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Thread: Lee .38/357 Factory Crimp Die

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
    mdi's Avatar
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    As with any thread that discusses Lee's FCDs, there is often confusion about what FCD is being discussed. Lee makes an FCD for handgun/straight sided calibers which F/L sizes the cartridge post crimp. Lee also makes a collet crimp FCD for rifle cartridges, that squeezes a small portion of the case mouth. A good tool. Lee also makes a few collet crimp style dies for handgun cartridges, also a good tool.
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  2. #22
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    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    I use them loading 5.56 and I use them on 9mm, 40 and 45acp ammo. Ive never seen leading caused by them in those guns and have seen no degrading of accuracy. I have though in roll crimp versions for the 41,44,45 ect and in them if I want a 4th station crimp (which I allways do) I just buy a second lee bullet seating die and take the stem out and use it just to crimp.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  3. #23
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    ^^^ that is a good idea
    The price is right and that would work well as a stand alone crimping die
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  4. #24
    Boolit Mold
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    Using Hornady lead for my first try I found a very light crimp after seating was ok. Anything more crushed the lead. A push test on bathroom scale was always a good test for me. 8 lbs or more and bullet doesn't move your good to go.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master Bayou52's Avatar
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    I use the FCDs for numerous pistol and rifle cartridges. For me, they work and work well...

    Bayou52
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  6. #26
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    try it both ways and see what you like. I use them on some and not on others. Depends on the load,cal and bullet I want to use at the time.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sniper View Post
    I purchased one of these some years ago, when maybe 5% of my reloads wouldn't chamber without a sometimes hefty push. I readjusted my reloading dies, and the problem seemed to mostly go away.

    I then started reading on the 'net, (a DANGEROUS thing!) and found opinion that the FCD will resize lead boolits, making them beaucoup smaller! That won't do much for leading/accuracy, sez I to myself.

    I figure if anyone knows, he/she will be right here on the forum. Lee FCD...good or bad? I've lost the instructions, so, are there any tips for better use, or...just don't use it?
    Thanx,
    Two very important statements! I tried a Lee CD for my 44 Magnums, out of curiosity. Fail! Ruined my carefully sized cast bullets and resulted in copious leading...

    I have only been reloading semi-auto ammo for only 22 years (revolver ammo for 30+)and have never had a need to resize my ammo after crimping. If I encountered a chambering problem, I found out why it was happening (normally with the plunk test) and I fixed it, most often with a simple die adjustment. Some people swear by them (but I can't help thinking they are too lazy to fix the problem and just cover it up. No offense intended to any members). I have often thought about the bizillions and bizillions of rounds reloaded and fired successfully prior to Lee's FCD.

    I'm definitely not a Lee Hater as I have 1.75 metric tons of Lee equipment, and don't really care what tools other fellers use, but I do object to telling a new reloader to use an FCD rather than fix the problem...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  8. #28
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    I've used a 38-357 FC die for some 357 WC loads that wouldn't chamber without a lot of thumb pressure. Not sure if oversize commercial cast WC's were to blame or something else.

    At the time I had a 50 round box loaded, about 12 out of 40 were giving me some resistance so those 12 and the remainder went back home for the FC step.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
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    Anytime there is a fit issue, measure. Find out where the cartridge is too big, then fix it...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  10. #30
    Boolit Bub
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    I'm ordering the Lee Collet Crimp Die to try out for my 357 loadings. Seems like a nice addition.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master wonderwolf's Avatar
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    I'll throw my opinion in here as well, its worth what you paid for it trust me.

    If you're using a FCD I think it is very beneficial to use the same headstamp of brass, wall thickness is what I've noticed causes the bullets to perhaps become somewhat undersized.

    Last summer I learned this with some pulled down 9mm TMJ's I purchased at a very low price. I found out that they had way over crimped on the original loading which may be why they were pulled, thus causing the majority of the bearing surface to be undersized so much that about 1/50 rounds I reloaded did not have enough girth to take any kind of a crimp.....switched to a different case....it would crimp. I got a lot of those bullets and even today I'm still finding some rounds that have "self adjusting" bullet seatout when I pull a box out for the range. I'm not saying this was caused by a FCD I'm simply saying case wall thickness does play a part in the total round girth that any die touches.

    If they made a 9mm Collet FCD I would get one...I rather like the reliability and repeatability I've been getting with the collet type dies. No reason why a collet type die couldn't work I think. Would belt the bullet some but it wouldn't resize the whole projectile.

    Collet dies for the bottle neck rounds are awesome too!
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  12. #32
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderwolf View Post
    I'll throw my opinion in here as well, its worth what you paid for it trust me.

    If you're using a FCD I think it is very beneficial to use the same headstamp of brass, wall thickness is what I've noticed causes the bullets to perhaps become somewhat undersized.

    Last summer I learned this with some pulled down 9mm TMJ's I purchased at a very low price. I found out that they had way over crimped on the original loading which may be why they were pulled, thus causing the majority of the bearing surface to be undersized so much that about 1/50 rounds I reloaded did not have enough girth to take any kind of a crimp.....switched to a different case....it would crimp. I got a lot of those bullets and even today I'm still finding some rounds that have "self adjusting" bullet seatout when I pull a box out for the range. I'm not saying this was caused by a FCD I'm simply saying case wall thickness does play a part in the total round girth that any die touches.

    If they made a 9mm Collet FCD I would get one...I rather like the reliability and repeatability I've been getting with the collet type dies. No reason why a collet type die couldn't work I think. Would belt the bullet some but it wouldn't resize the whole projectile.

    Collet dies for the bottle neck rounds are awesome too!
    You are forgetting that the 9mm headspaces on the case mouth. If you use a rifle type crimp on the case mouth it would no longer work properly. You would need the extractor to hold it in place for the firing pin to strike it. That doesn't always work.

  13. #33
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    I really like the 9mm Redding Taper Crimp Die
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  14. #34
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    OK, FWIW I had some loaded 357 WC ammo that had chambering issues, too tight and wouldn't chamber. This in nickle rem and fed cases. I didn't pull any of the ammo down to check bullet diameter, but it may have been the culprit.

    A pass thru the Lee FCD took care of it, no issues. Remember, the FCD resizes the entire case thru a carbide ring and crimps when finished. It is not solely a crimp die.

    It may not be for everybody, but if you're looking to save a batch of loads that cannot be readily used as mentioned above, or as a crimp die on the last station of your progressive, it works well for that.

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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