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Old March 27, 2007, 09:50 PM   #1
mwalstien
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38 S&W... can I use my lee .38 special dies?

How about .45 Auto Rim? Can I use my .45 acp dies?
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Old March 27, 2007, 10:18 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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The .38 S&W is a larger O.D. case than .38 Special and should have larger bullets. But to run off a few, yes you can load them on Special dies. I have done so. They will have kind of a bottleneck or Cokebottle shape but will still shoot as well as you can expect from any of the usual guns in the caliber. The seating die won't reach to crimp but you can apply a little taper crimp by bumping the finished cartridge back into the mouth of the seating die to remove the flare. It is not as though the bullets are going to kick out from the vicious recoil.

.45 ACP dies are correct for .45 AR. You just need the right shellholder. You might want to invest in a roll crimp die if you are going to do a lot or load them heavily.
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Old March 27, 2007, 10:41 PM   #3
benedict1
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Lee sells the .38 S&W dies--you can get them a lot of places; I got mine at

http://www.kempfgunshop.com/products...istoldies.html

for $22 + a few dollars for shipping. Whole thing came to about $25 total. They work great.

I wouldn't think you would get great results from .38 Special dies. My K-frame S&W, ca. 1941 keyholes with .357" bullets badly; shoots great with .359" At some point you're going to be shaving lead with .38 Special dies, especially if your gun slugs at the nominal bore diameter which is supposed to be .361". Many of the guns are a tad tighter than that though.

I load 146 gr SWC, lead, .359" diam and 2.2 gr Win 231. A pal of mine casts them for me. He can actually cast them at .360" and sizes them down .001" for me.

You can also get new brass from the Kempf link above. New ammo is pretty expensive; I know Winchester and Magtech still supply it. I bought 500 new cases from Kempf's and probably have enough to shoot the rest of my life with this revolver.

Even though the bore is rough, at 7 yds I can put 50 rounds into a 6" circle with heavy concentration toward the center.

If you have a nice old revolver the dies are worth the investment to treat it to some good ammo.
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Old March 27, 2007, 11:27 PM   #4
Mike Irwin
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.38 Spl. dies to load .38 S&W?

No.

.45 ACP dies to load .45 Auto Rim?

Yes. I load both ACP and Auto Rim using my Lee .45 ACP dies.

The only thing you need is a different shellholder.
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Old March 28, 2007, 09:09 AM   #5
Crosshair
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No you can't. I load both, the two calibers are not interchangeable.
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Old March 28, 2007, 09:15 AM   #6
Mike Irwin
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"No you can't. I load both, the two calibers are not interchangeable."

You are talking about the .38 S&W/.38 Special, correct?
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Old March 28, 2007, 05:51 PM   #7
Crosshair
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Sorry Mike Irwin. Yes I was refering to the 38 S&W and 38 Special. All loading manuals say never to cut off cases to use because you can/will have a case failure and you will overwork the brass when resizing.

You can get away with using a 9mm expander and seating die and only buy a 38 S&W sizing die, but you don't save that much $$$ and it is very cumbersom having to readjust the dies.
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