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Old November 19, 2007, 06:29 PM   #1
Join Date: November 15, 2004
Location: Independence, KY
Posts: 59
38 dies for 357?

I've been reloading 38 spl for a while now and I want to start loading 357.
Can I use my Lee 38 dies to load 357? When I looked them up on midway, they list the dies as being for both, But only "38 special" is engraved on the side of the dies. I'm confused!
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Old November 19, 2007, 06:42 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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Most brands of .38 dies will adjust the .135" to handle .357 magnum.
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Old November 19, 2007, 07:42 PM   #3
Uncle Don
Join Date: August 18, 2007
Location: Iowa
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Sure, they will work. You don't have to adjust the sizing die, but the flaring die and seating die would have to be backed out two turns to be set properly for the longer .357 case.

Any dies for a shorter case will work for the longer ones. Other examples are 44 Special to 44 Magnum, 40 S&W to 10mm, 45 GAP will do 45 ACP and so on.
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Old November 19, 2007, 11:46 PM   #4
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I Made a Bushing Kit to install when I switch Calibers. I install the "TopHat" bushing in the Flaring die when loading .38's and I remove the "Tophat" bushing and install the Collar under the Seating/Crimping die when I load .357s.

I colored the parts for ease of viewing. I tested the set-up the other day changing only the bushing and leaving the die adjustments the same and it worked well..
The Third Pic shows the stack-up in the Flaring die.

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Old November 20, 2007, 03:54 PM   #5
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Yep, your Lee dies will load .357mag all day long. In fact, I stopped loading .38spl once I 'discovered' the joys of the .357. I mean, why load a special when you can load a magnum?
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Old November 25, 2007, 10:39 PM   #6
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Maybe because you are shooting a Model 10?
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Old November 25, 2007, 11:56 PM   #7
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"Maybe because you are shooting a Model 10?"

What does that Matter?

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Old November 26, 2007, 10:23 AM   #8
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RCBS .38/.357 dies used to come with the required spacer.
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Old November 28, 2007, 03:50 PM   #9
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The one thing that they don't tell you (at least they didn't tell me 20+ years ago) is that if you buy the Lee 357 dies, they won't load the shorter 38 special ... THEY are for 357 Mag and the longer yet still 357 Maximum. It turns out that a spacer will solve that problem as well, though, so ultimately I didn't go down in defeat.

Why load a 38? Cause the brass is EVERYWHERE and it is nice to be able to look at a round and know that it is the stuff that the beginner is going to like without looking for the label on the downloaded 357. Also, if you are going to download, then the 38 case is easier to get more than 50% full with the charge ... and that essentially eliminates the possibility of a double charge.

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