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Old August 19, 2009, 06:56 PM   #1
Lee Roder
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How much crimp? Lee FCD guidance sought.

38 specials here.



Cartridge A was flared about .005" with my expander die to reproduce my wackamole's flare which seems about right. Could probably get away with less but my feathers still haven't dried. Bullets (Dardas) seat comfortably, and for A, B, and D were all seated to the top of the crimp groove (OAL 1.468"). Cartridge B was crimped using the FCD's instructions for a "heavy" crimp (1 turn from seating on bullet) but the "crimp" seems only to have reduced the flare back to the sized case dimension (~.375")??? This is "heavy"? I didn't even try the "light" crimp. For comparison is cartridge C, an old factory from somewhere. To my eye, cartridge D possesses the "roll crimp" (2 turns) I want. But as yet I virtually no experience with roll crimps. You see the extent of it here.

I searched the forum but didn't find exactly what I was looking for.

Appearance wise, how "heavy" a crimp is desireable and how heavy is not shootable ()? Is D "too heavy"? What about B, the "heavy" crimp?
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Old August 19, 2009, 07:47 PM   #2
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A is no good

B is almost OK, for no crimp

C looks good

D needs the bullet seated a hair deeper, and the crimp is a bit too much


Medium roll crimp on a Hornady jacketed bullet. (My idea of a medium crimp in a cannelure)
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Old August 19, 2009, 09:52 PM   #3
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I agree with walkalong. The design of your bullets crimping groove is a big factor when trying to get the perfect crimp. The Saeco has a more forgiving design and will give a better crimp. Even better if seating and crimping in the same operation. The case trim lenght is also not as critical with the Saeco design.

Last edited by 243winxb; August 20, 2009 at 06:55 AM.
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Old August 19, 2009, 10:57 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, think this is it ...

Thanks guys,

I don't know what mold produced these bullets but their form is very similar to the Saeco posted above. The crimp groove seems wider than the RCBS example. Of the dozen or so I've pulled from the box, they do seem very consistent in weight (155 gr). My "factory" example (C) seems to use a lighter bullet.



Following your suggestions, I seated more deeply this time, right up to the very top of the crimp groove (OAL 1.450") and crimped only enough to bury the case edge into the groove (looking down the bullet). The difference between this setting of the FCD and that which produced D seems very small (about 60 degrees).

Would you shoot this?
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Old August 20, 2009, 11:13 AM   #5
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do you see the smudge on case D thats the die resizing the "fat " 358 boolit , not good

i use lyman M dies to expand correctly for lead boolits

i roll crimp to C

nice pic , i think this thread is worthy of being a stiky????
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Old August 20, 2009, 01:41 PM   #6
Lee Roder
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Hmmm...

Thanks GP100man.

So does this mean my bullet (in D) was initially seated crookedly? I could certainly be more careful. This case also has a second scuff about 3/8" lower down (not shown in picture) very similar in appearance to the one you point to. These marks appeared AFTER polishing and trimming so maybe this one was due to slight "crumpling"? I thought this FCD wasn't made it impossible to crush cases (I won't post case pics of my first attempts at simultaneous seating and "crimping" ... happens to everybody I'm sure when learning to set these things up).

FWIW my "final settings" cartridge pictured alone with the bullet above is clean so whatever caused the scuffing is not always a problem. I've read about the M die in my Lyman catalog. I'll see if I can route around for one to try ...
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Old August 20, 2009, 02:00 PM   #7
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I think you need to find a crimp between C and D personally.

The C crimp is almost there, and D is a tad too much.

Practice makes perfect.
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Old August 20, 2009, 03:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Would you shoot this?
Yes, but I would seat the bullet a tiny bit less, and give it a tad more crimp the next try.
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Old August 20, 2009, 03:27 PM   #9
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I'll concurr with the rest here.

I don't load .38, but LOTS of .44 Mag and Special.

I tried the Lee FCD for the first 1000 or so. It was a royal pain with lead bullets as it constantly tried to resize the bullet after it was in the case (because cast bullets run larger than jacketed by 0.002" or so). I fought every round through the sizing ring and left "scuffed" or polished marks where the brass was squeezed down needlessly. Just like the scuff mark you see on "D" but worse, and all the way around.

