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To crimp or not to crimp that is the question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by shenck, Dec 28, 2011.

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  1. shenck

    shenck Member

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    I bought myself a Stag arms model 3 for Christmas, and have started to load for it. I don't crimp .223 for my other rifle, but not sure what to do for an AR. Some of my manuals say to crimp, some don't mention it at all. I'm just wondering what others do. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    Use a crimp.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Get the case neck tension right, and there is no reason whatsoever to crimp.

    Been loading .223 for Colt AR's and Ruger Mini-14's without crimping for about 42 years now.

    If the case neck tension is right, and the gun & mags feed right, a crimp isn't needed.
    It will take 50+ pounds of force to move a bullet.

    Crimping will reduce your case life if that is something you want to do though.

    rc
     
  4. shenck

    shenck Member

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    Thank you

    Thanks RC I knew you would give me a good answer. I try to avoid crimping rifle ammo when possible. I was fairly sure that recoil would be light enough that bullet jump would not be a problem, But wanted to hear it from someone more experianced with the AR than I am. Thanks again.
     
  5. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    RC is exactly right. Crimps are only NECESSARY with cartridges such as those fired in lever actions with tubular magazines and heavy recoiling revolvers.

    35W
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Recoil isn't the problem in light calibers like the .223.
    It's feed impact jamming bullets deeper.

    Like I said, if the AR & the mags are right, the bullet doesn't hit anything hard enough to cause setback during feeding.

    If you have a bad mag in the bunch, all bets are off.

    I'd suggest you just take your dial calipers to the range and chamber and measure a bunch of rounds.

    Or look for bullet tip damage.

    rc
     
  7. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    Yeah, what rcmodel said.

    Assuming your neck tension is correct, there is no good reason to crimp.
     
  8. shenck

    shenck Member

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    will do

    I will do that. I have three mags to check out. Thanks again for the advice.
     
  9. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    When I bought my AR I also bought a book, "The AR-15" by Patrick Sweeney.
    In that book, he says that he ran some tests of crimped vs non-crimped reloads.

    The crimped rounds were more accurate & had less standard deviation when going across a chronograph.

    So therefore I crimp.
     
  10. P-32

    P-32 Member

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    So Hondo, I guess you are not shooting SMK's.........
     
  11. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    Or NBTs...
     
  12. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    I crimp all my auto-loader ammo with the Lee Factory Crimp die. It works on all bullets with or without a cannelure. It keeps the bullets secure, something neck tension alone cannot do and improves accuracy. Not a bad deal for less than $12.

    To crimp or not to crimp, especially with the LFCD, debate pops up quite often around here. There are those that like to crimp and there are those that do not like to crimp. I tested hundreds of rounds both with and without the LFCD and found it works for me. Others here have tested the LFCD and found it to be more trouble than it is worth. Then there are those that have never even seen a LFCD let alone tried one that feel the need to preach the evils of crimping.

    It all boils down to personal preference, if you want to crimp do it, if you don't want to crimp don't. Me, I like to crimp. YMMV
     
  13. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    I am.

    Sierra .224 53gr MK, 5 rounds 100 yards.
    Target on the left is without crimp, target on the right is with a medium crimp with the Lee Factory Crimp die.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I am not saying crimping or not crimping is more accurate but one 5 shot group is not enough data to come to a valid conclusion.

    The more data the better. Statisticians can design an experiment that determine a minimum amount of data required to have statistically valid results.

    Again, I am not saying someone has not done a proper study, but every study I have seen, the shooter shoots just one group each for a series of variable and declares the best based on that.
     
  15. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    You are absolutely correct. I should have been more clear, this target is just one of dozens which showed similar results in my Colt AR-15 and my other semi-auto rifles. I tested dozens of loads with and without the crimp in two Browning BAR(30-06 and 300WSM), two AR-15/5.56, and two Ruger Mini-30. The results were not always as clear cut as this target, but in every rifle accuracy was improved with the use of the LFCD. YMMV
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Here is some crimped vs crimped test results I had.
    I could hold my mouth different shooting each group and get a bigger difference in group size.

    The stuff I shoot with .223 can't seem to tell the differance either.
    But hedge balls and beer cans generally don't say much about it, one way or the other.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    rc
     
  17. HJ857

    HJ857 Member

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    In this crimp/no crimp discussion there is a phrase that seems to come up all the time - "if you have proper neck tension".

