45acp Lee FCD

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JamieC, Sep 19, 2015.

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  1. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    Just started loading 45acp, I noticed when setting up and running my first rounds through the FCD, when it first enters the die, there is a noticeable restriction/bump then a second one a bit deeper then the final expected one for the crimp. The first reloads where using Blazer brass, Bayou Bullets, 200LSWC and 225 LTC, both bullets did the same thing. The case measures .472-.473 at the bullet end. Is this normal? I've used Lee FCD on all my other reloads, 9mm, 38 special, .380, I've not really noticed this before. I think it's just the final sizing, the combo of the Blazer brass and the Bayou Bullets? No, haven't shot any yet, (still need to finish building the gun)
     
  2. catgunguy

    catgunguy Member

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    I have loaded over a thousand with Federal and Winchester brass with 230 gr, plated round nose bullets from Extreem and every one does as you have experienced. All is good, they all cycle through the gun and shoot good.
     
  3. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Yes it is normal for the LFCD which is why many dislike it as they claim it is resizing the bullet. It is the carbide sizing ring on the bottom, Some bullets you will fill it touching, others you will not.

    Let the flames begin, I am getting popcorn!:scrutiny:
     
  4. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    No flame from me as I think FCD is a good "finishing" die to fix slightly out of spec/out of round bullets, especially with thicker case wall brass and that's what it's supposed to do.

    But as Lee indicated, they were meant for jacketed diameter bullets and if you are using larger sized lead/coated lead bullets, you should order larger ID carbide sizing ring FCD or have yours modified IF your FCD post sizes finished rounds too much.

    If FCD is indeed post sizing finished rounds, I would be concerned about reducing bullet diameter and reducing neck tension which will result in bullet setback during feeding/chambering. You can measure OAL/COL before and after feeding/chambering from magazine but if there is no reduction in OAL, you are good to go. If you see significant reduction (more than a few thousandths), then you have neck tension issue and may need to set the FCD aside.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Retired mine after trying one.
     
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    In general, I feel the Lee handgun FCD is a solution looking for a problem.

    But, I did find a good use for one. I plink with 38 Special wadcutters loaded in mixed cases. Occasionally, a case would have a heavier wall and the resultant cartridge would not chamber. i'd set the cartridge aside and run it through a 38 Special FCD die when i got home. All fixed.
     
  7. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    Thanks, makes sense, I'll definitely check the OAL before and after cycling some rounds through the gun, good stuff!
     
  8. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    Not a fan of the fcd especially on semi auto rounds. If its squeezing rounds with varying brass wall thickness down uniform- guess what its doing to the bullet. No reason you cant seat and crimp(remove case flare) in one step. Any rounds which give you extra resistance in the fcd(thick brass)- pull the bullet and see if it the same diameter as it went in the case.
     
  9. lckdnldd

    lckdnldd Member

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    I had the same concern when I first started using the FCD but as had been stated the bumping is normal. I have noticed that when seating if I ease the bullet into the casing about an 1/8 of an inch to start and then raise the ram, spin the cartridge 180 degrees then finish seating the bullet it allows the FCD to operate noticeably smoother. I believe the bullet not being straight in the case when seated causes the FCD to work harder trying to correct that issue JMHO. I have not had any issue with the FCD resizing the cartridge in any way and I load cast lead bullets exclusively.
     
  10. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    I use mixed range brass and sometimes you will feel the FCD and sometimes you won't. I don't really worry about it. Many people say the FCD ruins accuracy but in some tests I have done in 9mm I can't say I agree. However results may be different with a different gun, bullets, load etc.

    I would say run a quick test and see what your results are for you gun and your load. If you are concerned about the ones you "feel" separate them out and do a test of them vs the ones you don't feel or against rounds you did not use the FCD on. The results will show whether you need to be concerned or not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  11. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    I was loading 9mm today, I do notice the 'bump' on some brass with the FCD, S&B being the main one. My first 45acp reloads, I used one brand of brass, just trying to eliminate at least one variable for my first 45acp efforts. Not sure how some other brass might be.
     
