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Lee Factory Crimp Die

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JonB, Nov 27, 2007.

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  1. JonB

    JonB Member

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    I have the Lee Deluxe Pistol die set in 10mm. I have 9mm Deluxe Pistol Die set and the Lee Pacesetter die set in .223 on order. All of these sets have the Factory Crimp die.
    10mm - Glock 20c
    9mm - XD-9
    .223 AR-15: RRA 16" HBAR

    From Lee website"
    "Lee PaceSetter Dies include the exclusive Lee Factory Crimp Die to produce factory-like ammunition with improved utility and accuracy. "
    "...the Carbide Factory Crimp Die post sizes your case assuring you that any round that passes through the die will chamber properly in your gun."

    From Speer Website FAQ
    "Q.I bought a reloading die set and there’s a note with the dies that says something like, “Speer does not recommend using their bullets with these dies.” What’s the deal?
    A.Speer never made such a broad recommendation. Speer’s recommendation is: Do not apply a crimp to any bullet that does not have a crimp groove. The die company in question markets a die to produce a “factory crimp” and recommends it be used on any bullet. Speer’s tests, and those by another bullet maker and an independent gun writer, show that crimping a bullet that doesn’t have a crimp groove degrades group size by an average of 40 percent. Other than the crimp die, we have no problem with our bullets in that firm’s dies, although our preference is for RCBS® products. We express our thanks to the die maker for allowing us to make contact with so many new SPEER customers."

    My question is: When should I be using the Factory Crimp dies and when should I not? I used them in loading 10mm last week and the ammo was accurate, chambered and cycled well. In fact, I tool the barrel out of my Glock and tried to drop a non-FCD round into the barrel and it was hit/miss whether they dropped in smoothly. But after the FCD - no problems at all.

    :confused:
     
  2. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Member

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    This came up a month ago, I use the FC die on Speer bullets with good results. Apparently Speer (RCBS) and Lee are not friendly, thus the warning.

    BTW, please don't load for your AR without a decent crimp of some type, replacing your upper is a pain.
     
  3. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

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    Speer and Lee have a personal thing going on. Just follow normal procedure with Speer bullets. Some guys knock the FCD, apparently because grandpa didn't use it. Also, you can get by without it. All true. You don't need the TV remote, either, but it sure is nice to have. If you have an empty hole for the FCD, IMHO it's silly not to use it.
     
  4. jfh

    jfh Member

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    trueblue1776 summarized it well.

    Apparently Lee and RCBS got into a pissing contest a few years back, and it is still dribbling along, I guess....

    I'm not up to speed yet on .223, but the rifle FCD die really is a different animal from the handgun FCD dies. As you know, it does NOT do full-length post-seating resizing.

    The Lee FCD die works beautifully for my pistol cartridges, particularly 10mm, and I use it with my 38 / 357 reloads. I loaded 1000s of 38 / 357 rounds this summer using the Lee 4-die setup to seat and (roll) crimp the Speer GDSB135-gr. bullets. Resizing is almost never done; that occurs only with an odd piece of brass. Needless to say, on revolver cartridges, I crimp on the cannelure--but I am routinely working with MAX (and somewhat OVERMAX) charges in .38 Special, and I can apply the kind of crimp I want very easily.

    Similarly, I built about 500 rounds or so using Speer FMP 10 mm bullets to break in my Kimber 10mm. Careful die setup resulted in 100% chambering in a tight new pistol, and accuracy like I'd never seen from a factory gun--2" accuracy at 50 yards.

    As long as you use it intelligently, and use it to apply the right kind and amount of crimp, it can't be beat. The post-seat resizing is a bonus for people who feed their semiautos pickup / trash brass.

    Jim H.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2007
  5. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Thanks all. I'll continue to use the FCD on my reloads. Worked great on my 10mm. I think I have the bullet seating die set up right to apply a slight roll crimp, then use the FCD.
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    The rifle FCD crimps into the cannelure (crimp grove) with a collet that tightens with the last bit of travel. If the bullets you’re using, for your AR, don’t have a cannelure you can get one of these http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/2,350.htm or different bullets. If you crimp without a cannelure you are deforming the bullet as you crimp and that’s not going to lead to outstanding accuracy. With the pistol FCD they are more like a post size die and do not function the same as the rifle dies. Do you NEED them? No. I do use them for almost all of the pistol rounds I load though as more pass the case gauge. Even then they might not be for everyone however, in shooting pistol competition you go through a lot of ammo, you are using mostly range brass of almost every manufacture (much has probably been through several different pistols) and one malfunction can make the difference between a win or a loss. I would say most here don’t even case gauge there ammunition to tell if it’s within specifications, much less have ever done a comparison between conventional dies and the Lee FCD.
     
  7. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    I use and like Lee products, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that they are lacking in the area of "clear and complete instructions". I think the same goes into their marketing... (classic cast and classic turret seem to frequently get mixed up)....

    that said....they use the same name "Factory Crimp Die" for what appears to me to be very different dies.....