    So here's my question, what is correct neck tension? For all you that believe that correct neck tension is all you need, how did you determine correct neck tension? How did you measure it? Where did you get neck tension values? If you don't have correct neck tension, how did you fix the problem?

    I am genuinely interested in learning this, because I guess I just don't get how "proper neck tension" is an adequate, all encompassing answer.
     
  18. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "To crimp or not to crimp that is the question"

    Try it both ways, that is the answer.
    '
     
  19. wingman

    wingman Member

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    I have a stag 3 and don't crimp but I shoot mainly for accuracy slow fire, however If I were loading and storing larger quantities of 223 for plinking and fast firing I would crimp. That is my suggestion, but best to try both for yourself all depends on use.
     
  20. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    One way to measure neck tension is to measure the outside neck diameter of a sized case, .250 inches for example. Seat the desired bullet and measure the outside neck diameter again, say .252. I would call this .002 neck tension.

    The way to increase neck tension is to reduce the size of the expander button on the sizing die. Using the example above, if you want .003 neck tension then polish the expander down .001. Or remove the expander completely for as much neck tension as the die will allow.

    The Redding bushing dies are designed so that neck tension can be increased or decreased with a simple change in bushing size.

    I have several Redding bushing dies and tested rounds for bullet movement and accuracy from .001 to .006 neck tension. In my tests no amount of neck tension can hold the bullet as secure as .002 neck tension and a medium crimp with the LFCD. With every increase in neck tension I lost a bit of accuracy as well. .006 neck tension was down right pathetic.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well, in post #6 I said:
    in other words, look for bullet set-back after chambering but before firing.

    I have also used a large woodworkers vice and a bathroom scale to compress loaded rounds until the bullet slips. For most rifle calibers it should be around 40-50 pounds with no crimp.
    I have measured asphalt sealed & crimped GI ammo at well over 70.

    However, my contention is, that much might be needed in a machine gun, but certainly not in a semi-auto sporting rifle.

    But the easiest way is just take your expander button out of the sizing die and measure it with your dial calipers.

    It needs to be about .0015 to - .002" smaller then bullet diameter in smaller calibers, to as much as .0025" to .003" smaller in big bores, or it will expand the sized case too much to have good neck tension. My .223 expander measures .2225" and works perfectly.

    This is assuming your sizing die is sizing the case below bullet dia to start with.
    You also use your calipers to measure that before expanding.

    Again, I would look for a .222"+ to .223" case mouth before seating a .224" bullet in it.

    rc
     
  22. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    Correct neck tension is the point where the neck holds the bullet so its placement is not disrupted during the loading or unloading sequence.
    Generally, measure several loaded rounds at the neck at several places and take the smallest average measurement. Subtract .001" from that. Use that bushing on your sizing die.
    See above. That's a general rule. Some press a loaded round against a scale to a certain point, say 100lbs reading on the scale, then measure the OAL. If it didn't change, they call it good. Some others use a pull gauge that clamps on the bullet and a dial reads how much force it takes to pull the bullet from its seating position.
    Reduce the neck diameter during sizing until you get desired results.

    Problems with neck tension are not solved with crimp, they are solved with the sizing stem on your sizing die. All of my dies are bushing size dies which allows me to provide proper neck tension precisely rather than the crapshoot chances that a run of the mill sizing pin in a standard sizing die.
     
  23. x_wrench

    x_wrench Member

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    c r i m p ! ! !
     
  24. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    Look, I've been reloading since I was about 18, I'm now 48. I've used dies made by every manufacturer in the U.S. Never, ever once did I have to measure or in any way check neck tension. If when loading bottleneck cartridge cases your bullet are moving, which I highly doubt they are, you have a problem with your dies. In all likelihood the expander ball is too large.

    So, if crimping makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, go for it, but do so know it's not necessary if your reloading equipment is working properly.

    35W
     
  25. HJ857

    HJ857 Member

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    Thank you gents for the explanations. I'm glad to see that the phrase has some real hard numbers behind it, I was starting to believe that the phrase was just another self perpetuating internet fallacy that had no basis in fact.
     
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