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Crimping .223?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by General Disarray, Aug 25, 2007.

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  1. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    I'm reloading for my AR-15 on a Dillon 550. There's a crimp die for the .223 die set, and I assume it's there for a reason. There seems to be as many folks who don't crimp, as there are that do. If one were so incline to crimp their .223, what should it caliper out to exactly? I can't find this measurement for some reason. Thanks.


    p.s. what about .308's?
     
  2. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

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    Crimping may increase the force necessary to move the rifle bullet, which you may want if you have a worry about the bullet being pushed back into the case (or pulled forward as in pistols). For lever-actions and for cast bullet rifle loads, perhaps it's necessary. For the .223 in semi-auto rifles, in Service Rifle shooting since 1978 I've never seen a .223, .308 or .30-'06 pushed back into its case during feeding, except with one Century FAL with a 'Unibrow' feedramp. If you have that problem, your rifle is to blame, as it was in that FAL. I can remember crimping rifle bullets precisely once: when going on a trip to Alaska with my Dad, and then only because he insisted.

    If crimping is done badly or overdone, the bullet can actually be looser. Sierra feels that cannelure-ing a bullet and crimping is always bad for accuracy in rifles, and they really know their stuff. Lee likes it, but where's the need?

    If you are going to crimp bullets, in order for it to be uniform you will need to trim all your cases and have uniform neck thickness. Trimming cases is a huge pain in the neck, and gets old in a hurry. Case neck thickness varies between makers, and the same case neck may thicken considerably after several firings. My guess is these are why you do not see measurements of crimp in load manuals. If you over-crimp, you will have case buckling.

    I find crimp discussions in all my loading manuals: Speer number 10 at page 73, Speer number 13 at page 79, Lyman 45th at page 29, Lyman 46th at page 195, Lyman 47th at page 42. I cannot get at my Sierra manuas right now. In short, if you have no cannelure, you cannot crimp. If you have a cannelure and are going to crimp, less is better than too much.
     
  3. Roadkill

    Roadkill Member

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    I load both, shoot the .223s in three different ARs, shoot the .308 in two FALs and a RFI SMLE, don't crimp and have never had a problem. I do pay very close attention to case length, OAL, and primers though.
     
  4. johnmcl

    johnmcl Member

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    NuJudge,

    Allow me ask a simple question. Are you suggesting that the last station on the Dillon 550B loading process, the crimp, should be removed? If so, this is a radical change from my reloading procedures.

    Thanks,
     
  5. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    If you shoot heavy recoiling rifles, you will want to crimp. If I don't crimp my 458 rounds, they often pull bullets under recoil, or cram the bullets into the case in the magazine.

    For normals cartridges, there's usually no need. I sometimes crimp for my M1A, and alsways for ammo that's going to be run through MGs.
     
  6. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Not True! Not True at all. The Lee Factory Crimp Die is designed to work with all types of bullets cannelure or not. Speer and Richard Lee go into a pissing match several years ago and since then Speer has made claims that the LFCD will reduce accuracy by 40% if used with their bullets. This is simply BS. I have used the LFCD with Speer, Sierra, Nosler, Barnes and Hornady, none of which had a cannelure. In ALL cases accuracy, SD and ES showed improvement. A 40% reduction in accuracy, I don't think so!

    Here is some load testing with and without the LFCD on bullets "Without" a cannelure.

    http://www.accuratereloading.com/crimping.html
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    You can also use a nice healthy Taper Crimp on bullets with no cannelure. Works well.
     
  8. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    Thanks for the replies. But, if you were to taper crimp, what would you make the diameter at the taper set to for both?
     
  9. 30Cal

    30Cal Member

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    I would never crimp a good match bullet. It might make a measurable difference in accuracy on fodder bullets, but not good stuff.

    I crimp only for revolvers and leveraction rifles.

    Ty
     
  10. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Have you tried the LFCD on Match bullets? Have you tried the FCD on fodder bullets? What were your test results?
     
  11. RobZ71LM7

    RobZ71LM7 Member

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    Sierra recommends that you don't crimp their bullets with any die-even for AR15's. I've never had any improvement from crimping .223 and if anything at all it's dropped performance slightly. I've also never had any issues with no crimping them as long as neck tension is good.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2007
  12. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    I can't help wonder why Dillon has crimp dies for the 4th station on rifle calibers. I can't find a recommended crimp diameter for .223 or .308 anywhere anyways.
     
  13. sublimaze41

    sublimaze41 Member

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    I use to never crimo for my .223 on my Colt AR 20". I used those same bullets in my new Colt M4. Guess what....I had 2 bullets back completely into the case. that was a 64 grainer. The next batch are 55 w/ can. I will crimp for sure.
     
  14. JollyWhiteGiant

    JollyWhiteGiant Member

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    I tried a lee crimp die with my .223 varmint loads. didn't see any changes either way so I stopped using it. plenty of neck tention on them to hold them in the case even when running them through the AR.

    I crimp my .30-30 loads and use a slight one with my .45-70 loads (just a touch more than is needed to remove the belling on those).
     
  15. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    +1. Always heed Murphy's Law when it comes to semi-autos --especially,
    the m4 clones.
     
