone calls from thr users
I sent Lee Precision an email with a link to this thread. If you look at the pictures below, I think it is very feasible since Lee probably still has the tooling to make the speed dies. Can you imagine? Future 4 die sets with FCD and carbide sizer ring of choice. :D (Remove the carbide sizer ring to use it as a separate taper crimp die and screw in the different sizer ring to custom tailor your FCD!)


Factory Crimp Die on the left - Speed die on the right (note removable carbide sizer on the bottom):

http://www.wideners.com/images/fulls/carbide1%5B1%5D4.jpghttp://www.wideners.com/images/fulls/carbdie%20SPEED%20DIES.jpg

codefour
October 10, 2011, 02:49 AM
I am not a fan of the Lee FCD in both lead revolver and lead semi-auto. I had bad experiences with both. Granted, I only used Lee dies sets on .357 and 9mm. I found the FCD had resized the case again distorting the seating and bullet. I could feel the case resizing on the case mouth and neck with the FCD. I was loading various MBC bullets with a BHN of 18. The round I did pull, I found the FCD had changed the size of the bullet to smaller dimensions. I also had leading issues as well.

I have only been reloading for 18 months or so. I contacted a friend who has been reloading for 40 years who taught me to reload. He advised to get a set of RCBS dies and avoid the FCD. He told me the FCD distorts teh cases.

Since I have bought an entire set of RCBS with an additional crimp die for each. My leading has dropped to pretty much zero. I shoot at least weekly. I thought I noticed a slight increase in accuracy without the FCD. It was not a scientific based observation just my general observation.

Why would you need to resize a resized case if it is loaded properly anyway? Just keep the belling to an absolute minimum (even as much as you can with lead) and seat and crimp with out the extra resize. Lee is the only one to offer the FCD. Dillon, Hornady, Redding, Lyman, and RCBS do not implement it. I only use RCBS and Dillon dies now for pistol. They seem to operate a lot smoother on a progressive press that the Lees did. Jus' my $0.02 worth.

Stormin.40
October 10, 2011, 08:24 AM
I voted no, I haven't tried with .401 sized lead bullets because I had issues with .400 sized plated bullets. The FCD would lengthen my OAL when post sizing, maybe I got and undersized FCD? I seat and crimp with my RCBS dies.

I now only use the FCD as a buldge buster for range brass.

USSR
October 10, 2011, 09:45 AM
I have been reloading for semi-auto pistols for 31 years taper crimping in a separate step. No problems ever with rounds chambering.


+1. The solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

Don

TonyT
October 10, 2011, 11:02 AM
In my opinion the LEE FCD is absoluitely not required to produce excelent ammunition. Any set of factory dies properly adjusted will pruduce ammunition within factory specs.

mgmorden
October 10, 2011, 02:24 PM
In my opinion the LEE FCD is absoluitely not required to produce excelent ammunition. Any set of factory dies properly adjusted will pruduce ammunition within factory specs.

Really depends. My 9mm loads I've started playing with not using the FCD and I've been fine, but on my .38 special loads depending the bullet I'm using I've had some rounds that wouldn't fit my cylinder (at least not without forcing them in) after being loaded until I used a FCD.

By a strange occurrence I actually have 3 .38 Special seaters (RCBS, Herters, and Lee) and all did that with those bullets (125 Grn plated HP's from Rainier).

wally
October 10, 2011, 02:31 PM
I use them in 9mm, .380ACP, .38Super, 10mm, .40S&W, & .45ACP

I'll choose reliability over accuracy every time. YMMV.

If they reduce accuracy, its small enough I've never noticed it, although I rarely shoot off sandbags or a rest if not adjusting sights which I pretty much only do with factory loads. My reloads are worked up to try and match POA/POI to the factory loads. I've not changed my recipes in a long time.

