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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reloading for 38/357 with my Lee Carbide 3 die set and have been happy with the roll crimp I'm getting with the combination seating/crimping die. Now I would like to move into .380 and am looking again at Lee. I am wondering, since the .380 indexes off the case mouth rather than the rim, if the FCD die is more important in this case to get a proper taper crimp required for the 380. If the FCD die is not really needed, that is money I can put towards components.
So, who loads for .380 and do you crimp with your seating die or in a separate step? I'll be loading both cast (.356) and jacketed (.355) bullets.
 

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If you are looking at getting new Lee carbide pistol dies I believe all you get is a FCD taper crimp die. You might have to ask them specifically but sometime in the past year or more Lee trimmed down what is included in some or all of their die sets. The built-in standard crimp feature in the seat/crimp die has been omitted in quite a few die sets. It looks like most of the pistol die sets can still be had with 3 carbide dies or 4, including the FCD. Just for your information, the FCD in ACP die sets is also a taper crimp style.

FWIW, in my limited experience the FCD has been useful with jacketed bullets. It seems to give me a better crimp on jacketed bullets with a cannelure and I would definitely want it with jacketed that don't have a cannelure. However, I haven't begun to reload for my 9mm which is the only cartridge I am set up for that headspaces on the case mouth. I am working on theory and testimony from others who have actually "done that..."
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
It is my understanding that both give a taper crimp, but the FCD might do some sizing after the fact.
Question being does the seating/crimping die in the 3 die set give a satisfactory taper crimp for reliable feeding and accuracy?
These will be shot from a Bersa Thunder, which by most accounts is not particularly ammo finicky.
 
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I definitely can't answer the question if the standard crimp is a good one, not having even done it with my dies yet. The price difference in the three or four die set hasn't been an issue for me. Particularly with cartridges I load jacketed for. Which has been all of them at one time or another. I like the comfort factor of having the extra crimp die. I use a turret press and seat and crimp in two operations anyway.

So far, none of my FCD's have downsized the cast bullets that I can tell. Manufacturing tolerances being what they are, some might and some might not. Speaking of that, the standard roll crimp for my Lee 45 Colt set was hitting the circumference of my .454 cast 300gr bullets. The FCD did not make contact with the bullet so I use the FCD for crimping the cast loads in 45 Colt. I also use it for crimping some Nosler .451" jacketed bullets.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've also heard that the sizing ring in the FCD may swage down cast bullets, which could cause leading. I don't think the concern is with the sizer contacting the bullet per se, but swaging the portion that is inside the case when it sizes the case mouth.
 

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That seems to be a hit or miss problem swaging down the bullets. It's just been the past year that I have cast my own at larger diameters, for 45 Colt and 45-70. So far my FCD's in those two calibers have worked fine. I'm about to start casting some fat bullets with a Ranch Dog mold for 30-30. We will see how my FCD in that set works but I will try with the standard roll crimp first.

Rifle FCD's are quite different than pistol caliber FCD's. Pistol sets use a solid ring much like the standard crimp. Rifle die FCD's use a split collet setup that pinches a narrower area on the case. Ranch Dog swears by the FCD for his reloading and I don't think he has a jacketed bullet in the house. His pistol caliber rifle loads use the FCD too. However, he uses Lee's special FCD for pistol calibers that come with the split collet style FCD. They are not the normal pistol die sets. You have to specify the collet style for them. That changes the economics as well.
 
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The rifle set only crimps the case mouth. I absolutely love them for the rifle. Very consistent pressures with it. I also use the FCD for my 45 acp. I have a special secret load with 200 grain bullets pushing hard cast bullets 1500 fps and one pushing swaged 200 grain bullets 1300 fps. I was getting no leading at all in my barrel. But I was getting some failure to feed. So I tried the FCD and took care of the tiny bulge that was hanging me up. Now I get perfect feeding and I still get no leading with either load. So I don't think it swaging the bullets or I would be getting a lot of leading at those velocities. I can't recommend the FCD enough!
 

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Those are some good points bryan. P-bass's situation is very similar to yours and reduces the issues some have had with the FCD. The FCD is designed to duplicate factory load parameters. To do that it is geared more toward the firearms that don't require abnormally sized (larger) cast bullets. Most of what we hear negative on this forum is the FCD coupled with oversize for Marlin bullets. Those tend to be larger diameter bullets than might be required for other brands of firearms.

