Which Dillon die for .38 AND .357?


May 22, 2003, 11:30 AM
I've decided to take the plunge, get into reloading pistol calibers, and order a Square Deal B. The first set up I want to have is for .38 and .357. Dillon's website doesn't indicate that both can be loaded on one die set, though I expect that's the case. So does it matter which one I order, the .38 or the .357? Will either one of them be 'ambidextrous' in allowing me to load both rounds, or would one of them be incompatible with the other? A bonehead question, when I look at it, but I just wanna be sure. thanks--

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May 22, 2003, 11:39 AM
I think that my dillon dies say 38/357 on them. If you are worried then order the 357 but they are the same.

May 22, 2003, 12:06 PM
Great--thanks for your first-hand testimony, Jeeper.

Jim Watson
May 22, 2003, 12:12 PM

With caliber specific dies, you can load Magnums with Special dies but not vice versa, the crimp shoulder is too high in the Magnum die to reach the Special casemouth. I got into that with .44 Mag RCBS dies. The expander plug was too long, too.

Dillon shows different stock numbers for .38 and .357 SDBs, but the same stock number for caliber conversion kits. Huh? I suspect the parts are the same, the only difference being how they are adjusted at the factory. But I don't know for sure.

The BEST thing to do is to call Dillon and ASK THEM. They will tell you what to get to handle both.

May 22, 2003, 02:33 PM

All my dual purpose dies say both numbers on them. My 40 dies say 10mm/40sw. My 44 dies say 44spec/44mag. My 357 dies say 38/357. I dont know which dies you are talking about. You did hit the difference on the head with the SDB. They are factory adjusted. That is why the parts are different. I checked all my dillon dies and they say both 38 and 357 on each die.

Jim Watson
May 22, 2003, 03:06 PM
Ok, Jeeper.
It has been a long time since I bought a loading die - except for what came in my S1050. Glad they are offering some versatility. When I started about 30 years ago, RCBS was the leader and it appeared that they meant to offer the minimum in flexibility to sell the maximum number of dies and accessories. I made the mistake of buying .44 Magnum dies which would NOT handle Specials. All I could find was still another Magnum seating die, so my neighbor the gunsmith turned .140" off the bottom of the seater, cut the decapping pin off the expander plug, and found me a decapping rod for the sizing die. I later had the seater cut off again to load Russians.

Just by luck I had bought .38 Special dies because I was shooting PPC and knew I needed .38 wadcutters.

May 23, 2003, 10:50 AM
I load .38 and .357 on my SDB using the same dies, it's a matter of adjustment.

May 23, 2003, 11:48 AM
Thanks, Ron--that's what I expected, but it's nice to have it confirmed.

May 23, 2003, 10:42 PM
Same here. I load 38's and .357'd with the same Dillon dies.

The Square Deal dies are a different threads size and work only for the Square Deal press. The other Dillon dies are the standard 7/8 -14 threads and will work on any press.

Thus the difference in stock numbers.

May 24, 2003, 02:14 AM
Um, with a progessive press you really need to set up two sets at different lengths. They're set up to load the difference in length. Mind you, I stopped using .38 cases for ISU and use .357 cases loaded to .38 specs with no problem.

May 24, 2003, 07:51 AM
I know that can be done--loading .357s at or near .38 levels. I want to have the capability to do both, however, since I shoot IDPA, and the shorter .38 cases eject with fewer hang-ups for speedloading. If it weren't for that, I'd simplify to just one brass type, as you've done.

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