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Moving from a LCT to a LnL?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by dickttx, Jun 24, 2012.

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  1. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    Been considering going from a Lee Classic Turret to a Hornady LnL. I would appreciate comments from people who have actually made this transition.
    First let me say that I am pretty hesitant about this. I really like my LCT and have supreme confidence in it , using the Pro Auto Disk and Safety prime. The entire system is consistent, consistent, and consistent. The only reason I am considering this is the actual physical aspect of reloading. I am not particularly looking for speed. However, to complete 100 rounds with the LCT I have to pull the lever 400 times. If I understand the LnL operation correctly, I would only have to pull the lever 104 times to complete 100 rounds. For my 75 year old arm and shoulder that is a considerable difference.
    With my LCT it is very easy to dump a box of primers in the Safety Prime magazine and hang it on the hanger. If I happen to miss dropping a primer, the empty primer setter is right there in front of me and all I have to do is push the button again. Seating on the ram downstroke has LOTS of feel. Changing from small to large primers means simply removing the shell holder, lifting out the primer tool, and dropping in the other size.
    The PAD is so consistent in the amount of powder it drops, and I can see the powder level in the case, just by looking where I should be looking anyway. Changing the amount of powder means unscrewing two large brass nuts, lifting off the reservoir and disk, sitting another disk or hole on the base, and putting the reservoir back on.
    Of course, changing calibers is as simple as lowering the handle twisting out the turret and setting a new turret in.
    I presume that I would pretty quickly adapt my reloading procedures to the LnL, but are there any particular oddities re: the priming or powder drops? I presume bullet seating and crimping is pretty straight forward. I will not be interested in a case feeder or bullet feeder, as mentioned, speed is not my primary objective.
    I would guess that my Lee 4-Die sets would work in the LnL. What about the PAD? How does the Hornady powder measure that comes with the LnL compare? Is it easy to change the amount of powder dropped?
    I am not interested in pros and cons of Lee or Hornady, but comments from people who have actually made this change.
    Thanks for your comments.
     
  2. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    May I assume that you are referring to a LNL-auto progressive or LNL-AP over a LNL single stage?

    I made the jump from a single to a LNL-AP for my 9mms and just took my time with it and had very few problems.

    I already had a Lee Pro 1000 for 357mag so I was some what familier with them. The LNL-AP is definately much easier to run. Less stressfull, especially when you can see the powder in the cases while running the press.

    You haven't told us what you are loading for but the LNL-AP will certainly get the job done.

    It helped my shoulder immensely.

    Just take your time and you'll be fine.
     
  3. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    dickttx, thanks for asking our advice.

    Your contemplated move seems like a natural progression to me. Most do it for speed, but I know some (as are you) do it just to save strokes.

    I moved from Lee Pro-1000 to Lee Classic Turret because I prefer the simplicity.

    I have not tried this on any other progressive, but there is no reason the Lee dies cannot be used on the Hornady LNL AP press. The Auto-disk could be mounted on the Lee die and operate just as well as it does on the turret press (as long as there is no part of the Hornady press that gets in the way).

    Of course, you probably considered and rejected the Lee Pro-1000 and Lee Loadmaster progressives for reasons of your own. Care to share? (PM would be OK, I am just curious.)

    Lost Sheep
     
  4. floydster

    floydster Member

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    If you go to the LNL AP from the Lee Classic turret----keep your Lee on the bench, you will go back to it, been there done that.
    Priming on the LNL is a pita!!!!!!
     
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I prefer to clean cases between resizing and loading.

    This gives me an opportunity to hand prime when using the Hornady progressive. I can hand prime 100 cases about as fast as filling a primer tube. Plus I never feed a case to the press with a improperly seated primer since I get 100% inspection of the seated primer.
     
  6. k4swb

    k4swb Member

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    I switched from an RCBS Reloader Special 5 (used for 30 years) to the Hornady LNL AP for the exact same reason. 104 strokes vs 400. I suffer from severe back/neck/shoulder pain.

