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Thread: Lee crimp die work with cast bullets????????

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lee crimp die work with cast bullets????????

    I read on this site that the Lee factory crimp die is the best crimp die out there.
    Then I read this die will not work on cast bullets very well
    Someone please explain??

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



    462's Avatar
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    Are you referring to the Carbide Factory Crimp Die for handgun cartridges, or the Factory Crimp Die for rifle cartridges?

    They are two entirely different crimping systems, with the rifle die having a huge and loyal following, while the handgun die has as many haters as lovers.

    Located a bit down the page from your thread are these two pages of opinions regading the handgun die: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=106715

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    The Lee factory crimp die makes my 1911 in 45 acp lead like crazy. It sizes down the boolit so it is undersize. Once I got rid of the crimp dice and went to an approach that seats in one step and roll crimps in the final step the problem was solved. If you dies are setup properly most of the time you should not need a factory crimp dice.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master jlchucker's Avatar
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    What 462 said. The two versions, rifle and pistol, are entirely different beasts. IMO Lee could solve this (and maybe even save some manufacturing costs) by making their pistol-caliber crimp dies exactly like their rifle-caliber dies, instead of offering two completely different designs.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    "I read on this site that the Lee factory crimp die is the best crimp die out there.
    Then I read this die will not work on cast bullets very well. Someone please explain?? "

    Okay. The FCDs are great, both types, but they are different from each other.

    The question of using the FCD on handgun cast bullets isn't as clear cut as some think it should be. It is a specialty die that works fine for most situations but not all. Trying to make it work where isn't helpful is not a good idea but condeming it across the board is no more honest than anything else incorrectly used would be. What causes so much puzzlement and problems, when they exist at all, comes from the fact that it has a "post seating" carbide size ring at the mouth of the die. It's a popular (but incorrect) idea that cast bullets 'should' be thou or three over bore diameter. IF a thick bullet is loaded into a thick case that together exceeds SAAMI maximum cartridge size, the sizing ring squeezes it down in order to prevent feeding jams in tightly chambered pistols; that's all it does. Clearly, if the bullets and cases are "normal", no post seating sizing will occur.

    It's not uncommon for factory barrels to be bored a bit large, ditto some chambers are also sloppy. Those do benefit from unusually large bullet diameters - one or two thou. That's not really common but they are subject to being squeezed down in the FCD. Undersized bullets in modest pressure loads don't always obturate so the chamber gases badly cut and errode the lead surface and deposit it on the bore.

    From all this it becomes obvious that the handgun FCD is not a cut and dried question; use it if you want 100% reliable feeding of ANY bullet but don't use it with guns that are better served with oversized ammo. Therefore, asking for the experiece of others will surely get you some strong opinions but they are meaningless for individual weapons and loads. Like a lot of specialty tools, the only way we can be certain if it will help any of us is to try it and see how things go.

    The rifle FCD has a split collet that squeezes the mouth of the loaded round onto the bullet. The degree of crimp is fully adjustable from none at all to quite deep. Some people seem determined to crimp as deeply as possible. That can indeed damage bullets but it's operator error and is no fault of the die.
    Last edited by 1hole; 07-27-2011 at 10:46 AM.

  6. #6
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    crimp die

    I am from that group that seats and then crimps the bullet in different stages as it gives a more uniform round. I tried the FCD and was not very pleased with it's crimp on my lead bullets. The Redding profile crimp die is the exact tool that I needed and I use it on all calibers. A very smooth gradual roll crimp on every round instead of that pinch the case mouth style from the Lee.
    Shooter of the "HOLY BLACK" SASS 81802 AKA FAIRSHAKE; NRA ; BOLD; WARTHOG;Deadwood Marshal;Bayou Bounty Hunter; So That his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat; 44 WCF filled to the top, 210 gr. bullet

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    The only Lee crimp die I have is an older 30 caliber that just turns in a nice roll crimp. I use it to straighten out the bell and when needed in a tubular magazine, turn in a neat roll crimp. It works fine for that purpose.

    For all handgun rounds and the 47-70 rifle round, I use a Redding Profile Crimp die and they work very well. Like many others I crimp in a separate operation. I have not hand any problems crimping with standard Lyman, RCBS, Pacific, etc. etc. seating dies, but I like to use a separate die so I purchase the Redding.

    I have never used a Lee FCD and don't think it's design would be cast bullet friendly.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    I agree that a lot depends on the chamber and bore that will excrete those pills. As as example, I get great results using the Lee 200 grain LSWC sized to .452". The FCD does swage it down to .451 in final sizing, but that's okay for me because the 1911 that fires it will be a Kimber, and the chamber and bore are on the tight side anyway. No leading, great accuracy. If those rounds fed a gov't-issued Colt 1911 (or many others), that same boolit would be doing the Samba all the way down the barrel, with predictable results... Some guys just knock the carbide sizing ring out and crimp without the final sizing -- sounds logical to me!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master trixter's Avatar
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    I have found it to be very effective when working with my 45 ACP and 228gr RN cast Boolits it crimps the same every time. I have used it in a SS press and now in my progressive. Works the same both places.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master nanuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post

    It's a popular (but incorrect) idea that cast bullets 'should' be thou or three over bore diameter.


    1hole: your reply was excellent except for the above quoted line


    I'm sure you meant "Groove" diameter, and not "Bore" diameter.

    Just clarifying it for some who may misunderstand

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    the factory crimp die in my 7.5x55 works really well. i will say it degraded accuracy maybe 1/4 inch at 50 yards but i could very well been my shooting that day. its a 1/4 of a inch you know?

