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Old December 10, 2012, 11:48 AM   #1
danny42984
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Need advise on buying dies.

Have been reloading some .223 and 38 special on a Hornady Lock n Load for a few weeks now and getting ready to start reloading 9mm Luger and 380 ACP. I was wondering if I might be able to save some money by mixing and matching dies that would do both of those calibers. For instance i have seen dies advertised that would seat both .380 and 9mm. Would I be better off just buying a die set for each caliber or would it be beneficial to do some mix and matching? If so what dies will do tasks for both calibers?

Last edited by danny42984; December 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM.
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Old December 10, 2012, 12:12 PM   #2
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It depends on your loading practices. If you only load large batches from time to time, then readjusting the die may be of no consequence to your time. If you run one right after the other and with greater frequency, you may prefer to keep a separate die so you can switch it out quickly.

More commonly you find people who load both .38 Special and .357 Magnum or both .44 Special and .44 Magnum who are having to make that same choice, because the die sets for those pairs are the same. I have acquired separate die sets over time, but since my volume of revolver ammo was never nearly as large has my volume of other cartridges, I can't say I really needed them. It was just a matter of running into sale opportunities at gun shows. You may want to take that same opportunistic approach if you are in no hurry.
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Old December 10, 2012, 12:58 PM   #3
F. Guffey
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Denny, RCBS made 38 Special dies, they also made 357 Magnum dies (two different sets) they also made 44 Special dies and 44 Magnum dies ( two different sets), Reloaders had a bad habit, they secured the lock ring to the die, those that secured the die to the press with the lock ring used the 38 Special die to load both 357 and 38 special, same for the 44 Special, those with 44 Special dies loaded 44 Remington Magnum. Later, RCBS furnished a spacer for reloaders that could not loosen the locking nut, still, those that did not secure the lock ring to the die adjusted their dies to or off the shell holder when sizing and seating.

(Spacer for dies, goes back to the 70s)

Purchasing individual dies: Purchasing die separately is not economical, call RCBS 1 800 533 5000 to order a special order catalog.

or scroll to page 2

http://www.rcbs.com/downloads/2010_SpecialOrder.pdf


http://outdoorwriters.atk.com/resour...CBSCatalog.pdf

Page 48 list group A dies, full length sizer die is listed at about $35.00, the seating die for the same set is listed for about $30.00, The complete set of dies is listed for $42.95.

F. Guffey

Last edited by F. Guffey; December 10, 2012 at 01:00 PM. Reason: change an o to an i
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Old December 10, 2012, 01:21 PM   #4
rajbcpa
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If you are using a SS press, then it make sence to economize on dies since you wil need to adjust them every time you preform a different step. If you are using a progressive press, you probably want to adjust the dies once and leave them, so trying to save a few bucks is not worth it.

In .380 amd other small case ammo, I would avoid Hornady dies. Unfortuately, I have crushed a few cases in my day and the one constant is that these usually happen with Hornady sizing dies. I think their tapper used to direct the case in to the die is extreme and this causes issues, at least for me.
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Old December 10, 2012, 01:28 PM   #5
Nathan
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You will find desperate die sets will save you stress! Buying Hornady die sets will give you bullets, which makes the dies about free.

Pretty good deal to me!
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Old December 10, 2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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I'd first of all recommend the powder through expander from powderfunnels.com, and then get the PTX quick change linkage from Midway:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/959...pander-linkage

You can then save a station on your press, and get a separate linkage for each caliber, and keep it with those dies - no need to adjust for expansion for each caliber.

You can then use a single resizing die for 9mm & .380, and then either use a single seating/crimp die for both calibers, and adjust it each time, or get a die for each caliber, set and forget the dies for each caliber.

After researching and doing the math, I ended up getting the powderfunnels.com PTX, a linkage for each caliber, and a die set for each caliber, using the Hornady New Dimension dies.

My rationale was as follows: If you buy 2 dies separately, it was more than the 3 - die set. My Lee dies were too short to adjust well in the LNL AP. The Hornady seating / taper crimp die saved a station so I could add a bullet feeder later, and use a powder check die at the same time. I like the alignment sleeve in their seating/crimp die - good especially if you get a bullet feeder later.

I personally want to set each set of dies up one time per caliber, use a separate powder metering insert per caliber, and PTX linkage per caliber, that way caliber changes are nearly automatic.

I also invested in a second powder measure and case activated linkage for rifle, so I wouldn't have to change out the rotor drum when switching to rifle.

In the long run, it did cost more, but to me the efficiency and exactness of changeovers is key.
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Old December 10, 2012, 01:49 PM   #7
schmellba99
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Quote:
You can then use a single resizing die for 9mm & .380
A .380 is a straight walled case.

A 9mm is a tapered wall case.

Using the same sizing die means that one of them is out of spec from the second you start reloading. You can use the same seating and crimping die for either one on both calibers.

