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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was up until 3am this morning remounting this press to where I thought it would permanently be and sadly I'm a little disappointed. The location and height are great, only the bench top isn't as rigid as I thought it was going to be. Granted it doesn't need to be as rigid a mount as for the Pro1000 but that is what I'm use to.

This afternoon I was actually able to turn out some rounds on it! It is set up for 45acp with Lee Carbide Pistol dies with the FCD, the powder measure is the Lee Auto Drum. For this starting load I am starting with Berry's 185gr FP plated bullets, AA#2 powder set to 5.5gr., S&B Large pistol primers and an OAL of 1.190"

Impression; Over-all very pleased with this press and it will accomplish everything I expected it to. It is going to take some repetitions getting acclimated to this as opposed to the Pro1000 and the Old 3 hole press. Out of 25 rounds there were 2 times I had to stop and go back because I forgot to set a primer in the cup and once when I forgot to place a bullet after making a powder weight check. Then while setting up the press I thought I had everything where I wanted it so I ran a couple and after the 3rd or 4th one the crimp die loosened up in the Lock Ring Eliminator bushing and the rounds would no longer plunk! Then over the coarse of these 25 I was having trouble holding OAL. I'm not sure at this point if it's the press or the bullets and where they fit to the seating stem. The OAL is jumping around about .006"

For right now I'm hand feeding primers into the cup and am hand feeding cases. This seems easy enough to do and would probably be much faster than I an currently doing it once I establish an routine. It is much like what I do on the 3 hole turret only things are located differently.

These 1st 25 will be fired in the Springfield XD as it isn't as finicky as my Witness which was the whole reason for getting this press. Hopefully I now have it set where it will run the Witness, reliably and after dinner will go make another 25.
 

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Kinda depends on how you're getting the .006" variation. If it's +/- .003" that isn't bad. If it's +/- .006", not so good. I'd have to look at the Berry's 185 gr. FP to remember it's profile, but you may see less OACL variation by loading a bit longer like 1.200". Find the point on the bullet shank where diameter drops below .452". That is likely where the ogive begins and probably how I would determine OACL for that bullet.

Don't see a mention of how you seat and crimp, and in truth, when plated, or cast lead bullets are .001" larger than the barrel's groove diameter, you don't need to crimp since you are already .001" greater in interference fit. If you know the avg thickness of your cases, or find it, then it's just a matter of multiplying the thickness X 2 and add bullet diameter to determine the case-mouth diameter in just removing the flare from the expander. However, a light taper crimp won't hurt as you're just turning the square edge slightly into the bullet.

If you use the LEE FCD and load over-size bullets that are softer, be aware that while LEE calls it a Factory Crimp Die, it's also a post sizing die and in some cases can reduce the bullet's diameter. More likely with softer lead, but when you're at the end of your handloading session, you can pull a bullet and measure the shank diameter to see if it has been reduced. Less of a problem with plated than cast. Another reason poly-coated lead are, and will continue to get more popular.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The length variation is .006" not a total of .012". The profile of this bullet is more a conical shape than a RNFP shape. So I can easily see where the shape could have an effect. As it also jumps in groups which again makes me believe it's the bullet profile. I also have this same bullet in the 200gr weight and it was much more consistent. The Berry's are said to measure .356" and from measuring once before that are very consistent in dia..

Seating these bullets is done w/o a crimp and the crimp is added with the FCD in the 4th station. It is adjusted to where the bullets will consistently pass the plunk test in the Witness barrel. Again this was the reason for moving this load from the Pro 1000 with only 3 stations.

Bullet sizing issues is the reason I use plated bullets instead of cast lead bullets. I also follow along over at Cast Boolets .com and have read all the horror stories that people experience trying to get cast bullets to fit their 9mm's and all the extra work and special sizing dies being used to get some of them to work accurately or w/o lead fouling.
 
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Completely different system but I am still on the learning curve with my Hornady LnL AP after having loaded quite a few rounds!

