Hornady LNL AP press bushings - broken & cracked, anyone else see this?


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IMtheNRA
June 10, 2011, 11:48 PM
Well, I was playing around with some die adjustments today, and I took a close look at my Lock N Load AP press bushings (not the die bushings, but the five bushings installed in the press itself).

Three of the five had broken and cracked lugs. One of the bushings had one cracked lug and two press bushings had three broken or cracked lugs each. The defects were on the lowest part of the lug, where it engages the lugs of the die bushing when the die bushing is twisted into place. I could easily feel the broken areas by sliding my finger up the press bushing from below.

This explains the few mystery crescent shaped pieces of debris that I found. All this time, I thought they were very large bullet shavings...

Not sure if I'm using the right term here, "lugs" is all I can think of at the moment, if you know what I mean.

Has anyone else experienced this issue?

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cfullgraf
June 11, 2011, 08:43 AM
I have not not broken any lugs on my L-N-L.

How tight are you snugging up the dies with bushings when you are installing them? Or maybe they are getting over tightened when installing and setting dies. Short of flaws in the press inserts, that is the only situation that I could think of that could over stress the bushings.

Except for the sizer die, there is not much load on the dies when operating the press.

I usually set the dies to hand tight when installing them. Occasionally, I will lightly snug up the sizing die with a wrench. The operative word is "lightly".

Not saying this is you, but I have worked with pipe fitters who think a screwed joint is not tight enough unless they crack a few fittings once in a while.

capreppy
June 11, 2011, 09:34 AM
I've only had mine for half a year, but no issues (just checked). I've loaded thousands of rounds thru it and no issues. I've just started FL sizing 5.56 NATO thru it, but it is pretty smooth using Imperial Sizing Wax.

IMtheNRA
June 11, 2011, 11:32 AM
Cfullgraf - the only dies that sometimes get LIGHTLY tightened with the wrench are sizing in station 1 and powder, which is usually in station 3. Most of the time, I can hand-loosen these two dies after use, so I am pretty sure that I don't over-tighten them with the wrench.

My broken lugs are in station 1 - four broken or cracked; station 3 - one cracked; and station 5, which has three broken or cracked lugs.

Station 5 NEVER gets wrench tightened, because it is used only for crimping on some pistol cartridges. Usually, station 5 is empty.

I don't think the wrench has much to do with breaking these lugs because station 5 has three bad lugs despite the fact that it has never had the wrench treatment.

Steve C
June 11, 2011, 02:03 PM
Is the shell holder pressing up against the dies at the top of the stroke? That would be the only way I could imagine enough force to crack the bushing.

Blue68f100
June 11, 2011, 03:23 PM
Something is definitely wrong in the way your dies are setup. I have had my press for 3+ years with not problems 15k+ rounds through it. If the dies are backing out of the bushings you need to add the shims under the die-bushing. This removes the excess side to side that cause them to back out. I have one on my powder dispenser with the PTX die. Works great. Another temp fix is just put a piece of paper with the bushing to tighten it up.

Call Hornady Monday and RMA it. They will more than likely be sending you a brand new press. FREE of course.

cfullgraf
June 11, 2011, 05:50 PM
I don't think the wrench has much to do with breaking these lugs because station 5 has three bad lugs despite the fact that it has never had the wrench treatment.

OK.

As others have suggested, are the dies hitting the shell plate on the upstroke?

Unless the inserts in the press were faulty, the only way they could break would be to have an excess load put on them some how. Review what your are doing and question any step that gets lots of force. I don't use a torque wrench to tighten anything on my L-N-L press, but nothing on the dies gets, or needs, to be excessive tightened.

Another question, how are you tightening the L-N-L bushing on the die against the lock ring on the die. Any chance the lugs are getting damaged on the bushing which would then affect the fit in the press? This may overload one or two of the lugs. Uneven loading of the lugs could cause them to break.

I will admit, I am shooting a bit in the dark but trying to figure suggestions of things to look for.

Also, as suggested, call Hornady customer service on Monday.

Hope this helps.

