Question of the Lee factory crimp die

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Bulletski, Aug 13, 2022.

  1. Bulletski

    Bulletski Member

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    Hi all:
    When using the Lee factory crimp die, are you supposed to size the round with another die before using the Lee crimp die. In other words, is the Lee crimp die just used to put a final squeeze to an already crimped round to render it just as if it came from the factory as a means to insure that the dimensions are like that from the factory?

    What I have been doing up till now is seating the bullet and then just using the Lee die for final sizing but I notice that the bell on the case comes in contact with the hardened sleeve in the Lee die and it seems that this may not be the way to do it.
    I've looked at videos on this and never saw any comments or instructions to do this any other way.

    Thanks for replies
     
  2. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    Pistol or rifle?. The pistol ones if your shooting cast. Will swage down the bullet diameter. I stopped using their FCD dies.
     
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  3. Bulletski

    Bulletski Member

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    I forgot to say. The caliber I shoot are 9mm and 45acp
     
  4. Bulletski

    Bulletski Member

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    And I don't shoot cast bullets
     
  5. Hockey7711

    Hockey7711 Member

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    I use it for 9mm as the final step.
    It seems to help.
     
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  6. irishlad

    irishlad Member

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    https://leeprecision.com/instructions.html

    Just scroll down to the pistol FCD

    I use them for all my pistol rounds. They do exactly what they are made for. I always enjoy threads on them. Some folks are adamantly against them and belittle those using them.
     
  7. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Lee FCD for straight wall semi-auto pistol calibers was supposed to be used as a "finishing" die to ensure finished round's dimensions were within SAAMI specs to chamber in SAMMI spec chamber barrels.

    You don't need to use FCD if you are able to produce finished round's dimensions that are within spec but FCD can "fix" the following issues:
    • Case that was not full-length resized
    • Flared case mouth that was not returned flat back on the bullet base
    • Oblong case neck from tilted bullet
    • Bulged case neck from using too much taper crimp
    • Out-of-round bullet/too thick walled case that prevent round to fully chamber
    • Other factors that produce out-of-spec dimension rounds
    Some reloaders use combination seat/taper crimp die to seat the bullet and use the FCD to apply the taper crimp in separate steps to not shave the side of bullet when using lead/coated lead bullets.

    While I use Lee dies for 9mm and 45ACP, I do not use the FCD.
     
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  8. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I'm not a fan of Lee's post crimp sizing die. In over 40 years of reloading I have had no need to size any handloads after crimping. If you are seating bullets with a regular seating die and crimping correctly, there should be no reason resize the cartridge/use an FCD.
     
  9. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    For 9mm and .45acp I use the Lee Factory Crimp dies as the last step.
    1) Decap and resize
    2) Add powder and slightly bell the mouth
    3) Seat bullet and take the bell out of the mouth
    4) Lee Factory crimp die

    I only shoot jacketed bullets

    [​IMG]

    I like the Lee Factory dies and Collet crimp dies because I get a very uniform crimp from round to round even with slight differences in case lengths.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2022
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  10. gudaki

    gudaki Member

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    I seat in one step and the final step is the Lee factory crimp die to just remove the case mouth flare/bell.
     
  11. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Ford, Chevy, Mopar.

    I too load 9mm & 45acp. I use interchangeably depending on my mood and phases of the moon, Redding & Lee dies including Redding’s competition seater with no integral crimp function and their micrometer adjustable taper crimp die OR Lee’s FCD for 45 and Lee FCD only for 9mm.

    The benefits of Lee’s die include using it as lightly as you want to just remove the bell or really cranking it down there and post sizing and even removing the guts and bulge busting.

    But, I’ve read and read and read the Lee instructions and no where do they say you must do anything beyond just removing the bell like any other taper crimp die. So for those who don’t like it because post sizing is a bad bad thing, I say, don’t do it then.

    7F8167FA-A41B-4CFF-A679-E259C17285C6.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2022
  12. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    To answer your question,
    Yes, as Livelife said, it is to be used as a final step to ensure your finished cartridges will chamber.
    It does not replace any part of the loading procedure, it's an add on to the end of it.
    I've never found where I needed one so I don't use them either.
     
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  13. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    So you & Live Life are saying the FCD cannot be used solely to remove any bell like any other taper crimp die? But that’s how I use mine.
     
