Newbie needs help..Lyman All-American Turret press


October 30, 2004, 02:22 AM
I just bought a box of old relaoding goodies from a guy at work, and I need help. Im a Newb to the whole reloading thing to an extent..I can load like hell on a single stage, but I got a Lyman All-American Turret press in the deal, and I need someone who is familiar wth these to lend some insight.

I got the original manual with it, but its very vague on its operation. The origianl primer feed was included, but it is missing a few parts, like the primer tube,, I have no clue how it works. Any help on this would be helpful.

I know I need to change the shellholders from the J type to the X type, and there is a kit from Lyman to do so for 10.00. Is there anything else I need to be able to use this press? It seems liek a very nicely built press, and for the money I cant complain,. for sure, Im just lost.

If anyone has any info on this press, please, I wold love to get tsi thing up and running.

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October 30, 2004, 06:49 AM
Wish I could help more, and hopefully someone who can will be along shortly, but here is what I can say....

Lyman (IMHO) has the crummiest directions ever....:D However, if you call them they are usually very helpful, so a phone call might be in order if you don't get the answers you need here.

October 30, 2004, 12:25 PM
Call Lyman. I got the same press for $5 from a guy from work. They had parts to convert to the new shellholders (I think the primer seater needs to be changed when you do that). They were very helpful, very knowledgable on the phone.


October 31, 2004, 08:50 PM
I purchased an All American Press, 1973. I still use it at times though most my loading is done on Dillon equipment. I've no problems with this press. It is a simple turret design with 4 stations. I use the simple 3 die set and use the left over station for a Lyman 55 powder measure.

In operation I turn the turret counter clockwise. It's size and decap. Move the turret, bell and prime. Move the turret, dump powder. Move the turret, seat and crimp bullet.

The priming arm fits on a stud mounted to the left rear of the press. The tube of primers fits on the carrier. The carrier swings over the primer punch while the case is in the belling die. You operate the thumb plunger and deposit a primer in the punch and lower the handle to seat the primer the same way as most press'.

It's a simple straight forward design and easy to use. I like the four station over the new six station models. With only 4 stations it's round and round, using each station. With six you must skip some holes.

I can load 150 rounds per hour with this press. I lube mine and try to keep it clean. It's never failed. I have taken the turret apart a few times to lube the rotating head. The last time the threads tried to come off with the cap. I greased all and will never remove it again.

You can forget the primer arm if you like. I hardly use mine finding it simple to just lay the primers anvil up on the bench, pick them up with my finger and thumb, and place it on the punch. This takes very little pratice.

The shellholders are a problem. I've never converted mine as I have all the shellholders I need. Not sure how the conversion would work so no help here. I will say this is a good press. You could not haul the ammo I've loaded with my All American on a heavy duty pick up. If we can help, give us a call 304-854-0545 or drop us an email. We'll do what we can. God Bless.

November 5, 2006, 02:21 AM
My All-American has been in intensive use for forty years, since I bought it new in the winter of 66-67. It is truly a wonderful machine.

The adaptor for RCBS/Pacific-type shell holders is available from Lyman, and it works well on my press. Note that if you intend to prime cases on this press with the adaptor in place, you MUST have a different (longer) priming post. It's called the "Special-T" and is also available from Lyman. The adaptor and the priming post will likely run about $20 total.

I stopped using the primer-feeder many years back, because the primer tubes are made of very thin brass and offer zero protection in case of a detonation. As LAH described, it's easy to single-feed the primers with one's fingers, and that's what I do, too. I catch the decapped primer in my cupped hand under the ram, because there's no provision for that in the design. With a big trash barrel right in front of my knees under the bench, not many fired primers reach the floor....

The press has no mechanical "stop" in its travel. The motion of the ram is stopped by the handle contacting the edge of the bench. The correct positioning will allow the arms of the linkage to come straight up-and-down, and then continue slightly PAST that point, so the linkages "break" just slightly toward the operator. As I recall, this places the front edge of the press base about 2.75" from the bench edge.

Like LAH, I reload each case completely before removing it from the press. My Uniflow measure is mounted in the turret just as a die would be. The greatest time saving in presses like this comes from minimizing the number of hand operations in handling the cases, and by just putting an empty in the shellholder and then removing it later as a loaded round, MANY hand motions are eliminated. My production figures echo LAH's as well.

You are a fortunate soul, to find such a fine press this way. Make sure to ask any other questions that may arise and we'll try to help. For a lot of discussion about turret presses in general, go to and use the search function for key word "turret". There's a lot of reading....

November 5, 2006, 07:38 AM
Gee Bruce.......You really brought this one up from the dead. My post was 10-31-04. Glad you did though because you made a few points I'd forgot to mention. Like: "I catch the decapped primer in my cupped hand under the ram, because there's no provision for that in the design." I also do this. It's no problem.