Walkalong
October 10, 2011, 03:07 PM
It is unnecessary to choose reliability over accuracy, as you can easily have both using a standard three die set.

jcwit
October 10, 2011, 03:19 PM
Really depends. My 9mm loads I've started playing with not using the FCD and I've been fine, but on my .38 special loads depending the bullet I'm using I've had some rounds that wouldn't fit my cylinder (at least not without forcing them in) after being loaded until I used a FCD.

Try dropping a resized and unloaded case into the cylinder, if it fits and then does not with a bullet its gotta be obvious that the bullet and case are being resized, the oversize whatever has got to go somewhere.

bds
October 10, 2011, 03:33 PM
For me accuracy is everything. Reliability? That's simply part of my basic reloading process and quality control check steps. And yes, I do use 3 die set for jacketed, plated and lead bullets and they have worked reliably even in tight chambered pistols. If I run into reliability issues with a new bullet/pistol, I investigate to identify the cause and work on it until I have reliability. Then I work on obtaining accuracy.

Also, I want to clarify that our FCD discussion is with semi-auto pistol cases and larger diameter lead bullets using taper crimp, not with revolver cases using roll crimp or with jacketed diameter bullets.

Hope that clarifies the focus of the discussion.

jcwit
October 10, 2011, 03:48 PM
Also, I want to clarify that our FCD discussion is with semi-auto pistol cases and larger diameter lead bullets using taper crimp, not with revolver cases using roll crimp or with jacketed diameter bullets.

Hope that clarifies the focus of the discussion.

OK, then lets revise what I said and use the drop test with the barrel from a semi auto pistol. Same principal.

RustyFN
October 10, 2011, 07:41 PM
Try dropping a resized and unloaded case into the cylinder, if it fits and then does not with a bullet its gotta be obvious that the bullet and case are being resized, the oversize whatever has got to go somewhere.

Why go to all that trouble. If the case and bullet get post sized you will feel it, plain and simple.

jcwit
October 10, 2011, 08:47 PM
Why go to all that trouble. If the case and bullet get post sized you will feel it, plain and simple.

Because if in fact you're post sizing the case is not changing diameter the bullet is changing diameter. The material has to go somewhere it just does not disappear.

bds
October 11, 2011, 01:49 AM
It may be early but the poll is about 50/50.

I still think having a removable carbide sizer in the FCD will make everyone happy. Those that want to use it can use it with the sizing of their choice and those that don't want to use it can take out the sizer ring and have the option to taper crimp separately.

But if Lee made a FCD with removable carbide sizer, what will we argue about then? :rolleyes:

I guess we could always discuss the virtues of hand priming ... :D

evan price
October 11, 2011, 02:26 AM
So how about, like the Universal Decapping Die, a "Universal Factory Crimp Die"? Just a die body, and you buy whichever insert you want. No longer any need to include the FCD with the pistol sets. Just buy one FCD body and the collet of your choice. I forsee this as being the ticket for Bulge Busting.

IMHO I wouldn't want one anyway, I never saw the need for anything more than a 3-die set. Loaded thousands and thousands of rounds without an FCD. If your brass, bullets and dies are in spec it does nothing UNLESS you have a pistol with a tight Match chamber.

ranger335v
October 11, 2011, 02:54 PM
"...with larger diameter lead bullets (and many of you know I use tighter chambered Lone Wolf barrels for 9/40 and Sig 1911 for 45)."

Sooo...what's the point of "larger diameter lead bullets" in tight chambers and barrels?

snuffy
October 11, 2011, 03:53 PM
Since the use of FCD for jacketed diameter bullet is fine (as stated in OP, my contention with FCD is with the larger diameter lead bullets), how about if Lee offered another FCD with a LARGER diameter carbide sizer ring for larger diameter lead bullets?

Where are these mythical "larger diameter lead bullets" coming from? Since we're talking semi-auto's here, you may be talking about some who slug their barrels to determine what diameter they actually are. Then sizing their bullets,(or ordering oversize bullets), to a larger than normal size. THEN the lee FCD will squeeze the case against the bullet, sizing it, then spring back leaving a loose, low neck tension bullet.

