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Old 10-04-2021, 05:11 PM
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Default 38/357 idea

I load both 38Sp and 357, and I know some people use a .135" spacer under their die to "adjust" from 38 to 357. But this still means removing your die to install the spacer.

Had an idea. What about a pair of shell holders, one made for 38 and one for 357. The 38 holder holds the case .135" higher (relative to the 357 holder).

This would let you keep dies set in a turret, without having to swap a spacer ring in for changing from 38's to 357's.

Last edited by mikerjf; 10-04-2021 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 10-04-2021, 05:20 PM
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Default .38 / .357 Die Spacer Ring

carelesslove, here !

I have one of those spacer rings and have never even thought about using it!

I have so many things like that that my kids would probably appreciate me selling off / getting rid of, now - rather than later...............
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Old 10-04-2021, 05:25 PM
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You still have to set the die to meet the shell holder for decapping and sizing, and for seating depth of the bullet. If the .38 Spl. shell holder is taller, the die needs to be raised in order for the throw to bottom out. I think it might be less trouble to buy a second set of dies and adjust one for .357 and the other for .38 Spl.

I keep one of each finished cartridges on a shelf for both of my dual-caliber die sets (I also load .40S&W, and 10mm, which use the same die set). When I change from one to the other for seating, I place the finished cartridge in the die and adjust it to that length. Saves a little time, since my OAL's don't vary in a particular caliber. De-priming and sizing is an easier adjustment, so I just readjust the dies based on bottoming the plunger against the shell holder.
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Old 10-04-2021, 05:54 PM
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I use Lee dies. As per the instructions, for one or the other you merely rotate the die 2 turns. Easy peasy. No spacer needed. Been doing it for 40 years with no issues.
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:39 PM
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I use the same dies for both with no spacer. It takes me about a few seconds to adjust a die from one to the other. Not a big deal to me as I don't make bullets if I am in a hurry.
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:53 PM
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I just bought separate die sets for every cartridge I own. Makes life easier.
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Old 10-05-2021, 04:43 AM
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I have multiples for 38/357, 45 Colt/454 Casull etc.

I have really too many die sets. Multiples of several rifle and handgun dies. Some are used progressive, others turret or single stage for load development or small run specialty loadings.

I have a few other lower volume calibers, 10mm/40 that I simply readjust.

I use Lee powder through case expansion and leave either an Auto Disk or Auto Drum measure attached to my most used. I've been using the Auto Disk for decades, but the Auto Drum is great for higher capacity cases like the Casull.
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Old 10-05-2021, 08:50 AM
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I just put either .38 Special dies or .357 dies in the old Pacific press or the Lee classic turret and don't worry about it.

Have a blessed day,

Leon
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Old 10-05-2021, 09:38 AM
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I reload frequently so I just bought two sets of dies. One setup for my 357, one for 38. Run a lee turret so its easy change out.
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Old 10-05-2021, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tominboise View Post
I just bought separate die sets for every cartridge I own. Makes life easier.
That is what I have done also. I reload on a Bonanza Co-Ax so that spacer trick doesn’t work.
It might cost a little more now, but used dies on eBay or at a gun show used to be affordable.
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  #11  
Old 10-05-2021, 11:05 AM
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The spacer should be cheaper and easier to manufacture than an extended shell holder .

Two shell holders or 1 shell holder and one spacer ...better ?

Backing out a die to slide spacer under or changing a shell holder .

I kind of see it as six of one - half-dozen of the other... No clear winner here .

When I use a spacer I just raise the die and slide the spacer under as far as it will go and tighten down on the die ... you don'y have to totally unscrew the die to use the spacer .

I like one spacer and one shell holder !
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Last edited by gwpercle; 10-06-2021 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 10-05-2021, 11:35 AM
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It is easy to keep a dummy cartridge to set the crimp and expander die gets set with the first cartridge.
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Old 10-05-2021, 11:42 AM
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I use spacer washers for 44 spl / 44 magnum, .40 / 10mm, and .38 / .357. Works fine, especially since I use the same bullets in each variant.
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Old 10-05-2021, 01:17 PM
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I guess everyone else is happy, so no one is going to make one for just me!

Thought of the need for going all the way to the die during sizing... you could set the sizing die to touch the 38 shell holder, and size 357's there as well. Move to the 357 shell holder for flaring and crimping 357's.

