Shotshell Roll Crimper
Shotshell Roll Crimper
I’ve tried a couple of different roll crimpers over the years, but never really found any of them to my liking. Of the few available, every one seems to rely on one or more roll pins that require regular lubrication to function, and still seem to take more time and effort than I’m willing to invest.
With that in mind I decided to design my own, taking inspiration from the solid state designs dating as far back as the 1800’s, and combining them with modern materials and manufacturing processes.
Let’s start with a look at the construction.
As I mentioned earlier, my main goal was to produce a tool with a completely solid-state; no moving parts to seize, wear out, or lubricate. As with many of my other designs, I also decided to build it entirely from stainless steel. This yields both strength and durability, virtually eliminating any maintenance, and ensuring it will last virtually forever.
Designed for use with a handheld drill or drill press, mounting the crimp tool is as simple as inserting it into the chuck, lining it up straight, and tightening it in place. This is the exact same process you’d use for any other drill bit.
Although not essential, I do highly recommend the use of a shotshell hull vise. The Reloaders Network produces an excellent option for this which you can find here in their store. This will ensure the shell being crimped is perfectly upright and stable, enabling the user to obtain the highest quality crimp.
With our setup complete, let’s take a look at the crimper works.
As you’ll see in the video above, the first example involved the use of a Lyman Foster slug. Despite being one of the most recognizable shotgun slug designs, many folks don’t realize these are designed for use with a roll crimp, as opposed to the more common star crimp.
We’ll begin by placing the slug into the hull, then adding a tiny bit of oil to the hull mouth. This can be done with a finger, Q-tip, or even by dabbing on the surface of a case lube pad. It’s worth noting this is completely optional; the tool will absolutely crimp your hulls without added lubrication, however when using ribbed hulls such as the one shown in the video, it does provide for a smoother finish.
With the shell in place, simply line the vice up with the crimp tool, and activate the drill press.
Actually crimping the shell is a simple of lowering the tool until the desired crimp is achieved. As the solid state design requires very little heat or pressure, the entire operation should take a couple seconds at most. If you’re using a drill press, you can further simplify things by setting the depth gauge once you’ve completed/measured the first shell. Not only does this eliminate the guesswork, it also ensures each shell will be exactly the same length.
Aside from slugs, this tool will also allow for crimping overshot cards, permitting the use of buck and birdshot. As I’m a big fan of reducing recoil loads, you’ll see a couple examples of custom mini-shells in the video above.
As with the the earlier description, simply drop an overshot card on top of the shot, tuck it into place, and secure it in the vice.
Next, line the vice up, and begin the crimping process. Just as with the slug example, the actual crimp takes just seconds to complete, and can be standardized easily by utilizing the depth gauge on the drill press.
As shown above, the finished shell is both flush and level, with the overshot card snugly secured in place.
In the hands of a skilled reloader, this roll crimp tool can turn out well over a hundred roll crimped shells in an hour, in any size or style you’re looking for, and at a fraction of the cost of factory ammunition. I’ve used it to produce buckshot, birdshot, and slugs, in lengths ranging from as short as 1 3/4″ to as long as 3 1/2″.
To learn more about this or any of my other designs, visit my online project page and shop at www.tatvcanada.com
Tactical Advantage TV is focused on delivering short, to-the-point content on a host of subjects related to firearms, casting, reloading, optics and accessories. In addition to theoretical discussion, I will be performing a number of practical demonstrations on processes and products, including my own designs.