Author Topic: Lifetyme Two-Stage Carbide .38 Spl Sizing Die  (Read 2601 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Active Members
  • ***
  • Posts: 93
  • Star Universal owner since 1979
    • View Profile
Lifetyme Two-Stage Carbide .38 Spl Sizing Die
« on: January 31, 2022, 03:53:58 pm »
Some time back, I received a 2-stage carbide .38 Special sizing die as part of a Star parts bundle listing I purchased from an online auction website.
The outside appearance is the same as a "regular" Star Lifetyme .38 Spl carbide die, except for the "2S" marking between Lifetyme and .38 Spl.  This particular die was evidentially originally stamped as a regular 38 die, then restamped with the "2S" and a second .38 Spl marking.  On the inside, the second carbide ring is clearly visible.

A couple of questions for the group:

  • What are the situations or circumstances for needing to use the 2-stage sizing die when loading .38 Special ammo?
  • If there is goodness gained from using the 2-stage die, can/should it be used for loading .357 Mag ammo?

I remember reading long ago that the Star dual-ring ("two-stage") .45 ACP sizing die was a specialty die just for very thin-walled cases.  (Certain Remington cases, I believe.)  I don't recall hearing about when the dual-ring .38 Special die is called for.
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
Star owner since 1979


  • Active Members
  • ***
  • Posts: 480
    • View Profile
Re: Lifetyme Two-Stage Carbide .38 Spl Sizing Die
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2022, 04:37:56 pm »

It has been many years, so hopefully my memory does well.

The early Remington and Western 38 cases had thin walls. (Ammo loaded for Match Shooting.)

The standard sizing die did not reduce the diameter enough to allow a friction fit with the bullet.

This was at the time where 38 Special bullets were sized from 0.354" - 0.360".

The autoloaders were common to 0.356" and smaller groove diameters. The Revolver was usually 0.358".

So, Star had some "2S" dies made up. The lower ring just sizes the case minimally. The upper ring sized the neck portion smaller to allow proper seating with the bullet.

I do not think it would offer any benefit to 357 Magnum cases.




  • Active Members
  • ***
  • Posts: 501
  • Distinguished Pistol Shot
    • View Profile
    • The Firing Line
Re: Lifetyme Two-Stage Carbide .38 Spl Sizing Die
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2022, 08:59:12 am »
I was never aware of this.
I had a second .38 head, included with a .38 machine that dated from the 50s. Both were set up for loading the exact same load. Never looked at the dies. Could not fathom why someone would have two exact same head set-ups. Until now! The second had the same 2S die! Now I know why!

Thanks Dave.


"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"