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Old August 3, 2012, 10:18 PM   #1
xxxleafybugxxx
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Confusion about crimping...

I bought my lee 4 die set for .45 acp, which came with the factory crimp die. I see most people say they don't use this, but only under certain circumstances. This is what came in my kit, therefore, this is what I use. I have cast bullets on the way, but all I have loaded thus far have been plated bullets. Is there a change in method for crimping cast from plated because of the ridges in the slug? Thanks in advance for clearing this confusion!
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Old August 3, 2012, 10:39 PM   #2
SL1
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The issue with the Factory Crimp Die is that the carbide ring in the die will resize the brass "to ensure that it is within SAAMI specifications" for diameter. For jacketed bullets, it usually works fine. (Actually, I am finding that many factory jacketed bullets are a little under-diameter in .45 ACP.)

But, cast or swaged lead bullets are usually made about 0.001" larger in diameter than jacketed bullets are SUPPOSED to be made. So, the carbide ring MAY slightly resize the cases once the bullet is seated and slightly expands the case. The problem with that is the lead is NOT springy, while the brass is, so the resizing with the bullet inside the case will tend to make the bullet loose in the case. For autoloaders, that can be a safety issue. When the bullet is fed from the magazine, it hits the feed ramp with enough force to push the bullet farther into the case IF the case does not grip the bullet tight enough. If the bullet gets pushed deeper, pressure goes up. It CAN go up to dangerous levels, depending on the particular powder, bullet, etc.

So, you ALWAYS want to be sure that set-back won't be a problem for your handloads. It is not just a matter of the Lee FCD; there are other issues like too-thin case walls that can lead to the same problem. SO, you need to test the rounds that you load to be sure that the bullets are gripped tightly enough.

For the FCD, if you FEEL the cabide ring sizing the bullet when you withdraw the cartridge from the die, then you really need to check that the bullets are not too loose.

Increasing case grip on the bullet is NOT a matter of making a heavier crimp, which can actually loosen the bullet for the same reason described above (in cartridges that head-space on the case mouth so that they must use a taper crimp instead of a roll crimp). You need dies that first, size the case small enough, then do not expand it too much, and finally, don't over-crimp or post-size the bullet inside the case.

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Old August 3, 2012, 10:50 PM   #3
xxxleafybugxxx
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Do I need to buy different dies, or can I make do with my lee carbide 4 die set?
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Old August 3, 2012, 11:08 PM   #4
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It will work just fine with both lead and jacketed bullets. Use it and enjoy!
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Old August 4, 2012, 12:02 AM   #5
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Nice post SL1
Some folks don't seem to understand what happens when the bullet is resized in the case
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Old August 4, 2012, 12:28 AM   #6
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CAS Wild Bunch shooting with lead .45 ACPs

SL1 - I've been interested in getting into the Wild Bunch CAS side matches. I roll my own 45LCs, but so to date have not ventured into semi-autos. Assuming a reasonably loosey-goosey 1911 with a polished feed ramp, how much of an issue do you think this is for ACP loads? I would be using Oregon bullets in a Rock Chucker with RCBS dies.
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Old August 4, 2012, 09:47 AM   #7
SL1
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FloridaVeteran,

I really don't know how to answer your question. First, since you mention RCBS dies, I guess that the "issue" you are asking about is bullet setback, not the Lee FCD related issue that might lead to setback.

The bullet setback problems that I am aware of personally were in higher-pressure cartridges such as the 9mm and .40 S&W, where pressures about doubled from book maximums with setbacks that were on the order of 0.1". I doubt that the .45 ACP is COMPLETELY immune to the problem, but others may have better info on that. The only .45 ACPs that I personally load are fired in a revolver.

However, I did find that I needed to up my reloading procedures when I started reloading auto-loader cartridges. Setback was my major concern (along with keeping the dirt that the case picked-up from the ground out of my dies and guns.) For auto-loader rounds, I check each reloaded cartridge by pushing the bullet pretty hard against a benchsurface to be sure that it doesn't slide into the case. When I can find a decent spring scale at a decent price, I intend to formaliize that check into a specific push force on the scale. I have READ values of 30 to 50 pounds as the appropriate test value, but will experiment for myself to see where setback starts with MY guns.

Especially if you use mixed range brass for your reloads, I think you should ALWAYS consider the potential for setback. With some extra-thin case walls out there is some lots of brass (especially Remington) and the other unknowns that brass was subjcted to, it is entirely possible for ONE case to have an especially poor grip on its bullet, and one is all that it takes to ruin your day.

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Last edited by SL1; August 4, 2012 at 11:08 PM.
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Old August 4, 2012, 12:13 PM   #8
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With your RCBS dies in .45acp, properly adjusted, you will not have any setback problems at all.

Pushing the bullet nose against the edge of your bench is a good idea. I'm not sure how that could be formalized. I can lean on mine as hard as I want, no movement at all.
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Old August 4, 2012, 01:21 PM   #9
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To answer your question about "crimp"; use the same amount with lead bullets as with plated.

Actually the term "crimp" is a misnomer when dealing with semi-auto cartridges; the cases are not crimped, as a taper crimp die is just used to remove any flare in the case mouth.

I have been reloading semi-auto ammo for nearly 12 years and have never had the need for a "post seating sizing die". I believe the FCD is a solution looking for a problem as properly adjusted dies will eliminate any chambering issues. Ask the guys that reloaded .45 ACP ammo prior to Lee's FCD...
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Old August 4, 2012, 02:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
The bullet setback problems that I am aware of personally were in higher-pressure cartridges such as the 9mm and .40 S&W, where pressures about doubled from book maximums with setbacks that were on the order of 0.01".

