Interested in FCD with removable sizers?


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bds
October 14, 2011, 02:33 AM
This is regarding Lee Factory Crimp Die (FCD) use with straight walled semi-auto cases and oversized lead bullets (larger than typical jacketed diameters).

My contention has been that the FCD was originally meant to be used with jacketed diameter bullets but may post-size larger diameter lead bullets decreasing the neck tension leading to bullet set back, decreased bullet-to-barrel fit and aggravate leading of the barrel. After a polled thread remained with 50/50 split on the issue, I decided to write John Lee of Lee Precision with a suggestion that Lee consider offering FCDs with different sizer rings or one with removable sizer rings (member Uniquedot suggested one similar to one used in Lee Speed Dies).

Well, John Lee wrote back indicating he may seriously consider such a product if there was enough interest/demand.

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 by the way of removable sizers?

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.


John Lee, President

Here's FCD and Speed Die with screw on sizer for comparison:

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

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Otto
October 14, 2011, 03:51 AM
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 by the way of removable sizers? NO.
Just send in your FCD and Lee will re-grind the carbide as large as you want it. I think they quoted me $5.
I use the FCD as a bulge buster and nothing else.

Fishslayer
October 14, 2011, 04:18 AM
This is pretty interesting. I've had varying results with cast boolits regarding leading. Sometimes in the same charge weight/bullet combo. The only variables would be headstamp (wall thickness) and degree of taper crimp. I always use 1/2 turn which Lee calls "light" taper crimp. This, of course could vary depending on feel, phase of the moon, whatever.

I'm going to try a batch of warm .45ACP with zero taper crimp and a few different headstamps & see what happens. If the "resizing" idea is true, I should have less leading with Remington brass (thinnest) than with PMC brass (Thickest).

I definitely can see that the bullet bulge is different with different headstamps.

steve4102
October 14, 2011, 09:07 AM
My LFCD for 45 ACP works well with both lead and jacketed. When loading MB 200gr LSWC I cannot feel the carbide ring make contact with the brass. Only a very slight tick when the rings passes over the flare.

My 10MM was a different story. I felt a lot of contact with the both jacketed and lead bullets, a lot. I contacted Lee and had a 10MM FCD opened up .001, I think factory was .421 and I had it opened to .422. Works great now with both lead and jacketed.

I always wondered why Lee didn't offer the FCD in two different sizes, one for jacketed and one .001 larger for lead?

Walkalong
October 14, 2011, 02:57 PM
I would be more interested in sizers with a range of inserts.

rsrocket1
October 14, 2011, 03:03 PM
Well, $3 for an additional sleeve (http://leeprecision.com/xcart/CRIMP-SLEEVE-40-S-and-W.html) and $5 for a custom size grinding seems pretty darn cheap to me. Or is it this $1 carbide insert part? (http://leeprecision.com/xcart/CAR-F-C-INST-40SW-10.html)

bds
October 14, 2011, 03:34 PM
I think the overall concept of FCD is good in providing final Quality Control on the finished case dimensions and applying taper crimp in a separate operation - otherwise, why would so many people use them?

Only division we have is the inside diameter of the sizer ring that will post-size larger sized lead bullets, epecially when using thicker walled cases. If you can remove/replace the sizer with different diameter sizers, then win-win for everyone regardless how oversized your lead bullet is! :D

Walkalong
October 14, 2011, 05:05 PM
My thing against them is so many people use them to "fix" things. It is cheating new reloaders from learning the craft better. :)

cfullgraf
October 14, 2011, 05:38 PM
During the life of this discussion, I finally reflected on some of my early reloading practices where I might have used an handngun FCD.

When i loaded alot of 357 Magnum I would occasionally over crimp a round because the case was a smidge longer than the others. This case would not chamber. I would remove the decapping pin from the sizer die and iron out the crimp bulge.

