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Is this round crimped properly? (pic)

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by John Wayne, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. John Wayne

    John Wayne Well-Known Member

    Hello all. I recently got started handloading, and have loaded approximately 500 rounds of .38 Special using lead bullets. I have been very impressed with my results in that regard, and invested in a set of 9mm dies for my Lee press.

    I follow the instructions included with the dies exactly, but my rounds just don't look right.

    The load is 5.9 gr. HS-6 with a 125 gr. LRN BB bullet, .356 diameter. I have loaded less than ten rounds, and have not fired any.

    Round on left is 115 gr. Magtech JHP for comparison. When I run my finger down the round, there is a noticable edge at the case mouth. My handloaded round on the right feels very smooth by comparison, almost exactly like a roll-crimped round.

    -How do I check for headspacing using a pistol barrel?

    -Is it safer to seat bullets at the maximum OAL for lower pressures?

    -Should I use the Lee Factory Crimp Die instead? I watched an RCBS DVD on loading auto pistol rounds, and only a 3 die set was used (but with jacketed bullets)

    -Is it possible to accidentally roll-crimp a round using a taper crimp die?

    -Is this round safe to fire, or do I need to discard them all?

    Thanks for any help!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  2. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    Looks OK to me, but that photo is HUGE! I couldn't wait for it to complete downloading, so I'm just squinting at the little one. FWIW - I use the Lee FCD on everything I load, but I'm also a neophyte compared to a lot of the long-time loaders here.
  3. John Wayne

    John Wayne Well-Known Member

    Sorry for the huge photo, don't know how to resize it. The rounds look OK in the little pic, but if you wait for the pic to load there is a pretty noticable difference.

    The round has only been through the three die set, not the FCD.
  4. Russt

    Russt Well-Known Member

    What brand of pistol is it? It's not a polygonal rifleing is it? First thing I'd check is the OAL. It looks like the first band may bottom out in your chamber. I'd pull the bbl off and slide the cartridge in the chamber and see how it fits, it may not go all the way in the chamber. I ran into this once on a .45 swc. I had to seat the bullet deeper and get the shoulder flush with the case mouth, then taper crimp. If you're using a Lee die set it should have a taper crimp built into the seater die. It looks a little bit too much to me but only your chamber can tell the answer. I used to seat and crimp at the same time but I find it easier to use the Lee Factory Crimp Die. With cast bullets it too can lead to other problems, like if you have thick brass it'll size the bullet too, so I bought another seater die and now seat and crimp in different stages. If you're using a single stage you could just seat the bullet then back out the center part of the die, screw the die body down to crimp in seperate stages. I use a Lee Classic Cast Turret and a Hornady LNLAP so I found it easier to get a seperate die.
  5. JLW3501

    JLW3501 New Member

    Thats too much crimp...
  6. John Wayne

    John Wayne Well-Known Member

    It's a Springfield XDM9, so no polygonal rifling.

    I can seat the bullets a good bit deeper and stay within OAL specs.

    It looks like it's seating the same depth in the chamber as a factory round...don't really know how to check other than just looking at it.

    I am using a single stage press, so I might try seating and crimping in seperate operations, and backing off the crimp a bit. I have not used the FCD yet because of the problems you mentioned (I am using range brass).
  7. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Your crimp looks fine. I'd shorten the lead bullet OAL so the case mouth meets the bullet where the straight wall ends and it tapers. See your modified image below. If it drops in and falls out and fits the same as a factory round you are good to go.

    A couple quick suggestions on the picture that are easy to do.

    The modification to your picture as attached was done with Paint that comes with windows for free just to show what can be done. I just selected the close up portion and cropped the immage using the menu selections. The arrow was done using the line tool and the color was selected to stand out. The text was added using the text tool. The resulting image was then resized by 87% for something more appropriate to web viewing.

    There are better programs to edit images and most cameras come with such a program when you get the camera. If you have Microsoft office you can use the image manager program in office.

    Some hints. Most Cameras have an image quality setting, the lower setting(s) have more compression and make the files smaller. The cameras will have different picture sizes like 10m, 5m, 3m, 1.5m etc. Use the lower settings for smaller number of pixels, smaller file size and quicker viewing on the web. If you don't have software to make changes to image size and many cameras allow you to edit the pictures in your memory card and change the size and quality and some even allow you to crop and zoom. So the changes can be made to the image on the camera before loading it to the computer.

    Around the common sized 640x480 is a good size for posting on a board.

    Attached Files:

  8. Ranb

    Ranb Well-Known Member

    I think the minimum crimp required to keep the bullet from moving (in or out) while chambering is ideal. While a heavier crimp can give more consistent velocities, it is more likely to damage the bullet and degrade accuracy. A few simple tests can tell you if you do not have enough crimp. For semi-autos insert a loaded mag (at the range) and cycle the slide to load/extract them all. Then measure to see if they changed length. If required, crimp a bit more.

