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Old October 23, 2012, 08:00 AM   #1
GregInAtl
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Lee FCD and lead

I have heard it said that the Lee should not be used when reloading lead.

Your thoughts?
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Old October 23, 2012, 08:12 AM   #2
jmortimer
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It can swage down your lead bullet. Many happy users and some don't like the FCD. More like it than not. Ranch Dog, who is going out of business, is selling a collet style aka "rifle" version from Lee Precision for handgun calibers that is well liked. I would try it and see what results you get. The handgun caliber FCD is the one that you would be referring to where some people complain about it but most don't.
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Old October 23, 2012, 08:54 AM   #3
the led farmer
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With the FCD you have the potential to grossly deform brass and bullets if used incorrectly. In my experience with the FCD a little goes a long way.

I am sure others will will post saying what a horrible, useless die the FCD is. Don't listen, plenty of people (like me) get more than satisfactory results
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Old October 23, 2012, 09:02 AM   #4
Don P
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Follow the directions for setting up the FCD and all will be well. 20 + K of lead reloads and no issues yet.
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Old October 23, 2012, 09:13 AM   #5
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I like having it in my tool kit for straight-wall pistol cases with cast bullets. I don't use it very often.

The one I bought for .45 Colt was a waste of money because I've never needed it -- .45 Colts have loose chambers, and an modestly-oversize bullet won't bulge the case enough to cause problems (like it will in .357, .38 Special, and .41 Mag.)
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Old October 23, 2012, 09:14 AM   #6
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I have mentioned this in other threads- my FCD swages my .452" 45acp bullets by up to .001" depending on headstamp. For whatever reason the accuracy is outstanding anyway so I am not changing it. Takes a little effort pressing the cartridge into and out of the FCD but I dont argue with cloverleafs.
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Old October 23, 2012, 10:48 AM   #7
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I am not a fan of the rifle FCD, it swages perfectly good bullets in the middle and that is not conducive to long range accuracy

Edit: Sorry. No copyrighted material without express permission of copyright holder. See the board policy, here.

The pistol Lee FCD is something else, not quite a roll crimp, not quite a taper crimp. I use the ones I have and crimp the heck out of my pistol bullets.

Handguns are spitting distance weapons anyway, the furthest I shoot is 50 yards with them, I am more concerned about 100% reliable function in a handgun than what I am doing to the bullet. Maybe it makes a difference in accuracy in a handgun, but it will take something like a machine rest to find out.
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Last edited by Unclenick; October 28, 2012 at 04:00 PM.
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Old October 23, 2012, 11:37 AM   #8
the led farmer
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Quote:
it swages perfectly good bullets in the middle
it has the POTENTIAL to do this if you set it to do so. like any die, improper adjustment will lead to unsatisfactory results. just because it's capable of doing this, doesn't mean you should.
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Old October 23, 2012, 11:42 AM   #9
MrJog
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Are you guys saying that the taper crimp is doing the swageing, or the sizer ring? Also, it isn't hard to pull a bullet after running it through this die. I've done it and still measured .452 on my boolits.
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Old October 23, 2012, 12:24 PM   #10
tkglazie
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Quote:
Are you guys saying that the taper crimp is doing the swageing, or the sizer ring? Also, it isn't hard to pull a bullet after running it through this die. I've done it and still measured .452 on my boolits.
The sizer ring. Some FCDs are tighter than others. Mine is on the tight side. I could open it up a bit with some heavy polishing but I have left it as is. When I pull my cast bullets I get about a .001" lip at the case mouth, which tapers to .0005" at the base of the bullet. Here is a pic I posted in a previous thread (middle is a fresh bullet, the bottom one was pulled)

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Old October 23, 2012, 12:24 PM   #11
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Lee offers 2 Factory Crimp Die styles. The FCD for handgun calibers is a combination "post seating sizer" and crimp die (it covers up your sloppy reloading methods). Rifle caliber FCD is a collet type die that squeezes the case evenly from the sides (I like mine for a light crimp on my .223). I gave my .44 FCD a good chance and reloaded a couple hundred rounds. The rounds with lead bullets, which previously shot fine, leaded the barrel of my Puma .44 Magnum and accuracy suffered in my Ruger SBH and S&W 629. All the jacketed ammo I made chambered nicely so a FCD wasn't needed! If you know how to adjust your dies correctly, you won't have any buldges to iron out/resize the finished round. I have reloaded thousands of .44 Magnum and Specials since '86 and .45 ACP is my most favorite for now reloading and shooting mebbe 400 per month and they all chamber and fire quite well without a FCD (9mm too!)...

jes an old guy's experience and $.04 (inflation ya know)
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Old October 23, 2012, 12:55 PM   #12
lee n. field
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Quote:
I have heard it said that the Lee should not be used when reloading lead.

