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Old August 27, 2012, 09:39 AM   #1
Red Dog
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Is the Lee FCD worth it?

I reloaded 45 ACP with hornady dies that would not chamber. No matter how I adjusted the dies I could not get the rounds to chamber or fit into
the Lyman case gauge. So I got the FCD and suddenly they chamber and fit the case gauge.
Most of my brass is once fired or range pickup I guess I got a batch that had been Glocked up. I just loaded up around 700 cases with the FCD in
station 6 (I wish right!!) or 5 on my LNL and they all work nicely. Had to stop due to lack of large primers although I did have 20 small primers cases that I also loaded. So yes it's worth it to me.

Can anyone relate?

Last edited by Red Dog; August 27, 2012 at 10:28 AM.
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Old August 27, 2012, 10:35 AM   #2
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Yeah... the FCD separates the seating and crimping steps (which I see as the major benefit).

I have also occasionally had .45ACP full wadcutter rounds (which I don't even crimp) that would not chamber correctly in my S&W 625 without a trip through the FCD. The probem wasn't the case mouth being belled too much, it was a slight bulge lower on the case that the FCD takes care of. I always use the FCD to crimp no matter what the caliber (one exception - .38 spc wadcutters, no bulging issues ever).
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Old August 27, 2012, 11:11 AM   #3
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Yes, I can relate. My Hornady New Dimension dies have given me fits. I finally bought a FCD and that fixed the problem I was having. I ended up using a mix of the Hornady sizing die and the FCD to size my cases. It worked but it adds a step.

If you are loading larger than "normal"(whatever that is) diameter bullets there's a chance it will size your bullets down. If it does AND you still want to use it, you can polish the ring out a little so it matches your bullet diameter. You will need to keep the barrel and gauge nearby to verify the fit.

I guess I could polish my Hornady sizing die to open it up a little, but I don't want to damage the Titanium.
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Old August 27, 2012, 07:08 PM   #4
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YES
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Old August 27, 2012, 08:08 PM   #5
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I seat & crimp separately with my LNL using Hornady dies & have not had a need for the Lee FCD. To each their own.
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Old August 27, 2012, 08:57 PM   #6
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I have Lee Taper crimp dies for most of my pistol calibres giving me a 5 die set to choose from. When I crimp I usually do is seperately from seating and find most of the time I choose the Taper Crimp over the FCD (which taper crimps and post sizes the case) I still use the FCD sometimes tho.
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Old August 27, 2012, 08:58 PM   #7
lee n. field
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Quote:
Can anyone relate?
Yup.

I need an FCP for use with my Glock's Lone Wolf barrel. They're known for having tight chambers.

I also find it helpful for reliability when loading for my XD40.
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Old August 27, 2012, 09:17 PM   #8
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Not in my experience with loading lead cast rounds. I believe in the old thinking as to just how did so many millions of rounds were reloaded before Lee dreamed up this die. As far as having a tight chamber, the chamber MUST meet SAMMI soecs, I have a Ed Brown Match Barrel with a xzxzxz chamber. My problem with correctly adjusted dies? None!

With the above said, I am a fan of Lee Products and YMMV.
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Old August 27, 2012, 09:22 PM   #9
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My CZ won't run reloads without the FCD.
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Old August 27, 2012, 10:33 PM   #10
jcwit
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Quote:
My CZ won't run reloads without the FCD.
FMJ or cast? Handgun or rifle?
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Old August 28, 2012, 12:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Not in my experience with loading lead cast rounds. I believe in the old thinking as to just how did so many millions of rounds were reloaded before Lee dreamed up this die. As far as having a tight chamber, the chamber MUST meet SAMMI soecs, I have a Ed Brown Match Barrel with a xzxzxz chamber. My problem with correctly adjusted dies? None!
Yep.

If people want to run the FCD, that's fine. It's their bench, their time, their money, and their ammo.
But any time I've run into an issue the (handgun) FCD is supposed to 'cure'... it's been an issue of an improperly adjusted die or something I missed during case prep. I'd much rather address the real problem, than run everything through an extra die that has its own list of potential problems.
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Old August 28, 2012, 02:27 AM   #12
jimkim
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It all depends on what you prefer. If you like the FCD it's worth it. If you don't it's not. We'll know the idea is catching on when Lyman, Hornady, and Redding start making separate crimping dies.
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Old August 28, 2012, 08:58 AM   #13
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FWIW

I use the Lee FCD on my 9MM and .45 ACP loads. Its just one extra step, and since I load all mine on a single stage press, yeah it adds time, but you can get going pretty good. I see it as a final quality control step to ensure proper feeding. The crimp dies just come with Lee deluxe pistol die sets, and I do hate to waste a perfectly good tool...
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:00 AM   #14
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I like mine, both rifle and pistol.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:20 AM   #15
Red Dog
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jcwit - Are you reloading new brass, brass that you shot or range pickups?
It's the range pickups that give me the most issues.
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Old August 28, 2012, 10:01 AM   #16
the led farmer
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I am not sure what symptoms the fcd is supposed to "cure" I don't recall reading that anywhere in the literature. In fact modern reloading 2nd Ed by Richard lee states the fcd won't turn ammo made from Substandard parts or poorly assembled ammo into world record winning precision ammo just by running it through the die. It's a tool, and like other tools it can be used improperly causing detrimental results, I find it comical people want to blame the tool when they don't get the results they expected as a result of improper use.

I use the fcd, and with great success I might add. It takes some experimenting and tweaking to get it right but I use it and recommend it.
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Old August 28, 2012, 11:53 AM   #17
jcwit
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Quote:
jcwit - Are you reloading new brass, brass that you shot or range pickups?
It's the range pickups that give me the most issues.
Mostly range pick-ups and emptys given to me. Have not purchased factory ammo in years or once fired cases either for that matter. Most that I reload has now been reloaded by me at least once and some many times more than that.

