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Thread: Lets discuss the topic of Roll Crimping lots to here need to get it all in one place.

  1. #1
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    Lets discuss the topic of Roll Crimping.

    I posted this on my "Old A5" thread but it needs it's own thread as there is more than a little to be learned on this subject.


    OK guys: Since I am waiting for my gun to reappear I decided I would load some of my new STI Slugs.

    I went down the roll crimping rat hole today and reloaded 5 once fired Federal Slug Hulls that were previously Roll Crimped. I did one Fiocchi hull last night but it kind of sucked so I used some Feds I had collected for today's excursion.

    I used the BPI 12 ga. Roll Crimper that I have had sitting in the box for several years now. I did the set up on my Milling machine simply because I could control the speed down to zero RPM's if necessary. I started at 150 RPM's and it worked good so I left it there.

    I did the first operations of the loading on my Pacific DL266. That was depriming/sizing, re-priming and dropping powder., then to seat the STI Slug/Sabot combo I used a wad guide ( A MEC I think)I had in my Lee Loader Kit with my little Sinclair Arbor Press to shove the whole mess thru the mouth of the hull. No way was it going in without a wad guide. I had to use a .40 S&W case as a spacer to get the slug past the the fingers on the wad guide.

    Then back to the press to seat the wad and apply 40-50 lbs of pressure on it.

    Then over to the mill for the Roll Crimp.

    Once I figured out how to hold onto the hull and lining it up with the crimp tool, I just started the spindle and started running it down. The stop was high so I keep lowering it until the crimp looked complete.

    I went back to the first one on the left and gave it a little more after I was done with the other 4 all ended up at 2-5/16" +/-.01-.15. They all have a decent taper on them so they should feed smoothly in the A5.

    One thing I did that just seemed appropriate was to wipe some Vaseline on the inside of the crimp tool. It worked and whereas the first one didn't look perfect the other 4 did and I am reasonably happy with the outcome. But since I have no idea what I am doing I will defer to you's guys for constructive criticism.

    See pics below.

    So what do you think?

    Randy
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    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 12-09-2018 at 05:24 PM.
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    Also lets look at Rotary Roll crimping versus the MEC Slugger way which is a Strait Line push using three steps.

    On the other thread Capt Morgan showed the difference between Roll Crimps done with a flat pin which produces a flat topped crimp roll as opposed to a curved section in the die that rolls the plastic over producing a radiused front to the hull. Maybe we can get him to post that pic on this thread?

    Obviously the curved style is what the Ammo Mfg's use.

    Here's pics of a factory loaded Federal Slug (Blue) and one of the ones I did on a previously roll crimped hull.

    Could you's guys share your techniques for doing this operation, so we all can learn.

    I also need to know about trimming previously Fold Crimped hulls so they Roll Crimp cleanly. How much do you trim off? Lyman says 1/8-1/4"? And is that tool that Ranch Dog got how and why this is done?

    I've got thousands of OF AA and STS hulls so I'm not too keen on buying new hulls for this project.

    Randy.
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    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 12-09-2018 at 04:33 PM.
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  3. #3
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    You are way more precise than I am , but good call on the little dab of conditioner on the role crimper to get it going smoothly . I use a roll crimper for short shot shells mostly , and I fold my slug loads . I am not confident enough in my role crimping to trust that the slug will unfold it without pressure difference in my loads , and that wouldn't help my meager groups . My goal in life is to keep a 4 in 100 yard group with home made slugs that I enjoy shooting . Let us know how they shoot .

  4. #4
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    They shore look good !

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    Randy: I believe that the milling machine is a good idea, that 150RPM has to help. We use a similar process. Seating the wad, I use the wad tube that comes with the old Lee Loaders. I now own several different roll crimping tools as I've mentioned in the other threads. With the exception of the Russian built hand crank tool I've been spinning the tools much to fast I believe. This makes a nice crimp but pretty much destroys the hull unless it's trimmed back to 2 1/2 or 2 1/4" and loaded once more. I have a Mec Super Sizer on the way and will be using it as a clamp to hold the hulls. Also, I have the old Mikita 9.6 volt battery drill that will spin pretty slowly in the low speed mode. My Craftsman bench top drill press just can not be set to turn at anywhere close to slow enough and I'm tired of just getting two loads out of new hulls from BPI. And Yes, I believe those crimps look pretty good. Gp

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    Gp: The Craftsman Drill Presses have an accessory you need to keep an eye out for. It is an Idler assembly that fits into the top of the vertical column. The only difference between a bench model and floor model is the length of the column. It has another set of pulleys and the shaft is mounted off center so it will tension the front belt. Then the motor is used to tension the rear belt and the result is 120 rpms. I leave mine set up that way so I can run countersinks on it.

