Several questions about the Lee 45 Carbide Factory Crimp Die #90864 have been asked recently on threads in the forum. For future reference for reloaders with similar questions, here a a couple of notes, based on some observations of my die that recently arrived from Midway.
I don't include much here that BD1 and Wildcatter have not already written about; however, a separate thread may be useful in making the information a bit more visible. If Hornady had taken the time to write a clear set of instructions for their crimp die, then the verbiage about crimping and crimp dies might have been unneeded.
1. Most importantly: The Lee 45 Carbide Crimp Die #90864 should not be used as a crimp die for the 450B.
2. The Carbide Crimp Die is very different from the steel Lee Taper Crimp Die #90785, which may be a useful substitute for the Hornady taper crimp die. The thread on that steel die (Notes on the Lee Taper Crimp Die
) generated some of the questions about the Carbide Crimp Die #90864.
3. The 45 Carbide Factory Crimp Die is also very different from the Lee 45-70 Factory Crimp Die #90856. The modified 45-70 Crimp Die can be very helpful with some 450B reloading problems. There are several threads, including some stickies, devoted to the modification and use of the 45-70 die.
The Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die is described on this Lee web page: Carbide Crimp Die page
. The description there of its operation is mildly confusing.
Below is an image of the Carbide Crimp Die that is printed on the instruction sheet included with the die. The sketch is slightly misleading because it shows a rimmed case in the die to which a roll crimp is being applied.
The crimp is applied by the "floating crimper".. For the 45 die, this crimper is a sleeve that is internally slightly tapered, and is free to move vertically in the die. Its lower position is determined by an internal shoulder in the die; its upper limit of movement is set by the "crimp adjuster" that is threaded in the upper end of the die.
The floating crimp sleeve is not a collet with fingers that are pushed against the cartridge. The floating sleeve crimps in the same fashion as the Hornady 450B taper crimp die or the Lee steel taper-crimp die. That is, the cartridge is pushed into a tapered cylinder that forces the case mouth against the bullet, with the amount of crimp determined by the distance the cartridge is forced into the taper. In the Hornady die, that distance is adjusted by screwing the die into and out of the press. With the Carbide Factory Crimp die, the distance is adjusted by screwing the"crimp adjuster" into and out of the die, which controls how far a cartridge can enter the sleeve.
The floating crimper is an efficient and convenient way of adjusting the amount of crimp, and could possibly be used with the 450B. However, what prevents the Carbide Crimp Die from being used this way is the ""carbide sizer" in the open end of Die #90864.
The carbide sizing ring will scrunch a case to a diameter of about 0.473" or a bit less. This is desirable for the 45 ACP case. However, SAAMI specs for the 450B call for the case mouth to be 0.4800" max, 0.47400" minimum. If a 450B cartridge is forced into this die with a press, the case and bullet will be deformed, possibly to the point of making a cartridge unusable. Possibly the case might buckle or telescope.
If somebody with the carbide die has the muscle to shove a 450 case with a seated .452" bullet, and wishes possibly to sacrifice the case and bullet to "science", let us know how it turns out.
I hope this is clear. If not, ask and I'll try again.
--Bob(edited to attach image)
EDIT: The link to the Lee page on the Factory Crimp Die was broke due to Lee changing the URL. I updated the link URL. Hoot