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  1. #1
    Expert BlueEagle's Avatar
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    Need help with crimp, anybody got a minute?

    I've been struggling with this for several days now.

    I have no idea how to tell if I have any crimp, too much crimp, just enough crimp, etc. I've read the whole "if you can push the bullet deeper in the case by pushing it against the side of the bench, it's too light" advice from multiple places, but that doesn't help me, because I can push pretty damn hard.

    I'm attaching a picture with three different reloaded cartridges in it, with what I think is three different levels of crimp. I need somebody to say "1 and 2 aren't enough, 3 is too much" so that I have a few visual points of comparison to know how far to go.

    For information, I'm running Lee .38 special dies on a Lee Classic Turret press. So far, I've taken the advancing rod out and been running it in single stage mode. And my die set is the 4 die set, so I'm seating the bullet in one step, and then crimping with the factory crimp die in the next step.

    ***Phone Number Hidden*** (See Rules for more info)" title="Name: 20170216_185912.jpg Views: 140 Size: 309.9 KB">20170216_185912.jpg

    Thanks in advance to anybody who can help.
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  2. #2
    The one in the middle looks good, maybe some where between the middle and left but definately not the one on the left. 38 special headspaces from the mouth of the case so crimp and case length are important.

    The crimp should measure .003 to .005 less than body of the case with bullet in the case according to RCBS. From what I can tell your OAL appears quite long also.

  3. #3
    Expert BlueEagle's Avatar
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    I figured the one on the right was a drastic over-crimp, but obviously I needed verification. So the one in the middle looks closest; that's good to know. .

    The OAL comes out to 1.5285, which is between the minimum 1.455 and the maximum 1.550 listed in "Modern Reloading," 2nd edition. Checking the Hornady manual, it shows to be in-spec as far as COL there as well. Maybe it's just the angle of the picture?
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  4. #4
    Grandmaster red_zr24x4's Avatar
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    I'd say the one in the middle looks good.
    OAL sure looks long, since i'm seeing the crimp groove
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  5. #5
    Expert BlueEagle's Avatar
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    So the groove is supposed to be back in the case neck? That would be good to know. I was just going by the OAL recommendations in the manual.

    This is quite literally the first few rounds I've ever reloaded, so no information is "too basic" to be mentioned! lol
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  6. #6
    For a revolver, I'd just take the flair off and make sure if drops into the cylinder. So flair closer to the one on the left. For an auto loader, I remove the flair and crimp .001 to .002". Probably between the left and the center.

    I usually take a straight edge and put it against the case and hold it up to light. Gives a good confirmation that the flair is gone and just a slight taper at the edge.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueEagle View Post
    So the groove is supposed to be back in the case neck? That would be good to know. I was just going by the OAL recommendations in the manual.

    This is quite literally the first few rounds I've ever reloaded, so no information is "too basic" to be mentioned! lol
    Yes, that groove is the cannelure. It's there to provide a place to crimp and not distort the bullet. However you don't have to crimp there depending on the reloaders desired OAL.

  8. #8
    Plinker
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    "38 special headspaces from the mouth RIM of the case so crimp and case length are important Just not as important as in a rimless cartridge."

    Most rimmed cartridges headspace from the rim. All my 38s, 357s, and 45 colts do. When I set up to load 38s for my revolvers, I use lee dies, I use the same set up you are using, seater die then factory crimp die. The bullet you are using has a crimp groove, normally that is where you would crimp it. To set up your dies take an empty case, size it, flare it and then put a bullet in by hand until the case mouth is at the crimp grove. Measure your OAL, if it is within standard set up your seating die to seat the bullet at that depth. Use the bullet you just made to set up the crimp die. The crimp in your middle bullet in the picture looks good. You want just enough crimp so the lip of the case has a small curl into the crimp groove, barely noticeable when using brass jacketed bullets. Too much crimp and you can score or cut the jacket. Here is a picture of the crimp I use on the 38s I load, it is using a lead bullet but since you are using a bullet with a groove it should look similar.


    You want just enough crimp to stop the bullets in the unfired cylinders from working there way out of the case. Also a tip, once you have it set up how you like it make a dummy round with no powder or primer to use to set up your dies next time you reload, if using the same components.
    Jim

  9. #9
    Grandmaster sloughfoot's Avatar
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    If you are going to crimp with the FCD, use the one on the right but in the crimp groove. You cannot overcrimp. The one on the right will provide consistant starting pressures. It is what I use on all my .357 Magnum ammo with Win 296 for reliable combustion.

    Do not be afraid to crimp with the Lee FCD. The best product they ever came up with.
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  10. #10
    Grandmaster oldpink's Avatar
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    Either the one in the middle or the one on the right, although my preference would actually be with the one on the right, but please do yourself a big favor and crimp into the cannelure instead of against the bullet.
    FWIW, it is possible to overcimp in certain situations, but it's nearly impossible to have that problem with the superb Lee Factory Crimp die.

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