Your thoughts?
I do it all the time. What is the reasoning behind that recommendation?
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Old October 23, 2012, 05:47 PM   #13
Mike / Tx
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The carbide ring is the main issue. If you have a cylinder or chamber that is a bit oversized, and your sizing your bullets bigger than normal, it can and will size the bullets smaller as the case goes through.

I picked one up for my 45acp loads and found that the ring was simply too small and every time I pushed a round into it, no matter how it was adjusted, the brass would be squeezed down around the bullets resulting in them being swedged down at least .002" or so depending on which bullets I am using, and if I actually size them before loading.

This might be fine for some, and some might find no issue what so ever with theirs, but if you read enough reports on others having the identical issues when using cast, and the FCD, you can really only come to one conclusion.

Personally after I popped the ring out I have not had one single issue with it since. So if you REALLY want to try one out the worst case is you "might" have to pop out the carbide ring.
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Old October 23, 2012, 05:54 PM   #14
GregInAtl
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that makes sense Mike. I am either going to quit using the FCD for cast or I'm going to buy some Dillon dies for my 550 B
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Old October 23, 2012, 06:08 PM   #15
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Like any other crimper, Lee's rifle FCD is fully adjustable from no effect at all to too much. Anyone wondering why they're not crimping or are damaging their bullets shouldn't look at the die, they need to look in a mirror! Not a lot of rifle ammo needs to be crimped but there is nothing else anywhere near as good or as easy to use as Lee's.
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Old October 23, 2012, 07:05 PM   #16
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I use the FCD on lead with nothing but good results. The taper crimp is just fine. Semi auto rifles need the crimp or adequate neck tension to keep the COL from changing from bullet movement. Before I crimped, some .223's would slide up and engage the rifling. I don't like mixed techniques, and though I have tried intentionally loading long like that for bolt guns and single loading, I don't approve of the method for semi-auto rifles. There is a real potential for disaster.
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Old October 23, 2012, 07:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
I have heard it said that the Lee should not be used when reloading lead.

Your thoughts?
My thoughts and experience are with lead in 9mm and 45 auto. I use a FCD with both calibers and haven't swaged a lead bullet yet in the five years I have been using lead bullets.
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Old October 23, 2012, 09:24 PM   #18
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The Lee FCD for hand gun rounds is a marvelous item to completely fix problems that do not exist. This is what my experience has been in my 3 years of attempting to use it.

YMMV
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Old October 23, 2012, 09:27 PM   #19
tkglazie
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And there it is. I have yet to see an FCD thread on any forum that didnt include at least one "answer to a problem that doesnt exist" response.

Right on cue.
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Old October 23, 2012, 11:45 PM   #20
jcwit
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Held back as long as I could! I'm not sure I was in cue tho or not. Just gave my experience, after reloading my own cast bullets for 50+ years now. Thank you very much!
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Old October 24, 2012, 07:11 AM   #21
tkglazie
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Haha you bet!
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Old October 24, 2012, 09:55 AM   #22
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Quote:
And there it is. I have yet to see an FCD thread on any forum that didnt include at least one "answer to a problem that doesnt exist" response.
Then tell me this, How did all those millions/billions of rounds get reloaded for years and years without the FCD? Guess us old folks just didn't know what we were/are doing even tho everything worked just fine.
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Old October 24, 2012, 10:03 AM   #23
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I have a friend that uses one for all of his competition(hunter pistol) rounds. He polished his so they match his chambers. He was telling me the other day he really wished they had them when he was shooting bullseye.
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Old October 24, 2012, 10:09 AM   #24
tkglazie
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Then tell me this, How did all those millions/billions of rounds get reloaded for years and years without the FCD? Guess us old folks just didn't know what we were/are doing even tho everything worked just fine.
oh no, I am not getting pulled into a yes/no FCD argument, I was just pointing out that these threads always seem to turn in to one.

There is no right or wrong on this subject as far as I am concerned. The target cares very little how we make our loads
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Old October 24, 2012, 10:13 AM   #25
jcwit
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This next spring/early summer I'll have to ask the 10 time National Pistol Champion what his thoughts are regarding the FCD.
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