    Slow speeds seem to be part of the puzzle here. Also doing it on a Drill Press as opposed to a hand held drill motor keeps the crimp even side to side. The one I did with my drill motor looked like ship.

    I think you might try some Vaseline on the tool and lighter pressure on the quill as you form the crimp. That way the higher speed wouldn't overheat the plastic as much.

    Randy
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    I think what also needs to be considered is not only how uniform the crimps are, but are the hulls usable after the shot? Please show us some before and after pictures.



    My drill spec says the minimum speed is 600 RPM, but that might be to support a drill bit. I'm able to operate it extremely slow, I put a mark on the back of the crimper to watch, and I would say it does about 200 - 250 RPM at the most. I used the STI roller, and they looked good, but it is still tough to make them uniform to an exact overall length, hull to hull. This is the point where I was going to get the HF drill press. When I shot the ammo I loaded, the hulls looked exactly like those on the right. I had to toss them. So pictures please.

    I even thought about trying one of the imported rollers on ebay.

    I pulled my Slugger out of the box, and the dies were all loose as well as the cam that actuates the first crimp die, so I need to talk to MEC about the basic setup before I can go forward as there isn't anything in the box that included that information. The powder bottle was busted as well. It will be Tuesday before I can make that call. Once in operation, I will include pictures of the before and after as well.
    Michael

  8. #8
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    If you crimped the red hull on the right I find no fault with it....none! A couple of things I discovered roll crimping (I use the precision reloading tool tha chucks in drill press): Any wad that has give when pressure applied does not generally produce a perfect crimp; even if you are perfectly plumb when crimping your wad may not be perfectly plumb in the hull. Felt, cork, even shotcup wads can tilt ever so slightly and produce an uneven crimp. I believe you will find factory roll crimps are over stiff wad columns. Thicker hulls at the rim produce better roll crimps as well. A fired hull is skivved somewhat by the projectile and hot gas so you are left with with an imperfect surface to start with. I discovered from pressure tested roll crimp loads that my crimp, as perfect as they may have looked were inconsistent as to pressure and velocity. i got better the more I loaded but still not perfectly consistent even though powder was electronically weighed and slugs were within several grains of each other. That's why when possible I fold crimp everything. Much easier to get very consistent results. In short we shotgunners start with relatively imprecise components (compared to metallic sized within a thousandth or two. Weigh a random 10 hulls of the same lot and consider where the difference might be. So, as I said in another thread, don't let the perfect become the
    enemy of the good. Your crimps look good, very good. As a machinist I know you're looking for perfection and I'm glad you folks are out there, it makes us all better. But that steel you're ringing and those hogs I'm rolling never know the difference. Shoot 'em and enjoy every shot!
    "My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
    Leonard Ravenhill

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    Boolit Master
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    I will have to try this that was stated .Wipe some Vaseline on the inside of the crimp tool. See if that will help me also.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have a few old hulls I warm up my roll crimper on before actually starting on my loaded shells with a dab of lube to get started , it seems to help get the first couple right than everything goes smoothly . Most of the time anyway ......

  11. #11
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    I made my roll crimper from an old automotive universal joint cup and a clevis pin. Annealed the cup and drill 3/8" hole through for the stem of the clevis pin. Turned the head of the clevis pin to suit the inside diameter of the roll crimp. Machined the cup to a taper then drilled and tapped 6 holes around for pins which were made from 10-24 threaded rod cut off and the thread turned off at the end where the crimp would form and used a chainsaw file to make a "spool" cut t to help roll the plastic hull mouth.

    I am embarrassed to post pics because like many of my tools, it was cobbled together out of what I had on hand but unfortunately worked so now it remains as is.

    Embarrassing or not, I'll try to get some decent pics to post. While it looks crude, it works quite well and is a 6 pin crimper. I tried it with 3 pins but like 6 pins better.

    I use my lathe for roll crimping and am probably running the roll crimper at too high an RPM but it works pretty well. I can roll crimp previously fold crimped hulls... usually without too much difficulty.

    I also lube regularly but I just use 30 wt. oil ~ a drop in the roll crimper every few hulls seems to keep things nice. I haven't really figured out why it works because the friction and forming heats the plastic to get it to roll so lubing should reduce friction so heating but maybe it is a fine balance of pressure to form the crimp and some friction generated heat. Maybe without lube there is too much friction at the required pressure?

    I hold the hulls by hand while crimping on the lathe using the tailstock quill to push the hulls into the roll crimper. I'll make a simple hull vice and try using a hand drill which I have not done before.

    I'll try to have some pics of roll crimper and hulls for my next post.

