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Old February 3, 2011, 11:54 AM   #1
Join Date: December 8, 2009
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Lee Crimp Die Problem

Just bought the Lee Classic 4 hole Press since I load 9mm, 38/357, 45, and now 223 Remington rounds. My RCBS crusher that I bought in 1986 takes too long to reload rounds for my son-in-law and me.

My problem: I have the Lee Deluxe Pistol Die Set for the 9mm Luger -- the 4 die set. The crimp/seating die does not maintain the settings I use i.e., I use the calipers and adjust for the correct COAL and start putting out rounds. I check every 5 rounds and am frustrated in that the seating setting changes downward after the second or third cycle. I have cleaned the die breaking down and cleaning with Simple Green (use this also to clean my many casting reels) thinking this would improve the grip to retain my setting. Alas, to no avail, my friend, to no avail.... I get this same problem with the .45 set but not as often to wit, I check every 10 rds.

I thank you in advance for any suggestions to correct this.
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Old February 3, 2011, 12:02 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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That seems like a virtual impossibility if you're using lock rings on the dies.

First, how much "movement" are you getting? It's not unusual to have a couple thousandths difference in bullet length.

Beyond that, I suspect you're maybe not using consistent strokes on the lever?

Every seating die I have (all Lee) in both handgun and rifle has pretty stiff resistance on adjustments to the seating stem. I can't see how it could possibly move by accident, let alone in a couple of strokes.
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Old February 3, 2011, 12:09 PM   #3
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I agree with PK. Make sure you have the die set up so that the handle can make the full stroke and make sure the handle bottoms out on every stroke. I load 9mm, 38/357, 45 auto and 223 on the same press with Lee dies and my OAL's are never off more than .003. If they are off .005 I wouldn't worry about it. Inconsistant ogive's in the bullets will keep every round from measuring exactly the same.
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Old February 3, 2011, 12:12 PM   #4
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I agree with you killa. The only thing I can think of is you are trying for too heavy of a crimp. I would back off the die until you get no resistance at all when the lever is completely bottomed out. Then adjust it back down until you get some resistance. It doesn't take a lot for the crimp die to work properly.
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Old February 3, 2011, 12:18 PM   #5
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Your basic problem is that there is NO crimp/seating die in the Lee Deluxe Pistol four die set. The seating is done with the bullet seating/feed die, and the crimp is set with the Factory Crimp Die. The adjustment on the FCD is for the amount of crimp, not for seating depth. This is an excellent die set, but you really need to read and understand the instruction sheet that came with them. The operation, and the adjustment, of these dies are not the same as most die sets.

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Old February 3, 2011, 12:26 PM   #6
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Sounds like a bit of slop in the press, not the dies, make sure everything is tight. With new turret presses sometimes there’s a learning curve.
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Old February 3, 2011, 02:37 PM   #7
chris in va
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I had the same issue when loading my LRN for the 9mm. A sage person pointed out I needed to unscrew the seating die a couple turns to take out the crimp function, then screw the seating stem back down for proper OAL. Use the FCD for final taper crimp.

Also, some cases like Federal are VERY soft and the bullet will slide in like a wet seal. Others, like CBC, require some real force.
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Old February 3, 2011, 02:49 PM   #8
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Sorry on the die mentioned - it is the "bullet seat and feed die"

Thank you Sensai, for articulating the proper noun nomenclature and as to my inexperience. I have only been reloading 38 and 357 "wheel" rounds for 25 years on a more simplistic device, the RCBS "Rock Crusher" with a set of Lyman dies. On this Lee Classic, I have only reloaded about 300 to 400 .45 ACP’s, and about the same with the Lee 38/357 dies and about 150 9mm rounds. All rounds went "bang" and 99% did hit the somewhere (inside and outside the the rings) on the target. All of these rounds were loaded in Lee die kits set up as prescribed in the appropriate instruction sheets provided in die kits.

The problem has been with the 9mm die and not my other caliber dies. It has just come to the point where I am tired of readjusting the 9 mm Luger "Lee Deluxe Pistol Die Set" Bullet Seat and Feed Die. The disparity in readings ranges from about 1 to 5 Thousand's (.001 - .005). Rereading the Instructions on the “Bullet Seating Die”, the die was inserted and adjusted as stated. I think the problem could be with the “Adjusting Screw”, I really don’t know and why I asked for assistance.

Reading that .003 thousand's to even .005 thousand's is acceptable in a semi pistol does alleviate some of my frustrations. The proper leverage with a "full" stroke is another good suggestion to check.

All, I do thank you for your comments, constructive criticisms and suggestions.
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Old February 3, 2011, 04:04 PM   #9
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"RCBS "Rock Crusher" "?? I believe you probably have a Rock Chucker, Lyman makes the Crusher.

An OAL variation of 5 thou in handgun ammo is plenty precise but improper adjustment of the crimper and inconsistant operation of the press lever can easily make it that bad or worse.

If you need more speed at a rational cost consider buying a Lee Classic Turret press. It's not a progressive but has an auto-indexing option for the turret and that can speed things up quite a bit.
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Old February 3, 2011, 06:56 PM   #10
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Your basic problem is that there is NO crimp/seating die in the Lee Deluxe Pistol four die set.
Actually the seating die in the Deluxe Pistol set is a standard seating die that can be set to crimp also. It has to be set high enough not to crimp if you plan on using the FCD.
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Old February 3, 2011, 07:10 PM   #11
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many lee dies seat with a plug which pushes the bullet by the ogive instead of the tip of the bullet, which may lead to a disparity in total OAL from base to tip, but will have consistent OAL from base to a particular ogival diameter. If your bullets are inconsistently made, as far as where this ogival diameter is on the bullet, it will result in your problem. My 2 cents.
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