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12ga fold crimp die?

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  • 12ga fold crimp die?

    Since my Lee Load-all's shortcoming is the crimp, I'm wondering if there's a die, preferably adjustable, to slap in my single stage press to make a nice crimp.

    The lee tends to make shallow crimps and kinks some shells. I was considering removing some of the plastic at the base of the crimper to allow it to crimp deeper.

    Any suggestions?

  • #2

    I know of no "die". The lack of adjustment in the crimp is one of the Lee's shortcomings.

    The better solution is that your "stack height" is possibly (likely) just too tall.
    Even the highly adjustable machines will not "fix" a stack-height problem, they still wrinkle the hulls in the middle.

    Not every recipe fits perfectly in the shells the book claims they do.
    Most do, but every once in a while, no.
    The worst 'offender" typically is the Winchester AA CF vs. HS hulls. They CLAIM to load identically, the HS is slightly smaller inside.

    Also not all the "substitute" wads (such as Claybuster and Downrange) are quite "the same"as the "original" they claim to sub for.

    This is the 'hard part' of shotshell loading.

    For a too-tall stack height problem, you do one of 3 things:
    change to a more dense powder, this lets the wad sit lower
    change to a slightly higher volume wad, this has a deeper cup and/or a shorter cushion section so the shot column sits lower
    reduce the shot payload slightly


    • #3

      There is no mention as to what hulls your using and also how many times re-loaded. After a while a few re-loads the ends will fray - Ballistic products sells devices that will smooth out the hull tops for better crimping. They also have the crimp starter
      Check out the following : Super crown crimp starter may not fit your press then the : Spin Doctor and the Power Skiver check then out at : mar be your answer I use them on new hulls and also on older ones that have been re-loaded several times..:thumbs::thumbs:
      Tight Lines / Shoot Often
      NRA Life Member / Certified Instructor
      Friends of the FORTY FIVE



      • #4

        Red Dot, I don't know how much you load but if it's any great amount I might recommend that you look for a used MEC 600 JR. The MEC presses feature adjustable crimps and even adjustable depth of crimp. For larger volumes a MEC grabber is also very good and includes collet base sizing. RD
        Every once in a while in life we need a policeman, a lawyer, a doctor and a preacher. We need a farmer three times a day, every day.


        • #5

          I almost got the 600 jr. but wasn't sure It'd be worth it at the time. I don't load a lot of shells. I'm on my second bag of shot, and just found some Titewad. I like 1 oz. loads in 12ga.

          I load any shells, but mostly Win Universal and Fed Gold Medal and (old style) Fed multi-purpose. I Have whats left of a box of HS and STS. I get 3 loads out of the cheapies, and am up to 5 on the brass bases.

          I can get the stack height right with a little trial and error, and sometimes use a thin paper overshot filler, but the Load All just can't seem to get the crease at the top of the crimp. I can get the eight-points to match up nicely, but they just seem folded in and not really crimped in place. Sometimes I have to go back and crimp twice. If I reduce the shot column, it will fold in on itself.

          The plastic of the Win HS is too rigid for the lee to manipulate.

          The latest run of Gold Medal I bought have a very deep crimp and I know my Lee won't be able to replicate it.


          • #6

            I've watched Craigs list and local garage sales. I've bought a couple of 600 Juniors that way. I don't think I paid over $30 for either. One a 16 and another a .410. Also got a Forster co-ax for $50 at a garage sale and a Lyman turret on Craigs list for $30 (including a .270 die set and 4 MEC charge bars). The crimp on these is the main difference to the Lee. You can set the overall length of the case and the depth of the crimp and with a simple crimp starter change get really good crimps on six and eight point hulls. RD
            Every once in a while in life we need a policeman, a lawyer, a doctor and a preacher. We need a farmer three times a day, every day.


            • #7

              Thanks. A MEC might be in my future.


              • #8

                One of the beauties of the 600jr is that once it is set up (a trivial task on a bad day) it'll handle any combination of components that are in the loading data. No need for fussing and stewing unless you change gauge. If you are making lots of changes, you are doing something out of the ordinary.

                One thing I'd recommend is the adjustable charge bar, makes life a lot easier if you are experimenting with different powders.

                I've heard good things about the grabber, too, but never have messed with one.
                -Remote locations are cheap insurance.
                -There are two kinds of ships: Submarines and targets


                • #9

                  The Mec Grabber is a great machine along with the sizemasters. Don't know how much time you have for loading or the volume of shooting being done. That will have to be your call one thing: Once I have my load set up I stay with the same powder, wads and hulls. Much easier that way.
                  Tight Lines / Shoot Often
                  NRA Life Member / Certified Instructor
                  Friends of the FORTY FIVE



                  • #10

                    I've used Lee Load All for over 20 years in both 12 and 20 gauge. and from what I've read theses are the most common problems with Lee loaders. My fix for stack height was to drill out or bush the plastic powder pushing to get the proper height. Lee Load alls are great for load specific shotshell loading. My 12 and 20 were set up for skeet with a 7/8 load and was that way for 10 years. I still had 3 MECs set up in 12/20/410 with adjustable bars to play with. My advice, if you want to experiment get a MEC with an adjustable bar, otherwise find a good load with your Lee and stay with it.
                    I just this winter got rid of my Lee Loaders to make room. One went to my daughter and the other went to a kid that works for me. The Lees are a good place to start to see if you want to reload.


                    • #11

                      I made some slug loads with fold crimp. their crimp became shallow and open a little while they are in storage. To prevent that behavior, I applied roll crimper on that crater of fold crimp.

                      Now I have a MEC sizemaster. But I use still Load-All II for slugs because I don't want to change MEC setting which is for bird hunting load.


                      • #12
                        So I still have the load-all2 and made improvements. As per youtube suggestion, you shave, trim or sand the base of the final crimp die. This lets both crimp dies come down lower. I took off a small amount of material and I see improvements. I think I'll do a little more next time it's apart.

                        The pre-crimp has to get lower in order to close the center at the final crimp. I still had a few #8s fall out of some hulls.

                        Hope this helps someone.


                        • #13
                          I've owned just one Load All, the original one that came out in the early 80's as I recall. I hated it, actually the handle broke the first time or two I used it, took it back and got my money back. I turned around and bought a 20 ga. Mec. 600 Jr and mounted it up neck to the 12 ga. 600 Jr. I had been using trouble without issue for several years.

                          Buy a 600 Jr. you won't regret it, mine have been running for a good 40+ years, never replaced anything other than the wad guide fingers, like $2 or $3 part, and a the finishing crimp head, also about $3 or $4. I can adjust wad pressure, crimp depth, start crimp depth. And there's a huge selection of powder bushings available that will accommodate any powder or charge one should want to use. Oh, I did have to buy some parts to upgrade it so it would load 3" shells, back then they didn't load 3", but I think the current 600 Jr. will load everything from 2-3/4" to 3-1/2" if I remember correctly.



                          • #14
                            RCBS and a few others made shotshell die sets for the large presses with the removable bushing.
                            Those die sets cost more than a used MEC 600 or 700 Versamec.


                            • #15
                              Can you put a shim under the shell and get a better crimp