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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Set up to run 100 of a 240 grain XTreme FP plated over some Universal. I recalled that I had some failure to load in my Marlin which actually resulted or was caused by the projectile pushing back into the case. Beyond the aggravation of stopping to pry the round out of the receiver, a compressed charge concerns me greatly. There is still a lot of room in the case with just 9 grains of powder that the lead wouldn't even touch the charge, but the much smaller space for detonation could cause some serious problems IMO.

I readjusted the dies to Lee spec, and have a four die turret used to include the FCD as the last. I began the run and most rounds (90%) would exhibit some resistance into the seating die and the FCD would provide the satisfactory "crunch". I then tested each finished round with a pinch test of maybe 3-5# of pressure pushing the projectile back into the case while watching the cannelure. No movement...into the bin...if it moved, into the pull pile. This is not restricted to one particular brand of brass. I have Starline and Herters once fired that act the same. What would cause these dies to crimp some fine and others not as aggressive?

IMG_20190117_183604751.jpg
 

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How is OAL holding up? and did you check a random bunch of bullets for diameter?
 

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Bad bullet diameter or case thickness at the neck would be my first measurements. from there I would tear apart the FCD to see if maybe it had debris in it screwing up a smooth crimping. Correctively if it's not debris in the FCD, I would readjust to add a bit more crimp so even the lesser crimped rounds would be satisfactory to the push test. I also wouldn't break down the rounds that failed. if you have a hammer style bullet puller, a couple of smacks should be more than enough to reseat and recrimp to spec.
 
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Shouldn't the 44mag be using a slight roll crimp?
 

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Shouldn't the 44mag be using a slight roll crimp?
It depends. The heavier the recoil, the more crimp you should have.....it looks like he's using target bullets but if it's a stout load, you might need a good crimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It depends. The heavier the recoil, the more crimp you should have.....it looks like he's using target bullets but if it's a stout load, you might need a good crimp.
These are primarily used in the Marlin with a spring loaded tubular magazine. As I understand it, besides not wanting the bullet to "walk out" under heavy recoil in a revolver cylinder the crimp delays the departure of the projectile ensuring a decent powder ignition. The XTreme plated bullets have been very consistent across all sizes. I initially thought that the brass might be thinner on some, but with a mixed bag of different makers plus the Starline brass being involved when they are renowned for building a stout case leads me to go with the die cleaning and inspection. I am not real big historically on keeping my dies clean.
 
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One problem is your bullets don't have a crimping groove (I'm assuming). This makes life more difficult. I usually use a taper crimp die with bullets like that.
 

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Are the case lengths consistent? I hate trimming brass myself, but I have had trouble crimping even with the FCD when case length varies more than a few thousandths.
 

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I would first go to the question about if the brass was once-fired, or have you reloaded it a few times but you said it also happens with once-fired brass, and across multiple manufacturers.

I've had inconsistent crimping on magnum brass after a few loadings that turned out to be related to case length.

If the case length, neck thickness, bullet diameters and crimp measure consistently the same, it pretty much has to go to a press or process issue -- die problems, short-stroking the press, loose mechanicals.
 
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My initial thought from looking at the pic is "What crimp?" Kind of hard to tell without a better up close pic but to me it doesn't look like there's any crimp on those rounds. Could be the FCD is not doing its job. Are you able to crimp on the seating die? If so, I'd dial that feature in and crimp from there (not even using the FCD).

I'd pull the bullets to see if there's a crimp ring on the bullets that have been pushed back. Then I'd pull some of the non push back bullets for comparison.

An additional thought...Even though Xtreme's are quality bullets, I'd check the diameter of the fresh bullets.
 

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My Browning 1885 needed slower burning +P loads to perform well, but the roll crimp I got out of my Lee die set wasn't up to the task when reloading with healthy drops of 296 & 2400. Trying to find a decent revolver/rifle .45 Colt load for use in both a 4-5/8'' Blackhawk and 24'' barreled Browning 1885 was problematic at best.

The friendly Lee rep suggested they could make me a custom collet crimp die. Just send in an empty, sized to length brass cartridge with bullet seated proper, not crimped. Shortly later, I received a new collet crimp die, along with my round, now embraced with the loveliest four collar crimp I ever saw. I no longer roll crimp .45 Colt.

If you use discretion in your handloads, plated bullets without cannelures will crimp quite nicely.

Also use a collet crimp with .444 Marlin loads and need to obtain a collet die for .44 Mag.
 

