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Anybody use the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by EddieCoyle, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Well-Known Member

    I'm ready to get started loading handgun ammunition. I plan to load .380, .38spl, .45 ACP, and .500 S&W. I've been saving my brass and plan to reload over the winter.

    I'll probably load 1000 of .380, 2000 each of .38 and .45, and a few hundred of the .500's.

    I've narrowed my press choices down to 2 presses, a single stage and a progressive:

    1. The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme (kit)

    2. Hornady Lock-N-Load AP

    Does anybody have experience with the Hornady press? Is it any good? And finally, do you think the quantities above justify the extra cost of a progressive vs. single stage press?
  2. LHB1

    LHB1 Well-Known Member

    Both the RCBS Rock Chucker (single stage) press and the Hornady LNL AP (progressive) are good reloading presses. Have used both during my 40+ years of reloading. Currently use two Hornady LNL AP presses, one for .45 ACP and one for .44 Mag, to avoid ANY delay in die/plate changeover. The LNL will obviously load rounds quicker but will take longer to switch base plate than to switch shell holder head on Rock Chucker.

    Minor problem with using one press for the calibers you mention is that .380 and .38 Spl use SMALL primers while .45 ACP and .500 use LARGE primers. In my experience changing the primer feed unit on a press is a hassle and I try to avoid this necessity.

    Good shooting and be safe.
  3. Guy B. Meredith

    Guy B. Meredith Well-Known Member

    Yep, been using one for several years and in excess of 20,000 rounds. Mine is one of the original pre serial 7000 and several nice upgrades have been added post 7000. One-the primer system-I have incorporated into my press.

    I bought the system as it is sturdy, efficient, relatively inexpensive. Changing primers and calibers is a piece of cake, though some wealthy types would get grouchy about spending 5 to 10 minutes and would rather have multiple presses.
  4. 1911user

    1911user Well-Known Member

    5000+ pistol rounds is progressive territory. If you are looking at the Hornady progressive, you should also check out the Dillon 550B progressive. Both presses and the total caliber conversion costs are roughly the same. You can search out the discussion/war threads between the 2 progressives. Either are far superior to an expensive single stage press kit.
  5. tc300mag1

    tc300mag1 Well-Known Member

    I have the Hornady and love it .. Except for 9mm for some reason it binds up only caliber hornady is sending me a new shell plate they think one i have is out of spec
  6. Deavis

    Deavis Well-Known Member

    The search function is your friend! Use it first then ask your questions if they are unanswered.


    That is 4 out of a very long list. Search for posts by Cortland, he posted a link to a very comprehensive review of the 550 and LNL after he switched to the Hornady. A "Blue Koolaid" search with his name will bring up that thread.
  7. Bronson7

    Bronson7 Well-Known Member

    Deavis, I can appreciate where you're comming from but if that was the case, we'd probably have a very inactive forum. In addition, current news is better than old news, even if it does concern the same subject. Not getting down on you, just expressing my opinion. :)
  8. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

    I think it's better to compare the Hornady LnL to the Dillon 650.

    The biggest advantage that I can think of is the ability to leave the powder measure on the press with the Hornady.

    If properly cared for both presses will outlast you.
  9. Deavis

    Deavis Well-Known Member

    No, you wouldn't. This is one of the few forums around that does not hammer people for asking questions that can be answered using the search feature. I'm sure plenty of people skip over posts titled, "Which progressive press is best" because it is obvious that person hasn't searched for the wealth of info on here. Well, except for thos diehard Lee fans who must get a cut of the profit since they always respond first. :evil:

    My point is this, if you search and read you can ask questions that are useful. There is no utility in hashing through the same thing over and over unless that is your idea of an active forum. Repetition of the same tired questions does nothing to develop a good forum. Go post that question over on Brian Enos' forum and watch the replies come in that say, "Go do a search first"

