Older Lyman Spar T


March 17, 2006, 10:31 AM
I sent the following message (questions) to Lyman.
I have not yet heard Back
Can any of you guys out there answer my questions?
( I guess only Lyman could help with the refurbishing )
To Lyman:
I "inherited" a Lyman Spar T" from my Uncle who can no longer use it or shoot.
I spoke to someone at Lyman a few weeks ago and asked if:
it was "worth driving 100 miles to collect"?
I was told it was, and I did.

Someone at Lyman then sent me some printed material on Lyman products in general and the spar T in particular.
I was disappointed to see that the product seems no longer to be supported.
(Hardly any parts are available) .
It appears to have been replaced with a "Different" looking unit. ( Spar T II ?)

The unit I retrieved needs replacement parts
Some are "Mangled" and others are missing.
In particular in the area of the primer arm.
It looks like it "was" a good product.
It does need some maintenance, repair, and refurbishing however.
How can I do this when the sparts list I was sent, had 90% of the parts lined out as "no longer available" ?

Can you refurbish it for me?
Will you "replace" it.

Can I "trade it in" for a complete working unit?
The newer model ?
Will parts from you "new" Turret fit?

Is there ANYTHING Lyman will do to help ??

The turet was dismounted (for storage)
There were Two(2) large washers under the turret securing nut - one with a "bump" and the other without.
If I put one of the washers under the turret ( my first thought), the ball bearing positioner will not work. Are both washers supposed to go over the turret ?
The Huge securing nut over the turret turns VERY hard! It WILL snug down but it is VERY Tight and a LOT of force is necessary - Is this normal ??
Should Both washers be on top of the Turret ??
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March 17, 2006, 12:32 PM
Many moons ago! The early 70's to be more precise. I loaded some pistol ammo on it,(44 mag), thinking the turret would let me load faster! Not so, the turret flexes too much to be used in a 3 step process. Meaning; size & deprime, turn turret, expand and prime, turn seat & crimp. Doing this opened my groups so much, I changed to doing batch loading with the turret nut cranked down real tight. This removed the slop in the turret, but because the whole press would then flex, because it's a "C" type, I wasn't much better off! I set it aside, went back to my rockchucker, eventually sold the spar-T.

My advice, use it as a paper weight, chalk the experience up to learning some history about early attemps to speed up ammo production. Oh, and Lyman is THE worst company to deal with for service on ANY of their products.

March 17, 2006, 08:24 PM
Yes both washers go on top of the turret and the nut will turn very hard as it is a self locking nut. It has been a long time since I had mine apart (I have 2 of them) but look on the bottom of the nut or top of the turret for a recess to accept the bump on the washer. I think the idea is for the bottom washer to turn with the turret and the top be staionary with the nut. Tighten the nut down to where the turret will not turn then back it off just enough to let the turret turn easily.
If the ears that hold the primer arm are busted off there is not much you can do but if its just the primer arm I think that is still a standard item.
I would respectfully disagree with snuffy on the press. I've loaded for all the pistol calbers using the ammo in Bullseye and metallic silhouett competion with excellent results. Here is one of mine. Good luck Nick

Sorry the pic is sideways, don't know how to change it now it's posted.

March 18, 2006, 07:46 AM
My first press; bought it in the early '70s and loaded heaps of pistol ammo with it for many years. It worked fine for me (in .38/.357, .38 Super, .45 ACP) in a "semi-progressive" configuration. The holes were filled as follows: 1) size/deprime, 2) neck expand, 3) empty for auto primer feed 4) powder drop - Lyman 55, they made an adapter to the 7/8 x 14 press threads 5) seating / crimping. Ended up giving it to a beginning reloader when it no longer kept up with my volume needs.

Mount the turret as described in previous post. Be sure that ball-bearing detent has some grease in there. I never had any ammo problems deriving from play or "flex" in the turret. As far as primer mechanism parts, I wish I could help. My suggestion would be to use it as a "semi-semi" progressive. Do steps 1 & 2 above with a batch of cases, then prime with something like the hand-held Lee or RCBS tools.(I currrently use the RCBS tool for some rifle applications, and it works fine.) Then take that batch of cases and process it back through steps 4 & 5.

