Old Lyman Spartan press


March 7, 2013, 09:49 PM
Hi all
A friend of mine found an old lyman spartan in the trunk of a car he is restoring. He gave it to me, but I have not gotten into reloading yet. I've got some dies lying around, and fortunately the RCBS dies fit, but the press is missing a part or two. It doesn't have the primer feeding arm at the top. Is this necessary, or is it better just to use a hand primer? Will other primer assemblies work with this press?

I'm a total noob to reloading. I plan on mainly reloading for a few pistols, then when I get more comfortable I want to start loading for .308 and .223 (if components ever show back up on the shelves :eek:)

anyway, any info on this press and any advice for a newbie reloader would be appreciated. Thanks :)

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Tolkachi Robotnik
March 7, 2013, 10:20 PM
The little Lee tool really works for priming. You don't have to find an obsolete item to get that part of the job done. Lee tools are low expense and work.

I use old presses and they do not speed up the process very much. They can still make good shells. I would say the price is right!

I have a Lyman scale and am not impressed by it. It was supposed to go over an ounce but did not really work for that from day one. I talked to a rep once and he said bend the bar. I have not bent the bar. I will buy no more Lyman gear, there are other options that have better track records for me.

My father has a Lyman turret press and it works very well.

If doing pistols get carbide dies. I do not load pistols but have heard this from everyone. I would say pistols are hard and unforgiving to start on, because many headspace on the case mouth and cartridge case length has to be perfect on all rounds, as well overall length has to be long enough, never too short or pressures can spike.

Bull Nutria
March 7, 2013, 10:56 PM
I have used a Lyman Spartan C press for 35 years, I use the priming arm and like it, Lyman may have the parts you need call and ask them. it is a very serviceable press and the price was right. I bought parts for the priming arm from them recently.


March 7, 2013, 11:13 PM
In my opinion a Lyman spartan is a good solid press. I was interested in reloading when a teenager and my brother did some trading and got me a slightly used Spartan. This was around 1969. I started reloading for the .22-250 cartridge for my Remington 788 bolt action rifle. When reloading handgun cartridges you may consider using a procedure where you do not try to completely load one case all at a time but rather concentrate on processing you brass one step at a time. For example you have 100 fires cases that you have cleaned and inspected. You would proceed to resize all you cases.(depending on the brand of dies you have). Then you change dies and expand or bell the case necks while the die also removes the old primer.Then you would prime your cases using whatever devise you have. Then you use a powder measure to drop the desired powder charge into each case. The charge being verified by your powder scale.I loaded for years without a powder measure, I was not a happy man. Trust me you will need a good powder measure and scale. Then you can change dies and seat your bullets. If loading for revolvers you may use a taper or crimp die to finish you round. I use a separate die but most seating dies also contain a crimp. The beauty of this system that if you have enough brass you work ahead and if you need some ammo you can access a batch that has already been processed toward the finale steps and all you will need is to load with powder,install a bullet.crimp,clean and shoot.-Cliff

March 8, 2013, 12:15 AM
I use my spartan all the time, it's the only press I have on my bench, I had it for over 40 years,
I do how ever use the Rcbs primer tool with the strips
And I loaded everything from 9mm to 444, it's still a good reloading tool.

March 8, 2013, 12:53 AM
It's a good press. I bought mine, used, about 40 years ago. It didn't come with a primer arm so I used a hand primer tool. Still works great.

March 8, 2013, 07:57 AM
I have the old Spartan press, too. It was my Grandfather's. I called Lyman a few years ago and bought the two priming arms. They are brass tubes. It still takes some fiddling to get them to work right and if a primer falls down between the primer arm, dang, you gotta take off the spring, pull the pin and dump it out then re-assemble. I just bought RCBS's bench mounted priming tool (https://shop.rcbs.com/WebConnect/MainServlet?storeId=webconnect&catalogId=webconnect&langId=en_US&action=ProductDisplay&screenlabel=index&productId=2886&route=C06J030). I got tired of messing with the priming part of the Spartan. Other than that, its a tough press, the turret always aligns correctly and I like it.

March 8, 2013, 12:06 PM
I have all Old Lyman Presses . Whats good about them . You can Locate most of the screws and bolts @ any good hardware store
Lyman still makes a universal primer kit and universal primer holder for there machines.If you go to there web site "Lyman Products " You can order direct or midway or Midsouth shooters supply. with a little practice and set up it will work like clockwork.
Also I think there Replacement press handles will thread into the spartan and spartan Turret. you can e-mail them Directly on there site they Will get back to you.

March 10, 2013, 08:54 PM
Well, thanks for all the replies guys! Do you guys think it would be easier to start off with reloading for .308 then?

So to make a list of what I still need so far:
Dies (obviously)
shell holders
powder measure
powder scale
some time of priming device (probably hand held for now)

then I guess I'll have to start getting into case tumblers, case lube, and other tools too. What am I missing? At what stage does decapping the old primer take place?

March 10, 2013, 10:51 PM
Before you go out buying tools and such, I suggest you do one of two things:

One - Find someone in your life who reloads, knows what he's doing, and become friends with him. Ask him to mentor you through the hobby. Don't know anyone? Make friends. At your local gun club. At the place you will have to go to buy powder and primers. Someplace.

Two - If you can't do the above, buy a good loading manual and read through the process. Good luck finding one for sale right now, though. I'd recommend watching an on-line video, but I have no source at my fingertips to recommend to you at the moment. And while I'm sure there are contributions on youtube . . . you're not skilled enough to know who knows what he's doing and who's a dunce.

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