    You CAN use the Lee Disk measure on the LNL just fine (I have) but once you get used to the powder measure on the LNL you won't want to.

    Priming on the press (I always used to hand prime) was my only worry with the progressive and it kept me from buying one for quite awhile.
    I should not have waited. The priming on the LNL MAY take a little getting used to but mine worked perfectly from the start.
    I did do some work on it that wasn't really necessary but made me feel better.

    Caliber changes can be made very easy with the purchase of some additional parts, and I do mean easy.
    This is one: www.powderfunnels.com

    It was a choice that got me back to where I can reload again without dread and very little pain.

    I can now load 100 rounds in less than 20 minutes without even trying, take a break and do more when I feel like it.

    The only problems I've ever had with the LNL were operator malfunctions. Since I had never primed on the press it took me a few misses where the powder leaked out of the primer hole to get my full attention. This was very easy to clean up the few times it did happen. Now that doesn't happen any more.


    I can reload now faster that I can shoot. I wish I had switched years ago.

    It is almost worth having a problem just so you can call Hornady and listen to the answering machine.
     
  7. Crashbox
    • Contributing Member

    Crashbox Member

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    I found that it is imperative that the primer shuttle area be kept spotlessly clean or it does not behave. I no longer prime on my LnL AP for other reasons (doing so aggravated an ancient on-the-job injury), but it can be a finicky little bugger.

    The case-activated powder measure assembly will often work loose from the station, a couple of wraps of Teflon(R) plumbing tape around the LnL bushing is a quick and effective fix. I heard that Hornady has Belleville washers they will supply (free?) that accomplish the same purpose.

    Those were the two major idiosyncrasies I've ran into with mine.

    It does have one item which is unbelievably rare to see these days: grease fittings. Use them.
     
  8. dbarnhart

    dbarnhart Member

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    I came from the RCBS Rock Chucker instead of LCT but i can tell you the Hornady LnL has completely changed the way I think about reloading. Now It's nothing for me to do 1000 rounds of a caliber at one time.

    In fact for pistol I shoot five or six thousand rounds per year and I'm thinking seriously of doing it all in just two batches, one on the spring and one in the fall.

    If you have back/shoulder issues you may want to consider one of the 'ergonomic handles' that are available from several people for the LnL.
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I went from a Lee 3 hole Turret to a Projector years ago, then the the LNL not long ago. Same basic press as the Projector.
     
  10. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Member

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    I made the same transition a few years ago. The prlimer on my LNL took a little playing with to get it going 100% and every now and then it will act up. Both presses seem well made and I perfer the LNL because of its speed. I perfer the lee due to the low cost to of caliber changovers. The Hornady shell plates are around 30.00 and the Lee shell holder comes with lee dies. There was not really a learning curve changing over to the LNL, but it takes a little practice to learn how to run the press. As already posted if you get the LNL keep the LCT press. I sold mine and I still wish I still had it, not to replace the LNL but to use both for different calibers.
     
  11. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    Appreciate the replies.
    Yes, I am talking about the LnL AP.
    I would probably only use it for .45 ACP and .38 Super. The other handgun calibers I have I do not load in sufficient volume to justify the cost of the shellplate and and bushings. I would still have my LCT for those.
    Comments have been posted here both good and not so good about the primer system. What seems to be the biggest problem with it?
    I started reloading in the 60's, mostly rifle, and ended up with a C-H CHampion press that directed the spent primers down through the ram to a waste basket. It was also very smooth to operate.
    When I started reloading again a couple of years ago I decided to load only handgun cartridges and I soon realized that the single stage was going to be very slow, and I could not even pick up the 9mm cases out of my reloading block.:eek:
    I decided to look for something else and settled on the LCT and its accessories. I decided if I was going to go that route I was going to use the complete system, therefore no primer pocket cleaning, off press priming, etc., although I had acquired four different hand primers. I have never regretted that and I would use the LnL AP the same way-start to finish.
    I inventoried my powders when I started again and found that I had 20 different ones. I also decided that was not going to happen again so I buy only HP38 in the 8# jugs now. Kind of like 8gn of Unique, 5gn of HP38 will load just about anything.;)
    I have not really considered any other progressives. I have heard too much about the tinkering often required with the Lee, and am too tight to buy the Dillon 650, with the items required to change calibers. The 550 seems like a non-starter for me because of manual indexing. I am not knocking any of these, because the half-dozen presses i have had have all been good. Just my personal reasons for picking or rejecting.
    Very interested in any more relevant comments.
     
