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Thread: Straight wall case length & Lee Factory Crimp

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Straight wall case length & Lee Factory Crimp

    Hi guys,

    I sort my 38 Special brass by head stamp but have never trimmed for length.

    Recently I have had a couple of inconsistancies with seating depth.

    I'm not shotting any form of competiton where pin point accuracy is required but I do think consistancy is a good thing when reloading.

    Does the Lee Factory Crimp die resolve any potential issues in this regard or should I trim?

    Regards, Racingsnake

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Granted, .38's and other pistol cartridges rarely need trimming after use, however they do "grow" from use and to be safe and consistent, trim them once in awhile. Mostly depends on the power sought from each loading. Light loads last a very long time. Trim your brass and you'll get more consistent loads. Use of the Lee Factory Crimp gives a great crimp and will lend itself to more consistent ammo. Your seating die, when properly set, will also give a great crimp.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Pepe Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    North/central Maine

    Heads Up!!

    The original Lee FCD for hand guns has been a bone of contention for some time.
    There is a long learning curve.
    Fortunately Lee has devised a FCD for the most popular hand gun ctgs. based on the FCD's designed for bottle neck ctgs. (Rifles , collet dies)
    I'm not sure if you can get them directly from Lee or if you must order them from Ranch Dog.
    Read up on them before you order.
    Pepe Ray
    The way is ONLY through HIM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    MtGun44's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    eastern Kansas- suburb of KC
    Collet type rifle (and some are made for Ranch Dog for pistols) are wonderful
    devices. The Lee pistol FCD is, at least, controversial. It has a carbide sizing
    ring and a taper crimp at the top. They sometimes size down the boolit in
    the case and ruin the round.

    IMO, buy an ordinary taper crimp die or the Lee rifle FCD or one of RD's special
    rifle type pistol FCDs. Avoid the Lee pistol type FCD, it is a solution looking for
    a problem.

    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Bill, what type of crimp will the Ranch Dog die provide - roll or taper? Will it do anything better than a standard seating / crimp die?

    I've contacted RD to see if their 357magnum die will work for 38 special.


  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Abiquiu, NM
    Maybe I'm missing something here but I don't understand how brass length determines cartridge overall length. I would clean the bullet seater. Take it apart and clean it. If your still getting varying lengths, check bullet weights. I think the problem lies within those two things. RD says his will work on 357 not 38 special. The same for his 44 mag.

    take care,


  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Akron, OH

    The OP said "seating depth", not COL. I bet what he's talking about is that some of his brass is a good bit longer or shorter than the rest, so the cannelure is ot in the right position for a good roll crimp.

    You're right, that won't change COL.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Iron Mike's correct - I'm concerned about consistent seating depth and correct alignment with the crimp grove.

    I got a reply from Michael at Ranch Dog and he's a really nice guy. Unfortunately they don't have a 38 special collect type die.

    I'm just going to get a separate seating die and using it for crimping only -

    Any suggestions on best make of die for this particulat function?

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

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