Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

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Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by estuck on 12/30/2017, 4:16 pm

With the outside temps here in Michigan at a balmy 10 degrees I thought I would load up some .45 today. I started getting cases sticking in my Lee factory crimp die in my 550. I am using new Starline brass, Zero 185gr JHP. Crimping at .469. I took the die apart and cleaned it well. Reset everything and the first 10 rounds or so were ok then it progressively start sticking again. It is holding the crimps size well. I am also using a Uniqetek toolhead. Anyone have a suggestion?

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by Multiracer on 12/30/2017, 4:42 pm

You need some sort of very light lube, this is especially true with "new" Starline brass. Once you fire it a few times the lube becomes less important.
I had a good friend show me this trick.
Take a gallon size ziploc bag, throw a hundred or so new cases in the bag, spray a mist of case lube in the bag and roll the cases around for a moment.
You can thank my friend later.

PS: Sometimes squeeky clean used cases will present this problem as well.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by SmokinNJokin on 12/30/2017, 6:12 pm

I would respectfully suggest you ditch the factory crimp die for a conventional die or remove the sizing ring. Something has to give as it sizes your loaded round again, and it is the bullet. The resistance you feel is the bullets getting swaged down in that final size, pull a bullet and compare to a new one to see by how much. Not ideal with lead, really bad with jacketed.
Lubing brass will reduce the resistance and make that final size easier, but the same thing is still happening.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by james r chapman on 12/30/2017, 6:27 pm

I believe the LEE fcd is manufactured to match the maximum SAAMI spec so should not deform the bullet. It is possible your over crimping and forcing a brass deformation.
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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by Multiracer on 12/30/2017, 6:47 pm

I just re read the OP.
Your Uniguetek expander die is causing the stick.
Are you running a Dillon ?

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by STEVE SAMELAK on 12/30/2017, 7:14 pm

He mentioned tool head not expanding die.
The quickest way to track down the issue would be to run one case thru by itself to finger the culprit.
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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by Multiracer on 12/30/2017, 7:45 pm

The tool head just positions the tools? Let me rephrase... It's your expander die.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by STEVE SAMELAK on 12/30/2017, 8:11 pm

We need for the OP to clarify what part of his setup is Uniqtek.
They make a number of parts for Dillon 550s, (2) being tool heads & powder measure inserts.  Then we can point fingers in earnest!!
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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by Multiracer on 12/30/2017, 8:31 pm

Even if his expander is made by Joe Blow....it is usually the culprit of stickiness with new Starline.
I am voting for expander for the win !

Come on estuck lay it on us, don'
t leave us hanging like ripe fruit !
Ron

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by dronning on 12/30/2017, 8:45 pm

Multiracer wrote:You need some sort of very light lube, this is especially true with "new" Starline brass. Once you fire it a few times the lube becomes less important.
I had a good friend show me this trick.
Take a gallon size ziploc bag, throw a hundred or so new cases in the bag, spray a mist of case lube in the bag and roll the cases around for a moment.
You can thank my friend later.

PS: Sometimes squeeky clean used cases will present this problem as well.
+1 
But use a plastic shopping bag instead and do several hundred.
- Dave
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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by estuck on 12/30/2017, 11:29 pm

The Uniquetek is their billet toolhead that has two small sockethead screws to lock the toolhead in place. My press is the Dillon 550. The expander/sizing die is Dillon in .45 long colt.  I'm wondering now if that is the problem. There is no doubt the sticking is with the crimping die, all other stations are smooth. May try the 45 acp sizing die to see if it makes a difference.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by james r chapman on 12/31/2017, 7:18 am

Probably oversizing the brass in the expander. Might try moving your seating die lower just not enough to crimp. That might size down the brass enough to fit the crimp die.
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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by Multiracer on 12/31/2017, 9:41 am

How is the long colt 45 die not sticking ? It would be a complete sizing top to bottom on a 45 ACP ?

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by gregbenner on 12/31/2017, 11:34 am

estuck wrote:The Uniquetek is their billet toolhead that has two small sockethead screws to lock the toolhead in place. My press is the Dillon 550. The expander/sizing die is Dillon in .45 long colt.  I'm wondering now if that is the problem. There is no doubt the sticking is with the crimping die, all other stations are smooth. May try the 45 acp sizing die to see if it makes a difference.

