Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/15/2010 9:45:12 PM EDT
So...I've noticed alot of very knowlegeable folks recommending a 4th die, a "factory crimp die".

I'm asking for input here, because I use RCBS carbide (3-die) sets for ALL my pistol loading, which is 9x19mmm, .40, .45ACP, and .38spl/.357mag.

My 3rd die in these sets seats and crimps in one operation. Yes, it takes a bit of "trial and error" to get them adjusted properly, but once adjusted, they work great.

I've loaded thousands of rounds this way. Yes, I'm on a single-stage, so adding yet another die/operation is NOT desirable, for me.

But this setup works very well, so I'm curious as to why so many advocate that "4th die", the extra crimp die.

I can see how on a progressive, it's no big deal to add another operation/station/die, but why?

Just lookin' for education here.
Link Posted: 8/15/2010 10:00:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/15/2010 10:11:46 PM EDT by rg1]
Hate to be the 1st reply but I don't like a factory crimp die because it deforms the neck mouth of the case. I know a lot of loaders love the factory crimp dies but I'm one who doesn't. I've ONLY tried a factory crimp die on .223. I later pulled a batch of about 100 loaded 55 fmj rounds some which had a roll crimp and some that had the factory crimp. Rounds loaded with a roll crimp the bullet came out of the case with 7-8 impacts with the impact bullet puller consistently. Rounds that had been factory crimped took anywhere from 12-20-some equal impacts for the bullet to come out. Once the bullet cannelure got free of the factory crimp it came on out but the factory crimp held tightly to the cannelure. Maybe this is a good thing?? Like I said, I just don't like the mouth of the case deformed for reloading another round. I don't like factory rounds that have been loaded with the "factory crimp" either. You'll get some rave reviews of the factory crimp die though. I like to crimp in a separate step for rifle and pistol but I have tandem presses. The bullets get seated in one press and crimped in the other press and I have extra seating or crimping dies just for crimping.
Link Posted: 8/15/2010 10:01:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/15/2010 10:08:46 PM EDT by Sgt_Cottle]

One of the best things about the Lee FCD for pistols is that is acts as a sizing die as well. There are several calibers with thin sides that may bulge a little when seating the bullet (380 Auto jumps out there). The Lee FCD sizes the outside of the cases to make sure that they did not bulge and removes any bell from the case mouth. I use it as a case gauge basically. If I run it through the FCD - I know that the finished bullet will fit in the chamber of my gun (barring I didn't exceed the OAL). There is a knob on top of the FCD that you can screw down to apply a taper crimp if you desire. I rarely use this feature simply because when the FCD removes the belling from the case it and in doing so provides plenty of neck tension.

Now for rifles it is a completely different beast. It is basically a collet that pinches the mouth of the case into the bullet. The Rifle FCD does have it's uses - but I have noticed that if you put a heavy crimp on the mouth that some of the cases tend to split there. Not that big of a deal to me, because I just turn them into 300 Whisper brass - but some people may be bothered by this. I do not use the FCD on rifle very much except when I am loading tracers. You can use the FCD and just use a very light crimp and it does not damage the brass, bullet, or cause neck splits. It is a must when loading my 50 BMG rounds for my M82A1 though ... once I have placed a FC on those rounds - they are next to impossible to pull. Like most tools ... they all have their purpose when used correctly. I wouldn't go out and purchase the Rifle FCD unless you were having problems with bullet setback. However, I would highly recommend that you pick up a pistol FCD because of the advantages it offers.

Sarg
Link Posted: 8/15/2010 10:02:39 PM EDT
you already hit on why i use the 4th die.

ease of use.

i don't have to fart around with adjustments when i change bullet types or length.

i am also on a single stage press, but i'm only doing .223 and .45 acp.

there is literally no adjustment with the Lee FCD.
i just screw them down to the top of the ram then add a turn.
for the rifle, the ram actuates the crimp thingie on the up-stroke and the pistol dies do their thing on the down-stroke.

of course, those are just my observations.
Link Posted: 8/15/2010 10:03:16 PM EDT
I seat and crimp on a separate operation on all my pistol ammo.

The better quality ammo makes it worth the extra trouble.
Link Posted: 8/15/2010 10:17:21 PM EDT
Yes, I don't crimp .223. Haven't had the need to.

That's the thing..."quality ammo"...my pistol ammo is great, looks great, runs great, no problems whatsoever. Not "mediocre", but, dare I say, "excellent". I've always striven for that.

