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Old March 22, 2013, 01:01 AM   #1
Newton24b
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lee factory crimp die

if i understand the product literature for this product, its designed to give all loaded ammnution used with it, a factory crimp PLUS size the bullet/case down to standard factory dimensions.

my question is, if the purpose of handloading is to get the best accuracy, and you need an oversized lead bullet for your gun, then is spending the extra minute on properly sized bullets wasted on this die? plus the cost of this die?
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Old March 22, 2013, 01:24 AM   #2
Lost Sheep
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Very astute observation. (Note that the Lee FCD for pistol is TOTALLY different from the Lee FCD for bottlecked rifle cases and I am assuming you are talking about straight-walled pistol/revolver cartridges. If that assumption is not correct, stop reading right here because none of what follows applies to the collet-type FCD for bottlenecked rifle cases.)

Separating the crimping from the seating is worth it, in my opinion, unless you are using a single-stage press. Then it is a toss-up. The cleaner crimp and simpler adjustment procedure makes it so. The extra step in a single-stage press detracts somewhat.

Much is made of the uses of the Lee FCD, which, unlike other crimp dies performs two functions. Applying a crimp and sizing the finished round (post-sizing).

The post-sizing is the controversial part. The question of whether it helps, hurts, is indifferent or is a crutch for the lazy generates a lot of heated argument.

I infer from your question that you have read Lee's FAQ section explaining the Lee FCD.

I tired of the contentios nature of threads wherein the Lee FCD was castigated as a tool for loaders who did not adjust their dies properly, used improperly chosed (sized) components or as a "crutch" and started four threads on forums I haunt. The best single contributor (in my opinion) is Iowegan on this thread

http://rugerforum.net/reloading/6586...tml#post814465

and then there are the other three

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

In summary, the Lee FCD is not necessary most of the time, but convenient.

Lee Precision's thoughts on the matter can be found in these threads:

One thread contains a lively discussion of the FCD and the function of the post-sizing carbide ring in the FCD. The phrase "9mm" is in the thread title, but don't let that dissuade you. It contains responses direct from Lee Precision, too. Read the whole thing. It is worth it.

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

this thread contains a poll

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

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Old March 22, 2013, 02:16 AM   #3
A pause for the COZ
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Oh Boy can we get going on the LEE FCD.

My answer is " It depends"

On the Carbide ring LEE used to make your die. Some are bigger than others.
I have two set for my 38 special dies and another for my 357 mag dies.
They both measure different.

In my experience the LEE FCD has and does post size MY loads to a smaller diameter.

I first noticed it when I purchased a supply of hard cast 158 gr .358, .452, and 115gr .313
In each loading I felt a hard pop when removing the loads from the FCD.
That got me curious as to why.

As you can see in this image. My .313 32 H&R load will not enter the FCD with out getting re-sized to a smaller diameter. This was a complete load as shot by me. Crimped using the bullet seating die.



For me that is unacceptable, I dont go through all the trouble to get my loads just how I want them to have the FCD change my loads.
Thats not what I want.

I would suggest you take a load that you have crimped with you bullet seating die, and try to insert it in the FCD. If it goes through to the crimp area with out being stopped by the carbide insert. Good to go for that load.

If you still want to use the FCD but dont want to be bothered with the carbide ring.
You can knock them out. ( doing so ruins any warrantee you thought you had. So do it if you are willing to live with the outcome.)

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Old March 22, 2013, 02:25 AM   #4
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disregard.
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:40 AM   #5
Slamfire
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There is data from reloaders who have measured how much the pistol LFCD swaged their bullets.

If your pistol ammunition does not chamber then maybe the LFCD is the cure. But mine does without the LFCD, so it is just another thing to go wrong, in my opinion.
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:52 AM   #6
CountryUgly
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It's been a fantastic die for me concerning semi auto pistol loads. It's not needed for my revolver loads. I use the rifle dies for .223 and 6.8spc that are loaded for ARs but not the rounds loaded for the bolt actions. They'll always have a place on my bench.
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Old March 22, 2013, 06:34 PM   #7
Nick_C_S
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I'm a big fan of the Lee FCD. Clearly reduces feeding problems in my 1911. Most people are big fans of the FCD for their autos, as am I; but I got my biggest improvement with my .38 DEWC loads. The DEWC I use is .358 and seems to distort the case to the point where many rounds won't drop freely into the cylinder bores. After putting them through the Lee FCD - which takes considerable effort - the rounds drop right in the cylinder. It solved a huge problem for me.

I have a FCD for all my calibers (38, 44, 45, 9mm), and with the exception of the 44, I now consider using the FCD essential (doesn't seem to matter for 44 mag, for some reason).
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Old March 22, 2013, 08:36 PM   #8
wncchester
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"... and you need an oversized lead bullet for your gun,"

The point is, no one 'needs' an oversized bullet for his "gun", it will be bore/groove size when it enters the barrel anyway. The post-seating sizer ring in the FCD is to insure all ammo will chamber and function ever time. If that doesn't matter then you don't need it.
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:54 PM   #9
SL1
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It may NOT be "bore size" when it enters the bore if the Lee FCD has made it LESS than bore size before it was fired AND the pressure is not enough to "bump-up" the diameter to fill whatever space there is around the bullet.

That can lead to leading and inaccuracy.