An FCD might have been handy for the task but I needed to do it so rarely, I am not sure I would invest in another die for such a low use purpose. I would rather fix things so that i did not have the problem in the first place.

I have to wonder what is going on that there is such a market for the die. I have cast my own bullets, purchased cast bullets, and loaded jacketed and plated bullets. I have never had to reduce the bullet/case mouth size after seating the bullet to get a round to chamber. I have tapered crimp in a separate step since 1980, but it is with a taper crimp only die. With the recent purchase of a progressive press, I have set up my roll crimp rounds to crimp is a separate step as well.

Are current manufacture cast bullets not sized correctly or uniformly? Are home bullet casters not using a luber/sizer step for their cast bullets? Has quality control of jacket bullets gone out the window? Have the wall thicKness at the case mouth gotten very variable?

I wonder.

RustyFN
October 14, 2011, 07:29 PM
My thing against them is so many people use them to "fix" things. It is cheating new reloaders from learning the craft better.

Sad but true. I think too many new loaders figure the rest of the dies are set close enough and the FCD will fix the rest. I hate to see that myself.

steve4102
October 15, 2011, 09:15 AM
My thing against them is so many people use them to "fix" things. It is cheating new reloaders from learning the craft better.

I have read this several times and I'm trying to understand what exactly it means. In a straight walled pistol round like the 45 ACP, what can "I" be doing wrong that the LFCD fixes?
I FL size the brass.
I prime the case.
I flare the case mouth just enough to accept the bullet.
I charge the case with powder.
I seat the bullet to desired OAL.
I finish off the round with a LFCD crimping just enough to remove the flare+.

With these simple steps, where can I be doing something wrong that the LFCD fixes?

I'm not being sarcastic here, I'm serious. I have only been loading handgun ammo for about 3 years and I have always used the LFCD. What if anything can I be doing wrong and what is the LFCD fixing that I may not be aware of?

Thanks.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 15, 2011, 09:27 AM
Certain brass straight-walled cases are not the same thickness from top to bottom, but are thinner at the top and the brass gets thicker as you measure thickness down from the top. I know, in reloading .380 cases, that some of them would actually be larger in diameter AFTER belling of the case mouth where, in order to receive the pill, one had to go deep enough which resulted in a definite bulge at midsection of the brass case!

After speaking with RCBS about this, they sent me a shorter bell insert so when I bell my case mouths, the insert does not extend far enough into the case to expand the portion of case at about midsection. However, before I received that, I purchased a Lee FCD to "iron-out" those bulges, and it did so with no problems.

When one considers all the different cases, bullets and other components and the tools we use to assemble these components, it is really a wonder there aren't more problems than the very few problems that we come across!

Walkalong
October 15, 2011, 09:44 AM
I have read this several times and I'm trying to understand what exactly it means
Over belling and improper removal.

Over crimping and bulging brass.

Seating bullets crooked.

etc, etc....

Anything that results in out of spec ammo. Squeezing it back down is not as good as preventing it in the first place, for various reasons.

Without getting long winded, that'll have to do.

Oh, it is quite possible you are doing a great job and can throw that crutch away. Walla, I'm cured. :)

1SOW
October 16, 2011, 01:18 AM
I'll probably draw heat/sneers from this, but:

Since I started reloading, I use the Lee 4-die set for 9mm jacketed & plated (Berry's) bullets. The FCD did as advertised and what some of you all are saying. I also noticed that it frequently "lengthened the oal up to .0015"". IT SHOULDN'T. I did re-check the sizer die adjustment numerous times, and the FCD still did lengthen some cases .
I tried a new procedure. I used the FCD as the FIRST die, and then resized/deprimed, etc. The 9mm cases came out very uniform and had ZERO problems with thousands of range pickups (all WIN, FC, PPU, R&P). There was no visible damage to jacketed or plated bullets, and every one feeds like it's supposed to in a short-chambered CZ.

