Crimping Revolver Rounds

This is a discussion on Crimping Revolver Rounds within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Terry, I am not familiar with any bullets designed for revolver cartridges that do not need a roll crimp. There are other bullets made for ...

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Thread: Crimping Revolver Rounds

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Terry, I am not familiar with any bullets designed for revolver cartridges that do not need a roll crimp. There are other bullets made for autos that can be used in revolver cartridges. But generally revolver bullets have a cannelure on the bullet for crimping. On a cartridge with any recoil at all, it wont take long to figure that out.

    But hey, each his own, wish all luck, Im out.
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  3. #17
    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    All,
    I will not drag this out any further, but....

    A lot of people load plated bullets today as a matter of economy. Berry's and others, none of which come with a crimp groove. A taper crimp or in my case, the "Lee Factory crimp die" is made to tightly crimp a bullet "with or without" a crimp groove. A solution to choose and shoot an economical bullet (in a revolver or auto) that won't lead the barrel quickly.
    Sometimes progress is good.

    Good luck and safe loading/shooting,

    Terry

  4. #18
    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    I use the FCD for my 40 and 45 (taper crimp), but for 357, I use the crimp/seat die as one step. I've loaded roll crimp cartridges this way for 30 yrs and never run into a problem. That said, if you prefer a separate crimp step, the Lee FCD should work just fine.
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  5. #19
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    "On a cartridge with any recoil at all, it wont take long to figure that out."

    Ain't it the truth. Many years ago I (very) briefly went through a phase where I thought the least amount of crimp I could get by with promoted accuracy. There was no future in this "less is more" approach as it ties up guns.

    I understand the concept of the Lee "factory crimp" die but have never seen what the fuss was all about. I've loaded with the same sets of RCBS dies since the 1970s and enjoyed perfect satisfaction seating and crimping in a single operation. Auto pistol rounds receive a uniform and secure taper crimp and revolver rounds are efficiently roll-crimped. Adjusting for bullet dept and crimp is a snap, even with so-called trouble-prone cartridges like the .32-20 and .38-40. I simply won't put up with crimping as a separate operation.

    Saw a opinion discussion of Lee dies on another really large firearms forum and was amazed that the great majority of handloaders have great respect for and enjoy using the Lee die products. I'm in the minority as I think they are absolutely the worst dies to use. I loathe the single set I have which was all I could come up with for loading .455 Webley at the time. They do cost less but feel cheap and flimsy and their adjustments are less positive.
    Last edited by bmcgilvray; March 28th, 2011 at 08:51 AM.
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  6. #20
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    I use the exact same set of dies for the 38/357 as the OP. I put out some 158 gr .357 rds with over 700 ft lbs of energy for hunting purposes.

    If you adjust your dies properly it is a 3 die process. You should be able to seat and crimp at the same time without messing up the case and getting a good crimp at the same time.

    If you choose to add another die to the process, I don't guess it will hurt but I think your adding a step that is unnecessary.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  7. #21
    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    Freedom of choice/opinion, is what makes this country great.

    Terry

  8. #22
    Member Array Hiker1911's Avatar
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    Yes, go for it!

    I've used them for all of my reloading for the following calibers:

    Pistol - .38, .357, 44 Colt, 9mm, and 45acp;
    Rifle - 30-30, 303 British, and 7.5x55.
    Fast is good but accurate is better.

  9. #23
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    All - I have been fairly unable to convey what I am doing that results in bent rounds, so I took the attached video of my process to see if y'all can figure out what I am doing wrong. Prior to posting the OP, I have talked with Lyman engineers several times (4 or 5) and they cannot figure out the issue, but they have not had the benefit of this video.

    I have had good luck with .45 & 9 mm using the taper crimp, but putting roll crimps on my .38 rounds has resulted in problems. Some have opined that I don't know how to set up a die, well, part of this video is me showing how I set up the die to perform both the bullet set and crimp processess at the same time. Please point out how I am doing this incorrectly and I will be glad, very glad to understand this error.

    As some have pointed out, I am new at metallic shell reloading. I do not, however, think I know all there is to know about it. I apologize if I have left this impression.

    Please take a look at the linked video. It is about 8 minutes and you will see the problems I am having. I appreciate all the input so far and any input on my process and how to improve it. I apologize for the video quality, I am not a videographer and it shows.

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  10. #24
    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    As you stated in your original post, you make out better doing the two steps independantly. I surmised at that point the seating crimping die is not supporting the outer diameter of the case behind the crimp at the time the crimp is happening and the bullet is still being pushed to it's final resting place. From my experience, that is not unusual with Lyman dies, as their crimp step is also quite steep. Another selling point of the FCD is that it brings this dimension back to where it needs to be, and is a good "finishing" step.
    Some may argue that you are just crimping too much and buckling the case, but I believe with a different set of dies you could reproduce your steps and turn out fine rounds.
    All dies are not created equal, not even of different brands. Some are just not up to the standards they should be. Unfortunately, some people have only seen the good ones, and have had no bad experiences. Don't let this sour you to reloading. You have found a solution that works, either two stepping your die or using the FCD.
    If you need to do it all in one step, a good 3 die set (other than yours, see if you can borrow a set to try) should let you do it (as others have insisted). I don't believe you are "doing it wrong" at this point.