That is why the Lee FCD with the carbide ring causes problems for some, while solving problems for others. Id depends on variations in BOTH the die and the gun, and how those match-up (or mis-match) in each situation.

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Old March 22, 2013, 10:50 PM   #10
A pause for the COZ
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SL1 you are correct. if it was not causing a problem I certainly would not go through the trouble of removing the Post size ring.

I can say for sure accuracy has improved in all my cast bullet loads. Since I quit post sizing.

I have had no issues with feeding in any of my Auto loaders. 1911 and .380
Biggest improvement was with my 1911. Group sizes improved plus now hits POA instead of high left.

Think about it for a second. Normal jacketed loads for a 45 acp, the bullets are .451 normal size for a cast bullet is .452
No way your not squishing that bullet down. If its not.. Why the ring in the 1st place? Its not doing anything.

If your problem is actually case bulge at the bottom of the case. There are other ways to solve that.

If I do end up with a fire arm that gives feeding issues that requires post sizing my loads. That gun would be a jacketed load only gun.
Most likely I would sell it.

Last edited by A pause for the COZ; March 22, 2013 at 11:05 PM.
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Old March 22, 2013, 11:38 PM   #11
Newton24b
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maybe im simple,

if i get one the common to find 45 colt revovers that has a .454 chamber mouth, im supposed to use that bullet diameter to fight leading and bullet issues. also so ill get a decent barrel/bullet seal. but if the FCD sizes it to a generic .451/.452 havent i wasted the point of getting the right bullet?
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Old March 22, 2013, 11:42 PM   #12
jcwit
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Yup, or the wrong size mould for cast bullets.
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Old March 23, 2013, 08:27 AM   #13
steve4102
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Quote:
Think about it for a second. Normal jacketed loads for a 45 acp, the bullets are .451 normal size for a cast bullet is .452
No way your not squishing that bullet down. If its not.. Why the ring in the 1st place? Its not doing anything.
Theory or actual first hand experience?

I use the Lee Factory Crimp die for all of my pistol handloads. Why, two reasons.
1) I like to seat and crimp in separate steps with a dedicated Crimp die.

2) It came with the set.

Since you referred to the 45 ACP I will start there. Most of my 45 ammo is loaded with cast .452 LSWC.
All of my 45 ACP brass is mixed headstamp. Some brass is thicker than others (Winchester) and I can feel when a Win case goes through my FCD. Not because it is swaging the bullet, but because it is making contact with the flare. Even with the thicker brass the Carbide ring does NOT contact the case walls below the flare and "Squish the bullet down".

"Why the ring in the 1st place? Its not doing anything." Correct it isn't doing anything and that is a good thing. It is a built in case gauge, which also does nothing if the round was loaded properly.


My 10MM/40 FCD was a different story. It made hard contact with the case walls even with jacked bullets. I sent it off to Lee to have it opened up and all is well, no more hard contact and no "Squishing the Bullet Down", even with .401 lead.
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Old March 23, 2013, 09:24 AM   #14
BumbleBug
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As a personal preference, I don't buy many Lee products. But I like to crimp as a separate step on all my lead loads. The Lee FCD for lead works the best for me.

FWIW
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Old March 23, 2013, 09:47 AM   #15
jcwit
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Quote:
Think about it for a second. Normal jacketed loads for a 45 acp, the bullets are .451 normal size for a cast bullet is .452
No way your not squishing that bullet down. If its not.. Why the ring in the 1st place? Its not doing anything.
Quote:
Theory or actual first hand experience?
In my case first hand experience.

Lee FCD for handgun calipers is useful when loading FMJ.
Lee FCD for handgun calipers is useless when loading cast lead bullets.

The ring WILL squash the lead bullet to undersize, don't believe it, pull one and mic. it. At least thats the case with my 45 ACP FCD.
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Old March 24, 2013, 01:46 AM   #16
Lost Sheep
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The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The proof of the loading is in the shooting.

The post-sizing function of the Lee FCD is the controversial point. So let us examine what that does.

If the barrel in the gun wants a bullet of a particular size, anything that makes it smaller is wrong. If the bullet is not too much oversized, it will swage in the forcing cone to the proper dimension. If the bullet is too far oversized, there is likely to be pressure problems (on top of the chambering issues).

In a revolver, the chamber throat diameters also enter into the question.

The relationships of all the disparate dimensions and devices are too complex for me to address in a forum post and there are many much better qualified to discuss them than I am.

Read the threads linked in post #2

Search for

Leading caused by undersized bullets

Revolver chamber throat sizing

Chamber throats and bore size

bullet obturation

and other such subjects.

Enjoy. It is a whole area of internal ballistics study, deep and wide.

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Old March 24, 2013, 02:09 AM   #17
A pause for the COZ
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These LEE FCD discussions always end up going like this one.

I understand why too. They are a great tool and make loading easier.

Obviously I like using them because I am willing to alter mine to fit my particular needs and still retain the parts of it that I like.

The main point is to learn about it so that you can make a decision based on your own needs.
If you need or are not concerned about post sizing your cast loads.
You have a tool.
If you dont need post sizing and are concerned about your cast bullet loads.
You can make it work for that also.

Man I am getting the itch... I feel a range visit coming on.

Last edited by A pause for the COZ; March 24, 2013 at 02:14 AM.
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