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Info on Lee FCD

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by orrwdd, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. orrwdd

    orrwdd Well-Known Member

    I have been looking at Lee's documentation but cannot find out if the Factory Crimp Die that comes with the 38/357 4 die set does a roll crimp or more of a squeeze on the cartridge case.

    It looks different inside from the 44/44Mag set. Do I have to purchase a separate crimp die if I want to separately seat the bullet and crimp in either of these calibers?

    Thanks much

    ASCTLC Well-Known Member

    I called Lee to ask that question before purchasing the FCD with the 4 die .38 die set. They told me it was a roll crimp die.

  3. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    And not needed BTW, just use the seating die adjusted correctly. This has discussed over and over, about once a month.
  4. orrwdd

    orrwdd Well-Known Member

    I have also seen several posts stating that you should seat the bullet separately and crimp in another step!

    There seems to be many posts both for and against using the Factory Crimp Die for accuracy concerns.

    I have reloaded before with both Lyman and RCBS using a single die to seat and crimp, but wanted to take advantage of the separate steps, if there was one to be had.

    I guess that my question now is, do you gain anything, or is the FCD just hype?
  5. Lee Roder

    Lee Roder Well-Known Member

    Whether used for production or not, Lee's FCD is handy. I use it as a fairly sensitive diagnostic (I have it) for its characteristic "scuff" of a lumpy case. I'm now crimping using another die.
  6. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    I went around and around with regards to the FCD and feeding problems with my 45 ACP Kimber with lead bullets.

    One of the guru's here took me by the hand and lead me thru the process and ended all my problems.

    BTW I size my lead bullets to .452 and the FCD was just post sizing the rounds, leaving very inaccruate bullets. In my case miking a bullet before seating and using the FCD, then seat a bullet and use the FCD and pull the bullet and mike it.
  7. ar10

    ar10 Well-Known Member

    I guess that my question now is, do you gain anything, or is the FCD just hype?
    Not in a revolver, but with a semi auto I use it and I like it better than the roll crimp.
  8. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    If you have a single stage press, you can seat and crimp separately with just the seating die, but you'd have to adjust it for each purpose each time you switched operations.

    Roll crimping into a cannelure (crimp groove on the bullet) is often easier to do while seating than taper crimping is.

    The Lee Carbide FCD for straight wall cartridges taper or roll crimps, per the specific cartridge's requirements, and has a post-sizing carbide ring that irons out any case buckling that may have occurred while seating or crimping as the case is withdrawn from the CFCD.

    IMHO, the CFCD may save you from some feeding problems, but it is just ironing over problems that occurred elsewhere, and need to be solved elsewhere. It does absolutely nothing for accuracy, and often has a negative effect on it. I have a CFCD in 45 colt, and it does not work well at all. I get far more smooth, consistent and strong roll crimps from my Hornady seating die, while seating the bullet!

    I do use a separate taper crimp die (not CFCD) for 45 acp, but taper crimping, is trickier to get right while seating.

  9. orrwdd

    orrwdd Well-Known Member

    Thanks to everyone for your input. I think that I will stay with crimping in the seating die, since that is what I am used to.

    Accuracy is important to me since I will be reloading for 44 Mag silhouette shooting out to 200 yards.

  10. ASCTLC

    ASCTLC Well-Known Member

    I find the FCD beneficial by using the bullet seating and crimp set for light crimp of mild plink rounds and set the FCD for heavy crimp for the heavy W296 rounds. The FCD stays set for heavy crimp using a Hornady Loc Ring (I use these Loc rings for all my dies).

  11. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    Very true but a lot of us like to seat and crimp in separate steps.

    I did that also. I size my 200 grain LSWC to .452. I seated some and then ran them into the FCD without crimping and then pulled the bullets. The bullets still measured .452. No post sizing for me.

    I agree with the others that say not to use the FCD to fix rounds. I use it as a crimp die and the post sizing feature as a case gage. That saves me the all the time that others spend gaging every round after it's loaded. You can buy a crimp die from any manufacture so the FCD isn't the only one, it's just the only one with a post sizing ring.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  12. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "Accuracy is important to me since I will be reloading for 44 Mag silhouette shooting out to 200 yards."

    The L-FCD is no magic device, one way or the other. It is a very good crimper for both revolver (roll crimp) and pistol (taper crimp) and seating before crimping is slightly better for accuracy.

    All the FCD does different is insure the loaded rounds WILL chamber, without which the method of crimping is irrelivant. It does that by including a "post-crimping" carbide sizer ring at the mouth of the die. If we run a case up and seat an over-sized bullet that can expand the case too much to chamber, any excessive case bulge will be swaged down as the cartridge is withdrawn. OR, if we seat a proper bullet into a case that has excessively thick walls the same thing will occur. And, yes any bullet in either of those situations will also be made smaller and that harms accuracy...but is that worse than not being able to chamber the round?

    The L-FCD is as good as a crimper gets and that's quite good indeed. Fears of 'damaging' accuracy with the post-crimping ring are greatly over-rated, the problems it fixes are a much greater disadvantage than any small changes on targets.
  13. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    I guess my fears were unfounded shooting with a bench rest, not hardly. I only wish my shooting offhand would also show the improvment, but I doubt that'll never happen.
  14. ar10

    ar10 Well-Known Member

    Yep, I have two single stage presses, my Hornady and the little Lee. I seat with the Hornady and crimp with the Lee and FCD. It saves a lot of time.
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    It does an adequate job, as do most crimpers. Certainly not the best out there.
    I disagree. That doesn't mean it will do it for every situation. It will not, but it can.
    I assume you meant "advantage".

    I disagree again because any problem "fixed" (squished) with the FCD can be avoided in the first place with better load technique.

    If all one cares about is speed of assembly and making it feed and go bang, then by all means continue to squish your reloads to catch mistakes, but if one is interested in loading the most accurate rounds you can, skip it. :)
  16. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    Lee Carbide FCD in 357/38 does a Roll Crimp

    The bullet seating die tapers first then rolls in the same die. The FCD in carbide sets does this.
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Never mind. Tired of saying it.
  18. orrwdd

    orrwdd Well-Known Member


    I am getting the opinion that this is one of those issues with 50/50 support, as many for as against.

    Thanks to everyone for your replies.

  19. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    Lee FCD

    A Lee FCD is not needed. IMO. Walkalong is "tired" so i said it for him.:D
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    It may be more for than against. Many, many new reloaders who don't know they are not needed. One thing Lee does well is advertise.

    Yep. Nap time. ;)

    A nap would have been nice, but I let my wife drag me along shopping instead. :eek:

    I believe Lee has a problem with undersized carbide rings in the FCD dies. I bought two FCD dies to try, being the curious sort. .40 & .45. The .40 rarely does any work, and then it barely does anything, but the .45 was squishing the rounds all the time. Rounds that would pass a gauge and run flawlessly in tight match chambers without any post sizing were being squished pretty good. Folks that are feeling a lot of post sizing (which isn't really sizing) either have undersized FCD dies or are doing a poor job loading. Either way, the FCD die is an answer for a non problem. Ammo was loaded successfully for decades, even for tight match chambers, before they were invented. AC

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