Why the following with Lee FCD?

Why the following with Lee FCD?

This is a discussion on Why the following with Lee FCD? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Why do people use this crimp die so much and seem to love it?...

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Thread: Why the following with Lee FCD?

  1. #1
    Member Array stgdz's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Buffalo, MN

    Why the following with Lee FCD?

    Why do people use this crimp die so much and seem to love it?

  2. #2
    Member Array johnnyrigger's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Eagle River,Alaska
    Well for me it is so much more E-Z to Set my bullet setting die up in station #3 and have my Crimp die in station #4. From what I have read it is hella hard to set up one die that dose both in one die. But that is what I have read. The person what you would want to talk to is Tubby.


  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Making ammo.
    You have more control over the seating and crimping if you perform each in separate steps.

    With the bullet seating die, there is a built in crimper. When you seat and crimp with this die, you do it all at once. You adjust the die to seat to the depth and turn the die in a half turn to set the crimp, then adjust from there for the amount of crimp. When you do this, the crimp is applied at the very end of the press cycle. If the bullet isn't seated to depth before the crimp hits the case, you will have a crushed case.

    With a separate crimp die, you simple adjust your bullet seating die to seat the bullet to depth, then the crimp die is adjusted to apply the crimp. Each station does its own operation. With a crimp die, you can also elimiate variables while problem solving, as it it apparent whether the problem exists in the seating stage or the crimping stage. It either happens while seating or crimping. It reduces frustration.

    Specifically, the Lee Factory Crimp Die (FCD) post sizes the round on the way out of the die. This is to insure it will fit and feed well. Many feeding and chambering problems have been solved with the application of this die. The FCD is not recommended in some calibers with lead bullets, as the opening of the die where the post sizing takes place will actually swage (squeeze) down the bullet to a smaller diameter, thus inducing leading into the gun.

    I use Lee dies on most every handgun round I load, all of the have the FCD. I am replacing my FCD with a standard crimp die with no post sizing capabilities, but that is for commercial reasons and not an indication of dislike or distrust of the FCD.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

    Probably the only home based FFL that doesn't do transfers.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Array threefeathers's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    I like to do everything in seperate stages. That is why I like my RCBS Pro as a progressive because I am anal about each stage.

  6. #5
    Member Array blackhawkbill's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    east tennessee
    accuracy , a tight crimp lessens the flib factor , promotes a stable start pressure , makes the ammo more reliable , more resistant to rough handling ,
    i don't load without the factory crimp dies myself , i have them for everything i load for , rifle and pistol ....

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Since no one has mentioned it, I'll touch on a little different angle. For pistol/revolver cartridges, as others have said there are two main advantages to the Lee FCD.
    1. Crimping as a separate operation from seating.
    2. The carbide re-sizer ring that resizes after crimping.

    Where I feel the FCD really shines is with rifle rounds. The bottleneck rifle FCD uses a collet crimping action instead of a roll crimping action. Check the photo of a Lee FCD rifle die on their web site to see how their's works. Instead of rolling the case into the bullet which applies downward pressure and can cause the case to buckle, the Lee die squeezes in from the sides with a collet. No downward pressure is applied to buckle or deform the case neck. Using the Lee FCD, an extremely firm crimp can be applied without any case deforming. While some will argue that only good neck tension is necessary for rifle rounds, I think that is just wrong. Or at the least, it doesn't apply in most real world situations. Case neck tension is enough if you are firing single shot weapons or only loading one round at a time at the shooting bench but that's the only time case neck tension alone is sufficient. With case neck tension alone, rounds in the magazine will grow or shrink (usually shrink) from the recoil of the previously fired rounds. And don't even think about loading rounds into a tubular magazine without a good crimp.
    I bought my first Lee FCD while trying to load ammunition for ex-brother in law's 30-30 rifle. After deforming a couple of dozen cases trying to use the roll crimp of the seat/crimp RCBS die, I called Midway and ordered a Lee FCD. After using it I ordered one for every caliber I owned and reloaded for and today it is one of the first things ordered to any new caliber that I get.

    I'll also add that I own only one single shot rifle. A Ruger No. 1 in 204 Ruger. Even with it, I use the Lee FCD to promote consistent ignition and burn rate and thus improve accuracy.

    Considering that places like Midway sell the Lee FCD for about $15.00, my best suggestion to see why there's such a following of this product is just to buy one. If you don't like it, I doubt you'd have much trouble selling it and getting most of your money back. If, however, your experience is the same as the other 99% of us who use them you'll be buying one for every caliber you load.

    Sig 239 SAS 40 S&W / Sig 239 9mm / Kahr PM-9 / Walther PPS .40 / Sig P-245 / Ruger LCP
    Beretta Tomcat / Walther PPK / BDA 380 / Taurus 85 / Kel-Tec PF-9 / Am. Derringer 357

    NRA Life Member
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  8. #7
    Member Array jbailey's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    NC coast
    Another FCD fan here, especially for pistol rounds, but I use it a little differently - only on rounds that won't gauge.

    Because I shoot mostly lead, the FCD will deform the bullets and as mentioned above, will cause more leading, and reduced accuracy as well.

    If I'm careful when seating the bullets, and the dies are properly adjusted there will be a small percentage that need to be put through the FCD (I gauge all my semi-auto pistol rounds, or check in the gun's chamber so I KNOW they'll cycle ). The rounds that I use the FCD die on, I put into my "plinking" bin.

    Good shooting,

    "There is no problem that cannot be solved through the proper use of high explosives"
    G. Alan Foster

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