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Old April 7, 2013, 09:53 AM   #1
fshfindr
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Problem with Lee Press

Hi guys, I'm looking for some advise. I have run thousands of 380's through my 3 hole lee press. During that time I never had to adjust anything on the machine. It came setup for the 380's and worked like a well oiled machine should. Now I have switched over to 38's (I got 3 new dies from Lee) and I can't get it right. It sticks up in the loader/spreader die and I have to put enough force to push the handle down that I am concerned about breaking it. I only want to spread it a tiny bit so that I can start the bullet in.
On to another thing, I'm using the TL 358-148 WC mold. Can I use it for 357's too so that I don't need to run any 38's, just 357's? I just seems foolish to make 2 different bullets for the same gun. If I need to I'll get a new mold.
Thanks,
Richard
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Old April 7, 2013, 10:10 AM   #2
Misssissippi Dave
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Sounds like you maybe putting a little too much expansion on the cases. You can lubricate your brass with Hornady One Shot Case Lube to reduce the effort needed. There will still be resistance felt on the handle. I find One shot works well.

You can use the same bullet you use in you gun for both .38 special and .357 mag. Depending on how hard the bullet is will possibly determine how hard you can push them in the magnum loads. I use mostly jacketed bullets for my loads and use the same bullets for both.
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Old April 7, 2013, 10:31 AM   #3
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Same bullet for both is fine, as the tumble lube bullets don't feature a fixed crimp groove that would give you an incorrect COL on one or the other.

The die adjustment sounds like it is incorrect. If you look at the Lee help videos for the Pro 1000, which would be the same as adjustments to your 3-hole turret press, they include:

Sizing Die adjustment

Powder-through/expander (flare) Die adjustment

Bullet Seating Die Adjustment
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Last edited by Unclenick; April 8, 2013 at 06:39 AM. Reason: typo fix
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Old April 7, 2013, 11:42 AM   #4
fshfindr
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Unclenick the videos are excellent. I'm going down the cellar right now to make the adjustments . I'll let you know how it works out. Thank you.
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Old April 7, 2013, 12:11 PM   #5
david_r
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I like to adjust my expander die close to where I want it with the plug screwed into the top and not the powder drop. I've noticed with my 38/357 expander die that the expanding plug is larger than the inside of a case for most of it's length. The result being that the entire expanding plug is performing some expanding of the case and creating more friction when dropping the ram. If this was a concern, I would take it out and polish the straight section down. But I like that I can seat lead bullets with a minimum amount of flare. There still seems to be adequate tension and crimping is going to prevent the bullet from moving anyway.

CAUTION: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS LOAD DATA THAT EXCEEDS PUBLISHED DATA. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I shoot 148 WC in 38 and 357 cases. The available free case volume is about 13% more in a 357. I've found I need to increase my powder about 10% when loading 357 cases. Start with a load that is safe in YOUR 38 cases and work up from there. Make sure you are checking for bullets that did not exit the bore while working up the 148 WC 357 loads.
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Old April 8, 2013, 03:16 PM   #6
fshfindr
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DavidR, That is exactly what I was thinking about using the 148WC. I'm loading about 3.5 grains and hoping that is OK. That should be enough to at least get it through the barrel. I can't test it yet because I live in NJ and I am waiting for the state to approve a purchase. Here you need a permit to purchase a hand gun. I should have it in a couple of weeks. I was told it should take about 8 weeks and it's been 6 weeks. I'm looking for a Smith 686 with a 6" barrel if the price is right.

Uncle Nick, it was working fine thanks to you. But then I decided to clean it since I hadn't done it in 15 years. I had the plate off tried to clean the little detent ball. I pushed a little too hard with a clothe and knocked it out. I thought it rolled down through another hole but no. Now I have to find a ball bearing that will work. It is amazing how the dang thing disappeared. Now I'm lining the shell plate up with marks that I made until I can get a replacement. Sometimes it just don't pay to roll out of bed.

Richard L.
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Old April 8, 2013, 04:04 PM   #7
lee n. field
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Quote:
It came setup for the 380's and worked like a well oiled machine should.
"came set up for .380". Is this a Lee Turret Press, or a Pro-1000?

If it's a Pro-1000, check out "San Francisco Liberal With a Gun"'s Pro-1000 videos.

Quote:
Now I have switched over to 38's (I got 3 new dies from Lee) and I can't get it right. It sticks up in the loader/spreader die and I have to put enough force to push the handle down that I am concerned about breaking it.
you need to back up a bit on the adjustment of the expander die. (unless you're by accident running a .357 case through a die adjusted for .38, in which case you need way more than "a bit" of adjustment).

Quote:
I'm using the TL 358-148 WC mold. Can I use it for 357's too so that I don't need to run any 38's, just 357's? I just seems foolish to make 2 different bullets for the same gun. If I need to I'll get a new mold.
It will work for both .38 Special and .357 magnum. I've never heard of running wadcutters in .357, but I guess it could be done.
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Old April 9, 2013, 12:40 PM   #8
fshfindr
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Len, I'm running the Lee Pro 1000. The videos look really good. with a little more time, I'll watch each one. Thanks. Now, I have to find a detent ball or something similar that will work. I still can't believe it is lost in my cellar.

Richard L,

Last edited by fshfindr; April 9, 2013 at 06:58 PM.
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Old April 9, 2013, 02:50 PM   #9
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I'll bet that if you give Lee a call, they'll put one in the mail to you right away.
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Old April 9, 2013, 06:56 PM   #10
fshfindr
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Hardcase, that is exactly what I will do, now why didn't I think of that?

Also, It seems that I can't put those wc's into the 357's. I was trying to put them in flush the way I did with the 38's. The bullet is too long, I wrinkled the shell. I guess I'll leave about a half inch out. I was told that putting them in flush made them very accurate. Oh well.

Richard L.
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Old April 10, 2013, 09:45 AM   #11
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Richard,

Did you remember to back the seating die out 0.135" so the crimp shoulder would be higher by the greater length of the magnum case? That's almost two full turns of the die body (1.89 turns, to be exact). I'm thinking you left it set for .38 Special so it was the crimp shoulder that buckled your case. The bullet should be no issue. I used them in .357 for years in a DW 15-2.
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Old April 12, 2013, 09:43 AM   #12
fshfindr
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Hardcase, Lee is sending me a new ball for $1.00 plus $3.92 shipping. Just for info, I'm not complaining.

Richard L.
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Old April 12, 2013, 05:12 PM   #13
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Measure the ball when it arrives. Some hardware stores have the fractional sizes.
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Old April 15, 2013, 03:08 PM   #14
fshfindr
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Yesterday, I was making some 357's when the shellplate jammed. It looked like some used primers were under the plate. It was getting late so I left it. This AM after a trip to the post office to mail my tax forms, I started to take the machine apart. Expended primers were stuck under the plate jamming it so that it could not move. The ram that supports the shellplate and carries the used primers down under the machine was stuffed full of primers so that they backed up. Using a tweezers to get them out one by one, I finally saw what was blocking it. I found my steel detent ball in the shaft and popped it out with a piece of wire from underneath. As I sit here typing, better half brings in the mail and lo and behold, I now have two balls, (pun intended but true.) So now I have a spare detent ball. I thought you might be interested.

Richard L.
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