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Advice on Single stage press dedicated to 38 Special WC

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Post by lanjo 4/7/2021, 9:58 pm

Hi All,

I would like to pick up a single stage press that would be dedicated to 38 spcl WC ammo.  Is there manufacture out there that makes good dies/press for 38 WC?  What press would you suggest?  I would think I would need to make 50 - 100 rounds a month.  Enough to shoot the revolvers.

Best,

JL

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Post by zanemoseley 4/7/2021, 10:32 pm

Hard to go wrong with a RCBS Rock Chucker fitted with the Hornady LNL sleeve system and a set of Dillon dies. The Dillon dies are super easy to clean and the LNL system makes die changes take seconds. Also look at the Inline Fabrication stand and roller handle.

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Post by lanjo 4/7/2021, 10:42 pm

Thanks....

Another question.  With the run on ammo happening now do you think this is a bad time to buy reloading equipment?  Is it over priced now and I should wait until the ammo fever is over and see if I can get a press on sale? Or is it about the same price as it would be a year from now.

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Post by zanemoseley 4/7/2021, 11:02 pm

Your problem is going to be finding primers and powder, both are inobtanium at the moment for even close to normal prices. The presses should be close to normal pricing.

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Post by Tim:H11 4/8/2021, 5:46 am

I recommend a Lee for a single stage press. They’re a very affordable press, and they work. Maybe not an heirloom piece of equipment but still they work.

When I started in Bullseye I was making my 45 Ammo on my Lee single stage. I had it already because I had been reloading rifle hunting ammunition. I quickly got into an older used Lee three hole turret press. Then I soon after got into a Dillon 550. 

When I got into revolver Ammo (seldom shooting it at the time) I loaded it on the Lee turret press as a dedicated 38 press. The 550 remained a dedicated 45 press. 

The turret presses can be had used and they make an updated four hole press now too. But still the single stage is cheaper. Lee doesn’t make amazing products. But the presses, and the dies are very usable. I’ve only ever used Lee dies for pistol Ammo. I don’t have the Dillon 550 anymore because it was borrowed. I have a Lee progressive press that I load my 38’s and 45’s on now. It works well.
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Post by Bigtrout 4/8/2021, 7:11 am

+1 RCBS Rockchucker.
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Post by rkittine 4/8/2021, 8:02 am

The Rock Chucker is a great press, especially for large rifle cartridges. Any small single stage press will work just fine for .38 Special, especially since you only want to load WCs. You don't need anything fancy. An inexpensive used LEE turret would also work well and you could leave all the dies set up and ready to load. 

Bob
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Post by BE Mike 4/8/2021, 8:20 am

Any press manufactured by RCBS, Lyman, Lee, Hornady, Redding, Forster or Dillon (they make a single stage press, upgradable to a progressive) will suit your needs. Stay away from SmartReloader products. They are Chinese junk (not the vessel) and have no backing.
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Post by Jack H 4/8/2021, 2:22 pm

Bigtrout wrote:+1 RCBS Rockchucker.

+2 The single Hornady press.

The LnL convenience is great on either the adapted RCBS or Hornady
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Post by LenV 4/8/2021, 5:25 pm

RCBS junior. You don't need a Rock chucker for 38's.

I spent Easter  social  distancing and  loading  bullets . I used my Lee turret because it's so easy to change bullets, powder, caliber and primers. I used up lots of the old stuff and a bunch of new. Had fun.Advice on Single stage press dedicated to 38 Special WC 20210410
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Post by James Hensler 4/8/2021, 5:51 pm

I use an old 4 Hole Turret Lee for my 38’s. Works perfect
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Post by mikemyers 4/8/2021, 8:23 pm

If you're not concerned with the cost, consider a set of Redding Pro-Series dies.  I just got a set of them recently, and they do things with 38 Special that as far as I know, no other dies do.  You can also call Redding Tech Support, and ask for "Jay".  Tell him what bullet you are planning on using.  I sent him some of my Magnus #514 bullets, and he customized a seater specifically for that bullet.

The expander die goes into the case a certain distance, then there is a raised diameter that opens the case slightly more.  Then there is the design at the end to add the "bevel".  When you drop in a new bullet for seating it "falls" into the case a reasonable distance, with minimal resistance, aligning itself perfectly for the seating die. to do its job.  

You'll need to read up on these dies to see all the features designed into them.  It's fascinating.  I read it several times, but never caught on to WHY they make them that way, until the dies were delivered.  Back then, I was thoroughly confusabobbled about how they work, but it soon became obvious.  

Something you can also consider is buying a good 5-station progressive press, and loading one round at a time.  Then you make one round at a time, before you move on to the next round.  If at some point in the future you want to make more ammo in less time, you'll be all set.  

You're also going to need a good scale, and a good way to get the right amount of powder into each case.

.....and if you're going to go to all this much trouble, maybe start out with Starline brass.  So many people here have had so many positive thoughts about it, that I bought all new brass for both 45 and 38.

Maybe you shouldn't listen to me - you'll be spending a lot more if you do.
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Post by WesG 4/9/2021, 10:20 am

Look for a press that catches the primers in a container. Saves a lot of filth on the press, bench, and floor.

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Post by lanjo 4/9/2021, 4:43 pm

I was able to get a highly discounted Lee Load Master press from Optics Planet (90% off regular price).  It says that it is for 308 Winchester and that it is not designed for that load. I will see what is comes with and then replace the necessary parts for making the 38's.  With the Load Master I could also use it to make 45's. I can just get a turret head for the 38 dies and a new base plate and then a sperate turret head for the 45's, keeping the 308 base plate which will work for 45s.  Naïvely I think I should be good with this.  I hope I did not buy a piece of junk.  At 90% off seems like too good of a deal.

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Post by mikemyers 4/9/2021, 6:15 pm

Reviews - if you follow the directions, you should be pleased...

https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Precision-Master-Reloading-Pistol/product-reviews/B000N8HVYW
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