Another way this happens is when loading oversize lead bullets with standard dies. The expander/beller is built/sized to work with jacketed bullets. When used with bigger lead bullets, it under-expands the neck of the case. Then, driving a soft lead bullet into that tight neck sizes it smaller. Has nothing to do with the FCD. It's been proven time and again over on castboolits.com. It just happens to be done while using the FCD, so it gets blamed because everybody knows it does that.:fire::mad:

So okay, somebody has leading with .452 lead bullets in a 45 acp. He finds out how to slug his BBL. Viola, it's a foreign made 45 with .453 bore. So he sizes his cast at .454, loads using a standard dies, he still has leading. Someone says pull a bullet you just loaded in a case,(dummy, no primer-powder.) Holy cow, it's sized BY THE CASE to .452!:eek::what: Solution is to make or have made a larger expander plug for your dies. Then do NOT use a FCD, or you'll be right back where you started.

Walkalong
October 11, 2011, 04:12 PM
Things were so much simpler when we could just buy a three die set, or a crimp only die if we wanted to crimp in a fourth step. No worries, no leading, no FTF, no debate......... :)

bds
October 11, 2011, 04:48 PM
I think one issue is when a new reloader buys a 4 die set to reload (regardless of jacketed/plated/lead bullets used), especially if he is using a 4 hole turret press, may feel compelled to use the FCD because it came in the die set.

The words "Factory Crimp" may appeal to the new reloaders in thinking, "Well, I better use the FCD if I want factory quality bullets" not fully realizing what the FCD actually does.

Perhaps "taper crimp die with carbide sizer ring" may be a more accurate description but maybe too long for a die name.

Uniquedot
October 11, 2011, 06:16 PM
I won't use my FCD in my revolver sets with most cast bullets depending on the gun and groove, but in 9mm the FCD does not reduce the diameter of bullets even when sized at .358 dia. some claim that theirs (9mm) do, but until i actually see evidence with my own eyes i will continue to write those off as folks spreading internet rumors.

RustyFN
October 11, 2011, 08:15 PM
If your brass, bullets and dies are in spec it does nothing UNLESS you have a pistol with a tight Match chamber.

It does still crimp doesn't it?

If everything is in spec what does it do for a tight match chamber?

45ACPUSER
October 11, 2011, 08:35 PM
The Lee Carbide Factory Crimp die is an answer to no problem I know of.
For cast lead bullets it acts a sizer die, and thus can contribute to leading problems. It will create more problems then it will ever supposedly solve?

I have been loading since I was 13 so that makes for 38 years. I have loaded just about every common handgun round using RCBS and Redding sIngle stage presses or Dillon 450 or 550 and played with 650 and 1050.

Paying attention is key! Of course I have never really had to deal with Glocked 40 brass. But, I load glocked 9mm brass with Dillon Dies and no issues.

armoredman
October 11, 2011, 09:26 PM
...

Walkalong
October 12, 2011, 07:30 AM
Can and will are two different things.

cfullgraf
October 12, 2011, 07:44 AM
It may be early but the poll is about 50/50.

I still think having a removable carbide sizer in the FCD will make everyone happy. Those that want to use it can use it with the sizing of their choice and those that don't want to use it can take out the sizer ring and have the option to taper crimp separately.



A "removable" carbide FCD essentially exists already. Lee sells taper crimp dies without the sizer carbide. Get one, then you can screw out the FCD and reinstall the taper crimp die in its place.

cemjr
October 12, 2011, 08:41 AM
Glocked 40, Glocked 9mm brass? do tell

Scimmia
October 12, 2011, 09:23 AM
I answered no, but I do use a FCD on bottleneck semi-auto pistol calibers. I see no use for it when talking about calibers that head space on the case mouth. All you're doing there is removing the flare in the case mouth which can easily be done in the same step as seating the bullet. You're adding an extra step that gains you nothing, while potentially introducing problems (the post sizing already mentioned). When you're talking about crimping into a cantilure, it's much better to do it in a separate step.

bds
October 12, 2011, 09:50 AM
When you're talking about crimping into a cantilure, it's much better to do it in a separate step.
No, the thread is about taper crimping lead semi-auto pistol loads, not roll crimping.

