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Old March 9, 2007, 08:43 PM   #26
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This guy hates lee and your never going to get him to change his mind. it's sort of like the Glockaholics and the blue gang.
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Old March 9, 2007, 09:23 PM   #27
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Propaganda? It comes right out of the patent application for the invention. Don't let anti-Lee bias confuse the issue here. If the process is so bad, how come all the other die manufacturers followed suit, sooner or later?

I notice that Steve provided some data for FCD and case neck tension above--looks pretty good for rifles. Data points are hard to argue with.

Yes, I know the FCD functions differently in pistol dies.

I load thousands of rounds per month--every last one of them through a FCD before they go into the ammo boxes. I have zero reject rounds. Taper crimps and roll crimps.

Can anyone loading only with the bullet seating/crimping die and using ALL brass that comes to hand, untrimmed, say that? If so, you're doing a really great job and I commend you. I could never pull that off with a Dillon press or two different Lee presses. Sooner or later a round showed up with a bulge due to case length being too long. Doesn't take much to do it either.

Dies were always set precisely to manufacturers' recommendations. So how do you account for those kind of bulges? Is there some kind of setting for the dies that only comes with experience, contrary to what the makers suggest? If so, we all would sure like to hear about that.

The FCD just makes things so much easier, especially for new reloaders. If you don't like it then you're free not to use it. If you have criticism, based on loading/shooting experience, how about some data so we can all see how badly off base we who like the die are? Otherwise this debate just goes on endlessly.
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Old March 9, 2007, 09:57 PM   #28
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I like the Lee FCD. Separating the seating and crimping is a benefit that's worth $10 bucks to me, especially since I use more than one bullet and since I have a Turret press it doesn't even add an extra step to use one. Again, it costs a whole $10 bucks. Whooptido.
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Old March 9, 2007, 10:29 PM   #29
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Steve, thanks for the data, you did see this didn't you?
The rifle FCD's are another story, they are actually a useful and viable tool. The following applies to the FCD in handgun cartridges.
I would also like to point out that your ammo got longer when we have been talking about setback or rounds getting shorter. Having a round get longer from chambering is a function of bullet pull when the bolt slams shut, it is acting like an inertial bullet puller, and nothing in this world other than crimping into a cannelure will stop that. The Lee FCD or the Redding Profile Crimp die will create a small cannelure when used aggressively, as you have seen from your test. If you have a real need to chamber the same round more than once or twice I would increase the crimp setting used in your test.

Benedict, I have an opinion on something you wrote. A new reloader is exactly who I would NOT recommend an FCD to. They will smash out most mistakes made in the preceeding steps, and a new reloader needs to KNOW when they have made a mistake and they need to KNOW why that mistake happened. Covering up the mistakes is something all of the preceeding posters I have seen state that they don't use it for, simply for 'insurance' in most cases. Covering up mistakes could lead to a serious problem, one much more serious than having a round not feed at the range.

Are you case gauging the ammo or just functional testing? The reason I ask is I do have ammo fail to case gauge, and it is nothing the die set can affect no matter what is used.

rwilson, I can only encourage you to try one despite the price. The price was hard for me to swallow on the first one too, but it lead to several more being bought. I too can make perfectly decent ammo with a standard Lee die set seating and crimping in the same operation and I have loaded tens upon tens of thousands of rounds that way, but the Redding die is just too good to ignore.

Thanks all for the discussion in civil tones and good spirit!
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Old March 9, 2007, 11:21 PM   #30
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Couldn't disagree more with you re: new loaders. What serious problems are they covering up with a FCD? Sounds ominous but what is it? If they are getting the bullets seated to proper OAL and the brass crimped adequately and post-sized, what's the beef? There is a lot of talk about 'covering up problems' I am just too dense, I guess to see what they are.. What dangerous practices does the FCD cover up??

Once I got the Lee FCDs I threw the case gauges into the drawer and haven't looked back. Don't have too--they all chamber and fire. I load 5 calibers for 6 different semi-autos and revolvers. Case gauges are immaterial once the FCD is in place. One Wilson, two Kimbers, a Glock and two S&W revolvers take all the rounds and fire them.

When I was loading on a Dillon SDB for .38 Special, I was getting 2-3 bulged cases per 100 rounds, consistently. The only answer the Dillon rep could give me was "trim the brass to uniform length and set the bullet seating die accordingly." Okay, that's fair, but I didn't want any fail-to-enter-gauge rounds and I was loading hundreds of .38 Special cartridges with all sorts of mixed brass. I just didn't want to trim brass then, and don't now either.
I switched to Lee equipment, Lee Classic Turret and Lee Load Master, and everything works just great.

I don't argue with anyone over preferences, we all have them and that's fine. Just human nature. But opinions not backed up by data tend to obscure the usefulness of any tool. My data are clear--all rounds, thousands of them, chamber and fire. Prior to FCDs, 2-3% wouldn't.
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Old March 9, 2007, 11:56 PM   #31
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Benedict, seat a round slightly crooked intentionally, case gauge it, verify that it won't fit. Now do another one, check it and the run it through the FCD and verify that it will now case gauge. Pull both bullets and measure them carefully, measure both cases carefully too. The data will be self explanitory to you, but to someone that hasn't been doing it a while they won't understand anything other than 'this thing fixed my reloads'. This is just one example where case tension is compromised, and a common problem for new reloaders.

