C&H 38 Special Dies


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Taildragger-J3
September 14, 2009, 01:41 PM
I just bought these dies from "the bay". I had heard / read good things about C&H dies, so I bought them. As far as I know this is all I"m getting. I had thought that straight case dies (like 38 Special) had 3 dies, one for sizing, one for decaping and expanding and one for seating. Does anyone know if the die with the decapping pin does both resizing & decaping in one stroke? Do I need to expand the mouth before setting & crimping the bullet?

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rcmodel
September 14, 2009, 02:22 PM
You are missing a die there of some sort.
Looks to be the sizing die missing on that old CH set.

All straight-wall calibers require three dies.
Either
1. Sizing
2. Depriming / expanding & belling.
3. Seating & crimping.

Or
1. Sizing & depriming.
2. Powder through expanding & belling.
3. Seating & crimping.

rc

Lee Roder
September 14, 2009, 02:24 PM
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=136049625

Taildragger-J3
September 14, 2009, 02:49 PM
I've been reloading my 38s with a Lee Loader. It makes fine ammo, but is a hassle banging on the cases for resizing. I've got the little expander from the loader, so if the die with the decapper in it is a sizing die I can make do with the that expander. I wonder if C&H would sell me just the missing die. HMMM . . .

rcmodel
September 14, 2009, 03:31 PM
C&H won't, because they went out of business years ago.

CH4D is the new company.
Here is a price list.
http://www.ch4d.com/catalog/?p=36

.38 Spl is a Group B die set.

rc

Lee Roder
September 14, 2009, 03:32 PM
I think you probably could get a replacement die, see http://www.ch4d.com/, but it may be cheaper to keep your eye on ebay or gb.

Or you could use another brand expander die. You might actually find it beneficial if you are seating cast.

Starting from a Lee 3-die set, I've currently 4 dies in my turret, all different brands, just to build a plain vanilla caliber like my 38spl.

:D

rcmodel
September 14, 2009, 03:38 PM
Pretty sure he needs a sizer die.
Might as well get a carbide one of some brand nowdays.

rc

Taildragger-J3
September 14, 2009, 03:39 PM
Thanks rcmodel. I had been to the CH4D site but had not found that page!!

Lee Roder, I'm loading both JHP and cast lead. I'll look around and see what I can find for an expander.

I guess I should have paid more attention before I bid. I've bought some from GB and should have looked there first.

Thanks guys!!

BTW rcmodel, do you fly R/C too? I've been fooling with those things for way too many years to admit.

Walkalong
September 14, 2009, 03:48 PM
Looks like he has a sizer/decapper & seater, but needs an expander. As posted, any brand will work. By the time he buys an expander (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=220495), and buys a carbide sizer (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=630528), which is worth it, he could just buy a Lee carbide die set (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=418312).

Of course, if it is the expander he needs, and his sizer is steel and he doesn't mind lubing cases, he could get by with a $10 expander.

rcmodel
September 14, 2009, 03:48 PM
I still think you are missing the Sizing die.
The two dies in the picture you posted both have threaded rods in them.

Pretty sure the one on the left is a seater die and the one on the right is the decapping / expander die.

Only the sizer die would not have a threaded rod in it.

That's the way C&H dies sets came for all but a few bottle-neck pistol caliber two die sets.

rc

Walkalong
September 14, 2009, 03:51 PM
Agh. Well I guess the old C&H dies differ from most today. Yep, buy a Lee sizer and go at it.

Taildragger-J3
September 14, 2009, 04:03 PM
OK, over on the CH4D site, the "Group B" dies include a "Full-Length Sizing Die" an "Expander Die" and a "Seating Die" but it doesn't say which does the decapping. Obviously the one pictured on the right is for decapping. I thought maybe the sizing die would do the decapping, but y'all are saying that the decapping is done during the expanding cycle. HMMM . . .

