Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by todd51, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    I see the factory crimp die mentioned in several of the threads. I have never used one. From what I see at Lee's site they will completely eliminate the hassle of getting a good roll crimp on the revolve calibers. Got some questions to get things straight before I order.

    After properly adjusted say on a .45 Colt it will not require further adjustment if I change bullets unless for some reason I would want more crimp. Is that right?

    Could I run previously loaded rounds loaded with the old style seat and crimp die through the factory crimp die to improve or confirm on the crimp that was already made?

    If I am going to use the factory crimp die then adjusting my existing seat and crimp die so that it does not crimp and becomes just a bullet seating die the way to do it?

    If I have used a properly adjusted seat and taper crimp die on auto cartridges like say .45acp is there advantage or need to purchase and use the factory crimp die?

    I don't normally trim my pistol and revolver cases and that makes getting a good consistent roll crimp a hassle. How is the slight variance in case length going to effect the crimp made by the factory crimp die?

    Is Lee the only mfg. that makes a factory crimp die?

    I am sure that once I have one of these in my hand these questions will become self evident but and am curious before I order.

    Most common reloads for me are 9mm Luger, .45acp, .38spl/357mag. and .45 Colt.
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Yes, yes, yes, yes, it won't, and I think so.

    #4 - You won't need a factory crimp die, but since it has the carbide ring on the bottom, it resizes the entire loaded round to make sure it is to factory spec. Sometimes, when I run one up, I don't feel anything until it crimps, while other times I feel it go through the sizer ring.

    #1 - Lee uses a different type of lock-ring. Everyone else has some type of screw lock-down. Lee uses an O-ring. Because of that, when I first screw a Lee die in, I have to make minor fine adjustments. This is not a problem for me, but if it is for you, simply replace the Lee lock-ring with a Redding or RCBS or Hornady, or whoever.

  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    Semi-auto pistol cartridges like the 9mm, the 45ACP, the 380, and several more that headspace on the cartridge rim, need to be taper crimped. Every die set I have ever seen when adjusted right for these calibers works just fine and no "Lee Factory Crimp Die" (LFCD) is required. Revolver cartridges can use a regular roll crimp from the normal die set but should be crimped into a cannelure or crimp groove. That means all the cases from a batch need to be the same over all length and the die adjusted correctly

    Rifle cartridges are the ones that may need the LFCD, especially ammo intended for semi-auto rifles or rifles that recoil heavily or for tube fed lever or pump rifles. Normally bolt guns need no crimp at all unless rough handling is expected, like when hunting.

    While Lee calls both the pistol and rifle Factory Crimp Dies the same thing, they are not. The pistol version produces a crimp and a carbide sizer smoothes the outside of the case as a last step in reloading. The rifle Lee Factory Crimp Die is a collet die that squeezes the case throat into the bullet, making a crimp grove where there is none. The look is four places radial spaced around the case that has been squeeze into the bullet horizontally. The action of the die is horizontal into the case. A squeezing collet does the job rather than a vertical edge in the seating die as in normal crimping.

    I recommend the rifle version highly and am not so hot on the pistol version but the latter does work OK. The latter does assure that every cartridge will fit into the gun because they are made uniform by this LFCD and this die does take out any bulge in the case wall the sizer die could not reach.

    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  4. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    OK, Alpo and LD. That is just what I wanted to hear and it removes any doubt and confusion I had about taking the plunge and getting them. At present I don't load for any semi auto rifles so will get the appropriate pistol dies and have a go. Thank you all.

    It is snowing here AGAIN so will get an order off and have something to do till the weather improves.
  5. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    West Virginia
    I am a firm believer in the FCD for rifle and pistol. I don't believe in using the pistol FCD for the sizing part because it will only size a case that is out of spec. I like to use them for pistol because I shoot competition and I like to use the post sizing ring as a case gage. I don't want to spend that much time after a reloading session and run every round through a case gage when the FCD will let me know the round is in spec and I know they will chamber. If I feel the FCD post size a round I set it to the side and inspect the round to see if I want to use it or pull it.
  6. garydude

    garydude Member

    Will the LFCD fit in other presses than ones made by Lee? Specifically RCBS?
  7. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    A fan of the Lee factory crimp die here, I have one for each of the pistol calibers I reload. Normally I would not go for Lee stuff however this is one huge exception in my own "rule Book" this die produces very consistent results when used and they usually run around $10, what a huge value.