    Good luck,
    Terry

  11. #25
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Just watched the video. Actually was a good quality video too. As to the dilema with the crinkle in the cases, I am confounded. My only thought is that you have a defective seating die/crimping die. I have never used the Lyman dies, so I have no experience with them, but you should be able to do both steps properly with the one die.

    Also, try backing the die out a quarter of a turn when it makes contact with the case during the crimping process. If that doesnt work, either try another die, or just keep using the factory crimp die if it does not bother you.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  12. #26
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Your putting too much crimp on the round. Back off your crimp setting a quarter or more of a turn, then run the seating back down a bit to ensure you have correct OAL.

    In the video it looks like you have a bunch of crimp into the piece of lead. I think what is happening is the crimp is grabbing the lead before it is all the way seated and when you continue to push the bullet farther into the case (seating it deeper) it can't push into the case because of the crimp and is putting stess on the case resulting in the wrinkle farther down the case.

    I had trouble with this on 44-40 because these are very thin cases. They have to be set up just right.

    Play with it a bit, and make minor adjustments, 1/10 of a turn or so on each to get it right. Going half turns at a time is a bit much when working with these dies.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  13. #27
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    Terry, Glockman10mm & Farronwolf:

    Thanks for watching the video and providing some insight. I have the following overall observations and comments.

    1. I agree that the die is trying to seat the bullet at the same time it is trying to crimp it. This appears to be the main issue.

    2. I can get unbent bullets if I back the crimp off to less than 1/4 turn, but the crimp is so shallow that it does not prevent my 642 from locking up. The 640 shown in the video could probably get away with no crimp as it is steel and a .357, but my 642 is aluminum and a .38. I have found that it will occassionally lock up (1x to 2x per box of 100) with crimps less than 1/2 turn. Therefore, I cannot get a round that works for me with this die in a one-step operation.

    3. Given the way I process my reloads, I can do the steps of belling the case, seating the bullet and crimping with the 3 dies shown in the video - the process for the first round in the video - in a little less time than it takes my powder dispenser/scale to prepare the next power charge. Using this approach, I am not losing time and it allows for any level of crimp I want without risk of damaging the case.

    4. If I had a single stage press, I would probably be looking for a new seating/crimping die, but with the turret press, it is just a turn of the turret to get to the next die. The only real cost is that it limits the turret to 1 caliber rather than 2 unless I put rifle dies that will seat/crimp in the other 2 holes.

    I appreciate your time, input and willingness to share your experience with me.
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  14. #28
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    You say that with the 1/4 turn back it prevents lockup. Are you saying that the OAL of the round is too long and it keeps the cylinder from spinning freely?

    If that is the case, simply turn your seating portion of the die down a bit to get a shorter OAL, but leave the crimp portion locked in place. It should start seating the lead before there is too much crimp in place to stop the piece of lead from going further into the case. At the very end of the downward stroke of the lever it should finish seating and crimping without putting too much pressure on the case to cause it to buckle.

    BTW, once you get it set in place tighten those locking rings in place and leave it.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    You say that with the 1/4 turn back it prevents lockup. Are you saying that the OAL of the round is too long and it keeps the cylinder from spinning freely?

    If that is the case, simply turn your seating portion of the die down a bit to get a shorter OAL, but leave the crimp portion locked in place. It should start seating the lead before there is too much crimp in place to stop the piece of lead from going further into the case. At the very end of the downward stroke of the lever it should finish seating and crimping without putting too much pressure on the case to cause it to buckle.

    BTW, once you get it set in place tighten those locking rings in place and leave it.
    Yes and no, it is not the original OAL that is an issue. When I load 5 rounds in the 642, if I don't crimp it enough, occassionally when I pull the trigger on the 4th or 5th round, the cylinder will not advance. Once I free this up, I can measure the OAL which has changed - gotten longer. If I put enough crimp in to keep that from happening - roughly 1/2 a turn - the die crushes the case.

    I realize that I can lock everything down. I do, normally, have everything locked down. For the purposes of the video & to use less of the viewer's time, I unlocked everything prior to the shoot rather than having to fiddle with the wrenches in the video. Thanks for your input.
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  16. #30
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Have used Lee FCD with generally satisfactory results, but never loaded .38 S&W, .38 SPL, .357, .45LC rounds that really needed me to separate the seat & crimp steps. With RCBS, Lyman and Lee dies, I've never had a problem with reloading revolver cartridges with the normal 3-die set. (With .38-55 rifle ammo, it's another story, but that's due to tolerance issues common to that caliber and the H&R rifle I owned.) For the low-pressure lead bullet stuff that I load, I decided a while back to skip the FCD altogether. Good luck working out the issue with your die set.

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