.45 colt crimping ?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by weirdbeard, May 1, 2009.

  1. weirdbeard

    weirdbeard New Member

    May 1, 2009
    Heys guys I am new to reloading and was looking for some information and knowledge on crimping so I don't blow my arm off. I will be loading for a New Vaquero .45 colt. My main question is on crimping and cannelure. I am use Lee carbide pistol dies and was wondering if they will give me the roll crimp that looks like it comes when I buy factory rounds. Is it even necessary for a roll crimp. Also on most cast bullets it looks like there is a groove for the crimp...is this correct and why do some don't have it? Sorry for my ignorance any tips would be great. Thanks
  2. 3ME

    3ME New Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    I crimp. Some guys don't and if you are careful handling the rounds and will be shooting them only in a revolver, it probably does not matter. The argument for not crimping is that your brass sees less stress and will last longer. It also may stretch slightly less. The main argument for crimping is to prevent the bullet from moving — especially from being pushed deeper into the case and possibly causing a compressed load. This become especially critical when the rounds will be shot through a tubular magazine, like a lever action rifle.

    If the bullet has a cantilever, I crimp in the center and crimp just hard enough to hold it there. You don't want to crimp so hard that the case crimp cuts into the bullet or where you are seeing any deformity of the brass of bullet.

  3. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    Harriman, Tn
    Yes, roll crimp. The lee factory crimp die does a wonderful job:). if you don't, the bullet can walk out of the case and jam the cylinder:(.
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    howlinmad is right. Its happened to me several times. I too use lee dies and load the .45 colt for the vaquero (see avatar). I suggest drimping ALL revolver cartridges. The LEE carbide set has a separate die for crimping. I find it works best to seat the bullets .010 long and then adjust the crimp so that it meets the OAL for your specific bullet. I use Laser cast in my .45 colt as well as Lyman cast bullet # 452424 cast myself. Both I crimp using the same procedure. charge the case, seat the bullet .010 long, in the case of my lyman bullets the stated OAL is 1.575 so i seat to 1.585, then adjust the crimp die so I get 1.575. This gives me a NICE clean roll crimp and ensures the bullet will not move under recoil...

    If you use a bullet seating/crimping die the pocedure is similar in order to set up the die... run a 'ready to load' case up into the die. screw the die down until it contacts the case mouth. charge the case, place a bullet in the sufficiently belled case mouth, and set the bullet seating ram so that it seats to .010 long and screw the die down to achieve the crimp after you seat the bullet on the first round. it takes awhile to do the first one but every loaded round afterward will come out seated and crimped with one stroke of the press arm... I do however prefer the separate crimping procedure. its much more precise and lends itself well to case life and makes more accurate ammo...
  5. muddober

    muddober Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    Simply put and 100% correct.
  6. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    There are actually three crimps for cartridges that I am aware of: roll, taper, and Lee Factory crimp. All look different when executed on the cartridge.

    Roll Crimp:

    The classic crimp that is part of most die sets for rifle and revolver cartridges. The crimp is done by the bullet seating die. They can be tricky to set up. Do it wrong and the crimp can distort the bullet or collapse the case or bulge the area of the crimp so that it will not feed into the gun. All lever, pump, and revolvers need crimping and this is the standard way to do it. The edge of the case is gently rolled into a crimp grove or a canalure on the bullet.

    Taper crimp:

    The classic crimp used for semi-auto cartridges like the 45 ACP, 9mm, and 40 S&W. Roll crimps can NOT be used on these cartridges as they headspace off the case mouth which when roll crimped would allow the case to seat too deeply into the chamber. The results could be Faliures to Fire. This crimp pushes the case throat into the bullet rather than roll the case into a canalure and is done by the seating die. It is possible to set up the die incorrectly and damage the case during the crimping operation of seating the bullet into the case. The taper crimp, when done correctly, leaves the edge of the case proud of the bullet somewhat so that it can be caught by the recess in the gun chamber. It is a gentle tapering of the case mouth into a bullet with or without a cannalure or crimp groove.

