Hornady Lock-n-load questions


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John3921
March 9, 2013, 10:01 PM
I'm thinking about getting a Hornady lnl for .45 ACP, 9mm, .38/.357 mag. I've loaded for years on single stage and load .22-250, .25-06, .270 win, .300 win mag, .45-70, and the .357. I also load on a Ponsness 800+ shotshell loader. So I know something about loading and have scales and plenty of gizmo's. I suspect I won't bother with rifle loading on this unit. I have a forster co-ax that I like for rifle.

But I've never laid eyes on a Hornady lnl.

I'm trying to understand a little about swapping out to change calibers. I see folks recommending a separate quick change powder die for each caliber. I presume this is to keep one set up with a through the expander powder drop for each caliber. If so is this a significant time-saver? How hard are the expanders to install and adjust - maybe just keep a record of the expander protrusion written down somewhere?

Is the powder measure bushing adaptor (PC050122) necessary - nice - why? Is this another one that you need one for each caliber?

I presume that having multiple pistol powder measure micrometers is so that you can set one up and lock it in for each caliber.

Also, I see a lot of recommendations to have separate seating and taper crimp dies. So you need/want a standard 3-die set - and then a separate taper crimp die?

thanks for any insight. You can't actually find one for sale right now (reasonably priced) but I would like to try and get it figured out before I go order one.

John

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A-FIXER
March 9, 2013, 10:44 PM
Joe, if the adapter you speak of is just to ease of replacing different metering units is was already on mine, and it is up to you to decide if you want to change the setting each time, where if you get one for each cal it is ok but is best if you only use it for 1 type of bullet/powder/ as you'll never have to change settings. that said your standard 3 die is ok I do crimp in a single stage press using a Lee factory crimp die I have more consitent fsp and thus ensure for me all will have the necessary crimp I desire and am assured I get this with this process I do. I don't find it excessive as I am not a ammo plant but want the most from my reloads... hope this helps.

BYJO4
March 9, 2013, 11:05 PM
I also loaded everything on my Rockchucker for over 35 years before adding the Hornady LNL AP press to my bench (I also use PW shotshell loaders) about 2 years ago. Once I retired, I began shooting 3 to 4 times weekly and found the single stage too time consuming for handgun loading. I still use it for rifle although I could use the LNL. Since I load 2 or 3 different calibers every week, it is important to me to change from one to another quickly and without readjusting anything. I load 9MM 357, 41, 44, 45 ACP, and 45 LC. With the accessories you mentioned, all I have to do is twist out one set of dies and insert the new ones along with changing the shellplate which takes about 2 minutes (you have to change priming setup if going from small to large which takes another couple of minutes.

By having a seperate Quick Change Powder Die and pistol metering insert for each caliber, you wont have any adjusting on your powder drop. I use PTXs (powder thru expanders) on my 2 semi auto calibers inorder to have a free station to use the RCBS Lockout Die which I think is a good safety precaution. The expanders just drop into the Quick Change Powder Dies. You don't need the powder bushing you mentioned as the powder measure is already set up to just pull out and install metering inserts.

I find prefer to seat and crimp in seperate stations when using taper crimp for my semi auto caliber. I think it's easier to adjust that way and produces a better crimp. As a result, I order an extra crimp die for 9MM and 45 ACP.

rsrocket1
March 9, 2013, 11:05 PM
No need for a separate powder measure insert for each load. I load 9mm, 38 sp, .357 mag, 40 S&W and 45 ACP with the same powder measure/insert. I takes about 30 seconds to raise or lower the powder measure to the right case length, then tighten the set screw on the locking ring. It takes another minute or so to manually drop, weigh and adjust the powder drop for whatever powder and weight you want.

I do typically use all 5 stations for handgun loads
1. Deprime/resize
1a. prime
2. Drop Powder
3. Expand case
4. Seat bullet
5. Remove flare or crimp for revolver rounds

I don't crimp autoloader rounds (9/40/45), I simply remove the flare by "touching" the top of the case with the Factory crimp die resizing ring. It goes down far enough to remove the flare, but doesn't go the full length of the cartridge so there is no chance of swaging the bullet down. This is particularly useful with 9mm because the case lengths are so variable that it's difficult to seat and taper crimp just enough to remove the flare. Some cases are not touched at all while others are nearly roll crimped when using a combination seat/crimp die.