    Garydude they are the standard 7/8-14 threaded dies and will fit your press.
  8. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    I've got FCDs in every caliber I load, that they make 'em in. Rifle and pistol, auto and revolver. I think the only ones I don't have are 25 ACP and 9.3 x 57.
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    With only a few exceptions, all reloading dies are interchangeable between press as all use the same thread size, 7/8" x 14 TPI. You can use any cross combo of press and dies you like. I have a Dillon Progressive RL550B and I use Redding, RCBS, some Lee (phasing them out!), Lyman, Hornady die sets. On some calibers I use different manufacturers among the same die set for various reasons. The bottom line is that there are industry standard that manufacturers of reloading equipment follow making a lot of reloading stuff interchangeable.

    The only exception I can think of off hand in the home reloading presses is the Dillon Square Deal pistol only press which uses its own specific dies sets. People buy this press who shoot competition or who need huge supplies of pistol ammo. They tend to buy a press for each caliber that they shoot in volume and leave it set up permanently. This is not a normal usage for most of us.

  10. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    >With only a few exceptions, all reloading dies are interchangeable between press as all use the same thread size, 7/8" x 14 TPI.< Now.

    Used to was, many presses had their own proprietary thread. I guess it was to insure that you bought their dies. Herters had a different thread. Lyman used to use a different thread. Some presses also used different ways to attach shell holders, so you couldn't use an RCBS shell holder in a Herters press.
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    That may still be the case for shell holders (??) but the dies have at least become standardized for thread size and function (unless it is 50BMG.. We're looking into that one currently and are about to take the plunge with a BOHICA upper for my AR-15 lower I just built up. It seems nothing I currently have for reloading will reload that mammoth cartridge).

    But it is certainly better for standardization than it was 50 years ago when I did my first reloading sessions on a friend's equipment. I think when adjusted for the cost of living, reloading equipment is less expensive today than 50 years ago, but I have not actually done the numbers to be sure.

  12. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    Well I placed the order last evening for Lee FCD's in 9mm, 38/357, 45apc, and 45 Colt from Midway USA. The 45acp was not listed in the latest catalog but was listed online.

    Thanks again for the help and advice.
  13. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    I ordered the Lee factory crimp dies last Friday from Midway USA and they arrived yesterday (fast service). I started playing with them last evening by running some previously completed reloads through them. Adjustment was very easy as you folks had said. The .45 Colts went through with no change (must have done something right). Was surprised to find all of my 9mm experienced considerable resizing of the lower 1/3 to 1/2 of the cases and a slight improvement of the taper crimp. The .38/,357 die improved my roll crimp and slightly resized the brass in the area outside the cast bullet on about half of my .38spl.s, no resizing on the swedged bullets. I am very pleased with these dies. They will add a step to the process as I use a single stage press but I think they will definitely be worth the work and will result in better reloads. Thanks to all for the assistance and advice.

    Still got a bunch of .45acp to go over but it is still cold outside.

  14. VegasTech702

    VegasTech702 New Member

    Sep 10, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    I like the fact that unlike the roll crimp option, with the factory crimp die you don't have to cut the pistol cases to length in order to get a proper crimp.
  15. BillyD9

    BillyD9 New Member

    Mar 3, 2010
    I'm shooting a Handi-Rifle, and it will take "any" ammunition, including the ones that put the little notch in my eyebrow, so I don't think I have to worry too much about how tight the crimp is. But, after reading all the info you guys have, I think I'll splurge on the $10.00 the LFCD costs.
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