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Old July 4, 2012, 07:54 AM   #1
rebs
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lee factory crimp die in 45 acp

Lee factory crimp die has a carbide ring in it to size the length of the case and prevent cast bullet bulge, right ?
Then at the same time doesn't it size down the cast bullet like resizing it from say .453" to .451" ?
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Old July 4, 2012, 08:14 AM   #2
Strafer Gott
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Yes it does.
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Old July 4, 2012, 08:25 AM   #3
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Yes and no. It will size one that is out of spec but it won't size it that small. I size all of my cast bullets to .452 and they never touch the sizing ring in the FCD.
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Old July 4, 2012, 09:18 AM   #4
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I tried the Lee FCD in .45 acp and found my accuracy to go down the tubes, pulled some bullets and found them to be undersized. This was with my own cast lead bullets sized to .452.

Concluded the Lee FCD is a tool looking for a problem to be solved with regards to cast bullets, and see no need for it at all.

With that said I have no experience with the FCD and FMJ bullets, it may be just the nuts, but I have no idea.
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Old July 4, 2012, 09:28 AM   #5
rebs
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Quote:
Yes and no. It will size one that is out of spec but it won't size it that small. I size all of my cast bullets to .452 and they never touch the sizing ring in the FCD.
But when it sizes the case and compresses it then wouldn't the case in turn size dowwn the bullet ?
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Old July 4, 2012, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Concluded the Lee FCD is a tool looking for a problem to be solved with regards to cast bullets, and see no need for it at all.
I agree. Took my 45ACP Lee FCD off my Dillion tool head. I figured I was swaging my bullets undersized and I was not having any function issues in any of my M1911's.

I do aggressively taper crimp, I crimp the case mouth to 0.469 to 0.470. I will never get the sort of accuracy from a handgun that I expect from a rifle, so I taper crimp for function.
Quote:
With that said I have no experience with the FCD and FMJ bullets, it may be just the nuts, but I have no idea.
I really doubt it improves anything. If it messes up cast bullets I don't see why it won't mess up the soft lead cores of a FMJ.
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Old July 4, 2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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I use the LFCD on both lead and jacketed with no sizing problems. Does a great job as far as I am concerned.
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Old July 4, 2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
I really doubt it improves anything. If it messes up cast bullets I don't see why it won't mess up the soft lead cores of a FMJ.
My cast bullets are sized to .452, which I control of course. FMJ bullets from the manufacturer are listed as .451, have no idea what happens when using the FCD.

Common sense tell me it could down size in some cases, but then common sense is in short supply and at least in my case at times can be dangerous, well not really.

Then again there is the oft stated statement, how did we reload all those millions accurate faultless cartridges all those years before the invention of the FCD.

Mine stayes in a drawer that one day my kids will find and wonder what in the he!! did dad use this for. Actually, I have many such items to puzzle the kids. hehehe
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Old July 4, 2012, 11:31 AM   #9
Jim Watson
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If you are loading mixed range pickup brass and the cheapest bulk cast bullets, then you might well need the CFC die to be able to get them all in the gun at all.

If you are loading quality ammunition with quality components then the CFC either has no effect or is detrimental.

It is almost like there were two different rounds with the same headstamp and the users of each are just talking past each other.
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Old July 4, 2012, 11:34 AM   #10
jcwit
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I'm familar with a FCD ie: Factory Crimp Die.

What pray tell is a CFC die?
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Old July 4, 2012, 01:03 PM   #11
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If I am reloading ammunition that requires a post sizing die to chamber it, then I need to learn how to set up my dies correctly and make sure the components are within spec.
I am not a high volume reloader so for me I have no need to post size, but I can see the need for a reloader that cannot check components do to the quantity.
I have been reloading 45acp for over 20 yrs w/o a FCD never had a problem that a FCD would fix.
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Old July 4, 2012, 01:13 PM   #12
Striker1
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Mine just came with my first set of dies so I used it. I haven't noticed it doing any "post" sizing on pistol rounds...just crimping. Ammo shoots good too so no reason to change.
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Old July 4, 2012, 01:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwit
how did we reload all those millions accurate faultless cartridges all those years before the invention of the FCD.
+1. My comments below are only for straight walled semi-auto caliber FCD.

I started reloading when I was a newbie USPSA match shooter 17 years ago. A seasoned bullseye match shooter was my reloading/shooting mentor and he had me reload using only 3 of the Lee dies. When I got all of my finished rounds to reliably feed/chamber in the tighter barrels of my match pistols, I asked "What about the FCD?" He asked in return, "Your finished rounds work fine ... what more do you need to do to them?"