Scimmia
October 12, 2011, 10:26 AM
No, the thread is about taper crimping lead semi-auto pistol loads, not roll crimping.

You asked about using an FCD with lead in semi-auto pistol calibers. Like I said, anything that headspaces on the case mouth, I don't see the point. ON THE OTHER HAND, it can be useful for calibers like .357 Sig, 7.62x25, .400 Corbon, etc.

bds
October 12, 2011, 10:29 AM
Sorry, forgot about bottle necked semi-auto cases. :D But they still take taper crimp?

jcwit
October 12, 2011, 10:33 AM
And the beat goes on,,, the beat goes on!!!!!

bds
October 12, 2011, 10:46 AM
And the beat goes on,,, the beat goes on!!!!!
I hear ya.

I think the FCD issue is like hand vs press priming ...

Well, I will just wait on Lee's response to my email ... perhaps they can shed some light on the discussion.

RustyFN
October 12, 2011, 10:03 PM
The Lee Carbide Factory Crimp die is an answer to no problem I know of.
For cast lead bullets it acts a sizer die, and thus can contribute to leading problems. It will create more problems then it will ever supposedly solve?

I have been loading since I was 13 so that makes for 38 years. I have loaded just about every common handgun round using RCBS and Redding sIngle stage presses or Dillon 450 or 550 and played with 650 and 1050.

Just wonder if you have personally used a FCD and the sizing and leading are from experience? I have only been reloading 5 to 6 years. I have only loaded lead bullets in 45 auto. I use the FCD all the time. I get zero sizing and zero leading in my 1911.

oldreloader
October 12, 2011, 10:19 PM
When I cleaned both my pistols after my last trip to the range, there was NO leading in the 9MM or the 45ACP. Every round I shot was MBC bullets that had been through the FCD. At one time I thought it wasn't for lead but ran some test loads and found FOR ME AND IN MY PISTOLS it works fine.

bds
October 12, 2011, 10:34 PM
I have an email out to Lee. Perhaps it may be best to hear from them their insight to the FCD questions.

evan price
October 13, 2011, 06:41 AM
@ RustyFN:

If your pistol is tight chambered, components that are still in-spec but on the ragged edge of out of spec can cause problems. Slightly oversized bullets, slightly thick brass, a bit too much flare, and you may have a problem. No fault of the loader, just stacking of tolerances. The FCD, even if you don't feel it, will iron out a thousandth or two almost effortlessly.

cfullgraf
October 13, 2011, 12:46 PM
Sorry, forgot about bottle necked semi-auto cases. :D But they still take taper crimp?

I taper crimp my 38-45 Clerke.

RustyFN
October 13, 2011, 05:38 PM
@ RustyFN:

If your pistol is tight chambered, components that are still in-spec but on the ragged edge of out of spec can cause problems. Slightly oversized bullets, slightly thick brass, a bit too much flare, and you may have a problem. No fault of the loader, just stacking of tolerances. The FCD, even if you don't feel it, will iron out a thousandth or two almost effortlessly.

Thanks Evan I must have read it wrong. I was thinking you were saying that if everything is in spec you can still use the FCD to make ammo fit a tight chamber. I was wondering how that could be done being as the FCD is not adjustable.

bds
October 13, 2011, 09:24 PM
Here's the response from Lee Precision.

From: "John Lee" <info@leeprecision.com>
Subject: Re: Factory Crimp Die for lead semi-auto calibers
To: "XXX" <XXX@yahoo.com>
Date: Thursday, October 13, 2011, 11:26 AM

Thanks for the suggestion of a Factory Crimp die with an interchangeable sizing ring. I will think about your suggestion but have serious reservations about producing it and calling it a Factory Crimp die. If we make the sizing ring any larger it will not produce ammunition that will work in any firearm.

