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Dies for Magnums vs. Specials, which are better

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Smaug, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Smaug

    Smaug Well-Known Member

    I have had excellent experience with Lee dies.

    I need to buy a few die sets: 380 ACP, 357 Mag, 44 Mag, 38 Special, and 44 Special I remember reading elsewhere that the special dies are in fact better for magnums too, at least in the Lee product line.

    I've had both the 44 Mag and 357 mag 4 die carbide sets from Lee before, and have had mostly good experiences. But I could not get the bullet seating plug screwed in far enough to properly seat some Special rounds.

    Would the Special die sets do better for me?

    I'm mostly going to be loading all loads in magnum cases, so it shouldn't matter too much, but it would be nice to have the option.

  2. dannyabear

    dannyabear Well-Known Member

    Yes, the Lee 'special' sets will also load the magnums, but the magnum sets will not load the specials
  3. Smaug

    Smaug Well-Known Member

  4. Seafarer12

    Seafarer12 Well-Known Member

    I use a set of 38/357 delux dies to reload both. Just have to shallow seat the seating and expander dies. It is not worth buying 2 sets of dies.
  5. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    I use two sets of dies for 357/38 and 44sp/mag because it is easier for me to just swap the turret than to mess with the die adjustments. Plus I got some Lee carbide dies cheap on eBay.

    If you get the Special dies most of them will also do the Magnum brother cartridge. I've heard all you need to do is add a .1" spacer to do Magnum without readjusting. Anyway, the Lee dies are what I prefer of all of them.
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I use two sets, but they are both 44 Sp./.44 Mag dies. I have not done that with .38 Spl/.357 Mag yet, and use Redding spacers under the dies when I load .357.
  7. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Why limit yourself to loading only magnums when you can get a die set that will reload both? The spacer washer that can be used in .357/.38 and .44 spl/mag is handy and not really needed. Its used only for the expanding and the seating operation since the sizing and decapping is the same adjustment for either mag or spl cases. In general you'll have to adjust the seating crimping die anyway as you change bullets.
  8. CU74

    CU74 Well-Known Member

    I use the Lee 38 Special Deluxe Pistol Die Set (#90964) for both .38 and .357 and have had no problems. I adjust the dies every time I change calibers and/or bullets.

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