Handheld Press


Gadzooks Mike
July 3, 2011, 03:23 PM
Why has no one come up with a handheld press similar to the old Ideal 310, but one that would take regular sized dies and shell holders? Or has it been done and I just have poor Google-fu?

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Lost Sheep
July 3, 2011, 03:37 PM
I know little about the 310 (is that the one also known as the "Tong Tool"??, but it looks as though it is not capable of full-length sizing. Is that right?

I know there are/were hand presses made that take regular dies and can do full-length sizing and all the other operations single-stage presses do (possibly excepting priming). Lee Precision still makes one, but it doesn't have the compound leverage it takes to do large cartridges easily.

I hope what little information I have has helped.

Lost Sheep

Smokey Joe
July 3, 2011, 04:17 PM
Gadzooks Mike--Here y'are:

Lee Precision website: www.leeprecision.com

You may be able to get a better price at Midway, Midsouth, or perhaps a local gun show. Press is OK for "regular" uses, but is NOT OK for heavy-duty resizing, etc. Takes standard reloading dies from any of the major manufacturers.

July 3, 2011, 07:55 PM
Also try www.factorysales.com for VERY good prices on Lee stuff. They ship fast, too.

Gadzooks Mike
July 3, 2011, 08:12 PM
Thanks guys, but no, I'm not talking about the Lee hand press. I have one of those. I'm talking specifically about something similar to the 310 tool.

Lost Sheep - that's correct, it does neck sizing only for bottlenecks. Does a fine job for full length with straight walled pistol cartidges.

July 3, 2011, 10:08 PM
You might try looking at the Huntington compac press (designed by the man who started the RCBS company). This was/is a hand held press with a scissors action that you do all reloading operations on. The press was designed to go anywhere, hunting trips etc. I think it also takes standard size dies. This is a well rated piece of equipment, you might want to check it out.

highlander 5
July 3, 2011, 10:15 PM
Lyman still makes the Tong Tool. The pistol dies are limited 357,44 and 45Colt.
Rifle 45/70 and 30/30 didn't get the 3 set. Problem is that for the tool and dies msrp is $140. That's a ltttle steep for a press that only neck sizes.

Gadzooks Mike
July 3, 2011, 10:52 PM
Here's a small press too, if anyone is interested. http://benchrest.com/hoodpress/

Guess I need to find a metal worker who wants to make a set of 310 handles that will accept regular dies and shell holders.

Thanks all for the replies, though.

Lost Sheep
July 3, 2011, 11:36 PM
Thanks Joatmon. I forgot all about the "W" press. Now I can't remember who made it. I think it was also called a backpacking loading tool.

Two handles, symmetrical linkage. In operation, the handles and linkage made a shape like a "W", hence the nickname. Standard dies and full-length sizing.

Lost Sheep

July 4, 2011, 01:18 PM
As far as I know (but wht do I know?) the Ideal/Lyman 310 is the only "tong" type tools made today. A lot of portable hand presses available though.

Peter M. Eick
July 4, 2011, 07:33 PM

The W press you are describing is toward the bottom of the page. It is called the Compac tool. I am going to order one someday. I just keep getting sidetracked. I have several good reviews of it.

July 4, 2011, 10:12 PM
The Hood Custom press linked to in post #8 is very nice. Excellent quality. :)

July 4, 2011, 10:59 PM
Thanks for posting the link Peter. It seems like when Fred Huntington sold out the RCBS company (to Omark?) he designed this new press and sold it under his new company. I had no idea it was back under the RCBS umbrella. I have not used the tool, but considering it was designed by one of the giants of the modern reloading era and has been around for quite a while I am sure it is well made.


Kendal Black
July 4, 2011, 11:00 PM
Some people think me unbearably backward in my views, but I rather like the Lee Loader pocket kit. The main problem is the whacky-whack-whack noise may be irritating to bystanders.

Demonstration of the Lee Loader: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeEl9wZyabc

It neck sizes. If you want something that can full length size, or if using standard dies is absolutely a requirement, your options have already been pretty well covered above.

Kendal Black
July 5, 2011, 12:13 AM

Gadzooks Mike, I don't know if this is of any use to you, depends on what you are looking to do, but 310 dies in calibers Lyman no longer sells turn up on Gunbroker, Ebay, etc.

Gadzooks Mike
July 5, 2011, 01:09 PM
Kendal - yes, thanks. I have quite a few, actually. And I use my Lee Hand Press quite often as well. I was simply thinking one day about how handy (no pun intended here) the tong style 310 tool is, and how wonderful it would be coupled with carbide dies. Simple as that.

Kendal Black
July 5, 2011, 10:16 PM
1.) It would be too expensive to have somebody custom make carbide 310 dies, even if you could find someone willing to take it on. 2.) I don't know if there is room to turn down and re-thread standard-size dies to fit in the smaller hole. 3.) Your idea of a having custom tong tool built is the best solution, out of a bad lot.

For whatever reason, the tool you are talking about didn't make it to market, though it seems a reasonable enough thing to want. The alternatives that showed up seem to be based on the idea of better leverage.

Engineers can screw up anything with improvements. :D ;)

July 5, 2011, 11:55 PM
The 310 is a classic press from the days when reloading wasn't as refined as it is today.

Reloading with the nutcracker is tedious work and I have not used it for about two decades. That is probably the very reason why no company expects commercial success from a hend-held press these days.


Gadzooks Mike
July 6, 2011, 08:37 AM
PzGren, I'm not sure what to say, but I just loaded up 100 rounds of 45 ACP last Saturday evening while sitting back in my recliner. Nice, comfortable, and relaxing. Sure, I could have done it much faster on my turret press, but it wouldn't have been near as much fun. I did "cheat" a bit, however, and resize them using a carbide die on the Lee Hand Press.

Anyway, thanks all. What I'm looking for doesn't exist. Yet.

July 6, 2011, 10:59 AM

that is how I started out relaoding. In the living room, on my couch, watching tv or listening to Casey Kasem's Top 40.

Maybe I will re-activate the nutcracker one day. I have very fond memories of those days.

July 6, 2011, 12:46 PM
Jimmy Dean explained why the chicken crossed the road to his fans, he said the chicken crossed the road to show the opossum and skunk it could be done, any die can be converted to size cases without a press with little effort, I am not Jimmy Dean and reloaders, for the most part, can not be provoked to think.

Then there was the question or the "If only" a reloader could size cases with a torque wrench and I said 'It is possible" to size a case using a torque wrench, it is not possible to convince a reloader it is possible.

F. Guffey

Gadzooks Mike
July 6, 2011, 05:37 PM
Pz - That's exactly what I was doing - not Casey, but listening to the radio all the same. I admit that it might be enjoyable to me because I don't HAVE to use the old tools.

fguffey - In a pinch, folks get pretty inventive, for sure. In general, it only takes two kinds of stimulation - either no funds, or someone saying "it can't be done".

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