I hate to curse you, but you DO have a jam coming with your ammo. It will be a nicked case rim, it will either hang up on the extractor or it will hit the hood and hold the barrel slightly out of battery. Even the older G17 chokes on cases like these with a chamber like a trash can. In a revolver you will get a dragging cylinder and possibly a light strike. The case gauge will catch them......

Regarding Dillon dies, though I reload on a couple Dillon presses I don't use any Dillon dies anymore. I had 6 or 7 sets at one time, but sold them off since I was getting ammo that I think is higher quality with mixed die sets. I do sincerely miss the huge mouth on the Dillon dies, you had to really work to misalign a case enough to cause a problem but that huge mouth is also the reason a good portion of the ammo that won't case gauge won't case gauge.
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Old March 10, 2007, 01:39 AM   #32
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I do not hate Lee products, although if you run a search for Lee with my name, you will find out that I probably should. I have tons of Lee equipment. Most of it is of good value, and works just as good as the other guys, or even better in many circumstances. My like or dislike of Lee, however, has nothing to do with the facts.

Once your dies are set, you've expanded and then seated, and you have a BULGE in your case, you screwed up, plain and simple. I do not know how YOU did it. If it happened to me, I would try to find out why and fix the problem. If you aren't that kind of person, and all that matters to you is that your ammo goes "bang," then the FCD is for you.

Yes, there is a little black magic in setting up dies, particularly when a crimp or expansion is involved. Too little or too much of each will cause problems with case tension, chambering, and probably both. Only trial and error will get you where you need to be.

I do not have any imperical data to back up my assertions, but it is a FACT that the FCD is a bandaid (I'm not speaking for those who use it to crimp, but for those who use it to resize their loaded cases) plain and simple. Let me say this again. If you need the FCD to do this, YOU SCREWED UP somewhere in the loading process. The fact that you need this die says a lot about your loading. We have all been rookies at one point, and have all made mistakes, no matter our experience level, so this is not said in jest or in a critical manner.

I have a pistol FCD die in (let me count) four cartridges, and have use it in all four (38/357, 45acp, 45 colt). I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread for 45acp, so I bought one in the other calibers as well. The always created more problems than they solved, however. Having one more die in the mix raised the percentage of potential variables, so I removed it from the equation. I only expand enough to seat the bullet, and DO NOT crimp at all for 45ap. I have absolutely zero problems with accuracy, setback, chambering, etc.

On my revolver cartidges, I have found that the seating die makes a more consistent crimp that the FCD. That is my experience, based on my loads, on my equipment, in my guns. Again, no imperical data to back it up, sorry. Had I known that the only way we could have helped you see the light was to keep a journal, I would have done so.

I don't know how many rounds I have loaded. It is a bunch. More than most, not nearly as much as others. I do not consider myself an expert, far from it. It is more of a practice. I do not know as much as Richard Lee, either. His reloading knowledge dwarfs mine, but I am not trying to sell you anything either. I referred to Modern Reloading as propaganda, because that is exactly what it is. If somebody cannot see that, then they haven't read the book, or are clueless. Each and every page is a shamless plug of why Lee products are so much better than everbody else's. Again, nothing wrong with Lee products, but they are FAR from the best in many/most instances.

If you don't like my way, do it your way.
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Old March 10, 2007, 07:19 AM   #33
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Does anyone use a Lee Factory Crimp Die?
Steelrat, What type of crimp die are you asking about? The Lee Factory Crimp Die is a collet type crimp die for "RIFLE" cartridges.
The Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die is for "Handgun" ammunition.

These two "Crimp" dies have a completely different design and purpose. There is a lot of talk on this thread about the "LFCD" for use in handguns. The handgun die is a Lee "Carbide" Factory Crimp Die. Which type of crimp die were you referring to in your original post? I Assume you were talking about rifle crimping as you did not ask about a "Carbide" crimp die.
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Old March 10, 2007, 07:22 AM   #34
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I love my Lee FCD

I love my Lee FDC and I have one for every caliber that I reload for. I started using them when I got tired of the inconsistent crimps when I was loading 38 or 357.If the case was 1 or 2 thousandths longer or shorter the crimp would be either to much or not enough with the roll crimp. But its like the man said "Case length is not critical". The FCD is like any other tool we use for reloading. Its a tool and it serves a purpose. Some will use it and some will continue to bash Lee products and say that they are just a quick fix or a band aid.I just don't find this to be the case.
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Old March 10, 2007, 09:12 AM   #35
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Old March 12, 2007, 03:30 PM   #36
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Hey Steve, I was actually talking about the carbide die for pistols, I didn't know they made one for rifles. I haven't started reloading for my rifles but will soon and will be checking into that die as well. Thanks again to everyone for all the info.
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