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Old October 21, 2012, 11:16 PM   #1
davery25
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357 magnum dies

Hi guys,

2 part question:

1. What brand of die do you recommend for 357 magnum and why? I use lee dies for all my rifle dies except for my Redding dies in 7.5x55 swiss (only because lee don't make dies for the k31) but found that they're much harder to take apart and clean and don't give me as good a neck tension as do the reddings.

2. Can 357 mag dies be used for 38 special reloading without modification?
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Old October 22, 2012, 06:53 AM   #2
David Bachelder
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The RCBS dies are marked .38/.357. They can be used for both. You set the dies up for .38. If you need to load 357 they give you a washer that you add under the dies. This will raise them up to 357 length.

RCBS dies are the only ones I'm familiar with. I had a set of LEE dies I bought on EBay a long time ago. I used them once and set them aside. Now I can't remember what it was about them I didn't like.

I still have them if anyone wants them. I'd sell them cheap, say $20.00 plus shipping?
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:01 AM   #3
Gdawgs
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I have dies from various makers (Lee, RCBS, Hornady, and Lyman). They all work well. Brand doesn't really matter all that much to me. If buying new, I almost always get Lee just because they are so much cheaper than the others.
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:03 AM   #4
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I have both Lee and RCBS dies for .357Magnum - both work well. My Lee dies will do both calibers, but I have two sets, each on a separate turret plate - easy swap out to change caliber being loaded, without having to adjust the dies. Haven't used the RCBS dies yet.
I favor RCBS for rifle calibers, but mostly use Lee for the pistol calibers.
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:23 AM   #5
WESHOOT2
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dies

I always start any new cartridge with a 4-die "Deluxe" set from Lyman; for revolver cartridges I then add the superior Redding Profile Crimp Die.
Then I add a LEE set.
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:26 AM   #6
Misssissippi Dave
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I have a 3 die set from RCBS. The washer doesn't work perfectly for me. It does get me close but not exactly right. I am going to get another set of dies soon. I will be getting the Dillon dies. I have a Dillon press and those Dillon dies are very easy to take apart to clean. Much easier than the RCBS dies are. I will also have a separte die for the crimp with the Dillon. I prefer to crimp in a separate die. It just makes things easier for me.

One thing I do suggest with any die set you might be getting is to get carbide dies. They work well and there is very little chance a bit of junk on the case is going to score the sizing die and scratch every case you size after that happens.
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:41 AM   #7
TheTinMan
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One nice thing about the Lyman die sets is that the expander, and seater can both be adjusted without moving the lock ring (assuming separate crimp step). Great for a progressive setup if you tend to change bullets like I do. The expander is great for lead bullets too.

+1 on Redding Profile Crimp Die. You can go from a medium taper crimp to a full-roll crimp if that's what you need.
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Old October 22, 2012, 09:08 AM   #8
tkglazie
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Quote:
My Lee dies will do both calibers, but I have two sets, each on a separate turret plate
same here
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Old October 22, 2012, 09:37 AM   #9
elkslayer4x5
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My RCBS dies only say .357 Magnum, have no washer, and work great. About that washer, would'nt it be used the other way round, add the washer under the die lock ring for the shorter .38 Special case?
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Old October 22, 2012, 09:44 AM   #10
Mike Irwin
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All of my regular-use handgun dies are Lee dies.
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Old October 22, 2012, 10:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
About that washer, would'nt it be used the other way round, add the washer under the die lock ring for the shorter .38 Special case?
NO, how could raising the die work for a shorter case?
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Old October 22, 2012, 10:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
About that washer, would'nt it be used the other way round, add the washer under the die lock ring for the shorter .38 Special case?
No.
When the dies are set up to load 38spl, the washer is used with the flaring and seat/crimp die to load 357 mag.
As already said, it gets you close.
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Old October 22, 2012, 01:05 PM   #13
W.E.G.
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There are NO bad .357 dies.
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Old October 22, 2012, 04:21 PM   #14
Hammerhead
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If you load lead bullets in .38/.357 I would recommend the Lyman 'M' die for expanding and flaring.
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Old October 22, 2012, 04:56 PM   #15
David Bachelder
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I also wound up buying an additional set of RCBS 38/357 dies. They are resting on the same turret head. The washer was close, but not exact, for me anyway.

