Question for reloaders on .38 Special & .40 S&W
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Thread: Question for reloaders on .38 Special & .40 S&W

  1. #1

    Question for reloaders on .38 Special & .40 S&W

    I have acquired a Lee Pro 1000. I'm wanting to start reloading .38 Spcl and .40 S&W, mostly along the lines of lead rounds for practice. From the things I've read and people I've talked to, I get 2 opinions (obviously). Go with factory crimp (4 die set) and or use the crimp on the 3 die set.

    The Lee is a 3 die press, so if I go with a Lee 4 die set, I'd have to run the bullets through 1 more time to set the factory crimp as opposed to 1 time with a taper or roll crimp using the 3 die set.

    Any thoughts on those scenarios? and FYI, I'm just starting in on reloading, so no experience other than watching others do it. Thanks.
    ~ Bill

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  3. timing the bullet being where the crimp groove and the case meet just as you hit the crimp ring in the die can be a little tough to get buy a few buckled cases and you will be there. Just get the die timed with empty cases before you start running production. It's not all that bad to do if you take time and think it through. You can get it close with a 6 inch scale marked off in .01" of an inch.

  4. #3
    I have never had good results with 3 dies. It never works as good as with four.

    Think the mechanics through and it should be obvious why this is so.

    -Doc

  5. Quote Originally Posted by plainshunter View Post
    I have acquired a Lee Pro 1000. I'm wanting to start reloading .38 Spcl and .40 S&W, mostly along the lines of lead rounds for practice. From the things I've read and people I've talked to, I get 2 opinions (obviously). Go with factory crimp (4 die set) and or use the crimp on the 3 die set.

    The Lee is a 3 die press, so if I go with a Lee 4 die set, I'd have to run the bullets through 1 more time to set the factory crimp as opposed to 1 time with a taper or roll crimp using the 3 die set.

    Any thoughts on those scenarios? and FYI, I'm just starting in on reloading, so no experience other than watching others do it. Thanks.
    A 4 die set is a waste unless you have 4 stations on your progressive press. You can get the exact same crimp with the 3 die set as the 4 die. The bullet seater die (die #3) also crimps. To set it up to do both at one time, you set the crimp (crank it down in the press until the crimp is where you want it) and then adjust the seater plug to get the bullet seating depth right. (I'd pull the adjustment stem and the seater plug while setting the crimp, then put them back in and adjust for seating depth by using a dummy round to get you in the ballpark and fine tune it from there.) Watch how much flair you are putting on the case mouth if you are doing both at once. You can end up crushing the mouth if you have too aggressive a flair on a case.

    Personally, I've tried it but I don't like seating the bullet and crimping in the same step. I get better consistency making it 2 different steps. When I'm using a single stage, I use the bullet seater die for both rather than bothering with getting a 4 die set. I just pull the seater plug and the adjustment stem completely out when I get done seating bullets for that batch (I load in either 50 or 100 round batches) and use it solely for crimping.

  6. #5
    I have reloaded many rounds in both calibers and find that the factory crimp is worth the extra step, especially for rounds in a semi auto pistol. Go with the factory crimp for sure. The rounds chamber smoothly and no jamming in the semi auto. I use a Lee single stage o ring press and have always used the factory crimping die in the .357mag, .40 S&W and .45 Colt calibers.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by fryemo View Post
    I have reloaded many rounds in both calibers and find that the factory crimp is worth the extra step, especially for rounds in a semi auto pistol. Go with the factory crimp for sure. The rounds chamber smoothly and no jamming in the semi auto. I use a Lee single stage o ring press and have always used the factory crimping die in the .357mag, .40 S&W and .45 Colt calibers.
    Agree. I always use the factory crimp when I am able. The two different crimp types are NOT the same. The three die crimp works best when the bullet has a crimping groove or a cannelure. This crimp actually "rolls" the crimp into the grove. A taper crimp (the fourth die) uses a gentle taper to squeeze the case against the bullet (hence the name). I find that even when I use cannelured bullets, I get better case life out of using taper crimps over the roll crimp of the three die set.

  8. #7
    I've used a Pro 1000 to load many 1,000's of 9 m/m and 40 S&W; I use the three die set. The bullet seat and crimp is easy to initially set by using a loaded round to set the die; the Lee website has a video to help and it works. I have used factory crimp dies before and still do on rifle rounds, but pistol rounds through the three die set seem to work just fine.

    The same shell holder works for 9 m/m and 40 S&W; you need to change it out for 38 Special, which is not easy.

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