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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 25 2017 at 9:11pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I know my press can't be the only one....
Yeah, my old Lyman Spar-T press has an issue with the arm not remaining in place when returned. It will fall if you let go. So one is forced to hold the arm in place. Constantly be aware it's gonna fall jaring everything on the small bench. And pinch the living daylights outta fingers and such!

The press is around 56~57 years old and been in use all that time. The arm drop thing really started when I cleaned and oiled it last year. I'm now to the point where I tie the arm back with paracord so I won't bang into the droopy arm when easing into the loading-nook of my little place.

I've cleaned off all the lube with brake cleaner. Wiped it down and there's hardly any lube left anywhere except for within the ram tunnel. And that's gotta be pretty light by now. But still the arm won't stop at the top and continues to fall. Aside from building a bent spring clamp, I'm a bit outta ideas... So whatcha think? And if anybody's gonna say give the press Viagra I'll shoot 'em in the pinky-toe with my mole gun!
I'm usually pretty good at figuring things out but I can't think of a way to introduce friction into a device that won't cause unwanted wear. And adding mechanical attachments at this point seems a bit too much. Frankly, right at this point I'm stumped.

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: July 26 2017 at 6:45am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Wade, I too have an old Lyman Spar-T press that I bought back in the early 70's. It has had a lot of rounds run through it since it was the only press that I owned up until a few years back when a buddy sold out all his stuff and I ended up with his little RCBS aluminum press. I have always kept the ram as well as the cam handle hinge pin oiled up so that they don't wear and really had no issue until a few years back when my cam handle started dropping once in a while if I vibrated the bench a bit. A bit startling if not looking in that direction.

Mine is not too bad, as the handle normally stays up and the ram down while I am working with it, but will occasionally drop bringing the ram up while I am working elsewhere on the bench. I have thought of possibly placing a thin shim inside the handle hinge to help give it a tighter fit. Since it has a pin and clip, tightening the hinge without replacing the pin with some sort of bolt is not really possible.

It is amazing how many times that ram has been cycled and it is still tight and seems to be perfectly aligned, but of course all the rough spots of the iron casting have been worn down to a mirror finish, so I guess there has been wear. I can not see anyway to tighten up the ram, but perhaps adding a bit of friction such as a very thin shim in the handle hinge would help.

I had a Lyman 450 Lube sizer that I bought new about that same time period and it's ram wore so bad that it no longer could be depended upon to remain straight through it's whole cycle. I drilled and tapped three set screw holes in the housing and put in some brass set screws to help force it to remain squarely aligned.

That worked, but the brass was always wearing and I was always having to readjust it. Eventually I just replaced it with two older model Lyman 45 Lube sizers. They have a much better double alignment rod system and I am happy with them even though they are much older.

If you find a way to reduce the handle drop on the press, let us know what you tried and how it worked.

Edited by Ham Gunner on July 26 2017 at 6:54am


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dahlin
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Posted: July 26 2017 at 9:20am | IP Logged Quote dahlin

Have ether of you contacted Lyman you might be pleasantly surprised most reloading manufactures will replace or repair.Randy
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twillis
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Posted: July 26 2017 at 10:57am | IP Logged Quote twillis

How about a wave washer somewhere in the linkage?

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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 26 2017 at 12:21pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

As to Lyman fixing it, I wouldn't hold my breath. They haven't had this press in production since the mid 80's. The use of a washer or two crossed my mind. Also a crescent shape bend in some banding iron drilled to fit between the mechanism and the frame. I was thinking of building two much like a curved flat spring with a hole in the middle for the pin to run through and hold them in place. But I thought I'd check here and see if something else worked...

By the way, I've used banding iron for parts and springs for decades. Like the trigger/bolt spring on a Colt SAA or C&B revolver. Trim and shape. Fire up the lead pot and hang the part on a piece of copper wire, and let it sit for 30min in the lead. Pull it out and spray or dip in oil and bingo! One perfectly heat treated spring.
So if I end up making something like a curved spring, it'll be heat treated with my old trick.

