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45ACP and Lee Factory Crimp Die

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by wcjjr, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. wcjjr

    wcjjr Member

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    I've been loading 9mm for a while and am working out some issues with Fail-to-Feed thanks to the great advice I'm getting here.

    I'm also using a Lee set to load 45ACP. When I load 9mm the round goes in and comes out of the Factory Crimp Die with minimal effort. When I load 45ACP though, the round has a very significant bump going into and coming out of the Factory Crimp Die. I don't have any problem with the rounds at all they chamber fine and no problems at the range so far. I'm just wondering if this is a common experience with 45ACP loaded with Lee dies.

    Bullet diameter is about 0.448 and using Federal brass.
     
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  2. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    I’ve never used a crimp die for 45 acp. That cartridge only requires a taper crimp that should be applied by proper adjustment of the seating die.
     
  3. quaid

    quaid Member

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    The 45 auto is the only time I ever “needed” the lee fcd. I had loaded some (too hard) hard cast laser cast bullets and somehow they had gone in just slightly crooked causing a tiny bulge preventing chambering.

    I used the FCD to resize the completed rounds, basically squishing them into spec, and fired them on the next range trip.

    They were too hard, and leaded slightly as a result, so I can’t comment how much worse they were for having gone through the post loading resize.

    Generally, I avoid using the FCD because of that resize. If you have no problems- I wouldn’t use it.
     
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  4. ericuda

    ericuda Member

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    I am the opposite loading 45 with 230 plated barely touches the fcd. I have it loaded in my turret and skip it 99 percent of the time. I taper crimp at last station with Redding taper crimp die.
     
  5. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Is it a factory crimp die that is part of a regular die set or the die that is sold separately. The Lee Factory Crimp die sizes the case after the bullet is seated and applies a slight taper crimp. .452 is the normal 45 caliber diameter .448 is under size.
     
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  6. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Ayup, matches my experience. I, too, find myself having to drive over the .45acp FCD speedbump in both directions. :)

    I think that quaid nailed it with:

    .448 is a bit small for .45acp.
     
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  7. Ruger 15151

    Ruger 15151 Member

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    45acp always has more resistance passing through the FCD than does 9mm.

    Are you loading lead or jacketed bullets? The FCD is designed for .451 diameter bullets and will actually swag anything larger than that.

    Also, check to see if you have a bulge in the case that is more prominent on one side. If you do, then its likely the bullets are not seat straight in the case and the FCD is trying to remove some of the bulge that is created. This can be caused by too little flair in the case or by the dies not square in the press head.

    If you suspect the bullets aren't seating straight, seat them half way and then turn the case 90 degrees and fully seat the bullet. See if this makes a difference.
     
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  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I use the FCD for un-belling/crimping my 45 ACP rounds. I have noticed the speedbump. I think part of it is how variable 45ACP brass is.

    As I posted in another recent thread, whether someone swears by or at FCD's seems to depend on whether they shoot bare lead bullets. Bare lead shooters often dislike FCD's. I don't shoot bare lead, and I love my FCD's. Dislike reloading without them, because I hate the combination of variables that come from a combined seat-and-crimp operation.
     
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  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I tried an FCD in .40 & .45 ACP. The one for the fourty had barely any contact, the one for the .45 had a good bit of contact. I tossed the .45 ACP FCD immediately, kept using the fourty for a while before knocking the carbide ring out of it and using it to taper crimp only.
     
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  10. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    That's the area of the bullet inside the case getting forced through the sizing ring in the die. It may be reducing the diameter of the bullet inside the case. Unless you pull a bullet, no way to tell.
    They also have a very abrupt taper crimp angle that I don't like. No need for a 'steep' taper crimp, a very shallow angle works best IMO.
    I stopped using the FCD die right away and went to a normal (Redding) taper crimp die, much better ammo.
     
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  11. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I tried them as I got them and found they post size my handgun ammo. More so for lead. The only ones I use now are for 30-30 and 32SPL. The others stay in the die boxes. I do use 40 S&W to bulge bust with and presize my 357 SIG. YMMV
     
  12. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    Matches my experience when using coated bullets. Doesn't cause any shooting issues for me either.
    FWIW I put a very small crimp on 45acp.
     
  13. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    I use them, and not afraid to admit it. I experience the speed bump as well, and that’s with it set to just remove the bell from the case. After that they go into a Shockbottle case gauge block - it holds/checks 100 rounds at a time. It’s a tool, you may or may not use it correctly and may or may not like how it works.
     
  14. drband

    drband Member

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    I use the FCD to crimp with MBC coated 200gr .45acp SWCs. Very little "bump" on most rounds. It seems to vary by case wall thickness. (seat and crimp separately)
     
  15. wcjjr

    wcjjr Member

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    Thanks again everyone for the info. My bullets are jacketed round nose 230gr. I may have measured wrong when I came up with the .448. Anyway, what I have found is that if I don't use the FCD the rounds will not pass muster with the Lyman gauge.

    Thanks lordpaxman I'll definitely be checking out the shockbottle.
     
  16. whughett

    whughett Member

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    I’m doing something wrong here. 40+ years of loading pistol and rifle, not so much rifle anymore, and I’ve never owned or used a case gage, headspace gage or loaded round gage, other than a good set of calipers.
    The chamber and magazine of the piece I’m loading for has always served that function.
    Maybe I need to up my game. :(
     
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  17. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I am definitely not a fan of Lee FCDs for a new reloader. If your handloads are not chambering correctly, find out why and fix the problem, don't hide it with post crimping sizing. Learn to use the plunk test and put your case gauge on a shelf somewhere...
     
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  18. wcjjr

    wcjjr Member

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  19. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Not a lot of skill I don’t think. Attention to detail and the ability to follow direction is about all it takes. Some mechanical ability helps of course. It becomes so routine with progressive presses one can dope off. Don’t. All I know came directly out of reading reloading manuals, I don’t experiment and I don’t push envelopes.
    I check and double check and record ever batch of ammo in a Hand loaders log book.
    Boxes of Ammo are labeled and dated.
     
  20. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    +1

    I'm scratching my head on why you would want to use a FCD for any straightwall pistol cartridge, particularly an autoloader. I use taper crimp dies almost everywhere... auto pistol, revolvers (in some cases a full roll crimp is needed, however...) and even on rifle rounds depending on the application.

    I bought one Lee FCD for my .348WCF... I found it completely a waste of time.
     
  21. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    You must have missed the part about how the FCD can successfully iron-out lumpy/dumpy/bumpy .45acp (especially) reloads so that they chamber properly. ;)
     
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  22. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    If you have a lumpy/dumpy/bumpy case after resizing, then you are doing something wrong!
    No amount of after bullet seating crimping/sizing/fiddlying will correct bad case prep.
     
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  23. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Perhaps you haven’t noticed. Most of not all Auto brass will have a slightly expanded area around the seated bullet.
     
  24. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    If the loaded round chambers and fires, what's the problem?
     
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  25. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    The FCD dies for semi-auto pistol cartridges are taper crimp dies.
     
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