    I only use the FCD on .38 spl/.357 and .30-30.....

    but the Lee website states that for Semi-Auto caliber hand guns, the FCD is actually a taper crimp die.

    Clear as mud!

    Richard Lee (though he should have hired a professional editor when he wrote his book) is a far better shooter, inventor, machinist, businessman and re-loader, than I am or will ever be.

    He's brought re-loading to the masses by making the equipment affordable and I think that with this in mind he's taken the KISS approach to his documentation and marketing. The instructions are simple, but they rely on a "trust me" factor and don't really explain the products technical function.

    Just my humble opinion....based on what really amounts to very limited experience.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Oh goody. Another Lee FCD thread.

    A solution for a non problem. :evil:
     
  9. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    I use the Lee FCD on all of my .45 ACP handloads; and with excellent results,
    I might add~! ;) :D
     
  10. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Member

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    I take issue with that, some rookie reloader could suffer a bullet setback KB because he read on THR the Lee FC was unnecessary.

    Yes, it is a redundant system when used with a perfectly adjusted seating die. When you started reloading how long did it take you to figure out how to seat and crimp in the same motion?

    Worst case scenario the Lee FC gives a military bullet crimp, best case it prevents injury and damage by securing a loose bullet.
     
  11. jfh

    jfh Member

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    non-problem solutions--

    I'll agree with trueblue1776 on this one, Walkalong.

    After I gained experience, the next issue for combined seating-crimping was crud buildup and increased maintenance. That appears to be minimized with the FCD included.

    I'll also add that I have my seating dies backed up to provide seating only, with no crimp in my 10mm. Let the FCD apply the (taper) crimp as needed. By setting up my dies this way, I gained even more consistent LOAs, and I think the accuracy is a hair better.

    Jim H.
     
  12. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Member

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    I use it but don't try to squeeze the guts out a slug.
     
  13. ATAShooter

    ATAShooter Member

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    Speer is owned by ATK Alliant Technologies, which also owns RCBS. You can figure the rest. They also own, Outer's, Federal Ammunition, Blue Ridge shooter's supplies, and some others I forgot. A list is at ATK website.
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I disagree.

    The Lee FCD for pistol can ruin neck tension (not will, but can) and cause more problems than it solves. You need good neck tension and a decent crimp. Neck tension is FAR more important than crimp. No amount of crimp will make up for poor neck tension here. The FCD can ruin neck tension because the carbide ring sqeezes the bullet and brass down. The brass is much springier than a lead or jacketed bullet and so when it springs back and the bullet does not you have just decreased neck tension. Sure, the FCD will make sure the round fits in the chamber, but it does not ensure that it is right. It crimps rounds just fine as all crimp dies do, of course. It is the post sizing ring where you can cause problems.

    With properly sized bullets, proper sizing of brass, proper expansion of the brass, and proper seating/crimping there is no need for the resizing ring in the FCD. It can cause problems as stated above. Look for a better solution than the FCD.

    A THR poster here gave the only reason I have ever heard to use the FCD.
    With cheap, not so great bullets and various beat up brass for practice ammo it saved many rounds that otherwise would not fit the gauge and thus chamber.

    Read the directions and got it right the first time. I don't understand this being a problem for folks. I prefer to crimp in a seperate step, because I think it does a better job, but I still seat/crimp with the same die in some applications.

    Exactly. Now just get rid of the carbide ring or use a different crimp die and you'll be set. :evil:
     
  15. jfh

    jfh Member

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    Your observations are good, Walkalong.

    My experience with the (handgun) FCD is mostly limited to 38 / 357 reloading. All my brass is Starline, the primers have been held to one type and brand (WSP) to keep that variable as a constant, and the application has been the development of 2" barrel replica loads for PD practice. FWIW, the 38 reloads are typically near or at published MAX loads, and sometimes I venure into +P+ charges as well.

    With a stock FCD 38/357 dies, I find no post-crimp sizing with the Speer GDSB135JHP bullets. Similarly, there is no post-crimp sizing with the .357 lead bullets. However, when I load the lead .358 bullets (a Penn Bullet 140 RNFP--excellent quality and consistency), there is a both a crimp and post-crimp sizing. I may have lee make a new FCD die insert for me, and set up a third turret just for .358 bullets. We shall see.

    I've not fully chased down the impact of this .358-bullet postsizing. It has had no apparent impact on accuracy--but it's really only been checked out to fifteen yards from a 2" barrel. (At that distance, the group can be under 1".)

    I've examined some of those rounds with a loupe--the crimp on the .358 bullets is "firm"--arguably, excessive. "Removal rankings" with an inertial hammer confirm this. This "overcrimp" condition appears to negate any issues with neck tension and the elasticity issues you bring up.

