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Thread: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

  1. #11
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    Truth be told, even though I only load cast lead bullets I do use a Lee CFC die - but one with its lower (and too small) carbide sizing ring removed. That's because I seat and crimp (de-flare, actually) in separate operations and I find the Lee CFC die the easiest to set for the proper "crimp". And the proper "crimp" for the 45 Auto cartridge is one that only removes any remaining flare leaving the case mouth OD the same as the OD down to the base of the bullet. Don't even use a micrometer to tell when the CFC die is adjusted properly. Just a single edge razor blade:

    P(11)1030005b Failure To Feed, Post 7.jpg

    Oh, every once in a while I'll take a measurement but with my 0.452" cast lead bullets in good 0.010" thick brass they'll mike at 0.472" maybe a tad more:

    P(08)7140006c Case Mouth Dimensions When Reloading, Post 17.jpg

    While the roll crimp on revolver cartridges would keep a bullet from getting pushed back into its case, there's nothing about a revolver that can do that. Instead the roll crimp prevents the bullet from working it way forward in the case due to recoil forces and interfering with the rotation of the cylinder. And any bullet for revolver reloading needs to have a crimp groove to accept that roll crimp.
    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]
    Likes (1) :
    Rick McC. (26th September 2020)


  2. #12
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    Niemi24s, I know you already have your dies set up but for others who may want to crimp in a separate operation from seating but don't want the carbide resizing ring, Lee offers a taper crimp die that does just that.

    https://leeprecision.com/reloading-d...per-crimp-die/

    The MSRP for the taper crimp dies is $13.98. The Carbide factory Crimp Dies list for $22.98. If you don't need or want the carbide sizing ring, save $9 and don't buy it.

    I use the factory crimp die with the carbide ring intact, and I have been completely happy with the results. But I load plated bullets, not straight cast lead.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside
    Likes (1) :
    JD11 (27th September 2020)

    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 26th September 2020 at 10:29.


  3. #13
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    Thanks Hawkmoon, but Lee's taper crimp die is essentially the same as my RCBS seat/crimp dies with their seating plugs either removed or screwed up all the way. It's the little knob atop the CFC die that adjusts the crimping sleeve inside the die body that makes it so easy to adjust for me. This makes the amount of crimp independent of the position of the die body. Because of this, once the die's screwed snugly into the press, crimp adjustments take only a little twist of that knob. Small adjustments are also easier because the pitch of the CFCs crimp knob threads are much finer than those on any die body.

    But if all that malarkey means nothing then a stand-alone taper crimp die is the way to go mainly because removing that carbide sizing ring was a real chore - at least the way I did it.
    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]
    Likes (1) :
    JD11 (27th September 2020)

    Last edited by niemi24s; 26th September 2020 at 12:31.


  4. #14
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    FWIW, stumbled across something of interest in my notes on this die late last night. It's dated 9 Apr 2010.

    Called Lee on carbide sizing ring ID. Said it's 0.003 +0.001/-0.0006 less than the SAAMI max case mouth OD (0.473): So it's 0.473 - 0.003 = 0.470 +0.001/-0.0006 or 0.4710/0.4694.
    No record or recollection of who I spoke to at Lee, but his verbal statement conflicts with their published statement shown in the first image in Post #7, above. None of the 15 die measurements in my notes meet this published specification (of 0.473" for the 45 Auto) with all being too small. But 6 of those 15 measurements do fall within the range of this 0.003" smaller verbal specification from Lee. So if the average ID of the carbide sizing ring tends to be 0.470" my conclusions regarding this die and its effect on case grip are:

    • Maybe no problem with 0.4505" OD jacketed or plated bullets provided the average case wall thickness is less than 0.0098". Only 9 of 40+ headstamps I've measured met this condition.

    • Big problem with 0.452" OD cast lead bullets unless the average case wall thickness is less than 0.0090". Only 2 of those 40+ headstamps met this condition.

