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Post by Eindecker Wed Jun 28, 2023 9:22 pm

I need owners of the Lee hand press, and the lee 38 special/357 magnum die set to do the following

1. install the shell holder in the ram, insert a fully sized 38 special case and raise ram all of the way up

2. install the seating die holder, and lower it ALL the way to the shell holder, and then RAISE IT 3 whole turns per the manual
                 how much gap is there between sheel holder and the die body?

3. with ram fully raised, turn the seating die UP until a gap of 3/8" exists between the shell holder and the seating die.
 
                 How many turns did it take?

4. with ram fully raised, and with 38 special case still installed, lower the seating die until it touches the shell holder, and then raise it  ONE HALF TURN UPWARDS.. 
 
                 How much of a gap is there?


If the 3/8" gap applies what Lee Customer Support calls "too much crimp",  and so does the "3 whole turns",

will the HALF TURN provide LESS CRIMP..

Eindecker

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Post by WesG Wed Jun 28, 2023 10:42 pm

2: 3/14ths of an inch.
3: I'll have to get a piece of paper and a pencil to find the least common denominator. Too tired to do it in my head.
4: 1/28th of an inch.
Last question: No.

But seriously. You should be able to feel the crimp section by inserting a case in the die by hand. If it goes all the way to the rim, there is no crimp in the seating die and you'll need a crimp die.

The fact you can screw the die all the way to the shellholder with a case in place suggests there is no crimp. Unless you're cranking it down with vice grips.

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Post by WesG Thu Jun 29, 2023 7:55 am

OK, so now that I've had ~5 hrs of sleep and a cup of coffee:
2: .2143
3: 2.25
4: .0357

Are all of the dies marked 38Sp/357Mag? I was wondering if maybe you've got a 38 S&W seating die, which if set up to the instructions would size a fair portion of the case down. The 38 Special being 1.155 long, the 38 SW .775, could give a 'neck' on the case up to .38" long. The SW is also a tick larger in diameter.

Your earlier post made reference to pictures of damaged cases, but there aren't any pictures to view.

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Post by Eindecker Fri Jun 30, 2023 7:33 pm

I have been wondering on the die very carefully lately, and I really dont KNOW what it actually is despite it being marked 38 special. 

I own a .308 winchester die kit from lee that came with the "neck sizer only die", that will neck size a once fired .308 winchester case in such a meticulous way that an unfired .308 winchester projectile will simply fall through the case mouth and into the body.. 

despite the fact that the fired cartridge case, removed from the chamber has enough mouth tension to HOLD the same projectile in it.

here is a photo of the mystery photos.. I tried doing my phone but couldnt get below 4.1 mb.  Had to reset my camera down to ,  shudder, basic jpeg quality and could get an image of 1.3mb or so. Lee owners Dsc_3910

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Post by Eindecker Fri Jun 30, 2023 7:36 pm

for the curious, the one on the left was done when the seater die was either directly contacting the shell holder or 1-3 turns off of it. 

The following photo represents the next two bad ones i had. AFTER i had taken the seater die out of the hand press, and removed the seater plug, and adjusted it to the lee recommended 3 whole turns of seperation. 

The odd thing is, if i have less than 3/8" of seperation i WILL get a loaded case that looks like the one on the right.

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Post by djperry2 Fri Jun 30, 2023 11:51 pm

It is apparent your seating die is adjusted too low in order to make a crimp that large. I looked up your Lee press on their website and the instructions show adjusting the dies for rifle cases without crimp. I would ignore the 3/8" separation, that sounds like a suggested starting point. Adjust from there.
The seating dies for 38/357 are made for the seating die to be moved up or down depending on whether loading 38 special or higher if loading magnum cases which are about 1/10 inch longer. You have the same adjustment necessary with the expander die.

Judging by your photo, you need to screw your die out 1 or 2 turns more to get close to the crimp you desire. When the crimp looks right then lock the die down and adjust the seating plug up or down to achieve the depth you want.

Below is a photo of some wadcutter loads loaded on a Dillon Square Deal using their dies. Every die brand works the same way so brand does not matter. The 1st and 3rd are double ended cast w/c. The others are Zero HBWC.
I believe this is what you are wanting to get.

I hope this helps.

Darrell

Would not let me post photo - said message too long.

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Post by djperry2 Sat Jul 01, 2023 12:01 am

Photo for above.
Darrell

Lee owners 38_wc_10

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Post by willnewton Sat Jul 01, 2023 6:05 am

WesG wrote:2: 3/14ths of an inch.

4: 1/28th of an inch.


Did anyone else’s brain hiccup just reading these fractional measurements?

Smile
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Post by TonyH Sat Jul 01, 2023 7:46 am

willnewton wrote:
WesG wrote:2: 3/14ths of an inch.

4: 1/28th of an inch.


Did anyone else’s brain hiccup just reading these fractional measurements?

Smile
Those are metric fractions….. pirat
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Post by WesG Sat Jul 01, 2023 10:01 am

TonyH wrote:
willnewton wrote:
WesG wrote:2: 3/14ths of an inch.

4: 1/28th of an inch.


Did anyone else’s brain hiccup just reading these fractional measurements?

Smile
Those are metric fractions….. pirat

Nah ... Metric fractions would have a '10' as the denominator ;-)

But I did learn from the best math teacher ever ...

"You can't take 3 from 2, 2 is less than 3, so you look at the 4 in the tens place ... but the book I got this problem from wants you to do it in base 8. But don't panic, base 8 is just like base 10 ... if you're missing 2 fingers".