    Lee Factory Crimp:

    This is a proprietary crimp made by their separate crimp die. It pushes the case into the bullet below the case mouth in about three or four places around the mouth of the case. It uses a collet action in the die to produce this crimp and is similar in results to the crimp of some factory ammo. It is usable on ammo for any type gun from revolvers to semi-autos to rifle cartridges. It is easier to setup correctly and is less sensitive to case length than the other two crimps. While I don't like Lee stuff normally, this die is so good I use it anyway and put up with the efforts required to avoid the collet mechanism from galling.

  7. weirdbeard

    weirdbeard New Member

    May 1, 2009
    Thanks guys, very well put JLA. I am glad there are forums to talk to people about reloading, also that there are guys willing to share knowledge that they have learned over the years. It really shortens the learning curve...Thanks:D
  8. griffon

    griffon New Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    I agree. The Lee Factory crimp is good stuff. I crimp all my ammo for my New Vaquaro. The lee die even smooths out the case, making for a great looking reload.
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
  9. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    The Lee Factory Crimp Die for rifle and bottlneck pistol cartridges is a completely different type of crimp die (like LDBennet described) with a collet to crimp the case mouth, and works very well.

    The Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die for straight wall pistol cartridges is a traditional roll or taper crimp die (as required for the cartridge), with a carbide post-sizing ring to iron out case buckling that may occur due to inconsistent length cases, improperly adjusted crimp, etc. My CFCD in 45 colt does not do a good job at all. The crimp ring is too large, and lets the case mouth slip under the ring without completely rolling it into the cannelure. It also scrapes the outside of the case mouth badly. I have seen gun show reloads with this same appearance, so mine is not the only one that does it. I have not tried a CFCD for taper crimped cartridges, but IMHO, if the post sizing has any effect, it is to iron over a problem that should be solved at the source.

  10. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    I have not used the Carbide version of the Lee Factory Crimp Die. Too bad its performance does not match the regular Lee Factory Crimp Die. I usually find the crimp function of the seating die in most semi-auto cartridge die sets and in most revolver cartridge die sets just fine. I use the Lee Factory crimp die on some rifle cartridges, especially those for semi-autos and some pump guns.

    As I have seen with other Lee products, the ideas are often extremely good but the execution and materials choice often is bad. Not every manufacturer's products is a winner but Lee has few that are. Then, to top it off, Lee comes on so arrogant like he is the only manufacturer that understand reloading and his products are so superior, when the reality is most are poor performers based on good ideas. But I will thank Lee for the competition he gave the reloading industry as it forced the pricing of all things reloading down to much more affordable levels. Without Lee and if the rises in pricing continued through the 1980's to date, I firmly believe we would be paying double to triple what we pay today for all reloading tools. RCBS was, unfortunately, the leader of the pack when it came to high pricing. But that didn't happen and all reloading tools today are much more reasonably priced. Again, thank you Lee.

  11. tEN wOLVES

    tEN wOLVES New Member

    I'll endorse this too, and if you want to check your roll crimp to see if you have enough crimp on it , just put a dummy test round in your bullet puller and give it a whack on a concrete floor, if the bullet comes out real easy, it needs more crimp. this is an easy test to do, and if you're new to reloading it's a good way to see how well the crimp will hold. ( IMHO )


    tEN wOLVES :):D
  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I guess my crimps are sufficient. I put my cartridges into my kinetic hammer and whack it sharp on the couter top. After several whacks the handle of my puller shattered and the round was still crimped...:eek:
  13. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    JLA, I would say that is a good crimp. Can't say the same about the puller.:D:D:D
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Yeah it was one of those knock off cabelas brand ones made to copy the RCBS kinetic hammer. I didnt figure the polycarbonate construction would hold up too well against blunt force. It did un-load more than its fair share of ammo though. I more than got my moneys worth;)
  15. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    I have one of the RCBS hammers and every time I use it I worry that it is going to break, but I have been worrying about it for about 25 years! I also have one of the things that you put into your press and change the collets for whatever bullet diameter you have. It works every time but if you get it too tight it will leave a "crimp" on your bullet, where the hammer doesn't do that.
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