View Full Version : LEE .357 Magnum dies / Will they work for .38 special

March 23, 2007, 09:44 PM
The box states that it is for .357 magnum. No mention of .38 special.

What gives?

March 23, 2007, 10:03 PM
Yep, just adjust settings as you need them.

March 23, 2007, 10:22 PM
You can use Lee .357 dies for .38SPL. You cannot use Lee .38SPL dies for .357

March 23, 2007, 11:16 PM
"You can use Lee .357 dies for .38SPL. You cannot use Lee .38SPL dies for .357"

Sorry guys, it's the other way around. You can adjust the .38 dies out to load .357s, but the .357 dies will not work for .38s, that's why there's no mention of it.

March 23, 2007, 11:36 PM
"You can use Lee .357 dies for .38SPL. You cannot use Lee .38SPL dies for .357"

My RCBS die box says 357mag/38spl right on the end of the box.

I have used mine for both with no problems, if it will do 357 it'll do 38spl

March 24, 2007, 04:09 AM
The RCBS dies are different from the Lee dies.

March 24, 2007, 05:28 AM
Ordered their .38 Spl / .357 Deluxe Die Set, and both calibers are labeled on the instruction sheet that comes with the set.
You just back out the bullet seater, to attain COL that's called for.
Just ordered another Turret and die set, so we can have one all set for each.
Saves the time readjusting the dies every time you want to change.
Of course one has to change to their Magnum primer, etc. to switch.

March 24, 2007, 06:54 AM
I have a set of Lee .357 dies, the only die with both .38 and .357 marked on it is the Resize/Deprimer, this die will work on both. I know the Seater die will not work with the .38 but I believe you can screw the Expander die in enough to expand the .38 but depending on your press, you may have to take the Lock Nut off.
I had to get a set of .38/.357 dies to load .38's. Couldn't find any Lee in stock where I shopped so I got the RCBS. RCBS comes with a spacer for loading .357, I believe this is used on the both the Expander and Seater dies.

I have never loaded .357 so not sure and don't remember what the instructions call for with the spacer.

March 24, 2007, 07:35 AM
.38 Special Lee Dies will handle .357 Mag too.
.357 Mag Lee Dies will NOT do .38 Special.

In the .357s the problem is both the expander die and the bullet seating die. Neither can be turned in far enough to reach the shorter .38 Special case. The resizer die would work but that's all.

As suggested, buy the DeLuxe 4-die .38 Special set and you have both capabilities. In fact, last night I loaded up some test rounds for .357 Mag with my Lee .38 Spec. dies.

March 24, 2007, 08:43 AM
As suggested, buy the DeLuxe 4-die .38 Special set and you have both capabilities.
Yup. I don't know why Lee even makes .357 dies other than the fact they can sell you .38 dies later.

March 24, 2007, 08:47 AM
+1 Rimrod.
I have this dilemma. The guy that sold me my turret. Said the .357 dies work for both. +20 yrs. ago.
Last year, got a box of brass. From e-bay. About 1/2 .38 and .357.
Thought I could load the .38. :mad:
Ended up giving the .38 brass to a friend. He had the .38/.357 dies.:)
All good.

March 24, 2007, 02:47 PM
Lees expander dies are made with a free floating tube in them. This is for dropping the powder charge while expanding. The tube can be blocked from moving, (if you don't need to charge through it), and will enable the expander to work on the shorter .38 brass. You will still need to get a .38 seat/crimp die.

March 24, 2007, 04:53 PM
That sounds like too much work.:)
I'll stick with .357.

March 24, 2007, 07:26 PM
if the lee dies are for both it means they will work for both some thin does not sound right here.the seater crip die should be adjusted for one or the other.you cant load both at same setting.

March 24, 2007, 07:33 PM
I have Lee .38spl dies and load .357 with them. a friend tried to load .38 with Lee .357 dies and had to cut 1/8" off one of the dies, then he could do both. who can guess which die needed to be shortened? I don't remember which :confused:

March 24, 2007, 09:58 PM
Say again! I have 38/357 dies in RCBS, Lee, Lyman and CH. All work for both calibres if you adjust the die in the press. In fact a space installed when I switch cabilres even negates the resetting of the die. I do not follow the cutting!:confused:

March 24, 2007, 11:12 PM
"if the lee dies are for both it means they will work for both some thin does not sound right here."

And that is where the problem is, Lee .357 dies are not for both. Their .357 dies are for .357 mag., or longer cases, but will not go shorter. They also offer seperate dies for .44spl/.44mag, 10mm/40 etc. The dies for the shorter cases can work for the longer ones but not the other way around. If you look at the part nos in their catalogs the sizer dies are the same, but the other dies will have different part nos. The .41mag uses the same sizer as the .41AE but the other dies are different, you can load .41mag brass with .41AE dies, but not the reverse. (you will need a different shell holder in this case)

No they won't work at the same setting but all you have to do is turn the expander and seat and crimp dies out a little further for the longer cases.

I use my .32 S&W Long dies to load .32 magnums but to load .32 S&W I had to buy an RCBS seat and crimp die and use the technique above to use the Lee expander.

March 25, 2007, 12:16 AM
Lee makes 38 spl, 357 mag and 38spl/357 mag dies/die sets. The 357 mag die is too long for 38 spl, 38 spl can be adjusted to 357 mag.