Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Carbide and Steel die sets plus the Carbide, Bottle Neck Pistol Cartridge, and Factory Crimp Dies. Also the Bulge Buster Kit.

Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby horseman » 08 Mar 2020 20

These dies are not new to me at all. I've had many flavors of them some worked some didn't do what I wanted in a crimp die, usually that was using a bit oversize cast bullets where it would "resize" the case and bullet with difficult insertion and extraction. That said I purchased one to use loading 45 ACP thinking that it would be just fine as I am loading .451 XTP bullets for the most part so should match up. Nope. I've tried several times and it is just a PIA using it. Worse than the one I have for 9mm. Very hard to get the cartridge to enter the die then you get a couple big bumps and difficult to remove crimped round. The crimp is great so I may just knock the carbide ring out and use it that way. In fact that is exactly what I'm going to do. Right now I'm using an extra bullet seating die to crimp. Pretty disappointed with this die. :(
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby bayou » 09 Mar 2020 09

I have used LFC dies in many calibers, also. However, for 45acp, my particular die will resize a .452 projectile to .451. Not sure if all similar 45acp dies do that but mine does.

So, quite frankly, after seating all the projectiles I wish to complete for my reloading session, I simply use the crimp ring on my seater die as a separate step in order to crimp without resizing the projectiles in the LFC die.

As you state, the carbide ring could removed to attain the same result...

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Last edited by bayou on 09 Mar 2020 20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby mikld » 09 Mar 2020 12

The only Lee tool I don't like, won't use is the Factory Crimp Die for handguns (aka "Carbide FCD"). Yes I did try one for my 44 Magnums an it swaged my carefully sized cast bullets. I knocked out the sizing ring and got a decent crimp, but for my revolvers prefer a profile or collet crimp. I have been reloading semi-auto ammo since '88 and have never had a chambering problem I couldn't correct with die adjustments, using (mostly) Lee dies with a plain taper crimp, so an FCD for those cartridges (380 through 45 ACP) is of no interest to me...
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby Ranch Dog » 22 Mar 2020 07

I've meant to get back to this, but I wanted pictures. I use the dies with the 25 Auto, 32 Auto, 380 Auto, 9mm Luger, 9mm Makarov, and 45 Auto. If the Automator (Pro 10000) allowed it, I would be using it with 38 Spl as well.

horseman wrote:Very hard to get the cartridge to enter the die then you get a couple big bumps and challenging to remove crimped round

The "bumps" caused me to want to say something about the die itself, but at the time the post was active, I've tied up with work and studying.

If you are like me, you have probably had the die apart at some time. As a cast bullet shooter, I do not shoot jacketed bullets in my pistols or revolver; I will take all the dies apart to clean the bullet lube out of them. This cleanup work is happening a vastly greater interval with my switch to powder coated bullets. As a note, the greatest die cleaner on earth is a can of PVC pipe cleaner; you know the can with the fuzzy ball mop attached to the lid? That cleaner will immediately dissolve the toughest lube, and the fuzzy ball on the wire is excellent for getting inside the die.

What I wanted to point out is that the crimp sleeve is directional. There is a bullet side and an adjusting screw side.
  • The bullet side is smaller in diameter than the adjusting screw side.
  • The adjusting screw side is machined to meet the lip of the adjusting screw. You can sit the bullet side down on a table, and the adjusting screw will balance on top of the sleeve. Not so if you have the sleeve inverted.

Image Image

With the "bump" mentioned above, I think that your sleeve is inverted.

I loaded a long run of 45 Auto for my Taurus 745 and the Hi-Point 4595 on the Load-Master yesterday. The Taurus has a fat chamber and groove; the Hi-Point is at the SAAMI spec. The bullet for the 745 is a .457" bullet, and with the 4595, I use a .452" bullet as it drops from the mold (.452 ~ .453"). The bullets are of my design and are the same except the nose on the .452" bullet is shorter in that it is a hollow point. As I shift from loading one run to the next on the Load-Master, I make only three adjustments to the press. I change out the drum on the Auto Drum, the powder hopper, and adjust the bullet seating die adjusting screw for the COAL. I keep two dummy rounds at the press with, one with each bullet to make the COAL easy.

I don't make any adjustments to the Carbide FCD; it doesn't have anything to do with the bullet. Its setup is based on a sized case. Both of my loads use the same case. I don't feel anything through the die until the last .025" of travel. That's the setup as well (sleeve having case mouth contact and then bringing the adjusting screw in ½ turn).

Image

I actually have adjusted my dies by running a case completely through all the Load-Master stages. I measure the case mouth out of the seating die and want to see only the beginning of a decrease out of the CFCD. This step takes it through the Powder Through Expanding and Bullet seating dies; I want to see and measure what is happening at each station.

Okay. My .457 bullet is still .457" and my as cast didn't change either. I have an appropriate crimp on each case.

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I don't understand knocking out the carbide ring. It is there for a reason to assure that your cases will chamber. Lee had told me that the ring it is at the web diameter +.001". I checked all the cartridges mentioned above yesterday, they are at that.

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If the top portion of your cartridge is encountering the ring, your bullet seating die might not be resetting the expanded case mouth from the previous die.
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby Ranch Dog » 22 Mar 2020 09

The closest I have to not working is the 25 Auto, and it is related to "a size maters" thing. An over diameter cast bullet is a more significant percentage of the SAAMI spec on the 25 Auto than it is on the 45 Auto. It is pushing the plus .001" clearance at the entrance of the carbide ring.

