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Old May 20, 2008, 05:48 PM   #1
mniesen89
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38 Special in a 357 mag die?

To my knowledge the only difference between the 38 SPL and the 357 MAG cartridges is the powder used(correct me if I am wrong). So i'm assuming its okay to run 38 through my 357 dies without a glitch, right?
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Old May 20, 2008, 06:22 PM   #2
cdrt
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Some die sets are .357 only. You'll have a problem trying to seat and crimp .38 Specials because the case is shorter. What brand of dies are you using? And are they marked .357 and nothing else?
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Old May 20, 2008, 06:26 PM   #3
mniesen89
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using lee carbides and it only says 357
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Old May 20, 2008, 07:11 PM   #4
Nnobby45
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Quote:
To my knowledge the only difference between the 38 SPL and the 357 MAG cartridges is the powder used(correct me if I am wrong). So i'm assuming its okay to run 38 through my 357 dies without a glitch, right?
The difference is .137 longer for the .357. The extra powder capacity isn't necessary---it's longer so it won't fit into a .38 and blow it to pieces.

Die adjustment will easily compensate for the difference, and your dies are interchangeable for both .38 and .357.
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Old May 20, 2008, 08:03 PM   #5
tom234
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Generally .38/.357 die sets come with a set of spacers [washers]. The spacers allow you to set the dies up for .38 and then just insert the spacers for .357. My RCBS dies came with spacers.
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Old May 20, 2008, 08:11 PM   #6
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For my RCBS .38spl/.357mag dies I set the dies to reload .38spl trimmed to 1.147" then when loading .357mag. trimmed to 1.279" I use the supplied .130" spacer washer with the case mouth/flare die and bullet seat/crimp die.
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Old May 20, 2008, 08:37 PM   #7
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Lee dies do not come with the spacers. I found a spacer for mine in an old computer hard drive. I measured it to see how much I needed to sand it down, and it was already just right -- .135" I think.

If you don't have a spacer, it is still very easy to adjust the dies again if you have a leftover loaded cartridge from the previous batch to use as a gauge. Back out the bullet seater. Screw the die in until it hits the top of a resized case. Then put the loaded cartridge in the holder and screw down the seater until it hits the bullet snugly (but not too snug.)

I use a universal case mouth expander, and to adjust it, screw it down on a fired *unsized* case until it hits the case mouth, then just a little more.

Bob
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Old May 20, 2008, 09:30 PM   #8
res45
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My 25 Yr. old set of Lyman dies load 38/357 no spacer required,just have to adjust the expander,bullet seater & crimp to each Rd.
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Old May 21, 2008, 12:58 AM   #9
rg1
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Just make sure your .357 sizing die sizes the .38 case down enough to get proper bullet tension. I've had problems with my .38/.357 on some thinner .38 cases and the bullet could be easily pushed further into the case with light thumb pressure. I had to get another sizing die just for .38 Special cases. A friend had the exact same problem and he got very erratic velocity and even a bullet stuck in his barrel. He was using a slow powder for .38, loose bullet fit in the case, light roll crimp, and evidently the bullet was being started by the primer force creating a much larger volume for the powder to burn in creating low pressure. .38 Special cases can and does have thinner case walls than magnum brass at least in some brands I've loaded.
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Old May 21, 2008, 06:35 AM   #10
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I have a 20 year old set set of lyman carbide dies and a 12 year old set of Dillon carbide dies, they both will load either .38 spl of .357 magnum with no problem. The difference between the two rounds as far as the dies are concerned is .125 inches in length. IIRC that is 5 turns of the die body.


Other dies may be different, but I doubt it.
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Old May 21, 2008, 06:52 AM   #11
Sevens
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Lee dies are a bit funny in one way-- they suggest you buy the shorter caliber to load both. Lee will tell you to buy .38 Spl dies to load .38 & .357, and they'll tell you to buy .44 Special dies to load .44 Spl and .44 Mag.

IIRC, my .38 Spl dies are marked .38/.357 on the sizing die, but the others may be marked .38 Spl. I know my .44 dies are all marked .44 Spl.
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Old May 21, 2008, 06:55 AM   #12
res45
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rg1 I'm not disputing what your experience has been but I have never had that issue before in 25 years. I have loaded about every kind of 38/357 brass/nickel cases there is,in fact with my Lyman carbide dies you can clearly see the area where the base of the bullet stops at inside the case,no huge bulge or anything but your not going to move the bullet pressing on it with your finger.

I suspect some of the dies just have some slack tolerances now day or reamed out one to many die bodies with a worn out tool. We are talking about thousands of an inch here. Sounds like it time to break out the digital calipers and do some measurements ie expander ball,inside dia. of case and the bullet itself it's not unheard of to get undersized or over sized bullets.
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Old May 21, 2008, 10:39 PM   #13
jhansman
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My set of Lee Deluxe dies are marked for .38spl, but work for .357mag just fine. In fact, that's all I use 'em for.
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Old May 22, 2008, 05:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
My set of Lee Deluxe dies are marked for .38spl, but work for .357mag just fine. In fact, that's all I use 'em for.
Same here. Lee sells the .357 dies for the .357 Magnum and Maximum.
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