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Old October 13, 2012, 08:38 AM   #1
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Crimping Cases

I'm about to load up some 357 and 44 magnum. For 357 I've got some 158gr jacketed and lead bullets. For the jacketed I figured I'd start around 10gr of 2400. My question is whether or not I need to go out and buy the crimping die. I've got the Lee 3 die set that does everything else.
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Old October 13, 2012, 10:47 AM   #2
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The standard Lee set of dies includes the ability to properly crimp. You do not need a separate crimp die unless you prefer to crimp in a seperate step from bullet seating. You just have to adjust the seat/crimp die correctly.
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Old October 13, 2012, 01:52 PM   #3
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I used to do the seat and crimp in one step.

Now I use the separate die.

Lot less fiddling to get right and easier produciton and I think more consistent.
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Old October 13, 2012, 05:46 PM   #4
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I had a hellish time getting to grips with crimping. My loads were (and still are) .38Spl and .44Mag, so almost the same as yours.

Personally, I too have gone for a seperate crimp die.

I can't imagine the different grades of stress-induced insanity/profanity I'd have inflicted on my wife (She would have heard me all the way from my garage at the end of the road!) had I needed to get the crimp and OAL just right with the same die!!

For the cost of that single die, I'd say get it...
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:02 AM   #5
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I buy Redding Profile Crimp Dies for all my 'revolver' cartridges.

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"Because it enhances ballistic uniformity and increases accuracy."
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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Old October 14, 2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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Unless you trim all your cases to exactly the same length, I'd recommend the fcd. I've never had to trim my .40 cases to max. length but they all vary a few thous. in length so I went with the fcd and it works great.
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Old October 14, 2012, 02:07 PM   #7
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Seating and crimping can be done with the same die but should be done in separate stages. Trying to apply the crimp while the bullet is still moving into the case is an exercise in futility. I just seat a large batch and then adjust the die to crimp only and run them all through again. Having all of the cases the exact same length is nice but is a lot of extra time and effort. Do not try to apply a HEAVY crimp. It doesn't serve any real purpose and just overworks the brass and will cause it to become brittle and split. I use a taper crimp on almost all of my cartridges, revolver or auto. With good case neck tension the bullets won't pull or setback.
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Old October 15, 2012, 04:14 PM   #8
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+1 for the Redding profile crimper
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Old January 10, 2013, 08:03 PM   #9
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Well, laziness set in and I have yet to get to this part of my operation. So as I understand it, the seat die also crimps if it is adjusted correctly. This is a roll crimp correct?

Is the best way to do this simply to seat in one step and adjust the die afterwards to crimp them all?

How do I adjust the die to do that? Screw it all the way out?

BTW I'm using jacketed bullets at the moment but I've read that lead can be done this way too without and problems.
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Old January 11, 2013, 09:14 AM   #10
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I crimp as a seperate step using the seating die that came with the set.

I always measure and trim any brass that is on the long side.

What I did with my seating die was to set the die for the crimp I would like and lock it with a Hornady lock ring (these are LEE dies).

Now take a large washer (mine is about 1/8" thick) that will fit between the lock ring and the press and screw the die on top of that washer.

Seat bullets with the washer in place. After you finish up the batch of bullets take the die out, remove the washer, screw the die back in. Make sure to back the seater off a bunch of turns before using. The die is now in your crimping position. Crimp away!

cheap and lame I know, but it works!
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Old January 11, 2013, 10:20 AM   #11
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Like many I use my seating die to crimp in a seperate step. IMO crimping is not just to hold bullets in place under recoil but different crimps effects how the powder burns. Not so critical in longer rifle barrels but can be a deal breaker in handguns.

As for 10grs of 2400....... I assume your talkin .357M and if so that's well below starting for book. You have to watch it, some powders you can do that with, some become just as unsafe as going over book. Now I don't think that 2400 becomes unsafe (although I'm not 100% on this) but I do know it's not a powder intended for light loads and needs certain pressues to get proper burn. It's a magnum powder for magnum loads. Going below book may result in smokey, inconsistant reloads. If you want light to medium loads you need to try a different powder.

Another option if you are wanting less than magnum loads and still want to use 2400 is to load it in shorter .38sp cases.
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Old January 11, 2013, 11:13 AM   #12
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If you want to do it in two steps with the same die, first you adjust your die to seat without crimping - with the die not fully seated, place a case in the shellholder and raise the ram completely and then turn the die in until you can just feel it touch the top of the case. Back off 1.5-2 turns, reset your lock ring (or use Donkee's washer trick), then set your bullet seater stem where you want it and seat the batch. I like to seat cannelured bullets to where the top of the brass is very close to the top of the cannelure, so there's plenty of room for the crimp.

When it's time to crimp the batch, back off your seater stem 5-6 turns so it cannot possibly contact the previously seated bullets, then put another case in the shellholder as before and raise it completely. Loosen the lock ring on the die (or remove washer) and turn it down until you feel it touch the top of your case. Lower the ram and turn the die 1/2 turn or so and then run the case back into it. If you like that crimp, set the lock ring and go. If you need more, I'd add 1/4 turn at a time until the proper crimp is achieved. Overcrimping is very common - you generally only need the lip of the case to be rolled into the cannelure.

I've never had a problem seating and crimping in the same step myself - but I also tend to keep my brass grouped by headstamp so it's mostly the same length. I even trim my premium magnum revolver brass for consistency and I always readjust my die for each batch. The main key is timing - the crimping ring in the die cannot start touching the lip of the case until it's cleared the bottom edge of the cannelure - otherwise it jams into the bullet and the case gets buckled as the bullet continues down. If your cases are of inconsistent lengths, you'll drive yourself mad as your results will vary between no crimp and overcrimped, buckled cases. The compounding issue is most loaders' tendency to overcrimp.
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Old January 11, 2013, 05:10 PM   #13
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I have one die set for revolver that I only could get a 3 die set. I seat, and crimp in the same step. It is not bad as long as your brass is close to the same length.

Adjust die to seat without crimping. Then adjust to the level of crimp you want. Use the cylinder of your revolver as a gauge to assure the round will chamber. Once you have a round you are satisfied with. run the completed round into the die then screw seating stem down till it touches the bullet. Your die is now adjusted. Try another round, and see if chambers in your cylinder. If yes then keep going till you run out of components.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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