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Old February 13, 2020, 05:01 PM   #1
wondering121
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How to crimp .44 & .357 without a cannelure

Sorry in advance for the long post....I'm new to handloading for revolvers and picked up some Berry's in .357 (125 grain) and .44 (240 grain) only to find that they do not have a cannelure groove.

I've done some research but wanted to run my specific situation by the experts here. For the .44 magnum I would load with Unique and shoot out of a S&W Model 69 4" barrel. I have a Lee Factory Crimp Die for the .357 and another for the .44 coming in the mail tomorrow.

I've read that some people deep seat the bullet and taper crimp around the ogive, but I really do not want to alter overall length as my level of expertise is not that high.

My gameplan is to load based the .44 in light magnum loads based on 240 grain plated data around 1000 fps (10-11 grains Unique) and maintain the OAL given in the manual. I will use the Lee Crimp die to apply a slight roll crimp (being careful not to cut through the plating) then load 5 and fire 4 and check the length of the unfired round to see if I get any OAL changes.

I will probably try the same gameplan with the .357 using 7-7.5 grains of Unique out of a 3" Ruger SP101.

I do have .38 spl and .44 spl brass that I can fall back on for lighter loads if my magnum gameplan is too ambitious.

Am I overlooking anything or do any of you have any further advice?

Thanks in advance!
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Old February 13, 2020, 05:27 PM   #2
Nick_C_S
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Welcome to TFL!

With plated bullets, ideally, you'd want to use a taper crimp die. I have taper crimp dies for my 38/357 44Spl/Mag just for properly crimping plated bullets. I use the Lee FCD's for cannelured jacketed bullets, but not for plated (cannelure or not). I use RCBS taper crimp dies. But I understand that there's a Redding Profile Crimp Die (?) that works well too. If you plan on using a roll-crimp die (like the Lee FCD), I suggest keeping the crimp very mild. It doesn't take much for the roll crimp to dig in and rupture the thin copper plating.

According to Berry's, the 125gn 357 should be seated to an OAL of 1.575" and 1.590" for the 210gn 44.
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Old February 13, 2020, 05:27 PM   #3
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I am certainly not one of the "experts" by any means. But in my short experience, I've used that LEE die with good results. The packaging says it will create its own crimp groove (just not too much!) so not to worry. I've used it on .38spl and .357 rounds without problems. I'd expect you'll be OK following what you wrote above. Good luck!
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Old February 13, 2020, 05:49 PM   #4
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Your plan seems reasonable. Keeping the velocities down and use of a medium speed powder are good when using bullets with no cannelure or crimping groove.

As you plan, a roll crimp die can be adjusted to give the slight crimp desired with no-cannelure plated bullets. I did just that for awhile but I went ahead and bought taper crimp dies for the 357/38, 44, and 45. I don't try to seat the bullet deeper, instead just applying a taper crimp the same way I would on an automatic pistol round.

The advantage to the taper crimp die over the typical roll crimp die in revolver cartridge applications involves case length variations. A standard roll crimp is fairly sensitive to case length, especially when trying to apply a minimal crimp. The crimp of a taper crimp die seems somewhat more consistent over a larger variation of case lengths.
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Old February 13, 2020, 08:14 PM   #5
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Get the Lee collet crimp die, easy to fairly lightly crimp without cutting through the plating. A crimp that light will hold as stout a magnum load that's still within the recommended velocity for plated bullets.
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Old February 13, 2020, 08:29 PM   #6
Nick_C_S
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Quote:
A standard roll crimp is fairly sensitive to case length, especially when trying to apply a minimal crimp. The crimp of a taper crimp die seems somewhat more consistent over a larger variation of case lengths.
This is true.

I load a lot of plated ammo so I bought taper crimp dies. But since I now have them, I also load my lead wadcutters with a light taper crimp - that's all they need. Not only does it make a more consistent crimp round over round (as jetinteriorguy mentioned) it also helps preserve the brass (doesn't work it as hard).