I recommend getting a separate set of dies for each caliber, at least at some point. I started off using the same set of dies for .38 and .357, which meant I had to set them up each time I switched from one caliber to the other. Not a huge deal, just got to be aggravating. So long as you are careful and ensure you are within spec, it's perfectly fine. Just not my personal preference.
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Old December 10, 2012, 02:04 PM   #8
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Thanks for correcting my error. I hadn't researched 380/9mm like I had 10mm/.40 and .44 special/.44 magnum.
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Old December 10, 2012, 02:31 PM   #9
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It's actually a common misconception, even among life long shooters that a .380 is a "9mm short". Not the case. Now a 9mm Kurtz/Makarov is actually a 9mm short, but that is the only one that I'm aware of.

You may, if the manufacturer of the dies has them designed that way, be able to use .38 Super and .380 on the same die set, but I cannot state with any veracity if any manufacturer makes dies that will do both, or if the two rounds have enough common dimensions to even allow it.
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Old December 10, 2012, 03:12 PM   #10
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From the OP, I thought this was just about the seating die. For sizing, you will not quite get a match. The .380 is not only straight, but it's maximum OD is about 7 thousandths smaller than that of the 9 mm Parabellum using SAAMI standards. This means that unless a .380 case has full maximum wall thickness, a carbide 9 mm sizing die cannot be certain to make it small enough to grip the bullets. A steel 9mm die almost certainly won't do it as a steel 9 mm die preserves the 9 mm case taper, where the carbide dies just size them straight. You see complaints about the bullet base bulge as a result.

A .380 carbide die will size a 9 mm case more than necessary, wearing the brass out sooner, but it will probably work for a few cycles, especially if you lube the brass. I once ran a piece of .45 ACP brass into a .44 Special/Magnum sizing die by mistake. It slid right in, but didn't come out looking very promising. I should probably find that case and flare the mouth back out and stick a .45 bullet into it to serve as a reminder.
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Old December 10, 2012, 04:23 PM   #11
F. Guffey
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"In .380 and other small case ammo, I would avoid Hornady dies. Unfortunately, I have crushed a few cases in my day and the one constant is that these usually happen with Hornady sizing dies. I think their tapper used to direct the case in to the die is extreme and this causes issues, at least for me"




Rajbcpa, I have had days like that, I found the problem had more to do with the shell holder than the die, my favorite shell holder, by brand, does not fit, or I should say my favorite shell holders fit like my shirts in the very old days, my shirts fit anywhere they touched.

The better shell holders fit, that leaves me with no room for sizing options, the good shell holders are press specific, then there are fired cases that will not fit a good fitting shell holder, and never is the question asked “Yesterday the case fit my shell holder, today, after firing the case will not go into the shell holder, WHY?”

The only die that contacts the case is the full length sizer die, the seating die does not contact the case until the mouth of the case contacts the crimp portion of the of the die.

F. Guffey

Last edited by F. Guffey; December 10, 2012 at 04:23 PM. Reason: add two "
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Old December 10, 2012, 07:42 PM   #12
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A steel 9mm die almost certainly won't do it as a steel 9 mm die preserves the 9 mm case taper, where the carbide dies just size them straight. You see complaints about the bullet base bulge as a result.

After reloading 9mm for over 30 years I now understand why the bulge.
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Old December 10, 2012, 08:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
The only die that contacts the case is the full length sizer die, the seating die does not contact the case until the mouth of the case contacts the crimp portion of the of the die.
The exception to this would be a Factory Crimp Die (handgun variety) when lead bullets. In my experience I have found that due to the loose tolerances Lee uses in the manufacture of FCDs you can easily end up with a tight one that contacts the case body quite regularly.

Certainly one could load 1000s of rounds with a normal to loose FCD never touching a single case body (loading .38 Special or .357 Mag using your own cases for example). On the other hand, when using a tighter FCD to reload semiauto calibers with some brands of cases you might find that the post sizing ring touches every case. Range brass that has been bulged slightly can also cause this.

In my case, my .45ACP FCD is somewhere between .0005"-.001" on the tight side. When using Win, FC and PMC cases this FCD post sizes every single case. If you pull the bullets you see a tiny ledge where the case swaged the bullet. With RP cases, it sizes none (yet another example of RP cases being thinner than any other major brand). This little bit of post sizing is completely harmless in my instance and has no effect on accuracy (sub 2" five shot groups at 25 yards). My .380 FCD sizes 5%-10% of the cases that pass through it as well. 9mm, not quite as much (unless I get a batch of Glocked cases)

I am not trying to create a pro/con FCD debate, I was just making a small clarification. If you do not use an FCD- or bulgebuster-type die then of course F. Guffey is correct as usual, only the FL sizer die touches the case body.

