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Reloading .38s on .357 Lee dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Quoheleth, Sep 21, 2008.

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  1. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    OK...I don't know what i am doing wrong, so someone needs to help my hurricane-riddled brain figure this out.

    I've been reloading .38s for over a year on my 3-die Lee .357/.38 dies. For some reason today, I couldn't get my mouth widening/powder dispensing die to work right in my Lee turret press while loading .38 Specials.

    I punched the primer & full-length resized. Turned the turret to the flare/powder fill die. I raised the ram but wasn't getting enough travel to slide my Lee auto disk to drop the measure into the die. I adjusted the die up & down and no luck. (The decapper/full-length resizer die says both .38 & .357. The bullet seat/crimp die says both. But the flare/powder fill die only says .357.) I checked and a Magnum case was tripping the disk just fine. Any thoughts? I've done this before w/out a problem and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

    I was tempted to use my 9mm die in this stage...would that work if I can't get the other die to work?

    FWIW, the press worked just fine with the 9mm and .45ACP loads I made.

    Q
     
  2. dannyabear

    dannyabear Member

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    I don't think it will work; the 357 PD die is 1/8" too long for a special case to activate it. I had the same problem with 44 mag & special. If you buy the 'special' set of dies they will load both, only have to back out the die for magnums.
     
  3. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    I have never used a Lee press, but load all my ammo on two Dillon 550b presses. Since all progrssive presses operate basically the same, you must lower your expander die 1/10"(.010) to properly bell your case mouth. If you remember the 357 Magnum round is 1/10' longer than the 38 Spl to keep someone from loading 357's in an older 38. You will also have difficulty seating and crimping your 38 rounds for the same reason, and you must adjust your seating/crimping die accordingly. Hope this helps you. :)
     
  4. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    if the die body is touching the shell holder & still not flarin the case ya got a 357 mag only die.
    there`s .135 " difference in case lengths , measure em & compare .

    glad to hear from someone from the Houston area!!!
    Drying out?????

    GP100man
     
  5. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    GP100man,

    Slowly & surely, we're getting there. Every day more folks come back on-line with power. My area is still out, but hopefully today...

    Besides power, IMHO the biggest problem is 'skeeters. They're mean, nasty & apparantly starved. If you go out before sunup or after sundown, you best be well slathered in Cutter or OFF or you'll bleed to death.

    As far as the .38 Specials go, well dagnabbit, I thought I have done this before. In hindsight, I think I might have used my 9mm Powder-thru-expanding die and only flared the case mouth just a bit.

    Oh, well...I did a batch of .45s last night instead of the Specials. Hey...ammo is ammo, and when my range reopens next week :)cuss:) I'll be set.

    Say...I ordered some .452 200 grain RNFPs from missouribullet.com to load in my 1911. If I load them to correct OAL (1.227, IIRC), the cannalure is above the mouth of the brass. If I load them to crimp in the cannalure, I'm under 1.2". I loaded 10 last night with the cannalure outside the case to correct OAL. Is that the best bet?

    Q
     
  6. floydster

    floydster Member

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    If you order the Lee deluxe four die set you can load 38 spl. and 357 mag, no problem, just adjust the expander, powder measure die accordingly.
    Floydster
     
  7. sniper7369

    sniper7369 Member

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    I think the only difference is the belling insert. My Lee .380 and 9mm powder through dies are identical except the belling insert for the .380 die is longer.

    I'm pretty sure with the taper crimp on the .45 it doesn't matter. I'd just load them to the correct COL.
     
  8. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Insure your dies are clean. Go back to the die instructions and re-set up your die from scratch. Make any small adjustments needed and go from there. Make sure the Auto-Disk dispenser is fully seated on the through powder/flaring die. You might operate the Auto disk manually to insure it is moving freely against spring tention. Make sure that the through powder die is correctly set up. What you discribe sounds like the .38 case isn't going deep enough into the die to activate the dispenser...I have the same set up and have experienced the same problem a time or two over the 22 years I have had this system...Easy fix once you understand what is going on...
     
  9. jim147

    jim147 Member

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    I use my 9mm die to work the auto disc. I have needed to order the .38 die for a long time but if the 9 works why spend the money.
     
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