crimping and overall length

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alaskamace

Bearcat
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Dec 9, 2009
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I am curious to see how some of you handle the OL and crimping. Do you seat the bullet to OL and then crimp, or do you seat the bullet out a little so that the final OL after crimp meets your data specs?
 

Cholo

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Seat to the OAL or slightly longer then crimp. Measure with a dial caliber. Usually you'll have to adjust slightly. Once set load away!

I've never seen a reasonable crimp change the OAL unless you have your seating stem still in place. Seat to OAL, back off seating stem and crimp, measure, then adjust your seating stem for the next reload. Go easy and you won't have to pull any bullets.

It takes just a little getting used to but in no time it will run like a well oiled machine. Just don't seat the bullets too deep!
 

sourdough44

Single-Sixer
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Mar 8, 2010
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WI
Most of the time I crimp in a seperate step with the Lee factory crimp die. It's also easy to adjust.
 

ra

Single-Sixer
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Jan 16, 2010
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Tennessee
I load on a Dillon 550 and I seat the bullet then crimp with a Lee crimp die. I never worry about the OAL, I seat the bullet to the crimp groove or cannelure. Make sure the first loaded round chambers before you load the rest. I only crimp straight wall pistol rounds and I have never had a problem with rounds being too long, but I don't load heavy for caliber bullets or have a gun with a short cylinder. I have read people with some Freedom Arms revolvers write about having short cylinders for the long, heavy bullets.

ra
 

Jimbo357mag

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ra":pba40ayg said:
I load on a Dillon 550 and I seat the bullet then crimp with a Lee crimp die. I never worry about the OAL, I seat the bullet to the crimp groove or cannelure. Make sure the first loaded round chambers before you load the rest. I only crimp straight wall pistol rounds and I have never had a problem with rounds being too long, but I don't load heavy for caliber bullets or have a gun with a short cylinder. I have read people with some Freedom Arms revolvers write about having short cylinders for the long, heavy bullets.

ra

Yep, that is what I was going to say. Seat to the top of the crimp groove, to get a good crimp, and then measure and most times it will be right on the money for AOL. A taper crimp would be for AOL first. :D

...Jimbo
 

Bucks Owin

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Step one is to have all your cases the same length, ie trim them. Otherwise all the advice is moot IMO... :wink: (FWIW, I like to crimp as a separate step but then I'm not in a hurry... 8) )
 

Driftwood Johnson

Blackhawk
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Sep 25, 2007
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Land of the Pilgrims
Howdy

I only load cast bullets and they all have crimp grooves. I simply set up my dies so that the crimp is formed in the crimp groove. Period. I don't worry about Overall Length. Most of the time cast bullets are designed so that if crimped in the crimp groove, the cartridge length will take care of itself.

There is nothing that says that cartridges need to be loaded to Max OAL. Usually anything up to Max length is fine. I have an Uberti replica of the Winchester Model 1873 chambered for 44-40, and it functions best with ammo loaded about .010-.020 over the recommended Max OAL for that cartridge. Anything shorter and it does not feed well.

It is true, that one can vary Over All Length slightly by shifting the bullet a few thousandths one way or the other, but too much of that and you are no longer crimping in the crimp groove. A revolver simply does not care how long a cartridge is, as long as it does not stick out of the front of the cylinder. Rifles are a different thing, OAL can have an effect on how the rifle functions. But again, all my cast bullet loads get crimped with the crimp in the crimp groove and I have no problems. The OAL is whatever it is.

And I always seat and crimp in one step. It is not all that hard to do. Separate crimp dies are highly over rated.

P.S. It is a good idea to always make up some dummy rounds when first setting up your dies. Sacrifice a few bullets and pieces of brass making up some dummies while you are still fine tuning the adjustment on your dies. Don't start cranking out live ammo until your dies are all set and locked down. Save the dummy rounds for future reference. If you ever need to change the die settings for a different bullet, you will have the dummy rounds to help you get back to the original setting. Lower the seating stem until it contacts the top of the bullet in a dummy round, and you have re-established your OAL setting.
 

tomiswho

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Messages
323
Location
Georgia
I agree with Driftwood. I seat to the top of the crimp groove, and the OAL is something I measure afterwards. I don't have any short cylinder revolvers to worry about. I do .38 sp, .357 mag, .45 Colt, and .454 Casull only, both cast and jacketed.
 

islander

Bearcat
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Feb 5, 2009
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Coral Gables Florida
I strictly follow the COL according to the loading recipe for my revolver reloads. Why not. I used to seat the bullets to the COL and then crimp with the Redding profile crimp die, until I discovered that the crimping (lightly) seated the bullet another 0.010" or so. So I compensate by seating higher.
 

Pal Val

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I wasted a lot of time resetting seating dies until a friend told me to make dummy rounds, like Driftwood explains. I now have a collection. It makes an easy job of setting up, and my OAL is 100% consistent.
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
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Mar 22, 2004
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51st state of Jefferson
Dittos on "dummy rounds", it's handy to make one up for every bullet you use...(Maybe they should be called "smart rounds" :lol: ) Good use for a case bound for the scrap pile anyway, a split mouth or enlarged pocket doesn't matter to a "dummy"...
 
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