Hornady Lock N Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press Review
For as many reloading presses that I have used, I believe the Hornady Lock N Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press deserves a closer look. For years, I’ve been using the old Hornady Pro-Jector to reload bullets. It still works, but lacks the features of many modern day reloaders. Also at 20 years old, replacement parts and accessories are harder to come. Spoiled with Hornady’s quality products, it didn’t take very long to figure where my upgrade would take me. With that said, I decided to get the Hornady Lock N Load. Shocker, right?
Like a kid on Christmas, there is so much to say about this press. Mostly good things, and also a few things to watch out for. Let me just say this press was a great investment. Overall, it works great, is easy to use, and is backed up by the best customer support I’ve ever worked with. I’ve loaded over 15,000 rounds on this press so far, and couldn’t be happier. If your hobby is to reload bullets as well, this is something you’ll enjoy.
One of the new stars of the show. Previous models didn’t include this, but now all Hornady Lock and Loads now come with this. The ejection system works flawlessly. And since it doesn’t take up any space in a die in station 5, I’ve thrown in a extra powder check die (this makes sure the brass was successfully loaded with powder). My productivity has increased from about 300 rounds/hour of 44 mag to 400 rounds. Case in point, this is a huge advancement over the older Pro-Jector, as well as the early LNL loaders.
I first started out reloading 44 magnum so I didn’t pay much attention to how easy it is to change calibers on the LnL. I only used to reload .44 magnum on my Pro-Jector because it was such a pain to change dies, so I would buy every other type of ammunition. But, now I’m reloading for .223, .357 magnum, and 7mm, so the ease of die changing is a big deal. My old Pro-Jector used a screw-in system, which meant each die had to be careful readjust each time. The new system on the Hornady LnL involves a slide and twist, done.
More specifically, you just leave each die setup in a bushing that swaps in and out easily so you don’t have to mess with any of the expensive tool head stuff like Dillon uses. The bushings are inexpensive and incredibly easy to use. As each station uses the simple bushing system, I also bought an extra powder dispenser, so I use one for rifle loads and the other for pistol, because its that easy.
I can completely change from reloading .223 to .357 in less than five minutes following these steps:
1) Change out the rotating shell plate
2) Remove all the .233 dies and rifle powder dispenser by just twisting the bushings out – this does not require any tools
3) Insert my .357 dies and pistol powder dispenser which are still setup from the last time I used them.
4) If necessary, change out the primers.
This definitely couldn’t be any easier to reload bullets
The old Pro-Jector had this same great feature. The tube on the Lock-n-Load press will rout primers into the trash is a great setup. Alternatively, instead of placing a trashcan right under the press, I drilled a hole in a small bottle lid and just ran the tube through the lid and into the bottle. This keeps the discarded primers out of the way and makes them really easy to get rid of when I’m done reloading.
Powder dispenser inserts
First, if you will be reloading for pistol calibers like 9mm or .38 sp, you are going to need to buy the handgun rotor and metering assembly to accurately dispense the smaller charges. If you will just be loading rifle rounds you can ignore that. Either way, I recommend a grain scale in order to accurately dispense the powder.
Also, this next section may not make sense until you’ve actually spent some time playing with the powder dispenser. When I talk about the metering insert, I’m talking about the adjustable stem that inserts into the rotor to configure how much powder gets dropped into the load.
See the Hornady Lock N Load (LNL) in action.
You see how quickly you can reload bullets with this sucker
When reloading small cases (like 9mm), the auto-indexing will sometimes shake a grain of powder out of the case and onto the shell plate. This is just something to be careful of (especially when the cases are filled almost to the top), and I haven’t quite found a way to fix this. This seems to be the nature of small casings and relatively big equipment. A side effect is that the loose (rebel grains I call them) grains can wind up getting stuck in the primer seater, and end up stuck between the primer and the brass. Be careful when this happens, as the press generates a lot of torque and could quite literally break itself. It doesn’t happen every time (at all with larger calibers), but it is something to be aware of.
Alright, so here is where I throw my Hornady bias aside. Originally I only got Hornady dies because its a Hornady reloader, right? That definitely doesn’t have to be the case. After having some trouble with Hornady dies (like the primer punch breaking), I decided to try Lee Dies for .223. These deserve their own review, and will eventually get one. Definitely an improvement in quality and smoothness over the Hornady .223 dies.
If you were like me, you’re probably deciding between the Hornady Lock N load (LNL) and the Dillon 550B. As someone who has used both, I would continuously, over and over, choose the Hornady LnL. Easy of use and quality as the main reason, but their great parts availability and customer service as a bonus. I don’t think it could get any easier to reload bullets.
Price wise, you shouldn’t be paying over $520 for the kit
Excuse my English is not my first language. I purchased this press following utilizing a companion’s Dillon press and having some major difficulty getting that one set up and seeing a couple outline defects that I might see being enhanced. I have dependably loved Hornady items and this one has not disappointed me. it took regarding a hour to set it like a pro from beginning to end with the main situations being the mounting gaps so near the edge of my seat and the finished round discover box needing to be screwed to the seat for the reason that the mounting plate is connoted for a side mount not front mount. Out of the container, the lot was as of recently amassed for the most part needing almost no get together on just the handle and the powder get together. the bundle was absent the holding jolt and washer for the case plates and is still missing the preparation bar. i messaged Hornady in regards to getting trades a day in the past and have not appropriated a reaction as though this audit a day later. i headed off to Lowe’s and purchased the stainless steel jolt and washed for just under 4 dollars as i felt the need to get it like a champ and running this weekend. Generally speaking, aside from client slips and being new to reloading, the machine worked impeccably with no hard conformities expecting to be made on production line parts. the major concern i have is with the preparation food gathering. it has the chance stayed a couple times with first stages in the food tube and i did need to dismantle the first stage food stand to alter the situation, however this was just with 50 preparations in the food tube. this model accompanied the powder drop gathering which the setup and aligning of the powder estimations just took around 20 minutes to fine tune it. the great thing in regards to this powder drop get together is multi-faceted. 1. the drum gathering has a brisk discharge catch on the drum for evacuating the conformity screws. 2. there is a washer and an O-ring for setting the estimation and it conveys reliable burdens inevitably. 3. change out between rifle and gun drums takes around 5 minutes being liberal.
Really exceptional, 5 out of 5 for numerous situations, first the auto kicker that sends shells into the "completed round" box is extremely hit or miss, just works assuming that you actually SNAP the handle sharply on the back stroke which can agitate your powder charge in that station and first stage introduction, i assume provided that you had a REALLY solid seat it MIGHT be good, however rock stacking might be a first. The powder dropper works really exceptional, unless you are utilizing stick sort powders ( 4064 ties up BAD halfway by way of a powder toss around 1 out of 20, while special powder is a dream(300 rounds of .40 in 1.5 hours on my first day ), the indexing is a PAIN to modify depending on if it slips just a hair( 1/16th of a turn of the screw methods a lot of or bit of indexing, before utilizing it test them for right conformity, then softly blue lock tight, then truly apply legitimate utilization). The unhindered projectile promo that accompanied it was delightful excessively, 500 rounds of hornady bullets of a few bores however not so much actually excellent bullets, just widely appealing. I might request again.