    Longbow

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    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Ranch Dog: You might get luckier than I did but I bought and returned two of the Harbor Freight bench drill presses. Now they could fairly be called commercial egg beaters but with the run-out on the chuck was so bad in the examples I had they could hardly be called or used as a drill press. Wish I'd have stepped up another step or two past my Craftsman also but at least it doesn't make an oval 7/16th hole using a quarter inch bit. Gp

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpidaho View Post
    Ranch Dog: You might get luckier than I did but I bought and returned two of the Harbor Freight bench drill presses. Now they could fairly be called commercial egg beaters but with the run-out on the chuck was so bad in the examples I had they could hardly be called or used as a drill press. Wish I'd have stepped up another step or two past my Craftsman also but at least it doesn't make an oval 7/16th hole using a quarter inch bit. Gp

    Thanks for that info. I have been eyeing HF drill press for this very operation. I will now rethink, and hope I find an estate sale with a REAL drill press.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Charlie: Seems there is a pretty steep price climb from the bottom to some of the better presses. Harbor Freight and Ryodi seem to be the exact same press and the Craftsman like mine is very close to the same. They likely come out of the same factory. (China) If one only needs to do a few and imprecise chores they are inexpensive enough but I recommend you get a better tool if you can justify the price.Gp

  15. #15
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    Guys; the Craftsman Drill Press I have was made in the 1950's By Delta I think. You would likely find one in a garage sale. Don't go over about $50-75. They are excellent machines and parts are still available thru Sears.

    HT: My problem is that I don't know what is right ??? I suspect that my crimps are decent only because they look good and they are consistent, but as far as "knowing?" Not there yet.

    I like to "Understand" all I know about a subject before I start Pontificating. After I fully understand then I can tell others how to ______ (insert question) ,,, do it.

    I have found that if you truly understand something, you should be able to explain it to others in simple language that anyone can understand. First sign of BS is when the guy inserts a .50 word into a sentence making it totally unintelligible. IE: He is FOS!

    You can see it on TV every night, just watch CNN or MSNBC.

    Seen it a thousand times, now it's a rule I follow judiciously. I also try to be "not FOS" as much as possible.

    My whole point in posting this thread is to bring out the combined knowledge here at Cast Boolits and establish a process whereby we can get repeatable results on our ammunition. People have been doing this process for over 100 years, you'd think there would be some definitive source for instructions.

    I got the Lyman Shotgun Manual. Other than the tons of actual load data it is almost useless. The actual Technical information is sadly missing.

    I got the BPI Slug Loading Manual and it has alot more technical information but states clearly that a previously Fold Crimped hull shouldn't be Roll Crimped. This is a problem for me as all of the AA hulls I have (@2500) were fold crimped. The only hulls I have that were previously Roll Crimped were ones I picked up last trip to Front Sight where everybody is supposed to use fresh ammo not reloads. I've already loaded most of them. I don't have any New hulls and doubt I'll be getting that many if any at all. The word "Reloading," kind of implies reusing existing hulls.

    I know this can be done, I just have to figure out how to do it. If I'm already there then fine, now I jsut ahe to understand what I did. This shouldn't be that hard.

    As it sits right now I have 3 viable projectiles that I can shoot from my shotguns. I am loading .662 balls, Lyman Sabot Slugs, and the new STI Sabot Slug. Both the Pumpkin Balls and the Lyman Sabot use a fold crimp. I can do that nearly perfect every time.

    The Lyman Slug Mould I got was garbage, and I might get a Lee mould so I can have a Foster Type slug to shoot at steel targets. That and the STI slug need Roll Crimps so that is why I am pursuing this subject.

    The Lyman Sabot and the STI will be used in the Rifled Barrel of the A5 and should work great. The others will go in the A5 smooth bore barrel and M500's and I don't expect much after 50-60 yards out of them, but the trade off is being able to run bird buck and slugs thru the same barrel..

    So if anyone else has got any other secret information on Roll Crimping this would be a good time to put it out there.

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 12-09-2018 at 11:10 PM.
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    Also lets look at Rotary Roll crimping versus the MEC Slugger way which is a Strait Line push using three steps.

    On the other thread Capt Morgan showed the difference between Roll Crimps done with a flat pin which produces a flat topped crimp roll as opposed to a curved section in the die that rolls the plastic over producing a radiused front to the hull. Maybe we can get him to post that pic on this thread?

    Obviously the curved style is what the Ammo Mfg's use.

    Here's pics of a factory loaded Federal Slug (Blue) and one of the ones I did on a previously roll crimped hull.

    Could you's guys share your techniques for doing this operation, so we all can learn.

    I also need to know about trimming previously Fold Crimped hulls so they Roll Crimp cleanly. How much do you trim off? Lyman says 1/8-1/4"? And is that tool that Ranch Dog got how and why this is done?

