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Lee Factory Crimp Die Question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Litefoot, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. Litefoot

    Litefoot Well-Known Member

    I'm setting up a new Lee Classic Turret Press. I thought I had the expander die set about right (just enough flare to hole the bullet), but when I raise the seated bullet into the FCD, it doesn't glide in smoothly. With a bit extra effort, it will slide into the die. Is this normal? I'm thinking yes, but I wanted to ask. Thank you.
  2. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Well-Known Member

    That's normal for the factory crimp die (at least some calibers and or brass bullet combos) when using jacketed bullets. If you are using lead bullets sized for your gun put the FCD away as it's squeezing the diameter of your bullets.
  3. jim243

    jim243 Well-Known Member

    The problem is that your "SEATING" die is too high and not taking the flare off the case when you raise the ram to seat your bullet. A 1/8th or 1/4 turn of your seating die should take care of your problem.

    I use the FCD on all of my pistol cases, just to make sure the flare has been removed, I raise the stem up so that it will not crimp, but just use the carbide ring at the bottom of the FCD to insure proper case proportions so it will feed in my guns without any problem (FTF).

  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yes, you are feeling the round contact the carbide ring. Depending on bullet diameter and brass wall thickness, some will have little to no resistance, and some will have a noticeable amount. Nothing like sizing die pressure though.
  5. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    As Jim wrote, you are feeling the case mouth that was expanded to accept the bullet being sized. If you take enough of the belling out with your seating/crimping die but not crimping then the FC die will only contact the case where it is over maximum SAAMI diameter and when the case is crimped by the FC die.
  6. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    Yes, as posted earlier, you are most likely feeling the contact of the (expanded) case mouth on the Lee FCD post-sizing ring as the case enters the FCD.

    My suggestion is to reduce the amount of case mouth belling. I suspect it is too much.

    You already stated that you flared the mouth "(just enough flare to hole (sic) the bullet)", but I suggest you put a micrometer on the bullet and see if they are oversized. (Let us know, please, if they are cast, plated or jacketed and who the manufacturer is - we may get clues from that information.)

    The belling of the case mouth should only be barely enough that you can insert the bullet far enough that it doesn't fall out.

    Send pictures of the bullet base as you inserted it, if you can, please.

    With the bullet inserted into the case, as it is seated, the case is stretched over the bullet during seating (the term of art is "neck tension" and is most familiar to rifle shooters). Seating should require some effort. Not much, but you should feel some.

    Lost Sheep
  7. Litefoot

    Litefoot Well-Known Member

    OK, I screwed the seating die in about 1/2 turn and exerted a tad more pressure when seating the bullet and it helped to chamfer the neck a bit before rotating over to the FCD. Thanks! Now to get to the bottom of this ram binding issue.
  8. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I always forget about chamfering the case mouth. Good catch. With new brass, or recently trimmed brass, it is a good idea.

    Lost Sheep
  9. hentown

    hentown Well-Known Member

    I've loaded a few hundred thousand rounds of handgun ammo, using he FCD. I don't adjust the seating die to take the flare out. I just flare enough to let the bullet "balance" in the case. I don't chamfer the mouths of handgun brass. I'm loading on a 650, but used the same methodology when loading on a crappy Loadmaster.
  10. popper

    popper Well-Known Member

    Don't know why one would crimp in the seater die and then again in a FCD. I'm assuming a pistol cal with too much flare on the case mouth.
  11. dickttx

    dickttx Well-Known Member

    I have seen several posts about taking the crimp out on the seating die, before running it through the crimp die, and wondered what they were talking about.
    A few days ago I was doing some adjusting on some 38 Super loads and inspecting them carefully after each step. I did find that, unbeknownst to me, I was also taking all but about .001 of the crimp out on the seating die.
    Is this normal, or should the seating die be raised a little. (Lee 4-die set w/LCT)
  12. jim243

    jim243 Well-Known Member

    I believe what you mean is "flare", the powder through die will flare the case mouth depending on how it is adjusted. This is to allow the bullet to enter the case on the next step without shaving any of the clading on the bullet off.

    The next step is to seat the bullet in the seating die and set the final OAL. If the seating die is set too low it will also give the case a "crimp". (push the case into the bullet). You want to set the seating die to just take the "flare off the case without crimping the case at the same time. The exception to this is on revolver cases (38 spl, 357 mag, 41 spl, 41 mag, 44 spl, 44 mag and 45 Colt cases) where you DO want to impart a crimp onto the case. This is called a "roll crimp" and is needed for these types of rounds.

    If the seating die does not take the "flare" off the case mouth when seating the bullet to the proper OAL, you will experence a failure to feed in your pistol from these cases. The lip of the case gets hung up on the chanber of the gun. To insure that this does not happen many of us use the "factory crimp die" to remove any flare that has been missed when seating the bullet.

    Also sometimes (not all times) the combination of the width of the bullet and case together will be greater than the width of the chamber and will cause a FTF. Lee dies are the only ones that I know of that provide a "factory crimp die" and a lot of the oldtimers will say that this step is not necessary. They have been setting their seating die correctly to remove the flare for ages and have never needed to do this. I have only once had a case mouth that still had too much flare (nickle plated 45 ACP casee) out of 10,000 rounds loaded (but once was too many). Every since that I always put my rounds through the FCD even though they may not need it (my insurance policy) and I never worry about the rounds feeding in my guns.

    I hope this helps in explaining the use of the powder through die, seating die and the factory crimp die.
  13. dickttx

    dickttx Well-Known Member

    Yes, flair. Couldn't you see what I was thinking?:D

    I was just kind of surprised that, in setting the seating die as per the instructions, it was taking most of the flair out of the case.

    I did a lot of measuring yesterday while loading and found that there was only .001/.002 of flair left for the FCD to work on.

    Lots of talk about the FCD, but when I went to the Classic Turret and Lee dies, a couple of years ago, I got the 4-die set, or bought the FCD for all my cartridges. I have never had a problem with it squeezing the bullet, jacketed or lead. I use lead in everything I can.

    I currently have the FCD in 9mm, 38 Super, 38/357, 41, 45 ACP, and 45 Colt and use it for all.
  14. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    And that is as it should be.

    Sometimes the FCD does nothing but crimp (this is the ideal, and is what happens most of the time with proper adjustment of the preceding dies and properly sized bullets). Sometimes it squishes the lead slug and has no deleterious effect. Sometimes is squishes the lead slug and leaves it undersized for your bore. Undersized lead slugs traveling down your bore with hot gasses escaping past/between the slug and the bore are a recipe for lead coating the inside of your barrel.

    Does this happen with jacketed bullets? Not so much. Nor with plated bullets from what I have heard.

    Lost Sheep

    p,s, proper spelling is "flare" Flair is something else entirely.
  15. kcshooter

    kcshooter Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I don't really like to talk about my flair.
  16. dickttx

    dickttx Well-Known Member

    Gosh, this has turned into a terminology/spelling lesson. Guilty on all counts.:D

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