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Old May 28, 2012, 01:30 PM   #26
eldorendo
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I've done a bunch of reloading for a long time. I like the FCD, whether some internet know-it-all likes 'em or not. I always seat and crimp separately. I doubt that I'm the only experienced reloader who recommends seating and crimping separately.

If I didn't use the FCD, I'd still seat and crimp separately, using the appropriate crimp die for applying either a roll or taper crimp.

I don't load lead, so the "problem" of the FCD's resizing lead bullets is moot with me. I just happen to like the way the FCD crimps and the way one adjusts the crimp with the FCD.
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Old May 28, 2012, 01:39 PM   #27
Lost Sheep
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I think you see the main problem with the FCD

daddySEAL,

I think you see the main problem with the FCD. It brings heat.

There are a few other subjects that bring the zealots out of the woodwork.

45 Colt vs 44 Mag

Lee loading equipment vs everything else

Plastic vs Aluminum vs Steel frames (this subject is cooler now than 20 years ago, a hint, I hope, for the future of the others.)

I imagine that you can see past the rhetoric and are able to draw your own conclusions, as you have (I think) sufficient factual information behind the opinions.

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Old May 28, 2012, 01:48 PM   #28
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Don't forget 45 vs. 9mm. (The answer is 45 of course).

FWIW, I use the FCD on 45, 38, 357 and 44 magnum with great results. The only pistol caliber I don't use it on is 50ae because they don't make one. For that I bought a second seating die and pulled the plug to make it a dedicated crimp die. So I always seat and crimp in two steps.

Just use it and smile
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Old May 28, 2012, 02:02 PM   #29
mehavey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moxie
you don't need an FCD for that. That's the point of the discussion.

Correctamundo...
(you don't evan want an FCD)

Last edited by mehavey; May 28, 2012 at 02:29 PM.
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Old May 28, 2012, 02:25 PM   #30
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So far all my revolver loading has been well-served by a roll or even a taper crimp. I've never loaded any cartridge that required it but I do know that sometimes the FCD is the best tool for the job. If the bullet you're loading isn't properly secured by a roll crimp I'd consider the FCD after I checked to make sure I was doing everything else correctly.
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Old May 28, 2012, 03:19 PM   #31
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Not necessary, but easier(just like an automatic transmission is easier than a stick) to seat and crimp in two steps. Particuliarly if you are changing bullets frequently.
If I just used a mass produced load and never changed anything, I would probably just use the seat/crimp die.
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Old May 29, 2012, 04:24 PM   #32
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great point dickttx. For someone like myself that uses 4-5 different bullets for each caliber it is great to just set the seater die to straighten out the bellmouth and leave the crimping to the FCD. Switching to a new bullet doesnt require me to touch the body of the seating die.

I also must admit, although I know it is purely cosmetic I like the way the FCD smooths out the cases. I dont care if this prematurely ages the brass, I get all the range brass I can pickup for free.

FYI for the .380 loaders out there- there is an FCD available for .380. One doesnt come in the deluxe die set but you can order it separately.

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Old May 30, 2012, 03:53 PM   #33
mje
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Amazing how much debate there is over the FCD. I use the Lee FCD for a wide range of .38spl and .357 loads, separating seating and crimping. Is it necessary? Well, it works for me. I find it easier to seat and crimp in two steps.
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:44 PM   #34
Lost Sheep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mje
Amazing how much debate there is over the FCD. I use the Lee FCD for a wide range of .38spl and .357 loads, separating seating and crimping. Is it necessary? Well, it works for me. I find it easier to seat and crimp in two steps.
Having cogitated on it for a while (and not just in this thread), I have come to the conclusion that people who eschew the straight-walled cartridge Lee FCD fall into three camps:

1) Those who object to the post-sizing because it changes the sizing of their (most lead) bullets inside the cartridge or who don't want to use a 4th station for some practical reason (single stage press, only 3 die stations, etc),

2) Those who object to the thing because it is somehow "cheating" to not do things the hard way and

3) Those who think the FCD is (or can be) used to "cover up" bad practices.

I respect the first, can understand the second and just shake my head in wonderment at the third.



Can I get a "Correctamundo"?

(Thanks, mehavey, for the link to the picture and for your reasonable attitude.)
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Old May 31, 2012, 03:34 AM   #35
Mike / Tx
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I can honestly say that after a little over 25 years and not sure of how many thousands of rounds of handgun ammo I can't say I have a need for the FCD.

This said, I DO own two of them and have used them both for a number of rounds. Both were part of a package type deal, one was with a set of 45 ACP dies, and the other came in a mold package deal for my 41mag.