  12. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    I began using the LNL AP press about 2 years ago for somewhat the same reasons. However, it did not take long to appreciate not only 1 pull of the handle per round but also the increase in productivity. I have a little over 30,000 rounds loaded on my press with no problems including priming. I have read posts by some who complain about priming problems but yet never send the press to Hornady (they will pay shipping) for adjustment. You have a lifetime warranty and Hornady appears to do whatever is necessay to make the customer happy and their equipment work properly.
     
  13. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    I made the same switch about 6 months ago. Haven't gone back to the LCT yet. I even do load development on the LNL. Sometimes the primer shuttle can bind up. I occasionally have trouble with it, but keeping the area clean helps. One important thing with the primers is not fill the tube until everything else is set up, like the powder measure and dies adjusted just as you want them. I bought enough bushings for my dies to make caliber changes easier. I've also had no trouble with the Lee PAD and only a little with the Lee dies. Some of them are barely long enough. Still works, though. Like k4swb, I only used the PAD until I got used to the LNL powder measure. I really like my LNL and think it's the only press I'll ever need now. Haven't gotten rid of my Lees, but I don't use them. Check for promotions, I got 500 free XTPs with mine too.
     
  14. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I made the switch from a SS press 4+years ago. I have a bad elbow and it was a life saver. As far as the priming system, I've had little to no problems with mine. The main thing is getting every thing adj right so they feed properly. ALL progressive have problem with the primer systems if not setup and adj properly. If this is off you will have primer pickup issue. When right it will feed as fast as you can operate the lever. Some have problem seating the primer. This is done on the down stroke, which requires you to push forward on the lever. As long as you push hard enough to bottom the primer your good to go. This take a little time to get adjusted to. but once you do NO problems. Like mentioned earlier the sled area must be kept clean. Any debre here can prevent the sled from going fully forward and throw of the alignment. Now there was some Wolf SP primers that gave some fits. These primers I think were either over size or slightly out of round making them difficult to seat, just required more force than normal.

    Your Lee dies should be just fine. I don't like the locking rings that Lee and RCBS use. The Hornady split ring are much better for locking dies down.

    If you want to run a powder check die and crimp on the 5th station you will need to go the PTX die. I run this in all my hand load calibers. This expands the mouth at the same time it dump powders. Freeing up a station for other options. They can be PITA to get adjusted but once done your good to go. I use a different powder die base for every caliber. This allows for quick change and I don't have to worry about readjusting it every time.

    You will like it once you made the transition and have everything dialed in. Hornady CS is first class and can help you with any problems that comes up. Of course you can ask here and I'm sure someone has ran into the problem before and can help you with it.
     
  15. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Agreed, you will. I made the change as I posted in the first reply that I went from a pro1000 to a LNN-AP. The biggest problem I had was the fact that the pro1000 rotates a full die station on the upstroke and the LNL-AP rotates a half turn up and a half turn down. This messed with my head for a while but it didn't take long to get wrapped around it.

    I, also, have never had primer issues with my press, it's only 4 months and 2000 rounds old. Maybe they changed something, I don't know.

    I still use my pro1000 for 357mag. The last time I used the pro1000 it preformed admirably for being 22 years old but the fact that I couldn't see the powder in the shell after the pro auto-disk dumped was a big turn off for me.
    The LNL-AP doesn't need a powder die IMO because you can see right into the case before you put the bullet in. I prefer this since I can keep my focus on looking down to watch everything else instead of the distraction of looking up at the powder cop die for every handle stroke. I heard that the RCBS lock out die won't lock out a Hornady press, I don't know, never used one.

