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Thread: Anybody making their own 310 dies?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man 6string's Avatar
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    Anybody making their own 310 dies?

    Hi,
    Has anybody here made their own dies for the Lyman 310 tool?
    It seems like a reasonable project, at least for something like revolver cartridges.
    The search function on the forum suddenly isn't working for me on any of my devices, so I hope I'm not digging up a topic that's been covered extensively.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Good question! This has been touched on previously, but I will relate a few of my personal experiences. First, as you are aware, the thread size used by Ideal and then Lyman is an oddball .609” X 30 tpi. This is a challenge to cut on some lathes, and you can’t just walk into your local hardware store and buy a threading die in these dimensions, so I thought maybe I could buy blanks to just chamber for myself. Bad idea! Many years ago I asked one of the big custom die makers about buying blank dies for the 310... I experienced eye watering sticker shock, something like $50/blank way back then. Also, I’ve noticed that the 310 Shop offers custom dies, but again they are relatively expensive and at last check had a long wait time.

    In addition to the difficulty of cutting the dies yourself, if they will be used very much, they probably should be heat treated, one of the last remaining “Black Arts”. Heat treated dies will then probably require final honing and polishing.

    If I had an overwhelming need for a special 310 die, I guess I would first see what substitute I could use, like neck sizing my 40-40 Maynard cases with 40-65 Winchester dies. Otherwise, I’d look for something a little smaller than what I needed and ream it out... not an easy process, but I’d end up with a precisely fit custom die. I’ve observed a bunch of 22 Hornet dies out there... maybe you could pick up some “orphans” and use them as blanks.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Scrounge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6string View Post
    Hi,
    Has anybody here made their own dies for the Lyman 310 tool?
    It seems like a reasonable project, at least for something like revolver cartridges.
    The search function on the forum suddenly isn't working for me on any of my devices, so I hope I'm not digging up a topic that's been covered extensively.

    Thanks,
    Jim
    I'm still gathering supplies and skills. Except possibly for a surface grinder, I believe I have enough machines. I have more to learn on threading, in my machining class. Brother gifted me a couple of Lyman Tru-line Juniors, to go with my small collection of 310 tools. I am not now, nor have I ever been a professional machinist, but I'm learning. Been working on the workshop itself, lately. Need more cabinets so I can get stuff off the floor and out of the way. Then a good bit of organizing.

    Bill

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I’ve made a few, for loading those primed .22 RF shells with the Ideal 225438, and sizing and seating for the .22 Maynard Extra Long and .32 Ideal.

    Sizing has been problematic, as I have yet to develop that diemaker’s “feel” for how much the shell will spring back, and, of course with shells this rare and costly, I don’t want to overwork the brass. So thus far, the boolits slide down into the “sized” cases, though not as easily as the unsized ones.

    However, the job is not a problem, if you have one of those Atlas 6”x20” change-gear lathes. You can do the 30tpi outside threads and, with the milling vise and a Woodruff cutter, make the extractor relief groove. I’ve drilled and threaded for adjustable seating screws, knurled, bored and threaded lock rings, and bored and polished (with the level of success noted above) the chambers for sizing and seating. The 22LR seating chamber was reamed with a “match” 22LR reamer I picked up somewhere. I don’t use the extractor hook on these; I made a plunger on top to push the completed round out.

    If your Far East lathe has one of them newfangled Quick-Change gearboxes, there is going to be a gap between “28” and “32” that can’t be interpolated. Maybe you could do some calculations and buy a special gear to put on the tumbler for this thread.

    The only debacle I’ve realized with the Atlas was grabbing one of the Lyman 7/8”x14 adaptors for the 310 dies out of my stash to use as a thread gauge. Turns out I got the biggest one of the bunch, and the dies didn’t fit anything else. Got a fair amount of practice dialing in to zero runout and picking up threads to deepen them another couple thousandths so they’d screw into my excessive accumulation of 310 handles.