Like: "The press has no mechanical "stop" in its travel. The motion of the ram is stopped by the handle contacting the edge of the bench. The correct positioning will allow the arms of the linkage to come straight up-and-down, and then continue slightly PAST that point, so the linkages "break" just slightly toward the operator." When mounting my press I lowered the handle to the point the linkage just over centered when touching the bench and marked the mounting holes.

He is very fortunate to find this press. I like it because it's very simple and for straight wall pistol cases plenty strong and like your press Bruce, will last for ever and yes is a very good link for this subject................Creeker

November 5, 2006, 01:55 PM
Yes, thanks for this post and for the tips I picked up like catching the primers in cupped hand. How many years have I just let them drop on the floor and then, at the urgent "recommendation" of my wife, go later with the Dirt Devil and suck them up. One question, you mention the need to change shell holders, why is this? All my dies are Lyman or RCBS (one Pacific) and all seem to work perfectly with the press. What benefits would I gain by changing and what would I change to? My Lyman press I received as a Christmas gift from my son in about 1991.

November 5, 2006, 03:56 PM
Jondar your press most likely isn't an All American. You can tell the difference quickly if your press has 6 stations instead of 4, it's something else. I think the All American went out of production in the late 70's. Here's a picture of a 6 station Lyman. These use standard RCBS and Lyman shellholders. The other picture is of an All American but isn't very good. These use a unique shellholder and if you wish to use standard shellholders you must purchase an adapter.

November 6, 2006, 08:43 AM
Not sure this gent has an AA press...

But for those of you who do, try fabricating this little item to catch your spent primers. Its made out of brass, you drill a couple of holes, fold some brass and screw on the bottom of a plastic pill bottle.

A knurled knob holds everything in place and its a quick change set up to remove or install it.


November 6, 2006, 08:47 AM

November 6, 2006, 09:45 AM
Yes, you're both right. I definitely do not have the All American press, it's a great press but not the All American. Thanks.

November 6, 2006, 02:10 PM
If your press is like the one posted by LAH, but only has 4 holes, it could be a Spar-T press. This was the turret press version of the Lyman Spartan (basic C press). That one uses the "standard" (x-type/RCBS) shellholders. Many years ago they were gray frames, and a red turret.

The All American I had was red, not a C frame press. I think it would be called an "H" frame. I haven't seen it in years, I wonder what happened to it?:confused:

I started loading about 35 years ago, on the East Coast, and all my gear was Lyman. RCBS just wasn't very common in my area then. Since then I have moved, and the majority of my stuff has become RCBS. I still use my original Lyman dies for some calibers.

One thing I do remember, from my days with the Spar-T press, make sure you have the correct die in position before you raise the ram. Seating a bullet with the expander die is not a good thing!

November 6, 2006, 02:48 PM
Mine was origianlly a faded puke red, but looked bad on my reloading desk. Got a spray can of Allis Challmers orange, it matches Lyman colors exactly.

The turret had one shellholder hole that was for some shotgun accessory, the threads were real fine and wouldn't take any reducer bushing on the current market. An internet forum friend had me send the turret and he drilled and tapped it to take a Lee Classic reducer bushing that will accept any industry shellholder made today.

Now looks great among my other stuff.

I've been eyeballing my Lee Classic single stage press and its red color, but so far have resisted painting it a different color.

I think Lyman All American turret press is one of the best ever made. I use it more than all my other makes.

It has a long necked Herter's No. 40 powder measure on it that works nicely.

Note: The primer catcher I described earlier lower right hand corner of picture, has two bands that rest along side of shellholder when in position.


November 6, 2006, 04:02 PM
One thing I do remember, from my days with the Spar-T press, make sure you have the correct die in position before you raise the ram. Seating a bullet with the expander die is not a good thing!

Bought that T-shirt.:banghead:

February 14, 2007, 11:51 AM
I just picked one up used at our gun club's flea market. Initially, I was put off by the need for unusual shell holders, but a call to Lyman set me straight. I have the shell holder adapter and priming adapter on their way, and received a poor photocopy of ( at least part of ) the operating manual.

I have several questions:

1. How do you guys load the primer feed tubes? Everything I have puts them anvil up, but the tubes seem to want to feed from the top, and need anvil down.. how do you flip the primers for easier loading?

2. I tried my RCBS Uniflow measure, but it protruded too far down ; seems like this press REALLY wants a Lyman measure mated to it.. is anybody using a RCBS measure, and did you have to make an adaptor to space the measure up about an inch or so?

3. The primer feed is, in a word, finicky, to my sense of taste. I've not gotten the plunger to dispense more than one or two primers before they stop coming out.. any sage words of advice?

4. What sequence do you guys use to operate it? I have been depriming/sizing, rotate, then belling, and repriming on the opposite stroke, then roatate to the measure, dump the powder, and finally seating. Do you rotate the primer arm into place right after belling, and then prime on the opposite stroke?

