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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering what you think of the factory crimp dies? Should I buy a 4 die set with this die included? I have always rolled the case in when seating the bullet in the past, but have only reloaded mild to moderate loads in .38. I'm now going to start loading some pretty heavy stuff in .357, 9mm and soon .44 mag. Do I need the factory crimp dies for the heavier loads? The semi-autos? Thanks in advance for any advice, Casey
 

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I've been using one for my .45 Colt and .454 Casull not to mention a few rifle cartridges. I have collets for most of my pistol cartridges but haven't otherwise used them. I would say they would be preferred for the revolver cartridges but couldn't say how needed they are for the pistol. For the few bucks extra the collet costs, I would (and did) get it.
 

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The extra crimping can be a real help on heavy recoil of
the 44 magnum loaded heavy. I have not shot any 357
that have come unseated but I have used a crimper on
it as well, most of the time. I would say get the die
if you are going to be doing heavy loads, on the 357 and
larger. I doubt you need it on a 9 mm and you might
have some headspace issues with that as well, since
it head spaces on the rim of the mouth. Bending that
rim over is going to change change head space. I
can't say how big a deal it is, but I only crimp very
lightly in the 45 acp, because of this.
 

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I just tested some 357 loads for crimping, and here is what
I found. Both loads were just very lightly crimped.
Both loads were 158 gr Remington jhp bullets. These were
shot in a Ruger GP100 with 6 inch barrel.

One load was loaded to velocity of about 950 fps and
these bullets stayed in place during recoil.

Another load was loaded to velocity of about 1280 fps
and these tended to come unseated during firing. The
last ones remaining, having undergone 4 or 5 firings from
previous rounds, were coming unseated as much as
1/8 inch.

So a good crimp is necessary on the more powerful
357 loads.
 

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I have the Lee Factory Crimp Die for every caliber they make that I reload for. It's one of the best engineered dies on the market, and works very well. My only wish is they would come out with one in .500 S&W Mag. Bill T.
 

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I have found these dies problematic as they tend to resize the bullet sitting inside the case. If you believe in matching the bullet diameter to the cylinder throat (to prevent leading) then the FCD will ruin your day. I once had a S&W M29 with .433" cylinder throats. I bought some Beartooth .4325" bullets to match the throats. I seated them in Winchester cases. I crimped them with the FCD which promptly resized them to .430" and they leaded-up the bore. So I got rid of it on Ebay, actually four of them, and got most of my money back.
 

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I don't see how that is happening because the Carbide Sizer Ring on the LFC die is made to maximum chamber dimensions. In other words if it won't fit easily thru the FCD, it won't fit in your chamber. I had this happen once on some .38 Special loads I was reloading. I seated 50 bullets with just enough crimp with the RCBS dies to just turn in the case mouth flare. I then tried it in the cylinder of both my S&W Model 14 and 15. They wouldn't chamber because the bullets were slightly oversize. That combined with the case thickness was too much. I then ran them thru my Lee FCD and they chambered easily, and all shot fine.
 

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Exactly! The bullets were oversize and after a trip though the FCD they were not. The FCD resized them. In my case, the FCD was counterproductive because it reduced the diameter of the bullets when I wanted the bullets to remain oversize to seal the throat. Shooting undersized lead bullets through oversized throats causes leading. I wanted to avoid that.
 

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Understood. But with that being the case I don't see how you could get them in the chamber any other way. In every one of my handguns, if it doesn't go into the Carbide Sizer Ring of the FCD, it won't chamber. That's the whole idea of the design. The Lee Factory Crimp Die is ground to SAMMI specs., just has the chambers in your gun. If your chambers are to spec. but your throats are somehow oversize, that's not the fault of the die. Your FCD is doing exactly what it's designed to do. I've loaded jacketed bullets in cases that were to thick. The result was a round with a bulged case that, if not for the FCD, would have been useless because it would not have chambered. After a pass thru the FCD the round chambered easily. Granted, it in all likely hood reduced the size of the bullet, but the alternative was worse. The FCD saves ammo, or at least warns of problems by causing resistance when you try and pass a completed round thru it. That is what it's designed for. Bill T.
 

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Factory chambers are about .010" larger than the loaded round (bodywise), so a .004" oversize bullet will swell the case, but still chamber easily with about .006" of space. The FCD is designed for rounds using standard size bullets, i.e. .429" in the 44 Magnum, etc. Say you load a .429" jacketed bullet in a 44 mag case. It will easily slip through the FCD. But if you load a .432" bullet, it will get resized. I know it isn't the fault of the die, but rather the gun for having oversized throats. The problem is that until recently, most big-bore revolvers had oversized throats. For example, my M29 had .433" throats. My M25-2 had .457" throats (yes, that big). All my 357's have .358" throats. My new 625-7's have .452" throats, however.

Resizing bullets inside the case reduces tension on the bullet shank and causes a lot of other issues. So, Lee should dispense with that carbide sizing ring. The rest of the die is fine.
 

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I think for the few dollars more that 4th die is worth it.what they do is make all your rds like factory. they will then work in all like caliber pistols. I like to give some rds to people at the range. Especially new shooters using factory ammo, which is more times than not loaded at maxium levels. I like to load light to medium, i find people in general print better on thier targets with milder loads. When reloading with this 4th die, sometimes you feel a rd give a little resistence in the press. These are probably the ones that might give you trouble. stove pipes etc... the factory also takes the mystery out of knowing if the caliber needs the the taper crimp or the roll crimp. When purchasing them they tell you which crimp your getting. Roll for revolver rds taper for autos. All this helps the other ammo in the gun, from keeping the heads in place,from recoil or striping the rds off the clips. I had less problems at the range since i started using these dies. Automactally does the headspacing for you. I use the lee dies,the carbide 4 die sets are a very good bargin for the money. :wink:
 

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This die will not make your rounds "like factory".

If you size the case, bell the case mouth, start the bullet straight in the case mouth for seating, and then crimp with a regular roll or taper crimp die, your rounds will then be "like factory".

There is no need to resize the round during the crimping process.
 

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I clearly remember an ad Lee ran in regards to an inflamatory response, (ad), by Blount, (RCBS), who stated at the time no factory ammunition was crimped on bullets that did not have a crimping groove. Lee retaliated with it's own ad, clearly showing .308 Federal Gold Medal Match Ammunition loaded with 168 Gr. Sierra Matchking Bullets, (which have no crimping groove), clearly crimped in place. The ad showed a pulled bullet with an indentation where the crimp was applied, putting a noticable ring on the bullet where it was crimped. Seeing as how case length can have adverse effects on the amount of crimp applied with a conventional roll crimp die, most all factory ammunition is crimped in a collet type of tool in a separate operation. Factory case length is not perfect. Or at least not as perfect as a careful handloader can achieve with a good trimming tool. What was intresting in this whole Lee, RCBS exchange, was the fact it was the first time a manufacturer spent more, ($150,000.00), knocking someone elses product, than they did in the same period advertising their own. Lee was quick to point that out as well. Bill T.
 

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All i know is that since i been using the extra die in my reloading sequence. I had noticed better quality ammo, in respect to feeding problems, stove pipes, etc... and all my rds feeling more universal (same as) to one another. It goes with out saying, that the other dies should be tuned in to the proper calulations, before going on to the next step in the use of this added die. My loadmaster has the room for holding 5 dies in the top turret, So adding this extra die in the reloading process is not really slowing me up. I can see this being more of a chore, with a single press. Jack.
 
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I use the Lee FCD in most all calibers that I reload and so does all my friends. I prefer to seat and crimp in separate stages so the FCD is used in the fourth hole of my Dillon toolheads.
 
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