Lee Factory Crimp Dies explained

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by LDBennett, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,305
    Location:
    Hesperia, CA
    While not an advocate of most things Lee, one exception is the Lee Factory Crimp Dies (LFCD). I have several and they work great. But it seems until recently I only had rifle LFCD's. The pistol ones work entirely differently, as I just found out.



    Rifle LFCD:
    These dies work on a collet principal. As the die hits the shell holder, an internal collet closes in horizontally on the junction of the bullet and case, squeezing the case into the bullet. The LFCD can be setup (wrong) to crush the bullet in this process so you must follow the direction packaged with the LFCD to assure the correct crimp is made. It pushes in four spots around the case and needs no crimp grove in the bullet for successful crimping. It is relatively case length independent (but trim length of the cases after sizing MUST match the specs in the manuals or excessive pressures MAY be generated in the firing of the gun). Heavy crimps can not bulge the cases in the crimp area as happens with standard crimping using the standard seating dies for crimping because the crimping force is horizontal, not vertical.

    Early examples of the LFCD would gall the collet after extended usage but later versions I used have not shown this failure (maybe Lee finally used the correct materials in the LFCD ???).



    Pistol LFCD:
    These dies have a thin shell that slides internally inside the die. That shell gets behind the case and pushes it horizontally into the bullet all the way around the case, making a continuous deep crimp. The bullets do not have to have a crimp groove but with a heavy adjustment will deform the bullets enough to generate one in the bullet.

    The dies include a carbide ring in the bottom that size the loaded ammo before and after the crimp is made, assuring the finished cartridges are to spec for easy loading into the gun's chamber.



    I recently had a couple hundred 38SPL and 45LC finished cartridges that needed better crimps (were being used in tube fed lever guns that had pushed a bullet or two into the cases last time out shooting). I purchased the LFCD for each caliber and processed them all with no problems. The pistol version of the LFCD works as well and easily as the rifle version. The crimps made look good and most certainly will solve the collapsed cartridge problem.

    LFCD's are the best crimping tools I have ever used, regardless that they undermine my dislike of things Lee! The Lee collet neck sizing dies are also good but my early versions of those also suffer galling of the collet assembly. Maybe Lee, in their later versions of those dies, fixed them too????

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  2. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    8,982
    Location:
    Northeast Georgia
    LD, It it good to finally see you say something good about Lee stuff.:D:D I have read several of your posts where you did mention that you used the Factory Crimp Dies.

    I just ordered one for .38/.357 because of the same thing you mentioned. I don't have a tube fed rifle in .38/357 but I have a problem with some of my .38s bullet being pushed into the case. I hope that it comes in today so I can re-crimp the bunch that I loaded last week.
  3. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    122
    I have a Lee CFCD in 45 colt that is not acceptable. It starts to roll the case mouth in, then lets it slip inside the crimp ring (the crimp ring ID is too large, and very roughly finished), scraping and scarring the outside of the case mouth as it goes. My Hornady seating die does a better job, even on a heavy crimp into a cannelure, while seating the bullet!

    However, I must give Lee their due. Their collet type FCDs for rifle and bottleneck pistol cartridges are absolutely fantastic, with nothing else even close on the market. I just wish they made collet type FCDs for straight wall pistol cartidges too.

    Andy
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,305
    Location:
    Hesperia, CA
    BigJakeJ1s:

    Are you implying that Lee quality may be in question with the LFCD you got??

    LDBennett
  5. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    8,982
    Location:
    Northeast Georgia
    I did get the one I ordered, and re-crimped a bunch of .38s. That is one piece of equipment that I really like. Mine worked without a hitch. I do have a tube fed .44 Mag Ruger Carbine, so I will get a LFCD for .44 Magnum.
  6. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    122
    LD,

    I don't know if it was a quality control issue, or a design issue. I have seen gunshow reloads that looked just like the rounds I put through my CFCD (only a partial roll crimp, with a scraped up mouth), so I'm not the only one that had problems with it.

    Some Lee dies are winners, and some aren't. The Lee collet neck dies are great too. Hmmm, I'm sensing a pattern here...

