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Discussion Starter #1
I'm setting up my dies according to the directions included with the die set. Now if I'm reading the directions correctly, they are having me set up for .38 specials. Since I want to load .357 magnums, do I have to adjust my dies differently, or will I be good to go? It doesn't give seperate directions for .357, so I'm assuming it's the same set up.
 

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No, the setup isn't the same. The .357 case is 1/8" longer than the .38 special. The sizing die will probably work as is, but you'll have to back off the flaring stem and the seating/ crimping die to account for the extra length of the .357 case
 

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The procedure for set up is the same for 38 Special and 357 Mag, however, one set up will not service both cartridges.

The Sizer die is the first step and will be adjusted exactly the same for both cases. Sizers are not "length dependent" so what you want to do is insert your 38/357 shell holder then pull the handle all the way down. Screw the sizer die in until the mouth of the die touches the shell holder then back off the die a 1/4 turn and tighten. This will position the die properly for both 38 Specials or 357 Mag cases.

The next step is flairing the case mouth. This step IS case length dependent so you must adjust the die for the case you are using.

After you have primed and dropped powder, the third step is bullet seating and it too is case length dependent. If you have a four die set, you will also have a crimp die that again is case length dependent.
 

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Glad to see you're getting your reloading going. You'll have fun. Other brands of dies, I use RCBS, have a spacer (washer) that is 1/10th inch thick that you can put under the dies when you go from special to magnum cases. That way you don't have to readjust the dies.

You probably can find a washer like that or make one if you wish. After many years I finally got another set of .38 dies off of ebay for my Dillon so as not to mess with them anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was foolishly thinking that once the dies were set up I'd be all set with either caliber. Then while setting them up I realized that I was wrong. I posted to double check. I'll actually have to reset my dies if I load both .38 and .357. I think I'll stick with .357 and get a second set down the road if I reload .38s.
 

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If you know a machinist, he can make you a shell holder that's taller for the 38's and keep your dies set to 357 reloading. It works well.
 

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I was foolishly thinking that once the dies were set up I'd be all set with either caliber. Then while setting them up I realized that I was wrong. I posted to double check. I'll actually have to reset my dies if I load both .38 and .357. I think I'll stick with .357 and get a second set down the road if I reload .38s.

I discovered the same thing and came to the same conclusion. In the last week I have set up 2 more dies sets, 44 & 45 and they wet much faster than the first try. Also, reading the Lee Manual makes much more sense after a couple weeks. I am feeling very confortable with the process now. It is amazing how repeatable eveything is now after seeming so erratic at the beginning.

I only use the bullet seatng die for seating and do the crimping with the factory crimp die. Haven't crushed a case since. T

My son picked up a Frankford Arsenal vib case tumbler and brought it over yesterday. Haven't used it yet.

Have fun.
 

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I wound up buying separate dies for 38 and 357 on e-bay before they got stupid and I cancelled my account. I still have to adjust as I load different bullet weights so the seating/crimp die has to be adjusted slightly but the rest stays the same for each caliber.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The seating die needs to be adjusted for OAL correct? Now I use a seperate crimping die so it won't have to be adjusted correct? You're referring to one die doing both things?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The crimping die will have to be adjusted to account for the extra length of the case.

Yes between .357 and .38, but the seating and crimp die will have to be adjusted for different weight and length bullets? Say .357 125 grain and then .357 158 grain, etc.
 

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Yes between .357 and .38, but the seating and crimp die will have to be adjusted for different weight and length bullets? Say .357 125 grain and then .357 158 grain, etc.
Right. Crimp is in relation to case mouth, so that will not change between different bullets if all for .357. However, as the distance bewteen crimp groove and the nose on the bullet varies with different bullet styles, so will the seating punch adjustment. On jacketed bullets, where there is no crip groove, the OAL for that cartridge should dictate the seating dept adjustment whenever possible. Most of the shorter jacketed bullets will have a knurled area or a recess that is for the crimp to seat. Auto bullets will usually not have one.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok. Seating die will be adjusted slightly for longer or shorter bullets. This will keep my OAL the same.

Crimping is done same place on the case so doesn't need to be adjusted according to bullet length. Case length doesn't change so the crimp will be at the same place always.
 

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BH:

Correct. I use RCBS dies and the crimp and seating are done on the same die. I do the operation at the same time.
 

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If you have 357 dies you can't do this.. If you have 38/357 or 38 all you need is a flat washer .125 thick ..set your dies up to reload 38 spec now all you need to do to load 357 is to put the washer under expander die and the seating die but not under the sizing die. I send that washer to RCBS and LYMAN in 1968 and it took to around the 80's to put it in there sets.. the washer will work 44/44mag dies also
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If you have 357 dies you can't do this.. If you have 38/357 or 38 all you need is a flat washer .125 thick ..set your dies up to reload 38 spec now all you need to do to load 357 is to put the washer under expander die and the seating die but not under the sizing die. I send that washer to RCBS and LYMAN in 1968 and it took to around the 80's to put it in there sets.. the washer will work 44/44mag dies also

Good tip! Thanks. :)
 
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