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richhodg66
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Posted: July 26 2017 at 12:40pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Molten lead is hot enough to temper steel? I had no idea. Doubt I'll ever do it, but it's interesting to me.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 26 2017 at 1:31pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Yeah Rich, it works great on small parts and springs especially. When I was in the gunsmith business, most of my customers were handgunners. And many abused their C&B revolvers quite a bit. Busted caps fall into the action. Shooter then hits resistance and yanks harder on the hammer. Shooter soon breaks parts and comes to me. Was easier to build springs than to see if the supplier had em in stock (not always either).

I've built springs, sight blades, gripscrew mounts, and numerous other small parts with banding iron of different widths and thickness. Handy stuff. Oh, the half-hour heat in the casting pot was taught to me by the old school master gunsmith I apprenticed under for fours with no pay! Brilliant man. It won't heat for anything above small springs and such, but a time saver when fixing a couple guns and don't want to mess with a forge. Toss it in the pot, and work on something else. Believe me, it makes great springs.

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Buffalogun
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Posted: July 26 2017 at 5:36pm | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Wade,

If you don't need a lot of leverage on that press, you may be able to get away with a handle made of aluminum in order to reduce the weight.


Mike

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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 27 2017 at 8:05am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

As a former gunsmith I built many parts over the years. And I've been told I analyze everything I see. So I studied this device, and my equally old Lyman Spartan C press. They appear to share certain common parts and components, mainly in the ram, handle, and linkages. Both presses are early models as both use a set-screw to retain the shellholder in the ram rather than the newer spring set rams that were introduced in the mid 60's. The Spartan has a goodly amount of time on it too but not nearly as much as the Spar-T. So I reckon I'll study some more after my nap. Got brutally sick yesterday with another bout of vertigo that flattened me. Still tuckered out from it and such.

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: July 27 2017 at 9:01pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Wade, I was cleaning my .44 Spec. Bull Dog this evening on my bench after shooting a few Lyman 429421 cast. After cleaning for a short while I guess I vibrated my bench a bit and my Lyman Spar-T press arm fell making me jump and I remembered this discussion so I let the bore soak and tore into the press. Actually the bore was almost lead free, but it does not hurt to let the carbon soak a bit with some Ed's Red.

I removed the clips on either side of the pin on the bottom of the press where the handle attaches to the cam and removed two steel flat washers. I remembered at that point that I had removed the pin once before because I remember it being a booger to get the pin aligned with all the holes when putting it back in.

I cleaned everything up and removed a bit of grit from all surfaces and reversed both washers and like magic, the ram does not fall down. It tightened it up a decent amount and it is probably good to go for at least another couple thousand rounds or so before it decides to drop on it's own again.

Not sure that is the best fix, but for now I am happy with it. The washers showed a good bit of wear on one side of each washer so reversing tightened things up.

Well, I found that 6.7 gr. of Unique was about the best load for Unique pushing the 250gr. Keith and 7.6 gr. of BR-5 worked out the best for it. The Br-5 load felt a bit stiffer and was actually one inch smaller group at 3" with both being fairly well centered on the target at 25 yards so I guess I will use the BR-5 load.

BR-5 is supposed to have similar pressure as Unique using similar weight charges, but BR-5 is more like Win. 231 in appearance and it takes up less space in the case than Unique. I read from the seller that the Military used it for the 9mm Nato round, but it is close to Unique in burn rate, give or take a small bit.

My Chronograph refused to cooperate. It either showed error or gave velocities that my .44 carbine would have been tossing out. Got to check that out, but will be a project for cooler weather.

We did get some rain this morning and again this evening. Over 1 1/2" of rain so far. Not a lot, but certainly welcome.



Edited by Ham Gunner on July 27 2017 at 9:13pm


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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 6:57am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Wow, I don't even know what BR-5 is.
But it sounds like you had a productive shooting session with the 44!

As to washers on the press.... Mine has none. Either it's an older version that predates their use. Or the washers were never installed during assembly. All I can say is that my Spar-T is washerless. In a later manual for the "Special T" an improved model with spring clip ram for fast shell holder exchange, it mentioned "spring washers" being present in the lower linkage on the bottom pin being difficult to reinstall during changing the ram's arm direction. Either way, it appears that I need to build spring washers and get em in my press!