March 18, 2006, 01:31 PM
I had one of these and sold it to a friend. Great, simple press. For straight wall pistol cases and carbide dies it will work great. If memory serves the new priming arm will work on the old press, if not simply prime by placing the primer in the punch by hand using your index finger. I've primed this way for 30 years on my Lyman All American. I also believe the new priming punch will work.


March 18, 2006, 05:16 PM
So glad to find someone who actually is using a A Spar T today.
Apparently even likeing it ( you got 2)
Some questions:
Dosen't the "tilt" of the turret affect negatively the powder drop.
I noticed you have a RCBS Powder measure mounted.
Looks like the "micrometer Head" as well.
I've got a pair of those as well.
Currently mounted on my Piggyback.
I have a Lyman 55 mounted in the turret right now
It is not consistently metering worth a damn.
Think it might be the "tilt" or just the shifting of the turret from one station to another, upsetting the powder pile.
Truth is I have a 650 and wanted to try a turret out in an attempt to avoid the STIFF price Dillon gets for their Caliber conversions.
I am trying to set up for 44 Magnum.
Don't expect to build a LOT of them.
Thought the turret might be the answer. Now I am thinking my RCBS piggyback.
I have a Piggyback mounted in a rockchuker ( from 20+ years ago when I first started reloading)
I could use the Piggy ( I have a 45 Colt shellplate which will do for the 44 Magnum ) and that's all I would need.....
Well I am running off at the mouth...back to the question:
How do you USE the Spar T.
What do you have in each station?
Do you rotate one case through each station?
How would you for instance; set the Spar T up for 44 Magnum using a Lee 4 Die Set.?

Do you prime with the Spar T priming arm ?

Tell me all !

March 18, 2006, 11:11 PM
renaissance-The press in the picture is set up now for .38 spl but all pistol cartridges are loaded the same from start to finish on each cartridge. First station is size & deprime. Turn turret. Next is expand case mouth on the upstroke, push in primer arm and prime on the down stroke, release primer arm and lower ram. Turn turret. Charge with powder. Turn turret. Place bullet on case then seat & crimp. Rotate turret around and start over. A box of 50 cartridges takes about 20 minutes at a nice easy pace. You will notice I have 2ea. 5/16X18X 3.5" bolts screwed into the turret head. That is a mod I came up with to make turning the turret easier, simply drill into the turret and tap the hole. You can see my custom turning knob made of a buch of masking tape wrapped around the head of the bolt. Nice touch yes??
That is my newer press bought it 3 or 4 years ago used, the other one is set up the same, I bought it new in 1969 and it probably has loaded in excess of 40k rds. I used it pretty heavy till I bought a CH Auto champ for my bulk loading. The powder measure is a Redding with the pistol chamber, being mounted on the press and turning with it actually makes the loads more uniform by vibration. Pistol powders don't vary more than 1/10 at the most.
I have loaded.243 and .308 the same way on the press. The .243 was a 788 remington and would stay under an inch all day at 100 yds. I have 1- 5 shot group of .24"@ 100yds and a number of 1/2 inchers. There is nothing wrong imo with the Spar T's. Nick

August 2, 2008, 03:56 PM
Sorry, a little late in the conversation here.

fecmec: I see you do not have a primer catcher installed in your picture. I have a Spar-T that is missing that item also. Lyman cannot/will not supply one. Out of print.

I have seen pictures of the primer catcher and actually have a manual that covers the press and several other vintage reloading components.

What do you do about primers?

I don't like primers all over the floor so I am currently using the turret on the press to store decapping dies for the calibers I most often use. I move the dies to the Redding Boss when I get serious.

