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Multi Die Sets For The Same Caliber

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by red rick, Jun 18, 2018.

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  1. red rick

    red rick Member

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    Kind of new to reloading and have not shot much the last year because of rotator cuff surgery . I am feeling almost a 100 percent now and ready for some shooting again .

    I have a lot of .38 plated bullets and lead bullets . The part that I dislike , or should I say the part that takes me the longest is adjusting my dies . I use a turret press and have my .38 dies set for the plated bullets . I just loaded some last week and it was such a breeze because they were already adjusted from a previous loading over a year ago .

    I want to load some lead bullets now and I was thinking about just buying another set of dies just for those bullets , because it was such a breeze not having to adjust the dies every time .

    Now my question to y'all , would you buy another set of dies or change them every time I reload because I need the practice setting them up and the more practice the better .
     
  2. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    I would make a dummy round for each of the bullets, and use that to adjust a single set of dies each time.
     
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  3. murf

    murf Member

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    can't you just buy another seating die and do the dummy round thing suggested by badkarmamib?

    luck,

    murf
     
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  4. GE-Mini-Gun

    GE-Mini-Gun Member

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    I have a Dillon 650 with (3) different toolheads in 45 ACP...(1) is set for 200 lead SWC, (1) 230 FMJ and last one for 185 FMJ. Have a similar set up for 9mm, 40, 38/357 and 300 BO. The really nice thing about it, I can run a couple boxes of 230 FMJ and swap out the tool head an run 200 SWC in about 2 minutes.
     
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  5. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I use a taper crimp die for plated bullets .
     
  6. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Dies are very cheap, per round, so I never hesitate to buy new dies when I add a load or new rifle/handgun. For rounds I load on my progressives, I get a complete “load ready” toolhead, such I don’t even have to adjust my powder measure. For turret press loads, same - complete tool head with no adjustment required. For single stage/precision loads, I just get another seater, or more often, another seater cap, since I most often use chamber type LE Wilson dies.

    I keep my “established load” dies and turret heads ready to rock. If I’m dabbling in new stuff, I’ll buy another set until I get settled in, if I change completely and replace the old load, I convert the toolhead to the new gear. If I’m adding a load to my stable, it’s a new set.

    It’s easy to go back to an old load simply using a dummy round, but it still takes time and still introduces the opportunity for variability.
     
  7. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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  8. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    In this case (38 spl) the things I see possibly being different are seating depth, crimp, and powder charge.

    If you use a Lee Auto-Drum powder measure, you can simply swap out the drums (each preset for a particular powder and charge). Other measures, such as the RCBS, have optional quick-change rotors and inserts that do the same thing.

    As far as seating depth, either buy another seating die, with a locking collar (or another turret) so it can be swapped out quickly.

    Crimp depends on the bullets and possibly the dies used. If the bullet has an actual crimping groove (not just a cannelure) then the crimp can occur during seating. Any other bullet type, I much prefer crimping in a separate step.

    While you could change out the dies easily if you are using locking collars, it would be much easier to have individual turrets for the different loads, with dies already installed/adjusted in each turret. The Lee turrets are very inexpensive.
     
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  9. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I am not opposed to buying dies or turrets , but am I hurting my learning and skill progression doing this by not setting up the dies each time I reload , even with the same bullets .
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't like to re-adjust dies, kind of OCD about having them exactly the same each time. That is one reason I like a micrometer top seater in calibers I use different bullets in, just dial back to it. For crimp dies I adjust them for the most crimp I will use and use spacers under them for a lessor crimp, marking which one in the log book. I have a few separate expanders for when the regular one, set for plated/jacketed, won't work for lead. Many times they will though.
     
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  11. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    For pistol ammo. . . I just dial it in per my notes. It's a pistol after all; 1 MOA variation on target will never be noticed.

    For rifle ammo. . . dedicated FL sizers per chamber, and a micrometer seater per caliber (not cartridge). An extra 1 MOA variation on target is reason to by a barrel or sell the gun.
     
  12. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    I have several multiple cartridge dies set .... Some of them have been set for forty plus years and not moved ....
     
