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Lee 38 special dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by dab102999, Apr 30, 2013.

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  1. dab102999

    dab102999 Member

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    I was given a set of Lee 38 special dies. These are NOT the 357/38 special dies...but my question is can these be used for 357 or is their not enough adjustment in them to make them work for that??. I don't have a 357 but have been put in charge of watchin one for my brother for a while and have accumulated a bit of brass for it and would like to reload for it if I can use those dies.

    Thanks,
    Doug
     
  2. DM.Logan

    DM.Logan Member

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    I think It should work. Normally 38spl dies work on 357 it's the 357 that won't work for 38 because of its height. Should be able to back out the die enough. It's not
    Marked 38:357 on the die?
     
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    They should work for .38. If they are .357 only dies the only thing you won't be able to do is crimp. You can buy a $12 crimp die.
     
  4. Mike 27

    Mike 27 Member

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    I believe mine are the same and I load .357 all the time. Go on their site and look at the parts break down of your die and the parts for the .357. If I am not mistaken they are the same. Mine are several years old so without model numbers I couldn't be positive and I can't get to mine today to check the numbers. I just looked at the parts breakdown on the lee website to verify.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, they should work fine.

    It is a simple die adjustment (back out seating/crimp die .135" for .357)

    rc
     
  6. dab102999

    dab102999 Member

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    Thanks RC...I thought they might work...

    Walkalong you got the right concept but backwards...the dies I have are for 38...lol
     
  7. bigdaa

    bigdaa member

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    Your concern would center around the ability to full length size the longer 357 shell.

    Really, the only way to determine if it will is to try one in it.

    Bringing the die down to an unoccupied shell holder, insure that it is locked and place a lubed 357 case in the shell holder. Bring the ram up slowly and in the last .150 of the stroke feel for increased resistance. If the stroke is complete, back out the shell, wipe it off, inspect it and measure it with a vernier caliper to insure a consistent body diameter.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Agh, thought you were unsure which they were. :)
     
  9. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    The question arises because Lee makes both a set of .38 special dies, and a set marked .38/.357. I have the latter and have only tried .38 so far. I did remove the sizing ring from the FCD however.
     
  10. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    What did you use to remove it from the 38 die?
     
  11. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Yes they will load .357's just as well as any dedicated .357 die set. I have never seen a 38 spl. die set that wouldn't work for .357's. The die set I currently use for .357 mag is a lyman set which is stamped 38 .357 mag/max. I use a set of Lee dies for 38 spcl, but have used them to load .357's. The only difference in the Lee .357 and 38 die set is the length (internal) of the crimp shoulder. The other dies in the set (sizer, expander, FCD) are the same die as in the .38 set with the only difference being the stamping on it.
     
  12. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    I use a punch and break the darn things when I take them out. I've read of others using a cartridge case to remove them undamaged so they can reinstall them, but I have no need for them in my revolvers so I just break them with a punch.
     
  13. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    I removed the crimp knob/guts from the top of the die, and inserted an empty .38 case through the top, rim up. push/drive it down until the rim catches on the sizing ring, then with a suitable punch, drive it out the bottom, taking the sizing ring with it.
     
  14. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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  15. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    RCBS includes a washer the appropriate thickness for doing 357. The hardware store can sell you one to do the same job
     
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  17. dab102999

    dab102999 Member

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