OK, so I can get a sizer die (carbide preferred) or just cut my losses and get a whole other set. (There are several over on GB)

Just looked and the Lee Carbide sizer die over on Midway SEEMS to show the decapper inside it!!!

rcmodel
September 14, 2009, 04:11 PM
From the gunbroker add Lee Roder linked in post #3.

http://pics.gunbroker.com/GB/136049000/136049625/pix717832671.jpg

Top die = Expander / Decapper.
Middle die = Sizer.
Bottom die = Seater / Crimper.

Course, I could be wrong.
Who knows if the eBay guy just screwed the center stem out of the missing die in the sizer die or something?

rc

Taildragger-J3
September 14, 2009, 04:14 PM
I saw that pic but wasn't sure which die was which. Thanks for the clarification.

fecmech
September 14, 2009, 08:01 PM
I think someone may have sold you the dies from a CH Auto Champ progressive loader. The expander was under the powder measure and the powder dropped through it. I can't tell for sure by the picture but I think I see the carbide ring in the die with the decapping pin.

Taildragger-J3
September 14, 2009, 08:35 PM
According to the listing these are:

C & H 38 SPECIAL SIZER AND CRIMP SEAT DIE SET

I HOPE femech is right!

fecmech
September 15, 2009, 02:50 PM
Taildragger--I have 2 different CH carbide dies in .38-357 and one in .45 Auto. In the .38 the dies are marked 38-.357 Tung sizer or 38-.357 TC sizer. The .45 is listed as .45 TC sizer. I have CH Auto Champ progressive presses so I have press specific dies for expanding. Hope this helps.

jr_roosa
September 15, 2009, 03:07 PM
I have the same dies. The one is a carbide sizer with a decapper. The other is either an expander or seat/crimp.

In my set all three have a rod in them. The sizer decapper and the expander rod is exactly the same but one has a pin and the other doesnt.

J.

Taildragger-J3
September 15, 2009, 03:15 PM
OK, since the die in this picture APPEARS to have a decapping pin on the rod, MAYBE it is the sizer after all.

Maybe I can use the expander from my old .38 Special Lee Loader instead of having to buy another die for expanding IF the rod in this die doesn't do the expanding on the way out of the die.

I'm REALLY ready for them to get here so I can see for myself what I have!!!

rcmodel
September 15, 2009, 04:06 PM
There is no way possible you can resize & expand in the same die at the same time.

The sizing die brings the case down undersize.

Then the expander opens it back up & bells it in another operation.

If you could expand & bell it while in the sizing die, which you can't, it would get sized undersize again on the way back out.

rc

mallc
September 15, 2009, 04:37 PM
I have a set of CH in 9mm. Really nice tooling! Station one decaps and sizes. Station 2 flares. Station 3 seats and crimps. All three have adjustment screws.

Hope this helps.

Scott

Taildragger-J3
September 15, 2009, 04:56 PM
I REALLY appreciate all y'all have done to try and help me make sense out of these dies I've still not put my hands on. RC, what you said makes the most sense (likewise mallc) I just don't understand why the expander die (if that's actually the one missing) is missing. OH WELL. Maybe it will make sense some day.

Y'all are really a great bunch of guys.

Jim Watson
September 15, 2009, 05:29 PM
.There is no way possible you can resize & expand in the same die at the same time.

The sizing die brings the case down undersize.

Then the expander opens it back up & bells it in another operation.

If you could expand & bell it while in the sizing die, which you can't, it would get sized undersize again on the way back out.

Actually, at one time, you did just that. Expand the dickens out of the case in the sizing die and hope there was some flare left when you dragged the case back out of the die. I have old books showing the three die set to be as big an innovation as the four die set when they came along. The RCBS listing in the 1956 Stoeger at hand makes a big thing out of the advantages of the three die set over two.

Taildragger-J3
September 17, 2009, 12:31 PM
OK, the dies came today. The one with the decapping pin says ".38 SPL SIZER" then has an H inside a C. The other one says "38 SPL CRIMP SEAT" with the CH. I took the decapper out of the die and cleaned off a bunch of "gunk". Here's what it looks like.

