Saturday, September 10, 2016

Introduction to the Lyman 310 tong tool: Part 2

In part 1 we looked at the difference and features of the handles that were needed to use the 310 dies. Here in part 2 we see what we need to be looking for in purchasing our tong tool dies either as a group of dies or as individual dies to replace missing dies. As I briefly alluded  the 310 dies come in 2 types, dies intended to be used with the reloading press and dies meant for the tong tools.  It should also be understood that by design the 310 dies are meant to only neck size! There are some full length sizing options out there but those are for the press only. This is fine for bolt actions, single shots and lever actions however most semi auto guns will not like ammo made that have only been neck sized. The die sets you will need for tong tools need to have a "M" type expander, if you have a die set that has the expander AND the decapper in the same die you may run into troubles.

L- 4 die set, R-5 die set

Four die sets have the neck sizer and the decapper in the same die (seen in following pictures). This is fine as it is only the sets that decap and bell or have the button sizer that is drawn back through the neck that you will need to avoid. It is because the hook does not stay engaged with the case long enough to pull it back over that expander. As such either of the die sets pictured above are suitable for the tong tools.

Aforementioned hook shows just how far it will extract a 30/06 case before it disengages. 

4 die set, note left die is both decapper and neck sizer  as opposed to being 2 dies in 5 die sets

5 die sets, The "Universal" type decapping die and then the "muzzle resizer" which is the neck sizer are the left most 2 dies.
 Something to note in the above picture the "Universal" type decapping die assembly is one give away you may be looking at a 5 die set for the tong tool. Most die sets for use in the reloading press set ups will have a skinny stem with a button part way up the stem, note the fatter threaded rod in the "universal" decap die.
Another view of decap/sizer die from 4 die set and the 2 dies that perform the same operation from 5 die set.
In the pictures below we start to take a look at the expander dies as another way to identify die sets for use with the 310 tong tool. If the die set you are looking at combines these two operations into one die it is not for the tong tool but for the press.

Here we see the "universal" decap stems from 2 rifle die sets as well as the "M" type expander die.

These expander dies were taking from 3 different sets, 30/06, 30-30 and 357. Note die body length difference between the three.

Close up of expander die body and stem from 30-30 die set.
 In the next picture we see the decap, sizing and expanding operation combined all into one die. This die as is will not work with the tong tool handles. You could remove the expander button however you'll still need a way to expand the case mouth.

This die intended for the 310 series of bench presses WILL NOT work for our tong tool handles!

Left-310 dies for expanding case mouth and decapping. R- die for the press that combines these operations.

Differences in stem sizes, Also note on right die "CMR" stamp that denotes this as a "combination muzzle re-sizer die"
Another clue you might be looking at a 310 tong tool die set is the priming unit  that has a built in shell holder and captive plunger assembly but it is not a absolute as this was something that could also be used on the press. The bullet seater die (double adjustment) is the same so far as I understand it between the press dies and the tong toll type dies. I mentioned the bullet seater as having double adjustments because the stem is threaded as well. I have yet to see a non adjustable type bullet seater however I'm sure they are out there.

Priming unit shown as 2nd die from left and double adjustable bullet seating die shown far right

This may seem confusing at first (I sure was) but it is worth understanding if your wanting to build a reloading set up that takes up very little space and is easy to use. The 310 tong tool is still a relevant system perfect for the RV or cabin. In the next  part we will go over die adjustments and set up for reloading.

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