Does your seating die offer different shaped seating "stems"? For almost everything I get the most consistent results with the "flat" seating stem over the "cone" shaped stem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Completely different system but I am still on the learning curve with my Hornady LnL AP after having loaded quite a few rounds!

Does your seating die offer different shaped seating "stems"? For almost everything I get the most consistent results with the "flat" seating stem over the "cone" shaped stem.
Know what? I've never checked into it. Back a while ago I was having the same issue with a box of Xtreme 115gr 9mm RN. Tried a different box w/o making any other changes and it disappeared. I'm not going to fret about it as it's not causing any feed or cycling problems.

Also forgot to address the length question. With this gun I cannot load longer as it has a short throat and any longer than what I'm at now and it hits the rifling.
 
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The length variation is .006" not a total of .012". The profile of this bullet is more a conical shape than a RNFP shape. So I can easily see where the shape could have an effect. As it also jumps in groups which again makes me believe it's the bullet profile. I also have this same bullet in the 200gr weight and it was much more consistent. The Berry's are said to measure .356" and from measuring once before that are very consistent in dia..

Seating these bullets is done w/o a crimp and the crimp is added with the FCD in the 4th station. It is adjusted to where the bullets will consistently pass the plunk test in the Witness barrel. Again this was the reason for moving this load from the Pro 1000 with only 3 stations.

Bullet sizing issues is the reason I use plated bullets instead of cast lead bullets. I also follow along over at Cast Boolets .com and have read all the horror stories that people experience trying to get cast bullets to fit their 9mm's and all the extra work and special sizing dies being used to get some of them to work accurately or w/o lead fouling.
A different seating stem might help, but bullets aren't always the exact length around the nose. Seems like LEE seating stems would be fairly inexpensive.

One thing to remember about OACL is that the shorter the load is, the greater distance the bullet has to go to enter the chamber. It sounds like your plated Hollow-Point is a truncated cone shape. I think I would try 1.210".

Part of the reason people have trouble with cast bullets is because they do not slug their barrels. A cast lead bullet should be .001" greater than groove diameter. Poly-coated bullets reduce some of these problems and why they are increasingly more popular. It could even get more difficult to find bare lead bullets a decade from now. I've never had any problem with leading including magnum revolver loads, but in 1997 a doc found what he suspected to be a melanoma on my back. So not only do I find poly-coated just as accurate, they definitely reduce our exposure to lead.;)
 

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All of my Lee FCD say they should only be used with jacket bullets. Plated and cast bullets (except those cast with Linotype metal) will be deformed leading to accuracy issues. Maybe it's different now.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As to the Berry's bullets this is what I'm loading, in both 200gr and 185gr..
https://www.berrysmfg.com/item/bp-45-452-200gr-fp

As I stated in my 1st post anything longer than 1.195" hits the rifling and causes chambering problems. Even with 200gr Berry's or Xtreme RN bullets I have to load .010" shorter than most listed loads or I experience problems. At times the length will prevent the gun from going into full battery and at one time it caused a FTF and then I had a heck of a time getting the slide open because the bullet wedged into the rifling.

I also just looked thru Lee's website and could find nothing listed as far as optional seating stems.

So far I haven't experienced any trouble using the CFCD with any of the plated bullets I've loaded.
 
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Give Hornady a call/email and find out if the seating dies come with 2 stems. It seems to me that my dies came with 2 seating stems, concave and flat. A single seating die is not that expensive, less than $30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Give Hornady a call/email and find out if the seating dies come with 2 stems. It seems to me that my dies came with 2 seating stems, concave and flat. A single seating die is not that expensive, less than $30.
Thanks darbo for the suggestion though at only.006" I think I'll just keep an eye on it unless it starts to grow larger. There is only one box of 500 of these that I bought during the Bullets.com close out. So I'm not sure I'll even order any more of these in the future. The 200gr seem to be much more consistent.

No appointments, wife is back to work part time, looks like rain so I may just get back to the bench today!
 

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Know what? I've never checked into it. Back a while ago I was having the same issue with a box of Xtreme 115gr 9mm RN. Tried a different box w/o making any other changes and it disappeared. I'm not going to fret about it as it's not causing any feed or cycling problems.

