Lee factory crimp die

Lee factory crimp die

This is a discussion on Lee factory crimp die within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Can someone explain the purpose of this die? The bullet seating die also will apply an adjustable crimp. So why is the Factory crimp die ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    Lee factory crimp die

    Can someone explain the purpose of this die? The bullet seating die also will apply an adjustable crimp. So why is the Factory crimp die better? Also if you use the Factory crimp die do you omit the crimp with the bullet seating die?
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  2. #2
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    What caliber die are you referring to? If it is for an auto cartridge such as 9MM or 45Auto that may be a taper crimp die which does not need a cannelure. The seating/crimping die does need a bullet with a cannelure such as a 38 or 357.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    I am reloading .38 and .357 right now. I have noticed the Lee factory crimp comes with the Lee 4-die sets.
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    Ruger SP101 .357mag
    S&W 637 Airweight
    Ruger Single Six
    Ruger Blackhawk Bisley 45 Colt
    Mossberg 835 Grand Slam

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    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    NO on the seating die set up, But I still use the LFCD but dont oer crimp. You can use the seating die & leave it at that As I use the FCD & have not had a bad rnd yet other than a sqib, MY FAULT No powder ; )
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  5. #5
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    I found the Lee FC die important if not absolutely necessary for loading .45 ACP. The Hornady or RCBS seating/crimping die was a pain to dial in correctly for seating depth and crimp, but adding the Lee die made life simple. You back off the seating part of the third die so all it does is correctly set the cartridge overall length, then set the Lee crimp die to the proper crimp diameter. Dial calipers are useful for this; I used the outside diameter of the case mouth on a factory round as a guide for adjusting the amount of crimp on my die.

    I can't speak for other revolver calibers, but the standard 3-die set puts enough crimp on my .38 specials so a separate crimping die doesn't seem necessary.
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    The Lee factory crimp die actually resizes the loaded cartridge to factory specs. Think of it as a resizing die for loaded rounds.

    Michael
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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    I have never felt I needed the factory crimp die for handgun cartridges. For precision rifle cartridges though it really is nice.
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  8. #8
    Member Array Fastball's Avatar
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    I had to use it in my 45acp loads. I tried the 3 dies set up, but with the LRN bullets I was using, I would get one every couple of rounds that would "bulge" once I seated/crimped in the 3rd die. I couldn't even get the round half way in the barrel. I tried all kinds of combos/advice. Finally I backed off the crimp entirely in the 3rd die and installed the FCD.

    Yahtzee!!! Have never had a problem since.


    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post
    The Lee factory crimp die actually resizes the loaded cartridge to factory specs. Think of it as a resizing die for loaded rounds.
    Perfectly put!!
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  9. #9
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    Most crimping bullet seater dies use a roll crimp. The Lee factory crimp die is a taper type crimp so it works beter (and easier).
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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    mlr1m is on target.

    It is a funny thing, you find people who have used the FCD tend to be in the love or hate camp, not a lot in between. I think it is unneeded if your equipment is set up and operated properly, but it does give a bit reassurance that your round is in spec.
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  11. #11
    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    FLSlim
    With Auto pistol cartridges, eventually you are gauranteed to end up loading mixed brass. Couple that with any assortment of bullet materials/types/quality, and you have a recipe for tolerance stacking. Most seater/crimp dies will not fix the "bulge" encountered by lead (or slightly oversize) bullets even when set up "correctly", and chambering problems can result.

    Using the LFC die CORRECTLY, will eliminate any outside dimension problems from that tolerance stacking or bulging.
    You end up with the proper crimp and case dimensions.

    Terry

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I don't care for the FCD at all. I think it's a crutch for people who don't properly size their brass. Furthermore, when using lead bullets, the FCD will swage these down smaller and this will cause leading with the bullet now being undersized for the bore.

    If you want to seat and crimp in separate steps, pop out the carbide sizing ring on the FCD or buy a non-FCD crimp die, such as Redding.
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  13. #13
    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    Tubby45,
    Real sorry you feel that way. I can assure you I know how to properly size my brass. My previous post explains some of the reasons one may need to use a FCD, and if you don't believe they are real, so be it. Granted, it will swage the possibly oversize bullet down in a possibly overly thick casewall piece of brass, to be a SAAMI dimensioned round, which will fit in a chamber, which might possibly lead slightly more than a "standard" round. But it will fit and fire, left as is WITHOUT the FCD, you probably wouldn't lead as much because it wouldn't fit in the chamber, and you couldn't fire it.

    The FCD (properly used) doesn't necessarily have to "Squeeze" every round, only the "questionable" ones, that for reasons of tolerance stacking, may be "non-standard". If you have never experienced that phenomena, good for you, some of us have. Properly set up, it forms to the proper dimensions, whether it needs to change them or just "slip by", adding only the proper crimp, no crutch needed.

    YMMV, yadda yadda,
    Terry

    To avoid any confusion - The above is relative mostly to semi-auto pistol rounds.
    Last edited by Exsimguy1; May 13th, 2012 at 08:21 PM. Reason: added detail

  14. #14
    Member Array Fastball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    I don't care for the FCD at all. I think it's a crutch for people who don't properly size their brass. Furthermore, when using lead bullets, the FCD will swage these down smaller and this will cause leading with the bullet now being undersized for the bore.
    I'm interested to know your opinion then. Running the LEE die set up, how is it I was "not properly sizing my brass"????

    I turned the resizing/depriming die in until it just touches the ram, (all the way up), and tighten the lock nut holding the ram in place. The thing is foolproof if one can do that properly.

    So how is it one out of every five or six .45acp rounds I produced without using the FCD, would not chamber because the projectile "bulged" the case. Mind you I went thru all kinds of troubleshooting with other reloaders to try and fix this problem when I was using the 3 die set up and the only solution that remedied it was the FCD.

    BTW, I went and checked my re-sized brass BEFORE belling the case and ALL brass dropped in the barrel perfectly. As soon as I loaded a round in that same brass, I'd get a round that would not pass the plunk test. A number of them would not even go half way in the mouth of the barrel.

    Clearly there was nothing wrong with my first step of the sizing of the brass.

    And yes, I had checked for consistency in all my projectiles, (230gr LRN), with calipers as well.
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    If you're having issues with your current seating/crimping die set up, then you may benefit from the Lee factory crimp die. If you're not having problems, then chances are you don't need a factory crimp die. I have one, have rarely found the need to use it with a "properly" set up crimping/seating die.
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