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Thread: 9x18 Factory Crimp necessary?

  1. #1

    9x18 Factory Crimp necessary?

    I知 new to reloading. I just ordered a set of Lee Makarov dies and I知 wondering if I also need the factory crimp die. I read some places that the seating die also crimps. But in other places I see conflicting info.

    If someone wouldn稚 mind, help me understand when a factory crimp dies is required? Assume Lee dies.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Factory crimp die profiles the entire length of the loaded round to ensure that there are no bulges which impede chambering.

    When loading cast bullets in which the seating depth or base-to-crimp length exceeds that of factory rounds, the bullet base may impinge against the interior body wall of the cartridge case where it begins to thicken, causing a bulge which prevents rounds from chambering fully.

    The Lee Factory Crimp Die or Redding Profile Crimp mitigate against this in sizing the bullet by compression, when necessary, inside the case. A normal roll or taper crimp die reduces mouth flare only and excessive crimp can cause a bulge behind the crimp.

    I cannopt speak to the 9x18 because I have no experience in loading that cartridge, but the Lee Factory Crimp is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY when loading cast bullets in the .32 ACP and .380 ACP, particularly in European produced pistols having CIP specification chambers which run tighter than American SAAMI chambers in the same caliber.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I always seat and crimp in separate steps. Crimp is necessary in pistol. You CAN do in one step but results aren’t always great because of different brass lengths. You will get frustrated trying. Lee crimp die is cheap and work well. Spend the money IMO.

  4. #4
    Thanks to both of you! I知 convinced. Will be buying one.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I can only say I have reloaded 32 ACP, 380 ACP, 9mm and 45 ACP (first 45s were loaded in '88), for 8 different guns and have never had to resize my handloads after crimping. I learned to adjust my dies and use known good components and if there was a chambering problem, I found out why/when it happened and corrected it. When I started reloading semi-autos I readjusted the seating/crimping die and crimped the seated rounds in separate steps (single stage Challanger press). Now I just purchase a separate taper crimp die (I reload on a Co-Ax and have the deflaring dies set and just swap them, RCBS. Hornady and LEE, and I'm definitely not a Lee Hater). I keep a stash of "Just in Case" ammo, about 1,000 each 9mm and 45 ACP, and along with the thousands of other semi-auto rounds none have come close to an FCD. All have been "deflared" with a standard taper crimp die, even my cast bullet lads with oversize bullets to +.003"-.004". I did try an FCD for some revolver rounds, just a dozen, and it now resides in a landfill somewhere in So, Oregon. It decided to size my perfectly sized cast bullets (only.002" over "standard") and resulted in barrel leading from a previously good load.

    The Lee FCD is a post crimping sizing die that just hides mistakes. Make sure your handloads are done properly and you will never "need" one.

    I really don't care what tools other reloaders use, I just object to new reloaders being told to use an FCD to "iron out" problems. Billions of rounds have been reloaded and fired before the FCD was introduced and, while some may want the "insurance", I find it unnecessary and a disservice to new reloaders to suggest they short cut good handloading practices and just hide their problems. It certainly isn't difficult to assemble good fitting handloads that feed and chamber freely It's like telling a newer driver/car owner to just add water to their leaky radiator rather than finding and fixing the leak...
    Last edited by mdi; 02-13-2020 at 01:13 PM.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Does Lee make a Factory Crimp die for the 9x18 Mak? You may have to cut a mm off the base of the 9x19 die?
    Wayne the Shrink

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    IF a Lee Factory Crimper were mandatory for your Makarov ammo all makers would include one with their die sets. So, no, it's not mandatory.

    That said, IMHO, Lee's FCD is the best die of it's type so get one for any auto handgun ammo you want to make sure will feed and chamber all the time, every time; that's its reason for being. (I like them for crimped revolver and rifle ammo too.)

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
    I’m new to reloading. I just ordered a set of Lee Makarov dies and I’m wondering if I also need the factory crimp die. I read some places that the seating die also crimps. But in other places I see conflicting info.