    But it’s definitely doable, and interesting work. I also have a length of 7/8” x 14 rod I’ll try to make loading press dies out of, one of these days.

    Heat-treating, for occasional use with unusual calibers, might not be necessary, but I’ve done it by filling the inside with Kasenite or Hard’N’Tuff, heating with a MAPP-gas torch and quenching (outdoors) with a garden hose set on “Jet” and squirted directly into the cavity. Some day I’ll get a quench tank set up to do this like the old shop books show. I have the pumps and tanks from several defunct Water-Pics that ought to do the job. You need to force the water into the cavity against the steam pressure coming out so the surface temperature drops abruptly.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    A small CNC lathe would make short work of the body, minus any knurling as you would still need to turn the die around and finish the top, do the knurling last.

    Check out Manson and PTG reamers, they offer what is called a resize chamber reamer, this undersize reamer is only for reaming a die body.

    You can buy pre heat treated 4140,, one of the more common ones is LaSalle ETD 150, it runs about 35 RC in hardness.
    Other wise, make the die out of 12L14, and enough of them send out to be carbon induced, ( case hardened ) and then temper the surface hardness back to about 40 RC for toughness. A light polish outside, then hot blue the dies, clean up excess oil and final polish the inside and you are good to go.

    My 2 cents
    J Wisner

  6. #6
    Boolit Man 6string's Avatar
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    I sure appreciate the generous sharing of such knowledge.
    I'm going to be printing ou this information to be sure that I have it for reference.
    Thank You!
    Jim

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    Boolit Grand Master
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    All the real machinists and talented amateurs will no doubt cringe at this but; I have thought about making the cartridge adapter pieces by cutting a short section of the threaded portion of a die off then soldering or welding it to a piece of steel and drilling that for size and the securing screw. I think it would be easier than cutting fine threads up to a shoulder.

    Robert

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    mk42gunner how could you?

    Nah anything that works!

    Spot weld a Lee whackem die of fls pound die .

    Just a thought.

    Bent ramrod
    If you can seat 22lr then could a die work as a bump die like a waltz or paco Kelly die for 22lr?
    Or would you need vice grip hands?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    30 tpi is a 0.84666mm pitch.
    Therefore a tight 0.85 mm pitch.

    (1/30)tpi x 25.4 to get mm = 0.846666mm

    O.k pre worn thread that tightens up in the end.

    Yeah I’s got one of them fancy quick change boxes and the metric gear too.

    Sometimes I wish I had a big ‘ol box of gears and grease to sort through.
    I suppose I would remember the driver/driven x lead of the lead screw =pitch or some like that.

    Easy now let’s see then is one seems to drive that one or is it driven by that one aaaaugggghhh!
    Ohh I see it’s an idler and does nothing .

    Like me mostly Idle till the wife finds me then I’m driven.
    Last edited by barrabruce; 04-08-2021 at 01:45 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Scrounge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk42gunner View Post
    All the real machinists and talented amateurs will no doubt cringe at this but; I have thought about making the cartridge adapter pieces by cutting a short section of the threaded portion of a die off then soldering or welding it to a piece of steel and drilling that for size and the securing screw. I think it would be easier than cutting fine threads up to a shoulder.

    Robert
    I do not have a definitive collection of 310 dies, but I'm not seeing any evidence they cut to a shoulder. Even if they did, that is what a carriage stop is for. Or you can use a Mighty Mag and a dial indicator to get the length you want. Lots of ways to do it. Even spring for a DRO if your wallet is flush. Mine isn't, but I've got both a real Mighty Mag & and import "clone" and several cheap dial indicators.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Scrounge dro’s are for girlies that can’t do math or use clocks.
    Not that I have ever used dro’s , but that’s what I have heard.

    Can’t see it helping with screw cutting.
    Specially to a shoulder.
    If you have a fancy lathe with chuck locks instead of just a screw on then you could just run the tool upside down and use reverse gear running away from the shoulder if it erks you.