    In a revolver, you only need enough crimp to keep the bullet from jumping forward during recoil. This may mean you need a heavy crimp on the magnum revolvers.

    Be careful with a factory crimp die, it is easy to crush the bullet. I loaded up cast 300 grain FN for a 44 magnum carbine. I used a heavy crimp with the Lee die and was very satisfied with the 6 fps standard deviation in velocity. I was very unhappy with the large amount of lead left in the bore and the 18" group at 100 yards. The cause was the deformed bullet that let gas leak by and melt the bullet. The cure was a slower burning powder and much less crimp.

  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    + 1 to Steve C's comments about Paint and camera settings.

    Neck tension should do the vast majority of holding the bullet. No amount of crimp can overcome poor neck tension. That is more crimp than you need. It is not excessive, but is, IMO, a good deal more than it should be crimped. You want just enough to remove the bell and a hair more. The Lee FCD will not fix that by its self, better adjustment of the crimp die you have now will. That O.A.L. is just fine as long as the bullet does not get into the rifling and cause chambering problems. Steve's illistration of where to seat and crimp too is what you need to do if that O.A.L. proves too long to chamber.

    Headspace in pistol barrels link

    No, just a very severe taper crimp.

    Yes, as long as they chamber OK.
  10. Remo-99

    Remo-99 Well-Known Member

    I'd say a tad too much as well, there is no defined edge for the cartridge to headspace/chamber on, like there is on the comparative round.
  11. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    9mm arguably doesn't need a crimp. Load a round with no crimp, and then try and push the bullet into the case (set it back).
  12. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    Too much.
  13. Deavis

    Deavis Well-Known Member

    What does the case mouth measure? Use your calipers, not your finger to determine the crimp. You can take sucessive measurements down the case to determine if you've created a bulge by overcrimping. Your finger is a nice, well-designed instrument but the caliper is better.

    It depends on how much you flare the case for bullet seating. In a high volume application, flaring is increased slightly to allow easier seating and a crimp is absolutely required to bring the round down to or under the spec.
  14. chris in va

    chris in va Well-Known Member

    My CZ requires a taper crimp. Otherwise I get FTE as the spent shell hangs on the new round's rim. And yes it's been back to CZ USA.
  15. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    Well, yeah I've done that too. You're not really crimping though. Just removing the flare.

    My current XL650 setup uses a Lyman M die, and interestingly enough it flares in such a way that I can get a bullet started easily, but once fully seated there isn't enough of a flare left to need being hit with a crimping die to remove.
  16. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  17. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    Small auto pistol rounds really don't use the crimp to retain bullets, normal case tension does that pretty well. All you need do - and what's ideal - for any rounds that headspace on the case mouth is to remove any flare you put on them to make seating easier, and you have done that.

    Seating/OAL "problems" are manufactored stronger in loader's minds more than is justified. Seating vastly deeper and signficantly reducing combuston space or vastly further out and jamming hard bullets into the lands does elevate pressures but seating changes measured in a dozen or so thousanths are virtually meaningless.

    We can't roll crimp in a taper crimp die.
  18. Deavis

    Deavis Well-Known Member

    Semantics, but I crimp every round in addition to removing the flare. There is little reason not to as others have noted, just removing the flare, which means putting the mouth at exactly the maximum 0.380" spec will not work in every single gun. I am willing to bet if we put calipers on some people's rounds who claim they only remove the flare, we'd find that they have crimped the case mouth slightly. I could be wrong.
  19. Noveldoc

    Noveldoc Well-Known Member

    Don't think you really need to crimp a lead bullet. Plenty of friction holding them in.

    If you do, would seat the bullet a little deeper so the edge is over the groove and then use a smidgen of taper, just enough to remove flare and then a tiny hair.

  20. John Wayne

    John Wayne Well-Known Member

    Ok, I measured them at the case mouth. Didn't think I could measure them farther down the case for comparison, as 9mm cases are tapered.

    Flared casing measures .374 at the mouth, finished round measures .371. I am uncertain of my accuracy in measuring (round objects are hard to hold still), and I am using mixed casings.

    I tested the tension of finished rounds that had the bullets seated but no crimp applied. I was not able to push the bullet farther into the case. Just to be sure I turned the die another 1/4 turn down. Should I just skip the crimp if they're not moving? I just want to eliminate the possibility a bullet will get shoved deeper into the case on chambering and kB on me.

    I am using load data from Hodgdon's website for a 125 gr. LCN (lead conical nose?) bullet. The bullets I am loading are marked lead round nose...hope that's not a problem.

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