I ditched the FCD and went back to the traditional way of creating a proper crimp in the same step as bullet seating. With a revolver, there are no advantages to the FCD, anyway.

I like mine firm, but maybe not quite so firm as "D". Somewhere in between C and D.

You don't need a larger expanding dies to seat lead bullets, they'll make their way into the case and create their own room, providing just the right tension as they do so.

Looks like you've got it!

Good luck!

-Sam
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Old August 20, 2009, 03:39 PM   #10
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How much crimp you really need is determined by the choice of powder, and how much of it you are using.

Fast powders like Bullseye in a standard pressure .38 Special and such only require enough crimp to close the bell + a frog-hair more to make loading in the chambers slick & easy.

A healthy dose of H-110 in a .44 Mag requires a lot more to prevent bullets pulling from recoil and incomplete powder ignition.

No need to use any more crimp then necessary for the load in question.
Any more then that just makes the case-necks crack sooner.

rc
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Old August 20, 2009, 04:14 PM   #11
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Hot off the press

OAL now 1.458" with slightly heavier crimp.



Walkalong, your eyes are way better than mine. Under magnification, outside of both case and bullet collar of this one are virtually even. My fingernail can't even find an edge.

Thanks much all. I'll load a few and try them tonight.
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Old August 20, 2009, 04:19 PM   #12
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Must be the camera playing tricks.

It sure looks like the case is bulged slightly below the crimp on that one right there.

Lay a straight-edge steel rule on it and see if there is a crack of light showing.

rc
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Old August 20, 2009, 05:09 PM   #13
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Sort of looks like it

Good idea rcmodel. Using my Lyman caliper as a straight edge to examine flatness, I see actually 3 high spots ringing this case - one at the level of the crimp, one near the bottom of the bullet, and one about 1/4" above the head.

I don't understand what causes the lower bugling. New ammo is pretty flat in the edge test. All my used brass come out of the sizing die slightly bulged (a few thousandths) at this lower level relative to the top of the case. I don't know what to do about this or the other "bulges" which clearly arise from seating or crimping issues. Just for kicks I'm going to try an M die soon.

These particular seated bullets are/were EXACTLY .358" in diameter. In contrast to posted optical distortions, physical deviations actually appear small. Hopefully they won't matter. These roll crimps are something else. I'd stick with jacketed bullets for this and a hose of other reasons if buying them weren't so bloody expensive.

When I bought my first gun 10 years ago, cast bullets ere my first shooting experience. Must have been loaded with black powder because I switched immediately to jacketed loads and never looked back. Until recently I've found some decent cast ammo at a reasonable price and these shoot very well for me, so I figure if I can MAKE them ...
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Old August 20, 2009, 05:16 PM   #14
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Just an aside

The brass is Winchester brass. I've heard, though not confirmed, that this brass is a bit thicker than others which may have something to do with "bulging" during seating?

Anybody confirm?
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Old August 20, 2009, 05:29 PM   #15
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Some bulging is normal where the bullet is seated. I think what rcmodel was alluding to was the possibility of some bulge just under the crimp caused by a little to much crimp. It looks like it may be a hair too much crimp. That is one reason I like to trim revolver cases. It helps with uniform crimp, especially when one is as picky as me.

Also, like rcmodel posted, that crimp would be great for full load .38's with medium burn rate powders like Unique & AA #5, but way more than needed for light target loads with fast powders such as Bullseye.
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Old August 20, 2009, 06:18 PM   #16
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Interesting

Good trend to know about crimips and burn rates. At my stage in this process, I never would have guessed. 10Q.

The jacketed loads I'm used to don't really look "crimped" but I guess "unfolding" the flare is called that just to be confusing. None of the bullets I've used except the very first even had a groove for a "fold". Only one out of several thousand ever reseated itself to the bottom of the case and that was due to rough handling in transit.