With the 45 ACP, I have used the FCD on several occasion to simply iron the very end of the neck which in some cases traps a tiny bit of lube, or the case it's self might be a touch shorter than the previous several dozen, resulting in the light taper crimp possibly not getting set properly. When loading the 200gr target loads in range brass I do not measure every one, so I get a shot one every now and again. This said I do NOT size the whole case, but simply set the die to do just the lip and nothing more. This keeps me from actually sizing down my bullet. I usually get a dozen or so out of a 500 round batch that will not simply drop into the chamber all the way due to this, and the FCD makes quick work of removing the lip or bulge. In several thousand rounds I haven't noticed a marked difference in overall accuracy or reliability from them.

As for the 41, I have found it is very useful. I came with the carbide ring already removed, and it does put a VERY nice roll onto the heavier bullets I used it with. This said I have only had it for a few months, and the 25+ year old Pacific dies I have been using will still put plenty of crimp in when needed.

I am one of the seat and crimp on one step folks. This however does require the die be set up properly. It isn't magic to do so, one simply leaves the die high enough to allow the seating stem to be run down far enough to seat the bullet where it needs to be, then back the seating stem up and out of the way. With the seating stem out of the way, twist the die down far enough to put the proper crimp on the bullet being used. Once crimped and while it is still held up by the ram, twist the seating stem down until it is snug against the nose of the bullet and lock it down. Might not be for everyone or every situation, but it works for me, and has produced plenty of accurate ammo over the years. Usually if the loads don't group, it's the loose nut behind the trigger.

I do however think, that just like lures are to the bass fisherman, I think sometimes possibly some items are made more for the people using them. than for the needed end result.
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:20 AM   #36
tkglazie
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The last two posts pretty well sum it up. The FCD is just another way to skin a cat.

There is absolutely no reason to use the FCD vs. any other crimping die, but if you like what it does for you and are fine with working your brass a little more there is no reason not to use it either. To each his own.
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Old May 31, 2012, 12:08 PM   #37
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Hey, I think that being detail oriented is very important in reloading. If you can perform the same steps over and over exactly the same way, you'll get the best results. I think that it's very necessary.

Oh. FCD. I thought you said OCD.

Oh yeah, that's totally different.

I use one for .357 loads, but I wouldn't say that it's necessary. Somewhere along the line I picked one up for some reason, so I use it.
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Old May 31, 2012, 06:21 PM   #38
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This is just my opinion, I have been use a factory crimp die since shortly after I started reloading. When I first started reloading I had problems with bullet seating and bullet set back when shooting my 9 mm. the bullets would either advance further out of the case while shooting or in some cases be pushed further into the case while firing. I don't know how many times I adjusted and readjusted my seat and crimping die. I followed the instruction to the letter. thing would improve for a while and then when i would set up the dies for the next reload the same problems. I did two things I mounted each set of dies in their own turret and bought a factory crimping die for each caliber I reload. I don't know if having each die set in it's own turret or the crimping die did the trick. I really don't care. my reloads are constant. I feel they are more accurate. I have had no failure to feed or eject. So I think you use what you think make your ammo work better for you. you have been given a lot of opinions and you know opinions are like.....belly buttions everyone has one.
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Old May 31, 2012, 07:22 PM   #39
dickttx
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Kind of interesting reading the comments here (and on other postings\forums regarding the same question.)
Either myself, or several other people, really have no idea what the FCD is or how it works.
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Old June 1, 2012, 05:59 AM   #40
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you can test for yourself

For revolver cartridges I crimp all exclusively using the superior Redding Profile Crimp Die.

I do so because it enhances both accuracy and ballistic uniformity.


In auto-loading cartridges I mostly finish with LEE Carbide Factory Crimp Dies, because of my "sloppy reloading techniques".
And because it produces, in most examples, a superior crimp.

I have many dies.
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Old June 1, 2012, 08:26 AM   #41
moxie
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lost sheep,

Actually my objection to the FCD is partly your #1. It can mess up the bullet, and it is an extra step.

But more to the point, proper adjustment of the dies in the first place makes the FCD superfluous. It's superfluous in terms of time, money, and principle. Simply not needed if everything is done right in the first place. It simply goes against my occam's razor approach.

But if you like it, use it.

Getting back to the OP. It's not necessary.
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Old June 1, 2012, 08:43 AM   #42
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"Don't forget 45 vs. 9mm. (The answer is 45 of course)."

Now wait a minute, most this has been opinion, that's FACT!

Once again, the FCD has an excellant crimper, there's none better. But the post crimp sizing ring is to insure that the finished ammo WILL chamber reliably in any weapon it's used in, and it does that very well. IF the ammo is properly made, meaning no overly fat bullets in thick cases, the post crimp sizer ring will do nothing at all.

Therefore, it's up to the user how he makes his ammo AND what importance he places on utter reliability. All of this emphatic "don't need" and "covers up poor reloading" stuff is self important twaddle.

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Old June 1, 2012, 09:51 AM   #43
moxie
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Oh my! Are you now positing that pontification trumps twaddle?

Oh, the horror!
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Old June 1, 2012, 06:26 PM   #44
CrustyFN
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Quote:
The last two posts pretty well sum it up. The FCD is just another way to skin a cat.