    Carriage stop.
    Wow that would be nice.
    I bet my carriage would stop eventually when the force of the cutting tool into the chuck exceeds the pressure of the belt friction on the pulleys sides or the weakest gear, shaft or keyway bends or breaks or combination or part there of.
    Ha

    To answer the question
    Lots of thread and a lock ring no shoulder needed.

    I think the dies I got aren’t hardened but I could be wrong.
    Just use graphite and keep the necks clean.


    As usual I am probably wrong and you may dismiss my ludicrous ramblings.

    Bruce
    Last edited by barrabruce; 04-08-2021 at 09:50 AM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    If 310 dies are hardened, I’ve never noticed it.

    A lot of them aren’t even that well made. I have a .38-55 sizer that puts a “neck” on the shell; very disappointing. As mentioned, the adapters are all over the place, but all the dies fit them. Once the lock rings are on, everything is as straight as the practical reloader of the time needed it to be. Some amateur trying to do the job with precision might be wasting a fair amount of time.

    Barrabruce, I haven’t noticed any swelling or deformity in the 225438s, and I cast them out of pure lead. I think I used a #2 drill for the reamer pilot hole/seating plunger and drilled the rest smaller for the plunger. It’s a noticeable squeeze but I can feel the gas check shank set into the rimfire case, and then a tap on the plunger extracts the round. If I used the extractor hook, it might pull apart again. I don’t like performing mechanical operations on the rims of rimfire cartridges anyway.

    The same chamber, in a barrel, will show rifling marks on an extracted .22 RF round. So maybe there is something going on, but it isn’t gross deformation.

    The dodge of annealing drilling out, soldering in a piece of rod and then working a “chamber” of some sort in a 7/8” x 14 loading die is very doable. If you find wrecked, rusty dies in common calibers cheap, go for it. The 7/8 dies are hardened, IME, so annealing is necessary there.

    Some sharp operator ought to offer foot lengths of 30 tpi threaded rod for amateur 310 die makers. Bet they’d sell like nuclear reactors. But a lot of 310 bodies, like the universal decappers, powder measure holders, boolit sizers and the like could be reworked. If they are damaged or rusted, why not? The loss of one .38/.357 or .30-06 die set would not be a calamity, although I’m sure future generations of collector’s would curse us. To them, the back of my hand.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    Good question but yes if you have a fully equipped machine shop available and loads of time and deep pockets. First off, you can make anything but the cost is prohibitive. I discovered this when I first stared accumulating 310 dies. Many were banged up and cross threaded. Says I, I'll just order a set of taps and dies and clean these boogers up. First off, I had to determine the threads for the dies I needed. This was beyond my capabilities so I loaded up a box of dies and headed for my machinist buddy. After measuring the first two or three and getting his read on it, he said, "You're in trouble". After carefully recording his findings, I headed home to the internet. After a night's searching for taps and dies, I was already up to about $500 and hadn't finished. I quickly dropped the project at this point as not being economically feasible.

    With a good shop, a lot of tooling and the knowledge, you could make your own dies heat treating and coating included.

    You'll find that it's cheaper to purchase the dies from someone already in the business or better yet, go to a loading tool that uses 7/8 X 14 dies and full length resizes. Better off financially that way.

    If you want to modify some 310 dies, that is feasible but again, equipment and knowledge is essential.

    Just an opinion from someone who has already been down this path./beagle

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    Good question! This has been touched on previously, but I will relate a few of my personal experiences. First, as you are aware, the thread size used by Ideal and then Lyman is an oddball .609” X 30 tpi. This is a challenge to cut on some lathes, and you can’t just walk into your local hardware store and buy a threading die in these dimensions, so I thought maybe I could buy blanks to just chamber for myself. Bad idea! Many years ago I asked one of the big custom die makers about buying blank dies for the 310... I experienced eye watering sticker shock, something like $50/blank way back then. Also, I’ve noticed that the 310 Shop offers custom dies, but again they are relatively expensive and at last check had a long wait time.

