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3 or 4 die set - reliable auto feeding

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by thomis, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. thomis

    thomis Well-Known Member

  2. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Well-Known Member

    I'd get the three die set and set it up properly..

    you can always get the FCD later if you need it.
  3. Rogue35

    Rogue35 Member

    I like having the FCD myself.
  4. john16443

    john16443 Well-Known Member

    Suggest the 3 die set as well, and add just the Lee Taper Crimp Die as the 4th die. This is NOT the Factory Crimp Die.


    As mentioned by JLDickmon, just having the 3 die set will work, but the seating/crimping die set up is critical. That's why I prefer to separate the seating of the bullet (die #3) from the removal of the case flare/bell (die #4).
  5. thomis

    thomis Well-Known Member

  6. thomis

    thomis Well-Known Member

    nevermind, sorry i just notice the "NOT" in your post...
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    I prefer to crimp all my auto loading pistol cartridges in a separate step from bullet seating. I do this with a TAPER crimp die not the Lee FCD.

    But, you can set up the bullet seating die to crimp when seating the bullet.

    These days, most, or all, seating dies for 45 ACP will have a taper crimp built in. (Revolver cartridge dies have a roll crimp which is not appropriate for 45 ACP).

    There are lots of different opinions about the Lee FCD (aka Factory Crimp Die) for handgun cartridges. Many feel the carbide sizer ring that is supposed to make the base of the case uniform also swages the bullet which destroys the accuracy of the bullet.

    My opinion is the handgun Lee FCD is a solution looking for a problem.

    Search the forum, get the whole poop and make your own decision.
  8. slowr1der

    slowr1der Well-Known Member

    I also much prefer the Lee FCD. It's much more convenient to crimp in a separate step without having to readjust your seating die each time to do it.
  9. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    The old fashion taper crimp die listed above is like simply buying another seating die and screwing out the seat stem. The FCD has a sizing ring which some (not all) people hate. They are both capable of applying a taper crimp onto 45 ACP.

    Those who hate the FCD claim that it covers mistakes in loading that could be corrected elsewhere. Others claim that since the sizing ring squeezes a bulged case, that it also swages a lead bullet which *might* squeeze it so small that it is now too small for the barrel and will cause leading or inaccurate shooting.

    I personally buy all my Lee Pistol Die sets in the Deluxe set (4 dies in the set). I use the FCD in the 5th station of my LnL AP to remove the bell. I don't apply a crimp in 45ACP or 40 S&W and have the crimp stem screwed out of the way. I do apply a roll crimp in 38/357 and perform separate seating/crimping on the 2 stations. I haven't found the need to crimp for autoloaders and also find that using the FCD does not swage my bullets nor does it affect the accuracy or cause leading in my guns. For me, it's worth the extra $10 and worth it to have rather than having to go out of the way to buy the extra die separately.
  10. joecil

    joecil Well-Known Member

    I also use the taper crimp die on 45 Colt and 45-70 rifle however I use the FCD on 9mm and 45 ACP. I also prefer to crimp as a separate step from seating but then I shoot a lot of lead bullets in all my guns.
  11. tglazie

    tglazie Active Member

    If you are loading on a single stage and plan to use the same bullet all the time you should be fine with 3 dies once you get them set properly. If you are using a turret/progressive there is no reason not to use 4 dies (unless you need a spot for a powder check and only have 4 stations). If you plan to switch back and forth between bullet profiles often, having the seat and crimp separate will make your life much easier.

    My setup is a 4 hole so I use the FCD. The post sizing ring does swage one the bullets I load (230gr LRN) by about .0005" but the results are excellent so I dont mind it. I assume my FCD is a little on the snug side but I havent found a need to polish it out yet. I shoot 200gr LSWC primarily and those pass through without the FCD touching them, as do 230gr FMJ.

    I am sure you will see good results with whatever route you go as long as you are patient and set it up properly the first time.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I would skip the FCD, and concentrate on loading properly. If you want to crimp in a separate step, which is a tiny bit easier to set up, buy a Lee taper crimp die for that.

    The FCD for pistols is a hotly debated subject. There are many threads to read about it here.

    Some folks think it is the bees knees, but millions of lead and jacketed rounds were loaded successfully before it was invented.

    The is one good use for the FCD.

    Search the threads, read every ones opinion, and buy whichever you wish. You can't go wrong either way.
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    The term "crimp" in taper crimp is a poor choice of words. A taper crimp does not hold the bullet in place and too much taper crimp is detrimental. Really, all folks are doing is removing the bell on the case mouth of auto loading pistol cartridges.

    Different story for roll crimps for revolver rounds.

    Unfortunately, taper crimp is the term we have and everyone understands where the operation is applied.
  14. thomis

    thomis Well-Known Member

    I think I am clear, now.

    I guess I can summarize simply by stating that a taper crimp makes feeding easier/ smoother in autoloading pistols by removing the sharp edge of the brass, which could other wise hang upon feeding. Whichever method or die used to make the taper crimp is a matter of personal preference.

    I'm pretty sure I understand that the roll crimp on revolver rounds:

    holds the bullet in place to prevent un-seating under recoil
    improve accuracy, in some cases
    improve velocity

    If the seating die in the Lee 3-die set can make a taper crimp, I may just start with the 3-die set and see how it goes.
  15. korny351

    korny351 Member

    I've always crimped in a separate station for ,45 ACP and 9mm. I used to use the FCD, but have switched to the regular taper crimp die. My progressive press runs a little smoother without that extra bump of the FCD sizing ring as it engages the case.

    Though the FCD debate has sometimes reached fanatical, I hadn't really given it much thought 'til I read this on Darda's webite.

    Please do not use factory crimp dies for cast bullet reloading. Cast bullets MUST remain in their pristine state in order to shoot accurately. Factory Crimp Dies will decrease the cast bullet's sized diameter and thus will cause many unwanted issues.
  16. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    I like the FCD and use it in .45 and .40. I haven't purchased the FCD for 9mm and have loaded many thousands of rounds with zero issues. So maybe it isn't necessary (as noted, if you properly set up your dies). But It's EASIER to tweak the seating and crimping if you do it in separate steps.

    for me.
  17. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    Just because he posted it doesn't make it right. I use the FCD in 9mm, 38/357 and 45 auto with jacketed and lead bullets and none of my bullets get sized smaller by the post sizing ring.
  18. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Me neither... no issues with lead in .40 or .45. Very accurate loads.

    And cast bullets must remain in their pristine state? I assume that means AFTER they've gone through any bullet sizing/lubricating dies?
  19. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    The leftover flare on the case can actually make the cartridge too big for a gun with a tight chamber. This can prevent the slide from going fully into battery. Even if the slide momentum makes it chamber all the way, it might wedge in there and make it difficult to eject, manually, if the need arises. This is rare to see. Most chambers are cut on the loose side in this regard.

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