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I want to start reloading for my 357 Sig. Have questions about dies.

Discussion in 'TOP GUNS *357 Sig* Club' started by mojo67, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. mojo67


    Nov 22, 2008
    San Antonio,TX
    I'm ready to start reloading for my 357 Sig using an RCBS Sizemaster single stage press. After perusing previous threads, I'm a little confused on which dies to use. Seems there are several opinions/combinations people are using. Is it really that darn difficult to reload for? Do I really need to buy a seperate .40 sizing die? Why can't I just buy a set of Dillon, Lee,Hornady, etc.. dies and get to work?

    If money were no object, what die set/combo would you recommend? My goal is to turn out reloads that are consistent and of good quality with minimal hassle.

    Also, is AA9 still the powder of choice for the Sig? Seems from what I read, it produces high velocities with safe pressures. In addition, it fills the case to capacity helping reduce bullet setback.

    Any bullet recommendations would be appreciated too.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  2. _The_Shadow

    _The_Shadow Ret. Fireman

    Jul 23, 2007
    Southeast, LoUiSiAna
    mojo67, I started with a set of LEE 357Sig dies, while I was able to load with them, I quickly found that using lube sparingly (too little) the sizing die galled and was leaving streaks on the casings.

    I purchased the Dillon dies which have carbide sections for both 10mm body and 9mm neck sections to be far more efficient to make the sizing easier. Glad I got the Dillon set.

    However, the Dillon sizing set doesn't come with the neck expander in the kit, I still use the LEE expander die for this step. Neck tension is crucial to performance and elimination of bullet setback issues. Also if you force the bullet too tightly into the case neck it can crush.

    Be careful of the Speer cases as I have found them to have small flash holes and the flash holes should be drilled out before depriming to avoid damage to the decaping pin. Even LEE's smaller decaping pin will get broken!

    If you run into problems PM me I'll try to help...
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

  3. LZHome


    Nov 15, 2007
    NW Florida
    Dillon dies are what I would recommend and is what I use.

    bullets: 124g FP, Berrys copper plated are good.
  4. Like everyone else I use dillon dies for the carbide. Hornady expander, RCBS seater, lee FCD crimp. I used a bunch of different die sets before I came up with this combo. Dillon with lee would be the best for a single stage.
  5. c5367

    c5367 Esq.

    Aug 1, 2003
    Dillon carbide sizer, Redding expander, Redding competition seater, Lee FCD for crimp.

    The separate Redding expander is great for expanding just barely enough to seat the bullet, and helps to keep good neck tension.

    The competition seating die is fantastic for dialing in OAL just so.
  6. leeward419


    Feb 7, 2010
    43.12 / 77.67
    I use the Dillon Dies, I tried the LEE FCD but could not get it to work any better than the dillon, Im not saying its the die, it may be me and how I set it up, but with some serious adjustment time, the dillon crimp die works fine. That being said, I never take it out of the die "toolhead" and I use the same bullet brand type and weight so once they are adjusted, I dont have to readjust. With a single stage press you will want dies that will minimize set up time. The competition seating dies are great, I use them on other calibers, and highly recommend them. Just didnt have the cash after buying the dillon carbide.

    I have been using alliant blue dot, there are some good posts re loads, ck out Jeff Behrs posts, I also have been using Montana Golds, both SIG bullet in 125 (they now make a JHP in this bullet) and their 9mm 115/124 JHP's , which have straight walls so they work. Many 9mm wont because they have tapered sides as you approach seating length. Roze also makes a 9 that works, email them, they will tell you which one it is, they dont say on the site. If you are buying in lots of 1,000 Roze is cheaper, if you buy in the bigger 3000-4000
    lots montana gold is cheaper. I have used other bullets for different reasons, the above are for target and plinking loads. Hunting etc I would look at Gold dots, barnes copper, Hornady hp xtps. I had loaded 147 HP XTP that were ridiculously accurate with the 357 SIG but they were very difficlult to set up with the dillon crimp die
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  7. Gary Davidson

    Gary Davidson

    Oct 30, 2004
    I have been using Lee dies and they work great. I did have some problems with the dies getting scratched up and causing scratches on the cases. This was caused by reloading Speer Nickel plated cases. I just polished the scratches out of the dies and they work fine now.

    To solve the problem with the small flash holes in Speer cases, I just ground down the Lee decapping pin so that its diameter is small enough to not get stuck in the flash holes.

    My favorite powder for 357 SIG is Accurate #9 for the reasons you stated. It also gives the added benefit that a case full of this powder helps support the bullet to prevent bullet setback upon chambering.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  8. jeffreybehr

    jeffreybehr Silver Member

    Mar 14, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    mojob67, you've just experienced the reality that opinions are just like ***holes--about everbody's got one...and if we're discussing only opinions, some of us have lots more than one. :whistling:

    Here are my opinions and observations. I've reloaded for my 2 357SIG pistols for a couple years, and the last few days I've fallen in love again with the caliber and the 31Gen4 after playing with a 20SF in 10mm. When I restarted reloading a few years ago, for pistols this time, I bought Lee equipment. I've always been amazed that they can make such hi-quality equipment* in the USA for such low prices. I've used Lee 3-piece carbide dies in .40S&W, .45GAP, and 10mm Auto, and 3-piece (noncarbide) Lee dies in 357SIG. Initially I used Hornady spraylube on the 357 cases but soon tired of that and started using a .40S&W carbide resizing die...sans decapping-pin that I don't have to use lube. My 4-hole Lee turret press is really easy to use with the 357SIG 3-piece set plus .40 sizer, so much so that I run the finished rounds thru the sizer to increase reliability of finished rounds, etc. I use the standard seating/crimping die and have NO problems with bullet setback, something that the cartridge can suffer from because of its very short neck.

    So IMO you do NOT need the quite-expensive Dillon cardibe sizing die, but with a single-stage press, you may find yourself tiring of the additional step of sizing with the .40 die. A Lee Classic Turret Press... highly affordable and I urge you to consider buying one. If you decide to use a self-indexing turret press and a .40 sizer and to run finished rounds thru the .40 sizer, you'll need to disable the self-indexer.

    I wrote a blurb about reloading the 357SIG with the long Barnes all-copper bullets here...

    If you get to the stage that you're considering reloading PD rounds, I suggest the (IMO-equally-excellent) Speer 125g. Gold Dot or the less-expensive Hornady XTP bullets.

    Good luck.

    PS. I have a used Lee 4-hole turret press (NOT the Classic) that's surplus and available very inexpensively. E-mail me at jeffreybehr(at)cox(dot)net if you're interested.

    * except for that powder scale which is very awkward to use.