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  14. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    No it’s not an add on unless you want it to be. It’s a taper crimp die with an added function or two if you want to use them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2022
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  15. irishlad

    irishlad Member

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    I use the FCD on all my pistol rounds, 380, 9mm, 45 acp and 45 colt. I believe it will resize the round if necessary, and correct the things LiveLife mentioned. You should feel the press doing it. If not necessary it's just gonna crimp it.


    I Second that.
     
  16. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I have used the FCD included with carbide sets for .357 mag, .41 mag, .44 mag, .40/10mm, and .45acp.

    I use/used it exclusively for crimping (either taper or roll, depending on the cartridge) after I have seated the bullet to the desired OAL.

    Why? Because whilst a seating dies can be set up to crimp in the same step, it's much easier to just use the included die and do it separately.
     
  17. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    :)
     
  18. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Should’ve read yours and not what he said you said. Yep that’s what I do except the seater I use mostly has no crimp function. Thus, It is simply and only a taper crimp die to me.
     
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  19. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Carbide is a sintered metal. As such, it cuts poorly but grinds beautifully. If you get a Lee FCD with a too-small carbide ring insert, the judicious application of an expanding hone on a lathe or drill press will bring it to your desired dimensions in a few minutes. If you get one from the factory at or near to your preference, no worries. There’s simply nothing productive to be gained by getting snarky over the use of a tool. Use it or don’t but don’t climb a high horse either way.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    The Lee FCD for pistols is a crimp die with a carbide "post sizing" ring in it. The idea is to squeeze oversized rounds from being crooked/fat/etc down to fit a SAMMI spec chamber. The "sizing" ring is a larger diameter that the one in the sizer for the same caliber. If in spec it only squezzes the round if it's too fat somewhere somehow. I tried two of them, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. The .40 could be felt doing a little bit of work on some of the rounds, where the .45 would squeeze the heck out of them (Too small out of spec?) Anyway, I quit using the .45 ACP one and have no issues with rounds chambering, and I knocked the carbide ring out of the fourty and use it to crimp only, again, no issues chambering.

    A lot of folks who shoot the pistol games like them as an added assurance they won't have a stoppage in a match, which really hurts on points. Some of them gauge final rounds as well with various block such as the Shockbottle.

    Here's my take here.
     
  21. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Yep.

    Just for fun and to reconfirm that I am not crazy, I just taper crimped a couple of rounds with my Redding micrometer adjustable taper crimp die and then ran them through the FCD. As in scores and scores of tests in the past that I do for each of these recurring threads, no resistance from the FCD ring nor crimp function. Nada, zip, zilch, nothing.

    The FCD is manually adjustable. It is not automagical, robotic, poltergeist driven, nor haunted. It does only what the informed operator wants it to do and nothing the informed operator doesn’t.

    So, I’m not crazy. At least not in this regard.
     
  22. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I like mine in 38/357 because it gives a good roll crimp and I can leave my seating die set with no crimp. It was the cheapest way to separate the seating crimping steps. The ring does almost nothing most times. It will bump the neck if you over expand the case, on the ring before entering the die but that's not a problem imo.
     
  23. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    When I was in college a fellow in the dorm was from just north of Richmond and convinced us to go see this soon to be three year old stallion he said was the tallest and fastest horse he’d ever seen.

    Anything was better than studying so we went and saw Big Red, aka, Secretariat. Now that was a tall horse. (Funny though I don’t recall being told the horse’s name that day.)

    edit: I mean that was a HIGH horse. Dumb mistake.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2022
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  24. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I use a Lee FCD on .45 ACP.

    It works for me.

    If you like them, use them.
    If not, don't.

    Pretty simple.
     
  25. mdi

    mdi Member

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    The only problem I have with Lee's FCD for handguns (post crimping sizing die) besides the one I tried on my 44 Magnum handloads, is that quite often a newer reloader will ask about a chambering problem and instead of getting replies on a remedy for the problem, they are told to just use an FCD. Rather than suggesting the newer reloader research and find out why his problem is happening and how to fix it, he is told to "hide" the problem by resizing the cartridge. I have been reloading for quite a while and if a cartridge doesn't chamber, I find out why, when it happens, and fix it. Works for me reloading 9 different handgun calibers; revolver, semi-auto and single shot, for 15 different handguns...
     
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