Lee does sell a taper crimp die that works like the rifle FCD. It has 4 sections that squeeze the top of the case without a resizing ring. The further you screw the die down, the deeper the crimp. For autoloaders, you only want to remove the flare or go just a tiny bit more.

John3921
March 9, 2013, 11:40 PM
BYJ04 - You mention using the PTX for the autoloaders - why would you not use them for the wheelguns? How is your set-up different?

Thanks for the insight everyone. It's starting to clear a little.

One thing I've found poking through various websites trying to dial in a setup is that the menus and options etc to try and get what you need/don't need sorted out, etc are terrible!

cfullgraf
March 9, 2013, 11:53 PM
For handgun cartridges, you probably would want the appropriate PTX drop tube for each caliber. Then you can expand and drop powder at the same station. There is an outfit that makes a tapered funnel that will expand any diameter case with the appropriate adjustment. Unfortunately, I do not remember the manufacturer.

You could get by with one powder drop die but you would have to adjust with each cartridge change. If your production runs are large per cartridge, not really a big deal. The time consumed re-adjusting the die would be small when amortized over the large production run.

I have set up my system where I can do small runs, 100 rounds or so, quickly with minimum of adjustments. Your choice. You can load without multiple dies and decide what you need to add later. Actually, I made custom drop tubes for each cartridge machined so that I do not have to readjust the powder drop die. I just swap the drop tube when I grade change the press.

I modified a Redding 10-X powder measure to work on my Hornady L-N-L progressive. The micrometer metering adjuster makes changing powder charges quick and easy if you record your setting. Hornady has a micrometer adjuster available for the L-N-L powder measure. Or, you could buy a plain, non-micrometer metering insert for each cartridge. The plain adjuster takes a bit longer to dial in to a new powder charge since it has no reference marks like the micrometer adjuster. Again, you could try it without and add later as you decide what you need. The plain adjusters are pretty inexpensive.

I prefer to crimp in a separate step as seating. I have done that even on a single stage press for decades. Definitely not a requirement. Just set your seater die up to crimp if you do not want to crimp in a separate step.

I use the Hornady powder cop die. It does require looking at it with each stroke of the handle to make sure you powder in each case. It is just part of my scan. Many folks like the RCBS unit.

I hope this helps.

cfullgraf
March 9, 2013, 11:54 PM
BYJ04 - You mention using the PTX for the autoloaders - why would you not use them for the wheelguns?

Use them for both.

KansasSasquatch
March 10, 2013, 12:18 AM
Don't bother spending the money on a PTX for each caliber, just pick up a universal PTX from www.powderfunnels.com $30 once, wait a week, and you're ready to go. With their PTX it's not really necessary to pay $25/ea for quick change powder dies either. You're still going to save massive amounts of time compared to loading it all on a single stage. I personally have 2 quick change powder dies and 1 powderfunnels.com PTX. 1 powder die is set up with the PTX and is used for all my pistol calibers, the other powder die is setup for .223. I adjust very little when switching from pistol to .223 and everything bigger than .223 gets loaded on a single stage for now. Save the money you would spend on all those extra Hornady PTX inserts and powder dies and use it to buy extra quick change bushings and lock rings. Hornady makes the best lock-rings (hard to dispute) and if you don't have a quick change bushing for EVERY die you don't get the full benefit of that press feature.

John3921
March 10, 2013, 12:43 AM
Universal PTX looks like a good idea. It doesn't look like it would be very difficult to turn one on the lathe either.

jjjitters
March 10, 2013, 05:43 AM
IT isn't, but if you shoot lead that style doesn't expand the cases at all, it just flairs it, so with lead that leaves too much neck tension( especially certain cals) and will usually swage lead bullets down which can cause leading.

For adjusting the powder die, you can make more of those stop bars for adjusting flair and keep one for each caliber. With extra powder inserts, caliber ptx, and the bars, you just swap the 3 parts and change powder(if needing to) and your good to go. Takes all of 40-50 seconds.