Suggestion: remove your barrel and adjust your dies till cartridge drops in freely. Then make up a dummy cartridge at this setting for the future. I usually use a steel case for the dummy cartridge, one of the few uses I've found for steel cases, the other is a paper punch or for making gaskets as long as the holes aren't bigger than 45 cal.
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Old August 28, 2012, 02:21 PM   #18
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I seat and crimp separately and prefer an FCD over a standard tapercrimp die because I primarily load with range brass of varying quality and condition. I like that when I load a case that has a slight bulge the FCD irons it out. With some batches of brass the post sizer might not touch a single one, while on another batch it may size half the cases.

Typically what I do when I am loading and find a batch that is being post-sized quite often I will separate those that were post sized from those that were not and mark the sized ones with a dry erase marker. Then when I am loading mags I will make sure to load all the marked cases together. This is an unnecessary step, but really, isnt all of this unnecessary when you think about it

One more note- I do not load oversized cast bullets. If I did I would be sure not to use the FCD as it would swage the bullets down.
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Old August 28, 2012, 02:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
I am not sure what symptoms the fcd is supposed to "cure" I don't recall reading that anywhere in the literature. In fact modern reloading 2nd Ed by Richard lee states the fcd won't turn ammo made from Substandard parts or poorly assembled ammo into world record winning precision ammo just by running it through the die. It's a tool, and like other tools it can be used improperly causing detrimental results, I find it comical people want to blame the tool when they don't get the results they expected as a result of improper use.
You're summarizing statements made about the wrong tool.
Those statements are in reference to the rifle FCD. It's a totally different beast.

The handgun (carbide) FCD is designed to be used as a post-sizer 'cure' for bulges caused by over-crimping, or as a die that offers "unlimited crimp" and then 'irons out' the bulges. Nowhere, does Lee talk about it affecting accuracy, either way. However... as other posters have mentioned, the sizing ring in the carbide FCD is sized smaller than a minimum 'standard' chamber.

Lee discusses the rifle FCD somewhere around page 57 in Modern Reloading (2nd Ed). I believe there are 3-5 pages dedicated to the die. But... there isn't much on the handgun (carbide) FCD, other than discussing how 'cheap' it is. The two paragraphs directly stating that it is a band-aid for sub-standard reloading practices are on page 78.


I'm not arguing in favor, or against either die. I just wanted to make sure you understood that even Lee states that the handgun FCD was designed as a 'cure' for poor reloading practices, and that you were confusing statements made about completely different tools.
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Old August 28, 2012, 04:16 PM   #20
1stmar
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I reload 380, 38, 9mm, 357, and 45, never saw a need for pistol. I have 3 for rifle but the only one I use is 35 rem for lever action and even that is infrequent.
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:36 PM   #21
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I currently only load .45ACP & .41Mag, using the Lee 4 die set with the FCD. I can't tell you what the FCD brings to the table, but I've never had a problem with any of my ammo.

Bud gave me a .357 Lee 3 die set & I went ahead & bought the FCD for it. Figure it's cheap enough & has been working well for me so far.
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:57 PM   #22
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Quote:
Is the Lee FCD worth it?
It is for me. But I use mine differently than most others do. I use my Lee CFCD to full length size my revolver brass prior to loading. This gives me a smoother exterior case wall without overworking the brass like my normal carbide sizing die does.

I still use the normal carbide sizing die to size the upper part of the case that bullet seats into.

I haven't found the need to use the Lee CFCD after seating the bullet. Everything chambers and functions just fine with 100% reliability.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:17 PM   #23
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the only time I have ever had my pistol reloads fail to chamber is when I purposely didnt use my FCD on a run of 9mm reloads after reading (on this site) that I dont need it.... Apparently 2 of those 100 rounds DID need it. And more recently when I first started reloading .380 but didnt buy a FCD when I bought the dies, had a few fail to chamber fully as well as light strikes that I attribute to a slightly large case gumming things up (since the gun never had light strikes before or since)....

When using the FCD I have NEVER had a problem with a round failing to chamber.....

If not having to worry that 1 or 2 rounds out of 100 might not fully chamber is a "crutch", then Ill take it.... Anything that gets me closer to 100% reliability is a good thing in my mind...

For detractors, if you have never had a single round fail to chamber, then good for you, you dont need a FCD, on the other hand if you HAVE ever had even one round fail to chamber, a FCD would have prevented that.... wheres the bad in that?
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:32 PM   #24
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The whole point of the handgun FCD is to insure every round will chamber, every time. If high accuracy is more important than reliability then there may be a reasonable question. But ... I like 'em and any accuracy I may lose is quite small.

So, is it 'worth' it? Well, it's a tool, not magic. Those of us who need it and use it correctly say yes. Others who don't need it stoutly tell those who do that we are wrong. No matter, the nay sayers are the ones who are clearly wrong and it gets amusing to read their stories about how they don't need it so no one needs it.

Last edited by wncchester; August 28, 2012 at 09:38 PM.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:50 PM   #25
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I can also relate, I had to install FCD to use my Hornady dies with case bullets. I was having issues with ftf due to the increased size, thus I had to hand cock every single round...

Once I installed the FCD I was able to shoot no problems. I would not recommend the FCD for rifle cartridges though, in my opinion they are useless in rifles.. They claim they ensure consistent pressure on the bullet, but I don't see how pressing on all sides of the bullet would change the neck pressure if it was resized correctly in the first place.
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