    If someone wouldn’t mind, help me understand when a factory crimp dies is required? Assume Lee dies.

    Read the #5 post by mdi, I load thousands of rounds per year and never needed a Lee die.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
    I’m new to reloading. I just ordered a set of Lee Makarov dies and I’m wondering if I also need the factory crimp die. I read some places that the seating die also crimps. But in other places I see conflicting info.

    If someone wouldn’t mind, help me understand when a factory crimp dies is required? Assume Lee dies.
    The Lee factory crimp dies are necessary for new reloaders that cast lead projectiles and don't have a bullet sizer/lubricator. Often the projectiles from-the-mold are too large in diameter to actually fit in the gun chamber when loaded in a case. So, the factory crimp dies can be used to resize these oversized bullets after they are loaded. I use an RCBS LAM-II to size and lubricate all of my lead projectiles down to a size that measures correctly to fit in the chamber with the cases I am using. And I use conventional Hornady, RCBS, Redding, etc. dies for all of my loads without chamber fitting problems.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    When you use a Lee factory crimp die to resize a loaded round the brass will spring back some and the lead will not leaving the bullet loose in the case which can let the bullet be shoved back in the case when chambering and cause dangerous pressures.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ioon44 View Post
    When you use a Lee factory crimp die to resize a loaded round the brass will spring back some and the lead will not leaving the bullet loose in the case which can let the bullet be shoved back in the case when chambering and cause dangerous pressures.
    I have never seen this happen. What is your source for this info? If it is first-hand experience please give details.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The Lee factory crimp die is good for those who can't adjust the regular seat/crimp die that comes with every set of dies . Remember before Lee came out with it ... you had no choice but to learn how to properly adjust the seat/crimp die . If you had problems you adjusted that die to seat the boolit with no crimping then readjusted it to crimp without seating the boolit deeper.
    Easy to do if you think about it.
    I reload for just about every modern and a few obsolete cartridges and have never had to buy a FCD in the last 50 years...but I can set up the standard die to do anything I want to...and so can you if you just practice doing it and get some experience with the seating and crimping operation.
    Gary
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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    OMG.... so much opinion on a single die.

    My point above was that seating and crimping separately is easiest and a Lee die is just cheap. You can use any die. For 50AE, there is no FCD so I seat with an RCBS seater and crimp with Lee seater.

    The FCD does get a lot of mixed reviews from cast bullet loaders. Some love, some hate. But as posted above, using it will make your ammo fit chamber every time.

    If you develop leading or any other issue, you need to resolve. Any crimp die can size bullets down a bit. Did OP even say he was using cast bullets?

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I to have loaded many thousand rounds with out a factory crimp and I have loaded many thousand rounds with one both ways of doing it have a place on my bench I load way more with the carbide factory crimp than not now.
    It does exactly what Lee says it does why would any one be surprised when it does what it is designed to do , If I have a problem from that I change dies. And in none of my revolver carbide factory crimp dies does the carbide ring even touch a sized case fired from my gun unsized will push in to it by hand.
    And at least in the revolver 4 die sets I have the bullet seating die can be adjusted to taper crimp and the carbide crimp die roll crimps so the four die set comes with both type dies .
    Nice job Lee

  15. #15
    Boolit Master poppy42's Avatar
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    I load a lot of 9x18 for my polish p64 and my Bulgarian Makarov. I always use a Lee factory crimp die. By the way if you’d like to know how to make 9x18 brass out of 9 x 19 (9mm Luger) send me a pm
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  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A new reloader using cast lead bullets and tries an FCD is more often than not falling into poor shooting loads, frustration, and just rotten performance. I know it doesn't happen every time a new reloader is talked into using an FCD, but often enough to see many questions in reloading forums. Why can't experienced reloaders just tell new reloaders to use the correct tools, adjusted correctly and not rely on band aid fixes?

    I just have a huge pet peeve about telling new reloaders "don't find your problem, just hide it"...
    Last edited by mdi; 02-15-2020 at 01:57 AM.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Lee's FCD crimpers, rifle and handgun, are just tools, they do excellent work when chosen and used correctly; nothing works very well when used incorrectly.

