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Which Die set?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Godsgunman, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Godsgunman

    Godsgunman Active Member

    Feb 14, 2012
    Olathe, KS
    I just received my Lee Turret press today and needing to decide on the die set I want. I will mainly be reloading .357 mags and some 9mm. My question/debate is whether to get a .38 spl die set which says it also works for .357 or just get a .357 set. Do the .38 spl dies work well enough even though the cases are different lengths? Or should I just do the .357 die set and I can just set my loads from light to heavy as I choose? Thanks for your advice.
  2. ATLDave

    ATLDave Senior Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    I don't know that Lee makes a dedicated .38 set.

    EDITED: OK, I guess what I did not know was that Lee makes a dedicated .357 set. I've got the .38/.357 set, and it loads both rounds fine, all the way down to wadcutters.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    Get the .38 Spl die set.
    It isn't "working well enough" either.

    All you have to do is make a simple die adjustment on the bell & the seating dies for the 1/8" difference in case lengths. The sizing die never needs to move between the two.

    The seat/crimp & belling dies in a .357 specific die set is generally too long to load .38 Spl.

    Most companies dies are made to load either now days though.

  4. izhevsk

    izhevsk New Member

    Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  5. noylj

    noylj Participating Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    You can reload .357 Mag with .38 Spl dies, but you may not be able to reload .38 Spl with a .357 Mag die set--you can always turn dies up, but you can't turn them down past the shell holder.
    I don't shoot .38 Spl cases in my .357 Mags, so if I ONLY had a .357, I would buy .375 dies. I also have always separated seating from crimping, so I would get the Lee 3-die set and a Redding Profile Crimp die for roll crimping.
  6. JSmith

    JSmith Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    I have the Lee Classic turret press, and I use the .38/.357 die for both. The difference (as noted by rcmodel) is in expanding and seating. You set up the dies so they're screwed down further into the turret for .38, then back them out for .357. The die instructions tell you how to set up for .38. To load .357 you back off that setting 1/8" then adjust crimp/seating/etc. the way you want it.

    It helps to have a couple of dummy rounds made up so that the adjustment is faster to make. I've thought about getting the Lee native .357 die, but have yet to get around to it. Midway just sent me another flyer, so maybe I'll do that soon.

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