Lee Factory Crimp Die crimping

To Crimp Or Not To crimp

Lee Factory Crimp Die
Lee Factory Crimp Die

Q: I’ve been told that bullet shoukd be crimped into a heavy recoiling cartridge like the .375 H&H and some of the new Super Magnums. My .338 Win. Mag. seems to kick like a .375 H&H, yet the 250gn Sierra bullet and Speer 250gn bullet don’t have cannelures for crimping. The same goes for several other .375 bullets, including the Sierra 300gn spitzer boattail.When loading the .338 Magnum, should bullets be crimped in their cases? If not, why aren’t all .338 bullets cannelured?

Arthur Reynolds

A: Cannelures are applied to factory-made rifle bullets for two different purposes. When loading for rifles with tubular magazines, crimping the bullet into the case mouth prevents the bullet from being pushed deeper into the case during recoil. The cannelure also serves the same role when loading for some

Lee Factory Crimp Die in operation
Lee Factory Crimp Die in operation

autoloading rifles.
A few bulletmakers feel that a cannelure helps retain the lead core in its jacket during expansion, which is the second reason we see it on various bullets. When loading for my own rifles in .338 Win. Mag. and .375 Weatherby Mag., I never found it necessary to crimp case necks as long as neck tension on the bullets was sufficient to resist recoil. If the expander plug in your full-length sizing die is at least .003″smaller than bullet diameter, you shouldn’t have any problem with bullets moving forward in their cases.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.