August 3, 2008, 08:56 PM
I must confess that I am a messy reloader. My presses are in the basement (my lair!) and I have some old indoor/outdoor carpet under the presses. The old primers just hit the floor until it gets so messy I can't stand it and then I vacuum them up with an old vac I have in the basement. When I first started reloading in the 70's I had the press mounted on a folding chair which I set in front of my easy chair in the living room. I placed my feet on the crossmember of the folding chair to hold it in place while I reloaded and watched TV. I put a big beach towel under the folding chair to catch the old primers (did I mention I have a wonderful and understanding wife??) I don't know of any way to take care of the spent primers from that press. Sorry.

August 4, 2008, 06:37 PM
This was my Dad's only press and when I saw a used one in a gun store I got my own. My Dad loaded some really fine ammo on his and I've had no problems that I could blame on the press. If you concentrate on one cartridge at a time as I do, you can set all your dies up and leave them other than crimping. If you have a seperate crimp die, you are really set.

I have never used the press mounted priming arm. Just seems clumsy. The primer catch tray seems to crack on these presses. The one from Dad's press is still usable. Sorry to say that I sold his press though. The guy I sold it to says he has had a lot of offers on it.

I also have a RC Supreme now but when I get the time I'll mount the turret as well, mostly for handgun rounds.

September 6, 2008, 12:50 AM
I just pulled this reloader out of storage the powder measure is toast now what should i get to replace it....i"m new to reloading my father gave me the press he bought new late 60's He's going to teachme how to use it but i need a powder measure. Any suggestions is greatly appreciated....rotinknee2@gmail.com TIA

September 6, 2008, 10:36 PM
My first press, in the mid-60s, was a Lyman Spar-T. Still have it but don't use it very often anymore.

The factory "auto feed priming tool" worked pretty well but I eventually went to a Lee Auto Prime Tool and have stayed with it because the feel is better. I have also added a little Lee "Reloader" C press to use as a dedicated de-capper and catcher, modified to include a small pill bottle under it for a resovoir.

For years I loaded everything on my Spar-T, up to .30-06, without trouble except for the pressure needed on any single-toggle type lever. That's why I eventually purchased a compound-toggle link O press and like it much better. (I've modiefied the old Spar-T to compound-toggle now but that's another story.)

Any turret press is fine for pistol stuff. Most work ok but are not ideal for larger bottle-neck cases because of springing, IMHO. And I would never mount a powder measure on any turret press, it's just to inconvient to mount, use and adjust.

If you get a seperate priming tool, I don't think you will need any other parts. that press is plenty strong to last forever unless you really abuse it.

December 1, 2008, 09:10 PM
I was given an old Lyman Spar-T from a friend who was not going to use it anymore. when I received it I found that the ram that comes up through the middle is missing. I asked my friend that gave it to me if she knew were it was and she looked but could not find it. I'm wondering if anyone out there might have an extra from an old press that I could make a deal on?

December 1, 2008, 09:48 PM
I recommend doing occasional searches of eBay. Amazing what is offered there at times (and does not violate usage rules.) I have found primer tubes and other stuff for it there.

I made a primer catcher for my older press out of a cleverly cut piece of plywood and plastic sheeting salvaged from a 1 gallon milk jug. I sort of followed the design of the original in the manual. It works pretty good, all things considered.

something vague
December 12, 2008, 06:00 PM
I just today recieved two of the Spar-T presses. I am brand new to this reloading feild but plan to get deep into it. I am clueless as to how to set it up but then again I haven't looked at it real hard to figure it out. Still building my bench and getting my space to reload in together.

My question I have is does anyone know where to find a manual for this Spar-T press? I would love to be able to use one of these turret presses but don't feel real confident in setting it up and keeping it maintained without some type of instructions. BTW, these presses are in extremely great condition. The previous owner took some serious good care of this things, they look brand new other than they have no primer catch. Any help with my needs would be greatly appreciated.

December 12, 2008, 08:18 PM
If you go back in the thread to post #3 you will see how I have mine set up and post #7 gives a basic step by step how I load on the press. Hope this helps.

December 13, 2008, 08:11 AM
Something Vague...

I have an original manual. Send me a PM and I can scan and email you a pdf with the appropriate pages from the manual if that would help.