I guess we could advertise it as "Produces ammunition that may work in some firearms"

Seriously, the sizer ring is .001 to .002 smaller than a SAAMI maximum cartridge. This produces a finished cartridge that will not exceed Factory Maximum, a dimension necessary to fit in any standard chamber gun. Many users can use larger cast bullets that swell the case in excess of factory maximum and will work perfectly in one or more of their guns. That same crowd frequently will use a taper crimp die to assure "reliable feeding". The taper crimp die nicely squeezes the brass in turn reducing the bullet shank diameter. Had they used the correct diameter bullet they would not have needed a taper crimp die nor a Factory Crimp die.

For any given brass thickness there is a limit on how large your bullet can be and not swell the brass over the SAAMI limit. If you are using selected brass of uniform wall thickness one can successfully use larger cast bullets with out fear of producing ammo that will not chamber properly in any gun. If you are using mixed range brass stick with the bullet diameter that the cartridge was originally designed for and you won't need a taper crimp die nor a Factory Crimp die.

Again thank you for the suggestion for a "screw adjustable crimping die" basically our Factory crimp die with out the sizing ring, it would be a fraction of the cost of Factory Crimp die without the ground and polished carbide ring. Bounce the idea off your friends on the forums and if there is much interest I will give it serious consideration.


Sincerely,

John Lee, President


From: "XXX" <XXX@yahoo.com>
Subject: Factory Crimp Die for lead semi-auto calibers
To: "John Lee" <info@leeprecision.com>
Date: Sunday, October 9, 2011, 3:31 PM

Good afternoon,

Although I have been a happy customer of Lee products, I have one contention. When reloading lead bullets for 9mm,/40S&W/45ACP, I will set aside the FCD and just use the 3 dies.

The sizing of the carbide sizer ring in the FCD is fine for jacketed bullets and similar diameter bullets but problematic for larger diameter lead bullets that result in "brass case spring back" if post-sizing of lead bullet occurs.

Many posted that they prefer to seat and taper crimp in two steps and/or want to use the FCD as a Quality Control die to ensure reliable feeding/chambering of finished rounds - and I am in support of both.

Have you considered offering another FCD with larger carbide sizer ring or FCD that can be fitted with different sizer rings for use with larger diameter lead bullets? Almost everyone I know shoot a lot of lead bullets and would seem there's a big enough market for FCD with a larger sizer ring/replaceable sizer rings.

bds
October 14, 2011, 12:32 AM
Again thank you for the suggestion for a "screw adjustable crimping die" basically our Factory crimp die with out the sizing ring, it would be a fraction of the cost of Factory Crimp die without the ground and polished carbide ring. Bounce the idea off your friends on the forums and if there is much interest I will give it serious consideration.

So, what say you?

Would you be interested in a FCD to use with your larger diameter lead bullets that won't post-size and have the option of taper crimping in a separate step?

If the interest/market demand grows for such a product, looks like Lee Precision could make that happen. Perhaps, it may be Lee's next innovation. :D

Uniquedot
October 14, 2011, 01:08 AM
So, what say you?

I say yay! get enough folks from this forum and the cast boolits forum onboard and make it a reality.

jcwit
October 14, 2011, 09:14 AM
Neh, happy with what I have and how it works.

hAkron
October 14, 2011, 10:36 AM
In my opinion, which is based solely on my limited experience, the need for a FCD is based on the bullet. If you are loading lead bullets which are properly sized for your gun then you may be under sizing the bullets by using a Lee FCD. I have been loading some lead RN bullets that I purchased (.45 ACP 230gr) which seem to feed better if I used the FCD, and I have a Lee 9mm TC bullet mold that when using the FCD seems to undersize the bullet enough that the springback of the brass after crimping causes the bullet to spin in the case. Lead bullets aside, there are some bullet profiles that seem to benefit from seating and crimping in separate steps and some where it doesn't seem to make all that much difference. The cost of the Lee FCD is cheap enough (cheap being a relative term) that I will usually pick one up for the calibers that I load often just to try it out to see if I like the results.