Ah well. Good thing John Browning didn't bounce his new ideas off you guys.
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Old 10-05-2021, 01:43 PM
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You, Sir, are no John Browning.

Hahaha please take that in the playful way that it was intended.
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:05 PM
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You could make the spacer into a "C" washer so you only have to unscrew the die a little more than the thickness of the washer, slide it in place, and tighten the die. That would take a few seconds. Same for removing it.
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:17 PM
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A 38 spl die set works for 357 as well. The only adjustment needed is the bullet seating / crimping die. All the other dies need only be set once.

In my case I load both calibers, but use several different type boolits for each. Thus, every time I load I have to readjust that single die.

Some are making this more complicated than it has to be.
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:21 PM
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What about case mouth flaring?
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:43 PM
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I'm a K.I.S.S. kinda guy and just loaded a turret with 357 Magnum dies. Caliber swap; 22.5 seconds...
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Old 10-05-2021, 03:03 PM
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There is another shortcut that I have not seen mentioned and it feeds the “easier with more options” camp and also the “man, I’m cheap!” camp. (I’m in both camps )

At gun shows and on the dusty shelf of small independent gun shops are often the old, used, unloved die sets. And many of these are difficult to sell because they are not carbide dies. But the small detail that may not be obvious is that a “carbide die set” is a misnomer as only the sizing die is different.

The size die that you are already using at your bench is perfect for both .38 & .357 (and .40/10mm, .44 Spl/Mag, and many more) so if you buy an old un-loved steel set that they almost cannot sell, you are getting the two dies you need to set and keep set for .357 while you use your original carbide set for .38 Special.

My happy number is $10. I’ll buy an old steel die set for $10 and the steel size die that requires lube even on a straight wall handgun cartridge never leaves the box or could be tossed in the trash if you like.

The net result is a perfectly functional flare die and a seat/crimp die for $5 each.
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Old 10-06-2021, 12:41 AM
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Thanks to the OP for the idea.

I'm in the 2 sets of dies camp. I would not have bought the second set but they were Lee .357 Magnum specific on a close out. They were extremely cheap so I bought them. That works well for me... This is on a Lee turret press with separate turrets for each.
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protocall_Design View Post
You could make the spacer into a "C" washer so you only have to unscrew the die a little more than the thickness of the washer, slide it in place, and tighten the die. That would take a few seconds. Same for removing it.
This is what I did ... found a big washer the right thickness at a hardware store among their large fasteners .
Hacksawed a section out so I can slip it under ...
... works like a charm . I would have thought someone would make and sell such a quick and easy installing spacer !
Gary
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Old 10-06-2021, 10:00 AM
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The time spent in putting a washer under a die is way less wasted then answering the phone and talking to the guy that wants to sell you an extended warranty for your car…
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Old 10-07-2021, 09:37 AM
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I made it easy on myself. One set of dies for .38 and another set for .357.
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Old 10-07-2021, 10:08 AM
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I run a Lee classic turret four die press and use Lee carbide 4 die sets. I load for three different calibers. I have a turret set up for each one including the powder measure. All I have to do is lift out one and drop in the other one. Change out the shell holder and dump in the powder. I have a favorite load for each and don't have to change anything. Can't get any easier.
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Old 10-07-2021, 11:14 AM
Maurice H Maurice H is offline
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The simple solution to using spacers is to also use the lock rings on the dies as a jam nut. After adjusting die to proper position, first tighten (lock!) the lock ring to the die via the small set screw without simultaneously tightening the ring to the toolhead. Then wrench the lock nut against the toolhead.

When moving between Spc and Mag, just remove/reinstall the die to/from toolhead via the lock ring so the ring always remains in the same position relative to die. Insert/remove the spacer as needed.

Last edited by Maurice H; 10-07-2021 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 10-07-2021, 11:34 AM
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Using a different height shell holder is a good idea for a single station press, but in the end, I just adjust the dies when using my Rockchucker instead of the Dillon.

On the other hand, match rifle shooters have been using various height shell holders to control headspace in the various long range cartridges with success for some time. I've used 'em in my 7.62 and 5.56 match rifles for several years as my bolt rifles have slightly different headspace dimensions than my semi-auto match rifles.
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