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Old October 26, 2012, 06:12 AM   #1
rajbcpa
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Do you use a separate factory crimp die with the Dillon 550B?

I just bought a 550b which is now in transit to my home.

I notice that that "standard" set up on the Dillon presses is to have a separate bullet seating die and a separate crimp die.

I'll be using RCBS and Hornady carbide dies that have the bullet seating and crimping steps in a single die. Yeh, the initial set-up is more difficult with these dies but once it is set, I have had no real issues.

Why does Dillon have this set-up and should I buy separate factory crimping dies?

I bought the conversion kits that include the belling die in the powder drop station and this also different from the standard set-up used in other presses.

At this point in time, I just want a system that is reliabile and spending a few extra dollars is not a bad thing if I get a system that will work reliably.

thx...

Last edited by rajbcpa; October 26, 2012 at 06:32 AM.
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Old October 26, 2012, 07:06 AM   #2
wogpotter
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I just ordered a seperate FCD for my 4-station Dillon. I've been using the regular seat & crimp RCBS die, but found that it's going to be easier to swap out crimp only dies to change from roll crimp with jacketed XTP bullets & taper crimp for plated ones.

If I wasn't using both bullet types I wouldn't swap, as I've used the roll crimp factory die just fine with a single type of bullet.
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Old October 26, 2012, 07:37 AM   #3
straight-shooter
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I use the FCD when using jacketed bullets but never when using lead bullets. The FCD tends to slightly swage the lead bullet thus decreasing it's diameter enough to cause leading in my barrel.
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Old October 26, 2012, 08:18 AM   #4
Mike40-11
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I have both 9mm and .45 ACP set up in my 550B with Hornady New Dimension seating dies. They can be adjusted to seat and crimp, or just seat. I have them set to seat and then follow with the Lee FCD in the fourth station.
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Old October 26, 2012, 09:12 AM   #5
Misssissippi Dave
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I only use one set of RCBS dies in my 550b. I am seating and crimping at the same time. I do prefer to have this done in separate operations.

Either Saturday or Monday I should have a Dillon set of dies delivered. I will still use the RCBS dies for .357 mag. The Dillon dies will be for .38 special. I will be loading both lswc and JHP bullets in .38 Special so I want to be able to set the bullet depth and only have to play with one die setting to adjust the crimp until I find what works best. On the RCBS die, when you change the crimp you have to go back and also change the seating depth. It works well enough once it is set right but it is a pain to get to that point. I also like to have the bullet fully seated before any crimp is placed. If I want to add a little more crimp it is simple to just adjust the crimp die a little and not change anything else. Dillon dies are Stainless steel so they tend to not rust. Rust is a problem here in the south. Having the .38 special and .357 mag on separate mounts should make switching from one to the other much easier too. I'm not a fan of the Lee FCD. I find a normal roll crimp or normal taper crimp works just fine for everything I have loaded to date. I am considering getting another roll crimp die to go with the RCBS set later on. I only load jacketed bullets for the mags. Then I would still have a separate step for the crimp just like the Dillon setup. I don't load nearly as many magnums as I do specials so it can wait for a while longer.
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Old October 26, 2012, 09:40 AM   #6
Unclenick
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rajbcpa,

It was discovered by target shooters, fifty or sixty years ago, that separately crimped lead and cast bullet loads were more accurate. Combining seating and crimping of these bullets shaves lead. It can even create a small amount of bulge distortion in soft swaged bullets when the seating ram is fighting the crimp's grip on the bullet during the last few thousandths of the seating stroke. The shaving also creates added metal fouling that helps gum up a chamber (the kind of problem lead removing revolver chamber reamers were created to solve).

Jacketed bullets are less problematic and will work better with the single step seat and crimp operation. Nonetheless, separate crimping still gives you options like the the taper crimp dies for lead or the Lee Carbide FCD or, if you need a strong roll crimp for a heavy caliber in revolver, the excellent Redding Profile Crimp die.