December 13, 2008, 09:50 AM
Just seen these on ebay



Tom Schafer
April 4, 2009, 05:44 PM
The Spar T is a great piece of equipment if properly maintained.
There are very few parts on it that can't be gleaned from some of the other Lyman presses. The items I have needed were easily remedied.
The last two presses, I have taken apart cleaned and bead blasted at 30 psi. This removes all the rust and corrosion that might exist. I have at that point plugged all holes and repainted. Lubricated with 90 weight oil (Mobil 1 synthetic), and reinstalled in its framework. Works good!

I also have 5 Rock Chuckers, Both are just the cats meow. RCBS warranty is forever!


April 4, 2009, 09:46 PM
Welcome to the board Tom. 5 Rockchuckers? How many Spar T's you got?

Tom Schafer
April 9, 2009, 12:25 AM
I have several Spar T presses.
I also have the information on the Spar T presses.
I also recondition the presses.
I basically Tear them apart, Bead blast the rust and junk off of the press.
I re-lubricate the press, adjust and put it back together.
I load several types of loads with it, and put it in a box and send it back.
This whole service will cost you $15.00 plus shipping both ways.
I have the capabilities that you may not possess.
I will also send you a copy of the PDF file.

April 9, 2009, 04:32 AM
Guys I found this.


Maybe it could help?

Tom Schafer
April 9, 2009, 01:20 PM
I had 5 but with final make up of my loading room is 2 supreme, 1 partner, 4 Rock Chucker II, 3 Spar T, and 2 RS or 1 JR. I have a habit of leaving my dies out once they are tweaked the way I want them. I just cover them up when not using. I have found parts that work on the Star T from a older Lymans.
Then I have a few MEC's right now 10 of the critters.

April 21, 2009, 07:24 PM
I have the parts manual. Is there a working manual?

Just got one from my Uncle who passed on. It looks brand new.


April 22, 2009, 11:59 PM
Well I feel obligated to jump in here, I have been using Lyman products since 1957 with my Lyman All American 4x scope on my .270 to the present and I can say that Lyman customer service if you bother to call them TOLL FREE that they will do everything possible to help with any of there products now or 40 years old that has been run over by an 18 wheeler, Thanks Joe. Semper Fi. :mad:

April 23, 2009, 07:32 AM
I had 5 but with final make up of my loading room is 2 supreme, 1 partner, 4 Rock Chucker II, 3 Spar T, and 2 RS or 1 JR. I have a habit of leaving my dies out once they are tweaked the way I want them. I just cover them up when not using. I have found parts that work on the Star T from a older Lymans.
Then I have a few MEC's right now 10 of the critters.

Geez Tom, you be a reloading nut fer sure. :)

April 27, 2009, 04:14 PM
Hi, I just joined up here and have been reading about the Lyman Spar-
T turret press. I just obtained one from a widow friend of my wife. I sent Lyman an email on Friday asking about an operating manual and got their reply this morning. One is in the mail!

My Spar-T looks to be in very good shape and hopefully I will get a lot of use out of it. I also got a RCBS Ammomaster-Auto Progressive Reloading Press w/manual, but it looks pretty complicated for me as I am just starting out. Also got a RCBS Rockchucker press and a bunch of other stuff I still have to figure out. Thus, I will probably a regular figure here for a while. thanks

April 27, 2009, 04:57 PM
Welcome to the board.

something vague
May 27, 2009, 04:45 PM
Does anyone with a Spar-T press notice that their shellholder rubs against the press near the top of the ram stroke? Is this normal? One of my Spar-t's do it and the other one does not. They look to be slightly different than eachother. One is in a bit better operating condition than the other but the better of the two has the issue with the shell holder rubbing the press.

I have one press that the turret is painted completely red (inside die threads and bottom of turret included) and the other just has red paint on the top and sides of the turret (threads and bottom are bare metal). Can anyone tell which one might be the newer model of the two? I know, the description isn't that good.

March 21, 2015, 09:04 PM
Old thread I know but here goes...

Just got one with parts missing.

Is there a measurement on the ball bearings the turret rides on? Mine are all gone. :confused:

What is the thread size on the handle? Gotta make one.

ANY help greatly appreciated.

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