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Thread: My First 310 and A Couple Lee Loaders

  1. #1

    My First 310 and A Couple Lee Loaders

    Hi guys and gals.

    I picked up an Ideal 310 tool in 38 special this morning. In the box with all the dies, instructions and what appears to be an additional die (sizing?) and itís about the same length as the decamping chamber. I ran a piece of brass into it and it really sized it was down. Iím guessing itís a sizing die for another cartridge.
    Either way it was a whopping $15
    I also picked up a vintage paper boxed 30/30 Lee loader ($4) which is perfect for my new (1980) Marlin 336 Texan I picked up a couple weeks back.
    If it doesnít load accurate ammo I can use the Lee Target Model Zero Error 30/30 loader ($8) that was on the table right near it.

    Just spent some time dialing in the 310 dies and adding #7 lead shot under the set screw for the lock rings.
    The dies all need a good cleaning because theyíre covered in old lube.
    Iím going to try to run a batch of 50 with the tool tonight.

    I love my Lee loaders but this tong tool is pretty cool.

    Any tips and tricks for using it? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Gtrubicon's Avatar
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    I have jumped into the 310 world in the last year. I’ll bet ya breakfast you’ll buy more! They are a very easy tool to use, I have my 12 year old son using them to deprime and neck size his 250 savage and 270 brass. We just do it in batches. It’s nice because we can use them in the house. It’s cold out in the shop where all the reloading equipment is. I found that I like the priming die better than my other RCBS hand primers, a much better feel when seating the primer.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master TNsailorman's Avatar
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    You guys are killing me. I'm trying my darn best to stay out of the 310 business and you ain't helping any. james

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    barrabruce's Avatar
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    I would really like that target loader in 30-30.
    please send pics.
    I thought they made one in this caliber but never come accoss one.
    tell me how it goes if you ever use it.

    I love them and tong tools because Im not bound to one spot either.

  5. #5
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    Here she is. Cool little set of tools.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    To me I see a normal seater and also the micro adjustable body.
    How does the reamer align into the die body for neck reaming?
    Is it the back blob in front of the primer seater.
    Thanks.
    It certainly is a complete reloading set-up besides a chamfer tool.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    You do know that neck sized reloads are not recommended for lever actions, don't you?
    Micah 6:8
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by barrabruce View Post
    To me I see a normal seater and also the micro adjustable body.
    How does the reamer align into the die body for neck reaming?
    Is it the back blob in front of the primer seater.
    Thanks.
    It certainly is a complete reloading set-up besides a chamfer tool.
    The blob is a chamfer and de burr tool.
    The reamer aligns through the top of the sizing die.

    Quote Originally Posted by William Yanda View Post
    You do know that neck sized reloads are not recommended for lever actions, don't you?
    Yes. I didn’t buy it with the intent to be my only loader for 30/30. I have a full loading set up for that already.
    I bought it as a curio like the rest of my Lee loaders which I use from time to time for fun.
    With my experience as long as you can get the brass all the way into the die you’re all set for chambering.
    This goes for every Lee loader of every cartridge I’ve tried them in. Including 9mm for auto loaders.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J. Spangler View Post
    The blob is a chamfer and de burr tool.
    The reamer aligns through the top of the sizing die.


    Yes. I didn’t buy it with the intent to be my only loader for 30/30. I have a full loading set up for that already.
    I bought it as a curio like the rest of my Lee loaders which I use from time to time for fun.
    With my experience as long as you can get the brass all the way into the die you’re all set for chambering.
    This goes for every Lee loader of every cartridge I’ve tried them in. Including 9mm for auto loaders
    .
    Good to Know!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Thatís a great haul, at a great price! Even if you donít use them, theyíre still Cool to have.

