Loading 357 in 38 dies


September 17, 2011, 08:04 PM
I use a Lee Turret Loader with Lee dies.
Does anyone here load .357 using their .38 dies?

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September 17, 2011, 08:32 PM
Probably almost everyone.
It is just a simple .135" die adjustment on the belling and seating dies.
The sizing die remains unchanged.

You can load .357 in .38 dies, but you can't load 38 in some older .357 dies because they are too long to adjust down to .38 Spl length.

The same applies to .44 Spl & .44 Magnum (.125"), and all the .32 S&W/.32 H&R Magnum/.327 Hornady Magnum cartridges.


September 17, 2011, 08:54 PM
I used to use the Redding spacer to use my dies set up for .38 Spl to load .357. That way I did not have to re-adjust my dies.

Single .135 Spacer (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=312274) for .38 Spl/.357 mag

Single .125 Space (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=181564)r for .44 Spl/.44 Mag

Single .062 (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=163538) no crimp/partial sizing spacer

Redding spacer set (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=189290)

These days I use these dies (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=149383&stc=1&d=1316307387) for .38 Spl and .357 Mag. I use the sizer for both, with separate expanders. I use the same seater for both. I use the thin spacers for adjusting the amount of crimp. The crimpers are set for medium or heavy, and I use the spacers for anything lighter.

September 17, 2011, 09:01 PM
The only dies I have experience with is RCBS which are labeled 38/357. The only issue I could see running into with with .357 in a truly 38 specific die is not being able to run it far enough down to size it's full length without crunching the mouth.

September 17, 2011, 09:08 PM
All the .38 dies I know about since I started loading in 1962 work just fine for sizing & loading .357.

I have 1970 vintage RCBS .38 Spl & .44 Spl dies, and I for sure load .357 Mag & .44 Mag with them.

The problem with older dies was, the .357 & .44 Mag seating & crimp dies were too long to adjust down far enough for the shorter Spl cases.


evan price
September 17, 2011, 09:12 PM
Some 357 dies won't seat/crimp 38 spl correctly, however Lee's 38/357 dies do both 38spl & 357 mag...the 357 mag dies do 357 mag and 357 maximum.

September 17, 2011, 10:28 PM
I've been using RCBS dies for years. Their 38/357 dies come with a spacer that can be used once the dies are set for 38 to then load 357.

September 18, 2011, 12:21 AM
As Evan stated, the Lee die sets for 38 Special easily process both 38 Special and 357 Magnum (what i've used for several years). I will dedicate my Lee 357 Magnum dies for loading 357 Remington Maximum for my T/C Encore rifle. I purchased a tapered bullet seating plug for loading the Hornady 180 gr SSP bullet in that caliber.

September 18, 2011, 01:27 AM
I have and use the Lee 38/357 dies a long time. I also bought a second set and turret so I don't need to adjust anything. Be careful though, Lee has a 38/357 die set and a dedicated .357 Magnum die set. As said above, you can load 357 ammo in a 38 die set but usually not 38's in 357 dies.

From the Lee Site:
Note: you may use the 38 Special die set to reload for the 357 Mag. You would have to back out the Powder Thru Expander Die, and the Bullet Seating and Crimping Die about 2 turns to compensate for the longer 357 case.

September 18, 2011, 03:48 PM
There are .357 only die sets, and are marketed as such, but the majority of die sets are marked .38 Spl/.357, or are at least advertised as such, since they will load both. All the die makers sell such a set.

September 18, 2011, 06:25 PM
For me, the Lee carbide dies are so inexpensive, I just bought a set for each....problem solved. I just used a black permanent marker to tell them apart.

Knowing myself, if I tried to use one for both, I'd screw it up!:o

September 18, 2011, 08:09 PM
Thanks to all for the advice.

September 18, 2011, 08:15 PM
I used to use my Lee .38/357 dies for both, but since i started using a progressive press for pistol calibers i bought a Lyman 4 die set that is stamped .38 spcl 357 mag 357 max. and i now use those for .357's.

September 18, 2011, 09:28 PM
I use the deluxe die set from Lee. The .38 Spcl dies will work on the .357 Mag but not the other way around. Seating die and expander die need to be adjusted for the .357.

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