What do y'all think now???

Jim Watson
September 17, 2009, 12:53 PM
What are the diameters of the bands above the knurl on what looks like the expander ball of a two-die set?

Can you show a closeup of the mouth of the die? I could not tell on the seller's picture if the ring on the bottom of the die was a carbide insert or just a mark from bumping the shellholder.

Taildragger-J3
September 17, 2009, 01:43 PM
Don't have calipers here to measure the diameter of the expander ball. When I look down inside the die without the decapper in it, the bottom 1/2" or so is polished smooth and a smaller diameter than the portion above it. When I put the insert along side the die, what appears to be the expander ball is about 1" above the bottom of the die, so it's above the smooth 1/2" sizing portion (I think)

I'm attaching a close up. The bottom of the die appears to be turned from one piece of metal. I don't see any insert.

Also, the inside was pretty dirty. What do y'all use to clean the insides of your dies (if you do).

Walkalong
September 17, 2009, 04:05 PM
Brake cleaner, bore cleaner, whatever you have handy will clean the die.

fecmech
September 17, 2009, 07:49 PM
I think you have a plain steel size die. Here is a pic of the inserts in my two CH dies, they evidently changed manufacturing designs at some point. You can clearly see the inserts.
http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll80/fecmech/DSCN1458.jpg

Taildragger-J3
September 17, 2009, 08:57 PM
Yeah, these are definitely one piece of metal. No inserts.

On a related note, what kind of lube do y'all use with steel dies? I've got some RCBS but was wondering if there's something else that's better, cheaper, less messy, or whatever.

Jim Watson
September 17, 2009, 10:23 PM
Agreed, that is a plain steel die and cases need lube.

I have used Hornady One-Shot spray lube with some success, except on heavy resizing and reforming.

Taildragger-J3
September 18, 2009, 10:59 AM
I contacted CH4D for info about these dies. Here's their reply:

It's usable. That die set is probably 50 years old. The 2 die set wasn't a good idea because the case mouth was belled in the sizer die then resized coming out of the die leaving just a very slight bell from the "spring-back" or "memory" of the brass. It worked reasonably well with jacketed bullets, not so well with lead.


I ran a couple of cases through the die last night and they resized nicely. Like CH4D said, I couldn't seat a bullet in it. I got out my old Lee Loader for .38 and opened the mouth with the little expander in it then could get a bullet started. I'm pretty sure the seating die would press it in and crimp. I guess my next purchase is an expander die. -- Just put in a bid on one.

jr_roosa
September 18, 2009, 11:54 AM
If your sizer is a carbide, it might not have a clear ring like the picture above. Mine looks like it blends in, but is carbide none the less.

It should be stamped with some mention of "carbide" if it's carbide.

-J.

Taildragger-J3
September 18, 2009, 12:03 PM
Given the estimated age per CH4D, and the lack of any markings, I doubt that these are carbide dies. Not a big deal. I don't load 1000s of rounds, and a little lubing won't slow me down that much. I'm going to check into that Hornady spray.

jr_roosa
September 18, 2009, 04:05 PM
Oh, I took a closer look at the picture...I agree. I don't see the carbide ring that mine has.

Before you invest too much in completing the set, check that they size adequately. I just posted on my old .38/.357mag CH carbide die set that was not sizing enough and expanding a little too much. I was getting loose bullets, and I'll probably replace the set with a newly manufactured one soon. Polishing down the expander a bit helped, but I don't think by enough.

-J.

Taildragger-J3
September 18, 2009, 04:19 PM
I ran 5-6 cases through the die last night and they were squeezed down pretty well. I could not get a bullet to enter the mouth, and the slipped right into the chambers in the cylinders of my .38's. These dies don't look like they've had much use, probably because of the expander issue. I think I'll hang on to them.

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