For me, using the FCD to erase or fix the problems that results from poor reloading practice is not a good reloading practice. If one wants to use the FCD as a finishing die for jacketed diameter bullets, that's their choice and I don't see any problem with that (that's what FCD was intended for).

I use Lone Wolf barrels with tight chambers in my Glocks and could use the FCD but choose to work with just the 3 dies (yes, it takes a bit more effort on my part but that's me). Some claim they use the FCD for reliable feeding/chambering ... Well, I have reloaded over 300,000+ rounds and my reloads have been reliable for me, even in tight chambered Lone Wolf barrels. I could see the use of FCD for cases that won't fully chamber because they didn't/couldn't get fully resized. For these cases, instead of post-sizing the finished rounds with the FCD, I would suggest running the bulged cases with the FCD FIRST and then reloading them normally without FCD as the 4th die.

In recent years, I have started shooting more lead loads due to cost and everyone screams "bullet fit to barrel is king!" Yet, I do not understand reloaders who use FCD with larger diameter lead bullets that may reduce bullet-to-barrel fit and possibly decrease neck tension which results in bullet setback when the bullet nose bumps the feed ramp (not to mention the increased gas cutting from more high pressure gas that leaks around the bullet).

When someone complains of leading, I first ask if they are using FCD. If they do, I have them set it aside and load with just the 3 dies and see if the leading decreases. If they want to seat and crimp in separate steps, I suggest a separate taper crimp die.

Quote:
Mine stays in a drawer that one day my kids will find and wonder what in the he!! did dad use this for.
Same here. I thought about using the 40S&W FCD to push-through resize bulged cases; but when I come across a bulged case that won't fully resize, I rotate the case 90 degrees and attempt to resize a second time. If the case fully resize, I use the case. If the case won't fully resize, the case gets tossed in the recycle bin.

Last edited by BDS-THR; July 4, 2012 at 01:51 PM. Reason: added more content
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Old July 4, 2012, 02:45 PM   #14
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How many millions of rounds were handloaded with Lee loaders? Why use a press when you don't have to? Why use a FCD? Because people are different and like to do things in different ways. I like to seat and crimp in different steps. Redding also makes a dedicated crimping die. This may end up being the way to do things in just a few more years.

I don't always use it, but when there's a chance my daughter will get the ammo, I do. I've had very few rounds fail to feed or chamber, none with Lee dies, when not using a FCD. I've never had any fail to feed, or chamber, when using the FCD. This isn't that big of a concern when I'm at the range, but if there is anyway to improve the reliability of something that might end up being used to protect my daughter, I'm using it.

As far as sizing bullets is concerned, I had trouble getting a .452" sizer that actually sized to .452". I tried using my .454" sizer rather than the Lyman .452's that were sizing to .449" and .451". The FCD did size the bullets down, but when I pulled them they all measured .452", which is the diameter my XD likes. So no problems there. Since my 40 caliber bullets start at .401" there is no issue at all.
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Old July 4, 2012, 03:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
I tried the Lee FCD in .45 acp and found my accuracy to go down the tubes, pulled some bullets and found them to be undersized. This was with my own cast lead bullets sized to .452.
The above is from post #4, my post BTW

Quote:
This isn't that big of a concern when I'm at the range, but if there is anyway to improve the reliability of something that might end up being used to protect my daughter, I'm using it.
Nothing like using inaccurate ammo, whether its me, my wife, or either of my daughters, at least thats my take on it.

BTW this is using said reloads in a Kimber Custom with an Ed Brown match grade barell, a Springfield S/S Mil-Spec, and last but not least a LLama Max I. All of the above are absolutly reliable with my cast reloads and no use of a FCD. YMMV
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Old July 4, 2012, 03:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
If I am reloading ammunition that requires a post sizing die to chamber it, then I need to learn how to set up my dies correctly and make sure the components are within spec.
I am not a high volume reloader so for me I have no need to post size, but I can see the need for a reloader that cannot check components do to the quantity.
I have been reloading 45acp for over 20 yrs w/o a FCD never had a problem that a FCD would fix.
During the shortage a couple of years ago some manufacturers evidently cut corners on QC to try to keep up.
I finally got a couple of thousand plated bullets from two different manufacturers that had quite a lot of them out of round. During the reloading process I was (un)lucky enough to not chamber a finished round that would not fit in the chambers but when I started shooting them I had quite a few (100s) that wouldn't chamber. Since I don't think I should have to drop test every round I don't see this as my fault.