snuffy
October 15, 2011, 02:04 PM
I just performed a test using a brand new set of 45 ACP Lee dies, the deluxe model. I just couldn't see how so many could be reaching the same conclusion that was opposite to mine. Mine being that a standard size bullet in a normal casing would not result in the bullet area touching the sizer ring of the FCD.

I started with some new brass I just got, called McNett's double tap, from midway. It's absolutely junk! The primer pocket is so tight AND shallow as to require uniforming before it can be loaded! I could NOT seat a primer below the case head, or even flush without running the uniformer in to deepen the pocket. But here I am going off subject in my own post!

I was loading some new 200 grain cast lead SWC bullets from a mold I got from a group buy over on cast boolits forum.

http://photos.imageevent.com/jptowns/cannont2ifolder/websize/8-25-11%20006.jpg

http://photos.imageevent.com/jptowns/cannont2ifolder/websize/8-25-11%20005.jpg

They're sized to .452. I prepped the cases as usual with a partial full length sizing and minimal inside chamfer. Then expanded and charged with the powder through expander and the lee auto disk mounted on my classic turret.

Bullets were seated so the case mouth arrived flush with the front edge of the front driving band. Then the FCD was used to provide a .470 crimp. I noticed a LOT of drag as the sizer ring passed over the bullet, I could even feel each of the driving bands as it passed over them. I then pulled several boolits, using a hammer inertial puller. One was at .450, two were at .451!:fire:

Now, I understand that the normal jacketed bullet is .451. So I grabbed a couple of extreme 200 SWC plated bullets, miked them @ .451. These presented less force to size/crimp than the lead. I did not pull them, I doubt it sized the harder copper plated slugs.

Wanting to see if the double tap cases were thicker, I miked the case walls, they were .009 to .010, just like other brass I had laying around, WW, R-P and Federal.

My mind is changed! I claim to be open minded, I guess that now and then you have to prove it.:uhoh:

My solution is to buy a Redding taper crimp die for 45 acp. I looked at the carbide ring in the lee die, hoping I could simply knock it out, then use the die as a simple taper crimper. I had heard of some guys doing this, the darn thing has no "edge" to get ahold of to drive it out. I have a Redding profile crimper for my 44 mag. That die is superb, puts a nice deep roll crimp on each case. It replaced another FCD that came with the lee die set, the FCD would NOT crimp hard enough to hold my magnum loads.

bds
October 15, 2011, 02:34 PM
I just performed a test using a brand new set of 45 ACP Lee dies, the deluxe model. I just couldn't see how so many could be reaching the same conclusion that was opposite to mine. Mine being that a standard size bullet in a normal casing would not result in the bullet area touching the sizer ring of the FCD.

... 200 grain cast lead SWC bullets ... sized to .452". Then the FCD was used to provide a .470 crimp. I noticed a LOT of drag as the sizer ring passed over the bullet, I could even feel each of the driving bands as it passed over them. I then pulled several boolits, using a hammer inertial puller. One was at .450, two were at .451!

... jacketed bullet is .451" ... [X-Treme] 200 SWC plated bullets @ .451". These presented less force to size/crimp than the lead.

My mind is changed! I claim to be open minded, I guess that now and then you have to prove it.
Thank you for the first-hand verification using new dies and bullets. BTW, nice looking bullets from the new mould!

16in50calNavalRifle
October 15, 2011, 03:45 PM
A little help here - have read the thread (and others related to FCD), and as someone planning to start reloading lead in 45ACP soon, this is directly relevant to my situation.