I was planning to load these up with HP38 starting from 3.6 grains so I hope that will be ok.
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Old August 20, 2009, 06:48 PM   #17
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Thumbs up

i`ve reread & really like this thread gettin to the bottom of crimpin. with perfect pics!!
one thing that has`nt been said ( i think) is that to have a consistent crimp the cases need to be the same length (trimmed) .
the bulges are normal on reloaded ammo the sizer just squeezes the brass smaller than factory. i had a set of dies with s&b brass that wouldnt hold a jacketed bullet.
the thicker the brass at the mouth the more bumps & the more influence the brass will have on boolit deformation & pull.
if ?? of boolit deformation , seat & crimp then pull 1 & measure it.
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Old August 20, 2009, 07:15 PM   #18
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Resizing cases

I do resize all my cases (1.150") even though the FCD supposedly doesn't care. Can't hurt. I don't do high volume so it doesn't take that long.
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Old August 20, 2009, 07:54 PM   #19
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Post 1 D , Post 4, Post 11 all OK to shoot. 11 is a little over crimped. If there is a large bulge, the round will not chamber. There is no need for a Lyman "M" die, unless you dont have an expander built in to your bell/decapper die like RCBS does.

Last edited by 243winxb; August 21, 2009 at 11:40 AM. Reason: change 13 to 11
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Old August 20, 2009, 08:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
I do resize all my cases (1.150") even though the FCD supposedly doesn't care.
Taper crimps are more forgiving than roll crimps. The FCD taper crimp dies have an 0-ring that "gives" so case length is a little less important than with dies with the taper built into the die body. I don't know about the roll crimp FCD. Trimmed cases will still work better, even with the "flex" built into the Lee die. I just don't like the post sizing part. They crimp pretty well.

When setting up a crimp die, I will rotate the die in the ring only about 1/8" to 1/4" at a time until I get it just so. Sometimes I will go too far, and have to dial it back a bit to suit me.

Your doing just fine. It just takes a bit of trial and error until you get it just like you want it.

A side note. I like the Lyman M type die for expanding. It opens it up enough while not over belling at the top. I think they, and the Redding copies, do a great job of getting bullets started straight.
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Old August 21, 2009, 01:02 AM   #21
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Just back from the range

Loaded 30 rounds with HP38 and this "roll crimp". All went bang but that's another story.

Anyway I've still got 10 left so thanks all! G'night
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Old August 21, 2009, 09:43 AM   #22
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Thread is now a "sticky" by special request.

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In a thread that has been floated, try to make your posts either a request for specific informatrion, or else a contribution to the discussion. In ANY thread, leave out "+1" and "me, too" comments.

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Old August 21, 2009, 02:23 PM   #23
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Crimping

Heavy crimp on 357mag using Lee FCD,work every time.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Reloading bench-14 (Small).jpg (48.3 KB, 1047 views)
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Old August 21, 2009, 07:56 PM   #24
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"Heavy" Taper Crimp on a Powerbond 125 Gr HP.

The crimp is between .110 & .125 long on the case and drops the diameter from .376 to .370.






I have used a heavier taper crimp than this, but not for plated bullets. I was experimenting with taper crimps and jacketed bullets.

For a "Medium" Taper Crimp, I use a .033 Spacer under the crimp die in the LNL bushing. For a "Light" Taper Crimp, I use a .063 spacer under the crimp die in the LNL bushing. This crimp die happens to be a Redding.

Other folks may think my heavy is medium, or my medium is extra heavy. It's all in how we look at it.
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Old August 22, 2009, 11:33 AM   #25
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I used brass cases and no flash this time and got a better pic. Notice the shiny spot from the crimper goes about twice as far down the case on the Heavy vs Medium crimp. (Remember, light, medium, and heavy is in the eye of the beholder)

A "Medium" and a "Heavy" taper crimp on a 125 Gr Powerbond bullet in .38 Spl.



I set up the crimper die for a heavy crimp, and use spacers to get whatever else I want. Light, Medium, Heavy, or something in between.

Some of my spacers.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Powerbond 125 Gr 38 Spl Medium & Heavy Taper Crimp.JPG (26.9 KB, 7003 views)
File Type: jpg Spacers For Crimp Dies.JPG (46.5 KB, 6670 views)
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