    In addition to the difficulty of cutting the dies yourself, if they will be used very much, they probably should be heat treated, one of the last remaining “Black Arts”. Heat treated dies will then probably require final honing and polishing.

    If I had an overwhelming need for a special 310 die, I guess I would first see what substitute I could use, like neck sizing my 40-40 Maynard cases with 40-65 Winchester dies. Otherwise, I’d look for something a little smaller than what I needed and ream it out... not an easy process, but I’d end up with a precisely fit custom die. I’ve observed a bunch of 22 Hornet dies out there... maybe you could pick up some “orphans” and use them as blanks.

    Froggie
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    I am not a machinist nor do I have a lathe - yet, so excuse the rambling thought. Why not just make a new 310 tool that uses standard threads? Seems a lot easier that way to me. I will go back to lurking now.
    Ron

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Well Mr wolf that would be just a too logical and easy solution.

  16. #16
    Boolit Man 6string's Avatar
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    I'm new to the Lyman 310. Started with a Lee Loader, an Autoprime, and set of dippers. Then added an RCBS single stage, and then added a Dillon 650. Somehow, the 310 slipped through the cracks.
    What I really like about the 310 and Lee Loaders is that they minimally size cases, and everything seems well suited to cast boolits.
    Is it correct that attempts have been made to adapt the 310 idea to standard dies, but the sheer force needed to operate it made it impractical?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6string View Post
    I'm new to the Lyman 310. Started with a Lee Loader, an Autoprime, and set of dippers. Then added an RCBS single stage, and then added a Dillon 650. Somehow, the 310 slipped through the cracks.
    What I really like about the 310 and Lee Loaders is that they minimally size cases, and everything seems well suited to cast boolits.
    Is it correct that attempts have been made to adapt the 310 idea to standard dies, but the sheer force needed to operate it made it impractical?
    Are you asking whether anyone has made a set of 310 style handles scaled up to take “standard” 7/8” X 14 tpi dies? I believe some such have been made, but not in large numbers. If you want a portable hand tool to use the larger dies, your best bet is probably to get either Randy Buchanan’s hand tool which is the high end version, or the less expensive Lee Hand Tool. While they don’t use the same one handed squeeze principle as the 310, they allow use of dies without a bench mounted press.

    Froggie

    PS Maybe somebody else will recall. Does the Modern Bond tong tool take standard dies or ar they some proprietary size between the 310 tool and bench dies?
    "It aint easy being green!"

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Never having even seen a picture of the Modern-Bond tool, my money is on "Oddball thread size."

    One thing to remember about most of the old tools, is that they were designed and in production long before the SAE standardization came into being. 1927 IIRC.

    Robert

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    The Modern-Bond dies only fit Modern-Bond tools, both the bench tools and the tong tool.

    I suppose a pair of Lyman handles could be reamed and rethreaded for dies made with standard threads, but, of course, they would only fit the dies somebody has made especially for those handles. They would be made worthless for anything else.

  20. #20
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    I have a nice stainless steel set of handles purpose made for 7/8x14 dies that otherwise copy the Ideal/Lyman design. Of course the maker forgot to mark them with his name.

    They are a product of the early 1980's if my old memory still functions. Which is more than these handles do. Using carbide dies to resize 357 cases can be done with some effort, getting the case out of the die is well past frustrating as the extractor grip is short allowing it to slip off the rim every 1/4" or so. The die must be unthreaded as the handle is pulled open till the case finally slips free. I have not tried to neck size rifle cases but the same extraction issue remains.

    I have the handles only, I believe there was never a de/reprime solution offered.

    Ken
    Antique Reloading Tool Collector, Historian and Writer
    Newsletter editor: Antique Reloading Tool Collectors Association
    Archive manager, Antique Reloading Tool Collectors Association
    email: herters@netins.net
    www.antiquereloadingtools.com

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