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

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by IMtheNRA, Jun 10, 2011.

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  1. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    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?
     
  2. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  3. capreppy

    capreppy Member

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    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.
     
  4. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    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.
     
  5. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    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.
     
  6. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    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.
     
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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.
     
  9. firstater

    firstater Member

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    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.
     
  10. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Sounds like you have your answer. :)
     
  12. evan price

    evan price Member

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    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.
     
  13. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    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!
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    IMthe NRA, good deal.

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

    longdayjake Member

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    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.
     
  16. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    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:
     
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    IMtheNRA, Thanks. Never know when i might need the info. No need to re-invent the wheel.
     
  18. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    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.
     
  19. dbltaps

    dbltaps Member

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    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.
     
  20. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    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.
     
  21. firstater

    firstater Member

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    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.
     
  22. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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

    Good info to know.
     
  23. firstater

    firstater Member

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    I called Hornady today, great service, sending me replacements. Great tip on putting the die in upside down. Worked like a charm.
     
  24. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    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
     
  25. firstater

    firstater Member

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    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.
     
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