So the bottom line here is that the FCD is problematic for .452 lead because it resizes (smaller) the bullet in that last step?

Follow-up: is it an option, if one wants to avoid this problem, to just omit the FCD step, i.e. remove it from the turret? Doesn't the bullet-seating die itself crimp the case, making the FCD optional, no matter what bullet one is loading?

I had thought the FCD was a sort of fail-safe back-up device, to ensure that the rounds were sized to Factory Max. for semi-autos - the Lee manual and reloading book themselves state that properly sized rounds will not touch the FCD. So if your third die (bullet seat/crimp) is working properly, the FCD is redundant (the "FCD is a solution looking for a problem" idea offered by several experienced reloaders on these threads).

cfullgraf
October 15, 2011, 04:38 PM
Follow-up: is it an option, if one wants to avoid this problem, to just omit the FCD step, i.e. remove it from the turret? Doesn't the bullet-seating die itself crimp the case, making the FCD optional, no matter what bullet one is loading?



Most, if not all seater dies have a crimping ring machined into them. So, you can crimp on the bullet seating step.

Some seater dies have roll crimps, some have taper crimps so one needs to verify what crimp has been machined into the die. I know RCBS makes two seater dies for 38 Special, one has a taper crimp, the other has a roll crimp. But in general these days, auto pistol seater dies will have taper crimps and revolver seater dies will have roll crimps.

Many, including me, prefer to crimp in a separate step. Adjust the seater die so that the crimp ring has no effect. Seat the bullet as normal and then move to the crimp die.

The crimping part of the Lee FCD could substitute for the separate crimp die. But, you always have the sizer ring in play in the FCD. I am in the camp that feels the Lee FCD is a solution looking for a problem.

Lots of folks swear by the Lee FCD though.

snuffy
October 15, 2011, 04:44 PM
Follow-up: is it an option, if one wants to avoid this problem, to just omit the FCD step, i.e. remove it from the turret? Doesn't the bullet-seating die itself crimp the case, making the FCD optional, no matter what bullet one is loading?

16in50, yes and no, sometimes. Hows that for wishy-washy? In the test above, I did try to adjust the seater/crimp die to do both. Won't work!:banghead: The crimp has nowhere to go, it's starting to crimp while still on the front driving band of the bullet. Result is a ring of lead is sheared off the front driving band. I strive to make great bullets, I sure don't want a portion of the front driving band gone. To say nothing about that sliver of lead getting blown down the bore, OR being left behind in the front of the chamber to cause jams.

The ONLY answer is to crimp as a separate step. It's a no brainer for a four station classic turret or my 5 station dillon 650. IF you have a lead bullet with a crimp groove, OR a jacketed with a cannelure, THEN it's very possible to seat & crimp at the same time.

bds
October 15, 2011, 07:24 PM
I seat and taper crimp in one step using Lee dies. The key is using the right amount of taper crimp in respect to the bullet diameter. Most case walls are .010" in thickness. So for.452" diameter lead bullets, .472" taper crimp (.452" + .020") will straighten the flare of the case neck without shaving lead from the side of the bullet. Some really tight chambers may require taper crimp of .471"-.472". For me, .471"-.472" taper crimp won't shave the bullet unless a particular case has thicker than typical case walls.

Doing a drop test using the barrel out of the pistol will tell you how much taper crimp you need to use for your barrel's chamber.

I often see reloaders posting that they use .469"-.470" taper crimp without specifying the bullet diameter. I use .470" taper crimp for jacketed bullets, but there's no worry of shaving lead off the side of the jacketed bullets. Of course, if you are seating and taper crimping in separate steps, even using .469"-.470" taper crimp won't shave the side of lead bullets.

Walkalong
October 15, 2011, 07:28 PM
There is so little bullet seating movement while the .45 seater applies the proper taper crimp, that with the majority of bullets seating and crimping together works quite well. Naturally if you use a crimp only die in after seating there is no worry at all. I have seen a lot of way over crimped .45's.

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