    I've got thousands of OF AA and STS hulls so I'm not too keen on buying new hulls for this project.

    Randy.




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  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Okay then here's my roll crimper and a crimped hull... empty but crimped:

    Roll crimper:

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    yes, it is as crude as it looks! The roll crimper is sitting on a short piece of 12 ga. barrel if you are wondering about the very large stem.

    Uncrimped Federal field hull:

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    You can see this hull has been fold crimped and not reconditioned. You may not be able to see that it was roll crimped once as well and the roll crimper twisted the hull slightly due to not quite enough clearance for the thicker Federal hulls. It worked fine for my Fiocchi hulls but not so well for Federal hulls until I increased internal clearance. So this is the second time roll crimping after a once fired fold crimped hull was reloaded and roll crimped.

    Same hull after crimping:

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    You should be able to see the original fold and some twist here but it rolled over fine and would be a good crimp if the hull had a payload. The previous twisted crimp may not make for the most consistent opening but they seem to work fine and now open better after the roll crimper was modified.

    I put a drop of 30 wt. oil in the crimper before running the hull in. That helps bunches. I'd guess any sort of lube would work, maybe even dish soap or wax.

    It works for me anyway.

    Something you might try if your roll crimps are a little "square" as Cap'n Morgan pointed out and that is to put some lapping compound on the hall mouth then crimp a few hulls. The lapping compound will cut a fairly nice radius inside on the pins. If you can remove the pins I'd suggest using a chainsaw file to put an appropriate size radius on them then reinstall. Of course if it doesn't work you may have ruined an expensive roll crimper.

    Longbow

  18. #18
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    I have never used a roll crimp. But I will ask you guys have you ran any of your loads over the chrono to see what happened to your velocity after the hull has been loaded more than 2x's???

    I have always used a star crimp. I am starting to gather stuff to get back into loading slugs again. I want to venture into the roll crimp. I ask the above ? because when I was shooting the Lymann sabot I never loaded the shells more than 1 time. Well they were range pick ups so they were 2x fired. If I tried to load them again they would loose about 200fps or more. The crimp just would not hold for a good start. I would get wild vel spreads.

    I think the pic Cap Morgon posted where it rolled the edge over without the pin would be best but where would you get a crimper like that?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    On popular demand, here's the pic of the roll crimping process

    I often use a handheld power drill to crimp my slugs and I found that rotary speed is not important as long as it's not too high which will heat the hull fast. The oldtimers roll crimping tools only took a couple of turns to finish the crimp and the "Slugger" doesn't rotate at all. It should be noted that running the crimp and hull "hot" not necessarily is a bad thing as the crimp will be stronger when the semi-molten plastic in the rim takes on a new "memory". I only use range pick-ups and never reload the same hull twice.

    One thing, though, I trim all my hulls before crimping to remove most traces of skivering and star crimp - like Tomme Boy points out, a consistent crimp is very important to produce consistent velocity. I never found the reduced hull length to have any influence on the precision due to the longer free-flight in the chamber - the skivered part of the hull will not give support to the slug anyway and, as a bonus, my Beretta will hold seven of the 2-1/2" slugs.

    I make my own roll crimpers as some slugs needs more room in the crimp tool for the slug nose, but they are all more or less based on this design:

    And can be found here:
    http://www.siarm.com/product_info.ph...oducts_id=1389

    The crimper has a M6 thread in the rear and can be mounted using a bolt and a lock nut


    Cap'n Morgan

  20. #20
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    So, the HF drill press is off the table then, and it is all up to the Slugger.

    What bugs me about the using a drill is the inability to measure force or length. When I started with the Lightfield factory 3" slugs with my Marlin 512, they would not fit in the magazine. I contacted Lightfield, and they asked if I had a roll crimper and drill press. I had a Jet drill press that I used in my mold business and the BPI roll crimper though I had not used it. They offered some very specific instructions for use for reheating the crimp and reducing the hull length to fit the magazine along with the caveat that pressure would increase. The jet could operate at 150 RPM, so I set it up where I could careful reduce the length of the hull .015". I did this to three rounds. With the first two shots, I could tell the recoil was significantly more than what it had been; the third shot sheared the mount screws off the Weaver base. So yeah, using a drill for the roll bugs the hell out of me.

    gpidaho is right, after the Jet, considering the HF DP would be a tough pill to swallow. I've balked twice and bought the Slugger. During all this, I had a friend start a business, and he was struggling over being able to purchase a good drill press, so I gave him the Jet. Working with those slugs was the first time I had used it in five-years, and I was tired of keeping it clean and rust free.
    Michael

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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