Last edited by tkglazie; December 10, 2012 at 09:05 PM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 09:58 AM   #14
F. Guffey
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“The exception to this would be a Factory Crimp Die (handgun variety) when lead bullets. In my experience I have found that due to the loose tolerances Lee uses in the manufacture of FCDs you can easily end up with a tight one that contacts the case body quite regularly”

I refer to those cases as “Cases that have taken on the appearance of having swallowed a bullet”

I purchased a Carbide 44 Special/44 Remington Mag die set at the Dallas Market Hall Gun SHOW for $5.00, the dealer’s rational was “THAT UGLY, #5.00!” nothing wrong with the dies, no one had used pliers or pipe wrenches on them, the dies had fallen victim to ‘GREASE WORMS’ all the grease and and or lube was gone, in the absence of grease/lube the dies rusted (caught fire). For me? Not a problem, but, my friend ask me to plug the dies then allow him to sand blast them, again, the only part of the three dies that makes contact with the case is the carbide ring and the crimp portion of the seating die. Before he can sand blast I have to work on his sand blast system. The effect rust had on the dies does not bother me.

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Old December 11, 2012, 10:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
It's actually a common misconception, even among life long shooters that a .380 is a "9mm short". Not the case. Now a 9mm Kurtz/Makarov is actually a 9mm short, but that is the only one that I'm aware of.
Almost worthless trivia post of the day. The 9 x 18 Makarov has a neck which is .010 larger and bullets are .008 larger than on a 9 x 19 Parabellum which was derived from the old 7.65x21 Parabellum cartridge. The Makarov is a Russian/Czech cartridge based on the 9 x 18 Ultra cartridge. Be careful if you ever buy a old Walther PPP at a gunshow and make sure it is a .380 not a 9mm Ultra

here is a interesting chart I found on various 9mm cases

http://www.makarov.com/graphics/9mmcases.jpg

Back to the OP I have separate die sets for pistols but I use a Forster BR seating die for both my .308 and .260 keeping in mind that a .260 is just a necked down .308. Works really well for both with less than .001 runout. But that is a 70 dollar die and I keep a dummy round for each to reset it. Pistol dies are cheap enough that have 2 different sets for my .38 and .357 loading.
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Last edited by hounddawg; December 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM.
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Old December 12, 2012, 11:48 AM   #16
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Houndog,

I took a look at the CIP and SAAMI drawings and they differ a little from the drawing you found. The table below is in order of bullet diameter (except for the two different CIP and SAAMI numbers for the 9 mm Browning/.380; I did not try to go into the dozen different names for this cartridge—just those two):

Code:

9×18                9.02 mm (0.3552") CIP
9×21                9.03 mm (0.3555") CIP
9×22 MJR            9.03 mm (0.3555") CIP
9×25 Super Auto G   9.03 mm (0.3555") CIP
9 mm FAR            9.03 mm (0.3555") CIP
9 mm Luger          9.03 mm (0.3555") CIP & SAAMI
9 mm Steyr          9.03 mm (0.3555") CIP
9 mm Win. Mag.      9.03 mm (0.3555") SAAMI
9 mm Browning/.380  9.04 mm (0.3559") CIP — 9.055 mm (0.3565") SAAMI
9×23 Winchester     9.042 mm (0.3560") SAAMI
9 mm Browning long  9.09 mm (0.3579") CIP
9 mm Makarov        9.27 mm (0.3650") CIP & SAAMI

NOTE:  Unlike SAAMI, the CIP does not refer the the 9 mm Makarov (18.1 mm 
long case) as the same cartridge as their 9×18 (18.0 mm case).  That seems
to be a discrepancy in CIP and SAAMI terminology.
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Last edited by Unclenick; December 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM. Reason: added clarification
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Old December 12, 2012, 01:38 PM   #17
hounddawg
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interesting info Nick, thanks. I had a CZ in 9x18 Makarov for a while and a .355 would fall through it. One of these days I might get around to collecting some of the more unusual 9's.
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Old December 12, 2012, 03:30 PM   #18
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Interesting. When I hear "Makarov", I always immediately though of the 9x18. I never realized they were two different cases.

Kurz is German for "short", so the 9x18 (or 9mm Kurz) and 9mm Makarov are two completely different chamberings.

That is my lesson learned for the day.
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Old December 14, 2012, 12:38 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the replies. Lots of good info. I think I'll just stick to separate complete die sets.
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Old December 14, 2012, 01:22 PM   #20
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"I think I'll just stick to separate complete die sets. "

Wise decision.
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Old December 14, 2012, 07:32 PM   #21
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To clarify, what I've always heard is this:

.380, 9mm Kurz and 9 X 17mm are different labels for the same cartridge.

This cartridge is sometimes called 9mm Browning Short as well. And 9mm Corto if memory serves. It depends on which country it was loaded in.

Years ago, I owned an AMT .380 Backup, right on the gun was stamped "9mm Kurz" just after the .380.
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Old December 15, 2012, 07:12 AM   #22
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Yep. You just pick a nationality and ask their word for "short" and its gets on there. The CIP actually calls it the "9 mm Browning court", but I shortened it to fit the table.
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