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Thread: Lee Factory Crimp Dies in a 550

  1. #1

    Lee Factory Crimp Dies in a 550

    Gmorning folks. Anyone reload 30-30 in a 550 and use the FCD? Does the FCD require exact case length to work properly? Honestly I'm lazy and hate trimming cases. I hate priming too, that's the biggest reason I want to go to the 550. I love reloading on the SDB!! Thanks
    NRA Life Member

  2. #2
    Boolit Master maxreloader's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Southern March 15th, 1820
    I was under the impression that the lee fcd's worked best with trimmed (same length cases) but will work regardless. Your accuracy will tell and ymmv depending on your process. I have a 550 and would love to know the answer, i'm thinking it will work just fine but have not used one in my 550 yet.
    Looking for Ideal molds 419181 (44 Evans Long) and 375167 (38-72)
    "Joined Dates" are deceiving if you factor-in "lurk" dates.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Lebanon, NY
    I don't know anything about Dillon or any progressive press.
    I do know that the Lee FCD is not very length sensitive for crimping. As the case enters the die the shell holder hit the bottom of the collet. This pushes the case and collet up into the die. Near the top of the stroke the collet comes up against a taper in the die body. As the collet comes in contact with the taper it gets pushed inwards. The presses the end of the case neck into the bullet to crimp. Being as the shell holder is what moves the collet case length is not critical. This collet type crimp is so strong it can crimp the case into a jacketed bullet even if it doesn't have a cannelure.
    In a conventional crimp die the case enters the die and near the end of the stroke the case neck comes in contact with a taper. This taper curls the end of the neck into the cannelure. As the case neck is curled in it contacts the bullet. At this point the crimp is complete.
    A case too short and the neck isn't crimped enough. The case too long and it gets too much crimp. Too much crimp can crush the case, cause bulges that can prevent the case from chambering.
    If you can understand what I just described then you can understand why the Lee FCD is a better way to crimp cases.
    Well, on the FCD that use the collet. Some of the Pistol case FCD's don't use a collet. They use a conventional crimp but have a carbide insert that as the case is drawn out of the die it smoothes out any damage the crimp does to the case.
    In some instances this doesn't always work out ok. In my Marlin 1894 in 44Mag I use cast bullets sized at .433. The Carbide FDC has to small a carbide inert to work with bullets this large. It works fine with bullets at .429 or .430 but in this post crimp sizing it can distort the fat cast bullet enough to cause accuracy and leading issues. For this I use a Lee collet type crimp die.
    Lee makes the collet type crimp die for some straight walled pistol cartridges. You can find them on the Lee site.
    I do have the Collet type FCD for most of what I load for. This lets me crimp those I feel need it. The bit extra that lee charges for this die in the sets is worth it to me. It gives me options, The same with the Collet neck sizers. I like options.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    South Western NC
    ALL crimpers work best when the case lengths are the same.

    Lee's FCD collet crimpers (rifle) are easily the least affected by modest case length differences; I wouldn't have any others. (Ditto Lee's collet type neck sizers.)

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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