5. Anybody got a softcopy of the owner's manual they can send me? All I got was about a page and a half photocopy from Lyman.

I like the beefiness of this press.. lots of cast iron, and not crushed beer cans and Toyotas. I think once I figger it out, I'll like it at least as much as my Rockchucker.. right now, I have my 45 ACP dies set up in it, and a Leee universal decapping die in the powder measure slot, but will probably be looking for a used lyman 55 measure to put in it's place.

Thanks in advance,

Bob D
Milton, VT

February 14, 2007, 01:31 PM
To load the primer tubes you'll need a flip tray. This is merely a two thin lids about the size of a coffee can lid...only of harder plastic. Open lids and lay primers on ribbed surface, shake gently back and forth (too and fro) this action flips the primers anvil side down.

You then poke the primer tubes individually on each primer you want to collet in the tube until it is full of primers. There is usually a carter pin in the top of the tube so you don't overflow.

With a filled tube of primers you stick the tube into primer holder device, gently remove the carter pin so the primers arrive on station for the next insert.


Having said all that, I don't recomend using the tubes at all. Get yourself an RCBS hand squeeze primer gadget item #90200. It uses standard shellholders that you use in your reloading press. For me, this is much faster method of large production of primer insertion. This shellholder holds the brass cartridge case while you squeeze the grip handle and insert a well seated primer.

You've got yourself a very good press in the Lyman AA model, they're well built and will be great for building up loads.


February 14, 2007, 03:26 PM
It's got a primer feed??? :what: I'll have to take a closer look when I get home. I use a hand primer all the time anyways.

I did try to FL resize a .308Win--makes me really appreciate my Dillon. The Lyman AA is great for handloading pistol cases, but I'd hate to do more than a handfull of bottleneck rifle cases on it.


February 14, 2007, 04:32 PM
Primer feed........I don't use mine. I simply dump the primers on my bench, anvil up, and place them in my priming punch with the finger of my left hand. It works well, never hangs or fails to feed. I don't use hand priming tools as they wear me out after a couple hours. HEE HEE

I size/decap, bell/prime, charge case, seat/crimp. I turn my tool head counter clockwise till I have a loaded round.

I use a Lyman 55 measure and with it you cannot lower the operating handle completely.............Creeker

February 14, 2007, 05:01 PM
Okay, thanks for the replies, guys.
I've been using it this afternoon ( snowed in here in VT, 16 on the ground, and currently snowing about 3 in/hr, yikes!! ) for 45 ACP, and using my RCBS hand primer tool. I think I can do things quicker this way. It will basically be a handgun only press for me.. I already have a Rockchucker IV for rifle. It will be nice to leave the 45 dies all set up, and occasionally swap them out .380 ACP or .357 magnum.
Unless I can find a used Lyman 55 locally ( I REALLY don't trust Epay ) I'll basically use the Lyman as a single stage press, and just use the turret as a die holder, for all intents and purposes. I just got the shell holder adaptor and the longer primer gizzie if I do decide to prime on the press. Being basically an accuracy reloader for rifle, I still like the "feel" that the RCBS hand priming tool gives you- you can tell when they've bottomed out nicely. I think the mechanical advantage that a press gives you kinda negates that feel.

Anyhow, I've gotten long-winded ( as usual ) thanks for all the great info!!

Bob in VT

April 22, 2007, 04:54 PM
Boy am I getting on this thread late.:what:
I was bored and looked up my Lyman All American Loader on Google.
Don't ask me why, I just did.
Came across this old thread. Pretty interesting.
MY Lyman AA was my Dad's, and I have been loading with it sense 1968.
I am getting into Bullseye Competition next winter, so I've been reloading lots of .45ACP with it.
I have always used my fingers to set the primers, and cupped with my left hand, and caught the old ones.
I also have my Ideal 55 powder measure on top of the turret, but for pistols,I use a Redding Powder measure located to the right of the press on a measure mount. The Redding is much more reliable and accurate than the Ideal 55.
I use the 55 for rifle reloading.
I have been thinking about going to a progressive loader, but I do like to be able to check all brass out, feel the primer seat correctly, and check the powder drop once in a while with my scale.
I go through the first two stages [sizing&priming die, then the flaring die]but where I differ is then I take out the shell and drop my powder charge with my Redding. I then set all of the loaded brass to the side, and when I have enough loaded, seat and taper crimp the bullet as my last step.
If I end up going to a progressive loader, I think that I will get my feet wet with the $137.00 Lee Progressive to see if I like it.
I do really, really like my old Lyman All American, so I'm not sure if I will change.


December 30, 2007, 09:41 PM
My modified All-American has served me well for more years than I can count and I don't expect that to change anytime soon.

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