Uncle Richard
March 10, 2013, 08:32 AM
I'm thinking about getting a Hornady lnl for .45 ACP, 9mm, .38/.357 mag. I've loaded for years on single stage and load .22-250, .25-06, .270 win, .300 win mag, .45-70, and the .357. I also load on a Ponsness 800+ shotshell loader. So I know something about loading and have scales and plenty of gizmo's. I suspect I won't bother with rifle loading on this unit. I also load for the same pistol cartridges. I regret not buying this press sooner. The LnL is also designed for reloading rifle cartridges. I've been using one for 3 years and love it.

I have a forster co-ax that I like for rifle.

But I've never laid eyes on a Hornady lnl.

I'm trying to understand a little about swapping out to change calibers. The dies thread into a bushing. Once the die is set at the proper height for that cartridge, tighten the setscrew on the bushing. Now you can just drop the bushing/die in to the press, turn clockwise, and dies are locked and ready to reload. It takes a mater of seconds to remove the dies and put in ones of different calibers.

I see folks recommending a separate quick change powder die for each caliber. I presume this is to keep one set up with a through the expander powder drop for each caliber.
I believe your talking about two separate things. There is a powder measure insert that determines the volume of powder and there is the powder-through-expander (ptx) that replaces the expander die and free's up a station on the press for something else. The powder inserts are nice, because you can save your favorite load and never have to adjust the insert again. I highly recommend using the PTX's. They provide a perfect amount of expansion, easy to adjust, and free's up a station on the die head for something else.

If so is this a significant time-saver? Yes, it saves time; however, I like the fact that everything is locked into place and I don't have to readjust everytime I reload that caliber.

How hard are the expanders to install and adjust - maybe just keep a record of the expander protrusion written down somewhere? Very easy.

Is the powder measure bushing adaptor (PC050122) necessary - nice - why? Is this another one that you need one for each caliber? Never used it...however, I'm going to look into this for future use.

I presume that having multiple pistol powder measure micrometers is so that you can set one up and lock it in for each caliber. The micrometer insert is not necessary. Yes, once the powder charge is set, Lock into place and load, hence the name.

Also, I see a lot of recommendations to have separate seating and taper crimp dies. So you need/want a standard 3-die set - and then a separate taper crimp die? I use the taper crimp for auto pistols and roll crimp for revolvers. Hornady makes 3die sets with specifically the taper crimp.


If you were to purchase a LnL, I highly recommend the RCBS lock-out-die for safety reasons. The lock-out-die measures the amount of powder and stops the press from advancing if there is a low charge or double charge of powder. You will need to free up a station. Since I use the PTX's, it frees up a station by removing the expander die.

John3921
March 10, 2013, 10:43 AM
quote Uncle: "I believe your talking about two separate things. There is a powder measure insert that determines the volume of powder and there is the powder-through-expander (ptx) that replaces the expander die and free's up a station on the press for something else. The powder inserts are nice, because you can save your favorite load and never have to adjust the insert again. I highly recommend using the PTX's. They provide a perfect amount of expansion, easy to adjust, and free's up a station on the die head for something else."

What I was questioning here was the Hornady quick change powder die PN PC050074

http://www.natchezss.com/brand.cfm?contentID=productDetail&brand=PC&prodID=PC050074&prodTitle=Hornady%20Quick%20Change%20Powder%20Die

I've seen recommendations that you have one of these for each caliber - and the corresponding PTX as well as a powder metering assy for each caliber (I understand you don't the micrometer, the normal one that comes with the press is adequate)

I can't see how the PTX mounts to the powder die - so I am unclear as to how advantageous it is to have the powder die for each caliber. I presume you get one with the machine - so I'd need 2 more at $25, plus the 3 PTX inserts, plus 2 more of the pistol powder metering shooterbabes.

If I understand you correctly - you use the supplied seating and taper die to both seat and taper your auto-loaders on the same operation?

Blue68f100
March 10, 2013, 11:24 AM
The PTX goes inside the powder die. With the case operated powder drop it will expand the the brass like a separate expander and allows you to dump powder in one station. This frees up a station for the Powder Cop or lockout die. The powder dies are not needed but it will save you a lot of time. Since the PTX is adj to the nearest 0.001" it does take time to get every thing just right. I have powder dies for all my pistol caliber + 1 for use on rifle loads. If you use the std expander that comes with the die sets you do not need the extra bases or ptx.You can add these at a later time. But from experience it's well worth the expense. Now the Power funnel does not do the same function as the std expander or PTX. The Power funnel only expands the mouth. The ptx and expander dies does 2 things. It actually expands the brass down to where the bullet goes and expands the mouth. The expansion of the bras where the bullet goes, gives you consistent/even neck tension.