Edited by Old Ranger on July 28 2017 at 7:01am


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Ham Gunner
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 7:24am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Wade, I think I probably put those washers in myself years ago. They have a galvanized coating on them, whats left of it anyway. I doubt Lyman would have used galvanized washers. I know I remember doing something to it years ago once I realized it was a bit tricky to get the holes all lined up again. That kicked in a faint memory of doing it before.

The pin is 1/2" diameter so I would think that about anything that would take up the space on either side of the cam end should work if it fits decently enough. Mine is like yours, uses the set screw to hold in the shell holder. The color is gray and red and came with a red plastic cup to catch the primers. Prior to when Lyman changed to orange I guess. I never did have the auto primer drop tubes, but I knew they were available.   

Oh, and we got another 1 1/2" of rain during the night for a total of 3". Boy that will make the weeds in my yard bounce.

Edited by Ham Gunner on July 28 2017 at 7:36am


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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 9:09am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Ok, owner modifications eh? Ha! Thought ya fooled the Old Ranger huh?
Yeah, I'll just build a pair of spring washers and see where it goes in the tension department. At this point anything's better than it is now. When the arm drops on my bench, its right next to me. Half the time it hits me. Now that'll get your attention!
As to the primer tubes and mounted device for them, yeah, I have one in place. I'll often use it during the expansion phase (M die) and seat primers on the up stroke of the arm. I kinda like it, but again, after several years it has almost becomes a habit to use too I guess.

Any more rain and y'all gonna need a boat!

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LAH
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 6:18pm | IP Logged Quote LAH

I have a Pacific Power C press which uses a ball detent. Here's something to get your thought process moving. Hope the pictures aren't too large.









Edited by LAH on July 28 2017 at 6:19pm


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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 6:41pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Ya lost me....

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LAH
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 7:43pm | IP Logged Quote LAH

The ram linkage (2nd picture) has the ball detent which
goes into the hole in the handle linkage (3rd picture). In
the 3rd picture you can also see the adjusting screw for
the ball detent. When the handle is raised to its upward
position the ball enters the hole & holds the handle in
raised position not allowing it to fall & strike Old
Ranger or pinch his finger.

Edited as I had the linkage descriptions wrong.

Edited by LAH on July 29 2017 at 7:16am


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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 29 2017 at 3:29pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Lynn, the press designs are far too different to have a bearing retention in the mechanism. Almost a reverse in lower configuration just doesn't have two opposing surfaces close enough. Its just too open in the Spar-T linkage. Novel concept though.

It appears that the only reasonable means to introduce friction into the action is to insert the crescent shaped spring washers on the pivot basepin to push against the toggle and the inner workings of the frame. I'll have to get off my duff and make em! Ha!

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LAH
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Posted: July 30 2017 at 1:47pm | IP Logged Quote LAH

Those spring washers should work. Keep us informed. The
rain has stopped here & I hope the vertigo stops there.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 30 2017 at 5:10pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Vertigo is still hitting me. Meds knock me out for hours. I sleep like my cats now.
Work on the press will have to wait. Got stung by a big orange wasp in the thumb yesterday. Hand and arm are swolen twice normal. Guess I'll go to the VA clinic tomorrow if it's still bad.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: August 03 2017 at 4:13pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

All my ailments and marauding malicious venomous insect issues are either controlled, subsided, or contained for the time being and "pressing issues" (pun intended) are being addressed. Namely the limp arm.

Taking a page from Ham's earlier operative methods of insertion of washers into the main pivotal base pin, I obtained two 1/2" washers the size and thickness of a 4 bit piece. When incerted into mechanism, it posessed just the right amount of friction to return the tired old press back to it's former functionality and the arm remains in its correct position when placed there. Operational Success!

So, if in the future the arm tires again, I'll simply place the washers in a vice and administer a 2~3 bend across the washers and make them usable further.

Gentlemen, this operation was a culmination of ideas and input from you all. My thanks and gratitude for your assistance! Once again, the Old Ranger's off to new adventures in his little 8 acre world.

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