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Thread: Ram for Lyman Spartan Press

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Ram for Lyman Spartan Press

    Fixing up an old Lyman Spartan Press that was given to a friend who is starting to reload. The ram in the press has a set screw to hold the shell holder in and the ram will not accept any of my shell heads. I would like to find a replacement ram that will use the standard shell heads and snap in like an rcbs etc.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Ed in North Texas's Avatar
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    Wow= that must be a really, really old Spartan. The Spartan I bought in the late 60s used standard shellholders. IIRC, Pacific and Herter's were the presses around that time which still used odd shellholders (but don't hold me to that list, it was a long time ago). However, Lyman wasn't using the "snap in" ram back then, both the Spartan and Spar-T (forerunner of the T-Mag) used the set screw to hold the shellholder. I suspect the Spar-T ram is the same as the Spartan. Gave my Spar-T to the youngest son, and would have to really dig to find the Spartan, so can't compare them to tell you for sure they are the same.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    My Spartan uses the same set screw to hold the shell holders. I suspect yours has a burr in the slot for the shell holders. Use a small jewelers file to remove such a burr, should cure your problem. Mine takes all of the manufactures shell head holders, although some are tight. The toolman

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    toolman, didn't notice a burr, but will check it out with a magnifier. I have plenty of jewelers files because I was in the jewelery business for years. Thanks.
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  5. #5
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    My Spartan has a set screw too. It just doesn't have the snap ring to hold the shell holder, it uses the screw instead. I agree there is likely a blockage of some sort.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Toolman and Bret, jumped on the ram with a small flat jewelers file. Just about wore the cutting end off 3 files (they are embedded diamond files) with no success. The shell head will not go in. Going to take it out of the press tomorrow and take a look at it under the microscope. If I can spot anything amiss in the slot, I will try the fordom tool with a small wheel. I that doesn't work. I will call Lyman and see if I can send it to them and get it recut.
    This is an old press that was given to a friend. I dissembled, cleaned, primed, repainted, it and replaced all the snap rings and screw on it. Put it back together and lubricated all the parts. Put it on my bench and couldn't get the shell holder to go in it. Seems to be the story of my life. " Murphy was an optimist ".
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    The old Spartans used the J shell holders. Later on adapters were made and are still available. Any machinist or you can probably do it yourself can clean the old ram up and fit and adapter to it to use the RCBS/universal shellholders and he'll be in business./beagle
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Beagle, The Spartan used a ram that was cut for standard shell holders, but I can't get them to go into this ram. Already ordered a J to X adapter from Lyman. It came today and will not work. I think the j heads were used in the Spar-T press.

    Went over to a friends house today to give him a hand cutting up lumber to make target stands for the range. He has a complete machine shop and said to bring it over and he will take care of it. He stated that if we ruin it, he has a new ram as it was the first press he ever owned. So I think the problem is solved except for returning the adapter to Lyman. Thanks to everyone for their comments and help.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    kmag: As an owner of a couple of spar-t presses please let us know what your machinist found was wrong with your ram.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Duckiller, will let you know, shot in a bowling pin match today and will be busy with construction of target frames for a few days. Will let you know when we find the problem. The press is a Spartan not a Spar-T. I'm not sure what type ram the Spar-T uses. I've loading since 1958 and have used a lot of presses, but never a Lyman. Alter talking with the lady in customer service at Lyman I'm sort of glad I didn't use Lyman's. I don't think she knew anymore about the presses than I did - which is not much.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Pressman's Avatar
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    The Spartan and Spar-T use the same ram. It is a "universal" ram in that it will interchange with about every press made. RCBS. Lyman, C-H sell, or have sold, replacement rams. It is the same ram, dimensionally, as used in the original Pacific of 1930.

    The "lips on the ram can get distorted or bent inward plus it is made to tight tolerances so some brands of shellholders will not fit. File work is required to enlarge the opening both for width and the height of the groove the shellholder slides into.

    Ken

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Think all of you are right. Think it is a burr or the feed lips on the ram bent. Will let you know when we get through building target frames which will take most of this week. Have to mount them in the frames in the 600 yd. pit. Also have to repair some of the frames, rollers, cables and counter-weights to get them going up and down smooth. Think it will make the 600 yd. bench rest shooters happy. Will have time to look into the ram problem then.
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  13. #13
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    That's what you need....a machinist. He'll get it cooking.

    My old Spartan bought way back when had the J shell holder adapters and I got an adapter and it never worked satisfactory for me with the newer shell holders but it never gave up and I passed it on to a fellow out at the club who was just getting into reloading. Pins were all taped to keep them from falling out and it was loose as a goose but never failed me./beagle

    Quote Originally Posted by kmag View Post
    Beagle, The Spartan used a ram that was cut for standard shell holders, but I can't get them to go into this ram. Already ordered a J to X adapter from Lyman. It came today and will not work. I think the j heads were used in the Spar-T press.

    Went over to a friends house today to give him a hand cutting up lumber to make target stands for the range. He has a complete machine shop and said to bring it over and he will take care of it. He stated that if we ruin it, he has a new ram as it was the first press he ever owned. So I think the problem is solved except for returning the adapter to Lyman. Thanks to everyone for their comments and help.
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Pressman's Avatar
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    Beagle, do you have a Spartan? If it uses J shellholders it sounds like a Comet. Big, long leg red C press made for a short time before the Spartan.
    Ken

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Didn't have time to work on the ram today. But run across some old literature on Lyman presses and the "J" type holders were used by the Comet, True-line Jr. and the All American press. I guess they may have been used in some of the Early Spat-T and Spartan presses.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Smack!!! Wake up, John. Yeah, you're right, it was a Comet. Sorry to interrupt the thread with some extraneous BS boys./beagle

    Quote Originally Posted by Pressman View Post
    Beagle, do you have a Spartan? If it uses J shellholders it sounds like a Comet. Big, long leg red C press made for a short time before the Spartan.
    Ken
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

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    there is an adaptor you can buy that will go in the spartan ram shell holder that will allow you to put the regular shell holders in it. The Spartan shell holder is a different set up than what is currently the standard. Lyman sells them.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by beagle View Post
    Smack!!! Wake up, John. Yeah, you're right, it was a Comet. Sorry to interrupt the thread with some extraneous BS boys./beagle
    the comet is a nice old press i use my dads old one all the time its a 1958
    the lyman S/T is my newest press
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Finally solved the mystery! You guys were right the ram had a burr in it. After it was removed the standard holders fit just fine, although it is a tight fit which is good. Thanks everyone.
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  20. #20
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    Ed in North Texas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmag View Post
    Beagle, The Spartan used a ram that was cut for standard shell holders, but I can't get them to go into this ram. Already ordered a J to X adapter from Lyman. It came today and will not work. I think the j heads were used in the Spar-T press.
    The Spar-T, which was updated to the T-Mag, used the exact same shell holders as the Spartan. I owned both, I bought the Spar-T in either the late 60s or 1970 as an upgrade from the Spartan. Used regular universal* shell holders in both. Still have the Spartan kicking around somewhere, and the Spar-T was given to a son and is still in use.

    * Talking about "universal shell holders", to see how "universal" they actually are, try using Lee shell holders in the first model Hornady hand primer tool. It came with adapters for RCBS too, so there is no universality among the shell holders with regard to the hole in the center.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check