So we are talking about a 45acp and 380acp, both of which are not Marlin microgroove barrels and use taper crimp style FCD's. The combination of industry average barrel diameters and auto feed firearms tends to support use of the FCD crimps. The cast bullet diameters P-bass is going to use is likely to work very well with the FCD and will benefit from a pretty good crimp. No one has ever said the FCD doesn't crimp well. Only that they can downsize some large for caliber cast bullets. Not saying the subject 380acp might need oversize bullets but the size chosen so far should be a good combination with the FCD and it's advantages.

That's my full load of speculation for a Tuesday morning.
 
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Yeah I guess the cast I was using is .452 so not all that big. With how much the FCD helps in reliability it is something everyone with an auto loading pistol should look into.
 
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Same for my 45 Colt. It's a Puma/Rossi that I tried .454 bullets first. Then I tried the same 300RNFP at .452 with no change in accuracy and a smidge more velocity. The FCD is still working great even though that one is the solid ring style roll crimp. I might opt for the collet style FCD in 45 Colt if I needed the .454 just to be on the safe side. If it were a Marlin that's the way it would likely need to be.
 
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Measure the case diameter over the bullet after it passes through the carbide ring in the crimp die for pistols. If it is smaller the bullet is getting swaged

Those using "secret" loads that generate 1500 fps with 200 grain bullets in 45 ACP are risking not so secret kabooms and gun damage. Smart reloaders don't do loads way beyond loading manual suggestions.

Any time I see "suggestions" that someone is going way beyond what is prudent, I will not let it pass without comment.
 

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I've been reloading a long time and since I said secret I wasn't or am not telling anyone to do it. The gun is modified. Or is 460 rowland rounds unsafe for some reason since the make brass for it and set a sammi pressure for it? I've shot about a 1000 rounds of it and all is fine and safe.

Measure the case diameter over the bullet after it passes through the carbide ring in the crimp die for pistols. If it is smaller the bullet is getting swaged

Those using "secret" loads that generate 1500 fps with 200 grain bullets in 45 ACP are risking not so secret kabooms and gun damage. Smart reloaders don't do loads way beyond loading manual suggestions.

Any time I see "suggestions" that someone is going way beyond what is prudent, I will not let it pass without comment.
 
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Bryan, you said "45 ACP" in the questionable post earlier with no mention whatsoever about the Rowland. Since we can agree the 45 ACP is most assuredly not the Rowland, full disclosure rather than "secrets" regarding what you are doing would have made a more responsible post.

If you are reloading the Rowland as it is supposed to be done secrets need not apply. The is no need to hide what you are doing in such instances.
 

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It's not a rowland but similar. It uses the same dimensions of a 45 acp. Which is why I called it that. If anyone used this load in their gun it would most definitely blow up in their hands. And I will never give anyone my recipe for this load. I was trying to convey the velocity of a lead bullet after using an FCD and not getting leading in my barrel.
 
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Oh yeah. 35 rem. Go Huskers! Been in a good mood this week after that stomping on Miami. Don't think there is a team I would of liked to do that more to!
 

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Like I said.......you left too many important details out. More relevant info next time okay?

I still remember jumping up and down after Cory Schlesinger scored to put us ahead in the 95 Orange Bowl. We really needed to beat those guys after all the previous suffering at their hands.
 

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I've been reloading .380 for years, got the RCBS carbide die set and after a while got tired of re-adjusting the seater/crimp die and broke down and got a Lee FCD die just to taper crimp the cartridges. YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've been reloading a long time and since I said secret I wasn't or am not telling anyone to do it. The gun is modified. Or is 460 rowland rounds unsafe for some reason since the make brass for it and set a sammi pressure for it? I've shot about a 1000 rounds of it and all is fine and safe.
When you posted those numbers I immediately thought of "Clark" so I googled his name + "45 acp" and came up with a thread about the same 460 Rowland in a 45 acp case load he does.
 

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Point is....a 45 ACP case running at 35 plus kpsi isn't a 45 ACP, nor should it be called a 45 ACP. More than in most endeavors, correct terminology matters in hand loading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I would agree that some clarification is in order when suggesting that such velocity can even be attained with a particular cartridge.
I would also like to steer the thread back to my original question as it pertains to the lowly .380.
 
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