Also forgot to address the length question. With this gun I cannot load longer as it has a short throat and any longer than what I'm at now and it hits the rifling.
Get some extra seating stems and a tube of JB Weld. Use one of your actual bullets as a mold for the JB Weld. I used an old steel reloading die I had to use as an alignment guide. A solid coat of paste wax in the die, or a dry lube would probably work, keeps the JB weld from sticking to it. It stuck to the stem fine

Send your barrel out and get it throated. It's like $45.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
First of all some gun porn for all you voyeurs in the group. The new press mounted.

Room Furniture Table Antique Breakfast


Room Furniture Toy Table Play


Machine Tool


Now I'd like to apologize for the picture quality. This is a very old Kodak camera and the auto focus doesn't work so well anymore. Sorry!
The bench is made from all recycled materials. There are 2 old kitchen base cabinets that were donated free. One on each end and then in the center is an old industrial desk top that is 1.125" thick, solid as a rock and weighs a ton. That is where you can see I have the Lee Pro 1000 mounted and that press does not move. Works great and is comfortable for me to sit at for extended periods.

The new press is bolted to a single pc. of 3/4" ply and is fastened to the cabinet. Unfortunately that single pc. of ply is not stiff enough and flexes at the bottom of the stroke and also when starting the down stroke and it's pulling the case from the sizing die. I'm going to have to remedy that but I don't want to raise the press any higher. The top also has a 2" circular cutout under the press which allows me to push the press back into the top a bit, otherwise the front mounting holes are very close to the edge.

Right now I am using the new press as you see it. No Safety Prime and no case feeder. After loading the 1st 50 rounds on this I must say I am impressed and the initial impression I had before I bough this about the quality of this press has been dispelled. This is a very simple design and is pretty straight forward in setting it up. At least for me even with using this press as-is it is just as fast as the Pro 1000 and because of the change made to the carrier it is very easy it see inside each case to check the powder. Once I establish a steady routine with this press I will have to find out just how fast I can comfortably produce rounds.

As a reminder I purchased this press to solve a problem, which was my want/need to be able to use the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp die in the same press and not have to do it in two separate steps. Now with just this little bit of use I am thinking I may have to buy shell plated for the 9mm and 380 and move them to this press also and do away with the Pro1000. Then to do this and move the 9 and 380 I am thinking on still using only the Lee Carbide 3 Die set but maybe adding in a powder check or powder cop die to speed things up and add a safety measure to the mix.
 
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As to the Berry's bullets this is what I'm loading, in both 200gr and 185gr..
https://www.berrysmfg.com/item/bp-45-452-200gr-fp

As I stated in my 1st post anything longer than 1.195" hits the rifling and causes chambering problems. Even with 200gr Berry's or Xtreme RN bullets I have to load .010" shorter than most listed loads or I experience problems. At times the length will prevent the gun from going into full battery and at one time it caused a FTF and then I had a heck of a time getting the slide open because the bullet wedged into the rifling.

I also just looked thru Lee's website and could find nothing listed as far as optional seating stems.

So far I haven't experienced any trouble using the CFCD with any of the plated bullets I've loaded.
I must have missed that in your 1st post. With your bullet being a truncated cone shape, it's actually the shoulder, or transition point where the shank stops and the ogive begins. Regardless, 1.195" is pretty darn short. You might be able to find another plated or poly-coated bullet that has a longer and more slender ogive.

The FCD shouldn't be a problem for plated, but I'll try to explain the reason it could be for cast lead. The FCD is made primarily for jacketed bullets that are .451" dia. If you load cast, and with the FCD being as much a post sizing/TC die, your .452" bullets could get sized down to .451". Then if the barrels groove dia. is the same, the seal between bullet and bore is not as good and thereby allows super-heated gasses to pass the bullet base in the bore and melt lead from the bullet shank that then adheres to the bore.