Walkalong
June 11, 2011, 07:37 PM
Hornady will make it right, but it sounds like you are screwing the dies down too far. I can not see the inserts cracking under normal pressure. Never know though.

firstater
June 12, 2011, 01:06 AM
YES I have a cracked bushing! I found a crescent shapped piece of metal a while back and could not figure out where it came from. I just looked and found station one had a cracked bushing. Thanks for the post. Looks like I'll be calling Hornady as well. Let me know how it turns out.

GW Staar
June 12, 2011, 01:44 AM
In the reloading forum at AR15.com there were several documented cases of this happening last year. It was isolated to bad out-of-spec bushings from an outside source. The problem was rectified by Hornady, and I haven't heard anymore complaints online for months. You may have found bushings that weren't purged by the company. I would contact Hornady and I'm sure they will send you replacements that are up to spec.

Walkalong
June 12, 2011, 10:04 AM
Sounds like you have your answer. :)

evan price
June 13, 2011, 04:43 AM
On another forum a member posted a picture of his Hornady bushing that came without internal threads. Midway sent a new pack of bushings no charge.

IMtheNRA
June 13, 2011, 12:37 PM
Just spoke with Hornady, and they are aware of the problem. It seems that some time ago, a batch of press bushings were made too hard. Now, the lugs are cracking. Hornady is mailing me five bushings, so that I can replace them all.

I got an email from Hornady warranty department confirming this order less than ten munutes after I spoke with Bob in tech support. As usual, Hornady service is great!

By the way, I took out the broken bushings last night - if you've never done this, you're in for a treat. Let's just say - eat your spinach before you try to unscrew the press bushings :)


Edited to add: I read the confirmation email, and they threw in a couple of retainer springs, even though we never discussed this item. That's a really nice gesture, presumably for the inconvenience of working on the press bushings. Thanks again, Hornady!

cfullgraf
June 13, 2011, 09:17 PM
IMthe NRA, good deal.

What did you use to unscrew the bushings? Just curious.

longdayjake
June 13, 2011, 09:29 PM
I have a couple bushings that I am constantly having to screw back in because they keep coming out. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why my dies were still tight in the locking bushing but for some reason things kept backing out. Then I realized the internal bushings were loose.

IMtheNRA
June 14, 2011, 12:18 AM
Cfullgraf - I used a Hornady sizing die because it is the only one that has flats for a wrench. I installed the die in a die bushing, then tightened the lock ring as hard as I could.

I lowered the die in its die bushing about half way into the press bushing and used the wrench to turn the die counter-clockwise in order to break free the press bushing.

The press bushings are tight! If the wrench slips or breaks, there would be a bloody mess to clean up :eek:

cfullgraf
June 14, 2011, 12:23 PM
IMtheNRA, Thanks. Never know when i might need the info. No need to re-invent the wheel.

IMtheNRA
June 14, 2011, 02:17 PM
I know what you mean! :)

By the way, Hornady has some other way of taking out the die bushings. If I remember correctly from a few years ago, it involved installing either the die or a die bushing upside down.

I could not remember the details, so I just improvised my own method.

dbltaps
June 14, 2011, 05:28 PM
I hope this does not sound patronizing; I may be stating the obvious... but here's my 2 cents.

As others have suggested, maybe its the shell plate impacting the bottom of the dies, cracking the seating lugs. The setup instructions tell you to adjust die depth in the press until the shell plate touches the die and you have to "cam over" with the press' lever. I have never done this. I set up my press so that the shell plate just barely touches the bottom of the dies, with no additional effort to complete the down-stroke of the press handle. The entire case is pushed into the die(s) which fully resizes/expands/charges/seats/crimps at all five stations. The trick is to set up the shell plate to just barely touch the full length resizer die at the bottom of the handle's stroke, then adjust all the other dies to match it in depth. Of course, the expander die may not need to be seated as deeply - just adjust it to barely/gently flare the case mouth.

Of course, this won't help you until you repair your press, but I hope this is helpful.