    FCD crimpers "hide" nothing. The carbide "post sizing ring" makes sure the finished ammo will feed and chamber, everytime and all the time, that's why so many are sold.

    Fact is, cases and bullets vary. If thick straight wall cases are loaded with significantly overize bullets (usually cast) the finished round(s) may be too fat for reliable feeding and seating. People with sloppy chambers will have fewer or no jamming problems than those with tight chambers but jamming won't happen when the Lee crimper is used ... correctly.

    Thus, make your crimper die choice based on what you need and what's most important to you; absolute accuracy at the risk of jamming OR absolute cycling that, on average, MIGHT be slightly less accurate.

    For my handgun ammo I use Lee's crimpers for social work and standard crimpers for deliberative range work. Either way, I actually see no difference in accuracy but the assurance of positive feeding defense ammo is quite comforting.

    YMMV.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    On most auto pistols the cases headspace on the mouth. If you expander flares the cases mouth most use a taper crimp to remove the flare of the mouth down to a certain diameter. Usually just enough so the case is back to a straight wall. This diameter size is usually found in the case drawing in your manual.
    Your stock seat/crimp die should do this just fine.
    Their may be times when even at this point the loaded cartridge may not plunk properly. If so the Lee Carbide FDC may help.
    Try loads with the taper crimp set correctly to see how well they plunk. On most pistols gaining access to the chamber is easy.
    If not they sell chamber gauges that are basically a piece of alloy or steel rod with a hole drilled through to match the bore , then a minimum spec chamber is cut in one end.
    With tis tool you just drop in a cartridge to see if it drops completely in. It may not make a plunk sound but that's ok. The loaded round should plunk in to were the cases head sets flush with the end of the tool. Some have the end around the chamber with one half of the end cut slightly different than the other. This indicates the head space. When you plunk a round if the case drops to below the high side and above the low side it has allowable headspace. Of it sets above the high side the case is too long and might not chamber. If below the low side there is too much headspace. This means the case goes too far into the chamber.
    If the case won't drop in far enough it could be the case is too long or you didn't remove enough of the flare.
    If a round drops in to far it may the case is too short or you removed to much flare and the case mouth is too small.
    Using a caliper to measure the cases for length and diameter will help determine the issue.
    If all these things check ok and they still won't plunk then you may need the FCD.
    On straight walled cases with a rim the Carbide FCD is not always the best option.
    In most revolvers the carbide FCD is ok even with lead bullets unless they have a large chamber throat.
    In Marlin 1894 44 Mag it has a very generous chamber throat and needs a large bullet diameter. Where most revolvers can shoot a .430 bullet just fine the Marlin does much better with .432 or .433 bullets. From what I here most of these Marlins that shoot straight walled pistol cases are this way.
    What all this boils down too is you need to experiment with it in your gun to see what works best for you.
    Keep at it and let us know what you find out.
    Leo

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I don't see the carbide FCD as any more of a bandaid than powder coating or gas checks on hand gun rounds cast bullets can be made to work without either but both are simple solutions to common problems .
    Just as 1 hole stated if it makes a cartridge that works in all 8 of my 45s with stock barrels and it shoots to my satisfaction with no or minimal leading , what's not to like .
    I have the equipment to do different if I need to.
    If you want to make people not like cast bullets convince them they have to order custom molds , have the barrels or cylinders machined , have the perfect mix of alloy , custom neck expanders , sizer dies .
    Most of the factory standard dies , molds and guns will work fine with moderate loads particularly with Hi-tek or powder coated bullets and yup , with the carbide factory crimp dies.
    I consider a lot of the advice given here excellent for fixing a particular need or problem and a great resource for getting the absolute best out of a gun but unless someone has a particular problem or a burning desire for the perfect cartridge keep it simple , there is a reason the popular equipment sells , it works for most of us most of the time.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    I load 9x18 Mak for 4 different pistols, with cast sized .366 and have not needed the FCD for any if them.

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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