That's why I've never seen the need for a "factory crimp die", just never seemed necessary, but folks who know their stuff advocate it. Just wondering why.
Link Posted: 8/16/2010 6:13:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/16/2010 6:14:28 AM EDT by ireload]
I use to use the 3 die set up with my 38spl and 357mag loads back when I first started. One thing I discovered right away is when you are seating and crimping a soft nose or JHP with a lead nose bullet, it mashes the lead to almost the shape of the seating stem. Eventually when I was talking shop with an old time from my local fun store, he recommended using a seperate crimping die. Needless to say I never looked back since. To be honest it's not that much time wise when changing from a seating die to a crimping die. I do use a single stage press just like you. When I reload, 150 rounds max at a time anyway.
Link Posted: 8/16/2010 6:14:40 AM EDT
Regarding pistols - people using a single stage press and like to crimp as a separate operation - then the FCD would also provide that extra "sizing" as mentioned above. If you do not crimp any of your loads and you have not had any problems; then you probably will not see any benefits. If your on a progressive press; then there is no reason to not have it - it will at least function as a final "check die", and allow you to crimp any loads if necessary. I personally do not run it with the crimp knob screwed down. I just like to have it make sure that the sidewalls of the cases are in round and were not altered during the loading process ... basically a case gauge. As for rifle - I only use it in select situations, because I prefer my Redding taper crimp die. I have used it less and less over the years, but it's an excellent tool to have around. I have found that it performs best when you only use a slight factory crimp - instead of the hard "pinch" that most put on their loads.

Sarg
Link Posted: 8/16/2010 6:31:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/16/2010 7:08:52 AM EDT by 1911smith]
Vinni, you've strayed into a conversation of old school vs new school. If it works don't fix it. You won't have the need for fcd until you get to a progressive press. Another plus to fcd is it shortens the learning curve for new reloaders and it is required for inconsistencies experienced with cheaper lead bullets. 1911smith out.

<eta> I just remembered somethings more. Bottle neck fcd has a 3 jaw crimp. Straight wall fcd has an adjjustable sizer ring. Comparing the performance of the two is like comparing an alligater bite to a duck billed bite. If remembering right your a Glock shooter. I would absolutely use an fcd for Glock. Call it insurance.
Link Posted: 8/16/2010 3:20:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ViniVidivici:


My 3rd die in these sets seats and crimps in one operation. Yes,

No, you're doing it wrong.

not all crimp dies are "factory crimp dies" that's a brand of dies made by LEE
Link Posted: 8/16/2010 3:32:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/16/2010 3:34:15 PM EDT by Warhawk]
I use the Lee factory crimp die on heavy recoil handgun rounds, .44 Mag and up. I use it mainly to ensure that I don't have bullet creep in a revolver. The FCDs are relatively cheap, and work great.
Link Posted: 8/16/2010 6:16:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Warhawk:
I use the Lee factory crimp die on heavy recoil handgun rounds, .44 Mag and up. I use it mainly to ensure that I don't have bullet creep in a revolver. The FCDs are relatively cheap, and work great.


This.

And, I just lightly kiss the case mouth of .223Rem rounds with the FCD. In my handgun rounds, it ensures that the round is the right size, and keeps the bullet from moving. It gives a perfect crimp every time, and never crushes a case or mashes a bullet.

Like someone else said, if it aint broke, you don't even need to be concerned about fixing it. If what you are doing works, and you are happy with the results, keep on doing it.
Link Posted: 8/16/2010 7:02:25 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/16/2010 11:41:04 PM EDT
Lee makes 3 different "Factory Crimp Dies" depending on intended purpose.

The rifle FCD applies a crimp using a collet. That's all it does. Some folks have found better accuracy and less velocity deviation by using a "very light" crimp with the FCD. Others have found no effect. A heavy crimp with this type die, especially on a match bullet, is usually detrimental. I might use it if I were loading with very slow powders, but generally I don't use the rifle FCD.

Now lets get to the pistol dies.

The pistol dies apply either a taper or roll crimp. They also post-size the round using a carbide insert. The insert supports the case while crimping, which means that with heavy recoiling revolver cartridges you can apply a very strong roll crimp without damaging the case. Example: I have found this to be very useful in .44 magnum or heavier recoiling cartridges.

Post sizing the round has advantages and disadvantages. The post sizing means that the round will meet SAAMI specs for cartridge diameter, which means that it will drop into a case gage every time. Lost of folks want this. Lots of other folks do not. If you are shooting an oversize lead cast bullet due to a large throat, the FCD will swage the bullet down. (not what you want) If however you want the round to feed in any gun with that chambering then the post sizing is a good thing. Example: cast bullets that are half a thousandth oversize (.4525) will not normally feed in my Kimber, post sizing with the FCD ensures the rounds meet spec.

I actually usually seat and crimp my .45 lead loads at the same time, then use the CD to post-size without applying any crimp.

