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Question about Lee 38 S&W die set


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Someone donated to our club what is purported to be (by way of a hand-written note on the top of the case) a 38 S&W die set.  The set does have with it a Lee instruction sheet for reloading 38 S&W, and both the expander die and the seating die say Lee 38 S&W on them, but the sizer die says Lee 38 auto.  I've found a little discussion in another forum that that suggests Lee may substitute a 38 auto sizer die for a 38 S&W die in this set, but I can't find any "official" information about it.  Is this set correct as it is for reloading 38 S&W?   Thanks in advance for any insight you have on this.

 

Hellbender

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Seems odd as 38 Auto is a straight wall case. .384 in diameter. While the 38 S&W has a slight taper to it. .3855 neck and .3862 base diameter.

 

That said, it will work as the 38 auto die will size the case just slightly smaller in diameter than the 38 S&W specification. 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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54 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

Seems odd as 38 Auto is a straight wall case. .384 in diameter. While the 38 S&W has a slight taper to it. .3855 neck and .3862 base diameter.

 

That said, it will work as the 38 auto die will size the case just slightly smaller in diameter than the 38 S&W specification. 

That's great information, thanks!

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My Lee .38 Short Colt set (which is about 20 years old) has the following dies.

 

Sizer - .38 Special

Expander .38 S&W

Seater - .38 Auto

 

Lee sells about two sets of these calibers evey 10 years.  They ain't gonna make custom dies with that volume of sales.  They make up the sets with whatever dies they have that will work.  .0007" taper ain't gonna mean diddly poop.

 

DSC_0001.jpeg

Edited by Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933
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1 hour ago, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

My Lee .38 Short Colt set (which is about 20 years old) has the following dies.

 

Sizer - .38 Special

Expander .38 S&W

Seater - .38 Auto

 

Lee sells about two sets of these calibers evey 10 years.  They ain't gonna make custom dies with that volume of sales.  They make up the sets with whatever dies they have that will work.  .0007" taper ain't gonna mean diddly poop.

 

DSC_0001.jpeg

Thanks for letting me know that!

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38 S&W is not something you normally see in SASS , its common to those of us that shoot commonwealth WWII revolvers - it interchanges with their cartridges of the time , 

 

i could be wrong here but i think the diameter is significantly different that 38 colt or 38 spcl , thus not really applicable to our sport , not to say its not valuable to have it , i shoot them , i have revolvers that take them , but ive never tried them in anything else so if there is someone with better info - go for it 

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8 hours ago, watab kid said:

38 S&W is not something you normally see in SASS , its common to those of us that shoot commonwealth WWII revolvers - it interchanges with their cartridges of the time , 

 

i could be wrong here but i think the diameter is significantly different that 38 colt or 38 spcl , thus not really applicable to our sport , not to say its not valuable to have it , i shoot them , i have revolvers that take them , but ive never tried them in anything else so if there is someone with better info - go for it 

 

I use .38 S&W in some of my SASS guns, as well as my Webleys and other Commonwealth pistols.   It does use a .360" bullet, as opposed to a .358" for .38 Short/Long/Special/.357.   

I'll have to check my Lee set of dies when I get home to see about what they are marked.   I just know that using that set that the cartridges fit just fine in ,Merwin & Hulbert and Iver Johnson pocket pistols, Mark IV Webley, Australian and Canadian issue S&W Victory models, and my S&W New Model 3 revolver.   Shoots great in all of them.

The .38 S&W is a fun caliber to shoot and is chambered in many interesting old pistols.  The only thing to be wary of is that is is possible to underload it, leading to a bullet stuck in the barrel.   So be careful with that.

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my pocket pistols are .38 SW but my die set for ‘em aren’t Lee’s

 

I miss those OWSS matches at Chabot, lots more pocket pistol stages than other monthly’s.

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My 38 SW Lee sizer die 38 auto

 

my 32SW Lee sizer dies 32ACP

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As others have said, the .380 Auto depriming/sizing die is standard in a Lee .38 S&W die set.  This is a very common caliber for pocket pistols.  If your club ever has a pocket pistol side-match, I can guarantee there some of them would be in .38 S&W.  I have one.

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Thanks for all those answers, pards!  I myself shoot in pocket pistol side matches but I don't reload my own - I use factory loads.  I only reload 38 special with a Dillon Square Deal B so I didn't know much about that Lee 38 S&W die set that was donated to us.  Now that I do know the 38 auto sizing die is supposed to be part of the set, I'll go ahead and put  the set up for sale on the Wire Classifieds to bring in more $$$ for our fundraiser.

 

Hellbender

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32 minutes ago, Hellbender said:

Thanks for all those answers, pards!  I myself shoot in pocket pistol side matches but I don't reload my own - I use factory loads.  I only reload 38 special with a Dillon Square Deal B so I didn't know much about that Lee 38 S&W die set that was donated to us.  Now that I do know the 38 auto sizing die is supposed to be part of the set, I'll go ahead and put  the set up for sale on the Wire Classifieds to bring in more $$$ for our fundraiser.

 

Hellbender

I didn’t know you shot pocket pistols :P

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20 hours ago, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

My Lee .38 Short Colt set (which is about 20 years old) has the following dies.

 

Sizer - .38 Special

Expander .38 S&W

Seater - .38 Auto

 

Lee sells about two sets of these calibers evey 10 years.  They ain't gonna make custom dies with that volume of sales.  They make up the sets with whatever dies they have that will work.  .0007" taper ain't gonna mean diddly poop.

 

DSC_0001.jpeg

The set I bought new about 10 years ago is the same. The literature that came with the set said .38 S&W / .38 Colt New Police

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26 minutes ago, Hoss said:

I didn’t know you shot pocket pistols :P

Very funny Hoss.  I'm going to beat you one of these days!  Don't take that as a threat, or even as a promise.  It's just a fantasy :lol:

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9 hours ago, Boulder Canyon Bob# 32052L said:

I have a new set of Lee 38 S&W dies and the sizer / deprimer says 38 Auto

So does mine.

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