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Old March 11, 2007, 02:07 PM   #1
wicker
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Join Date: February 18, 2007
Location: Iowa
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Misc. 357 with Lee dies ?'s

I'm loading up a box of 50 .357mag rounds for a work mate with my new .38spcl Lee dies and I've a few questions.

Let me start by stating how I'm set up. According to the instructions you need to turn the bullet seating/crimp die out two extra turns so my die is out a total of 5 turns from contact with the shell holder. I am loading Oregon Trail LSWC 158gr. bullets with 7.4gr (.7cc scoop) of IMR 700-X Hi-Skor. I've one finished round at this point that I have seated to 1.580 OAL.

My first question is about OAL. I've found that most factory rounds are shorter than the listed max OAL in most manuals and when loading my 45acp rounds found that going a little shorter gives my auto better feeds. For example the .45acp OAL recomended in my Lyman manual for 230 ball is 1.275 but I have better results comming in at 1.265-1.267. Not much of a difference, but in the gun it makes all the difference in the world. Most factory 230 ball I've measured runs around 1.265 as well. Where is a good spot for the 357 rounds? Should I stick with the 1.580 or run a little shorter? It's not like the wheel gun is going to have any feed problems.

My second question is about crimp. I can see nor measure any crimp on the round. Do I need to back out the seater, turn in the die body untill I get my crimip, and then re-adjust my seating depth? If so, any recomendations on turns out from the shell holder or from where I'm at now? Also, how will I know when I have the correct crimp amount.

If I had any factory 357 rounds I'd look at them for info on OAL and to help set up the crimp/seater die, but do not. Also I only have the 50 round box to load, so am trying to not lose any rounds in set up, otherwise I'd just start experimenting. I may have to anyway, and if so that's life, but will wait for some suggestions first.
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Old March 11, 2007, 02:27 PM   #2
wicker
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A closer inspection leads me to believe that I'm seated just a tad deeper than the canalure on the bullet. I can seat shallower but that will leave me with a greater OAL than recomended.

My case length is within spec so I know I'm ok there.
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Old March 11, 2007, 03:11 PM   #3
Jim Watson
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Revolver OAL is established by the cannelure/crimp groove location.
Published OAL does not mean much unless for exactly the same bullet.
Seat one to the middle or top 1/3 of the cannelure with the crimp shoulder in the seating die not making contact. Then back off the seating plug so it no longer touches that bullet and screw down the die body til it crimps. Look at a factory load for an eyeball estimate of a firm roll crimp. Then turn the seating plug down to touch that bullet. The next one should seat and crimp in one step. You might have to make some minor tweaks to get a good looking cartridge, but that will put you in the ball park.
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Old March 11, 2007, 10:02 PM   #4
wicker
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I was indeed seating too deep, past the crimp groove. Not much but obviously enough past. I set the seating depth by sight and then turnned the seater way back. I then ran the die body in by 1/4 turns untill I had a mild crimp. At this point I just used the seated round to bring in the seater depth as you suggested. The result was a round with a correctly seated and crimped bullet. Later in the afternoon I used the same steps to load my first 38 special rounds. Now the really fun part, I get to test shoot them.

Thanks for the help!
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Old March 11, 2007, 11:42 PM   #5
amamnn
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Not to get off the subject, but I would think long and hard before loading ammo for someone else's gun. If something bad happens, even if it is unrelated to your load, you may find out how good a friend he is or is not.

I know people who used to be friends with so and so and are not anymore because of just this sort of thing. I have had a brush with it myself. A friend and I were both at the range one day and as it happened, we were both shooting our .234 WSSMs which was a brand new cartridge at that time and handload info was hard to come by. I was shooting my load with W760, and he was shooting his with H4350. We decided to trade cartridges for 5 rounds. BAD idea. Mine shot just fine in his bolt gun. The first one of his I tried to load jammed my AR variant with the bolt half closed. It requires a near total disassembly to clear that kind of jam, and this with a live round in the pipe.

Worse things can happen. Just a friendly word of advice.
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Old March 12, 2007, 05:31 AM   #6
wicker
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That's not bad advice. Liability in our legitous society is a serious issue. One I hadn't stopped to consider. I've been loading for myself and my dad, which is another thing completly.
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Old March 13, 2007, 01:30 AM   #7
James A. Mullins
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As above that is the best advice you could ask for.
James
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