Lee factory crimp die (is it necessary)

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by BillyD9, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. BillyD9

    BillyD9 New Member

    Mar 3, 2010
    I didn't know if I wanted to reload or not, so I got in as cheap as I could via a Lee kit for $86.00. Make it $130.00 with the dies for a 45-70 and shipping. I decided to stick with one powder, one bullet, and one primer until I knew more about what I was doing. Anyway, I loaded my first ammo last night using the same bullet Hornady uses in their Leverevolution ammo. One of my bullets is, to the eye, identical to theirs. Now, somebody says I need Lee's "factory crimp". I can't see it, but maybe somebody knows more than I do?
  2. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    Billy, I have no experience loading the 45-70 (think Old Semperfi shoots and loads them alot). I just got my factory crimp dies and am still getting used to them. So far I like the idea a lot. Do you need them? No. Are they nice to have? So far I would say yes. But my .45 Colt reloads made with Lee's regular three die set came out just fine and when I ran them through the properly adjusted FCD there was no changes made in sizing the case or changing the crimp. That was not the case with my 9mm and .38spl.

    My .45 brass has not been shot all that many times and with low power loads at that so the case length had not changed. That is not the case with the .38s as some of them have been shot and reloaded many times. Getting the bullet seating depth and the roll crimp just right can be a pain unless the cases are all trimmed to length. That factory crimp die eliminates that hassle.

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    What are you shootin' it in? It's not necessary (although it is nice) for a single shot. You got a tube magazine lever gun, though, and you want a good stout crimp. Otherwise, between the magazine spring force and the recoil, you can end up with bullet setback. You can probably do it with the seat/crimp die, but the FCD does it so easier.
  4. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    Harriman, Tn
    Is it a must have? No. Is it nice to have? Yes. Differing case length is not an issue, it will crimp even when using a bullet with no crimp groove, it won't crush a round from over crimping and it resizes the entire cartridge. Search it on you tube.
  5. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    DAV, Deep in the Pineywoods of E. Texas!
    You don't need it! KISS
  6. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    How long have folks been reloading 45-70? Seems to have been millions of rounds loaded before the Lee Factory Crimp Die was invented, so, no you don't need one. Have you had any feeding probs with your reloaded ammo? I personally don't use mine for handgun ammo 'cause the die sizes the loaded round as it crimps. Not good for my boolit-to-bore fit.
  7. gandog56

    gandog56 Member

    May 9, 2008
    Mobile AL.
    Not a necessity, but nice to have, If they make a FCD for my caliber I have it.
  8. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    There are two distinct types of Lee FCD. The FCD for rifle and bottleneck pistol cartridges uses a collet that contacts the shell holder to activate it (independent of the case length), and does an excellent job of crimping regardless of case trim length, with practically no chance of buckling the case.

    Then there are Lee's Carbide FCDs for straight wall pistol cartridges. They combine a conventional roll or taper crimp ring (as appropriate for the cartridge), with a carbide post-sizing ring at the bottom of the die that is designed to iron out any buckling of the case caused by applying the crimp. It does NOT size the cartridge as small as a regular sizing die does. The point is that the post-sizing ring does absolutely nothing unless you messed up the crimp to start with, e.g. from a mis-adjusted crimp die, or from brass that is not trimmed properly. Ironing over these problems prevents you from detecting them and fixing them at their source. On top of this, the CFCD I have for 45 colt is poorly made, with a roughly finished crimp ring that scrapes up the outside of the case mouth. Apparently this is not uncommon, since I have seen the exact same problem on gun-show reloads.

    It is interesting that my two favorite Lee products both use collets (collet neck sizing dies and collet-type FCDs). If they would make FCDs for straight wall pistol cartridges with collets instead of carbide post-sizing rings, I would buy one in a heartbeat for every straight wall pistol cartridge I reload.

  9. Unsubjugated

    Unsubjugated Former Guest

    Mar 5, 2010
    PacNW, USA
    One of my friends swears by them, but they have limits to when he will use them. He likes the 44 mag crimp die to put a heavy crimp into bullets that do not have a crimp groove and the 30 carbine die to close the mouth of the 7.62 nagant so it will function properly in the suppressed gas sealing revolver.
  10. BobMcG

    BobMcG Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2005
    Somewhere in the Twilight Zone.
    While loading for my .45-70, I've never felt the need for using the LFCD and never had a problem due to a seating die crimp. However, it's a single shot rifle so I can't comment through experience about loading for a tube mag version.
    Other straight walled cases I've also found no need for the LFCD are the .44 mag; .375mag; .38spl. . I've never had a seating die crimp for one of my revolvers fail to hold a bullet firmly.
    On a different note, straight walled cases I have found a use for the LFCD on are the .40S&W and 9mm Luger pistol loads. Is it necessary? Maybe not but it makes me feel better when loading max or near max loads knowing that the bullet isn't going to get moved back the least bit while feeding. I don't do fast, high-volume loading for these rounds and don't mind the extra step.
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