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Thread: Will .38 special dies work for .357maximum?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Will .38 special dies work for .357maximum?

    I just bought a set of dies off of evil bay, advertised as Hornady 38/357. When I opened them up today, they were only .38 special dies. I understand the max case is simply a lengthened .357. Will these dies work for me? They were not identified correctly, so I don't have a problem returning them. Thanks, Tom

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    They will work fine if the expander and seater are backed off
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    They may or may not work. I have a set of Hornady dies marked 38/357 and they work. I got these dies when I had a set labeled 38 that DID NOT work. They were too short to be adjusted enough to use. I think you're probably safe trying them and still sending them back if they don't though. Could be someone else already switched the dies in the box?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master



    atr's Avatar
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    you could also try a spacer with a thickness to match the difference between the .38 and .357 Max
    I have used spacers on my older .38 dies when sizing .357Magnum
    atr
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
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    I use spacers to change from 38 Spec. to .357 mag. when using a single stage press. Keeps the lock nuts in place.
    Once I started using turret presses with the removable turret plates, I just made some "dedicated" plates for each & did not use the spacers.

    You can buy spacers from most reloading suppliers, etc., but if ya like, you can go to a hardware store like Ace, and take a micrometer or vernier calipers with you & go thru their "specialty" washer selections & find washers that will work as well. I have done that myself on occasion for others.

    It is the same with 44 Spec. & 44 mag. but it is a different spacer thickness.

    With your 357 Maximium, you will have to either go seaarch for the spacers online, or find out what the thickness is & go look thru the hardware store selctions to find them.

    You can go to Graingers, or a store like that, but IME, they are usually much more expensive than hardware stores like an Ace Hardware.

    G'Luck! whatever you decide!


    P.S. - If you have difficulty finding what ya seek, let me know the thickness of the spacer & I can go look at my local Ace for you. I have a Grainger about 20 miles from me & occasionally go by there, so I could check there as well. Just to help out if ya can't find what ya want.


    P.P.S. - You can also grind or sand the thickness if you find one that is close but just a little thicker by using a grinder, or what I usually do, use a belt sander with some course grit, like 60- 80 grit. Do most of it while holding in a vice grip & then finish up by turning it around for what is left over.

    Once again, G'Luck!
    Last edited by JBinMN; 01-14-2019 at 08:11 PM.
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  6. #6
    Just measure the 2 cases (38 & 357) and you'll know the difference. set up for 38, set the lock rings then add spacers for the 357.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    Spacers--yes! That's what I do also-- works great
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  8. #8
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    Numbers I have are -

    38 Special 1.155 in (29.3 mm)
    357 Magnum 1.290 in (33.0 mm) 0.135
    357 Rem Maximum 1.605 in (40.8 mm) 0.450 0.315

    so a 0.135" and a 0.315" spacer stacked, or a 0.45" spacer, would set a 38 Special Mouth Expanding die (if any) and the seating die up "just right" for .357 Max. You'd leave the size die "as is", hopefully it is sufficiently long for the Max case to fit? If not, you have an issue.

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