My Refurbishing a Hollywood Universal III

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Kevin Rohrer, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    It's been awhile since anyone discussed Hollywood presses here, so this topic is about my refurbishing a Universal III Deluxe I picked up on Ebay.

    I like old presses, especially when they are all-steel. I took a liking to Hollywoods awhile back and have several bolted to my bench; but none were the triple-turreted Universal III. Sooo, when the opportunity arose, I got one on Ebay and set about restoring it to like-new condition.

    The press was actually in pretty good shape with no rust; and better yet, it came complete. My first step was to disassemble the Universal and give it a bath in an orange cleaner, which stripped off 50+ years of grease and grime.

    Here are a few "before" pictures showing the press in its naked, pre-bath condition:

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    Although there appear to be lots of parts, the Universal is a snap to completely disassemble, provided you understand how it works.

    After the bath, rinse, and dry, the brightwork had its surfaces shined with a purple Scotchbrite pad soaked in Breakfree that removed the tarnish. The press was then lubed and put back together. Any tight tolerance parts were lubed with Breakfree CLP, while moving parts with looser tolerances (e.g. the shellholder slide) were lubed with synthetic motor oil. The springs and ball bearings were covered in RIG. As the handle is bare metal and needed to be lubed to prevent rusting, I added a CH rubber grip.

    Here is the final product with its shellholders and primer arms installed. It looks pretty good for being a senior citizen. I just checked the runout on some rounds I reloaded with it and found that the average runout as <.002 as measured with a Hornady concentricity gauge.

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    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Nice work Kevin; ready to for another 50+ yrs !
  3. snowshooze

    snowshooze New Member

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    Great!
    Thanks for posting this up, I am going to restore one too and was worried about the polishing. Did you use a power tool to buff? And your paint looks great! Is it the factory paint job with a clear coat? I need to make or buy 3 more turret handles for mine.. just one on it right now.
    I haven't got my hands on mine yet, do you just grab the turret and turn it, or do you tighten the allen at top at each station move? I see the detent ball... or is it the slotted cap that makes the final turret snug down?
    I can hardly wait to get started!
    Thanks again,
    Mark
    Great job!!!
  4. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    Power buffers aren't needed. A purple Scotchbrite pad w/ Breakfree on it removes the accumulated grime and tarnish after a few seconds of brisk rubbing. I may have helped the process though by covering the metal to be polished in Breakfree for a couple days to allow it to soak into the grime. If you want a brighter finish for the handle, switch to a gray or white pad w/ White Compound on it. The brightwork looks shiny because it has Breakfree on it and the camera flash lights it up.

    I haven't done anything w/ the paint. There are one or two spots where it's rubbed off but they are minor. I haven't bought any of the wrinkle paint needed to cover those spots, and I might not do it as the paint requires it be baked in an oven to properly cure.

    Matching handles are impossible to come by, but others that are close can be bought from Reid Supply, unless you can find someone to machine them for you.

    I leave the turret cap alone. It's down enough not to flex while allowing me to rotate it as necessary.

    Be careful when you remove each of the turrets. The top one has two spring-loaded ball bearings, while the other two have one each, and three of those four bearings are *small*. The c-clips are even smaller and fragile, but Home Depot and Lowes has replacements..

    Here's a pic of my Hollywood turrets. The one on the left is for sale.

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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  5. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    very nice work. im not interested in buying, but wondering what the press is worth?
  6. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    The current market value of the least expensive Hollywood in that last pic is >$500. The Dunbar at the left edge of the pic is worth $300.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  7. snowshooze