Most of my dies are RCBS. Most of my lead casting equipment is LEE, including the majority of my bullet molds. I like the LEE six bangers, a long difficult learning curve, but once you get it .... no problem. Aluminum bullet molds like to be at just the right temp. Not too cold and not too hot. There is a thin line between frosty bullets and bullets with no wrinkles.
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Old October 22, 2012, 06:45 PM   #16
davery25
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Is it the 4-die deluxe set or the 3 die set David? I might be interested in them, except im in Australia so shipping might negate things

Cheers
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Old October 22, 2012, 08:46 PM   #17
j357
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I use lee dies, your 38 set should do 357 with adjustments. I typically don't shoot much 357. My routine is to load 38 Remington HBWC most of the time, they are very dirty and consistent seating requires breaking down the dies for light cleaning after about 400 - 500 rounds. Generally I will set them back up for 357 after cleaning and run a couple of hundred 357 FMJs, JHPs then SJFPs which dont dirty up the works and then adjust down and do the next few runs of 38 HBWC. I adjust the dies downward in the progression. Keeps me supplied and this rotation cuts down on the set up time moving back and forth.
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Old October 22, 2012, 11:12 PM   #18
joneb
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Quote:
The washer was close, but not exact,
What is width of the washer ? My 38spl brass is trimmed at 1.148" and my 357 mag brass is trimmed to 1.280" my RCBS supplied washer is .13" this close enough for the expander/flare die but I often use different bullets for these cartridges so adjustments are usually needed with the seat/crimp die anyway.

oops

Last edited by joneb; October 23, 2012 at 10:10 AM.
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Old October 23, 2012, 02:58 AM   #19
Shootest
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Quote:
RCBS supplied washer is 1.3"
I think you mean .130
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Old October 23, 2012, 09:21 AM   #20
Don P
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Quote:
1. What brand of die do you recommend for 357 magnum and why? I use lee dies for all my rifle dies except for my Redding dies in 7.5x55 swiss (only because lee don't make dies for the k31) but found that they're much harder to take apart and clean and don't give me as good a neck tension as do the reddings.

2. Can 357 mag dies be used for 38 special reloading without modification?
1- I use Lee dies.
2- Yes, I have 2 sets of the same dies 38 spl/357 mag. I set up each for the respective caliber to make switching out turrets easier and faster
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Old October 23, 2012, 12:53 PM   #21
lee n. field
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Quote:
2. Can 357 mag dies be used for 38 special reloading without modification?
Get dies for .38 special, or .38/.357. You will be able to load for .357. RCBS dies include a spacer, so you don't have to readjust.

I made the mistake, very early on, of getting a .357 dieset. I couldn't adjust the seating die to crimp the shorter .38 case.

Quote:
RCBS dies are the only ones I'm familiar with. I had a set of LEE dies I bought on EBay a long time ago. I used them once and set them aside. Now I can't remember what it was about them I didn't like.

I still have them if anyone wants them. I'd sell them cheap, say $20.00 plus shipping?
About the only thing I don't care for with the Lee dies it the way the expanding ring floats in the second die. It doesn't let go as easily as the fixed expanding plug in my RCBS dies.

That said, the way my progressive (Lee Pro 1000) works, pretty much requires I have the Lee expander as the second die. The Lees works well anyway and are significantly cheaper than other maker's sets. So, my default for a new cartridge is to get the Lee dies.
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Old October 23, 2012, 08:02 PM   #22
davery25
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i'll probably go with the Lee .38/357 in that case, other dies are considerably more expensive, or the same price but without the crimp die. I guess i really only have to clean them once a year or so.

The only other annoying thing about lee dies is that they rust unless i continually oil them, but small price to pay considering the savings i suppose. pun unintended but it worked well
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Old October 25, 2012, 12:56 PM   #23
federali
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Buy .38 SPL dies

You may load .357 Magnum in .38 Spl dies. It's just a matter of die adjustment. But, you can't load .38s in a .357 dies set.
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Old October 25, 2012, 04:51 PM   #24
Misssissippi Dave
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Maybe I have lived a sheltered life. I don't recall seeing .357 mag dies that are only for mag reloading. Even if there is such a thing I would just put the locking nut on the bottom of the die head to let it go deep enough to load specials.
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Old October 25, 2012, 05:00 PM   #25
wild willy
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How does lowering the die let the .38 case go further in the die.You can't load .38s in .357 dies the same as you can't load .44 specials in .44 magnum.I know they made .44 mag. dies found mine were when I bought a 44 special
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