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Old April 22, 2005, 10:02 AM   #1
Ghost Dog
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Lee Factory Crimp Die with Speer Bullets ?

I recently obtained a Lee Factory Crimp Die for the 45-70 GOVT.
I use Speer bullets in reloading this round.

I notice in the information insert by Lee they state that Speer dose not recommend the use of Lee Factory Crimp die with their bullets, as a heavy crimp could damage the bullet.

I checked around more on this and found that Speer does infact not recommend the Lee Factory Crimp die, least with the 45-70 Govt .

Has anyone used the Lee Factory Crimp die in reloading the 45-70 GOVT ?

I wondering if it still would be ok to use it ?

I know Speer is owned by Blount the parent company of RCBS and I wonder if there may not be some "bitter taste" feelings there ?
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Old April 22, 2005, 10:08 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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I suspect it is largely corporate competition that leads Speer to recommend against a Lee crimper. (By the way, Blount sold off all the shooting related stuff to Alliant, so now Speer, CCI, RCBS, Federal, and several other brands are owned by the company that makes powder.)

But I do have a question about the Internet Inquiry in general.
You have the bullets, right?
You have the die, right?
So why ask a bunch of strangers?
Go shooting and YOU tell US how it works.
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Old April 22, 2005, 10:20 AM   #3
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Jim, thanks for the up date info regarding Blount, I wasnt aware of the change. Actually, I am going to give the die a try on few rounds, and see what happens, I was just asking if anyone might have tried it already.
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Old April 23, 2005, 07:03 AM   #4
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Ghost Dog,

Back when the Lee Factory Crimp dies first appeared, Speer/RCBS/Blount ran some full page ads in the gun rags denouncing the factory crimp dies, and showing pictures of how their bullets were damaged by the dies.

Lee responded with some ads denouncing the big corporation environment of the Blount umbrella companies and stated that they would agree that you shouldn't use the factory crimp die with Speer bullets, because they didn't think you should use Speer bullets at all.

Ever since then, Lee has included a disclaimer about Speer bullets.

I wish I still had those back issues.
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Old April 23, 2005, 10:52 PM   #5
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As a regular user of the FCD in pistol calibers, I have seen both sides. The FCD has the ability to apply a very light crimp, and a very heavy crimp.

I seriously doubt that you will damage ANY bullet as long as you use common sense and don't screw it all the way down to the bottom. I use a LIGHT crimp on the rather fragile copper plated Rainier bullets and have never had a problem.

I can't imagine damaging a jacketed bullet with the FCD, although I guess there are some folks that could figure out a way to do it.

Use reason, moderation and common sense and the FCD will help you load good high quality ammunition.
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Old April 24, 2005, 12:10 AM   #6
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I've used a lee factory crimp die with
gold dot bullets in 38spl,357mag,44spl
44mag and 45 colt.I've had no problems
even with heavy crimps on the 44mag
and 45 colts.
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Old April 24, 2005, 07:49 AM   #7
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Hmmm... This one threw me for a loop when I read it - never heard of this warning before. So I went over to the Lee site and sure enough in their "dies and die questions" section here's their note:

Quote:
Speer Warning on Factory Crimp die A few years back Speer ran some advertisements on the Factory crimp die, making claims that it destroyed accuracy, ruined bullets, etc. No other bullet manufacturer has a problem with it (Hawk bullet Co. recommends its use) so we included the warning in our instructions.
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Old April 24, 2005, 11:04 PM   #8
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I am always a little skeptical when a manufacturer bad-mouths another manufacturer's product, unless they are in direct competition.

I like to have warnings like this confirmed by independent sources that "don't have a dog in the fight."
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Old April 25, 2005, 10:01 AM   #9
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I'm not so sure they are talking about the crimp. Perhaps it's the post sizing that presents a problem. I'm not familiar with the 45-70 but if they're cast, then they are probably oversized to work correctly as most cast bullets are. Post sizing them in a FCD only negates that benefit by sizing the bullet to a smaller diameter.
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Old April 25, 2005, 10:22 AM   #10
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The problem isn't the crimp itself, it's crimping a bullet without the cannelure. Now, any bullet without a cannelure runs the risk of distortion when trying to crimp without the cannelure. But when using a little common sense when using the die you wont have any problems. I have used the lee factory crimp die on all bullet manufactures bulltes with great success. Including Speers. All you want is just enough pressure to hold the bullet and no more. I hope this helps.
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Old April 26, 2005, 07:37 AM   #11
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I would like to "Thank" everyone for your input on this, I have learned a lot from the postings, and I sincerely appreciate the help in this.