But seriously, I was planning on figuring out the die adjustment using 14ths and post the entire equation just for fun.

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Post by Eindecker Sat Jul 01, 2023 3:27 pm

You notice that how in mine,,, the crimping ring was able to seet the bullet deaper as well as make a nice smaller diameter section of case?

and when i mean a gap of 3/8" between the seater body and the shell holder, i mean imagine a disk 3/8" is between them.

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Post by djperry2 Sat Jul 01, 2023 3:39 pm

If the seating plug is set in the correct place but the die body is screwed in too much the seater goes with it.
Just try turning the whole die out a couple of turns and try another case.

Darrell

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Post by WesG Sat Jul 01, 2023 4:36 pm

Seat and crimp in one die requires a crimp groove in the bullet. Otherwise, you're folding the case in while stuffing the bullet in further, raising a bulge .. 'burr'? in the process. Not good, IMO.

Again, set the seating die just touching a flared case so it's not crimping while the bullet goes in. Run them all thru again with the seating die set deeper... and the seating stem backed off.

I have 2 separate stations, seat, and crimp, on my LNL progressive, for exactly this reason.

A 7/8" washer ... if such a think exists... would kick the die up by its thickness for seating without crimping. And then remove the washer and crimp

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Post by Eindecker Sat Jul 01, 2023 7:13 pm

djperry2 wrote:If the seating plug is set in the correct place but the die body is screwed in too much the seater goes with it.
Just try turning the whole die out a couple of turns and try another case.

Darrell
these charming cartridges were crimped when the SEATING PLUG was removed.

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Post by djperry2 Sat Jul 01, 2023 8:04 pm

Yes, the crimper is forcing the bullet deeper into the case. The very excess crimp indicates the die is way too deep in the press by about 2 threads or so. The first thing you need to do is back the die out about 2 turns.
It looks like you are loading wadcutter bullets which are normally seated flush with the case or just a little below if using a roll crimp. No crimp groove is needed in the bullets.

Until you screw that die out 2 turns or whatever it takes to get a normal crimp, nothing else is going to help.
Then you can get the seater plug adjusted to the desired depth.

Darrell

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Post by Eindecker Mon Jul 03, 2023 10:40 am

is anyone listening...... at all.......

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Post by WesG Mon Jul 03, 2023 12:49 pm

Yeah, you've re-invented the 7.62 Russian Gas Seal cartridge ;-)

As djperry posted, the case being crimped is forcing the bullet deeper in the case, like squeezing toothpaste from a tube. I wouldn't have thought that possible, but ...

The one you posted with the shorter crimp, I'd think another half turn would fix that.

Back the die off until the crimp section doesn't make contact. Seat a couple dozen rds and then use them to reset the die to crimp. Back the seating stem off, and once you get the crimp set screw the stem down to touch a loaded rd.

Your 308 problem might be the expander in the sizing die is too big. Maybe one for a 303 in there.

When I got started reloading, 50 some years ago, 'standard' setup for a bottleneck rifle case was to set the sizing die down to touch the shellholder. That works fine if the die is to spec, and your chamber is at minimum headspace. If not, you wind up oversizing the case and it eventually comes apart at the head. So it has to be set up correctly, which can take some fiddling around. I now start with the headspace gauge I chambered the barrel with, and screw the die down to touch that. Adjust from there.

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Post by djperry2 Mon Jul 03, 2023 1:21 pm

Someone is not listening for sure. Lots of good advice from several people.
Darrell

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Post by Eindecker Mon Jul 03, 2023 4:14 pm

HOW can the die be only 2 more turns from being right.. 

when its already well past what THE MAKER says is CORRECT for crimping a 38 special case with it.

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Post by djperry2 Mon Jul 03, 2023 7:23 pm

Eindecker,

Attached is a youtube video link from Lee on how to setup your seater/crimper die. The demo uses a single station press but yours works the same way except it is not mounted to the bench.

Hope this helps you. There are many more reloading videos on youtube if you use the search bar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF5h5GyzyKQ

Darrell

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Post by WesG Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:48 pm

Considering the price of Lee dies, its entirely possible they use the same parts for 38 SW, 38 Special, and 357 Mag. So having the seating/crimping backed out 'X' amount for what you're loading is just how it works.

I priced out a couple 38 Super sizing dies the other day, being they're bigger than a 38 Special for loading wadcutters. Lee was about $23, a Redding somewhere close to 60. Economy of scale, 38 Super being an 'oddball' in the grand scheme of things reloading.

I spent about 3 hours yesterday setting up and loading 50 rds of wadcutters in 38. Multiple applications of various Photoescape and Redding expanders to get what I needed for the HBWC's I was trying, 25 each Bear Creek and Precision Delta.

Bullet dimensions suggested the PE DEWC expander was the proper choice ... turned out I had to run all 200 cases gifted to me back thru with the HBWC expander... and then add my Redding TiN expander to flare them a bit more to avoid scraping the coating/lube off during seating.

And then some time spent slowly setting the crimp die down where I wanted it.

Tedious ... rifle ammo is soooo much simpler.

The other thing I learned, completely irrelevant to this, is the LNL progressive press doesn't handle 38's quite the same as 9mm and 45 ACP. Shellplate and coil spring retainer not so reliable for retaining and aligning cases with the dies. I'm just going to guess 32 H&R will be worse... 'tis what it 'tis ... just learn to cycle the press a bit slower while watching what's going on.

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Post by Eindecker Thu Jul 20, 2023 9:18 pm

still havent purchased any new dies.. life has been hectic and miserable for me.

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