Make no mistake: taper crimping can't completely replace roll crimping in the revolver world. Potent jacketed ammo, using slow propellants most definitely benefit from a robust roll crimp. Makes for a more consistent burn, and keeps the bullets (the ones not being fired in the charge holes) from pulling out during hard recoil. But otherwise, using a taper crimp is at least worthy of consideration.
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Old February 14, 2020, 01:31 AM   #7
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I agree with others on the use of the taper crimp, I just started doing it for my .32 revolvers with the Berry's bullet. If the bullets don't have a crimp groove or cannelure, then it's foolhardy to use any sort of roll crimp, even a super light one. I've tried doing it before and the results didn't impress me while taper crimped revolver rounds did.
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Old February 14, 2020, 02:22 AM   #8
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https://leeprecision.com/reloading-d...ory-crimp-die/

According to Lee's web site, both the .38/.357 and .44 factory crimp dies apply a roll crimp. If you can't adjust it so it crimps without cutting through the plating, then I'd second the suggestion to get Lee's collet crimping die.
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Old February 14, 2020, 03:43 AM   #9
TruthTellers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
https://leeprecision.com/reloading-d...ory-crimp-die/

According to Lee's web site, both the .38/.357 and .44 factory crimp dies apply a roll crimp. If you can't adjust it so it crimps without cutting through the plating, then I'd second the suggestion to get Lee's collet crimping die.
Can the Berry's bullets work with Lee's collet crimp die? The plating is very thin I'm not so sure that it can withstand that type of crimp without causing issues.
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Old February 14, 2020, 04:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Can the Berry's bullets work with Lee's collet crimp die? The plating is very thin I'm not so sure that it can withstand that type of crimp without causing issues.
The amount of crimp can be adjusted, and I think the collet die is possibly more controllable than the factory crimp die, which produces a roll crimp.

That said, Berry's sells their bullets for revolvers, and all die manufacturers sell roll crimp dies for revolver rounds. The nice thing about using the Lee factory crimp die is that it makes crimping a separate step from seating. That immediately gives you better control than a 3-die set in which seating and crimping are performed at the same time. I actually think the OP's plan as laid out in the opening post will work just fine. The collet crimp die would be a fallback if the factory crimp die doesn't get the job done.

Berry's web site offers the following advice:

Quote:
Don’t over crimp the brass after seating. This causes bullet core separation, leading to increased copper fouling and accuracy issues.
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Old February 14, 2020, 02:15 PM   #11
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Yes. There are enough different Lee crimp dies to be confusing:

Lee Factory Crimp Die: A rifle crimping die that impresses a crimp into a bullet through the case near the mouth.

Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die
: A handgun cartridge crimping die with either a taper or a roll crimp ring at the top and a carbide ring at the bottom to make sure no cartridge every gets too fat.

Lee Collet-Style Crimp Die: This is for longer handgun cartridges and one short straight wall rifle cartridge and makes the same type of crimp the original Lee Factory Crimp Die does, except it uses a special collet designed to work on shorter case lengths than the original can. Still, it can't be made for really short cases. It is available only in:

357 Mag
350 Legend
44 Rem. Mag
460 S&W
45 Colt
480 Ruger
500 S&W Mag
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Old February 14, 2020, 03:23 PM   #12
wondering121
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Thanks all for the great feedback. I really appreciate it and learned a good deal. I think I'll add a light crimp with my Lee Factory Carbide Crimp die and see how it goes. Main thing was to make sure I wasn't overlooking something that would have created an unsafe condition.

Thanks again!
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Old February 14, 2020, 04:00 PM   #13
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I have used the Lee Factory Crimp Die on 44 Mag 240gr cast loads for years .
I also use Unique and a lite load works very well .
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Old February 14, 2020, 06:06 PM   #14
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use a light crimp, either kind, just enough to hold the bullets in place in your revolvers (which can vary with different loads and guns), shoot them up, and when they are gone, replace them with proper bullets made for revolver use.
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Old February 14, 2020, 06:59 PM   #15
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One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that if you want to use a Lee factory crimp die and roll crimp with it and get consistent crimps you have to trim your cases to all the same length.
With out trimming them roll crimping consistently would be an exercise in futility.
For light to medium .357 mag loads with plated bullets, I chamfer the inside of the mouth and use a taper crimp die on them.

Chamferring them is very important in not having a sharp edge inside the case that cuts the plating.

The best, easiest thing to do would be to chamfer the inside of the mouths, you only have to do it really once. and go with a taper crimp die, they don't care about different length cases.

just straighten out the neck sizing flare with the taper crimp die on the longest case you can find and your good to go.
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Old February 14, 2020, 09:20 PM   #16
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When I've loaded Berry's plated bullets, it's been a few years, I got the best accuracy by crimping with the normal roll crimp die, and adjusting it so that the case just bit into the copper plating but didn't cut through it. First adjust it so it just straightens out the flare, then go ever so slightly more.
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