When loading hollowpoints, especially delicate ones like the Short Barrel version of the Speer Gold Dot, you can damage the HP by seating and crimping at the same time. In this instance you want to seat, then crimp in separate steps. You can do this by readjusting your seat/crimp die. But for the $7-8 the FCD costs it's just a lot more convenient to set your seat/crimp to seat and the FCD to crimp.
Link Posted: 8/17/2010 1:36:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2010 1:36:47 AM EDT by Dan46n2]
Originally Posted By rg1:
Hate to be the 1st reply but I don't like a factory crimp die because it deforms the neck mouth of the case. I know a lot of loaders love the factory crimp dies but I'm one who doesn't. I've ONLY tried a factory crimp die on .223. I later pulled a batch of about 100 loaded 55 fmj rounds some which had a roll crimp and some that had the factory crimp. Rounds loaded with a roll crimp the bullet came out of the case with 7-8 impacts with the impact bullet puller consistently. Rounds that had been factory crimped took anywhere from 12-20-some equal impacts for the bullet to come out. Once the bullet cannelure got free of the factory crimp it came on out but the factory crimp held tightly to the cannelure. Maybe this is a good thing?? Like I said, I just don't like the mouth of the case deformed for reloading another round. I don't like factory rounds that have been loaded with the "factory crimp" either. You'll get some rave reviews of the factory crimp die though. I like to crimp in a separate step for rifle and pistol but I have tandem presses. The bullets get seated in one press and crimped in the other press and I have extra seating or crimping dies just for crimping.


It sounds like you were puttig too much crimp on those 223 rounds, it doesn't take more than a few whacks with the hammer to get the bullet free. You want a bearly visible mark on the neck for the crimp, about .002" of crimp.
Link Posted: 8/17/2010 2:02:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2010 2:03:23 AM EDT by AssaultRifler]
Combining crimping and seating in the same step involves using competing forces. The crimping wants to keep the bullet from moving, the seating wants to keep the bullet moving. The bullet can get deformed. I use a progressive so I use a separate crimping die for pistol. Using one for 223 is optional.

One progressive that comes to mind where you must combine the seating and crimping in one step is the Lee Pro 1000 since it's only a 3 station press
Link Posted: 8/17/2010 3:23:17 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AssaultRifler:
Combining crimping and seating in the same step involves using competing forces. The crimping wants to keep the bullet from moving, the seating wants to keep the bullet moving. The bullet can get deformed. I use a progressive so I use a separate crimping die for pistol. Using one for 223 is optional.

One progressive that comes to mind where you must combine the seating and crimping in one step is the Lee Pro 1000 since it's only a 3 station press


Sir, for the benefit of the OP I'll not repeat alot of what has already been posted except to mention that crimping is appropriate for most pistol cartridges but bottle neck rifle cartridges should be considered differently. I use a roll crimp on straight wall pistol cartridges intended for use in a revolver. In most of my revolvers recoil is such that anything less than the max crimp possible will allow the bullets to protrude forward and prevent the cylinder from turning.

For semi auto pistols I use taper crimp dies to ensure reliability of feeding. Most taper crimp dies are about the same I have no particular manufacture to recommend.

For bottle neck rifle cartridges the goal is to prevent the bullet moving forward during recoil or feeding or being pushed into the case neck when being fed into the chamber of a semi auto rifle. Adequate case neck tension will accomplish this with out the need for crimping while offering other benefits as well. I do not crimp rifle bullets that were never intended to be crimped, ie: those that lack a crimping groove. Adequate neck tension can be defined as the difference between the bullet OD and the case neck ID. As long as the ID is at least .002" less than bullet OD you should have adequate neck tension. JMHO, 7zero1.

Link Posted: 8/17/2010 11:13:52 PM EDT
That's kind of what I figured. I'll not fix what isn't broken...I'll continue to seat and crimp in one operation with my RCBS carbide dies, and continue to NOT crimp my rifle rounds.

Just wondered if I was missing something.

I appreciate the responses from those "in the know". I figure, if I ever go to a progressive one of these days, it might make sense to have a separate crimp die.

At this point, the system has worked so well, no real reason to change things up. My ammo is good stuff.
Link Posted: 8/18/2010 5:16:41 AM EDT
Originally Posted By rockstar4960:
there is literally no adjustment with the Lee FCD.
i just screw them down to the top of the ram then add a turn.
for the rifle, the ram actuates the crimp thingie on the up-stroke and the pistol dies do their thing on the down-stroke.

of course, those are just my observations.


That is not really the best way to setup a Lee FCD for rifle rounds.

