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Do you use FCD for lead semi-auto pistol loads?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bds, Oct 7, 2011.

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Do you use FCD for lead semi-auto pistol loads?

Poll closed Nov 6, 2011.
  1. Yes, I use FCD for lead semi-auto pistol loads

    40 vote(s)
    44.9%
  2. No, I do not use FCD for lead semi-auto pistol loads

    37 vote(s)
    41.6%
  3. I use FCD sometimes for lead semi-auto pistol loads

    12 vote(s)
    13.5%
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  1. bds

    bds Member

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    This thread is not about using FCD for rifle or rimmed revolver cartridges. It is about the use of Lee Factory Crimp Die (FCD) for lead semi-auto pistol cartridges.

    I am a fan of Lee products and use Lee dies. I am not bashing FCD as I feel its use for typical jacketed diameter bullets is fine (also works well to undersize bulged cases, except the tapered 9mm case).

    What I have problem with is the use with larger diameter lead bullets as post sizing may contribute to leading problems in some barrels, especially oversized factory barrels. I was taught to reload without the use of FCD and have successfully made my loads work in 9mm/40S&W/45ACP even with larger diameter lead bullets (and many of you know I use tighter chambered Lone Wolf barrels for 9/40 and Sig 1911 for 45).

    So, do you use FCD to load your lead pistol loads?
     
  2. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    I just posted a concern about this very topic when loading .40 S&W. With no crimp the cycling action of my Glock seated lead bullets deeper, but crimping even lightly with the FCD wiped out the case mouth. I'm stuck, and would love to hear how you manage to solve this.
     
  3. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I have them so I tried it way back when. I noticed NO improvement, if anything the ammo might have been slightly more inaccurate. This was a subjective trial with me trying to shoot about 200 of each in a test for accuracy. It all loaded fine however. This was with my pistols loading to my specs. YMMV
     
  4. bds

    bds Member

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    beatledog, saw your thread after I started this thread. Looks like the carbide sizer ring in the FCD is post-sizing your bullet/case neck. Your bullet seating die will taper crimp as well. I would try setting the FCD aside and adjusting your taper crimp to .420"-.421" and see if the round falls in freely into the Storm Lake barrel chamber.
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    You need more neck tension.
     
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have been reloading for semi-auto pistols for 31 years taper crimping in a separate step. No problems ever with rounds chambering.
     
  7. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    I voted yes but for a different reason than most. I use the FCD but not to fix a bad round, I use it as a case gauge. If I feel a round get post sized it gets set to the side to get inspected. Sometimes they get shot and sometimes they get pulled. I size all of my cast bullets for 45 auto to .452 and have never had one get post sized.
     
  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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  9. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Walkalong and bds:

    You're both right it seems. I've reloaded these applying taper crimp with the seating die. Seems to have solved the problem.

    I belled these mouths slightly before seating the bullets. I guess not doing so might have been better as it would seem to be the solution to not enough neck tension, but I did it to keep from shaving the bullets.

    Never have these issues with revolver calibers!
     
  10. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    Rusty, are you saying that the pulled bullets measure .452"? I have wondered about post sizing. ;)
     
  11. bds

    bds Member

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    Repost from another thread - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=618773

     
  12. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    I use them on 9mm and 45. they seem to work fine, and mostly I like the way they will fix the occasional oversize bullet. (my 9mm mold is kind of worn out)
     
  13. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    I just loaded through a box of 500 125grn lead round-nose bullets using the FCD. Not sure what to say - they shot just fine, but I did get leading in the barrel. Not sure that the FCD had anything to do with it though.

    After this brief little experiment, I don't think I'll be shooting these again. I've shot PLENTY of plated bullets before with no leading, but it's just too much work to keep the barrel clean like this. I'm thinking I'll be sticking with either plated, jacketed, or possibly moly-coated bullets from now on.

    That said, I have recently done up some loads on some other bullets where I didn't use the FCD, and unless I move to a progressive where it's no extra work, I might stop using it too. It takes a tad longer to get my seater setup to seat and crimp exactly how I want it, but saving an entire extra trip through the press is definitely nice.
     
  14. bds

    bds Member

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    mgmorden, I have shot thousands of Missouri 9mm lead bullets (.356" diameter) out of Lone Wolf barrels (.355" groove diameter) with Bullseye/Promo/W231/HP-38 with no leading and I did not use FCD.

    What I found initially was that at max/over max load data, barrel leaded but at mid-to-high range load data, leading stopped. :D
     
  15. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    Not sure what was contributing to mine. I was using Georgia Arms 9mm 125grn bullets with 4.8gr of Unique - 1.125" OAL, with the FCD as mentioned. That load doesn't seem excessively hot, but it could be the choice in bullets too.

    This was out of my M&P. I'm probably going to drop in either a Storm Lake barrel in that gun soon (or the Apex/Bar-sto barrel if they get it out before I'm ready to buy), in which case I"ll probably reserve the factory barrel for shooting lead loads through and use the aftermarket barrel for jacketed/plated loads.
     
