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smoking357
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Posted: December 12 2017 at 9:57pm | IP Logged Quote smoking357

Was looking around Lee's page for the first time in a while, and I see that they dropped my beloved three-die press.

Why, Lee? Why?

Why would I ever need a fourth die to load straight-walled handgun cartridges?

I'd better load up on gear and backups before I can't get spares for the press.
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RT58
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 12:41pm | IP Logged Quote RT58

I don't keep up with Lee's presses, but looking at their website it seems they still have the Pro 1000 with a 3 hole shell plate, if that's not what you have make sure the shell plate won't work with yours. Lee likes to keep things simple.
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Paul B.
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 1:26pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

"Why would I ever need a fourth die to load straight-walled handgun
cartridges?"

Because some people would rather use an extra die to crimp cases. You
can set a seater die to crimp at the same time but some people feel
using an extra die to finally put the crimp on the brass to be a better
way.
Paul B.
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Ham Gunner
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 1:47pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Seating and crimping in one step can cause bullet damage to cast and plated bullets as the bullet is being shoved into the case to the proper depth at the same time that it is being crimped. I attempted to seat some plated bullets for a friend of mine for his .45 acp and it shoved some of the plating in a sort of wrinkle forward of the mouth of the case preventing some from fully chambering.

I now normally just screw out my seating die a bit and screw in the seating stud and seat all my ammo first and then screw out the stud and screw the die back in for the crimp. If I am doing a lot of ammo at one time I like to use four dies.

Edited by Ham Gunner on December 15 2017 at 1:56pm


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joed
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 2:17pm | IP Logged Quote joed

Ham Gunner nailed it.   My crimping/seating left a lot to be desired. I
ordered the Lee FCDs for my revolver cartridges.

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rednekpaul
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 5:46pm | IP Logged Quote rednekpaul

I could never figure out the point of the FCD. If you set up the dies properly you can seat and crimp at the same time. I load for the .38 Special, 45 Colt, 38-55, 45-70, 50-70 all straight walled cases and have never had a problem crimping. The key is setting them up right. Any reloading manual or the die instructions gives you the steps on how to do it.
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RECURVE
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 6:37pm | IP Logged Quote RECURVE

I use the FCd die when I don't want to size cast bullets
after the fcd die it will chamber OK so you can shoot
without sizing as long as its close to diameter your want
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Ham Gunner
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 7:10pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

rednekpaul wrote:
I could never figure out the point of the FCD. If you set up the dies properly you can seat and crimp at the same time. I load for the .38 Special, 45 Colt, 38-55, 45-70, 50-70 all straight walled cases and have never had a problem crimping. The key is setting them up right. Any reloading manual or the die instructions gives you the steps on how to do it.


I agree Paul, up to a point, as I never had a problem with any of my revolvers or rifles for years. Even using cast, I only had a few occasions where certain types of bullets seemed to be squeezed down in size a bit before they got seated deep enough for the crimp groove to be in the proper position. I am sure that those bullets were not of the proper diameter anymore, at least up towards the front driving band. They did not seem to be inaccurate from that small amount of deformity so even though I knew it was not really right I just put up with it.

Now auto pistols using cast or plated bullets are another story. Far too easy to get a small sliver of lead or plating pushed up ahead of the case mouth and they will present chambering difficulties.

After the issue with the plated bullets (first and only time I ever messed with plated bullets) I decided that I liked the idea of seating and crimping in two steps, at least for cast or plated for auto pistols.

Of course, I do not see a need to do that with jacketed bullets of any caliber as they just do not seem to care one way or the other. And I do not have to do anything other than a three die operation with my straight walled revolvers either.

I did find a need for a Lee FCD die for a batch of over sized(overly thick).38 Special brass that I found once that I scrounged up at the range. It would not chamber with my cast bullets because the brass was too thick, unless I used the Lee crimp die. I will be tossing any of those the next time they come up for loading. I think they were Mexican manufactured brass.

Edited by Ham Gunner on December 15 2017 at 7:21pm


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RB in GA
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 7:11pm | IP Logged Quote RB in GA

rednekpaul wrote:
I could never figure out the point of
the FCD. If you set up the dies properly you can seat and
crimp at the same time.


RPaul,

C'mon... No need for another die. Reloading is about
taking a simple 3 to 4 step process and "expanding" it to
at least 15 steps. Take a look at the Redding T7... seven
holes in the turret to unidecap, size, bell, charge,
seat, crimp, more more more.

And... don't forget about bulge busting, run-out dies,
needless forever trimming, flash hole de-burring, primer
pocket scrapping and unifying, case mouth prep. And...
remember just tossing your cases in some old school corn-
cob media is way yesterday. You don't have a stainless
pin tumbler, I'd be embarrassed to show up at the range
with less than "brilliant" brass.

What are you doing RPaul? Over the past 30+ years I
decreased my loaded rounds per hour to less than 10 and
damn proud of it. I get a real satisfaction of shooting 3
in 25 yard groups with my 38 just like I did back in
1985. Yep, it really makes it all worth while.

