Starting from Scratch, and still Learning

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Starting from Scratch, and still Learning

Postby GRV01 » 19 Mar 2017 12

So i want to get into reloading eventually. I really like the Deluxe Lee Breech lock Challenger Kit (item #90080) but its over $200 retail and im moving soon do i dont have anywhere yo put it and id have to disassemble it to pack it up when the time came and to be honest i dont even know if reloading will be my cup of tea blah blah blah

Long story short, "eventually" feels sooner rather than later and with the above in mind i wanted to price out the Lee breech lock hand press kit. Using MidwayUSA ad a one-stop-shop for ease of use i came up with the following shopping cart

$9 - Quick change bushings
$7 - liquid Alox for lubing bullets
$12 - Lee improved powdermeasure kit
$5 - Lee primer pocket cleaner
$33 - Lee 3 die set .357
$52 - Lee breech lock handpress kit
$30 - 250x Hardcast LRNFP .357 diameter 158grn bullets

Stipulations: Powder and Primers would be bought locally to save on hazmat fees, im saving only 357 cases and intend to down grade some rounds to 38 Special power leaving rest as full power 357

Questions: 1) i still dont understand why the 38SP is a 4 die set and 357 is only 3, 2) do i still need Alox if those rounds have a lube ring already on them, 3) without slugging the barrels of all 5 of my 357/38 firearms could i safely shoot the same storebought cast bullets? Is it safer to size up to 358 or 359 or should i be erring smaller to 357 or below? 4) is loading a 38 power load in a 357 case merely a matter of adding less powder or does it start getting into crimps and bullet seat depths and so on?

Thanks
Last edited by GRV01 on 16 Jul 2017 04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 19 Mar 2017 21

Unless you just like messy stuff you don't need the alox as long as you load factory bullets. The hand press is a good way to learn reloading in my opinion. A Lee Loader might even be a little better but it'll likely drive you to the hand press or beyond. My first and only in 9mm had me buying my RockChucker next pay day.

I don't know why the 3 die verses 4 die if they are the grade die sets.

I would probably go with .358.

Yes reduced, but maybe not below minimum powder for the reduced loads. Seated to "normal" 357 length you have more room for combustion and as a result lower pressure.

I would add a powder scale to the list and you should be good to go with a good manual.


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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby 44WCF » 20 Mar 2017 00

The 4 die sets include the factory crimp die, I recommend it for jacketed bullets. The Lee sets are 38 and 357 combo, the same dies work for both cases and Midway carries both the 3 die and the 4 die sets. There is another 3 die set that is for 357mag and 357max, maybe that's what you were seeing?
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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby GRV01 » 20 Mar 2017 03

Okay, cut the 3 die set and wifey has a scale, so added two items

$44 - Lee 4 die set 38/357
$15 - Franklin Armory bullet puller

@44WCF youre right i was looking at 357 Mag/Max but the Lee catalog and Midway both read that the 38/357 4 die doesnt include load data for 357 Mag which is annoying.

@Ohio3Wheels when you say factory bullets youre referring to any bullet thats not cast at home without a lube ring and not specifically *Factory* like Federal, Remington, Hornady? Digging through the Cast Bullet Sources sticky i found a helluva deal (seemingly, im still new) at http://www.summersenterprisesllc.com/38 ... -s/107.htm for 750x 358 158grn LRNFP for barely $40 so like 3¢ a bullet and they come with a lube ring. Feels like i would save alot of time if i didnt have to toss a big ol bowl of bullets in alox but perhaps i still would to prevent leading? Which begs the question if the lube ring and/or Alox is to facilitate seating or to prevent leading?

Regarding powders: wow, talk about confusing. A million and twelve types all with different burn rates, extruded vs flaked, etc -- can anyone recommend a good "starter powder" for basic loads of 357 Mag and 38 Special out of 2" through 20" barrels that is widely supported with load data? Trail Boss? (just a guess)
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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby Ranch Dog » 20 Mar 2017 07

The 357 Mag would be the way to go and not worry about anything 38 Spl. Using light charges with 357 Mag components will avoid cartridge cycling issues and carbon rings in the throat, known conditions for the R92.

The difference in the 38 Spl/357 Mag die set (4 dies) and the 357 Mag die set (3 dies) is that the first has a Handgun Carbide Factory Crimp Die and the latter doesn't. Buy the 357 Mag 3 die set (90511) and then buy the 357 Mag Collet Style Factory Crimp Die (90813).

  • 357 Mag 3 Die Set - 90511
  • 357 Mag Collet Style Factory Crimp Die - 90813
  • Lock-Ring Eliminator bushings 2-pack, order two - 90063
  • 357 Mag Case Trimmer - 90158
  • Case Conditioning Combo - 90950
  • Improved Powder Measure Kit - 90100
You might consider using Titan Reloading for this purchase. As I listed these items, I placed them in shopping carts in both MidwayUSA and Titan. Before shipping, Midway's total was $154 and Titan's $137. That pays for the Collet FCD and upgraded bushings! I use both retailers, but when it comes to Lee Precision stuff, they are very hard to beat.

I am also going to suggest that you not mess with cast bullets in that you are starting. Buy 100 jacketed bullets and it will eliminate some of the variables that cast brings to the table. Once you work through that first box, you will have a loading routine down and be ready for the cast bullet step. One of the major advantages of jacketed bullets is that there is going to be loading data available if you buy from the major suppliers. Bullet choices; profiles and weights depend on their intended use.

Oh, that scale your wife has. Make sure it can measure in grains and is readable to X.X-grains. If not add the Lee Safety Scale (90681) and be done with it.

Oh, don't forget the Ultimate Kenitic Bullet Puller (QBP1)and the MTM Universal Loading Tray (LT150M30)! Both outfits have those.
Last edited by Ranch Dog on 20 Mar 2017 10, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Added the last two items
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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby CharlieW » 20 Mar 2017 10

can anyone recommend a good "starter powder" for basic loads of 357 Mag and 38 Special out of 2" through 20" barrels that is widely supported with load data?

Unique is a classic powder for .38/357 that is useable in a wide range of applications.
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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby Ranch Dog » 20 Mar 2017 10

CharlieW wrote:can anyone recommend a good "starter powder" for basic loads of 357 Mag and 38 Special out of 2" through 20" barrels that is widely supported with load data?

Unique is a classic powder for .38/357 that is useable in a wide range of applications.


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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby GasGuzzler » 20 Mar 2017 12

H110 or W296
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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 20 Mar 2017 13

Yeah, Unique or Trail Boss for plinking fun, but limit the TB to cast bullets and H110 or 296 for loads with "purpose" but heed the warning not to load either below minimum recommended loadings. I personally have never found the H110/296 "twins" to work very well in my guns at lower loading so I tend to use them for hunting loads in the cases that I use them in. YMMV

A lot of guys don't care for TB but i find that for its intended purpose, low to medium velocity cast bullet loads, it works great in my guns, again YMMV.

Manuals are a necessity and if I could have just one it would be either the Lyman 49th or 50th. After that since I use a lot of their powders I find the Hodgdon annual "magazine/manual' handy, but then there's the rest of the 3 foot shelf that I can fall back on if needed :D .

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Re: Starting from scratch

Postby Ranch Dog » 20 Mar 2017 14

I was looking forward to trying Trail Boss but was disappointed in it. In that it is as light as a feather, it does not meter well. I had hoped to use it in my 218 Bee but it is almost impossible to cause it to flow into that 22 caliber case neck.
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