  16. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Yes.
    I started casting a few years ago, and it never occured to me not to use the same FCD I'd been using for years, so I went ahead and used it.

    These are targets shot with FCD sized boolits, (to use the castboolits.gunloads.com spelling. :) ), at ten yards, two hand hold.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Same load as above shoot at 50 yards, taped standing, untaped rested.

    [​IMG]

    Now, I did have issues with post sizing with a Lyman boolit, the 356402 conical mold, which did cause issues...so I adjusted to taper crimp, and didn't use the FCD...and got FTF jams. Might not be related. :)

    Just my $.02, worth what you paid for it.:)
     
  17. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    I learned to reload before Lee made dies. I also learned to drive before cars had auto transmissions.
    As soon as both became available I started using them and have never went back.
    I use .452 MBC bullets and, so far as I can tell I have never had a bullet resized. If I did, I would look to the bullet as the cause.
    I have also never had one fail to chamber or extract.
     
  18. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Nope, no reason to, crimp is perfect.
     
  19. Nick93

    Nick93 Member

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    Did you try to measure the bullet diameter before you seat and after you run the round in the FCD by pulling them ? maybe its a good way to determine if the die squezes the bullets too I would use a very thick brass to confirm that (maybe CBC)...

    I dont have a FCD :)

    Nick
     
  20. bds

    bds Member

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  21. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    Yes. There was a discussion on a different forum about this. I had somebody tell me I was crazy. They said my bullets were getting sized and I just didn't know it. I took a hand full of my cast bullets and checked them with my caliper, all measured .452. I loaded them in mixed brass with no powder or primer. When I got to the FCD stage I backed out the stem so there would be no crimp but they would still have to go through the post sizing ring. I pulled all of the bullets with a hammer type puller and they all measured .452. The post sizing ring is only going to size something that is out of spec.
     
  22. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Same thing with me. Someone starts an internet rumor and voila millions of experts are born! i have experienced no sizing of bullets when using the LFCD in semi auto calibers, but they do shrink my bullets in every revolver caliber i have tried. Some people only load for revolvers and some might only load for semi autos and each will have drawn their own conclusions about the LFCD, but it doesn't help a newcomer to the hobby when one or the other claims to be an expert on both subjects and poor advice is given which is then spread around by the information super highway experts. I loaded and extracted bullets in the same manner as you and they were exactly the same size as they were when loaded. I don't know what the difference is in the LFCD dies for revolvers and semi's as far as the carbide ring (not talking about the crimp function roll/taper) is concerned, but there definitely seems to be a difference.
     
  23. bds

    bds Member

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    My question to the users of FCD is this. Many say, if their finished rounds are within specs, the FCD won't do anything to the case/bullet diameter. If that's the case, then why use the FCD? I am assuming that one would use the FCD because they NEED to use the FCD for their finished rounds to pass the barrel drop test and reliably feed/chamber from the magazine.

    Some have said that they use the FCD as a Quality Control die so all of their finished rounds feed/chamber reliably. But this carries little weight as there are many other reloaders who produce quality reloads without the use of FCD. I wonder if regional/national level match shooters use FCD to do QC on their match rounds? I really doubt it.

    I have successfully used Lee 3 pistol dies to load 9mm/40S&W/45ACP with jacketed/plated/lead bullets, even for tight chambered Lone Wolf 9/40 and many 1911 45 barrels. I leave the FCD in the box because my finished rounds have worked in all the pistols I have shot them out of.

    Now, if I wanted to seat and taper crimp in separate steps, knocking out the FCD sizer ring and just using it as a regular taper crimp die would be a viable option.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  24. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    BDS it's just the opposite. I use the FCD to catch the ones that are out of spec and when I find one I set it to the side and don't use it. When I am done loading I don't need to do a drop barrel test or case gauge them all because I know they are in spec because none of them were post sized. I can go to a match and be confident that the only problems I will have will be my poor shooting ability. :D I have never had a ammo problem at a match. I have also been reloading five years and have loaded thousands of rounds in four different calibers and have only had two rounds get post sized. They were both 9mm using FMJ bullets.
     
  25. bds

    bds Member

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    Rusty, I do see the value in FCD.

    Having read a similar thread on another forum, I have a thought.

    Since the use of FCD for jacketed diameter bullet is fine (as stated in OP, my contention with FCD is with the larger diameter lead bullets), how about if Lee offered another FCD with a LARGER diameter carbide sizer ring for larger diameter lead bullets?

    That would address the "brass case spring back" issue when post-sizing of larger diameter lead bullet does occur. So far, I haven't heard anyone complaining of using FCD for jacketed diameter bullets, mostly for larger diameter lead bullets.

    If Lee does offer two FCDs, maybe label the FCDs with the size of the carbide sizer rings?

    What do you think?
     
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