There is absolutely no reason to use the FCD vs. any other crimping die, but if you like what it does for you and are fine with working your brass a little more there is no reason not to use it either. To each his own.
Sure there is. My FCD will let me know if a round is out of spec and won't chamber. No other crimp die will do that. The rest of you have to case gauge every round after loading. I'm also curious how it is over working the brass when it never does anything but crimp?
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:39 PM   #45
Lost Sheep
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How does it do that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrustyFN
Quote:
The last two posts pretty well sum it up. The FCD is just another way to skin a cat.

There is absolutely no reason to use the FCD vs. any other crimping die, but if you like what it does for you and are fine with working your brass a little more there is no reason not to use it either. To each his own.
Sure there is. My FCD will let me know if a round is out of spec and won't chamber. No other crimp die will do that. The rest of you have to case gauge every round after loading. I'm also curious how it is over working the brass when it never does anything but crimp?
How does it let you know?

I know the FCD will (is supposed to) ensure chambering by sizing down to proper SAAMI dimensions (diameter, at least), but will it tell you before it does? (Doing it after is kind of pointless, isn't it?)

Just wondering.

I pictured a little flag jumping up to let you know, or something like a powder check die.

Lost Sheep

p.s. The only thing I can think of is that you can tell by the amount of resistance when the cartridge enters the die. Is that it?

Last edited by Lost Sheep; June 2, 2012 at 12:19 AM.
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Old June 1, 2012, 10:13 PM   #46
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"I pictured a little flag jumping up to let you know, or something like a powder check die."

Naw, no flags. There's just a modest drum roll immediately before the post seating sizer ring makes case contact.
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Old June 1, 2012, 11:52 PM   #47
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Is a FCD absolutely needed ? No I think not unless .... A real Catch-22 I'm thinking. In my L Frame and N Frame revolvers with .357 magnum and .44 magnum I did not find the FCD really needed. It cleaned up the flair better than the standard seating die, but I did not think it really needed. On the other hand, when I got my S&W M&P 340 CT, a light weight .357 magnum revolver, I found the FCD essential. With both .38+P and .357 magnum I experienced crimp jump (4th chamber with the magnums and 5th chamber with the +P rounds). The FCD tight crimp was a definite solution for me.

So I need the FCD for a tight crimp when I load for my S&W M&P 340 CT.
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Old June 2, 2012, 08:53 AM   #48
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Not NEEDED (i.e., other crimpers will make good crimps, too), and SOMETIMES detrimental (e.g., loosening lead bullets by post sizing them inside the case), BUT FCDs can be useful in other ways.

As a fouth die to separately crimp after completing the seating step, it is a good crimp die and dosen't cost much.

The potential harm can be eliminated because the guts to all the FCDs for straight-walled cases fit into the bodies for all the FCDs for straight-walled cases. So, if you are worried about post-sizing lead bullets, just use a die body with a bigger ring for a bigger caliber.

I actually use the (correct) die body for a cartridge to initially size the body of the cartridge, and only use the normal sizing die to size the part of the case that will hold the bullet. That prevents the typical problem with carbide sizing dies where the body of the case is made much smaller than SAAMI spec almost all the way to the case head. Doing it my way leaves more room for powder in heavy loads and works the case body metal less.

Apparently, others think that is a good thing to do, too, because Redding is now producing a TWO-ring carbide sizer die to do just that. And, it only costs $100 for just that die for one cartridge. The various Lee die components will do the same thing for many less $. (However, it does require one more step in the process.)

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Old June 2, 2012, 09:52 AM   #49
wncchester
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"...others think that is a good thing to do, too, because Redding is now producing a TWO-ring carbide sizer die to do just that."

Yeah, interesting isn't it; your ingenuity has been copied ... and selling for a hundred bucks!
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Old June 2, 2012, 10:08 AM   #50
CrustyFN
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Quote:
I know the FCD will (is supposed to) ensure chambering by sizing down to proper SAAMI dimensions (diameter, at least), but will it tell you before it does? (Doing it after is kind of pointless, isn't it?)

Just wondering.

I pictured a little flag jumping up to let you know, or something like a powder check die.

Lost Sheep
When a round goes into the FCD and it is in spec you feel nothing and very little when the crimp is applied. When the round is out of spec and the post sizing ring comes into play you can feel the resistance, similar to sizing. When one gets post sized I set it to the side to be inspected. I use the FCD for loading 9mm, 38/357 and 45 auto with jacketed and lead bullets. I have only had two rounds get post sized. It was six years ago and they were both 9mm with jacketed bullets. I have loaded thousands of rounds since with none of them being post sized. I enjoy loading but don't want to spend the extra time case gauging my match ammo. This method has worked good for me as I have never had an ammo malfunction at a match.

I agree with everybody that the FCD shouldn't be used to fix most of what somebody is loading when they can fix it with proper die adjustment. I do see the FCD as a very useful tool and not just for people that that can't load good ammo without it.
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