    If people read those threads I recommended based on a quick search, they could ask, "Well that is interesting that the LNL has feautre X, but really, how much better is feature X than feature Y on the RCBS" That type of question will give them a much better understanding that someone answering the question "Which press is better" by saying, "Hey buy the Hornady, it rocks!" Every question presented here, no offense to the original poster, has been answered before in depth. He could learn more in 5 minutes searching that waiting for people to chime in. Notice that the length of this thread is small compared to the threads I posted. Why do you think that is? Repetitive question?
  10. cbsbyte

    cbsbyte Well-Known Member

    Hornady LNL AP is Ok

    I just recieved the Hornady LNL AP five days ago from Grafs & Sons. During the past few days, I have had a chance to try it out reloading 500 rds of both 9mm and .357 Mag. Overall I found that the press is well made, with a great powder measure, but it has some problems with the priming system that need to be addressed.

    I found the press to be easy to setup within one hour including cleaning the press and powder measure of packing grease, even through the directions where not well written with many grammatical errors. The timing movement of the press was way off as set from the factory, It took at least 30 mintues to correctly set the movement of the shell plate. Even after four days, I still have some problems with the plate lining up correctly with the dies. Also the right paw is severley worn after only 500rds. Overall movement of the progressive action is smooth with no noticable jerky movements unless the timing is off then it becomes hard to use and it will completely lock up if the paws are not adjusted correctly. Added: I corrected most of the timing issues and then added heavy grease to the paws and index wheel to stop the wearing.

    I like the Lock and load feature of the dies, but mine are very tight when on the press and hard to remove without messing with the die setting or using a wrench. Nice feature is that the powder measure does not have to be removed from the press.

    The powder measure is great it throws consistant correct charges, with the pistol micrometer. The automatic powder drop is of concern since it sometimes will not drop down once a case is removed from the slot. Added, Yes, I fixed it, the height of the measure had to be adjusted.

    The problems I have most with this press is with the priming system. It just plain sucks. It was working fine for the first hunderd rounds but then refilled it and it will not longer correctly prime. The primers will either not drop correctly onto the arm or they cause a blockage and then priming arm jams. I had three primers set off when they where crushed by the priming arm. No matter how I try to fix, or clean it there is alway a feeding problem. It has becomes such a bother I am going to just take it off the press and hand prime with my Lee primer. I also noticed alot of the parts of priming system are made from a soft pot metal this could explain the jamming because the parts might be misaligned or out of spec.

    I have not timed myself to see how many round I can do in an hour since I have not been able to work out all the problems that arise that slow the process down and I am still not comfortable enough with the press to speed up the process. I have no experience with any Dillion press except from word of mouth so I can not compare the two brands. I am going to keep this press and try working out the problems; if need be have it fixed by Hornady. I cannot see why this press would not produce very good ammo at a decent rate if the problems where fixed.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2005
  11. Guy B. Meredith

    Guy B. Meredith Well-Known Member


    Raise your press immediately to Hornady's attention. Their customer service has done very well by me.
  12. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    I like seeing this subject brought up every once in a while. No matter how much has been said in the past on these types of subjects, it always seems that someone has something new to say.

    That being said, I applaud encouragement to use the search features, but in adjunct of, rather than in lieu of posting.

    Now, to keep my post on topic, I'll add that I've handled (dry-run) both Hornady and Dillon (650), but have not reloaded anything on either. The Hornady seems smoother and more solid than the Dillon, though the workmanship seems very good on both. I like the flexibility of the individual lock-n-load bushings allowing individual die access for replacement, adjustment, inspection, or cleaning. I think that is one of the main reasons that Dillon created their own dies, so they could have the quick removal for cleaning. On the Hornady, anyone's dies are quickly removable. Finally, the Hornady powder measure seems to have it in spades over that of the Dillon. The metering inserts can be replaced without tools and without emptying the measure, let alone removing it from the press. Hornady offers (and supports) micrometer adjustable metering inserts for both rifle and pistol. There is even an insert that can be used to drain the powder back into the can while the measure is still on the press. The range of capacities for the Hornady metering inserts is much larger, and a high capacity hopper is available too.

