Is it smashing them at the pre-crimp station or the final crimp. Which ever one you might consider moving the die up about 1/16". At least try that.
I had the same problem. I called P/W and they said the hole in the shell at the pre-crimp satation should be the size of a pencil. That is about where mine is set. I can load the old AA or the new AA with no problems, and I don't get that small 1/32" hole everyone talks about on the finished new AA hull.
I will say the orig. Final crimp die that came with the machine never worked right. It was very rough in the die part. I had P/W send me a new one and have been trouble free ever since.
You may have some of the early HSAA which had a different base wad from the latest version. The wad skirt tended to catch and not enter the base wad on the early version putting enough pressure on the hull to make a ring on the shell near the base wad area. The pink AA one ounce wad seems to work ok for one ounce and the yellow F114 (1-1/4) wad with 1-1/8 ounces of shot will prevent ringing or crushing the hull with no ill effects as to performance or looks of the shell. The latest version of the HSAA has a redesigned base wad that allows the wad skirt to enter the base wad. The newer red hull HSAA can be identified be the lack of a black border or box around the printed AA. Also if you are using a final station to round the end of the shell for use in an autoloader you can crush the hull by using too much pressure at this station.
I use a PW 900 loader and the new AA hulls exclusively. I had trouble with smashed crimps with the soft plastic used on silver hulls mfg just prior to the 2 piece AA with the separate base wad. I have loaded thousands of the newer AA hulls and have never had a base wad move but I use wads designed for AA hulls.
If you are referring to "mushrooming" at the top that prevents the shell from being ejected from the die, it has been discussed here before. There were lots of tricks to remove the shell from the die, including someone on here who made a tool to facilitate this, but no cures. The only sure cure I have found is to not load AA hulls. I load strictly Remingtons now on my PW and have eliminated the problem without any "special tricks".
Raise the crimp die to completely eliminate the taper. That will stop the hull form bveing crushed.
The "ringing" that Borderland mentioned is caused by too much crimp pressure not the wad. Even if the wad caught on the basewad it still is not exerting pressure against the hull walls, it is pushing against the basewad. The pressure exerted by the press on the hull walls would be the same. Wads are pretty flimsy and it doesn't take much pressure to push one into the basewad of a AA.
You might want to order one of P-Ws smooth cone crimp starters to replace the 8-fold starter you probably have. It was originally made for paper hulls but it gathers more plastic and creates a larger cone. It doesn;t leave a hole in the center of the finished crimp.
I bought one specifically for AA hulls but I like it so much I leave in on for Remington's too.
Crushing the hull usually means that you are trying to stuff too much into the hull. Try a shorter wad. The old AA and the current Remington STS hulls will tolerate over stuffing better than the AA HS hull. This is because of the tapered hull design of the STS and compression formed old AA.
It has to be in the precrimp, the machine has not loaded 2000 rounds it loads everything superb but 1 and 3/8 in WWhs hulls same load in Rem Nitro or STS=PERFECT. I have done some adjusting it got better for a few then back at it. Checkwad guide nothing broken. Not out of time. Its either 2,4,6 I will check in the AM. Thanks for all the replies guys, I am leaning on just reloading feds and rems. Old AA load like a dream. Thanks Whiz I will check out 2,4,6 in the AM
If it's at the pre-crimp station, then I have to assume there is something amiss in the pre-crimper.
Take a pencil and mark on the pre-crimp shaft where it meets the top toolhead, (so you can reinstall in at its present height) then remove the assembly.<BR>
(1) check that the bolt holding the plastic precrimp head is in tightly,<BR>
(2) check the actual plastic head itself for debris, broken folds, etc, and <BR>(3) check that the bolt hole has not cracked or become worn out.
Here's what I have done purely through laziness, but I like it. I was loading some Federal papers and finally acquiesced to installing the plastic paper cone head. I really wasn't bothered by the 8-point crimp head crimping the papers and have them looking odd, but because I had a paper cone, I said "hell let's change it." The papers then looked perfect. Not a big concern because I only load them once. In fact, I only reload a once-fired once.
Anyway, through laziness, I just left the paper cone head in place when I went back to reloading AA's and Nitro hulls. Funny thing is that ALL these reloads looked perfect WITH THE PAPER CONE.
Consequently, I'm only using the paper cone, and now am putting one on my Spolar for papers and plastics.