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Old February 10, 2013, 12:58 PM   #1
leadchucker
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44 sp/44 mag, 38 sp/357 mag dies

I'm considering trying a hand at loading some revolver brass, particularly 44 mag and 38 sp. I would like to be able to load 44 special and magnum, and 38 special and 357 magnum. I'm looking at Lee Dies. Lee offers die sets labeled for the special rounds, and they also offer die sets for the magnum rounds.

Lee's sales literature says that the 44 sp and 38 sp die sets will also work with 44 mag and 357 mag. I guess you just have to adjust them up to allow for the longer case. Right?

The literature on the 44 mag, and 357 mag die sets make no mention of being able to also work with 44 sp or 38 sp. They must have not mentioned this for a reason. Will these dies not work with the special rounds? Couldn't you just adjust them down to compensate for the shorter case?
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Old February 10, 2013, 01:16 PM   #2
F. Guffey
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“The literature on the 44 mag, and 357 mag die sets make no mention of being able to also work with 44 sp or 38 sp. They must have not mentioned this for a reason. Will these dies not work with the special rounds? Couldn't you just adjust them down to compensate for the shorter case?”

In the big inning RCBS made 38 special die for the 38 Special sizing, seating/crimping and case expanding, then they made a 357 Magnmum set of dies, THEN! there were reloaders with two sets of dies. reloaders that adjust their dies when reloading had one set of dies, they had the 38 Special, Special dies will load both the 38 Special and the 357 Magnmum by adjusting the crimp die up a distance equal to the difference in length between the two cases, same for the expander die. Once it was discovered only one set of dies would do both, RCBS furnished a spacer equal to the difference in length between the two cases????? for those that lock the lock ring to the die, everyone else that secured the die to the press with the lock ring were not afraid of loosing their adjustment, they adjusted the die every time, then secure the die to the press.

Same O same O for the 44 Special and 44 Remington Mag, they added a washer, something like Skip’s shims, to add a shim the die must be removed, I adjust my die, after adjusting the die I secure the die to the press, there is nothing about me that is afraid of loosing my setting.

Then you can add the 10MM.

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Old February 10, 2013, 01:19 PM   #3
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Dillon does them both and smooth as silk... Just sayin.

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Old February 10, 2013, 01:24 PM   #4
F. Guffey
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Forgot, I set up at the Dallas Market Hall Gun show a few weeks ago, I sold 44 Special, 44 Remington die sets for $15.00 each, same for the 38 Special and 357 magnum sets, the dies were made before the washer.

The 44 Remington Magnum seater can not be adjusted down far enough to crimp 44 Special cases, same with the 357 Magnum, the crimp die for the magnum case can not be adjusted down far enough to crimp the 38 Special.

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Old February 10, 2013, 02:15 PM   #5
oldpapps
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Two ways to look at it.
Both (.357 and .44 Mag) are just longer versions of the original size (.38 Spec and .44 Spec). So sizing and depriming is the same, long cased or short. Seating and crimping is in contention. Die for short cases and screw the die out for the long cases. Die for the long case and crimping the short cases may not work. (But do you crime .38s? I never did.) I've never messed with the shorter .44 Spec cases but if I did, the loads would be light and a crimp not needed.
To be honest, I don't crimp anything. Just iron out the bell.

Be safe,

OSOK

PS, Belling the brass will need some adjustment too.
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Old February 10, 2013, 02:25 PM   #6
lee n. field
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Quote:
Lee's sales literature says that the 44 sp and 38 sp die sets will also work with 44 mag and 357 mag. I guess you just have to adjust them up to allow for the longer case. Right?
Correct. Get the .38 Special, and the .44 Special die sets. You will be able to adjust to load magnum cartridges.

What you run into going the other way, is possibly not being able to adjust to bell and crimp properly, and those parts of the die are too high.
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Old February 10, 2013, 02:37 PM   #7
fishbones182
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I use the Lee 4 die set in 44spl and 38spl for loading 44mag and 357. Just have to adjust the dies up a bit.
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Old February 10, 2013, 03:06 PM   #8
m&p45acp10+1
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.38 special will load for both .38 spcl/and .357 mag. .357 Mag dies are too tall in the seating/crimping die to remove all of the cae flare for .38 spcl.

I have 2 Lee die sets. One for .38spcl/.357 mag. One is .357 Mag. The flaring die will barely open the mouth of a .38 spcl case. The seating die will seat bullets in a .38 spcl case though it will not crimp, and as I stated above will not remove all of the case flare. The Factory Crimp Die is the same for both.

A die set marked for special can be used for the magnum rounds by backing them off a couple of turns.
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Old February 10, 2013, 03:35 PM   #9
Sevens
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I'll post like a +4 on buying the "Special" versions of both, for all the reasons already stated. And FWIW, I also load all my .327 Federal Magnum with a set of Lee .32 H&R Magnum dies.
Quote:
To be honest, I don't crimp anything. Just iron out the bell.
...and this is fine in many cases, especially if the results you get work well for you, but there are definitely advantages to a firm roll crimp on both .357 and .44 Magnum rounds.
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Old February 10, 2013, 09:59 PM   #10
leadchucker
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Got it! I don't do preset adjustments on my dies, so readjusting depth for a different round is no problem for me. I'll be looking for the 38 or 44 special die sets. Thanks!
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