  13. Cloudpeak

    Cloudpeak Well-Known Member

    I've had my LNL for a few months now and have loaded around 2,000 rounds of 40 S&W with no problems. Timing is correct from the factory and the priming system has been bullet proof (sorry, couldn't resist.)

  14. BigSlick

    BigSlick Well-Known Member

    I have used the Rock Chucker for years. Great press in every respect *except* handling spent rimers. They go all over the place. I have used every type of primer cup/catcher available from RCBS, and I might as well let the primers hit the floor instead of trying to utilize the primer catchers - they work at best about 60%.

    A good shooting buddy of mine bought a LNL AP from Cabelas about a month ago, and seems to like it. I have a mixed reaction to it. The LNL die removal feature is ok, but to swap tool heads on a 550/650 is MUCH easier and less hassle.

    The primer system leaves something to be desired in my opinion. The auto index, I can take or leave, the cost vs. a 550 is almost identical when getting everything setup equally. A 650 will set you back a bit more if you include the powered case feeder and all the case feed plates.

    I have loaded a few rounds on his LNL, it is pretty smooth. The fit and function seem to be robust. I don't buy Hornady presses any more since the days of my owning a ProJector. Some parts are no longer available, so I was out of luck when I needed a couple of replacement parts.

    Hornady's customer service may be great *now* but that is a result of pressure from Dillon being so helpful and supportive to their customers.

    Some of you may have loaded long enough to remember the days when Hornady had a one year guarantee and a long price list of replacement parts in the owners manuals. Dillon has had their no BS warranty since as long as I can remember.

    Dillon will do a refurb on their products for a nominal fee (or free if you have a problem that they deem serious enough to replace the press entirely). Hornady doesn't offer anything similar, as far as I know.

    Many, many people buy used Dillon's on EBay and drop $29.95 to send it to Dillon for a complete factory rebuild. The $29.95 basically covers return shipping and packaging. If you require repair that isn't usually a user repairable part, they pick up the freight both ways and all the parts.

    From a standpoint of economy, I would buy a used Dillon amd get a factory rebuild done on it. Hornady LNL (or any others) don't hold their value like a Dillon does. The result is, if you decide to move to a different press in the future, you most likely won't lose (much) money.

    The LNL is a great idea, a fantastic upgrade from previous Hornady products and according to many, worthy of some consideration.

    From my standpoint, owning a Dillon is great, because the product is outstanding, the price is reasonable and YEARS of proven track record and customer service speak for itself.

    My buddy with the LNL loaded a few rounds on one of my 550's over the weekend. His only comment was the 550 felt 'smoother'. Who knows, maybe it is, maybe not.

    I can recommend that if you decide to buy the Rock Chucker, the LNL inserts (?) are available stand as a stand alone item. They would definitely be an improvement over swapping and readjusting dies every time.

    Buy the Rock Chucker ? Definitely, you can still find many uses for it when you decide to go to a progressive.

    Buy a Hornady LNL ? No, I don't think so.

    Just my opinion, worth every cent you're paying for it - zero :cool:
  15. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Well-Known Member

    If I were buying from scratch today I'd go with the L-N-L single stage and progressive. Primarily due to how my reloading has evolved.

    Sometimes I'll run batches to prep brass or finish off prepped brass and end up having to swap individual dies on the tool heads anyway. The L-N-L system would save me quite a bit of time. There I'll sometimes have to go back and correct the seating depth or crimp on a batch. Being able to easily swap the die to the single stage would be nice.

    I'm not running out and spending the money for the convienience over my Lee gear, but I'll probably upgrade eventually.
  16. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Well-Known Member

    Sorry Beavis but I do take offense, a little. I posted this at work and could not take the time to search through hundreds of posts, including the many (your's for example) that do not contain helpful information. I do know how some other forums operate and one of the nice things about The High Road is the (general) lack of thread police and junior moderators.