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From photo you are not roll crimping as much as heavy recoil or tube feed guns usual require. For those type rounds cases need to be same length to give same amount of crimp. Then the roll at case mouth rolls into crimp ring/groove. I'm anal about heavy recoil rounds and want all cases exactly the same length. Also separate by case brand. Reason being different brands are different hardness. For example Remington and Federal are noticeably different in pressure required to size and seat bullet. Wall thickness is different between brands. When sizing or seating bullets cases that are noticeably easy or hard I pitch to different cans. For plinking it doesn't matter. But you can run the rounds over a chrony and those rounds will increase your ES. As the distance you shoot increases the group strings. Same with how uniform the crimps are. Neck tension on bullet effects powder burn rate. What and how I'm shooting determines how anal I am about loads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All of the cases are once fired with the Starline purchased new by me. I typically do not load full house rounds, the example being the 9 grains of Universal. The plated bullet has a cannelure and I am fairly sure (without putting the caliper on) that they are very close in length since the cannelure exposure after seating appears to be consistent. The ones I've pulled do not have the telltale crimp groove in the plating that they should, hence they slip in the case. I pretty much insist on a roll crimp on all revolver rounds and load 38 Special and 357 Magnum with plated bullets that do not have a cannelure. While I am aware that the manufacturers state that plated should not be crimped, I will use a gently roll crimp on all of them (taper on the ACP rounds). I may get back to the room in a day or so, pull those dies, clean them well and inspect them and start again. At this point it's not a high enough volume to get much concerned about and should I ever look to go after pigs with the Marlin, I'll buy some stout factory loads...just for them.
 
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If the EXtremes are larger than .429" it is one area that can be problematic for the FCD. Essentially, the FCD is also a post-sizing die and really designed for the use of jacketed bullets at .429", or nominal jacketed diameter in all calibers. If the plated bullet is being swaged down to .429" during the crimp operation, then case-neck tension is also effected. Particularly problematic for bullets without a cannelure to crimp into.

One of the best dies ever created for revolver handloaders is the REDDING Profile Crimp die. Before it even gets to the roll crimp, it taper crimps first. So if you're loading cast or plated, you can determine how much taper crimp is needed without going so far as the roll crimp.

Not trying to be a REDDING salesman here, but I have seen the PCD put to the test with both the taper and roll crimp applied resulting in smaller groups. For over-diameter bullets without a cannelure, I don't know how you could do better.;)
 
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I'm of the same school of thought as nevadabob, I see no crimp at all on those cases, it might work for standard pressure rounds but for Magnums You will need a heavier crimp.
Close Your press on a loaded round and turn down the adjustment on the die until it stops against the round then open the press slightly and add a half turn to the die.
Then try the rounds, You may need to add up to a full turn but 1/2 turn is minimum.
 

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Well, as some have said, your examples are not crimped properly for a 44Mag. The 44Mag. requires a medium to heavy roll crimp no matter what casing you are using. I have been reloading 44Mags. for over 8 years now (reloading for 30 years total) and I have loaded light loads (44Mag) with a medium roll crimp with no problems and with rounds using 22 grains of IMR-4227 behind a 300gr. plated bullet which is a 10% compressed load, I use a heavy roll crimp. One thing to remember is, magnum rounds, from a 357 to a 45-70 require a roll crimp. And the lower non-magnum calibers use a tapered crimp. One thing to remember about a taper crimp is, the tighter you make the crimp, you will actually loosen the grip on the projectile. This has been my experience and yours may be different which is fine with me. Hope you get it worked out. All so, I would recommend some reading about putting such small amounts of powder in a large cavity case.
 

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The friendly Lee rep suggested they could make me a custom collet crimp die. Just send in an empty, sized to length brass cartridge with bullet seated proper, not crimped. Shortly later, I received a new collet crimp die, along with my round, now embraced with the loveliest four collar crimp I ever saw. I no longer roll crimp .45 Colt.

If you use discretion in your handloads, plated bullets without cannelures will crimp quite nicely.

Also use a collet crimp with .444 Marlin loads and need to obtain a collet die for .44 Mag.
Was that a long time ago? Because they have them as stock items now. I've never used one. Sometimes I use a taper crimp die, or the Redding Profile Crimp Die, or even a roll crimp and a taper crimp, depending on the load and the bullet.

https://leeprecision.com/lee-collet-style-crimp-die/
 

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Set your seater die so that the edge of the case mouth is level with the middle of the cannelure. That ought to roll the mouth into the cannelure and ought to draw the COL down a few thousandths.

Stout loads need a firm crimp to keep the bullet from coming out under recoil in revolvers. Lever guns need it for the opposite reason- to keep the bullet from getting set back into the case. 225gr Silvertips will set back the same way just sitting in the mag tube. Found that out the hard way when I used my .45Colt Trapper as a house gun before I got something else.

Either way, I don't see enough crimp to do either job reliably on the pic. There's no inward bend to the edge of the case mouth (from where it was rolled into the crimp groove) like is needed for a .44 Mag being fired from a lever gun.. Could be from inconsistent case length (you adjusted the die to one length and shorter cases don't get the same amount of crimp) as mentioned above. I figure that's a likely suspect.

If the lengths are close, check the bullets and see if they have a large variance in diameter and check the case mouth thicknesses on the bad round opposed to ones that worked. Undersized bullets and thick case mouths could be the culprit, too.

The only other thing I can come up with- assuming you are adjusting the die correctly, so it ain't operator error- is the die is out of spec. Not likely, but it's happened before. With the small tolerances we are dealing with, it doesn't take much to be out of spec.
 

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My plinking loads in 44 magnum are Xtreme 200 grain fn plated and I'm using 8 gr of Unique. I put a decent crimp (very visible)with my FCD and haven't had issue thus far. And mine are for a revolver only. I was impressed with the cannelure on these plated bullets as my .357 Xtreme barely have a cannelure. And it hasn't penetrated the plating of the ones I've checked.
 
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