I'm reloading my first bottleneck cartridges (.223) and I ended up with a Dillon 3-die set (FL sizer, bullet seater, and taper crimp) which I'm VERY happy with. Upon further thought, I also bought a Dillon case headspace gauge to properly adjust the sizing die. So far I've sized and primed my cases, and I also have installed the seater die and have that properly adjusted. Now comes the time to install/setup the crimp die. The Dillon set includes a taper crimp die....but I also have a brand new Lee "factory crimp" die still in the package (it was given to me some time ago). Now that I am actually at the point of reloading some .223, I need to choose one of the crimp dies. Which one is better? Opinions?
The Lee Factory Crimp die is a great crimp die. The bullet doesn't need a cannelure and case length is not critical.
...but like any tool it can be misused. It can and will damage or crush the bullet if not set-up properly. When testing, Go easy and start with a light crimp working up to a heavier crimp if needed.
I have seen more than a few photos of bullets destroyed by over crimping with the Lee Factory Crimp die. The sad thing is the handloader that posts these photos then blames the die for destroying the bullets and the accuracy when the real problem is Pilot error.
I've used both and both work very well. You won't go wrong no matter which one you pick.
My personal preference is the LEE FCD.
I do not like LEE products in general, but their FCD, IMHO, is a great innovation that all of the others should copy.
(I wish I could get a Redding FCD)
__________________ I didn't fight to defend your freedom so you could vote to take away mine.
"A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
John Stuart Mill."
Thanks for all the input and help. In the end, I decided to go with the Lee factory crimp die. I do have it set for a "mild" crimp, and I feel that some crimp is necessary for my purposes. Thank you all.