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· The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Make sure you get good neck tension.  This is at least as important as a good crimp.

Check the expander plug and ensure that it is a good 0.004" less than bullet diameter.  0.005" is even better.  With good neck tension you can see where the lube grooves are in a cast bullet after it is seated.  If your expander isn't small enough you can chuck it in a drill and polish it down a little.

Seat and crimp in two steps.  Seat first so that the case mouth is even with very top of the crimp groove (so you can barely see the crimp groove at all).  Then, with the seater stem out of the die, crimp it until the mouth of the case actually has a little short section that is parallel to the sides of the case, but in the bottom of the crimp groove.

Make sense?  Look at factory .454 ammo... that should give you a good idea of what will work.  One of these days I'll take some pictures of various crimps and whip up a short tech note.

Marshall will tell you that the Redding profile crimp die really helps, but I don't shoot a .454 so have never tried one.  I'm sure they work great but with what I load I have been able to get by with this method.  You might need one depending on how heavy your loads are.
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