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Old February 12, 2013, 10:22 PM   #1
bch044
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New to Reloading??

Hello all,

Another newbe question.. I just purchased a new Lee Turret Press. I bought a Lee die set with 3 dies. On some of the setup videos on youtube they talk about a 4th die for crimping. I will be loading 9mm to start with and is this a die that I need??

Thanks
Steve
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Old February 12, 2013, 10:48 PM   #2
whiplash
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What they may be referring to is some people, my self included, seat and crimp bullets in a separate step. Meaning, raise the seating die body, seat bullets. Then go back and run the seating die back down, raise the seating stem all the way out then crimp bullets for the last step. Hope that helps some. A seperate step as discussed is not necessary, but for some it helps seat the bullet to the proper depth and not be interfered by the crimping at the same time. If your seating die is set up just right you may not have any problems. Some of those problems would be that as the bullet reaches final depth it starts to get some resistance as the die is starting to crimp the bullet. On a worse/badly adjusted die it will cause a fight between seating and crimping and sometime you get a hollow point that will cave in. Been there done that. Sooo, long story short it may create a better loaded round. And to do this in a turret press you could add a fourth die (seating die set up to crimp only). Guys am I right/close?
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:03 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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If you're using a turret press and want to crimp separately from setting, you'd use a Lee Factory Crimp die (or other crimp die) in station 4.
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:07 PM   #4
bch044
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Ok thanks for the info and let me see if I have this right.. This is an option that I don't need if I don't want it. And without this 4th die option I am still able to load shootable/safe ammo??
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:08 PM   #5
ScottRiqui
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Although you could have bought the Factory Crimp Die as part of Lee's "Deluxe Carbide 4-die set", you can also buy the FCD separately should you decide you want it.
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:15 PM   #6
j357
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With the 9mm make sure you 'crimp', (suggest you do this in a separate operation - for now- with the existing die you currently have) to remove the flare from the expanding die at a minimum.
Yes you can make safe ammo, but the ease of making it will differ if you try to crimp in the same step as seating for now. Try seating then crimping separately. The setting up of die is described better in the Lee handbook versus the die instructions IIRC.
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Old February 13, 2013, 12:40 AM   #7
Lost Sheep
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Thanks for asking our advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bch044
Ok thanks for the info and let me see if I have this right.. This is an option that I don't need if I don't want it. And without this 4th die option I am still able to load shootable/safe ammo??
Absolutely right. It is an option.

If you seat at station 3 and crimp at station 4 the adjustment of the dies is easier (you are not trying to adjust for two operations occurring simultaeously) and the seating and crimping can be cleaner (when you seat and crimp at the same time, the crimp is applied at the same time as the bullet is being seating, which means the bullet is moving at the same time the crimp is applied). But this is not all that big a deal.

So, it is not necessary 99% of the time, but convenient.

One fly in the ointment is that the Lee FCD has a second function, sizing the finished round, which some people really hate, sometimes unreasonably so.

Here are some other threads:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=465091

this thread contains a poll

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=465603

and four that I started to get responses from four of the forums I haunt, entitled "Lee FCD The Virtue and the Vice"

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=509934
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=691050
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB3/vie...?f=11&t=168362
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/6586...tml#post814465

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Old February 13, 2013, 06:03 AM   #8
Ted D
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I reload 9mm and use the FCD. I crimp just enough to where you can see the ring around the bullet when you pull it.I have fired over 500rds. with no problems.I 'm a Rookie to so I'm still learning.For now I'm sticking with that setup it works for me so why change it.
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Old February 13, 2013, 06:58 AM   #9
twins
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Quote:
I will be loading 9mm to start with and is this a die that I need??
No need for an FCD unless you're planning to rough-handle your ammo. I've reloaded thousands of round of 9mm and the flare (if set properly and not over-flaring) is flattened once you seat your bullet. Haven't seen the need to crimp yet since my loaded ammo goes from loading bench to ammo box to range.
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Old February 13, 2013, 10:27 AM   #10
Spammy_H
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I started out exclusively with Lee 4-die sets, which included the FCD (.45 ACP, .40 S&W, .380 ACP), and it is easier to seat and crimp separately, especially when starting out. I started on a turret as well.

When I upgraded to a progressive, I began changing out my dies, since the Lee dies are a little short for the thicker progressive die plate.

My personal opinion is that it's easier to start with the Lee dies, and use the FCD. However, if you want to seat and crimp in the same stage, I found it easier to do so with the Hornady dies.
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Old February 13, 2013, 10:35 AM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twins
No need for an FCD unless you're planning to rough-handle your ammo. I've reloaded thousands of round of 9mm and the flare (if set properly and not over-flaring) is flattened once you seat your bullet. Haven't seen the need to crimp yet since my loaded ammo goes from loading bench to ammo box to range.
Removing the flare is still considered a crimping function. The FCD does it as well as any other die. It doesn't have to be a "crush" crimp.
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Old February 13, 2013, 02:09 PM   #12
maillemaker
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Whiplash nailed it:

The standard Lee 3-die set includes 3 dies:

1) Resizer / Deprimer - this squeezes the brass down to the correct diameter and knocks out the primer.

