What's Your Favorite .38 Wadcutter Die Set for Model 52?

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What's Your Favorite .38 Wadcutter Die Set for Model 52? Empty What's Your Favorite .38 Wadcutter Die Set for Model 52?

Post by 230Ball on 3/20/2019, 10:22 am

Considering on digging out the Model 52 now that my reloading for 9 and 45 are under way.  I used to hand load .38 Special many years ago for a revolver league and I still have the die set, which is a RCBS 3-die carbide set (Model 18212).  The sizing and expander dies out of the set may be suitable for wadcutter, but I doubt if the seating die is of any use.
Please let me know what dies/die set you recommend for your Model 52 and if any of my RCBS set is of any use.
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Post by oldsalt444 on 3/20/2019, 1:09 pm

I don't see why you wouldn't use RCBS dies.  They would work just fine if you have the correct bullet seating stem for wadcutters.  I'm a believer in Lee dies, and have loaded countless rounds with them.  They are the most reasonably priced and in my opinion are as good or better than anything else out there.  They adjust easier than RCBS.  I use the taper crimp die in a separate operation for my 38 wadcutter loads.  This is because I have a Clark 1:10 twist barrel which headspaces on the case mouth, not the rim.  I would recommend using a Lee factory crimp die which resizes your case a 2nd time to factory specs.  That ensures reliable feeding.  Of course, you'd have to back off your bullet seating die so that it does not apply a crimp.
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Post by 230Ball on 3/20/2019, 1:19 pm

Thanks Old Salt!
I'm a big believer in the Lee factory crimp die and will definitely get one for the wadcutter set-up.  Also, after rooting around some more, I found two additional bullet seating stems in addition to the original I used for round-nosed bullets.  They both appear to be for wadcutter bullets, one's relieved just a little deeper than the other. I may hang on to the seating die, if it can accommodate the type of wadcutter bullets recommended by this group.
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Post by PhotoEscape on 3/20/2019, 2:10 pm

RCBS sizer probably is fine, although I prefer Lee Carbide Sizing Die (p/n:90530)
I load on Dillon XL650, and use my own PTUs/Expanders. For that matter this coming weekend will be loading with new full projectile length DEWC PTUs. So I cannot comment on RCBS expander. I use Redding Seating Die with Micrometer Plug (don't have part numbers readily available), and Redding Profile Crimp die (p/n: 86282). I also keep Lee FCD on Lee Turret press in case I need to use it after plank test using one of the old M52 (I had new Clark 1:10 twist barrels installed) or spare P240 barrels.
AP
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Post by desben on 3/20/2019, 3:30 pm

I use Lee dies. I modified the seating stem for wadcutters by filing the nose until it was almost flat. FortuneCookie45LC has a video on YouTube.

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Post by noylj on 3/21/2019, 3:13 pm

No sizing die or I use a Lee FCD (with guts removed) to minimally resize.
Use expander plug that leaves case ID 0.001-0.002" smaller than bullet diameter (die make is immaterial)
Seating plug that contacts bullet shoulder (I hate seeing the little button nose smashed, though it has no effect on accuracy)--die maker is immaterial. Once set, it is always set.
I ran lots of tests, and for roll crimp, the best was the Redding Profile Crimp die (second best was the Lee FCD with carbide ring removed).
Micrometers and such don't help accuracy, only effect is if you re-adjust die.
I prefer to use a Hornady seating die, as it has a slip tube that helps align the bullet.

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Post by Bullseye58 on 3/22/2019, 8:42 am

Lee Dies except I use the Lyman "M" die for case neck expansion. I also taper crimp my rounds with my Lee Die.
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Post by mustachio on 4/14/2019, 8:47 pm

I have used Lee dies for over 30 years and they have given me no reason to change.
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Post by mikemyers on 4/14/2019, 10:22 pm

230Ball wrote:......... I used to hand load .38 Special many years ago for a revolver league and I still have the die set, which is a RCBS 3-die carbide set (Model 18212).  The sizing and expander dies out of the set may be suitable for wadcutter, but I doubt if the seating die is of any use.....
If you call RCBS, and ask for Larry Meyer, he will let you send  him your seating die, so he can modify it for the Model 52 loads.  He did this for me a couple of years ago.  Then you can use the dies you already have.
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Post by bruce martindale on 4/15/2019, 8:34 am

+1 on FCD as a SIZER.

Also, RCBS should be able to send you a seater plug with a reduced o.d. and relieved point area...or find a friend with a lathe. Can do it with a file and a drill press too.

Anyone have a Star roll crimp die for sale?

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Post by Al W. on 4/18/2019, 8:36 pm

I just received a seating die from Dillon for my 550 expressly made for WC bullets.
No deformation. Better than the SWC die they produce. Worth the few bucks.
I picked up a redesigned powder funnel made expressly for WC which avoids the problem of swaging the bullets and shaving lead when seating .
I'm running Zero flush for my M 52-2 , which fires well in my M 15 and 14 as well.
I've got a Redding competition seating die coming from Midway which should complete my quest for consistent HBWC rounds.
So thats what I'm running as of now !
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