I had never seen a Lee FCD and was about to need to drop almost 2000 rounds into the chambers of my .45 ACP and 9mm handguns and then pull the offensive ones.

Through the forums I figured out the FCD was probably made for my situation. Ordered one for each of the two calibers and ran the whole bunch through them and "fixed" those.

I don't use them all the time but occasionally I still find plated bullets that need to be fixed.

I'll bash Lee for some of their junk but this saved me a lot of work.
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Old July 4, 2012, 04:19 PM   #17
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Blanket endorsement or condemnation is hogwash

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebs, post #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrustyFN, post #3
Yes and no. It will size one that is out of spec but it won't size it that small. I size all of my cast bullets to .452 and they never touch the sizing ring in the
FCD.
But when it sizes the case and compresses it then wouldn't the case in turn size dowwn the bullet ?
The sizing ring in the FCD is larger than the sizing ring in the sizing die. The FCD sizing ring does nothing to a properly dimensioned cartridge. Doesn't even touch it. If the cartridge is out of round, it will round it. If it has been bulged by an oversized bullet, it will swage the bullet down along with sizing the brass back to SAAMI dimensions.

If you have brass that has particularly thick walls, the FCD may cause your bullets to become undersized for your bore.

This is why you should have a good set of calipers and a bullet puller.

Measure the diameter of several bullets. taking note of the average and the variations in diameter (between bullets and different orientation of the same bullet-for out-of-round-). Load a round not using the FCD. Measure it's diameter at the bullet, case mouth and below the bullet. Pull the bullet and measure the diameter. Load another round, using the FCD. Measure its diameter at the bullet, case mouth and below the bullet. Slug your bore and measure the slug.

Compare all those dimensions and you will probably be able to tell if the FCD's post-sizing function will 1) be of value to you, 2) be indifferent or 3) hurt your ammo.

If you don't do that with every barrel (bore size), every bullet design (construction, roundness and bullet diameter) and every case design (wall thickness), you are either speculating, guessing or blowing hot air.

My opinion: There are reasons for the Lee FCD and reasons against it. Any blanket endorsement or blanket condemnation is hogwash.

Respectfully,

Lost Sheep

p.s. Yes, BDS-THR, I have not mentioned directly the case-neck tension issue. The FCD can reduce that the tension, which can be a problem and will be difficult to solve. The solution is to remove the post-sizing ring and thus use the FCD only for the purpose its name implies. Crimping only. Tantamount to what you suggest in your post #13. We are in substantial agreement, it seems.

Note: This is the function of the FCD for typical handgun cases. For bottlenecked cases the FCD is a completely different design.

see also
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=438588

Last edited by Lost Sheep; July 4, 2012 at 04:29 PM.
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Old July 4, 2012, 04:31 PM   #18
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"If I am reloading ammunition that requires a post sizing die to chamber it, then I need to learn how to set up my dies correctly and make sure the components are within spec.
I am not a high volume reloader so for me I have no need to post size, but I can see the need for a reloader that cannot check components do to the quantity.
I have been reloading 45acp for over 20 yrs w/o a FCD never had a problem that a FCD would fix."


I agree 100%. I guess I've learned to adjust my dies correctly, 'cause I don't have any chambering problems (which is the only reason I can think of for the FCD). I always use the "thunk test" for my 45 ACP and 9MM, and adjust my dies if needed.
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Old July 4, 2012, 04:46 PM   #19
Lost Sheep
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I only agree 75%. Here's why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld
I agree 100%. I guess I've learned to adjust my dies correctly, 'cause I don't have any chambering problems (which is the only reason I can think of for the FCD). I always use the "thunk test" for my 45 ACP and 9MM, and adjust my dies if needed.
I only agree 75%. Here's why.

Some people find that crimping (whether taper crimp or roll crimp) on a stationary bullet to be preferable to crimping on a bullet that is still being seated deeper as the crimp is being applied.

Aside from the obvious reason of simpler adjustment of the dies, avoidance of shaving lead (or gilding metal) from the sides of the bullet and crumpling the case walls are two more reasons that come immediately to mind.

Aside from those reasons (and the post-sizing that we have been discussing), the 4th die is unnecessary. But some people like it anyway.

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Old July 4, 2012, 04:50 PM   #20
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Excellant post Lost Sheep.

As I posted on another forum, one of my pet peeves are those that believe in blanket statements.