    Lightning strikes like that are what keeps me going to Gun Shows.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Great haul MJS. It's refreshing to have somebody post something on this forum page that actually pertains to the topic, and to have a treasure trove like you found is just out-STANDING!! That Lee Target set is a super find all by itself, not only because the 30-30 is a rare example of the breed, but because all of the Zero Error sets come with that great old priming tool for which I have paid more than the amount that whole set cost you. Of course you can get a huge variety of shell holders for it and use it for whatever caliber you desire. You probably already know that, but I'm sure a lot of our readers don't. I have them set up for my favorite calibers, especially the ones I like to batch load at home... I just did 100 rounds of 327 Fed Mag a couple of nights ago while watching TV.

    As for the 310 tool, could that other die be a bullet sizing die? They don't work all that well with the tong tool (at least not as well as in the TruLine Jr press) but I've seen them added to the 310 tool box with the dies that actually belong there. If it is the bullet sizer it will simply have the bullet diameter (such as 357) stamped on it, and originally came with a push rod to move the bullet through. They worked basically the same as the current Lee sizing dies.

    "I love my Lee loaders but this tong tool is pretty cool.

    Any tips and tricks for using it? Thanks!"

    Yep, if you'll do a quick search of topics like "Kitchen Table Reloading" on Google, or even just try a search on this forum for "310 tool" you'll find links to some really thorough U-Tube videos... they're a great place to start. Also, be sure to give the necks of cases a tiny dab of lube since you don't have as much leverage as you are used to with a press or even when you "Whack-a-Mole." I've loaded cartridges from 32 S&W Long to 45-70 with the 310 tool and they all work great, and as you already discovered, even if you don't need to do complete loads on the tong tool you can always do a super job of priming with them.

    Congrats on entering the next phase of your reloading journey. You have chosen well!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    Great haul MJS. It's refreshing to have somebody post something on this forum page that actually pertains to the topic, and to have a treasure trove like you found is just out-STANDING!! That Lee Target set is a super find all by itself, not only because the 30-30 is a rare example of the breed, but because all of the Zero Error sets come with that great old priming tool for which I have paid more than the amount that whole set cost you. Of course you can get a huge variety of shell holders for it and use it for whatever caliber you desire. You probably already know that, but I'm sure a lot of our readers don't. I have them set up for my favorite calibers, especially the ones I like to batch load at home... I just did 100 rounds of 327 Fed Mag a couple of nights ago while watching TV.

    As for the 310 tool, could that other die be a bullet sizing die? They don't work all that well with the tong tool (at least not as well as in the TruLine Jr press) but I've seen them added to the 310 tool box with the dies that actually belong there. If it is the bullet sizer it will simply have the bullet diameter (such as 357) stamped on it, and originally came with a push rod to move the bullet through. They worked basically the same as the current Lee sizing dies.

    "I love my Lee loaders but this tong tool is pretty cool.

    Any tips and tricks for using it? Thanks!"

    Yep, if you'll do a quick search of topics like "Kitchen Table Reloading" on Google, or even just try a search on this forum for "310 tool" you'll find links to some really thorough U-Tube videos... they're a great place to start. Also, be sure to give the necks of cases a tiny dab of lube since you don't have as much leverage as you are used to with a press or even when you "Whack-a-Mole." I've loaded cartridges from 32 S&W Long to 45-70 with the 310 tool and they all work great, and as you already discovered, even if you don't need to do complete loads on the tong tool you can always do a super job of priming with them.

    Congrats on entering the next phase of your reloading journey. You have chosen well!

    Froggie
    I was considering selling the Target loader but I'm really thinking I might keep it now because it's a rare gem. Spending a lot of time with a mentor and very good friend of mine I always love the old curios and reloading tidbits that show the evolution of the hobby (passion, addiction) in its infancy before everything became standardized the way it is today. I think I'm better off keeping it.

    The tool did come with a rather long top punch looking tool that's about 3" long, has a 38 special sized rim for extraction and is very snug fitting to the extra die. The extra die being marked simply 358 as you noted.
    I'm going to try to push a bullet through to see if it works.