    I bought a powder cop die for mine and discovered that powder sticks to the bottom of the plunger in it (probably static) and like I said, you can see the powder in the case very easily anyways, so I quit using it. Some use them and some don't, matter of personal comfort.
    I had a problem with my powder measure sticking in the up position twice, on the second time I dismantled it and cleaned and readjusted it again. Haven't had a problem since.
    Other than break in issues, it has been 100%.
     
  16. Whiskey_Sour

    Whiskey_Sour Member

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  17. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I like that.

    thanks, Good for the OP also.
     
  18. Uncle Richard

    Uncle Richard Member

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    I switched from singe stage to LnL 2 years ago. So far, loaded 15,000+ rounds of various pistol calibers.

    Like every progressive, you have to get it dialed in. I've made a couple calls to Hornady and a took a few Tylenols. Once Locked in, Load.

    Lee dies on the LnL are not the best because there's barely enough threading to tighten the lock-ring. Hornady dies have same amount of threading but its further up the die body.

    IMHO...if your planning to load several thousand rounds a year, a progressive is the way to go.... Otherwise, stick to a single stage, Unless you have money to burn.

    Hornady and Dillion make very good presses. Hornady is just the cheaper way to go. Don't regret purchasing my LnL. Just added the case feeder.
     
  19. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    I went from a single stage RCBS to the LNL-AP. I don't have a LCT but I've loaded on a friend's press and so have an idea of how it works (and I think the LCT has lots of great features).

    Yes, you do need to keep the priming area clean on the LNL. I took some 'net advice and polished my shuttles with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth them a little when new. I've not had any major problems with priming on the LNL and mine works really well now that it's broken in. I did think that the LCT had a better "feel" for priming. I guess it's because there's so much extra leverage on the LNL.

    I'd try the Lee dies on the LNL and see how you like them. I do think that split lock rings are better than the O rings used in the Lee dies. With split rings, you can lock them down when you get them adjusted; they lock into the LNL bushings and you can pop them in and out without fear of them moving. I have a set of Dillon 9mm dies that don't have lock rings and I'm always concerned that I'll knock them out of adjustment when taking the die/bushing in and out of the press. Using O ring dies in a Lee turret or in a Dillon toolhead, this is not an issue. With LNL bushings, it can be but again try it yourself and see.

    Also, I'd recommend trying the Hornady measure first rather than grafting the Lee measure onto the LNL press. After all the press comes with the Hornady measure so it doesn't add cost.

    The nice feature of the Lee measure is that the disc cavity is a fixed measure. Any adjustable measure (like the Hornady or my old RCBS measure) typically has a threaded adjustment that CAN come loose and cause your charge weight to change. Yes, there is a lock ring to help prevent this but it can happen. In my experience it has not been a problem on the Hornady measure. I would recommend checking your charges, either (a) visually observing the powder level in the cases, which is easier if you mount a small light in the press; (b) periodically spot checking your charges on a scale, easy on the LNL since you can remove and replace cases anywhere on the shellplate; or (c) by employing a powder check die or an RCBS Lockout Die to monitor charge levels.
     
  20. rockns

    rockns Member

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    I went from the Lee turret to the LNL AP there is no way I would go back much better and easier
     
  21. Rmeju

    Rmeju Member

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    The LnL is an amazing press, but it is not without its flaws.