My conclusion was/is the Lee sizing die doesn't size to exactly the same depth/size that the FCD does. JUST using the FCD didn't get the case sized the same. Puting the FCD first gets the best of both worlds. I just have to close the slight bell with the bullet seating die---.377-.378.

If anyone who loads 9mm would be interested in trying/testing this, I'd be very interested in what results you get. My 9mm dies have loaded at least 25-30K range pick-up brass, 9mm. This method won't damage lead either.

bds
October 16, 2011, 02:01 AM
I tried a new procedure. I used the FCD as the FIRST die
I believe you earned a bonus star today. Bravo! :D

RhinoDefense
October 16, 2011, 02:13 AM
I use Redding dies and never, ever had issue. Size your brass properly and you won't have issues.

Do not use any post-sizing die for any ammunition period.

1SOW
October 16, 2011, 08:23 PM
Mr. Defense:

1. I use Redding dies and never, ever had issue. Size your brass properly and you won't have issues.

2. Do not use any post-sizing die for any ammunition period.


1. I don't doubt that a bit.

2. The FCD is technically not a post 'sizing' die. It "checks" that my 9mm cartridge is .001/.002 smaller than SAAMI max size, and it can act as separate crimp station from the bullet seating/crimp die. Like you said, if the case is sized properly, the FCD should do nothing but crimp the bell mouth. I think it does check more of the case than the Lee sizing die

While oal is NOT that critical, I am. I like tight oal limits with my light loads. Consistent case lengths help this happen. I also like consistent chrono speeds to give 130-132PF loads. It's just my preference. You won't find one off more than +/- .001 OAL in my 9mm ammo boxes--most not that much. The FCD seems to make that easy to do. It's not required, it's just my preference. Being retired gives me a lot of time to play. Some people whittle scrap wood and throw it away.

#1 you are right

#2 That's "your" opinion, not necessarily fact. My ammo will also run using only three dies.

Walkalong
October 16, 2011, 08:42 PM
Like you said, if the case is sized properly, the FCD should do nothing but crimp the bell mouth. But it does do more than that many times, and it isn't the sizing that is the problem 99% of the time.
I think it does check more of the case than the Lee sizing die
I think it does check size more of the case than the Lee sizing die.

There, fixed it.

The carbide insert is chamfered less, so if you adjust it all the way down, it sizes a little farther down than the sizers. Granted, not to the same amount, but it does size.

Sounds like you may be unintentionally using the FCD as a bulge buster in the first step, since it can size a bit further down. That is not needed with cases that have not been unduly stressed.

Walkalong
October 16, 2011, 08:46 PM
You won't find one off more than +/- .001 OAL in my 9mm ammo boxes--most not that much. The FCD seems to make that easy to doA good seating stem to bullet fit does that, along with proper crimping, whether with an FCD, a seater, or a crimp only die.

1SOW
October 16, 2011, 08:56 PM
Walkalong, :D I don't disagree. When I use the FCD first, the sizing die DOES still have an effect on many/most cases. Why?

Walkalong
October 16, 2011, 08:59 PM
Spring in the brass, and the sizer is smaller. (Or at least it should be.)

1SOW
October 16, 2011, 09:15 PM
I agree with and have experienced "spring in the brass".

By-the-way, I use 99% WIN 9mm brass. And switch to all the same headstamp when I do switch. The cases do come out to more consistent & closer to original lengths using both the FCD and the sizer die; so the handle pull and oal stays really consistent on the Lee turret press.

I can see how the FCD could damage lead and some plated bullets if it's used after seating the bullets. It didn't seem to hurt the Berry's 124 HBRN with heavier plating--I pulled a number of them before I loaded my final cartridges. Using it first, harms nothing.

Walkalong
October 16, 2011, 10:04 PM
The cases do come out to more consistent & closer to original lengths using both the FCD and the sizer die; Agh, case length, not OAL.
Using it first, harms nothing. Well duh. :D

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