    What are your thought on the old steel caliber specific tools vs the new aluminum handled interchangeable tools? I would really love a set that I could interchange for some of the cartridges I load. Specifically the 45/70 because I love going old school on an old school cartridge.

    I did notice that the case mouth sizer die seems to really size down the brass significantly, which is popped right back into spec with the expander of course.
    I may have a new addiction. My mentor and dear friend has a good collection of these old tools including some of the older tools with the bullet mould included. He gave me one for 32 S&W which I never used because I only loaded S&W Long and have since sold the 32 Hand Ejector that would have gone with it. Either way I do really like these tools.
    Thank you for the info!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J. Spangler View Post
    The blob is a chamfer and de burr tool.
    The reamer aligns through the top of the .
    thank-you.
    Much obliged.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNsailorman View Post
    You guys are killing me. I'm trying my darn best to stay out of the 310 business and you ain't helping any. james
    Resistance is futile... you WILL be assimilated! (Cue sound of evil laugh. )
    "It aint easy being green!"

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J. Spangler View Post
    ?.. The tool did come with a rather long top punch looking tool that's about 3" long, has a 38 special sized rim for extraction and is very snug fitting to the extra die. The extra die being marked simply 358 as you noted.
    I'm going to try to push a bullet through to see if it works.

    What are your thought on the old steel caliber specific tools vs the new aluminum handled interchangeable tools? I would really love a set that I could interchange for some of the cartridges I load. Specifically the 45/70 because I love going old school on an old school cartridge.

    I did notice that the case mouth sizer die seems to really size down the brass significantly, which is popped right back into spec with the expander of course.
    I may have a new addiction. My mentor and dear friend has a good collection of these old tools including some of the older tools with the bullet mould included. He gave me one for 32 S&W which I never used because I only loaded S&W Long and have since sold the 32 Hand Ejector that would have gone with it. Either way I do really like these tools.
    Thank you for the info!
    Sounds like you do indeed have a bullet sizer as I guessed. I must admit that although I have several, they have gotten little use from me. The bullets should be lubed prior to sizing so the lube grooves don’t collapse.

    I’m pretty partial to the older, steel handles. I have them for my most commonly loaded calibers as well as my treasured late production steel handles that take the same bushings as the newer alloy type. I had to look long and hard to find both a large and a small set!

    I’ve noticed that some of my neck size dies seem to size down the case necks a bit too much. I think if this dimension were way too small on a die I was going to use a lot I would lap it out to be a more appropriate size. I dislike overworking my brass.

    Old friends are some of our best friends, and old friends we reload with are better yet!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    Sounds like you do indeed have a bullet sizer as I guessed. I must admit that although I have several, they have gotten little use from me. The bullets should be lubed prior to sizing so the lube grooves don’t collapse.

    I’m pretty partial to the older, steel handles. I have them for my most commonly loaded calibers as well as my treasured late production steel handles that take the same bushings as the newer alloy type. I had to look long and hard to find both a large and a small set!

    I’ve noticed that some of my neck size dies seem to size down the case necks a bit too much. I think if this dimension were way too small on a die I was going to use a lot I would lap it out to be a more appropriate size. I dislike overworking my brass.

    Old friends are some of our best friends, and old friends we reload with are better yet!

    Froggie
    Goot to know on the lubing before sizing. I will stick to my lube sizer and my lee dies but for the heck of it I may load a batch through and through with this tool for fun.

    Wow that late model steel sounds like exactly what I would want.... though I did see a video online that said the new model aluminum handles will wear better due to the hardened steel plate that the brass case head rubs on vs the old steel handles wearing down over time.