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    FCD works great for a rifle.

    FCD is a waste of time, money and accuracy for a handgun caliber. Attempts to fix problems that do not exist.

    I might add, how was all millions of rounds of reloaded ammo for handguns loaded before the advent of the FCD?

    My opinion, take it for what it cost.
    Last edited by jcwit; 08-03-2011 at 08:58 AM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I love the Lee FCD for my .38/.357 rounds using the Lee 158gr SWCTL. Tomorrow I am going to try some 175gr TC boolits I cast and loaded today for my .40 using the FCD. Trying out a storm lake barrel for my Glock 23. Dont shoot the Glock much as I had to buy ammo for it. Not a good idea since it is my primary carry gun. Now I can shoot it all day, lol Casting is good..Tommy

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Pistol FCD solves what actual problem that is not handled by a normal die set?

    A solution in search of a problem.

    Rifle FCD is excellent, great crimps even with slightly different brass lengths, no way
    you will collapse a case.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Well, I notice that some folks are posting similar comments here and in the poll thread, so I make NO APOLOGIES for this cross post. Sorry if yer ears are ringing.

    There are other ways to make use of these Lee handgun FC dies.

    I load a range of diameters in straight wall handgun cases, a pain in the gazootie, but I gotta do it to fit boolits to throats. My die collection goes back forty years and I was an early convert to carbide sizers. Many standard sizers produce case diameters much too small for full bodied CBs. The expander stems leaves a wasp waisted round, which overworks the brass and looks sucky. Some time ago, I ran cases into all my handgun sizer dies and recorded the results. There were some gaps in the resulting diameters that I wanted to fill.

    In the 45 Colt, I have carbide sizers from Dillon, RCBS (Cowboy) and Lee. These produce sized case inside diameters of 0.446, 0.448 and 0.449, all too small for bullets of 0.454 and up. A steel RCBS sizer from 1974 yields an ID of 0.450, but required lubrication.

    I knew the Lee straight case handgun factory crimp dies featured carbide rings of somewhat larger diameter than normal sizer dies, so I bought these in 45 ACP and 45 Colt. The 45 Colt FC die would hardly touch a fired case, but the 45 ACP die gave me an ID of 0.452, a useful increase of 0.003 over the next largest standard carbide sizer.

    So, when sizing for 0.455 slugs, I use the Lee 45 ACP FC die with the seating guts removed. Similar advantages are found in the 38s and 44s. If they made one for the 32s, I'd buy one. The top inside of these dies is threaded, but not for standard decappers, so an adapter bushing has to be made in order to decap when sizing.

    The Lee FC die for the 9mm Makarov also makes a good seater for 0.361 CBs in the 38 S&W. My regular seaters won't accept that diameter.

    Very useful tools, even if used off label.

    Mark

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks, Mark. Good answers, and good use of a tool which is still (IMO) a solution
    in search of a problem. Speaking only of the pistol FCD here.

    You have really answered the question, and found a couple of problems that these dies
    do solve. Excellent thinking 'outside the box'.

    As to the recommended application - I remain singularly unimpressed. I see a very rare
    upside and lots of downsides. We get a steady flow of folks through the site that are
    having troubles that are traced to the pistol FCD sizing down the boolit unintentionally.
    Is it huge - no, I'm sure it is not, but given that a normal die set should produce ammo
    that fits a normal chamber - the need for the FCD in standard reloading is just not there.
    Can it work and produce good ammo? Of course.

    Is it NEEDED to produce good ammo? IMO, no. If you think you need a FCD, you actually
    need a better die set.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I just got back from the range where I had tried out Lee 40cal 175grTC loaded on top of 4.7gr ww231. I dropped in a storm lake .40 barrel in my Glock 23 and fired 200 rounds. I lubed them with 45/45/10 I was very concerned about leading as I crimped with a Lee FCD. No leading at all. Probably cause the storm lake barrel was very tight. First fired 3 mags, 39 rounds at a shoot and see target at about 40 feet, Totally amazed that I had one hole that was the size of a coffee cup lid. Cut my group with factory ammo and the original Glock barrel in half. After I finished shooting I wiped out the barrel with an oily patch and the bore was spotless...Still amazed lol........Tommy

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    Thanks for the comments, Bill. My experience has been that most all die makers have some really superior designs, but none of them make a complete set of superior designs. I struggled until I could afford to fill out a good combination for a number of calibers.

    Lyman makes fine CB neck expanders, the M-dies. The Hornady sliding sleeve seaters are great and the Redding Profile Crimper is tops, along with the new Lee collet crimpers for some straight case handgun rounds (see Ranch Dog's site). I had found, with some others, that a Lee 44-40 collet crimper works with the 44 Magnum, then bought one for the 357 Sig to adapt to the 357 Magnum. No need now.

    Some time ago, I talked to a Lee rep and assured him that straight case collet crimpers would be good sellers to the CB community, but he seemed cool to the idea. So, thanks, Ranch Dog, for getting them rolling.

    I have a Redding expander for the 32 H&R, which is made to the M-die design. And Dillon's Accu-Crimp is much like the Profile Crimp. Word's getting around, but it sure would be nice to be able to put together a die set from a buffet selection without taking the a la carte price hit.

    Mark

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    News to me that Lee is using their collet FCD design from rifles for straight case pistols.

    Sounds like a good thing to me. I'll look into getting one to try and if it works well, I may
    wind up with 3-4 at least.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check