    snowshooze New Member

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    Hi Kevin;
    Thanks for the detailed reply.
    The one on the left, for sale is the same as the model I have located other than mine has both turntables as your other one does to the right.
    I notice now the difference in the one you have loaded with dies has the guide rails for the stage, is there an issue with the fit in the cast rail, or did you mill that surface off and put the rails on yourself? I wonder the value of these along with John, where would you place it? I have seen them ebay for over a thousand, and under five hundred. I purchased and refurbished a Senior in Aluminum which I am ebay experimenting with in hopes of financing this next job, working my way up.
    Thanks for the warning on the Jesus balls. ( Jesus!...where'd that go? )
    That wrinkle paint, is it available? I was thinking of doing the new project in the rust-oleeuum black granite with clear top coat, but yours look so good... I think I should stay with as close to stock as I can get.
    I own a machine shop, and once having a sample, I can do a nice job turning out some more handles, but I was hoping they were available.
    Oh, and if you need a tie bar, let me know. I will just need dimensions and a look at what they used for a nut at the top.
    I wish I could come visit your collection, it would be a pleasure to run a few rounds through them and compare the feels...how do you like that Senior Turret? Is it superior to the Universal in rigidity? I would think in the tie bar station...it could never move.
    Has anyone to your knowledge written up a history on the Hollywood presses? I have been looking online for owners manuals, production data of the various models.. I've been bitten by the Hollywood bug. I haven't had much luck yet, but have only been at it a couple weeks.
    What a great collection you have there! Maybe some day when I grow up...
    Thanks again for sharing your time and expertise on the subject, it is of great value to me.
    Mark
  8. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    The one with the rails is an early, wasp-waist Model-B. I am guessing that the rails were made and fitted because the machinist either couldn't or didn't want to machine the rails into the press like the later Model IIIs in the pic, probably from a quality of operation standpoint. Here's a side picture of the "B" showing how it looks different from the later Model III. The first Universal was a Model A, which had the same frame as the later "B", but the turret only had 3-stations. When a 12-station turret was substituted, it became a "B", later name changed to Model-II.

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    Here is a Model-III with the 3-station turret that belongs on an Model-A.

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    Provided all these presses are in steel and not aluminum (mine are steel), the Model B (name changed later to Model II) is worth anywhere from $500-600. The Senior Turret if complete with the tie rod is worth from $550-600, and the Model III if it has all three turrets is worth $550-700. There are also aluminum Super Turrets worth the same as the Model III, and a later steel Super Turret of unique design with dual tie rods (which I have only seen in a single picture), which may be worth more, depending on who recognizes what it is and bids on it.

    http://www.tcpglobal.com/spraypaintdepot/vht-wrinkle-plus.aspx

    The rod dimensions tended to change over time. I will figure out what it is for my Turret as well as the threading (am thinking it is 9/16x?). If you can duplicate it, I'll pay any reasonable fee. That also goes for the handles.

    If you live in or near Ohio, you are welcome to stop by. I am thinking that even though the Universal has a thicker turret, with the tie bar in place, the Senior is the more rigid press. However, either press can do case forming, swaging, and loading .50BMG (provided there is a 1 1/2x12 die station).


    PM me an email name and I will send you a history.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  9. snowshooze

    snowshooze New Member

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    Wow Kevin;
    You must be just about the most informed Hollywood collector there is.
    This is great! A three hole? That's like a 3 wheel Cadillac...lol, I was just a bit short of the whole car... really amazing. Is it in your collection as well? I'd think it worth more than the rest, gotta be really scarce.
    Thanks again for all your help.
    Sincerely,
    Mark
  10. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    No, I don't own that one.

    Pressman on Castbooits knows more than I; I'm his understudy. :cool:
  11. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    great info

    i take it they all take standard dies and shell holders
  12. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    "Yes" to both.
  13. Gearhead

    Gearhead New Member

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    Hi Kevin, this is probably a lost cause, but do you still have that Hollywood universal reloading press for sale, and if so how much would you want to sell it to me for. It is going to be put in my collection and used by me. Not sold on E bay on some over priced listing. Thanks for all the great support you and every member on this website gives out. p.s hope i didn't need to post this as a wtb: or in a different spot. Thanks again.
  14. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    I still have a Model-II for sale, and will include at least one primer arm with it (don't know if I have enough extras to include both).

    Am not looking to make any money, and will sell it for a bit less ($500) than I paid for it. The caveat is that I don't want to package it for shipping (i.e. too big), and will only sell it if I can deliver it in person or meet someone halfway. That means the sale will have to take place in Ohio or an adjacent state (including Ontario) .

    Pictures available on request.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  15. Jim_in_MN

    Jim_in_MN New Member

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    I have spent the last few years working to replace several Hollywood presses that my grandfather gave away before he passed away a few years ago. He had at least 4 that I know of but gave them away to members of his gun club. It's been a slow and expensive task so far.

    Kevin I might be interested in pictures of your press as well as a copy of the Hollywood history. Can you send them via email me?

    Thanks,

    Jim
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