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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a carbide LEE 3-die set for .45 ACP and was considering getting the fourth die, but cannot decide on which one. Does anyone have any experience about whether the taper or factory crimp die worx best for this application? I have read the blurb in their reloading catalog and still can't figger it out. Any ideas? Thanx.

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Hey 51,

The Lee FCD will serve you well....you would be best served obtaining another SEATING DIE...

If loading single stage, you will size/de cap with Die #1. You will bell the mouth with Die #2. (then prime/charge cases) Then seat bullet with Die #3...Followed by the LEE FCD.

You will be very happy.

Later, Mark
 

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You always taper crimp .45ACP cartridges because they headspace on the mouth of the cartridge. You never roll crimp them.

I always use a taper crimp die to establish consistent mouth tension on these cartridges.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Maybe I wasn't clear enuf. Although LEE makes a 4-die set, a buddy of mine gave me his 3-die set. I have been using that set in a turret press (generally as a single-stage) so I know the routine, but needed feedback on which 4th die to get if I decide to go that route. So far, the general consensus is the FCD, but I guess some use the same die to both seat and crimp. So I dunno, get the 4th die or just keep on keepin' on with the 3 dies?

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The FCD is a good taper crimp die. However, it has a carbide ring to squish any case/ bullet bulges so rounds will chamber. This does adversely effect accuracy. Better to find the cause of bulges and correct the die set up.
I used to only buy Lee taper crimp dies, but they raised the price to match the FCD. I only shoot lead bullets and have first hand experience with the bad effects of that carbide ring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The FCD is a good taper crimp die. However, it has a carbide ring to squish any case/ bullet bulges so rounds will chamber. This does adversely effect accuracy. Better to find the cause of bulges and correct the die set up.
I used to only buy Lee taper crimp dies, but they raised the price to match the FCD. I only shoot lead bullets and have first hand experience with the bad effects of that carbide ring.
I don't seem to have any problems with bulging cases, I was just asking for opinions re the FCD v. the taper die. Most say the FCD is the way to go if you decide to get a fourth die. As far as cost between the two, various web sites that I have seen show the taper die on average about $9 less than the FCD, at least for the .45 ACP.

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When my progressive die is setup for pistol cartridges that headspace on the mouth of the case, I use these dies:

  • Sizing / decapping die
  • Case mouth expander
  • Powder drop
  • Bullet insert
  • Taper crimp

Note that some bullet insert dies also apply a crimp, so you need to verify measurements out of the bullet insert die and out of the taper die to ensure the cartridge leaves within SAAMI specifications, and with correct mouth tension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
When my progressive die is setup for pistol cartridges that headspace on the mouth of the case, I use these dies:

  • Sizing / decapping die
  • Case mouth expander
  • Powder drop
  • Bullet insert
  • Taper crimp

Note that some bullet insert dies also apply a crimp, so you need to verify measurements out of the bullet insert die and out of the taper die to ensure the cartridge leaves within SAAMI specifications, and with correct mouth tension.
Your list of dies is a little confusing. You have a 5-die setup or does the expander and charging step use the same die (like mine)?

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No... I have an expander die in one position. In the next position, I have the powder drop. I don't use a "powder through" expander die.
 
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I'm not an expert but I have a Lee turret press and used the 4 die set with factory crimp die in 45 ACP for a long time. I bought a new FCD a 3 or 4 years ago (didn't really need to, the new one seems identical to the old one). Not sure why but the carbide sizer does contact every round, especially when using lead or lead coated (.452" dia). Almost feels like it swages them down a little bit. Less so with jacketed bullets. I adjust the die to give a crimp that takes all the bell out of the case mouth plus just a little bit more. As somebody said, don't go crazy with crimp in a semi auto or use a roll crimp. The mouth of the case has to head space on the ledge in the chamber. I try them in the chamber of the gun (take the barrel out of the gun for safety) to make sure they chamber well. I use a factory round as a guide.

When using mixed brass it seems to be "forgiving". In other words I don't trim my brass to make sure the case lengths are all the same to worry about getting a consistent crimp. That more forgiving part may be just in my head. I haven't compared the shape or angle of the inside of the die to other dies. But it seems to work well and i don't trim brass like i used to.

I have tried just crimping with the bullet seating die, and using the FCD. Now I just use the FCD on any caliber I load for a semi auto. To me it's worth the extra operation but with a turret press it takes no time. I give the turret a spin manually after I seat a bullet then run them into the factory crimp die. My pet loads are plenty accurate and very reliable.

So I really like the factory crimp die. I don't have any experience with other crimp only dies in 45 ACP, only the Lee FCD.

Hope this is helpful.
 

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Again, the fcd produces no better taper crimp than any other taper crimp die. It was made to iron out bulges from bullets seated crooked. If you don't seat bullets crooked and don't shoot lead bullets, the fcd is as good as anything else.
Buy the least expensive taper crimp die--they are all the same.
 

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Ok, I didn't read through every message so this may already be covered. I currently used the Lee FCD but prior to that only had the 3 die set. If you want to seat and crimp seperately with the 3 set, one can always complete the seating process and then readjust the die and use it for crimp only. I have a turret press so that was relatively easy to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, I didn't read through every message so this may already be covered. I currently used the Lee FCD but prior to that only had the 3 die set. If you want to seat and crimp seperately with the 3 set, one can always complete the seating process and then readjust the die and use it for crimp only. I have a turret press so that was relatively easy to do.
That's kinda what I'm doing now.

Sent from my Commodore 64 running Windoze 95
 
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