    I can see how it might be an issue with pistol cartridges. I have some 200 gr. LSWC 10mm bullets that are from "early on" (1990 or so) in the 10mm reloading history. These are deep seaters--and I do detect some post-crimp resizing. So far, I haven't chased this down, as I am still sorting out LOAs--the nose profile (really a LTCFP) causes chambering problems in my Kimber (but not in my Springfield Armory Omega, nor in my (former) 1006).

    I used to do a 4-die 10mm sequence, using the Lee taper crimp for the 4th die when I reloaded the 10mm cartridges on my Lee progressives. However, I noted no great help then--except when excessively crimping; I think that was really the wrong solution for the LOA problem I had misdiagnosed.

    Based on the above comments, I remain unconvinced the neck / elasticity issue is a major one. Intermittent LOA checks on unfired ammo show no changes in my rounds.

    Jim H.
     
  16. JonB

    JonB Member

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    You are not kidding there. I get confused every time I read their website - hence asking the questions here.

    I checked my seater/crimp die that my dad and I set up and I don't think its crimping at all (roll crimp I think?). I may have to mess with that one again. But the FCD was super easy to set up.
     
  17. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Member

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    Lee Website

    Taking into account that I am a cumputer illiterate (otherwise well educated) grumpy old man, I have found that the websites I go to including Lee are very confusing. I finally had to call Lee on the phone to order stuff because their procedure was very confusing. When I set my Lee press back up, looking at the directions, I had to go by my fuzzy old memory cause the directions sure didn't elucidate things.

    Heck, I even had to ask how to search the Members List on THR because every thing on the header is the same washed out tannish/grey to me. Instead of hiring some techno whiz youngster, they need to hire real world people to write instructions and design web pages. Needs to be in bold print with lottsa pictures!:D
     
  18. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    The Lee deluxe FCD set is the only dies I've used for .45acp and they work very well for my H&K.

    After modifying the seater die to match the 200 grain Hornady JSWC profile, my reloads are match accurate and 100% reliable.

    I agree neck tension is more critical than crimp. I use an absolute minimum of case mouth flare.

    I only use .002"-.003" of crimp. That should not bother any brand of bullet.

    I always check for setback by cycling dummy rounds over and over untill I'm confident that they'll stay put.
     
  19. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Member

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    Walkalong- I understand your position, but how many threads do you see here titled "My bullets fell out" or similar, the common occurrence of those threads would imply not all reloaders read the directions. Neck tension is small potatoes when some joker is about to lose some fingers.

    Also, it is impossible to load MILSPEC (ish) ammo without a Lee FC type crimp.

    You make valid points and I agree very much with your views, I'm just trying to make sure folks don't get in over their heads.
     
  20. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I was a firm believer in that for about 40 years. Then I used a Lee FCD to crimp some very accurate, un-cannelured, .223 55 grain Nosler Ballistic-Tip's just to prove it to myself that Lee was blowing smoke.

    In two rifles, a CZ-527, and a Colt AR, my groups shrank considerably, more so in the AR then in the CZ, because it was already shooting as well as I can shoot.

    But it certainly didn't ruin the bullets, and it certainly didn't hurt the accuracy.

    1224.jpg
    rcmodel
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Just keep doing that too. I know where you were coming from. That should be our first concern when giving load advise.

    I just disagree about the FCD for pistol cartridges. I bet 95% of the time they do no harm, but I would like to see folks make ammo that does not need to be squeezed to fit their guns. The theory behind the die is great.
     
  22. stovepipe699

    stovepipe699 Member

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    I only reload rifle rounds, and have had some very good results using the FCD. I've also had very good results seating off the throat. I would say try both ways and see what you find. My preference is off the throat, but if you're limited by magazine length etc. I would definitly give it a chance.
     
  23. Idano

    Idano Member

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    Can you please elaborate on your statement? The reason I ask is because I have never crimped a .223 round for my AR and I have loaded and shot over 6,000 rounds without a incident or misfire. It has always been my understanding the only reason to crimp a round is so the bullet seating depth doesn't change on rounds in the magazine or chambered cylinders during recoil. I have found that properly resized brass has more then enough neck tension to securely hold the bulled for what little recoil the AR produces; if in doubt try pulling a bullet with a kinetic bullet puller. I am I missing something else?
     
  24. FLORIDA KEVIN

    FLORIDA KEVIN Member

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    I just ordered a Lee Factory Crimp Die for .454 casull ! i t should be here anyday ! When it does i will try to determine a difference ! Also there seems to be some confusion as to the type of crimp applied by the die ! It is my understanding that the FCD for auto loader (9mm..45 acp .etc.) is a tapered crimp, as are the FCD for rifle rounds ! The FCD for revolver rounds is a Roll crimp and requires bullets with a channalure !? am i correct ? Kevin
     
  25. jfh

    jfh Member

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    "...The FCD for revolver rounds is a Roll crimp and requires bullets with a channalure....

    I think there is some debate about the "need" for cannelures, Kevin. I have successfully loaded 140LRNFP bullets without a cannelure with higher loads for revolver use--but I'd prefer not to: Setback issues can generate real problems.

    Jim H.
     
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