    Thanks guys, this is the kind of info I was looking for. You're not making my decision any easier though. Maybe when I get a few spare hours, I'll search the archives for more info on the Dillon. I thought they were out of my price range until I learned of the factory rebuild availablility.

    Can you put a Hornady powder measure on a Dillon press?
  17. 1911user

    1911user Well-Known Member

    Good points BigSlick. I'd think most Dillon presses that are used would not need a factory checkout but it is available. I'm surprised to hear that some projector parts are no longer available. They aren't that old of a press. The projector was the Hornady progressive press without the quick-change dies and some other changes that you have to pay Hornady to upgrade to use the case feeder. I looked at those when I bought my 550 about 6 years ago; glad I didn't buy it. Dillon seems more future proof, but the basic design hasn't changed (or needed to change) for a decade or 2.

    The 550 is my main press with alot of extra toolheads, powder measure, and accessories, but my powder scale is RCBS, case trimmer is Lyman, stand-alone powder measure (used for single stage loading) is Hornady (from back when they came standard with a micrometer dial on the inserts), and 2 single-stage Lee presses for misc. tasks. My loyalty is toward performance and value, not color or a brand name.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2005
  18. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Well-Known Member

    WOW!! I've loaded 7000 45s on an L'n'L in the last 6 months and, while the priming system is the aspect that needs the most attention, I've never come near lighting a primer. Major problem is that the last 2 primers in the tube don't always fall...have to skip one shell to get them to drop. If any primer isn't fully seated, you immediately feel the difference in pull required to rotate. Stop at that point and pop out the shell - it's easy to remove and insert shells in the rotation.

    I keep a compressed air can around and give the primer slide and timing wheel a shot once every 100 primers... every 200 primers, a shot of Hornady dry cleaner and lube.

    Unit arrived timed perfectly from the factory and about half assembled...good thing as the manual is absolute crap but unnecessary. For all pistol loads, get the pistol metering insert which has a micrometer on it...don't bother trying to read the numbers, just use a caliper to measure its turndown distance from base for each setting you use frequently. Drops ball and extruded powders very accurately...occ. bridging on semi-flake but it's usually obvious in the case.

    Summary - loaded on a friend's 550 for awhile, own a Lee turret and decided the L'n'L was easily the most advanced design. Factory service has been great altho all I've needed were questions answered about getting a custom bullet seater made and a replacement powder tube that I broke (sent free).

    Here's a couple of references...


  19. Deavis

    Deavis Well-Known Member

    So what you are saying is that you don't want to take the time to search for answers on your own but you want everyone else to take the time to answer your post? Hmm, how one-sided of you. :scrutiny: I digress, and will take it offline.
  20. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    The dillon presses I've seen on ebay were going for frighteningly close to retail already! And that from an ebay "dealer" that you know very little about. Dillon will stand behind the press only if you receive it. I know, I know, lots of people buy lots of stuff on ebay with nary a problem, but it still scares the ... out of me.

    The auto-indexing LNL AP is about the same initial cost as a manual indexing Dillon 550, and much less expensive than the Dillon 650. Caliber conversions cost similar amounts between the AP and the 550.

    The LNL AP with case feeder is about the same initial cost as the Dillon 650 without casefeeder, and much less than a 650 with casefeeder. Caliber conversions on the LNL AP are much less expensive than on the 650.

    Yes, the hornady powder measure and linkage can be used on a Dillon press. Note that, because the Hornady powder die/linkage does not expand the casemouth, you have to provide a separate expander die, and seat/crimp in same station for a 550. The 650 would allow you to seat/crimp separately, but not use a powder checker. I have seen descriptions of a modification of the hornady powder die, using parts from the Lyman hollow expander die, that allow it to expand while dropping powder. This would allow direct replacement of the Dillon powder measure/linkage/die with the modified Hornady system. On the other hand, this same modification on the LNL AP press gives you 100% of the capabilities of the Dillon 650, for the cost of a Dillon 550.

    Lest you think that only LNL AP's have problems with primer feed, etc., spend a while on Brian Enos's site searching the forums there...


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