If you feel you don't want or need to crimp separately for what you are loading and shooting, consider moving seating and crimping in one step to the last station on the Dillon, and use a powder check die in the third position. That can save you some grief on occasion.
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Old October 26, 2012, 10:08 AM   #7
ROGER4314
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I have two RL550's and use RCBS dies in most cases where seating and crimping are doe in one stage. Dillon is very committed to separating the seating and crimping tasks and while I see their point, see no reason to trash my die sets or to invest in taper crimp dies to conform to their set up.

In the 550, Dillon provides an extra hole for the crimp die. In their Square Deal press, they use proprietary dies that have separate crimp functions and Dillon doesn't give you a choice.

If you set up the die correctly, there's no need to invest in separate dies. I set my seat plug down as far as I can to seat to the correct OAL by trial and error.

Then I raise the seater plug all the way and lower the die body to get a zero bell on the case neck. When that's set, I again lower the seat plug to just touch the bullet tip when the press handle is down.

I don't get any bullet shaving or other problems. I believe those things occur because the die is adjusted improperly. When bullet seating is occurring after the neck has already been crimped, it's going to shave the bullet.

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Old October 26, 2012, 10:22 AM   #8
rajbcpa
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.....Apparently, Lee has carbide and non-carbide factory crimp dies. Why is that, I wonder?


Is anybody using their RCBS, Hornday, Lee or Redding case bell dies in a 550B instead of the Dillion combination powder drop and bell system?

How about using an RCBS auto powder measure on a Dillon press?


Thx...
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Old October 26, 2012, 11:17 AM   #9
wogpotter
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There are actually 2 totally differnt FCD dies.
One uses a tapered collar to squeeze a split collet to create the crimp. IIRC this is for rifle calibers. The other is a sliding sleeve type & that one is the carbide version. It seems mostly for pistol calibers.

I use the Dillon powder drop/expander die & it works fine so I see no reason to add more complications.

You can get an adaptor for other than Dillon powder measures, I use one with a Lyman #55 for pistol reloads because it meters small flat powder grains better than Dillon's sliding bar design. Its a bit tricky to set up because you have to get the operating handle cycling fully without hitting, or blocking, any of the other auto gizmos on the Dillon press, but it can be done.
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Old October 26, 2012, 12:21 PM   #10
BigJimP
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+1 on Uncle Nick's perspective...

I use separate dies in my 650 ( and it has a spot in the toolhead for the powder check die ).....but if I were using a 550 press, I'd be tempted, as suggested to install a powder check die in station 3 and seat and crimp in station 4 as long as I were using jacketed bullets.
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Old October 27, 2012, 10:33 AM   #11
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Thanks. When I started reloading .45 Auto (70's), I'd never heard of taper crimp dies, and wound up dedicating a dental pick to pulling the shaved lead rings off the case mouths of the finished rounds. Annoying extra chore. Separate crimping stopped that from forming. And accuracy is better, though you won't notice it if you aren't shooting the 50 yard slow fire conventional pistol targets.


rajbcpa,

If you look closely at the Lee information,

Factory Crimp Die

and

Carbide Factory Crimp Die

are their two separate proper names for these two separate products. The mechanism of the Factory Crimp Die is that the die body has a tapered shoulder at the level of the case mouth that closes a collet that slides up into it when the shell holder on your press pushes on the bottom end of the collet. It's that end of the collet that looks like a sliding sleeve. The closing collet squeezes a crimp into the case neck and bullet. There is a minimum length Lee needs to make that mechanism work, so they can't make this type of crimp die for very short cartridges.

The Carbide FCD has no moving parts. It has a carbide sizing ring at the mouth that, unlike the narrower bore carbide ring in a case resizing die, is sized to match the maximum SAAMI OD for the cartridge. It's purpose is just to insure the finished cartridge fits a chamber and feeds. The actual crimp is produced by either a taper or a roll crimp profile ground into a separate hardened steel ring at the top that is held in place by a threaded plug that you adjust to control the degree of crimp.
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