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Thread: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

  1. #1
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    Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

    I recall that some on here advocate using the Lee carbide factory crimp die on .45 ACP. I recently started loading 44 magnum with a Lee die set that has this type of die and I like it a lot. I am considering getting one for my 45. For those of you who have this die and have used it on 45s, please answer a couple of questions for me.

    1) Do you use just the carbide resizing section without adding additional crimp?

    2) If you do add crimp does this die do a taper crimp? (My 44 mag set does a roll crimp)

    Thanks for your comments.

  2. #2
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    I load .45 ACP and 9mm using the Lee 4-dies sets with the factory crimp die (FCD).

    1) No, I don't use it just for final sizing. I do NOT crimp at all with the seating die, I use that only to seat. ALL crimping is done by the FCD. That's what it's for.

    2) FCDs for semi-auto cartridges do a taper crimp, FCDs for revolver cartridges do a roll crimp.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside
    Likes (2) :
    mus (25th September 2020), Rick McC. (24th September 2020)


  3. #3
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    I have a four die set in .45 acp, and use it just as Hawkmoon stated.
    "Sights are for the unenlightened."

    Rick

    IDPA Certified Safety Officer
    Last edited by Rick McC.; 24th September 2020 at 19:21.


  4. #4
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    Thank you both very much. That is what I needed to know

  5. #5
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    Here's another vote for the Lee 4 die set + Hawkmoon's process.

  6. #6
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    I keep a .45 CFC die handy by the single stage press to process cartridges that do not pass the gauge.
    The Dillon has their regular taper crimp die which is adequate about 99.5% of the time.

    On the other hand, I use the 9mm CFC die all the time. It USUALLY only contacts the round near the rim where the sizing die mouth radius does not touch. But I recently started noticing a burnished ring over the bullets and got out the micrometer. Yup, the last batch of Bayou bullets I bought were .357" instead of the usual .356". And one pulled from a loaded round had been formed down to .356" just as the CFC alarmists warn.

  7. #7
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    Page 56 of this... https://saami.org/wp-content/uploads...sting-Copy.pdf ...specifies the maximum case mouth OD for the 45 Auto cartridge as 0.4730". Information from Lee Precision regarding their Carbide Factory Crimp (CFC) die relating to this is shown below:

    Lee CFC FAQc Who Are They, Post 8.jpg

    So according to this from Lee, the carbide sizing ring at the bottom of their CFC die for the 45 Auto cartridge should have an ID of 0.4730". In actuality measurements of the carbide rings on fifteen different Lee CFC dies for the 45 Auto (six by me) show every one being too small with an average ID of 0.4713" (the same as the average for my three CFC dies) as shown below:

    scan0004LFCDijpg Lee Dies In A Dillon 650..., Post 5.jpg

    So what does all this really mean? It means that the quality of your reloads (specifically, the cases grip on it bullet) after being processed through a Lee CFC die depends highly on the OD of the the round (below any remaining case mouth flare) just after the bullet is seated. This, in turn, depends on the OD of the bullet after it's seated and the thickness of the brass being used. And both of these can vary by as much as 0.0025" for the bullets and as much as nearly 0.004" for the cases. All this translates to a reload with a 0.452" cast lead bullet in good, thick 0.0105" brass having an OD below any remaining flare of 0.473" - right at the SAAMI maximum.

    If Lee's CFC dies were made as advertised there'd be no problem. All they'd do is knock down any remaining flare to leave a finished round that's meets SAAMI specs.

    But as Jim Watson reported above for his 9mm reloads, his cast lead Bayou bullets were reduced in diameter by 0.001". And Lee even has something to say in regard to cast lead bullets:

    scan0004LFCDk Why Is My Series 80 Jamming, Post 16 - Copy.JPG

    Note that the underlined portion, above, even correctly describes the mechanism by which case grip is loosened on the bullet!

    The upshot of all this leads up to the plain fact that once a bullet is seated in its case, anything done to the case surrounding the bullet will reduce the cases grip on the bullet. ANYTHING! And this includes simply knocking down any remaining case mouth flare - much less swaging down the already seated cast lead bullet in thick brass with a Lee CFC die.

    OK, so what? What's the big deal even if the cases grip on the bullet is reduced? The 1911 doesn't treat its ammunition with kid gloves during the feeding process. The first few founds from a full magazine get slammed hard down low into the frame feed ramp before they end up in the chamber. If the case doesn't have a good grip on the bullet, the bullet gets pushed back into the case a little - or a lot. And if the grip is reduced sufficiently the bullet can get pushed back so much the round just plants its nose on the frame feed ramp and stays there - instead of glancing up and off the feed ramp to find its way into the chamber. Gun's jammed.

    This was all for cast lead bullets in thick brass. But how about smaller plated or jacketed bullets in thinner brass? Those will probably end up with a case OD of about 0.467" (below any remaining case mouth flare) after the bullet is seated. Because of this, the Lee CFC die will do very little to reduce the cases grip on its bullet.

    My advice is pay close attention to those who profess a liking for the Lee CFC die without stating what kind (OD) of bullets they use. Size does make a difference. How do I know all this stuff? Daffy and I spent some time on the subject:

    P(07)A120001b Bullet Setback Data Post 21.JPG
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]
    Last edited by niemi24s; 25th September 2020 at 18:56.


  8. #8
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    I have not had a CFC die loosen a bullet in the case, at least not to where it set back, pulled forward, or turned like a poorly crimped .22.

    The greater risk I have seen is loading short, small, slick bullets like a .355" jacketed 115 gr 9mm or .451" jacketed 185 gr .45. For which a CFC die does nothing.
    I have undersize sizing dies for the purpose, it leaves a prominent constriction below the bullet, preventing setback. For added insurance, I cannelure the .45s at the base of light bullets.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
    I have not had a CFC die loosen a bullet in the case, at least not to where it set back, pulled forward, or turned like a poorly crimped .22.

    The greater risk I have seen is loading short, small, slick bullets like a .355" jacketed 115 gr 9mm or .451" jacketed 185 gr .45. For which a CFC die does nothing.
    I have undersize sizing dies for the purpose, it leaves a prominent constriction below the bullet, preventing setback. For added insurance, I cannelure the .45s at the base of light bullets.
    That restriction you get below the base of the seated bullet is a good sign that the bullet stretched out the case during seating and that case stretching means the case has a good grip on the bullet. Ironically, some years ago someone posted here using the Lee CFC die for the main purpose of getting rid of (what he called) that unsightly bulge!!

    As a Bullseye shooter I only shoot lead bullets and looking for that bulge is part of my reloading process. If I don't see it I know something's wrong and break out my undersized case resizing die. But that only happens when an ultra-thin R-P case slips by. The only commercial ammunition I've tested with a tighter grip than my cast lead handloads is PMC due to its bullets being sealed in the case.

    BulletSetbackSummarya Rounds Pushed Further Into The Case, Post 13.jpg

    As mentioned previously, you've not had any problems using the Lee CFC die simply because it sounds like you only load plated or jacketed bullets - except for those Bayou bullets that got swaged down 0.001" by the CFC die. I'd be willing to bet one of those slingshotted as the top round from a full magazine would show appreciable bullet setback.

    I suspect most would say they don't have a problem with poor case grip only because their reloads make it into the chamber and go bang.
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]
    Last edited by niemi24s; 25th September 2020 at 21:48.


  10. #10
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    I also do exactly as per Hawkmoon's #2 post. With the die adjusted according to Lee's instructions, I never see a visible crimp unlike my 45LC and 44Mag reloads.

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