You should put a loaded round in the case holder, or station if using a progressive, and run the ram to the top of the stroke.

You then screw the crimp die down until you feel resistance against the loaded round.

That is a very light crimp and you can then lower the ram and turn the die more to add more of a crimp.

If you do it your way, you may be adding way too much of a crimp and deforming the bullet and putting a nasty crease in the neck.
Link Posted: 8/18/2010 7:18:36 AM EDT
Thanks for asking this Vini, I'm gonna start reloading .45 as soon as I can get up to Cabelas this weekend for the final odds and ends.

I also have the 3 die carbide RCBS set, but the instructions for the seating/taper crimp die are a little sketchy. Maybe I'll have to see if Cabelas has the Lee FCD so I can simplify my learning curve a little.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 8/18/2010 7:53:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2010 9:55:30 AM EDT by AssaultRifler]

Originally Posted By WIZZO_ARAKM14:
Thanks for asking this Vini, I'm gonna start reloading .45 as soon as I can get up to Cabelas this weekend for the final odds and ends.

I also have the 3 die carbide RCBS set, but the instructions for the seating/taper crimp die are a little sketchy

off top of my head adjusting a seating/taper die to do both should go like this:

1) loosen the die lockring, you'll be turning the die up and down a lot
2) lower the seating stem while screwing the die outward, the goal here is to just engage the seating function of the die, not the taper crimping
3) seat a bullet, lowering the seating stem bit by bit until you get the correct seating depth
4) screw the seating stem out a whole lot, now the goal will be to engage the taper crimp function of the die
5) screw the die downward until you meet resistance, this is the start of taper crimping, the seating stem shouldn't be in play now
6) bit by bit lower the die and check the case with a barrel or case gage to make sure you have a the right amount of taper crimping
7) with the round still in the die and the press handle lowered, tighten the die lock ring
8) with the round still in the die and the press handle lowered, screw the seating stem downward until it stops, then tighten it's nut

You're done!
Link Posted: 8/18/2010 9:34:06 AM EDT
Well hey! That actually sounds rather reasonable. You ever think of writing instructions for RCBS?



Thanks!

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 8/18/2010 10:40:00 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 7zero1:

Sir, for the benefit of the OP I'll not repeat alot of what has already been posted except to mention that crimping is appropriate for most pistol cartridges but bottle neck rifle cartridges should be considered differently. I use a roll crimp on straight wall pistol cartridges intended for use in a revolver. In most of my revolvers recoil is such that anything less than the max crimp possible will allow the bullets to protrude forward and prevent the cylinder from turning.

For semi auto pistols I use taper crimp dies to ensure reliability of feeding. Most taper crimp dies are about the same I have no particular manufacture to recommend.

For bottle neck rifle cartridges the goal is to prevent the bullet moving forward during recoil or feeding or being pushed into the case neck when being fed into the chamber of a semi auto rifle. Adequate case neck tension will accomplish this with out the need for crimping while offering other benefits as well. I do not crimp rifle bullets that were never intended to be crimped, ie: those that lack a crimping groove. Adequate neck tension can be defined as the difference between the bullet OD and the case neck ID. As long as the ID is at least .002" less than bullet OD you should have adequate neck tension. JMHO, 7zero1.



++1

7zero1, you are one of the very few posters on this forum that I respect as knowledgeable. I always read your posts for thoughtful information. Your concise comments here cut through much BS posted about crimping and should be memorized by the many who do not really understand what crimping does.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 10:00:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 10:03:12 AM EDT by rippersde50]
What would happen if you removed the decapping insert from a sizing die and then used the sizing die on a loaded round?

Could that be used as a "4th die" or are the specs not the same between the factory crimp die ring and a sizing die?
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 10:06:54 AM EDT
Yes, it's been done before and is a poor substitute for FC die..... If using your sizer die in this way on rounds that have been roll crimped it will loosen bullet. Doing more harm than good.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 10:30:48 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
Yes, it's been done before and is a poor substitute for FC die..... If using your sizer die in this way on rounds that have been roll crimped it will loosen bullet. Doing more harm than good.


What about a round with a taper crimp?

Link Posted: 9/6/2010 10:48:20 AM EDT
I won't prescribe this as good practice. The FC die is adjustable to accommodate varying diameters in bullets and case mouths. Your apt to do more harm than good with either roll or taper using sizing die in lieu of FC die.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 11:02:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
I won't prescribe this as good practice. The FC die is adjustable to accommodate varying diameters in bullets and case mouths. Your apt to do more harm than good with either roll or taper using sizing die in lieu of FC die.


Wasn't planning on trying it. Just curious to whether it can be done.

I'm getting the FC die anyways.

Thanks for the replies
Top Top