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Are my dies carbide?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Gaucho Gringo, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo Member

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    Hi all. I bought a set of Lee 38spl dies for cheap ($8.00). The seller knew nothing about them and I was wondering how to tell if they are carbide or steel. The numbers are in order of use: Lee-38-357-18, Lee-38spl-L8, Lee-38spl-18. I know nothing of Lee's numbering but it seems to me I have a mismatched set. The first and last end in 18 and the other one L8. Anyone have any info? Thanks.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Carbide dies have a "ring" of carbide in the bottom of the sizer die where the brass goes in. It is easy to see the line around where it is pressed in the die body. Steel dies have no line. You can also look into the cavity and see where the short carbide insert ends, where the steel die is smooth and straight all the way to the top.
     
  3. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    You have their set for .38 Special.

    The first & third dies, as you ordered them, are able to be used with either .38 or .357 Magnum - one is the full-length sizer & decapper; the other the bullet seating & crimping die. The second die is powder-through-dispenser die. You can use a .38 Special PTD die to load .357 Magnum cases, but not necessarily the .357 Mag PTD die to load .38s - it might not screw down far enough to properly bell the case mouth. That's my experience, at least.

    Whether it's carbide or not, I can't say. Call Lee tomorrow - they'll help you ID them correctly.

    Q
     
  4. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    The last two digits are manufacture dates, I don't think you have a mismatched set.
     
  5. Remo-99

    Remo-99 Member

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    My Lee dies number;

    LEE-38-357-D2 = carbide sizer.

    LEE-38Sp-B2 = powder charger/casemouth flarer.

    LEE-38 SPL-D2 = bullet seater.

    If that's any help, they came with my Lee press, purchased 15-20 years ago.
    Which I use for loading both 357mag & 38spl.
     
  6. Remo-99

    Remo-99 Member

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    To further add, my 40s&w Lee dies number as;

    LEE-10/40S&W-B5 as the carbide sizer.

    LEE-40S&W-C5 as the case charger/casemouth flare die.

    LEE-40 S&W-A5 as the bullet seater.

    These were purchased as a die set, back around 1995'ish.

    Also 308win,
    LEE-308 WIN-F8 as the collet sizer.
    LEE-308 WIN-E8 as the bullet seater, in that die set, purchased this year 2008(hence the 8 being the year of manufacture, I guess).
     
  7. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo Member

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    Thanks to all who answered. Looking at the bottom of the expansion\decapping die I can see where the carbide insert of darker color is. So I assume it is carbide set I have. Thanks again.
     
  8. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    Nope!
    The carbide ring will be found in the bottom of the sizer, not the expander die. it is very appearent when you see it what it is. The ring is a seperate piece and is crimped in the bottom of the die body.
     
  9. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    But the decapping die is the sizing die. I think he just got the name wrong.
     
  10. Remo-99

    Remo-99 Member

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    Yeah, like Sport45 mentioned, Gaucho Gringo may have just mis-typed, as he also called it the decapper die, as well.
     
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