    - I always use a Lee pro auto disk for my pistol calibers on this press. I attach it to a Lee powder thru die. You'll love it just as much on the LnL as you do on your Lee
    - Lee dies fit just fine, although they are a tad shorter than other brands, so you tend to need to screw them all the way into the bushing.
    - You can absolutely, positively feel the primer going in. It might be a slightly different feel from the tool you're using now, but there is a positive feel in primer seating
    - Shellplates might be compatible with other calibers, even if those particular calibers are not listed as being compatible. I have a shellplate for .357, which I no longer load, but I use it for both 10mm and 7.62x39 and it works just fine.
    - Changing calibers doesn't take too long. Changing the dies takes literally seconds because of the LnL bushings. How long does it take you to change your PAD disk? Add that time in. If the shellplate needs to be changed, that takes less than 1 minute. If the primer assembly needs to be changed, that takes me 2-3 minutes.
    - The free bullets are really a great deal. Take 'em and run, because that alone makes the Hornady press a better value by far than anything else out there.
    -I load for rifle on my LnL, as well. Station 1 is a universal decapper to get any corn media out of the flash hole. Station two is priming and powder drop. Empty station, then the seater. I don't crimp most of my calibers, so usually #5 is empty as well, but not always.

    Most of the weaknesses are in the priming system. Powder spilling into the primer slide/shuttle can cause issues (I brush mine out with a toothbrush when that happens). Sometimes the last primer gets a little stuck. The biggest headache with the LnL priming is the fact that there is no non-crappy way to unload a partially full tube of primers out of the press except to load up the rounds. This is a very annoying drawback, albeit one I don't run in to much.

    Hope that helps!
     
  22. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    Placed my order for the LnL, two shell plates, 10 bushings, and a can of cleaner/lube yesterday. Priced it from four different vendors and the final price for none was more than $10 difference. Bought from Natchez as they were the only one who showed everything in stock. Probably should have bought a pack of the retainer springs too, but didn't think of them till later.
    Still have a couple of primer questions:
    How do you know when you are about to run out of primers?
    How do you remove the primers still in the tube when you are through?

    Appreciate all the replies.
     
  23. john16443

    john16443 Member

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    I love mine, had it for 6 months and load 500 rounds per week on it in two calibers.

    For the primers, it's easy. You will (should) receive a white plastic rod in the package with the primer fill tubes. Insert this rod into the feed tube and operate the handle in one complete up/down cycle. This will allow the rod to drop into the hole and lock the feed arm in the open position. Now you can install a piece of tape or make a mark on the rod as an indication that there are no more primers in there. That will allow you to keep track of when you're approaching empty.

    If you still have primers in the feed tube when done, you will have to remove the allen head screw from the top of the feed arm and carefully move the entire assembly off the press. It is part #11 in my manual, and once that is removed, part #14 and the entire feed tube can be removed without making a mess. It is covered in the manual, may be a good idea to download it before the press arrives and go through it. The Hornady videos are quite helpful, and are included on the CD you will get.

    Some additional primer and operations tips for your consideration. Keep a couple or three of spent primed cases in each caliber your working near your press. When you're at the end of your production run and out of primers, you will know it by the different feel as you try to seat the primer. Since there isn't one available to be seated, you'll feel no resistance as you push the handle forward. When that happens, replace the case in that station with a spent case that still contains a primer, and feed a second spent case into the first operation. Repeat as necessary for your particular die set-up What this will do is allow you to keep all the stations full as you continue to feed and seat the last remaining 2 or 3 bullets of your production run. With the shell plates full in all stations, you'll be able to maintain a consistent COL. Once your last round is seated and crimped, take whatever spent cases you've used and dump the powder back into the hopper. I've found that if you run the press with emply slots, the final COL of the last few (or first few) rounds is off because of the flex in the shellplate when all stations are not in use. At least this has been my experience.
     
  24. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    John 16443- everything he said but also keep a few resized and primed cases close to your press also.

    If you do accidently run out of primers like I do from time to time by not watching close enough, go ahead and refil your primer tube and then take the case that didn't get primed out and replace it with a resized and primed case.

    This allows you to also keep going without having deflection in your shell plate and not miss any loaded rounds.

    Believe me, you will feel it when you are out of primers, it's really easy to tell.

    I would also recommend you buy a couple more primer tubes to keep full and ready for long runs if you are doing high volumes One isn't enough sometimes.
     
  25. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    I have a couple of primer tubes for an RCBS bench primer that look the same as the LnL tubes. Won't know till I receive my press this afternoon if they will work.
     
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