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Crimping die

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  • Crimping die

    I picked up a 3 die set of Lee carbide dies for 40 S&W. The instructions reveal they have an optional factory crimp die. My question is, is this necessary or does the bullet seating die provide some level of crimp?

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that they would sell a die “set” that didn’t provide everything needed to load the caliber you purchased. So is this just a second level of crimping to get it to a factory-like standard?


  • #2
    Lee sells a 4 die set that includes the factory crimp die. The fcd puts a nice consistent taper crimp on the case. The seat die will take out the case flare and even put a roll crimp in the case if adjusted down too far. Taper crimp is the way to go. I use them on all my pistol ammo.


    • #3
      Is it necessary? No. Do some people like to seat and crimp in a separate operation? Yes. I don't use a FCD. The rounds I load that get a crimp are done with the seating die.
      If it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

      "Ammo and really good friends are hard to find in a gunfight so I bring them with me" E. J. Owens


      • #4
        The seating/crimping die alone is quite sufficient, or perhaps just add another taper crimp die for separate seating/crimping. But I have a couple thoughts; a Lee FCD for handgun cartridges is not at all necessary unless you are unable to correctly adjust your dies and have chambering problems and need to resize your finished handloads (cover up the OOPS!). Second I don't crimp any semi-auto ammo, I just "deflare" with a taper crimp die. This has worked for me since my first 45 ACP handload in '88....
        I\'ve learned to stand on my own two knees...


        • #5
          Ok. So it sounds like I was thinking correctly. The FCD is not necessary as the seating die should deflare the casing as it seats the round. I get that it’s possibly better overall, but after just buying a few 3 die sets, it’s somewhat deflating to think I need to go buy a fourth die for each caliber.

          Thanks as always for the insight and assistance.



          • #6
            I set up my seating die so that it only seats the bullet to the desired OAL. Then on my 45, 38 super and 9mm I do a taper crimp on the cartridge.
            I found that gives me better results than seating and taper crimp with the same die. Also easier to set up your dies.
            The taper crimp on either the seating die or taper crimp die does smooth out the flare and puts a taper crimp that puts consistent pressure to hold the bullet in the case. How much taper crimp is put on the bullet is determined by user.
            I recommend using 4 die sets.
            "The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

            "American by birthright… U.S. MARINE by the Grace of GOD!"

            "And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea!"


            • #7
              There are TWO Lee FCD's for handgun ammo.
              the CARBIDE FCD does 2 things.
              It taper ctimps, which is useful, it shoves a resizing ring down over your loaded round, which is at best useless, a band-aid for poor die adjustment, and CAN cause undersized bullets.

              The NON-CARBIDE FCD is a crimp die only. I use a few of these.


              • #8
                I've never used a factory crimp die and have never needed to. The seat die in that 3 die Lee set will provide a taper crimp function when adjusted to do so. I've used Lee carbide dies for a long time, including 40 S&W. A lot of folks do use a factory crimp die, but a lot of folks will also tell you it's completely unnecessary to use the FCD. I look at it this way, when i started hand loading, which has been about 40 yrs. ago, the factory crimp die didn't even exist. We hand loaders just used a standard / typical die set and it has worked just fine for us.



                • #9
                  Yep, they are, 99% of the time, they are a solution to a non-existent problem, especially that Carbide one.

                  Now, most rifle dies roll crimp, I started long ago on .308W using a Lee Taper Crimp Die (the previous name of the FCD For Rifles) so as to crimp feeding a BAR without using cannelured bullets, or to crimp where the cannelure was not at (my own decision as to OAL).
                  I still use them for x54R, .223R, and 30'06, same reason.
                  A solution to an actual problem.


                  • #10
                    I much prefer the simple Lee Taper Crimp die or I bust out the carbide "lead bullet swager" ring from the pistol FCD.
                    Read the Lee instructions carefully and heed every and any warning/suggestion made.
                    Lee will make a custom seating stem for $8. Ask for one that only contacts the bullet ogive, and that contact should be as low down the ogive as possible. Click image for larger version

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                    Best use I have for the FCD is bulge busting.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CWhitmarsh View Post
                      My question is, is this necessary or does the bullet seating die provide some level of crimp?

                      I have a couple of the Lee FCD's. They are very useful when working with some rounds prone to buckling at the shoulder, like the .30-30 or .35 Remington due to thin brass. The FCD will also make do with brass not uniformly trimmed. Basically you crimp by "feel", not by dropping the press handle to the limit of travel.
                      Experience is what you get, when you don\'t get what you want ;-)