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Hornady Bullet Feeder Part 3--Adding a stop switch and some see-thru

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by GW Staar, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    September 2017 UPDATE: While the following works, it only works trouble-free if you can find a "quality" microswitch.....the one I bought from Radio Shack was a bit troublesome.

    That led to Part 4! Proximity Switch Replaces the Micro Switch
    You can follow the directions below and use a microswitch, but I recommend you just go to Part 4....easier to make...works better.
    Do watch the 2 Videos here first! Caliber change is just as fast with either type of switch. Pretty pictures here ....;)

    I made a common base mechanism containing a micro-switch, that works with each pistol caliber I choose. Its just a matter of cutting the spring tubing with a Dremel, and cutting various diameter thin-wall clear tubing, that comes in 1/16" diameter increments which telescopes into each other. A dab of super glue here and there makes each size conversion permanent. The Micro-switch used is a long arm style that cost me a couple of bucks, the tubing came in 3' lengths. I bought 1 each of 9/16", 1/2", 7/16", and 3/8" diameters. On average they were $2.50 a piece. Plus I bought two 1/2" PVC couplers at Home Depot. and made the switch holder out of an aluminum license plate blank.

    A lot of credit goes to JMorris for some of the ideas...especially the micro-switch mount.

    Click on the picture below to see a video on how this mod works with .45 ACP. Then click on the little square (bottom right corner of the vid) to see it full screen. Turn the volume down because my recording mic had no volume control and it was way louder than real.

    Clicking on the next picture demos both the .40 S&W and the really fast caliber change from .45ACP.

    It was just as easy to make the .357/9mm version, which I have finished and tested with both bullets as well.

    The pictures below show how I made the base microswitch mechanism that is used no matter the caliber
    The only permanent "damage" to the Hornady Collator is the hole drilled in the box for the cord (an old computer power cord). And of course the white wire that was cut and wire nut fastened to the new switch cord.


    I used shrink tube to cover up what might electrocute somebody on the connectors...should have used sheath covered ones, but these I had on hand.


    This is the prototype before final fit and some black car trim paint, for elegance.


    I cut a 1/2" PVC coupler in half, reamed it inside to take the center ridge out, then super glued it to a piece of 5/8 tubing. The .45 Spring tube fits in the other end tight, the smaller caliber spring tubes slide inside.

    The idea is to put the tube through the hole and fasten the switch to it. But I didn't want to glue it together because I didn't want any more permanent changes. The black thumb-nail was collateral damage during painting.


    The answer was a rubber washing machine hose washer. It fits real tight perfect....just press it on.

    Perfect! Won't rotate, or pull loose without a lot of effort.


    The microswitch-holder was formed around a 5/8" wood dowel and a small piece of wood the same thickness as the switch housing. My vice was opened up just so, and the aluminum piece was forced into the resulting hole by the dowel. The the aluminum and dowel was tightened in the vice and the piece was then hammer-formed around the piece of wood. Worked pretty good. So now the holder-mounted switch is slipped over the tubing.


    (picture above) A piece of hard wire was shaped in the vice to fit Hornady's own wire support holder, but I use it to hold the microswitch holder tight against the rubber washer. The washer also provides clearance for the wire leads....so far so good.


    Now a piece of the next smaller sized tubing is cut and a slot is cut in it to allow the microswitch room to work.

    I scribed a line to line things up, and glued a 1/8" wide piece of the first bigger sized tubing to make a stop for the smaller piece.


    The picture below shows how the switch-holder was fastened to the support wire. The support wire was purposely bent a little more towards the collator, so that it has some spring tension that holds the switch-holder tight against the collator. It also keeps it from rotating.

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  2. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Below is the finished base mechanism that is common to every caliber's feed system.


    The next picture shows the prototype of the .40 S&W feed system.
    I used a lot of the 3' of each tubing size to perfect this....cheap R & D.
    BTW, I cut the tubing with a large Dremel abrasive wheel. then I cleaned the cut up on the flat side surface of my bench grinder. I used my RCBS Trim Mate with a VLD case neck reamer. to deburr the insides. Worked well. Slots were cut with the Dremel and cleaned up with a hobby knife.


    Any weaknesses? Just one and its due to me not being able to find a quality light tripping micro-switch yet. (one that requires very little weight to trip)

    Some times the lightest bullets land just right when the tube is full, and the motor stopped....that they lean against but won't go past the switch as the tube empties below it. I don't use light bullets much so it doesn't bother me...that said...I'm going to find a better switch...the trick is to find a source besides radio shack, where you can get quality switches, in onesies and twosies rather than buy a whole pallet load. The cheap switch I could find also had too much lateral movement which meant I had to cut slots wider than I would have preferred.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  3. A-FIXER

    A-FIXER Member

    Jan 26, 2009
    I would look into a diswasher float micro switch, they are lighter than the typcial micro switch... if you have a appliance shop go to their junk section/throwaways and remove a few in case some have been weathered.
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    Nifty work, as usual. :)
  5. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Thanks for the tip! The Appliance shops I know would charge me new price for an old switch....I'll check this out and order a new one or two from them.

    I do have a good one that would work, and it came out of a broken paper shredder. I don't happen to have a second broken shredder and the first one is used on the electronic primer counter I built for my Pro 2000.

    Thanks sir. I really like the Feeder....especially now. I think Hornady will eventually have a kit to do the same thing I did...only better. I'm just not willing to wait for them....and I thought perhaps other customers might feel the same way. I spent a whole $20 on materials. Labor? To make another might take me 3 hours.....the first one?....that's an embarrassing secret.
    If anybody actually wants to try this on theirs...I'd be more than willing to go more into detail to help people skip the rough spots...all they have to do is ask.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  6. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

    Sep 24, 2010
    Hills west of Denver
    You want to know something young man? You've got too much time and too much genius on your hands! LOL What a slick operation you've got, by your doing this, you've made my operation look like something Barney Rubble and Fred would have in their basement. All of your tinkering has made this project a fun thing to go out and do! Congratulations on your set up, you might put Cabelas' out of business!! LOL
  7. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Wow! I've been called a lot of things, but I haven't heard "young man" for 40 years...made my day.

    Too much time? Yes thanks to Ob..... oops that's political, not allowed here. I went to college to be an engineer....was lulled away by my father and joined him in his construction company. He's 91 now, and I've been designing and building without him for 30 years. Not much to build these last two years, but we're getting by. I do love to tinker and lately I've got some time to.

    I've been waiting for a bullet feeder I can live with for 3 years. I've been frustrated with RCBS and their complicated bullet feeders. So complicated that you have to buy two complete units if you want to feed both pistol and rifle. Not a chance.

    Hornady came out with this super simple fast change tool. So simple it didn't even have a stop switch....yet so simple it was easy to create one.

    You referred to "this" project? Do you have a Hornady bullet feeder you want to "fix"? If so I'd be glad to give you all the detail you can stand.

    As for Cabelas....no....help them stay in business is the goal.:)

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