There are exceptions to this but then we're not to discuss those here.
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Old July 4, 2012, 05:57 PM   #21
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JCWIT my thoughts also

I learned long ago not to make a blanket statement about anything. I use the Lee Factory Crimping die as a crimping die. I am looking for the extra bit of pressure to build in the case before the bullet in propelled down the barrel toward the target. I can't talk about swaging bullets as I don't cast bullets. I can say I do adjust my dies to archive the best results I can from my components and weapon. My reloading equipment is all Lee it works well for me, For each caliber I load my die are set in their own turret so setting up to reload is simple. But I do check ajustment often enough just to make sure things are as they should. Like everyone else I am looking for the best results for my reloads I can archive. Just my opinion,
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Old July 4, 2012, 06:00 PM   #22
CrustyFN
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Quote:
But when it sizes the case and compresses it then wouldn't the case in turn size down the bullet ?
With my bullets sized to .452 the FCD doesn't size the bullet or the case.

Quote:
I tried the Lee FCD in .45 acp and found my accuracy to go down the tubes, pulled some bullets and found them to be undersized. This was with my own cast lead bullets sized to .452.

Concluded the Lee FCD is a tool looking for a problem to be solved with regards to cast bullets, and see no need for it at all.

With that said I have no experience with the FCD and FMJ bullets, it may be just the nuts, but I have no idea.
JC that makes me wonder how close the tolerances are on the production side of the FCD's. I have done the same as you. I seated a few cast bullets that measured .452 in mixed brass with no powder or primer. After seating the bullet I ran them into the FCD with the stem backed out to eliminate the crimp. After that I pulled all the bullets and they all still measured .452.
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Old July 4, 2012, 06:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
JC that makes me wonder how close the tolerances are on the production side of the FCD's. I have done the same as you. I seated a few cast bullets that measured .452 in mixed brass with no powder or primer. After seating the bullet I ran them into the FCD with the stem backed out to eliminate the crimp. After that I pulled all the bullets and they all still measured .452.
This is the reason I added YMMV. If it works for you and you are satisified with the accuracy, all is well. Just didn't work that way for me, and my standard crimp die works for me, so again all is well.

Believe me, my none bench shooting with a handgun is not going to be a threat to anyoneone I'm shooting against.

Heaven help me if I should ever get into a dual! Joking, just joking!!!!
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Old July 4, 2012, 06:34 PM   #24
BDS-THR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k4swb
got a couple of thousand plated bullets from two different manufacturers that had quite a lot of them out of round ... I figured out the FCD was probably made for my situation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwit
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Sheep
There are reasons for the Lee FCD and reasons against it. Any blanket endorsement or blanket condemnation is hogwash.
one of my pet peeves are those that believe in blanket statements.
Yes, yes and yes. FCD is a tool that certainly has it's applications and just because it comes in a 4 die set doesn't mean that it must be used all the time. That's like a deluxe rifle die set that comes with both full-length and neck sizing dies. Just because it's in the box doesn't mean you should use both dies all the time.

When I started reloading match loads with my humble Lee carbide die sets, some of the match shooters questioned the "quality and consistency" of my finished rounds compared to their "Dillon" loads. They suggested Lee must have come up with the FCD because the 3 dies could not produce consistent enough loads that must be fixed with the 4th FCD die. They soon found out I did not use the FCD and we conducted comparison tests with their match loads.

To everyone's surprise, my "Lee" loads were not only as accurate as the "Dillon" loads but surpassed some of them (I used Montana Gold jacketed bullets, W231 powder and Winchester primers at the time). Long story short, some of the shooters found their Dillon powder measures were drifting whereas Lee Pro Auto Disk did not.

When many match shooters switched to 40S&W, they found their Dillon dies did not full-length size some of bulged cases shot in barrels with looser chambers (i.e. Glock). Guess what? Lee FCD came to the rescue and many push-through resized the bulge Dillon dies could not get to. As posted earlier, my humble Lee dies seems to do a better job of full-length sizing these bulged cases.

I am glad Lee made the FCD. It is a tool that will solve problems. Thankfully, mine stays in the case.
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Old July 4, 2012, 09:46 PM   #25
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The FCD works for me. I like it and will continue to use it. I will also continue to tell people. If you don't want to use it, or don't like it, tell people.

Never assume just because you can't manage to load accurate ammo using a product, someone else can't either.
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Last edited by jimkim; July 5, 2012 at 01:36 AM.
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