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Discussion Starter #1
I am entering the world of lead with excitement and trepidation. I spent some time getting the right bullet depth because I read that the case mouth should try and be right at the top end of the groove designed for the crimp. I set up my bell perfectly and I looked at gobs of pix of factory crimped lead loads and it kinda maybe looks right but ....

I dont know .. looks like to much?? No?

I am using a Lee FCD ... should I back off some?
 

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It looks like you're crimping more than the case mouth. It seems there's too much case being crimped. I think you should back the die off some. You just want the mouth curving into the crimp groove. If you can see the ring at the top of the case it's too much.
 

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Looks like you are crimping a little hard. What dies are you using and are you crimping and seating in the same step? Almost looks like you are trying to get a taper crimp, which most combination seating and crimping dies are, to look like a roll crimp. I also cant tell if its the reflection, but are you getting a slight bulge in the case at the bottom of the bullet?
 

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The amount of crimp is dependent upon just how light/heavy the load is. Light 38 Sp call for a light crimp, even a taper crimp. My 38/44 Special +P loads get a light to medium roll crimp. Mid to upper end honest magnum rounds get a heavy roll crimp.

Your photos show what I would regard as a heavy roll crimp. Trust you have a nice, hot magnum load.

The bullet's drive band and a spot just off the meplat have a flat spot (2 on the band?)...from hitting the floor, I hope, and not from a die.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I dont have any charge in there at all. I plan on using 4.2-4.5 of hp38 but I am also going to try some with 7 gr of longshot for a proper 38+p. I am using the Lee factory crimp die and will back it up some. Thank you guys .. I felt it was a bit much but didnt want to load a bunch until I was sure.

The bullet was loaded twice and I used the hammer style bullet puller to pull it out so any damage to the bullet was probably the result of rough handling.

Thank you again everyone for your input!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here is try number 2. Its about half the bend as the first one. In the pic with the two uncharged rounds the old one is the one on the left and the new try is on the right.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Slightly OT but are those polymer coated rounds? I really like the ones I have been shooting.
Here is what I came to after a couple of months of questions and research.

Ultimately ... a local buddy says he uses them and loves them and that coated was the way to go over lubed. They are reported to be about 16bnh so that fits in with what I plan on mostly doing with them. I want to make warmer 38's and lighter 357 for paper punching.

I was using 125 gr Zero SJHP for most of my 38 and 357 loads and they are nice bullets at a nice price but wanted to shoot some heavier bullets and these were priced right. I think I paid $60 for their 750ct quick ship and it arrived in a week

https://dgbullets.com/product/38-357-158-gr-swc-bb/

My first tray is done and I loaded em up with 4.2 grains of HP 38. Going to give them a whirl tomorrow.

My wife seems to prefer the standard pressure 158 gr loads to the 125's I was loading and I have some factory ammo set aside should she want to use something in the ruger when I am not home but I will roll up some softer loads with these bullets for her to practice with.
 

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I found a good way for me to judge if I have to much crimp, is to pull one of the bullets and see if the crimp left a mark (ring) on the bullet. If it did, to much crimp. Back off and repeat.

I prefer a light crimp on my 9mm coated bullets. Not sure why, other than have had no issues.

Another option is buy a box of factory and set next to yours. Eye the differences in the crimps.
 

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IIRC, when I started reloading, a Lyman Handbook showed three crimps, light, medium, and heavy. A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with an RCBS tech, who said that factory bullets are all overcrimped.

Your first crimps looked to be about the Lyman heavy crimp. As was mentioned, one thing to avoid is the ring around the mouth of the cartridge case, which indicates: 1. that your case length is too long, or; 2. you have adjusted your crimp die too much, and the end of the case is slipping under the crimp ring and can cause a case bulge and difficult chambering.
Don't ask how I know this!:eek:

I try to crimp all of my reloads In the bullet's crimping groove, or so there is no lubricant showing, which will just attract dirt, but at the same time, so there is no "lip" formed by the case mouth not being smoothly transitioned into the bullet diameter, which can cause hang-ups when speedloading.
Your new rounds look like they fulfill all the necessary requirements.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thank you everyone for your help! I have landed on the one on the right hand side in the pic of the 2 rounds and have been loading to that all through the summer. I went a little less than I see with a factory bought cartridge and so far ... 1000 rds with no issues and the brass looks great.
 

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LEE Factory Crimp die:

You are in the zone. Looks good. As mentioned, you will see a "ring" if the crimp is adjusted too short. That ring is the mark made by the crimping sleeve as the mouth of the case enters the straight portion of the crimping sleeve. I can't think of an application where that would be required. I like a heavy crimp, not over crimped but approaching that.

In the picture are two 38 LC rounds, crimped into the crimping groove. The other crimp is into the bullet body on a coated bullet, no crimp groove. I like the crimp in the coated bullet to be deep enough that the case mouth outer diameter is just about even with the bullet body. I trim all those cases first, before crimping. I then back off the crimp just a bit from the point of having a visible "ring".
 

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Generally, the least crimp you can get away with...that'll prevent the bullet from creeping forward under recoil in a revolver...will give you the best accuracy, IMHO. Any crimp deforms a lead alloy bullet and this should be avoided at all costs.

For target loads, almost zero crimp is necessary, you're only removing the case mouth flare which allows seating without shaving.

For medium loads, in .357 and both .44's, up to 1000 fps, a taper crimp works well even with lead alloy. If you're roll crimping, your cases need to be trimmed to identical lengths to achieve a uniform crimp...and since medium loads utilize medium burn rate powders like Unique, & Herco, a stout crimp is just not necessary to prevent forward movement.

For heavy loads in the magnum calibers, especially with slow burning powders (296, Acc9, H110, 2400 et.al.), a fairly heavy crimp is necessary not only to prevent movement of the bullet under recoil, but to promote better, more uniform ignition of the powder charge.

And for all of the above, so long as the bullet is not being forced forward under recoil, you can experiment with crimp type (roll vs. taper), and crimp strength to produce the best accuracy.

Summed up:
1. Use the minimum to prevent bullet movement, without bullet deformation, while still promoting good ignition.
2. Watch your target grouping for answers after complying with the first two prerequisites.

HTH's Rod (I've cast cast/loaded my own lead alloy revolver bullets since 1962)
 

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I found one of the best ways to determine the amount of crimp is to measure they diameter just before the crimp line and at the crimp line. About two thousands less diameter is what I use. By using my dial caliper it helps eliminate the guessing for me. I don't think you should be able to feel a raised area, nor a dip. I think it should feel almost flat towards the end of the case.

Another way I check the crimp is to use the kinetic hammer and take a round apart. A cartridge should come apart in 3 to 5 solid hits, not 12 or 15! :)

Over crimping can create excessive pressures. I found that out yesterday when I took my BlackHawk 30 carbine and found the cases were sticking in the cylinder. I had loaded the rounds about three years ago for my M-1 carbine. I stopped shooting and am now forced with the task of taking apart about 50 rounds. :(

Fortunately my Ruger BH is built like a Sherman tank!

Thanks,
Steve
 
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