Lee Factory Crimp Die

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Maddmaxx, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Maddmaxx

    Maddmaxx Member

    Oct 19, 2012
    I am going to buy some Lee Dies for 9mm. I had read that if you load brass that was not used in your gun then you need to used the Lee FC die. Is that true? I thought that the size/decap die would take care of that. Do I need the 4 die set for 9mm or is 3 ok?
  2. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    Harriman, Tn
    The 3 die set will work just fine. A lotof people like the FCD because it has a carbide post sizing ring.

  3. stev32k

    stev32k Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2012
    Mobile, AL
    I use the FCD mainly because I had a lot of trouble getting the Hornady seating/crimping die adjusted correctly. It was a real pain trying to set the crimp correctly without changing the seating depth. I suspect with more experience I could learn the trick to setting both.

    However, so many people raved about the FCD that I decided to give it a try and I'm glad I did. Setting it is dead simple and reliable.
  4. zant

    zant Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2009
    I could be 100% wrong and all wet-but I don't seat/crimp with same die-all my die sets have sep crimp die.
  5. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    No, you don't need an FCD if using once fired brass (from other guns). The sizing die should return the case to pre-fired spec. IMO, an FCD is good only if you are fixing a problem from misadjusted dies, meaning if you adjust your dies correctly an FCD isn't needed. I've reloaded a few 9mm and a bunch of 45 ACP and have never used a post seating sizing die. Learn proper die adjustment and reloading methods and ya won't need one...

    My Pop always told me to do it right the first time and you won't have to do it over again.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  6. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    Maxx, you can do fine with just a three die set. I used three die sets for years and years and only after people here talked about the Lee FCD did I get and start using them. Even though it takes an extra step with my single stage press I find it more convenient and I get better more consistent crimps. But they are not necessary to make good reloads.
  7. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    The Great Desert
    Todd51, I agree with your post. I have a Dillion I added the Lee FC to an extra port. This is an amazing die for locking in heavy bullets for light weight handguns. The heavy .45 slugs were over comming the light weight custom SAA. The LFC works great.
  8. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    3 die set for 9mm should be fine,
    not much crimp needed.

    Some of my toolheads are set up with
    3pc and some with 4pc.....it just depends
    on the caliber and the usage.

    My best use for the extra station with a
    factory crimp die is changing the projectiles
    that I use that may need more/less crimp.
    It never disturbs my seating die.....or just seems
    easier and faster to adjust.
  9. cycloneman

    cycloneman Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    I use it for all auto loading guns, rifle or pistol.
  10. Munch

    Munch Member

    May 31, 2011
    Ellenton, FL
    I use them for my .380 and 9mm reloading. For the money they charge for them (very little) they are a good investment in my opinion.
  11. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    I don't use them for pistol and just started using the FCD for rifle (.308 and .223), really no need unless you have a gas gun or something that beats up the round as it feeds.

    supposedly it gives better accuracy due to pressure consistency but it's not necessary by any means.

    RAJBCPA Active Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    I bought a Lee FC die to smooth the bulges in 40SW cases that were shot in unsupported chambers.

    It worked so well, I bought these dies to crimp in all calibers. adjusting a die that both seats and crimps is tricky but can be done.
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    There are two completely different LEE Factory Crimp Dies (LFCD) that work completely differently yet LEE gives them the same name (dumb but good for sales): handgun and rifle. And in the handgun LFCD there are regular crimp for revolvers and taper crimp for semi-auto cartridges that headspace on the rim of the case.

    The rifle LFCD set use a collet to squeeze the case neck horizontally onto the bullet. While you need to trim rifle cases so they will fit the chamber correctly, variations in case length within reason do not effect the quality of the crimp. You also minimize the possibility of collapsing the shoulder of the case from over crimping. But if you overdo it then the bullet may get deformed.

    The pistol LFCD is nothing more than a die that only crimps for either revolver cartridges or taper crimp for semi-auto cartridges. This pistol version has a carbide ring in the bottom so that it you over crimp and the case bulges, the carbide ring irons the bulge out of the case. It may also help for cases that came out of guns with poor support in the chamber area where the gun's feed ramp is located. But in the latter case it may not get all the bulge out.

    Setting up a combo seating and crimp die is not rocket science if the press is a sturdy one (most are??). With the die set up to NOT crimp you iteratively seat the bullet until you get the right overall length (you have to over extend the bullet seating ram of the die and take it slow, not fully operating the press handle (just easy the bullet in to the correct overall length). Then you remove the bullet seating ram altogether. You then take the just bullet seated cartridge and slowly and iteratively lower the die to start getting a crimp. Once you have the correct crimp lock the die down. Put the test case on the press and raise the ram to full up and screw the bullet seating ram down onto the case with the bullet (softly). The test cartridge is used as a gage to set up the bullet seating depth. Lock down the seating ram and make a couple more test cases to be sure the bullet seating depth is correct and the crimp is good. if not you will have to duplicate the process again. There is little that can be done other than small changes to the seating depth.

    All this being said about using the combo seating/crimp die, it is better to use a separate crimping die as the combo die is trying to seat the bullet while the crimp is being started. The results are not always perfect.

    To be clear I recommend the LFCD for rifles but find no use for me for the handgun LFCD. Your requirements may be different than mine.

  14. Oldeyes

    Oldeyes Active Member

    Oct 13, 2006

    Thank you for the excellent explanation of the LFCD pistol vs. rifle differences and their potential applications. You just saved me a bunch of bucks. I now only really need three LFCD's instead of a really big bunch of them. Thanks again.
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