IMtheNRA
June 14, 2011, 06:37 PM
dbltaps - Hornady has already confirmed they have a bad batch of press bushings. They tested a bunch of returns and the metallurgy was discovered to be off-spec. Specifically, Hornady had a batch of bushings that were too hard. Cracked lugs is what Hornady expects from these defective bushings, regardless of how carefully the dies are set up.

On a related note, two seperate reps at Hornady have now confirmed that sizing die contact with the shell plate is acceptable and should not lead to any damage.

While I've never set up any dies to contact the plate, I am considering doing so now as a result of inadequate sizing of .223 brass.

The broken press bishings were discovered before I reset my rifle sizing die.

firstater
June 14, 2011, 08:16 PM
I have less than 500 rounds of .40 though my press and barely touch my shell plate and my bushing is cracked as IMtheNRA described.

cfullgraf
June 14, 2011, 08:22 PM
Specifically, Hornady had a batch of bushings that were too hard.

Yes, that will do it. If the metal is too hard, it is usually brittle as well.

Good info to know.

firstater
June 15, 2011, 08:40 PM
I called Hornady today, great service, sending me replacements. Great tip on putting the die in upside down. Worked like a charm.

HK SD9 Tactical
July 10, 2011, 10:56 AM
How much force is required to loosen these female bushings? I tried to take one out last night and I was using a 12 in long wrench and was torquing it down pretty firmly - so much so that I thought that I was going to sheer off the lugs. Havn't gotten any of them out yet.l

TIA

firstater
July 10, 2011, 11:24 AM
I screwed a lee die that I don't use, upside down and it took quite a bit of force. I messed up the lee locking ring in the process die was fine. I didn't think it was coming out it was in so tight but eventually got it.

Otto
July 10, 2011, 11:50 AM
Mine haven't broken yet. But if they do, I'll replace them with standard steel bushings.
I've never been a fan of the LNL system...too many dies have worked loose and extra LNL bushings are an added expense.

http://leeprecision.com/xcart/images/T/t-881.jpg

IMtheNRA
July 10, 2011, 12:46 PM
I don't have a technical way to answer your question, so let me put it this way: I was worried about breaking the wrench and smashing my knuckles in the process. :eek:

HK SD9 Tactical
July 10, 2011, 03:33 PM
I don't have a technical way to answer your question, so let me put it this way: I was worried about breaking the wrench and smashing my knuckles in the process. :eek:
Well lets hope that I don't break a knuckle doing it as well.:eek:

HK SD9 Tactical
July 11, 2011, 04:25 PM
Spoke with Hornady CS this morning and they are sending me the female bushings so that I can replace the faulty ones. Lonnie explained the methology to removing the female bushings and replaceing them, as stated above, by placing a decapping die into the male bushing and placing it in the female bushing from the bottom side and then cranking on it with a 3/4" wrench. Lonnie stated that it would seem hard as first but the female bushings would give way.

While I am not pleased that I have to do this, things like this do happen - just seems to happen to me a lot more than others. I could have sent the frame back to Hornady and they would have issued a call slip and they would have done the repair and sent it back - all at no cost to me. It may still have to happen this way if I can't get the bushings out.

Customer Service that Hornady provides is excellent and there was no charge for any of the parts that I needed. If fact, I just got an email confirming the shipment of the replacement parts.

IMtheNRA
July 11, 2011, 04:52 PM
Maybe a few drops of Liquid Wrench would help after letting it soak in for a while.

HK SD9 Tactical
July 11, 2011, 08:21 PM
Maybe a few drops of Liquid Wrench would help after letting it soak in for a while.
Not needed. I was able to get the bushings out. I just had to use a bigger wrench to do it. They came out easily once I had a wrench long enough to apply sufficient torque.

Walkalong
July 11, 2011, 08:49 PM
So you whipped out a can of physics on them. :D

HK SD9 Tactical
July 12, 2011, 10:10 AM
So you whipped out a can of physics on them. :D
A combination of both physics and physiques!:)

Actually, once I got over the fear of damaging either the bushing or the press frame, they all came out rather easily. At least I did not have to use a hammer.:eek:

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