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To this point I've only loaded fmj, but have ordered cast bullets that should be here in about 2 weeks. I've been reading up on the differences in loading techniques between the two and came across the bit of information quoted below. It's kinda long so in summary it says to use only the Lyman case mouth expander and do not use a factory crimp die. It does not say what to use in place FCD. So I have two questions, first is the information on the Lyman expander die correct ie is that the only one that should be used. And second how should the cartridges be crimped?

"It is imperative that you understand that cast bullets are a world apart from jacketed bullets - they are NOT the same! The reloading process for cast bullets MUST NOT in anyway, shape, or form, alter, damage or destroy the cast bullet! It is like comparing rocks to bananas - hard vs. soft. Your cast bullets fall into the 'soft' category. They are to be treated with tender loving care! Your dies shall NOT damage them! Do not flare the case mouths for cast bullet reloading - you will damage them by shaving the shanks of the bullets. If you don't believe me, take a magnifying loop and look very closely at the reloaded cast bullet cartridge and you will see shavings that are deposited on the edge of the case mouth about 180 degrees around the mouth. Why is this you ask? It is because you are shaving the bullets as they are being seated! The bullet rotates on top of the radius edge that you created by flaring the case mouth. You then have to hope and pray that the seater stem will capture the nose of the bullet and re-right it to make it straight with the case - it ain't gonna happen! Thou Shalt Not Flare Case Mouths For Cast Bullets! Period! You MUST use the correct technique for preparing the case mouths to receive cast bullets without damaging them. And that is with the use of the Lyman 2 Step M Expander Die. This die imparts a 2 step I.D. into the case mouth. It creates a slip fit nest for the bullet to slide into. Thus preventing and eliminating the tipping of the bullet and the premature closure of the case mouth onto the bullet during the seating operation. Lyman 4 die sets are the only dies manufactured that will reload cast bullets and jacketed bullets interchangeably and correctly. And this is due to the 2 Step M die that is incorporated into their 4 die sets. It is also imperative that you understand the critical nature of the seater stem in your seater die! Make absolutely certain that the seater stem is engaging the nose of the bullet about half way down from the tip. And that the tip is not contacting the seater stem! This is critical for straight bullet alignment (preventing shaving the bullet) during the seating operation. Cast bullet reloading is entirely different than jacketed bullet reloading - understand this and you are on your way to a very successful career with cast bullet reloading and shooting!

Please do not use factory crimp dies for cast bullet reloading. Cast bullets MUST remain in their pristine state in order to shoot accurately. Factory crimp dies will decrease the cast bullet's sized diameter and thus will cause many unwanted issues. "
 

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I have been reloading accurate cast bullets for about 30 years now. If you DON'T flare the case mouth a little, that is when you shave lead when you seat the bullet. When you size the bullet or seat it in the cartridge, the punch and seater stem need to conform to the shape if the bullet's nose-that way they are not deformed. Revolvers, especially big ones, need to be crimped. There is a groove in the bullet for a good roll crimp without deforming the bullet. Pistols that head space on the case mouth get a gentle taper crimp on a separate die (adds an additional step to the process, but makes better cartridges IMHO).
Bullets that you cast yourself are inexpensive, and once you have the equipment it costs very little more to shoot a centerfire handgun than it does to shoot a .22.
It's not a difficult task to master, and there is no point to making it seem harder than what it is.
 

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Hmmm....got a link or a source?
Sounds like a sales pitch for the Lyman 2-step expander die to me.
But wait a minit...the Lyman Expander dies also flare the case mouth. So, do we use an expander die or not? :D

Basically it sounds like one guys opinion and a description of his reloading routine. Although most of the stuff quoted does have merit, there is not only one set-in-stone method for the reloading process. I.E. you're not going to fail if you don't follow his steps to the letter.


I expand my cases when loading lead. Otherwise it will shave a small ring off the bullet since the resizer swages the case down so the neck I.D. is smaller than the bullet diameter. That's needed for proper neck tension.
No, you don't need to over flare the case mouth, just adjust the dies as per the maker's instructions. A good strong inside case chamfer will eliminate the need for an excessive flare.
Lyman, Lee, Hornady, RCBS, Redding...all of these dies have a two-step expander plugs. Just not quite as pronounced as on the Lyman M, but still enough to create that little pocket to hold the bullet square to the case until the seater engages the bullet. All you need to do is adjust the expander die properly...which it sounds like the guy that wrote the above isn't doing.
Personally, I think he is just shilling for the Lyman 4-die set. :)

He is correct that you don't want to deform the bullets during the seating or crimping process. I dunno about "pristine" but don't mangle them when reloading.

And yup, the Lee factory crimp die is a bad thing to use for cast lead loads. It swages the entire front of the case, also swaging the soft lead bullet down. That makes an undersize bullet and since the brass will spring back a little after the swaging step a lead bullet will actually be loose in the case. I have to side with LD on the Lee pistol factory crimp die being an unnecessary tool. I do like the rifle Factory Crimp die though...started using them a bit now on a couple calibers and I like em. But I wouldn't use it with cast lead rifle loads either though.
 

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My .02.

Expand the case neck with whatever expander you choose. I use Lee, Redding and Lyman, they all work.

Seat your bullets with whatever seating die you have. If the lead bullet profile gives you and trouble, contact the Die manufacturer and have them send you a different seater stem. I have yet to need this service.

Crimping is a must when it comes to straight walled pistol rounds that have been "Flared". For cartridges that headspace on the case mouth like the 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP, crimp is really not the appropriate word. More like "Flare Removal" . Removing the flare is imperative to proper feeding in semi-autos.
I crimp just enough to remove the flare plus a thou or two more.

The Lee Factory Crimp die is nothing more than a standard tapper crimp die with a carbide sizing ring at the base. It's this carbide ring that gets people all in an uproar about it's use with lead bullet.

I use the LFCD in all my handgun ammo and Most of them work fine as do not make contact with the case thus swaging the bullet down. My 40/10mm was a different story, it made hard contact with the case mouth even with jacketed bullets. I sent it back to Lee and had them open it up .0015. It works perfect now with both lead and jacketed.

Yes I have seated, crimped and pulled lead bullets crimped with my LFCD then measured them. No swaging here, same size as they went in.

Accuracy is good with my lead bullets crimped with the LFCD and leading is not an issue.

If you are going to use the LFCD and you feel it is swaging your bullets down, have it opened up or just take a punch and drive out the carbide ring. That will turn it into just an ordinary taper crimp die just all the other guys.

Lee 200gr LSWC (WW alloy), crimped with LFCD, 25 yards off sand bag, DW 45 ACP.

 

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If you are loading bottle necked rifle rounds you will need a Lyman M die or something similar, NOT so with straight walled handgun cartridges. The main problem with the FCD is when trying to load over sized cast bullets (to reduce leading) the resizing ring will post size the bullet. Not so much with factory cast sized to bore diameter.
 

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for anyone who thinks flaring a case mouth is bad, try loading some .32-20 with plain-base bullets and no flare...many, many crumpled cases.

steve4102 hit every point in his post.
 
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