I am going to give it a try and see how it works, and going to use "just enought" crimp as suggested by many here, and hopefull all will be alright.

My sincerest thanks to all.....
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Old April 26, 2005, 09:24 AM   #12
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Just another note concerning the Lee FCD in general. There is one site out here that does a pretty good job in representing a lot of the Lee products, and on that site is a convincing note about why not to use the Lee FCD with Remington Golden Saber bullets (with its special "driving band" technology). Although I can't 100% confirm this exact observation, I can say that I have in fact had problems in the past with these bullets remaining firmly seated within the cases of 380 ACP rounds I worked with at one time while using the Lee FCD as the final/forth die in the loading sequence. I believe my problem was more with trimming brass too short and trying to achieve a certain OAL, but none-the-less I always keep this observation in mind concerning both the Lee FCD and the Remington Golden Saber's:

Miscellaneous notes - Comments on loading the Remington Golden Saber bullet

Sometimes we need to be able to look beyond what we believe is gospel and at least entertain new ideas. Ya know, I sure wish that Speer article mentioned above was available for reading on-line. I looked all over for it but couldn't find squat. Anyways, I just figured the above info related a little to the original question enough that others might find it interesting...
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Old April 26, 2005, 09:36 AM   #13
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To put your minds at ease, I have loaded thousands of non-cannalured bullets using the Lee Factory Crimp Dies. I shoot a thousand rounds a month (I am old and have nothing better to do) and have tried every bullet and powder combination in .22 Hornet, .223, .243, 7x57, .308, .30-06, 45-70, .270W, 280R, 300WSM, 7mmWSM, 30-40 Krag, 32W, 30-30, 264WM and a few others. AS an example, I loaded 20 bullets, ten crimped and ten not. In every case except one, the crimped bullets using the FCD improved the accuracy of the rifle.....I have shot many Speer bullets using the FCD. No problems at all and very accurate.......For the 45-70 and a lot of good shooting.......use the Remington bulk 300 grain from Midwayusa......for real power....the 405 grain Rem flatpoint.
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Old April 26, 2005, 10:28 PM   #14
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Another vote for the Remington bulk bullets in 300 and 405 Grain!!!!
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Old April 27, 2005, 11:57 AM   #15
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Thanks again Superhornet, Cheygris, Nortonics, Mr Boren and all others, for the valuable information.

I did write to Speer, and asked them about this issue as I was curious to what their response may be. Here is the reply I received today:

" John: What we have found is that bullets that have a cannelure "can" be crimped if needed, the 45-70 falls into that category. Lee says you can crimp any bullet with his "Factory Crimp Die" we would agree if you can tolerate as much as a 40% reduction in accuracy. Thus the warning in their packaging.

Shoot Straight! Coy Getman CCI/Speer Tech. Service Coordinator 800-627-3640 ext. #5351 Fax: (208) 799-3589

I am going to give the LFC a fair chance and see how it does and see how the rounds perform and/or if I have any loss in accuracy...

Thanks again everyone....
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Old April 29, 2005, 12:17 PM   #16
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I would hate to break Speer's marketing effort, but the crimped Speer bullets shot as accurate as the non-crimp. A few whitetails did not know the Speer bullet was not accurate..........The urinating contest between Speer and Lee still goes on.
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Old April 29, 2005, 12:27 PM   #17
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Ghostdog,

would you please be so kind as to give us a range report when you finish your testing? I think we would all appreciate the info, to see whether your testing achieves the same results that others of us obtained. TIA!
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Old May 3, 2005, 08:41 AM   #18
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Superhornet: Thanks for the feedback, I dont see how one could loose as much as 40 % accuracy as Speer states. I was curious as to what their response would be and it was about what I expected.

I am going to run some tests myself, and see just how the accuracy stands using the LFC and Speer bullets....
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Old May 3, 2005, 08:43 AM   #19
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cheygriz Sure no problem, I would be glad to post my range report on the testing that I will do....
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Old May 3, 2005, 10:21 AM   #20
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I've never used the LFC die, but have used the Redding Profile Crimp on handgun cartridges with excellent results.

