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Fix your Lee Factory Crimp Die.

This is a discussion on Fix your Lee Factory Crimp Die. within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I was just talking to someone about the fact that my FCD did not contact the outside of my rounds and take a .358 bullet ...


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Old June 1st, 2010, 04:09 PM   #1
 
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Fix your Lee Factory Crimp Die.

I was just talking to someone about the fact that my FCD did not contact the outside of my rounds and take a .358 bullet down to .357. Tonight I was doing some reloading and switched over to some Federal brass and 148 gr. DEWC. The die was rubbing on the side of the brass so I decided to fix my die once and for all. I took the die out of the turret and removed the seating screw and the crimping cylinder. I then got a 9/32 nut driver and stuck that through the top of the die. It just touched the sides of the carbide sizer that is on the bottom of the die. I hit the top plastic of the nut driver with a hammer a few times while I was holding onto the die with my hand and out the carbide sizer flew. I still can't find it but it is not going to down size any of my rounds again. I put it all back together and it works fine. It worked for me but no guarantees.



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Old June 1st, 2010, 04:26 PM   #2
 
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Glad it worked out for you. Reload away !
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Old June 1st, 2010, 05:43 PM   #3
 
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Good for you. Now, you have one less headache to deal with.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 06:23 PM   #4
 
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This is kinda related...

Here's another trick you can use with the Lee FCD for your taper crimp rounds (.45 Auto, 9mm, .40, etc). If you don't want to run the whole round up into the die and risk squeezing down the lead bullet, and reducing neck tension, back the entire FCD out until only the carbide ring sizes the case mouth. It basically does the same thing you would want to accomplish with the taper crimp insert, which is flatten out the flare of the mouth. I've done this on hundreds of rounds of .45 Auto and it makes things a lot smoother. No more "CHA CHUNK" with the rounds going all the way up into the FCD, swaging down the bullet/case.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 07:30 AM   #5
 
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Nice. I wondered about doing the same as I do not want that crimp die sizing my loaded round. I do like the crimp it gives but, as I shoot cast, do not need my bullets resized after I have been so careful to match them to my cylinder throats.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 09:46 AM   #6
 
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I fixed my FCD too. It's sitting in a box somewhere in my shed gathering dust. (For the same reason Boxhead states)
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 03:06 PM   #7
 
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A few taps and it sizes no more.
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 08:46 PM   #8
 
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I just did this on a set of new .44 Special/Mag dies I got. My .45 Colt FCD doesn't touch the cases or resize the bullet at all, but this .44 FCD was really crunching down on the .44 Special rounds I was trying to load. I tried tapping the nut driver while holding the die, and the carbide ring wouldn't budge. So, I wrapped the die body in some strips of hard rubber and clamped it in the vice. Then I proceeded to bang the &*^%^ of it until the sizing ring flew out. That thing was IN THERE.

Unfortunately, I flattened some of the threads on the die body in the vice from the force of that beating, and now it won't thread into the top of the turret. So now I'm sitting here with a brand new ruined die. Damnit.
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 09:27 PM   #9
 
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Ok, crisis averted. I was able to get the threads cleaned up with a small triangular file. Back in business!
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Old July 5th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #10
 
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Good, glad to hear it!
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Old July 5th, 2010, 02:52 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Two Tracks View Post
I was just talking to someone about the fact that my FCD did not contact the outside of my rounds and take a .358 bullet down to .357. Tonight I was doing some reloading and switched over to some Federal brass and 148 gr. DEWC. The die was rubbing on the side of the brass so I decided to fix my die once and for all. I took the die out of the turret and removed the seating screw and the crimping cylinder. I then got a 9/32 nut driver and stuck that through the top of the die. It just touched the sides of the carbide sizer that is on the bottom of the die. I hit the top plastic of the nut driver with a hammer a few times while I was holding onto the die with my hand and out the carbide sizer flew. I still can't find it but it is not going to down size any of my rounds again. I put it all back together and it works fine. It worked for me but no guarantees.

If we ever meet, I'm buying! I have a Lee FCD for the .44 that I could not use because the thing sized down all my cast rounds. I took a 10mm nut driver and a hammer and knocked the ring out and it works fantastic now.


THANKS!
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Old July 5th, 2010, 03:56 PM   #12
 
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So why use a FCD if you remove the sizer? I thought that was the whole point of using the FCD over a regular crimp?!?
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Old July 5th, 2010, 03:57 PM   #13
 
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Glad to see that it worked for you Bearcat. When you get mad at something, you can come up with all kinds of ideas. I figured that I'd fix it or break it but either way it wasn't going to downsize anymore rounds. I lucked out this time.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 04:34 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donkengine View Post
So why use a FCD if you remove the sizer? I thought that was the whole point of using the FCD over a regular crimp?!?
Having a separate die to crimp is a benefit because you can separate the adjustments needed for bullet seating depth and amount of crimp needed. The Lee FCD is very easy to adjust crimp with, just turn the stem in or out. The benefit of the other aspect of the FCD, the carbide sizing ring, is debatable.

For auto-loader ammunition, the benefit is that it irons out all irregularities that might occur after seating a bullet so that the round is guaranteed to fit in a SAAMI spec chamber. Some folks have guns with chambers so tight that if the round is not at the minimum spec for the whole length of the case, it won't chamber. The FCD is a necessity for these folks. I've never had that problem though.

The problem with sizing the case after the bullet is loaded really rears its head when using cast lead bullets. Lead bullets tend to be a thousandth or two over the diameter of their jacketed counterparts, and this results in the top of a loaded round having a bit of a "swell" in it. When you run that round through the Lee FCD with the sizing ring, it basically swages down the brass/bullet in that area. The brass springs back, but the lead doesn't, which reduces the neck tension on the bullet. This can be bad for accuracy and consistent powder burn.

In a revolver, I don't see why the carbide sizing ring is necessary. On my .45 Colt Lee FCD, the sizing ring never touches the case, but on my .44 FCD, it swages down every single round I run through it.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #15
 
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Donkengine,
A cast bullet swaged down, by a FCD, is a leading problem waiting for the first hammer fall.

I believe that the FCD is a fix for a problem that has never existed. After all, how did reloaders get by without it, prior to its recent arrival. I think that Mr. Lee is a terrific engineer and marketing genius -- or has a knack for hiring them -- and the FCD is his latest attempt at extracting money from reloaders who are easily swayed by his advertizing. That said, I've bought his products and, most likely, will continue to do so. Never a FCD, though.

However, to those who find that it works for them...well and good.

Hammerdown,
"On my .45 Colt Lee FCD, the sizing ring never touches the case, but on my .44 FCD, it swages down every single round I run through it".

I think that speaks volumes for Lee's current lack of quality control.

Last edited by A Patriot; July 5th, 2010 at 05:29 PM.
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