On my 550, Stage 1 is the recap/sizing die, stage 2 is expander/powder drop, stage 3 is seating and stage 4 is crimp.  The reference to the "expander/sizing die" as a single die is confusing.  Probably just me, I get confused easily.

Is your's "sticking" in the final crimp stage 4? Or are you referring to stage 2 (expander stage).  Perhaps sticking as you raise the handle?  

If the issue is stage 2 on a Dillon, I had the same issue with 32l and certain brass.  The issue turned out to be the sizing die in stage 1 was not large enough for certain brass, particular new brass. I purchased on 2/1000 oversize Lee sizing die which cured the issue. In my case a larger diameter expander die would likely have solved it as well?

If I have completely missed the issue, just ignore this Embarassed

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by S148 on 12/31/2017, 11:39 am

New brass can be a pain to work with. Starline is the worst offender, in my experience.

The problem can sometimes be traced to the case mouth not being chamfered/deburred inside and out and having very squared edges. The belling die and crimping die don't like that. Minor chamfered/deburred can make it go easier, but might not cure it totally. 

Fired (and tumble cleaned) cases have the advantage of having 'rounded' case mouth edges and being 'lubed' with powder carbon residue and cleaning media dust.

One way around dealing with sticking on the belling stage is to alternate new and used cases. The used cases help to keep the dies 'lubed'.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by Multiracer on 12/31/2017, 12:57 pm

gregbenner wrote:
estuck wrote:The Uniquetek is their billet toolhead that has two small sockethead screws to lock the toolhead in place. My press is the Dillon 550. The expander/sizing die is Dillon in .45 long colt.  I'm wondering now if that is the problem. There is no doubt the sticking is with the crimping die, all other stations are smooth. May try the 45 acp sizing die to see if it makes a difference.

On my 550, Stage 1 is the recap/sizing die, stage 2 is expander/powder drop, stage 3 is seating and stage 4 is crimp.  The reference to the "expander/sizing die" as a single die is confusing.  Probably just me, I get confused easily.

Is your's "sticking" in the final crimp stage 4? Or are you referring to stage 2 (expander stage).  Perhaps sticking as you raise the handle?  

If the issue is stage 2 on a Dillon, I had the same issue with 32l and certain brass.  The issue turned out to be the sizing die in stage 1 was not large enough for certain brass, particular new brass. I purchased on 2/1000 oversize Lee sizing die which cured the issue. In my case a larger diameter expander die would likely have solved it as well?

If I have completely missed the issue, just ignore this Embarassed


My bet is the sticking on the up swing of the handle, if you dont lube a couple cases along the way the problem just gets worse.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by gregbenner on 12/31/2017, 1:02 pm

That was my experience.  Lubing helped a little, kinda......

Getting the correct sizing die fixed the issue completely. 

What is confusing to me is the OP reference to "crimp" die.  If it is sticking in the final stage 4 crimp, I have no ideas.  Is it a taper or roll crimp?

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by estuck on 1/1/2018, 8:13 pm

After reading the replies I lubed a few cases and it helped. The sticking occurs on the upstroke on the crimp die. I took the die apart and cleaned it thoroughly and lubed the sizing bushing. I did notice very slight brass shavings near the stage and in the case bin. Close inspection of the complete round shows very slight scuffing at the case mouth/crimp. I also have some slight sticking with the expander die, but with the lube it goes away, and does not happen with previous fired brass. the seating die is a Redding competition, expander die is a Dillon as is the sizing die. Is there any substantial advantage to using the Lee crimp die over a Dillon crimp die? The completed cases drop nicely in my case gauge , and measure out consistently.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by S148 on 1/1/2018, 8:30 pm

As you know, the Lee die post-sizes the loaded round. You might or might not need that. That said, it's not a bad thing unless it's sizing the bullet during that process.

The Dillon crimp die can experience the same problem with new brass. It's because of the nature of the case mouth with virgin brass. But try the Dillon die to see if it helps. It might be better.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by Jack H on 1/1/2018, 10:56 pm

estuck wrote:After reading the replies I lubed a few cases and it helped. The sticking occurs on the upstroke on the crimp die. I took the die apart and cleaned it thoroughly and lubed the sizing bushing. I did notice very slight brass shavings near the stage and in the case bin. Close inspection of the complete round shows very slight scuffing at the case mouth/crimp. I also have some slight sticking with the expander die, but with the lube it goes away, and does not happen with previous fired brass. the seating die is a Redding competition, expander die is a Dillon as is the sizing die. Is there any substantial advantage to using the Lee crimp die over a Dillon crimp die? The completed cases drop nicely in my case gauge , and measure out consistently.