2) Case Mouth Bell / Powder drop - this flares the mouth open a bit to ease the seating of the bullet, and also allows you to drop in the powder charge.

3) Seating / Crimping die - this pushes the bullet into the brass to the right depth, and simultaneously, at the bottom of the stroke, crimps the case mouth tight around the bullet.

It is a bit tricking setting up a combo seating/crimping die, though not hard. Basically, you have to set the depth of the main body of the die in the die plate to give the correct amount of crimp, and you have to adjust the bullet stop so that it seats the bullet to the correct cartridge Overall Length desired. It's tricky because adjusting the crimp depth also changes the bullet seating depth, which then has to be re-adjusted.

By having separate seating and crimping dies, you can adjust these two steps independent of one another.

Steve
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Old February 13, 2013, 07:32 PM   #13
Lost Sheep
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Thanks maillemaker for posting your list, as I can use it to illustrate my point. The boldface is my addition.

1) Resizer / Deprimer - this squeezes the brass down to the correct diameter and knocks out the primer.

2) Case Mouth Bell / Powder drop - this flares the mouth open a bit to ease the seating of the bullet, and also allows you to drop in the powder charge.

3) Seating / Crimping die -with the die body backed out so no crimp is applied and the seating stem adjusted in for proper seating this pushes the bullet into the brass to the right depth.


4) Seating / Crimping die - with the seating stem backed out (or even removed) at the bottom of the stroke, crimps the case mouth tight around the bullet.

This exactly emulates the Lee FCD, but without the post-sizing. The post-sizing is probematic for some, unnecessary for most and valuable in certain circumstances.

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Old February 14, 2013, 10:56 PM   #14
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Weather you need a Factory Crimp Die really depends on your guns.
My rugers will eat any ammo, FCD or not.
The carry pistols I have owned on the other hand, will not.
I had a kel-tec 9mm with a very tight chamber that would not go into battery if a round was out of spec at ALL.
And before I got a FCD for my .380, I would experience about 1-3 out of 100 rounds that would not allow my gun to go into battery, and occasional light strikes caused by the gun going into battery far enough to fire, but then the cartridge would move forward a bit on the first pull, absorbing the FP energy and requiring a second pull to fire (the ones I didn't eject and take home to find out why they didn't fire) None of the problem rounds would fit in my loaded case gage.

Since getting the FCD, the gun has been 100%, no failures.
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Old February 15, 2013, 11:13 AM   #15
maillemaker
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I also bought an FCD, because when I seated my bullets there was a slight bulge in the brass where the bullet ended. This bulge can be more pronounced on one side of the bullet than another if the bullet is cocked slightly during seating. I thought initially that this was the cause of my extraction problems - sometimes an extracted case would get stuck on this bulge.

What was really the cause of my problem, though, was that the Lee 230 grain round nose bullet has too much of a shoulder on it, and that makes the case mouth stand very proud of the nose of the bullet, and on extraction the case rim of the extracted case would bounce off the nose of the next bullet in the magazine, then catch on the case mouth.

Often it would skip over the case mouth but so much energy would be lost that it would stop on that bulge in the brass. Turns out smoothing out that bulge did not stop the problem because it was not the root problem. Striking the case mouth with the rim was.

What the FCD does is just smooth down the outside of the brass from mouth to almost the rim, restoring it to correct factory dimensions. As dacaur notes, whether you need one or not just depends on how finicky your gun is.

Since I switched to the Lee Truncated Cone bullet, my extraction problems ended, so I no longer use the FCD.

Steve
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Old February 15, 2013, 01:14 PM   #16
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I would suggest a 4th die; a plain taper crimp (available from every modern die manufacturer). Install this die in the hole after the seating die and adjust it so that it is only removing the flare (you are not "crimping" in the usual sence, just straightening the flared mouth with a taper crimp die to enable reliable chambering). Seat the bullet in 3, straighten the mouth in 4. Some fellers seat and crimp at the same time, but for a new reloader that can lead to problems (case buldges, bullet shaving, loose bullets, etc.) At the end of the stroke the bullet is being pushed against the crimp, N.G. in my mind.

I have not used a Lee FCD since the one time I "post seating sized" some ammo about 8 years ago. If the dies are adjusted correctly there is no need to size a finished round. Think of all the 9mm and 45 ACP reloaded before Lee brought out their FCD (billions!). I'm not a Lee basher, just think a bandaid fix should not be recommended to new reloaders inplace of correct loading methods/die adjustment. I have two 9mm pistols and two 45 ACP pistols that have shot thousands of rounds each (jacketed, plated, and lead), without the ammo ever seeing a Lee FCD...
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Old February 15, 2013, 04:35 PM   #17
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld
If the dies are adjusted correctly there is no need to size a finished round.
And if you're dies are adjusted correctly, the FCD won't size a finished round, but it still makes a fine crimp die.
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