Lee FCD Mod Step-By-Step w/images

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Re: Lee FCD Mod Step-By-Step w/images

Postby Hoot » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:34 am

Al in Mi wrote:Lee now has a 450B Factory Crimp die for like $16 which will crimp at the case mouth if that's what your after. SKU# 70003-S12934


Al is correct. This procedure is for modding a die to do a side/stab/LeGendre (call it what you want) crimp.
When I first embarked upon this article, Lee had neither the 450b nor the 460 S&W FCD available as mainstream, so the 45-70 was the go-to die for modding.
The 45-70 case is 2.10 inches long versus 1.700 for the 450b and 1.800 for the 460 S&W, so you had to remove more of the 45-70 die to get the bite down to the length of the 450b. Modding the 460 S&W die, being much closer in length to the 450b, doesn't require removing much at all. Now, with the 450b Lee FCD going mainstream vs custom, it is an even better choice for modding.

I haven't formatted the pictures I took this morning for including in this thread, which illustrate what I'm referring to but I will soon. Every Sunday morning, while folks are enjoying their coffee or in church, I have to go to the local sportsmen's club and perform preventive maintenance on the rifle range before it opens. That time is upon me.

I'll be back later with more info but suffice it to say: Much like reloading for this caliber, modding isn't a cut and dried spec that you only need read about. You need to take time and familiarize yourself with what you're working on and how it works. While the pictures will help, they are no substitute for taking your FCD die when it arrives and actually running it in your press to see how it does what it does. It should jump out at you. If it doesn't, you will be at the mercy of How-To's like this one and success will be hit or miss.

Off out into the freezer to do range PM...

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Re: Lee FCD Mod Step-By-Step w/images

Postby Shtf45acp » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:54 am

I actually want both. My hornady die set has the taper crimp die which I will also use. But I want a factory crimp die 450B and I want one that is modified so I can do a stab crimp with the adjustability of moving it up and down the case. So I will actually have three crimp dies.

I also read a thread on here about using the 45 long colt FCD. It's already short and just needs the crimp ring shortened to make a narrower crimp. Then you just use the appropriate spacers to put the crimp where you want.

I just want to know the best way of going about it before I ruin multiple dies or spend money I don't have to.

Another thing I might do later on or at some point is just use multiple 45-70 dies to make different height dies then I can use it on my progressive press and still have the adjustment just by changing different dies. I use my progressive hornady for all my plinking 223/556 and 308/762 in my AR platform rifles. My hunting and precision rounds I load on my single stage.

Thanks again guys! I looked forward to hearing back from you!
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Re: Lee FCD Mod Step-By-Step w/images

Postby Hoot » Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:40 pm

Here's an image of the 45-70 and 460 S&W FCD's next to one another.

Image

By all rights, they are identical.

Look down in the tops of them and you notice that the collet bites are definitely not in the same location.

Image

Closer examination of the collet bites with a 450b case in them and you can see that a lot more of the 45-70 collet had to be removed to get the bite at or below the mouth of the 450b, as opposed to the 460 S&W which is almost there.

Image

Looking back at the beginning of this thread, you could not remove enough of the 45-70 collet base to get the bite down to the 450b mouth without it being up inside the threaded body which would not allow it to work, so that's why we needed to remove some of the threaded body before cutting back the collet base. The collet base can be shortened to put the crimp anywhere you want within reason. Fortunately, the 460 S&W FCD bite is only about .1 inch longer than the 450b case. So if you wanted to put the crimp at the mouth you would need to remove about .1 inches. Many stab crimp members here settled for having the stab .15 inch below the mouth, so that would involve removing another .15 inch or a total of about .25 inch from the base of the collet. An easy target for where to cut the collet base turns out to be the top of the groove where the caliber is stamped on the collet.

Image

That will still leave enough of the collet base protruding from the body to allow it to push up into the body so the jaws will constrict and apply the bite.

It you want to be able to go lower down the 450b case to apply your stab crimp, you will need to remove some of the threaded body to allow enough collet travel to get it to engage. A worst case scenario would be removing .25 inch of the threaded body. That would allow you to shorten the collet to where you could move the stab crimp anywhere from about .35 below the mouth and up. Keep in mind that the further down the case you choose to make your stab, the thicker the wall is and the harder its going to be to get a good transfer through it. It is paramount to make make a clean cut where you remove the threaded part of the body, so that it will screw down into your press without binding. (IE not a hacksaw) Remember that in order to move the crimp up or down at will, requires using shim washers every time you crimp. I just modded several of the FCD dies at different crimp depths and swap out the one that is most appropriate for my particular reloading project to avoid the time and dummy case expense of setting them up each time I change bullets. That having been said, .1 to .15 inch below the mouth suits a lot of bullets. The hardest part to get right is narrowing the bite enough to transfer through the brass wall to the inside of the case and down into the bullet without turning your die into a tubing cutter. Sad fact of life is the narrower the better.

I once did an experiment using the original wide bit width to see if just having more contact area would equal the retention of one sharp narrow bite. It didn't. The 450b does have its peculiarities.

As several members have noted, it you want a wide range of adjustability on your stab crimp placement, then go with the 45 LC FCD. Its already shortened. You just need to make up a lot of shim washers and go through the adjustment setup when you change bullets.

Lest I forget, Midway has the Lee FCD's on sale for $12.59 as I write this. Now that its no longer a custom order, the 450b one will ultimately be the best choice for stab crimp modding.

I still offer to mod a Lee FCD for members who don't have easy access to machinery. All you need do is order 2 of them and have them shipped directly to me. I'll mod one and send it back to you per your specifications, The other one I keep to cover the cost of Priority Mail postage and a little something for my time. How did you think I could afford making so many different fixed length stab crimp dies for myself? ;) PM me if interested.

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Re: Lee FCD Mod Step-By-Step w/images

Postby Shtf45acp » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:13 pm

So if I understand you correctly it's best to start with the actual 450 bushmaster FCD and then you only have to remove small amounts to move the crimp up and down a little bit. That way a unmodified die will be at the case mouth. Then say you take off a .125" to .150" it will put it in the overall optimal depth for a stab crimp. Or did I misunderstand you when you said since it's no longer a custom die it is the best to start with? Sorry for making this so confusing.

Either way I now understand what your doing with the 460 S&W die and I have a base to go off of. Thanks!
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Re: Lee FCD Mod Step-By-Step w/images

Postby Hoot » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:19 pm

Shtf45acp wrote:So if I understand you correctly it's best to start with the actual 450 bushmaster FCD and then you only have to remove small amounts to move the crimp up and down a little bit. That way a unmodified die will be at the case mouth. Then say you take off a .125" to .150" it will put it in the overall optimal depth for a stab crimp. Or did I misunderstand you when you said since it's no longer a custom die it is the best to start with? Sorry for making this so confusing.

Either way I now understand what your doing with the 460 S&W die and I have a base to go off of. Thanks!


You got it. Image

Caught me heading out the door to pick up some lunch meat for this week, before they close. Forgot to get it yesterday. Getting old sucks. Memory is the first to go and I forget what the second is. ;)

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Re: Lee FCD Mod Step-By-Step w/images

Postby Shtf45acp » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:23 pm

Thank you so much! I'm going to go order a few of the 450 Bushmaster dies right now! Thanks again! Maybe I'll do these up and make a thread using on a progressive press.
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