You won't break the plating if the Berry's bullets get sized down to .451" but accuracy might be an issue. I can't say about poly-coated simply because I don't use a LEE FCD. But, a better seal with the bullet sized .001" greater than the groove diameter, some even say .002", you're more likely to get a more accurate round. I'm not sure which of your pistols are .45 or I would say try a 200 gr. SWC. If your XD is .45 ACP, they have feeding problems with SWCs. I waited until the XDm came out before I bought a SA pistol in .45 ACP. Now you can buy them for $200 less than what I paid when I ordered mine sight unseen.;)
 

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I forgot to mention that when you measure your bullets for dia., pull the bullet from one of your first loads that have been crimped with the FCD to confirm that your measured dia is still the same as before you loaded them.

And, if you OACL varies +/- 003", you will likely see that grow when you try to seat and crimp in one operation.;)
 

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I can't explain your feeding problems but I will chime in for one thing. Using Berry's bullets, I have seen cartridge length vary as much as +/- 0.002" even on my single stage press. Between that and their plating being so thin and fragile, I don't buy them anymore. The length issue drives me nuts. I don't have that issue with Rainier or Xtreme bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So much for bullets, powders and load data. None of which is really related to the Breech Lock Pro Press other than how it relates to the reason for buying this press. All the load issues I had with the 45acp are also directly related to the Tanfoglio Witness. I have had no problem with any of my 45acp loads that are used in the Springfield XD Mod2. Heck I can load them just fine using just the 3 die set and the Pro1000 and they function flawlessly.

I also happen to like the results of the Berry's bullets I use, especially the Hollow Base. I have a box of 500 Xtreme 100gr Flat point 380 bullets that also do not hold a consistent length and so far I haven't tried any Rainier.

Anyhow I have about 400 45acp already loaded up and left over from an earlier outing so I really need to get to the range and unload some of these so I can start over and put this new press thru a real test. Anyone want to get together and go burn some?
 

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Good, and good luck. If you don't have one, a good chronograph could really help. And maybe SA got the center feed rail in the slide correct for feeding SWCs.;)
 

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I've used a lot of Berry Plated with no problems, in the 45acp I use the 230gr round nose (the 1911 loves those), another side note using the fcd die with poly bullets could be an issue if crimp is too tight damaging the poly coating, some bullet makers post that warning. I like plated bullets and the FCD so I will stick with what works, find that sweet spot and stick with it. !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just out of curiosity why is it that in a thread about a new press all anyone wants to talk about is bullets, powders and using the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die in lead or coated bullet loads? No where in this topic have I mentioned cast lead or poly coated bullets. The Only reason I mentioned Berry's bullets or the FCD is to explain the reason for buying this press. In all this there has only been one comment on the press and that was by darbo in post #4 and how his new Hornady LNL learning curve was going.

If no one is interested in this new press that was just released this spring by Lee that is fine we can let the thread die out. Honestly I am not looking for information on Plated, Cast or Poly coated bullets. Not interested in the pros and cons of the FCD, I've already been through that discussion before I purchased one. Lastly I am not interested in sending out the gun to have it altered just to make it easier to run hand loads. It fires factory loads perfectly.
 

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Just out of curiosity why is it that in a thread about a new press all anyone wants to talk about is bullets, powders and using the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die in lead or coated bullet loads? No where in this topic have I mentioned cast lead or poly coated bullets. The Only reason I mentioned Berry's bullets or the FCD is to explain the reason for buying this press. In all this there has only been one comment on the press and that was by darbo in post #4 and how his new Hornady LNL learning curve was going.

If no one is interested in this new press that was just released this spring by Lee that is fine we can let the thread die out. Honestly I am not looking for information on Plated, Cast or Poly coated bullets. Not interested in the pros and cons of the FCD, I've already been through that discussion before I purchased one. Lastly I am not interested in sending out the gun to have it altered just to make it easier to run hand loads. It fires factory loads perfectly.
Well as long as you're just curious, my comment was made to point out a problem that may be related to the bullets themselves and not to that new press of yours which was a topic of concern in the OP.

I am glad you seem to be enjoying your new press. New toys are always fun :)
 
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