IMO, LEE did us a favor in dropping the 3 holer. How did
we single stagers ever get by with one hole.


Edited by RB in GA on December 15 2017 at 7:43pm
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Ham Gunner
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 7:26pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

It is not a matter of not setting the dies up properly. There are situations where a three die set up will not be good enough. Believe me, I do know how to set up a set of dies and there would not be a market for a four die set up if there was not a need for them.

Perhaps not in most calibers and certainly not with jacketed bullets, but there are occasions where a three step loading set up will not be good enough.


Edited by Ham Gunner on December 15 2017 at 7:28pm


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rednekpaul
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Posted: December 15 2017 at 11:25pm | IP Logged Quote rednekpaul

I have one of the lee 3 die press and love it. For rifle cartridges I only need 2 of the holes so I can set up 3 cartridges on 2 turrets. I bought a FCD for my 38-55 before I figured out how to set up the seat and crimp at the same time. Ya I ruined a few cartridges but I figured it out. If you have the 3 die press just buy plenty of the turrets and you will be good to go for a long time. The 38-55, 45-70 and 50-70 are single shots so I really don`t crimp them, Just set them up to take the belling out of the case. There is no need to crimp for bolt actions but levers I do I don`t think I`ll ever step up to a progressive as I don`t shoot enough to justify one.
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RT58
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Posted: December 16 2017 at 9:23am | IP Logged Quote RT58

Lee probably figured out that they could sell more four die sets if they sold presses that could hold all four at the same time.
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Ham Gunner
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Posted: December 16 2017 at 9:39am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

I have always used my old Lyman Spar-T six hole turret press, but I seldom need more that two or three holes anyway.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: December 16 2017 at 11:49am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Same deal with a SparT press here. It's usually filled
with .38Spl and either .44Mag or .45ACP. Depending on the
need at the time.
Also a nice old Spartan single stage does my rifle stuff
real well.
To be honest, I seldom use more than a carbide sizing die
for any pistol loading in the bench press. Everything
else is usually done with a 310 tool and dies.

Drunk Neighbor got a Lee 4-hole press and intends to load
.45ACP for now. His kit came with a FC die. I have no
idea if he's going to use it as he needs things simple.


All that being said, I can see the need of a 4 hole over
a 3 for most folks. And 4, at 90, as opposed to 3, at
120, makes better sense from an indexing point of view
in the auto rotation system they employ. Alignment
adjustments would be a breeze with straight 90's.

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The_Shadow
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Posted: December 16 2017 at 7:02pm | IP Logged Quote The_Shadow

One of the best things about the LEE FCD in 10mm/40,
45ACP, 380 is you can remove the guts and take advantage
of the carbide sizing ring and use the die as a pass
through sizer, hence bulge buster kit...

I pass through size all of my 45ACP brass, with great
results...

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M700
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Posted: December 18 2017 at 9:01am | IP Logged Quote M700

When a firm drops a product from their line...

It's normally because the thing isn't selling well.

Guy
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REM1875
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Posted: January 12 2018 at 3:12am | IP Logged Quote REM1875

I converted on of my 4 die presses back to 3 die ......I
had tons of dies set up in the 3 dies so it was best for
me to do that when I retired my old press for the new
cast one. It still had life in it after all those years
but I wanted the cast base......the main problem was
grinding a washer up top to allow the dies to seat
correctly other than that it was fairly easy........
I don't use it to seat primers and don't use the auto
indexer as I do most by hand ......

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LAH
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Posted: January 12 2018 at 5:25pm | IP Logged Quote LAH

I hate for you they dropped the 3 station press you like
but I'm a 4 station guy myself.

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Maynard Shooter
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Posted: January 28 2018 at 5:00am | IP Logged Quote Maynard Shooter

"C'mon... No need for another die. Reloading is about
taking a simple 3 to 4 step process and "expanding" it
to
at least 15 steps. Take a look at the Redding T7...
seven
holes in the turret to unidecap, size, bell, charge,
seat, crimp, more more more"

I use the Redding T7. I have one turret set for pistols
and one set for rifles. The pistol one has three sets of
dies and a powder measure the dies are for 38super,
357mag, and 30luger. The rifle one has three sets of
dies and a powder measure the dies are 30-06, 308, and
35rem and a Lyman 55 powder measure. This way I'm set to
reload with just a simple check of the setting for a
caliber. I deprime on a single press, ultrasonic wash my
cases, then hand prime while watching TV,that leaves
powder, seat, and crimp. This works very well for me as
I don't have to set my dies all over.
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RT58
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Posted: January 28 2018 at 1:11pm | IP Logged Quote RT58

Welcome to the forum Maynard Shooter.

I don't use a progressive very much, but I'd rather have extra stations that I don't need than not enough that I might need someday.

I picked up a Lee catalog the other day and it appears they redesigned some of their presses to fit their new stand and press adapter thingy. I'm just guessing, but they probably had a lot of complaints about the three holers. I had one and didn't care for it as I preferred to seat and crimp in separate steps, even so, the number of stations wasn't my biggest gripe.
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