I bought a Lee Factory Crimp die for 44 Magnum. This is not a collet-type die, but it is unique in that it has a sizing ring at the entrance of the die. The sizing ring is supposed to ensure reliable chambering. My 4″ M29 has been known to walk cast bullets out of the case, so I wanted to see if the Lee die would hold the bullet more securely than the Redding die that I have been using for the past 22 years.
Two dummy rounds were loaded using an air-cooled wheelweight bullet. The bullets were as-cast, 0.432″ – 0.433″. One cartridge was given a moderate crimp in the Redding die, while the other was given a firm crimp in the Lee Factory Crimp die. The Lee die shrunk the cartridge OD from 0.4575″ to 0.454″. The question is, what was shrinking? Was the cast bullet being squashed by the Lee die?
To find out, I used an inertia puller to yank the bullets. It took 67 whacks to free the bullet that had been crimped in the Redding die. That bullet measured 0.432″, maybe 0.0005″ smaller than it was originally. Only 3 whacks were required to free the bullet that had been crimped in the Lee die. That bullet had shrunk down to 0.430″. That is totally unacceptable because my gun has 0.4334″ throats. To heck with the Lee Factory Crimp die.
I converted the Lee Factory Crimp die into a die holder for my homemade push-thru bullet sizing dies. I sawed off the worthless sizing ring and bored most of the die out to 5/8″, so it would accept my 5/8″ dies. A setscrew in the lockring penetrates the die body to grip the 5/8″ die.