    Andy
  7. Suicide*Ride

    Suicide*Ride New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,341
    Location:
    Golden, Colorado
    I have a couple of LFCD for .223Rem, 7.62x39, & just picked 1 up in 30-06 & wouldn't give them up for anything!

    I load tiny 85gr JHP's for my 357Sig & there's not a lot of meat (case mouth) holding the slug. The 357Sig rd is notorious for set-back & is a major PIMA, especially w/ the heavy recoil!!!!! :mad::mad::mad: The Dillion carbide dies I have, roll-crimp & there's not a lot of room between a tiny crimp & a crushed rd. :mad:

    Now that I know Lee makes a FCD for pistol, my problems are over!! Whoo-hoo.... yipiee!! :D:D:D:D:D:D

    Thanks for the heads up LD! ;)

    SR :rolleyes: :D

    *ETA: fwiw - I use a smidge of gun grease in all of my crimpers & haven't had the 1st problem w/ galling....
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  8. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Messages:
    10,578
    Location:
    NW Florida
    Unfortunately, not for that round.

    Lee makes two kinds of FCD. Ones for straightwall cases have a carbide sizer ring at the bottom, so it both crimps and completely resizes the cartridge, so it will fit in your gun. Ones for bottleneck cases use the collet system. But if you go to Lee's website, and check on their "custom dies" page, you will see that the collet FCD is limited to how short they can make one. They specifically mention that is the reason they don't make one in 357 SIG. Too short.
  9. dsv424

    dsv424 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Garland, Tx.
    I just purchased the Lee 357 Sig die set and got a FCD for this caliber. Although, it is a strange looking die compared to all the other FCD dies I have.
  10. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Messages:
    10,578
    Location:
    NW Florida
    Hmmm? I was just going off what their site says.

    >Factory Crimp Dies

    RIFLE:

    A Custom Factory Crimp Die for rifle cartridges can be made for any cartridge with a bullet diameter up to .458 inch and a maximum outer diameter at the base of .580.

    We need:

    1. Payment of $29.00 ($25.00 + $4.00 processing fee)
    2. Dummy cartridge (a bullet seated in an empty case)

    Rifle Factory Crimp Dies are cartridge specific and there are a few that cannot be made. Any handgun case that is of a bottleneck design qualifies because the die would have to be made much like the rifle factory crimp dies but we do not make die bodies shorter than that you would find on a .223 Remington. Examples would be the 30 Mauser, 7.62 x 25 and the .357 Sig. The 50 AE also applies because the case is too short for the die bodies available.
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,305
    Location:
    Hesperia, CA
    You can buy the "un-available" 357 Sig LFCD from Midway:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=892254

    It's less than $19. If ordered today they say it should ship today.

    It is not uncommon for a manufacturer to not keep its web page up to date. Obviously this is the case here (????). Dealers who do a big Internet business are often times much better than manufacturers at keeping their web site updated but nothing is better than a phone call for getting the latest availability for any gun stuff.

    LDBennett
  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    18,239
    Location:
    Heart Of Texas
    I have a Lee Factory Crimp Die for everything I load for. It is a must have;)
  13. dsv424

    dsv424 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Garland, Tx.
    I got my .357 Sig FCD at a Gun Show but I paid $25.00 for it. But it was new. The part # on the Lee website is #90076 for bottle neck FCD. It is $25.00 on the website also. But like I was saying it is different than any of the other FCD's I have.
  14. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    122
    The FCD for bottleneck pistol cartridges uses a collet like the rifle FCD, but the collet and closer are configured differently than for the rifle FCD. I guess it took them a while to figure out how to make the bottlneck pistol FCD.

    Andy
  15. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    8,982
    Location:
    Northeast Georgia
    If you look around any, you will find that the prices on the Lee website are higher than the retailers websites like Grafs and Midway. But I don't think Lee charges shipping, but then again, neither does Grafs.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Speer advisory using Lee Factory Crimp Dies Dec 6, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Lee factory crimp die question. Jul 22, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Factory crimp die/ 300 savage May 20, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Lee Factory Crimp Die Dec 7, 2012
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Lee Factory crimp die for 9mm Luger - Necessary?? Oct 20, 2012