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Old March 26, 2012, 11:54 PM   #1
Join Date: February 29, 2012
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what size sizing dies do you use?

this would be for 38 spl, 45 colt, and 45 acp.

38 spl - .357 size
45 colt and 45 acp - .452

would these sizers work?
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Old March 27, 2012, 12:14 AM   #2
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I don't cast, but looking at various cast bullet manufacturers' sites, it seems like they sell .358 bullets for .38 Special (except that Missouri Bullets has .357 bullets "for match barrels").

.452 seems to be the default size for .45 ACP. For .45 Colt, I see a lot of people using .452 and .454.

That being said, I've put a lot of .357 bullets through my .38 Special with no problems.
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Old March 27, 2012, 12:22 AM   #3
Ideal Tool
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Hello, EricBella. The thing to do is to find what size YOUR particular revolver takes..using a soft lead..muzzleloading balls of slightly oversize work well..or soft fishing sinkers..tap one thru each revolver cyl. throat..I usually size to this dia. or at most .001" under..if you don't have the proper measuring tools, a good gunsmith or machinest should be able to measure them for you.
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Old March 27, 2012, 04:20 AM   #4
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Sizing dies

For my 38spl/357 mag pistol loads I use a Lee .358 sizer.For my 44's I use a .430.Remember to slug your barrel before you get your sizer you will want it to be .001 oversize for best accuracy.I have a Puma lever action rifle that has a bit of an oversized bore.It slugs out at .3585 so I don't bother to use a sizer for it I size them down the barrel most of the time.
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Old March 27, 2012, 02:17 PM   #5
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My .30-30 barrel slugs .304"/.308", so I size to .3095" (it's a .309" die, and the alloy has some spring-back).

My 7.62x54R slugs .301"/.315". Since the bullets drop at .315"-.316", I shoot them unsized.

My .380 Auto slugs .358"x.359" (don't remember what the bore was, but it doesn't matter). Right now, I have enough commercial bullets to hold me over for a while. If I were to cast for it, though, I would want a mold that dropped them at .360" or larger; and I would use a .359" sizing die. (A bullet at about .3595" is the largest I can chamber; otherwise I would go to .360".)

For my .44 Mag, I have two choices:
.429" sizer (for swaged jacketed bullets)
.430" sizer (for lead alloys)

For my .444 Marlin, I shoot certain lead bullets as-cast, and run certain swaged bullets through the .430" sizer (with spring-back, they come out at .4315"). Once my custom sizer comes in, I'll be running lead bullets through a .432" sizing die (for a .428"/.432" barrel).

Bottom line:
I try to size to .001" over bore or throat diameter. With certain alloys, I take spring-back into account (especially with larger diameter bullets, like in .44 caliber).
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
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Old March 27, 2012, 02:19 PM   #6
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I use Lee molds. I shoot .45 acp, and .38 spcl., and .41 Mag. I shoot them as cast. I inspect bullets before tumble lubing. If they are not filled out properly I put them in the remelt pile.

Oh and I have never had a leading problem in any of the three calibers I cast for.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.

Last edited by m&p45acp10+1; March 29, 2012 at 08:47 PM.
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Old March 27, 2012, 03:10 PM   #7
David Bachelder
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I have never slugged my barrel, maybe I should....... Anyway I use a LEE .358 sizer for both .357 and .38 special.
David Bachelder
Trinity, Texas
I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357Magnum, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 300 AAC, 243 and 30-06
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Old March 27, 2012, 11:33 PM   #8
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In most .38s and .357s, if you shoot a cast bullet sized to .357 you WILL get leading. Most common size for .357s in cast bullets is actually .358-.3585. For jacketed bullets, .357 is the preferred size.

When you are shooting cast bullets, remember that Fit Is King. The great majority of all leading cases come from an improperly sized bullet. I would strongly recommend you slug your barrel (and cylinder) to see what size YOUR gun needs.
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Old March 29, 2012, 08:49 PM   #9
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Leading usualy result from one of two things. Sometimes both.

1. Undersized bullet. This usualy casues gas cutting leading to a whole lot of lead in the barrel. Also not filling out the bases of bullets can lead to this as well.

2. Not enough lube. Rarely does this happen. Usualy less than 5% of the time this is the culprit.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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Old March 30, 2012, 04:58 PM   #10
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The .452 is very likely undersized for the .45 Colt. As stated above, it is usually sized at .454.
I size my 38 special bullets at .358, the same for the .35 Whelen.

For MY Mosin Nagant M44, I size to .313.

My 45-70 bullets are at .459-.460
I always felt that if I got to the point where I thought it was time to bury my firearms, it was actually time to pick them up..
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Old March 31, 2012, 02:50 AM   #11
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In general unless we`re talking milsurp .001-.002" over suffices for most calibers .

But , I have a Reminton 700 BDL I bought used from a farmer shot 8 times by him & 245 by me & it`ll swallow a Lyman 314299 ( 200+ gr rn that`s .314") & groups it beautifully .
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Old March 31, 2012, 04:34 PM   #12
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I size to 358 for my 357Smith 686 using BAC lube. My cylinders are 358 and I haven’t had any leading yet in 38spl. I was going to open the die to 359 but found the 358 is ok at these velocities. Maybe 357mag will be different.
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Old March 31, 2012, 04:54 PM   #13
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One advantage of casting your own boolets is the ability to size them to fit your gun/s. If you're going to the trouble of casting, then why not slug your barrel/s and size accordingly?
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