The cannelure itself has little influence on a rifle bullet's accuracy per se, but a really heavy crimp (that damages the core/jacket relationship) could certainly affect potential accuracy.

Speer, over the years, has issued various warnings concerning core jacket separation, especially in lower powered handgun cartridges. I've never had a Speer bullet fail on game.

Since we are talking rifles, as long as the bullet is not being used in tubular magazines, I don't see the need for a heavy crimp in anything other than heavy recoiling calibers or possibly straight walled cases. Two to three thousandths neck tension is all that's necessary.

I would just back off on the die slightly to avoid damaging the jacket, and shoot away.

Best,
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Old May 3, 2005, 12:13 PM   #21
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they're different

Something that no-one has mentioned is that the bottle necked rifle and straight walled handgun FCD's are made differently.

For the rifles, it's a collet type die that squeezes the very end of the neck straight in from the outside. The tighter you turn the die down against the shell holder, the more it pushes the neck into the bullet. If you ever actually get factory shells, take a close look at the crimp they put on their bullets. Usually four evenly spaced marks put in by THEIR factory crimp dies. That's what Richard Lee tryed,(and succeded), to do.

For the handgun calibers, it's a taper crimp die. With the addition of a carbide ring to iron out any lumps put there by the seating process. Most use it as a forth die, after seating without crimping, with the regular seating die. The FCD die will not seat bullets. Care must be taken when working with plated bullets, too much crimp can crack lightly plated bullets.

As for the speer/Lee debate, much to do about nothing. A war similar to the Sam Wall/ceo of target war.
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Old May 3, 2005, 01:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
snuffy wrote: For the handgun calibers, it's a taper crimp die.
Careful now - I made the mistake once of believing this, when there's actually a little more to it. The Lee FCD for handgun calibers can be either a taper crimp or a roll crimp depending on the caliber. It varies just as you'd expect - 380 ACP, 9mm, 45 ACP and the like are taper crimp style FCD's, with 38 Spec/357, 44 mag, and other revolvers cartridges having a roll crimp style FCD. Here's Lee's official wording on their web site:

Quote:
Lee Pistol Carbide Factory Crimp Die - A carbide sizer sizes the cartridge while it is being crimped so every round will positively chamber freely with factory like dependability. The adjusting screw quickly and easily sets the desired amount of crimp. It is impossible to buckle the case as with a conventional bullet seating die. Trim length is not critical so this extra operation takes less time than it would if cases were trimmed and chamfered. Revolver dies roll crimp with no limit as to the amount. A perfect taper crimp is applied to auto-loader rounds. The crimper cannot be misadjusted to make a case mouth too small to properly head-space. A firm crimp is essential for dependable and accurate ammunition. It eliminates the problems of poor ignition of slow burning magnum powders.
About the middle of the page here:

Lee crimping dies
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Old May 4, 2005, 08:36 AM   #23
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Well since I am going to reload for a marlin 1895 Guide rifle, and from all the great information being posted here, I am going to try lightly crimp the round using LFC, and then trying a little heaver crimp and see what difference in the way the round works and whether there is really a loss in accuracy.

Am I correct in assuming the if the LFC crimp die is set further down in the press you will get a heavier crimp? Or is that achieved by making sure the collet on the die is complete closed ?

I going to use speer bullets and see just how it works out.
Thanks to all for all the great feedback being given.
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Old May 5, 2005, 02:05 PM   #24
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wrong again

Thanks for the education, Nortonics. Since I haven't used a FCD for revolver cartridges, I didn't know that they roll crimped. I also didn't know that there are taper crimp dies available for bottle necked rifle and pistol rounds!

Point still is, they work differently.
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Old May 7, 2005, 08:20 PM   #25
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Crimps

I seat and crimp in separate operations, one reason being I use 10 cast bullets to every 1 jacketed and seating and crimping a cast bullet in the same operation can shave some lead.
That said, I have the Lee factory crimp dies for all the calibers I shoot, I have worked out ways to use the same diameter crimp die on several different cases, a matter of spacers between the die and the shell holder.
I use the factory crimp die on .44-40 and .45-70 with both cast and jacketed bullets, have never damaged a bullet with either.
I use the factory crimp dies with Speer bullets in .243 and .308 and have had no problems with any of them.
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