I tried the Lee FC die for a while.  No more.
The crimp part inside shreds the case mouth.  Poor machining IMO
And I see no need to resize the round.
(and I broke the carbide on one using it as a push through)

My favorite taper crimper is an old RCBS seat-crimper with the seater removed. 
But I use the Dillon crimper (and seater) for the take apart and clean feature. 
They seat and crimp good enough.  (I like to crimp deep like Giles)
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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by rreid on 1/3/2018, 7:58 pm

I think I understand what's happening now. The OP is using a 45 Colt sizing die, so the cases are getting sized a few thousandths larger than a 45auto sizing would make them. The crimp die is a Lee FCD with a carbide sizing ring intended for 45auto, so the slightly larger cases are hanging up on the crimp die. I would replace the sizing die with a 45auto die. When I tried a 45Colt sizing die for 45auto, I got bullet setback with jacketed and saw no increase in accuracy with lead.
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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by estuck on 1/3/2018, 8:15 pm

Thanks for the info. Will go back to the .45 acp sizing die, lube some cases and try it.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by SmokinNJokin on 1/7/2018, 11:53 am

Jack H wrote:I tried the Lee FC die for a while.  No more.
The crimp part inside shreds the case mouth.  Poor machining IMO
And I see no need to resize the round.
(and I broke the carbide on one using it as a push through)
 +1 my experience exactly with the LEE FCD. It re-sizes brass down to minimum spec. Much smaller than needed for a match .45, in the name of 'reliability' (this is a band-aid for using wildly varying brass in a bunch of different guns and making sure it will always chamber and go bang. Also geared toward bulge-busting for unsupported chambers like glock and others). There is just no need for it in a 1911 bullseye gun.

Keep sizing with the .45 colt die though. If sized brass fits in the chamber of your pistol with no resistance, it is not a problem. The lee FCD is the problem, it is re-sizing your brass down to minimum spec, much smaller than needed. Go back to your dillon crimp die, that will solve the problem guranteed.

Using a .45 colt sizing die, .45 colt expander, .45 acp seating die, and .45 acp crimp die, my press runs smooth as butter and I haven't seen a SINGLE lead or brass shaving in a long, long time.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by SmokinNJokin on 1/7/2018, 12:07 pm

S148 wrote:New brass can be a pain to work with. Starline is the worst offender, in my experience.

The problem can sometimes be traced to the case mouth not being chamfered/deburred inside and out and having very squared edges. The belling die and crimping die don't like that. Minor chamfered/deburred can make it go easier, but might not cure it totally. 

Fired (and tumble cleaned) cases have the advantage of having 'rounded' case mouth edges and being 'lubed' with powder carbon residue and cleaning media dust.

One way around dealing with sticking on the belling stage is to alternate new and used cases. The used cases help to keep the dies 'lubed'.
 
Part of the issue with new starline, in addition to what your mentioned is that the internal case taper on new brass actually extends up a little higher than other brands and gets stuck on the expander as it is retracted. They talk about this on their site:
https://www.starlinebrass.com/articles/Reloading-Tips-and-Tricks/
They also offer to modify your expander free of charge to fix the issue.

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Re: Lee Factory Crimp Die Sticking

Post by estuck on 1/7/2018, 12:30 pm

Thanks for all the good advice. Many of you have far more knowledge of reloading than I do. I took everything apart, cleaned all the dies, then measured C.O.A.L on finished rounds. (New Starline brass Zero 185gr JHP) ) I am using a Redding Competition Seating Die and found a fairly big difference in C.O.A.L. I set mine for 1.210 and getting lengths from 1.208 all the way to 1.215. Took the die apart, and cleaned it. On the instructions it says to unscrew the micrometer, take out the spring, seating stem, and sliding chamber sleeve. The stem came out but not the sleeve. Does anyone know if the sleeve is for the rifle die only? There is a sleeve in it but is doesn't move.

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