Questions: (Hat tip to Lyman 310 Tool Q&A)
What is the difference between the Small and Large handles?
The Large handles have a longer boss (3/4 inch long) for rifle dies to thread into. Pistol dies may end up being too short in the Long die.The handle length is the same.
The large boss measures 1.425" from the inside of the handle to the outer end; the short boss mikes 1.050". You could trim the boss of a large handle back about 3/8" until the pistol dies work OK
Old vs New Dies: (Adapter Die)
Old style is basically case specific. New style uses a threaded Adapter Die that fits the case head. The Adapter Die fits into a threaded hole that is counter-bored slightly on the inside, and has a screw adjustable hook projecting into it from the opposite handle. The reason for the counter-bore is to provide a stop shoulder for the case insert, which should be threaded into the handle (from the inside) as far as possible, and stopping with the groove in the case insert aligned with the hook. In use, this hook will drop into the recess and snag on the case rim, and pull it out when the handles are opened. Use the adjustment screw to assure it is set properly for your type of ammo. The Adapter Die has the same number as the Priming Chamber.
5 Die vs 4 Die Set vs 3 Die Set
A five die set has (1) decapper, (2) priming chamber, (3) muzzle resizer [MR], (4) muzzle expander [M die type], and (5) DA [double adjustable] chamber.
A four die set has (1) Neck Resize / Decap (MR / Decapper combo), (2) Neck Expanding [M die type], (3) Priming Chamber, and (4) DA [Double Adjustable] chamber.
A 3 die set (Truline/310) has no priming chamber, thus will be 3 die sets, ie MR/decapper + expander die + DA (seater).
The Tru-Line Jr. press started out by using the 310 dies, but the later version with the two-piece linkage (a straight, blued metal link driving a second, L-shaped link on each side) used dies having full-length sizing capability for pistol cases and shorter rifle cases like the .222 family, the .22 Hornet, etc. They take a special shell-holder, but you can get an adapter from Lyman that takes RCBS-type ones. The priming system is pretty poor on these, but priming separately in the 310 tool gives you a chance to inspect and clean pockets as I prefer to do.
Interchangeability of Old Style to New Style:
Find the caliber of the cartridge, then the number of the Adapter Die. Any other cartridge having the same Adapter Die number is interchangeable in those handles.
What Reloading Tools use 5/8 Dies?
The Ideal/Lyman 310 Tool, Tru-Line Junior Press, and the Ezy-Loader.
What is the thread?
Small and Large Handles use .609" x 30 (5/8x30). There are "Special" dies with a different thread.
Lyman Part number 7837786 (10 pack).
Can I use these in a standard 7/8 X 14 press?
Yes, use a Lyman 7/8"-14 Thread Adapter for 310 Dies and Model 55 Powder Measure, part number 7392036.
Will the 310 Tool Full Length Size?
No. Neck size only. There was a separate full length tool, where you forced the case into the die, then used a steel rod to pound the case back out.
What Seating Screw goes with my Cast bullet?
The 310 Tool cast bullet seating screw uses the same number as the Lyman Top Punch used to size your bullet.
What are the changes?
Paul B says: I have and use the Lyman 310 tools quite a bit. However, I do not like the current version as well as earlier models. The older version neck sized only and you decapped with a separate die. There was five dies to the set. Current versions only have four dies, the decapper also neck sizes at the same time. For some reason, this seems to make neck sizing and decapping a bit more stiff doing the process.
Wheezengeezer says: The dies are the 5/8-30 thread which is used on all but the special handles. A 4 die set will have a deprime/neck size, prime, expand, and a seat/crimp. The 310 came out after WW2, were steel handles and had the caliber stamped on them.An adjustable rim hook was added in 57 along with a threaded adaptor to allow different case sizes. In 58 the handles were changed to an aluminum alloy. The pistol and small rifle used the small handles and longer cases used large. The threads were the same but the threaded boss was longer for the large. The special used a larger thread and was used on few large rifle calibers such as 348 Win. I have several sets and load several rifle and handgun calibers.I can send some scans of the user manual and also die code information.The older dies were only marked with a number. Any die set marked with FL is not intended for use with the 310 or the early TruLine JR. I prefer the feel of priming with the 310 or my prewar #10 above anything else.You can make quality ammo with the 310 and keep it and cases, powder, primers and bullets in a shoebox
Now this explains some oddities- why there are more dies listed on ebay versus what are listed in the various manuals that I've seen.
Install Adapter Die (From LASC's "How to Reload with a Lyman 310 Tool")
Opening the handles, you will see that the threaded hole is counter-bored slightly on the inside, and has a screw adjustable hook projecting into it from the opposite handle. The reason for the counter-bore is to provide a stop shoulder for the case insert, which should be threaded into the handle (from the inside) as far as possible, and stopping with the groove in the case insert aligned with the hook. In use, this hook will drop into the recess and snag on the case rim, and pull it out when the handles are opened. Use the adjustment screw to assure it is set properly for your type of ammo. The Adapter Die has the same number as the Priming Chamber.
Neck Resizing and Decapping
The de-capping chamber is screwed into the handles. By adjusting the chamber and de-capping rod depth, you can vary how close the handles close for your best grip strength or reach. This is the replacement die of the set and it came with three extra de-capping pins. The first time a crimp primed military case was de-capped, I knew why. They are very hard to push out and the flash holes are not necessarily in the center of the primer pocket. After the military crimp is removed or with commercial cases, de-capping was easily done with light finger pressure. A hook on the handles extracts the case after each operation.