It is not a matter when using jacketed bullets (.251"), but my Taurus pistol is fat and uses a .255" bullet, which ends up being right at the limit of the web diameter (.278"). I have to spend quite a bit of effort with the bullet seating die to make sure it is doing its job as far as the case is concerned. My inside caliper is only suitable for a .00X" measure, and what I see at the carbide "ring" is .278", not with the plus +.001". In that the 25 Auto CFCD was a special run, I'm reluctant to mess (lapping the ring) with it as there is no replacement. I do have some precision pin gauges that I could use to maybe get it to .279". What bothers me is that .001" is a large percentage of the diameter, and I like using these dies as a chamber check and the end of the loading cycle. I might try to go out to .0005", but that is as far as I would want to change it.
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby horseman » 22 Mar 2020 12

Just took some measurements on my CFCD for 45acp. The carbide ring measures .470 with a minus .470 pin gauge. It has a "bit" of room (typical) but a .471 pin will not fit. A piece of brass (except RP) will measure .12 to .13 but most just figure .12 thou. Add that to a .451 jacketed bullet and you get .475. It's gonna' hit the carbide ring no matter what and you're gonna' feel it. I think using the seating die to crimp just a bit of the flare out may make things smoother but no way you can stick a .475 peg in a .470 hole and not feel it "bump". Whether or not this matters to accuracy with jacketed bullets may be a question but probably not much at the range I envision using them and IF it (LCFCD) makes the ammo more dependable then I'm going back to it. Because IMO dependability trumps all other things in a SD equation. Who cares if your gun shoots a 1" group at 50 yds when we're talkin' 5-30 feet and a 12" "target"???

Funny thing about the measurements on the 45 acp die, I seem to remember the CFCD I had for my 45 Colt's measured .480 because shooting .454 bullets the die had no effect on my cast bullets at that size. Seems the 45 auto should be at least .475-.478.

By the way I have measured "some" fired cases just in front of the extractor ring from my RIA and they run .475 to .480 depending on how "hot" the load. I have no idea if this means anything to the question at hand, just thought I'd throw it in there. Perhaps the RIA has a "generous" chamber.
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby Ranch Dog » 23 Mar 2020 05

To those that have changed the diameter of the carbide ring, how it the hell did you do it?

That carbide is tough. I wailed away with it on sandpaper wrapped dowels, lapping compounds, and files (filed the finish off of two files), and per my precision pin gauges, I did not change the diameter of at all after an hour and ten minutes of working at it.
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby Ranch Dog » 23 Mar 2020 06

I've been googling and this is about the only thing I've come up with.

"For future reference, the carbide ring dosnt need to be knocked out. It can be lapped a few thousandths bigger and left in place. This can be done by hand. Use a old case that's life is gone for reloading. Siz it and drill out the Primer pocket and tap it 1/4 28 install a allen head bolt with a jam nut inside the case. Measure ring dia and write it down. Coat case lightly with a medium lapping compound and work in using an allen wrench to turn it. Workj it back and forth rotating it every few back and forths. Also work it in and out while twisting back and forth. DO this for a few mins or until it loosens up on the case. Clean and remeasure a new measurement that is .003-.005 bigger should save the cast bullet from being damaged and still allow for a little help at the base if needed. Do not go in to the crimp ring just work the carbide ring at the base over like this."

I'm not sure the bolt and nut thing will work as this is the 25 Auto case. Not much to work with plus, as I said, I've tried lapping using patches on a dowel to no avail. I'm going to see if there is a machine shop in Victoria that can turn it for me. It might be smart to ask Lee to do it as it is not at the SAAMI web spec of .278".

The 25 Auto die is the only Carbide Factory Crimp Die effecting my over-diameter cast bullets with six different semi-auto cartridges.
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby horseman » 23 Mar 2020 11

Not really knowing what would be "optimal" for case to chamber sizing I just go with whichever sizing die I have for the cartridge. I have tried the "neck sizing" (partial case) with 45 colt a few years back and could find no advantage to that vs full sizing. With that, looking at the picture in Michael's above post on the 45acp (maximum cartridge, minimum chamber) that a fcd at about .475 should be about perfect for jacketed bullets, or am I missing something? My Hornady resize die reduces the case mouth from a fired case at .477 down to .463 and the base above the extractor groove from .478 to .471 (give or take a thou). So,I considered that the CFCD with the carbide ring at .470 (might) work as a size die (recall finished round measured .475) so tried it.....miserable failure. No bullet tension, you could make the bullet set back into the case with just a hard stare. Just thought I would check that out. Didn't figure it would work, and for once I was correct.

I misspoke on the .475 measurement, that would be a total size of brass and bullet, my finished rounds through the CFCD are .471 at the case mouth and .470 just above the extractor groove (carbide ring measures .470) I've come to the conclusion that all this means squat as long as they chamber and shoot at least as accurate as I can hold I'm good. But it is something to talk about if you're "self quarantined".
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Re: Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

Postby Macd » 23 Mar 2020 14

Diamond dust lapping compound is available. It comes as a powder or premixed in various liquids depending on application. I have used it to lap the flat side of carbide cutters used in shapers. Diamond hones are also available. Auto stores carry them for honing valve guides.
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