Are you sure it's not 1/10"?
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Old August 4, 2012, 04:42 PM   #11
xxxleafybugxxx
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Well after reading all of these responses, I suppose I will just load my cast bullets using my FCD. I've had no issues it with, and really don't have the option to do anything else.
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Old August 4, 2012, 08:49 PM   #12
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SL1 and Moxie - thanks. As for brass, I would buy new Starlines. The CAS posse members here in this part of Florida are very good about picking up rifle-shot brass and shotgun hulls and returning them to each shooter. I haven't seen or participated in a Wild Bunch match yet, but would assume the same applies.

BTW - does anyone know the name and a source of the gadget that has a football-shaped wire cage at the bottom of a pole - you roll it along the ground and spent cases pop into it? Way easier and faster to pick up brass with it than with a one-at-a-time grabber.
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Old August 4, 2012, 09:57 PM   #13
Lost Sheep
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Other options

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxxleafybugxxx
Well after reading all of these responses, I suppose I will just load my cast bullets using my FCD. I've had no issues it with, and really don't have the option to do anything else.
Well, you do have options.

1) Knock the sizing ring out of the FCD. This is a permanent solution, as the ring if brittle and will probably break. If it doesn't break, getting it back in the die will be difficult.

2) Use the seating die to both seat and "crimp". I believe (pretty sure) that the seating die in the 4-die set is the same seat-crimp die that comes in the 3-die set. To seat only, you just back the die body out a little and adjust the seating stem. To seat and crimp both, the adjustment is a little more complex.

I will explain in another post if you want.

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Old August 4, 2012, 10:08 PM   #14
Lost Sheep
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Another problem with the FCD post-sizing

SL1 has one of the problems well covered.

There is another problem, that of leading. Lead bullets properly sized at exactly bore size or a little larger upon firing, swage to fit the rifling and make a good seal. The hot gasses that drive the bullet do not escape past the bullet.

If those hot gasses do get between the bullet and the bore (which happens if you have sized the lead bullet too small) the lead melts and some of it sticks to the bore. You don't want that for a multitude of reasons.

Good luck. Thanks for asking our advice

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Old August 4, 2012, 10:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaVeteran
CAS Wild Bunch shooting with lead .45 ACPs
SL1 - I've been interested in getting into the Wild Bunch CAS side matches. I roll my own 45LCs, but so to date have not ventured into semi-autos. Assuming a reasonably loosey-goosey 1911 with a polished feed ramp, how much of an issue do you think this is for ACP loads? I would be using Oregon bullets in a Rock Chucker with RCBS dies.
FloridaVeteran, since you are using a single stage press, I think you will get tired of the FCD if you don't actually NEED to use it. (Feeding problems because of bulged cases is the only reason I can think of.) It involves an extra pass through your hands and represents a 33% increase in the number of strokes you take with your press. LeafyBug, I believe, is using an auto-indexing turret press, so the extra strokes do not take so much time. With your single stage RockChucker the extra strokes involve a lot of extra handling of the cases.

In your position, I would use the 3-step process. I used a RockChucker for years, but now I have an auto-indexing turret press. (With a detour through the world of progressives which did not suit me as well.)

Best wishes,

Lost Sheep
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Old August 4, 2012, 10:58 PM   #16
xxxleafybugxxx
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Lost Sheep,
As others have stated the FCD works just as loading plated bullets, ill give that a shot. If I find the bullet stays put nice and tight, ill do that. If that is not the case, I'll send you a PM. Thanks again for your help!
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Old August 4, 2012, 11:07 PM   #17
SL1
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Jef2015,

Yes, I meant 0.10". Edited my earlier post when I read yours. Thanks.

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Old August 5, 2012, 11:37 PM   #18
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Lost Sheep - thanks for that. I am getting old faster than I had anticipated. No horn-honking behind me yet, but that is coming. Can't let go of the precision of a single-stage, tenth-of-a-grain powder measures and eyeballing powder in the trays before loading bullets. At my age, it probably is safer for me (and my neighbors and fellow shooters) to have that habit. Fortunately, I have the time to expend on Swiss-watch-maker loading.

So... I probably will just buy ACP reloads from our local reliable shop, given that Wild Bunch matches are not the norm and I don't need all that much ammo for it.

LOL - when I think about it, I have become the physical and mental equivalent of a single-stage RockChucker, in all respects. But I can remember the days when I was a Dillon XL!
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Old August 6, 2012, 12:23 AM   #19
Lost Sheep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaVeteran
Lost Sheep - thanks for that. I am getting old faster than I had anticipated. No horn-honking behind me yet, but that is coming. Can't let go of the precision of a single-stage, tenth-of-a-grain powder measures and eyeballing powder in the trays before loading bullets. At my age, it probably is safer for me (and my neighbors and fellow shooters) to have that habit. Fortunately, I have the time to expend on Swiss-watch-maker loading.

So... I probably will just buy ACP reloads from our local reliable shop, given that Wild Bunch matches are not the norm and I don't need all that much ammo for it.

LOL - when I think about it, I have become the physical and mental equivalent of a single-stage RockChucker, in all respects. But I can remember the days when I was a Dillon XL!
Well, that you can remember it is good. There are three things that are the sign of old age. 1) Fading memory .... I can't remember the other two.

Yep, the cost savings of 9mm and 45 ACP are pretty slim. I once bought a bunch of 45s on sale for less than I could have bought the powder, primers and bullets. Bought three cases and probably will never need to buy another 45 ACP for the rest of my life. I have enough cases to reload forever.

Or until I forget how. Whichever comes first.

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