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4 Die Set vs 3 Die Set in 38/357 Mag

This is a discussion on 4 Die Set vs 3 Die Set in 38/357 Mag within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; What does the 4 die give you that a 3 die set won't do? I load and shoot for 38/357 in a BH revolver and ...


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Old January 25th, 2011, 11:43 AM   #1
 
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4 Die Set vs 3 Die Set in 38/357 Mag

What does the 4 die give you that a 3 die set won't do? I load and shoot for 38/357 in a BH revolver and Rossi 92 rifle.

Walt



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Old January 25th, 2011, 11:58 AM   #2
 
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The Lee Factory Crimp Die has been kicked around, dragged through the mud, and thrown out in the cold on this forum alone. I tend to like the post sizing, and separate crimping offered by the FCD. There are those that say it alters the bullet seating depth and that they don't like the crimp it does. The carbide sizing ring in it is supposed to be a couple of thousands of an inch over the max cartridge diameter. So if it swages your bullets down you either have an out of spec die or brass/bullet. I use them and I like them but you will hear different about them.

I am assuming you mean the Lee four die set, you didn't say what brand.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 12:03 PM   #3
 
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Shamelessly lifted from the Lee website...

Lee Deluxe 4 Die Set: "The Lee Deluxe Pistol Die Set combines the world's most popular carbide three-die set with the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die at a great price. No other die set at any price will produce more reliable or accurate ammo.

By separating the seating and crimping operation, you will benefit by a greatly simplified adjustment. More importantly, the Carbide Factory Crimp Die post sizes your case assuring you that any round that passes through the die will chamber properly in your gun."

"LEE CARBIDE PISTOL DIES

We use a solid carbide insert, ground to a special contour that does not leave the objectional belt mark on the case, common to ordinary carbide dies. With a carbide sizer, no case lube is needed, and you don't even have to clean your cases.

No need for a taper crimp die, plus better accuracy with Lee Dies. Taper crimp dies are used to correct the problems caused by the improper expanding plug design or adjustment. They distort the bullet shank and reduce accuracy. Because the Lee Expander flares the minimum amount, consistent with easy bullet insertion, all of the flare is removed with the bullet seating die, thus eliminating the need for a taper crimp die."
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Old January 25th, 2011, 12:07 PM   #4
 
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You must have got that email from Natchez.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 01:47 PM   #5
 
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Yep, got the email
I have a 4 die set (Lee as was guessed) for my 9mm and I am very happy with the way it works. I also have the 3 die set for both 38 and 357 (one of each), and also am happy with the results. Of course I am using a roll crimp on these dies with the straight wall cases. I guess my question should have been, will the 4th die in the 38/357 die set apply a roll crimp or a taper crimp?

Walt
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Old January 25th, 2011, 10:49 PM   #6
 
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Roll crimp. I have this same die set. Same applies for any other "revolver" cartridge die sets, too.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 02:11 PM   #7
 
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Whether you use the LFCD or not I would at least buy another seating die and remove the seating punch and use it as a crimping die this applies more to turret and progressive presses. I have always gotten better results crimping at a separate stage from seating, especially with cast bullets.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #8
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I see Lee is the only brand mentioned .... most other companies also offer 4 die sets or offer a "crimp only" die. Like mentioned above, the primary difference is a 3-die set has the crimp and bullet seater in the same die ... however these functions can be seperated with single stage presses. I also support the 4-die concept and think seating and crimping in different steps increases quality.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 07:21 PM   #9
 
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I also use the Lee 4 die sets for most of the handgun cartridges I load.The only one at present I dont have is for my .41 Mag,but I like the way it crimps my .38 and 9mm.I guess I will have to spend the 15 bucks one of these days and pick one up.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 10:40 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newtmaker View Post
What does the 4 die give you that a 3 die set won't do? I load and shoot for 38/357 in a BH revolver and Rossi 92 rifle.

Walt
I bought the 4 die set just to have it, but I have yet to use the 4th die. The 3rd die is just fine for seating and crimping for the 38/357 (which is all I reload).
The 4 die set isnt much more, so its nice to have it just in case.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 10:45 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newtmaker View Post
Yep, got the email
I have a 4 die set (Lee as was guessed) for my 9mm and I am very happy with the way it works. I also have the 3 die set for both 38 and 357 (one of each), and also am happy with the results. Of course I am using a roll crimp on these dies with the straight wall cases. I guess my question should have been, will the 4th die in the 38/357 die set apply a roll crimp or a taper crimp?

Walt
My guess is that the 4th die just adds a level of unnecessary abuse to your brass and will shorten its life (unless youre not crimping with die 3).
With the third die I can seat the bullet and get just a slight crimp at the very edge of the brass. Ive yet to have a single bullet move in the casing, so it must be working ok.
Im trying to be as easy on my brass as I can so they last as long as possible.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 04:40 PM   #12
 
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I feel that I can adjust my crimp better on the 4th die. I shoot .357 too and use both the firearms you list. I shoot lead so, I tapped the carbide sizing ring out of the 4th die so it wouldn't have the oppertunity to swag down my rounds. But I do feel the 4th die does a better job than the seating and crimping die all in one.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 05:47 PM   #13
 
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Depends on how you adjust it. I don't know about other brands, since I haven't used them much, but with the Lee seating/crimping die vs. the FCD, I find no appreciable difference in the quality of the crimp. This is with crimps from light to medium (medium is for my Magnum-style loads).

The combo seating/crimping die is probably the most complex of the dies to adjust, and I've found that a lot of people don't know how to do it. Fortunately, we've now got a video for that. :-)
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Old April 10th, 2011, 08:52 AM   #14
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I found that removing the carbide sizing ring on my FCD eliminated the problem of the die swaging the lead bullets to small diameter and affecting the diameter of the bullet. I took an empty casing inverted it, dropped it in the die and then using a punch in the primer pocket, and drove the ring out. Be exteremely carefull of the die's external or internal threads, or you can ruin the die permanently. I messed up the threads because I didn't protect them, but, I managed to recover from the damage.
I now have two sets of this die. One with the ring, one without!

Ring removed, left. Ring intact, right....



Insert a case, mouth-end first, into the top of the die....



Actually, I inverted the case before inserting in the die, opposite of what is shown below.....



And then used a pointed punch, with the point in the primer pocket to drive the ring out.....



Last edited by MidLife; April 10th, 2011 at 01:08 PM.
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