  12. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  13. Oldman1151

    Oldman1151 Member

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    If you think the FCD is reducing the bullet diameter pull a loaded round and check bullet with a micrometer to verify. I did that and found that it was not reducing the bullet diameter at all even though is sounded and felt like it could have been when reloading. Don't believe everything you read. Check one yourself, maybe yours will or won't.
     
  14. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Brass will spring back more then lead bullets. Sizing a loaded round down more than .005" may lower neck tension. As said above, measure a pulled bullet.
     
  15. Safetychain

    Safetychain Member

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    I have used the FCD for all my reloading of 5 pistol calibers and 3 rifle calibers and I am pleased with the results for the last 15 or so years. The die is adjustable to get as much crimp as desired. If you are concerned, use it just to knock down the case flare. I've never experienced any setback from the manual thumb push on the harder crimped cases or during firing. I do load a bit of lead and prior to the FCD would experience the rare bullet that would not fit the chamber. One instance shooting my 45 series 80, the chamber I load for, and my brother's 45 actually used in the 'Battle of the Bulge', the WWII gun wouldn't chamber, at least easily, any of my loaded rounds due to, believe it or not, a too tight chamber or, maybe I should say the series 80 has a large one. This was with a 500 count box of GBC semi wad cutters. They were supposedly .452 but measured between .452 and .453. I ended up shooting the rest all up in my Series 80 and they all shot extremely well. I tightened down on the FCD on about a 100 rounds and they all chambered and shot flawlessly in it the next range session in both guns. My next refinement is to use the new Lee Push Through Sizer Die that I bought for resizing self casted powder coated bullets and run all those different lead bullets I've bought from various casters during the Obama lean years to assure they are all sized correctly to start with.
     
  16. ku4hx

    ku4hx Member

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    I've used taper crimp dies with great success since about 1990 for all "straight wall" pistol cases. All you really want to do is take out what flare there might be and get the neck diameter to what works in your gun/guns. For me that's .002" under the published spec of .473" for the .451" 45 ACP with jacketed and plated bullets. Bullets that are .452" take a little finagling to get a working neck size.

    Cast boolits take even a little more finagling to keep the case from swaging the boolits down. I had to get a slightly larger expander ball made so I could keep cast boolits at .001" over bore diameter.
     
  17. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I'm not a fan of Lee's FCD, but really don't want to get into the same old "discussion" about a "post seating/crimping sizing die's" merits as it indeed is personal preference only...

    But for the OP, I would suggest the "plunk test" as the final test of the reloads. .473" may not br too big for your gun. I haven't measured the finished case mouth, ("crimped" with a plain old taper crimp die) in many years, just using the "plunk test"...
     
  18. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    I'm not really a fan of them as I've never seen any real issues with a regular crimp that the seater die applies. I do have one in 9mm Luger that I don't use, one for .40S&W (that I keep disassembled just for use with the "buldge buster"), and another for 7.62x25.
     
  19. Bula

    Bula Member

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    Not a fan of the FCD?

    Assuming your cast bullets are to spec (.452), that post seating resizing is not necessary. How much its resizing varies on the case wall thickness. I cast and size all calibers to spec, and I want them to stay that size until they hit rifling.

    I do like crimping on stage 4, so I have knocked the carbide ring out of every Lee FCD for every caliber I load. All the FCD does is crimp, none of that post sizing nonsense.
     
  20. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    I use it on all my reloads, set just to remove the bell. Bizzillions of 9mm, almost as many .45 acp. All bullet types, FN,RN, HP and weights, but no cast bullets. Both plated and FMJ. FMJ on .223 rifle bullets. All this ammo works perfectly, never had a problem.

    Russellc
     
  21. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    I like and use the FCD for 9mm thick plated and jacketted bullets. They do not resize these bullets if adjusted properly for taper crimp. I personally wouldn't use them for lead or coated lead oversized bullets. It will resize them in some or all cases if the diameter of the bullet is a couple of thousandths over bbl diameter. Thick cases will be worse than thin.
     
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