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Mountain Man Gramps

Hornady Cowboy vs. "non-Cowboy" Die Set

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Can anyone please explain to this newbie the difference between the Hornady 38 special (regular) die set (p/n 546527) and the Cowboy die set (p/n 546528)?  I know the Cowboy set is for lead non-jacketed bullets, but are the differences big enough that I should use only the cowboy dies?  I ask this because before I ordered my Hornady Lock and Load AP press, I called Hornady's tech support and was told either would do.   Any thoughts?

 

 

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After searching the Hornady website where I did not find any specific information about the individual dies in the cowboy and non-cowboy dies sets, I starting shopping for price and ended up finding some additional technical informaton.  Concerning the expander die in the cowboy set I found the following on the renown shooting website, eBay:  "These dies put a consistent slight "bell" flare on straight-walled rifle or pistol case mouths.  They prepare the case so powder and bullet insertion are smother".

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MMG-Pretty much all die sets do that for handgun rnds.

My SWAG-Might be a bit larger expander for lead bullets and pretty sure a roll crimp type, crimp die.

Why don't you call Hornady, and ask'em?

Like to hear what they say-

OLG

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Posted (edited)

I have standard 45C and cowboy 45C. The expander is actually completely different on the cowboy die. It works more like an bullet seater almost in that it it actually is a floating piece that centers itself in the case and is rouded on the bottom, that then moves up to the set point (thats adjustable) and expands the case more than flares it really. It actually does do a nicer job expanding than the standard 45C expander, i've found it to be more consistent and agnostic of slight case length variations.

 

The rest of the dies are exactly the same as they would be in the non-cowboy set. The roll vs taper is a function of which round the dies are for, 45c comes with a roll, but 45ACP comes taper. 38/357 is also roll out of the factory.

 

As a LnL man myself, i'd recommend just getting the standard 357 dies, and then pickup a lee factory crimp die with the savings. Also when you first get your press, check the tolerance on the subplate vs the drive and shim it with arbor shims to get it to between .003 and .004. It makes all the difference in a smooth press.

 

How to Tune: https://www.ar15.com/forums/armory/How_to_tune_the_Hornady_Lock_N_Load_AP_progressive_press/42-414607/

Arbor Shims: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C2GPJ4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_image_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Edited by El Cubano
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Brass will gall on the cowboy expander, because the sizer is not larger than standard. The set only differs in the expander. I found the set worthless, put it back in the case, and ordered RCBS Cowboy, the real deal.

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Posted (edited)

I should have included this in my original post.  I did call them and they indicated that the non-Cowboy expander did not expand as much, but that probably wouldn’t matter. But then he went on to say I should keep an out for any shavings from the bullet insertion.  That’s what makes me uncomfortable.

 

i just got off the phone with MidwayUSA and they said I could return the set even though I cut the UPC off the box for a promotion.  Great company and they had the lowest price for the press ($430).  I’m going to return the dies and get the correct die set.

 

By checking the set descriptions I also found that both the expander and seating dies are different, another reason to get the right set.

Edited by Mountain Man Gramps

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I use Lyman (45 Colt) and RCBS (38/357) dies in my Dillon 550C with Lee factory crimp dies and have no problems whatsoever with lead shaved. I don't even use to much of a bell on the case mouth. The FC dies are great and give a nice finished product. I find setting a minor bell extends case life and still allows for smooth bullet feeding. For what its worth, when using a Lee single stage, I was getting most of my off-brand cases not fitting through the case checker; with the Dillon and the Lee FCD, 99.5% of loaded cartridges slide right in.

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I ordered the standard Hornady .357 dies when I purchased my LNL-AP even though I already owned a set of RCBS dies.  The only problem I had was not being able to get enough flare on a .38 Special case with the one piece Expander Die even screwing it down as far as it would go.  I used my RCBS Expander Die which allows for more adjustment.  I sent the Die to Hornady with a couple of expanded cases.  Not sure whether they replaced it or modified the original Die but it worked fine when I got it back.

 

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After readng everyone's input and more research, I have sent back the Hornady die set and ordered a RCBS Cowboy 38 die set.  Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.

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19 minutes ago, Mountain Man Gramps said:

After readng everyone's input and more research, I have sent back the Hornady die set and ordered a RCBS Cowboy 38 die set.  Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.

Did you even try them?:huh:

OLG

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If I use them, I can’t return them.  I chose instead to get dies specifically designed for my application while that choice was still available.

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Sheesh, I dunno what Hornady has been up to recently.

 

I have been loading 38 Special, 38-40, 44 Special, and 45 Schofield for years on my Lock & Load AP. with standard Hornady dies. There were no special 'cowboy' dies, just one set does all. For 45 Schofield I use the Hornady 45 Colt die set, with the seating/crimp die screwed down far enough for the shorter Schofield case. I can't even find most of those calibers on their website now.

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4 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

Sheesh, I dunno what Hornady has been up to recently.

 

I have been loading 38 Special, 38-40, 44 Special, and 45 Schofield for years on my Lock & Load AP. with standard Hornady dies. There were no special 'cowboy' dies, just one set does all. For 45 Schofield I use the Hornady 45 Colt die set, with the seating/crimp die screwed down far enough for the shorter Schofield case. I can't even find most of those calibers on their website now.

 

No proof what so ever.  But I'm thinking why back when the handgun die sets were made with the assumption you were going to load cast lead bullets.  I think in more modern times they have changed to assume you're going to load jacketed bullets of smaller diameter.  

 

I've opened up some sizing dies because they were sizing the bejeezes out of the case and leaving a pronounced waistline.  The expander dies were too small also. Hard to widen them out. 

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