    Here's a link to a spreadsheet showing those case wall thicknesses: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...idM/edit#gid=0
    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]

  5. #15
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    Back in Post #7 I wrote
    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.
    Found an image showing test data supporting this statement for both cast lead (6 test rounds) and plated lead bullets (5 test rounds):

    scan0074a How Much Must A Taper Crimp Squeeze..., Post 56.jpg

    Stated another way, the highest case grip on the bullet is attained the instant the bullet is fully seated and anything done to the case after that reduces the grip. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g! Even just knocking down any remaining case mouth flare (remaining on the rounds labeled seated in the top row) as seen in the results for rounds labeled deflared in the second row. Crimping more just makes it worse. These tests were done with a Lee CFC die with its carbide sizing ring removed because the taper crimp can be more finely adjusted with such a die.
    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; 29th September 2020 at 10:41.


  6. #16
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    I ran a quick experiment with a strange outcome.
    I took a round 9mm, 124 gr Bayou coated, pronounced CFC burnish mark over the base band, 1.148"
    I hand cycled it through my Colt 1991a1 9mm, dropping the slide all the way, trial round in the middle of a Tripp magazine load.
    It came out at 1.150", a GAIN of 2 thou.

    Another similar gained one thou.
    A control round with no visible CFC rub over the bullet only gained just enough to show on the dial caliper, maybe half a thou.

    They weren't setting back against the feed ramp, they were growing; not much but enough to measure.
    Riddle me that.

  7. #17
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    Needle's loose on your dial calipers?

    Or maybe the bullet's so loose in the case it gets set back on the feed ramp but then lurches forward in the case due to its momentum when it reaches battery?

    Perhaps those Bayou bullets are soft enough to get swaged down in diameter during the seating process? Don't laugh - I bought a small box of super soft (HBN 7) Speer LSWCs years ago that did just that. IIRC, they got squeezed down about 0.002" when seated.
    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; 29th September 2020 at 14:25.


  8. #18
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    Loose dial seems unlikely.
    I know the CFC die will squeeze a .357 down to .356... which is what I had ordered in the first place.

    A friend has been shooting .45s what with small primer shortages.
    When he had used up his stock of "No 68" SWCs, he tried Hornady swaged SWCs whose short noses gave poor feeding.
    I sold him a box of 200 gr roundnose plated .451".
    He was beset with bullet setback. He thinks he can crimp a loose bullet tight, I don't.
    I will let him try my U die.

  9. #19
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    It only takes a little rudimentary knowledge of metallurgy to understand why you can't tighten a 45 Auto bullet in its case once it's seated. There are only three ways to try to do it:

    Keep on adjusting the taper crimp die for a smaller and smaller case mouth OD in an effort to sink the case mouth into the bullet so far that it prevents setback. The image in Post #15 demonstrates the futility of such an attempt.

    Run the finished cartridge through a sizing die (such as a Lee CFC die) to reduce the case OD thinking that will tighten the cases grip on the bullet.

    Use bullets with a crimping groove and use on roll crimp die.

    The reason why the first two won't do any good is that once the cartridge is withdrawn from either the taper crimping die or the case resizing die, the brass will spring back out a bit - the lead won't spring back out at all. If a system could be devised to expand the seated bullet inside its case, then that could tighten things up. Another pipe dream would be to find a combination of materials where the bullet would spring back out more than the case after either crimping or sizing. The last one would probably work, but the only bullets I know of with suitable diameters for the 45 Auto that have crimping grooves are revolver bullets, and these tend to be a bit heavy or have nose shapes that don't feed well.

    Your U die should cure his problem - even if the bullets are on the soft side.

    Q: What brand 200g plated bullets did your friend get from you (I may have hardness data on them)?
    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; 30th September 2020 at 22:00.


  10. #20
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    Xtreme.
    I am going to mike the current lot of those bullets and hand cycle some of my loads with them in my gun today, live fire tomorrow.
    Yes, I know you can't crimp a loose bullet tight, but T. is going to try. He will also try a different sizing die.

    I will offer my U die and my case cannelure die. I have one that will sink a cannelure into the case at the bullet base in one stroke on a single stage press, none of that tedious rolling.

    There was an old line bullseye gunsmith who applied a hard roll crimp, driving the case mouth into the front band of a SWC, seated to "headspace" on the shoulder. But that was probably in the 1950s and folks were generally content with ten ring groups. Now the precision shooters expect the gun and ammo to hold the X ring.

    No 30

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