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  13. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    I've got three sets of Lee 38 special dies - one for taper crimp 38 special, one for roll-crimp .357 magnum, and one that I mix half-and-half with my second set of 9mm dies for loading .38s with a case length of .750" - essentially a 38 short colt. The ability to have multiple turrets holding multiple dies sets in full adjustment is my favorite aspect of the Lee turret presses. Like Walkalong I want things just so, and can waste substantial time adjusting if I use one set.
     
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  14. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have separate turrets for the .38 Special and .357 Magnum. When changing bullets in the .38 Special the only real die adjustment change is the bullet seating die and if you're using a Lee die the adjustment is quick and painless IMO. If you feel another set of dies is the way to go I see no reason not to. Go for it...
     
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  15. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Suggest you take a "2-pronged" approach to your actions....

    ► For those dies which must be removed (for instance the Crimp die), buy and refit all your dies with Hornady lock rings. Once set, the die can be completely removed from the press and re-installed weeks later without losing your die setting. It's the pinching motion of the lock ring on the die that makes the difference.

    CwUkUDiC3Qmou1U8AeP1Mr16DPfCl78Ub6lbF7GqNYb1AU5TzGYnzNJn4ecNiK-bCmfec6nxCnz3GaAVV6g=w205-h246-no.jpg

    These come in a convenient 12 pack just for this purpose.

    ► For those dies which only need their setting changed (for instance the Seating die), buy the calibrated seating stem versions as was previously mentioned. Then you can record the proper setting in your Loading Notebook for each bullet you use. The calibrated mandrill will take you right back to where you were the last time you used that die with those particular bullets.


    Using this method, you only need to buy the 2 types of Crimp dies, and a single Seating die.
     
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    .38 Spl & .357 dies. (In two die boxes)
    One sizer for both, one Micrometer seater for both, a roll and taper crimp die for both, expanders for both, plus a "lead" expander in another box. I adjust the crimp dies for the max crimp I might need and use the spacers to adjust the crimp.
    Spacers For Crimp Dies P - Labeled.JPG
    38 & 357 Die Sets Pic 1.JPG
     
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  17. snakeye

    snakeye Member

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    I would just learn to adjust the dies....at some point you will need to disassemble the dies to clean them and then have to reset them all over again
     
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  18. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I wet tumble so that might be awhile .
     
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  19. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    It's good to practice, and practice develops skill, but if it was me I would purchase another set of Lee dies and a turret and practice setting them up and call it done.:) (until something changes that makes you readjust them)
    Then if you feel the need to practice you can take them out, mess up the adjustments and set them up over again.

    To me it's sort of like the drivers seat in my car, I know how to adjust it, it does not take long and is not that much trouble to adjust, but it sure nice to not have to adjust it when I get in to drive.
    I share a company truck at work with three other people, none of us are close on the seat, the mirrors or the steering wheel so it's nice not having to adjust all that every time I get in to drive my car.
    Funny how as you get older you appreciate the little things more.

    I shoot a lot of one load in 9mm. I have a set of dies I leave setup for that load and another set I use for any other 9mm load, the second set gets adjusted for all the other loads.
    Maybe 90% of all the 9mm I load is for the first load.
    It just saves time and as I get older time is one thing I realize I can't buy, and I only have so much of it left.
    I would rather spend it reloading and shooting than adjusting dies, other people might be happier spending the time adjusting dies, no right or wrong answer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
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  20. red rick

    red rick Member

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    You and a few others have convinced me, I am getting another set of dies .
     
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  21. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Since it's the seating die that gets most all of the adjusting due to different bullets I would get a seating die with the micrometer head. Then as you use it log down the setting so you can quickly return. I have this on several die sets and probably want buy another set of dies without it.

    Another option is to use your calipers and measure the seating stem position. I do this on several pistol dies.
     
  22. irishlad

    irishlad Member

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    Extra turrets with dies already setup is why I love my LCT press.
     
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  23. Captaingyro

    Captaingyro Member

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    Don't get a whole new set of dies...just get additional seating dies. I have two or three seaters for ever caliber I reload. I number them with a sharpie, then keep notes on my iPhone about which numbered die seats which bullet.

    I maintain saved searches on eBay for seater dies, and find that you can occasionally pick one up pretty cheap. I must admit, on occasion I've even bought a complete set if the price was right, just to get the seater die.
     
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