As for the powder adj. You can use the std one that comes with the unit with out any issues. It just may take you 10 min to get every thing set. With a micrometer head or separate head all you do is swap the head or dial in a setting. Very quick.

With the PTX and powder die base it only takes me 5 min to do a complete change over from 9mm to 45acp. This includes changing primer size. My reload book as the micrometer setting for all my loads all I do is dial it in and check, tweak if needed.

I prefer the separate die for taper crimping. The reason why is the bullet is not being moved when you crimp giving you better results. On a TC die if the bullet is moving depending on how it setup you may shave copper or lead off the bullet. If set right it should only remove the flare. Doing it as a separate step it does not impact your bullet seating depth. If you order Hornady dies the 45acp comes in both TC or Roll so confirm your die set. The std all along has been roll crimp since it does another caliber that requires a roll crimp.

I have not seen or used the PC050122 for I cannot comment on it.

You do not need all the bells and whistles to get started. You can add them at a later time.

I have been using mine for 5yrs now and the machines are a very good. But with anything mechanical it does require some knowledge of it's operation in order to setup and get every thing adj right. I have not had to tweak on anything except the powder adj for the last few years. There are quite of few mods than can be done to make these machines run smoother. Just like a brass feeder you can add it at any time.

BYJO4
March 10, 2013, 12:49 PM
I don't need to use a PTX on revolver calibers since I have a station open to use my normal expander die. This is because I seat & roll crimp at the same time so I still have room for my RCBS Lockout Die.

John3921
March 10, 2013, 05:00 PM
Ah! Understood. Thanks - now to hope one actually comes up for sale somewhere. The only ones to be found are on ebay and about twice msrp.

KansasSasquatch
March 10, 2013, 06:10 PM
I don't know how far you are from Billings but Cabelas has a store there. My local Cabelas keeps getting 1-2 LNL presses every week or 2. But they aren't listing them on their website at all.

John3921
March 10, 2013, 06:24 PM
Closer to the Coeur d'Alene, ID Cabelas. Billings is about 350 miles from here. Cda would be about 180.

KansasSasquatch
March 10, 2013, 06:38 PM
Sounds like calling ahead would definitely be a good idea. Maybe see if they can hold it for a couple hours if they have one.

Uncle Richard
March 10, 2013, 08:07 PM
Closer to the Coeur d'Alene, ID Cabelas. Billings is about 350 miles from here. Cda would be about 180.
Midway usually has them on sale once or twice a year. Got mine for around $380.

As someone previously mentioned. The PTX goes inside the powder drop die.

Not to be broken record, but I highly recommend the RCBS lock-out-die. Also, once you are comfortable with operating the press, I highly recommend the case feeder. It makes reloading faster and free's up a hand.

Good luck.

John3921
March 10, 2013, 10:10 PM
I was looking at the Hornady powder cop die - but I have read that the RCBS lock out die is mo' betta. thanks.

I'm in no great hurry, I don't have enough brass to where single stage is evan an issue - yet.

Huskerguy
March 10, 2013, 10:32 PM
I use the universal powder die as well. It does not flair as well as a standard Hornady die for each caliber but it does work well. It does allow for some bullet shaving on lead bullets. I also use RCBS lock out die and I highly recommend it. I use the following stations:
1. Size and deprime
2. Powder drop and expand
3. Lock out die - powder check
4. Seat the bullet
5. Crimp die

I also purchased the micro powder insert that is made for lighter charges of 4 grains or less. It works very well. I do not have a separate powder insert, it does not take long to set the powder charge. There was lots of advice on what I should buy and I ended up staying basic aside from the micro insert and it was a good idea. I have not found a need for anything else.

John3921
March 16, 2013, 02:23 PM
Found one in stock and ordered it. Still short a few things - like dies and shell plates. but it's a start!

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