There is a Universal Decapping Die, I'll need either a line drawing or one in my hands in order to guesstimate what it looks like. [ed.]
Muzzle Resizing [MR] Die
This is my rendition of a Muzzle Resizing [MR] Die. (Ed.)
One of the dies will have a white steel plug through the top, and an apparently oversized button will be visible
inside it. This is the expander die, a most useful accessory whether you are loading jacketed or cast bullets. I have Tong Tool expanders for every caliber you can imagine, and use a 7/8x14 bushing to add them to every set of conventional dies I buy. But just start threading yours into the handle of your tong tool, and drop an empty neck sized case in the bushing side. Ideally, it should drop down below level, or nearly so. Adjust the die and the expander so that the empty case is about 1/4 or 3/8 inch above flush with the handles, and squeeze them shut. Now open the handles to extract the case, and try to insert a bullet (sized and lubed if you are using cast) in the mouth of the case. It should not go in at this point, at least with most cases. Now replace the case, and squeeze and release the handles. Screw the die or expander button in a bit further and squeeze the handles again. Repeat until you feel a very slight ‘pop’ when the handles are squeezed. This signals the expansion of the mouth of the case, and this operation is generally referred to as ‘belling’ the case.
One of the dies will look like half of it has been cut away, and this will have a recess that fits the base of the case
you are loading. It will also have the large end of a spring loaded plunger on the other end. This is the primer seating die. Screw the plunger end into the handles until closing them will press the small end of the plunger just past flush with the case cutaway, and lock the die in position.
Pick up a fresh primer and place it on the small end of the plunger, with the anvil forward, and the smooth end of the primer touching the plunger. Place a sized, de-primed case in the recess, and squeeze the handles. This will cause the plunger to press the fresh primer into the primer pocket. Check your settings by standing the primed case on a flat sheet of glass. It should stand firmly, with no tendency to rock or wobble. If it does wobble, you either have a burr on the casing, or the primer isn’t deep enough, and the die needs to be readjusted. This is a fairly slow priming process, but very well designed: The primer is seated gently and slowly, with no danger of igniting it by impact, as there is in the Lee Loader. I can’t say it’s impossible, but I’ve used the Tong Tool for decades, and never experienced one, even when I encountered very obviously defective cases with primer pockets so shallow that a primer couldn’t be seated at all. With a little practice, the process becomes automatic: I’ve spent untold hours watching television while I primed cases by feel: The feel of both primers and cases are quite distinctive, and this allows them to be handled with assurance.
Bullet Seating and Crimping
Once the sized and re-primed case has been belled and charged, it is time to seat the bullet of your choice.
There is but one die left, and it’s the bullet seating die. It’s also readily recognized by the threaded stem in its center. Thread it into the handles until it begins to push an empty case above flush. Then back it out several turns and lock the setting. Now back the threaded stem out as far as it will go. Holding the handles so that the seating die is tilted upwards, insert a case (sized, primed and charged with both powder and a bullet) as far as it will go. It should go past the flush position to indicate that the bullet has not been seated at all. Close the handles and begin screwing the center post down until it is stopped by contacting the bullet. Hold the handles loosely while you screw the center post a bit further, then squeeze the handles tightly. This should seat the bullet into the case mouth by the distance you moved the center post. Note the distance that remains to seat the bullet where you want it, and approach that point in small steps. Once the settings are producing the results you want, lock them in with the usual locknut.
[ed.] The cast bullet seating stem is the same as the Lyman Top Punch number.
Example: the 245496 uses a 203 Top Punch. Therefore you would use a #203 seating stem.
Bullet Sizing Die
One seldom seen accessory for the tong tool was called a sizing chamber. No, it didn’t size the case, it sized cast bullets. It was a threaded sleeve that was bored out for a loose slip fit that enabled a cast bullet to drop down to the very end. At the end, it was stopped by a constriction sort of like the choke in a shotgun barrel. This constriction could be ordered in a variety of diameters, and determined the size of the bullet that was forced through it by a push rod that was powered by compressing the handles. Ideally, the bullet was forced through base first to prevent fins from forming because of out-of-round bullets from less than ideal molds.
I sure pushed a lot of lead through these sizers, but they had to be lubed first. They were a real pain at times, because the excess lube would be scraped off and get everywhere. Some of it got on the base of the next slug to be pushed through, and forced you to wipe the base on a bit of cloth before loading it. And some of it got squeezed back along the push rod, making it harder to remove for the next bullet unless it was cleaned out periodically. I still have a few of these sizing chambers, but it’s been many a year since they were used.
Note: These are available from The 310 Shop (ed.)
Stock Bullet Sizing Chamber and Plug (The 310 Shop will make darn near any size you want.)
.223 .224 .225 .226 .228 .243 .244 .245 .257 .264
.266 .278 .280 .285 .287 .299 .301 .308 .309 .310
.311 .312 .313 .320 .321 .323 .338 .350 .356 .357
.358 .360 .366 .375 .379 .401 .403 .410 .412 .424
.427 .428 .429 .430 .431 .439 .446 .448 .450 .451
.452 .454 .457 .509 .512 .515