    Good idea on the lapping. Have you found the old dies to size more than the new production dies?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I've neck-sized 30-30, 303 Savage, 300 Savage, 32 Special... Check whether your brass chambers after firing, if it chambers without difficulty, neck sizing will work just fine. I've used the Lyman 310 for many, many 30-30's. Keeping loads mild, my old favorite was 12-15 grains IMR 4227 with the Lyman 311407 sized .311 in my 1963 Marlin, bought new for $53. I got at 10 plus reloads per case. That was in 1964. The 310 priming is still pretty good, Give the case a half turn and reset the primer to avoid the possibility of a less than perfect primer seat. The priming tool in the Lee might work even better, never tried the Lee hammer method, I guess it works OK.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Excellent haul, especially the target loader. I've used the 30-30 Lee loader with cast bullet loads just NSing w/o any chambering problems in Winchester and a Marlin. With the lighter loads the dipper throws even 311041 loads have not required FL sizing before use. I made two smaller dipper that throw 2.7 gr Bullseye for use with 90 gr SWCs and 5.5 gr Unique for use with a GC'd 311316. I also got the small case mouth flaring tool from Lee for loading cast bullets.

    You'll want to use a plastic headed mallet. Inexpensive on Amazon. I just ordered up a Lee loader for my grandson to use with his new Marlin. I suggest accumulating the following to go with it as it makes it really nice and easy to load. BTW a separate priming tool is very nice to have. Setting a primer off in the standard loader scares the bejesus out of you. You have a separate priming tool in the target loader so you are set. I have loaded thousands of round of .223 and 308W with the Lee target loaders and have recently modified a 30-06 target loader to load my 30x60 XCB cartridge.

    A couple tips;

    Get;
    One of the larger MTM storage boxes, one with an internal tray, as it will hold all your reloading stuff.

    A plastic headed mallet. These are available at most hardware/lumber yards.

    Some 0000 steel wool to clean the outside of the neck. A small tuft wrapped around the neck and twisted does a quick job. May also be used with discretion to clean the outside of the cases. The green scrubber pads for dish washing work well also.

    A clean bore brush one size larger than the caliber you are loading for on a small pistol rod to clean the inside of the necks. Push it straight in and slightly twist pulling it out. Usually one pass cleans the carbon and debris out pretty well.

    A small screw driver to clean the primer pocket but the Lee primer pocket cleaner is inexpensive and works well.

    The Lee chamfer tool to chamfering the inside of the case mouth and the outside if necessary. A small knife blade will do also for the inside.

    The Lee hand priming tool is almost a must unless you want the be-jesus scared out of you when a primer pops tapping them in.

    A Lee powder funnel, works much better than pouring through the sizer.

    A tapered punch or needle nosed pliers can be used to flair the case mouth if you are loading cast bullets. Or get the caliber specific one from Lee, very inexpensive. If you've a lathe or have access one can easily be made also.

    A loading block to hold the cases that you’ve put powder into.

    Nice, or next to have;

    Lee’s powder dipper set.
    A good powder scale.
    A powder trickler.
    At least one good reloading manual, Lyman’s #49, #3 or #4 CBH is recommended.
    A dial caliper.

    All the above will fit into the MTM box.

    Most of the above will also be required or useful when you advance to a single or progressive press.

    For the 310 tool: a small dab of case lube on the out side of clean cases makes sizing and extracting the cases a lot easier. The Lee case lube or some pure lanolin works fine. It is easily wiped off with a paper towel. Also a clean bore brush pushed into the case and twisted out to clean off the carbon deposit makes extracting from the expander die a lot easier.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 03-05-2018 at 10:36 AM.
    Larry Gibson

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master TNsailorman's Avatar
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    Excellent "how to" Larry. james

  20. #20
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J. Spangler View Post
    Goot to know on the lubing before sizing. I will stick to my lube sizer and my lee dies but for the heck of it I may load a batch through and through with this tool for fun.

    Wow that late model steel sounds like exactly what I would want.... though I did see a video online that said the new model aluminum handles will wear better due to the hardened steel plate that the brass case head rubs on vs the old steel handles wearing down over time.

    Good idea on the lapping. Have you found the old dies to size more than the new production dies?
    The late model steel handles, marked "L" or "S" vice marked with a caliber, use the same hardened steel plate and the same adapters to change caliber.

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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