Lee Factory crimp die for 9mm Luger - Necessary??

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by SamoyedGuy, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. SamoyedGuy

    SamoyedGuy New Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Northern KY
    I'm brand new to reloading because of worries about the availability of ammunition. I am going to start with 9mm Luger. I have Winchester 115 gr JHP bullets. since these are for a semi-auto they don't have cannelures. Lee included the factory crimp die for the fourth station of the classic turret press. I've seen an article in the Lyman 49th edition about roll crimping being a problem with head-space in some cartridges. Is this something I should skip?

    Also the 380 die set doesn't include a factory crimp die; that is sold separately. Should I order on when I buy the 380 ACP die set or just not worry about a final crimp?

    Sorry for asking what I suspect may be a very ignorant question but I want to feel safe when reloading or shooting my reloads.

  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    The Factory Crimp Die is not necessary. People loaded for years before they were invented. But they sure are nice.

    Now, don't confuse "crimp" with "roll-crimp". They are two different things.

    To crimp a case is to do something to it to make it grip the bullet tighter. "Roll crimp" is one of three different ways to do this.

    Most automatic pistol cartridges use a "taper crimp". The taper crimp is built into the seating die (just as the roll-crimp shoulder is built into the seating die of a revolver set).

    This shows a roll-crimp. It's a rifle case, but it works the same with pistol.


    This is a reloading die, cut in half. See the two areas that are circled? Notice how they curve inward? When the case is shoved up into the die, the case mouth hits that area (called the "crimping shoulder") and it literally "rolls" the case mouth inward into the bullet.

    An auto-pistol case, though, is more like a funnel. The die gets narrower as it goes up, and as the case is raised into the die, it is squeezed inward, so that whole of the case is tapered and holds the bullet.

    So the FCD is not necessary. Your 380 dies will load perfectly satisfactory ammo without it.

    I just think it's nice. Got one for every cartridge I load, except for the couple of strange ones where they don't make one for it.

  3. SamoyedGuy

    SamoyedGuy New Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Northern KY
    Thanks ALPO! That makes sense. I'm looking forward to trying my first batch.
  4. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Alpo covered it nicely. I also use the factory crimp die on every cartridge I load, to include the .380 ACP.
  5. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    The taper "crimp" for semi-auto pistols is not really a crimp. It is used to remove the flare that was applied in station two plus maybe a thou or two more. It is not used to secure the bullet.

    There are a few ways to remove the flare (taper-crimp) for your 9mm and 380.

    1) You can set up your seating die to seat the bullet and remove the flare in one step. This can be tricky and may cause issues if your brass has large variations in length.

    2) You can seat the bullet with the seating die, then adjust the die to remove the flare in a separate step. This works well, but in my opinion a PIA.

    3) You can set up the seating die to seat only, no flare removal. Install a fourth "Taper Crimp" die in station 4 to remove the flare. Just about every die manufacturer offers a "taper crimp" die for the 9MM and 380 ACP. This is the preferred method by many.

    4) You can set up the seating die as in #3 above and install a Lee Factory Crimp die in station four. The LFCD is no different than any other "taper crimp" die except it has a carbide sizing ring at the base. The LFCD will remove the flare and the carbide ring will iron out any over sized imperfection that may have occurred during the loading process. This will ensure your handloads feed and fit your chamber. This is my preferred method.
  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    I don't agree.

    My RCBS 45 and 9mm dies had a section, in the "setting up your die" instructions, where it said to test that you have applied enough taper crimp, you should put the bullet nose against your bench and push. If the bullet did not go any farther into the case, you were using enough crimp.

    This, to me, says the taper crimp DOES secure the bullet.
  7. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    youre right alpo. The taper crimp can be removed with the seating die by adjusting it down to contact the mouth plus 1/4 turn.

    The LFCD has a post sizer ring that will also swage out the flare. then the taper crimp is applied separately and secures the bullet.
  8. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    Do the same test before the crimp is applied and again after. Neck tension alone should hold the bullet secure. If it does not, a slight tapper crimp will not be sufficient enough to secure a bullet with improper neck tension.
  9. SamoyedGuy

    SamoyedGuy New Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Northern KY
    Thanks to all of you! I'm starting to reload and using the 4 positions with the LFCD in the final spot. I have to be honest and was nervous as heck when I first set a primer. The Lee and the Lyman books had some ominous words about them but all went well.

    I just wish I had started doing my own loading years ago.
  10. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012
    wtch out.. it gets expensive fast!

    I started out with a single, cheap , single staion lee press and 30-06 die set.

    Now I'm reloading for a couple dozen cartridges and have uh.... well.. sufficient brass and projectiles, powder and primers for a good while.. :) at least in the common ones I shoot. there are still a few i'm looing for odd brass or proj's.. :)
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