  16. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Sierra? Or do you mean Speer. Sierra has an entire section in their #5 manual devoted to Gas Gun reloading. They did a test on bullet movement during the cycling of the AR-15 action. They found that the bullet moved forward as much as .007.
    A Quote from Sierra "Please bare in mind that these results were with factory ammunition, normally having a higher bullet pull than handloaded ammunition. To counteract this tendency, the semi-auto shooter is left with basically two options: applying a crimp or increasing neck tension.....Lee offers their "Factory Crimp" die which seems to be one of the better options for those bullets without a cannelure. That having been said, crimping is still at best a necessary evil." end quote.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2007
  17. RobZ71LM7

    RobZ71LM7 Member

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    I don't own a Speer manual.

    And what you have above is taken out of context per my Sierra manual. Your quote is also worded differently than my Sierra manual. Mine reads: "That having been said, crimping is still, at best, an occasionally necessary evil. Avoid if at all possible." You seem to have left those parts out.

    Here's the entire section below, taken in context:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sierra 5th Edition, 2nd Printing
     
  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Used a lee crimp die on a bunch of 168 Sierra MatchKings. Followed directions and used a light crimp.

    Pulled the bullets later because of other issues.

    Every bullet I crimped was wasp waisted. Had kind of a "coke bottle" look.

    Shot the bullets up when zeroing rifles, at 100 yards they actually shot well. But that crimp die turned expensive matchbullets into rock busting bullets.

    But I never did that fool stunt again. And I shoot AR's, M1a's, and Garands all the time.

    My cases have plenty of case neck tension.
     
  19. Stinger

    Stinger Member

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    Crimping rifle bullets must increase accuracy because all the benchresters and highpower guys are doing. :what:

    :evil:

    Crimping is great for heavy boomers and leverguns because it prevents setback or bullets pulling out. For anything else, well, the records speak for themselves.
     
  20. ftierson

    ftierson Member.

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    I use bullets with cannelures and crimp all bullets designed to be shot in gas guns...

    Before I started doing that (and one of the reasons that I do it now), I used to get occasional push-back of bullets into the case in AR15s.

    Of course, the only time you notice this deeper seating of the bullet when it is fed into the chamber is when it jams the action. Otherwise, you wouldn't be checking...

    I did some 'experiments' with checking and found that a fair number of bullets were set somewhat back (which increases pressure, of course).

    This occurred with different bullets in cases with good, tight necks...

    Now, I use a Lee Factory Crimp die in every cartridge that they are available for if ever planning to shoot the ammo in self-loaders...

    Works for me...

    Forrest
     
  21. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    I guess I interpret the Sierra Manual different than you. I do not see where they say "don't crimp their bullets with any die".
    I see where they admit that the cycling of the action can and does cause the bullet to move forward.
    That a handloader has but two options, increase neck tension(does not work) or crimp.
    That the Lee Die is a viable option for crimping non-cannelure bullets.
    That crimping may not be their first choice for holding the bullet in place.
    That crimping occasionally may be necessary.

    I have tried the Sierra method of increased neck tension. I have Redding bushing dies for my 7.62x39 Ruger, 30-06 Browning BAR, 300WSM Browning ShortTrac and 300WSM Browning BAR/BOSS.
    For example, In my 300WSM I have sized the neck down to .331, a loaded round measures .338. That is .007 neck tension and the cycling of the action still forces the bullet forward 007-.010 (five round tests).
    With bushing .335 and a loaded round of .338 .003 neck tension, I have forward movement of .010-.014.
    With .003 neck tension and a medium crimp with the LFCD on a 200gr Sierra GameKing(no cannelure) I get .002-.004 forward movement.
    I guess this would fall under Sierra's "Occasionally necessary" category.

    It is my experience that there is no amount of neck tension that can hold a bullet secure in an auto-loader. That the LFCD can and does hold the bullet more secure, cannelure or not, and accuracy is increased not decreased.
     
  22. RobZ71LM7

    RobZ71LM7 Member

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    Sierra just recommends that you avoid it. I wasn't being anal or directly quoting Sierra until you claimed to take a direct quote from their manual (using quotation marks) and left key words out. I've been able to avoid crimping in .223-which is what this topic is about. I my personal experience accuracy has not been increased by using the Lee FCD on .223 in AR15's. ;)
     
  23. LotI

    LotI Member

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    My experience has been the same. Every round I make for my 20" AR has a FCD treatment. All of my straight-walled pistol gets the treatment too. I'm not a benchrester and my gun will routinely shoot at 1" or less, with my handloads.
     
  24. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Are you saying that you use the LFCD and your accuracy has NOT increased? You are getting 1" or less with the LFCD, what are you getting without it?
     
  25. jacobhh

    jacobhh Member

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    Sierra regardless of how you interpret their text on
    the subject doesn't offer cannelures on anything but
    obvious lever action canidates or FMJ's destined
    for (what appears to be) military auto rifle contract
    bids. Now I could have missed an example, please don't
    beat me up for it.

    I personally slightly push (barely crimp) with the Redding
    or RCBS seat dies on the neck edge, just to make sure the
    cartidge doesn't hang up on it.

    I tried the Lee factory crimp and for me the added recoil
    would probably damage my accuracy more than the crimp
    could improve it.
     
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