Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Hornady Lock N Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press
Amazon Vehicles Up to 80 Percent Off Textbooks Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Joseph Fire TV Stick Happy Belly Snacks Totes Summer-Event-Garden Amazon Cash Back Offer TheKicks TheKicks TheKicks  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis Celine Dion Water Sports STEM

Price:$448.49+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

I started reloading just over 2 years ago and decided to go with this Hornady press instead of the Dillon 550B that I was also considering (and that my neighbor ended up buying). Originally, I was just loading 9mm in order to save money, but the reloading has become almost as fun a hobby as the shooting has:).

There is so much to say about this press, both good as well as things to be careful for, that I'm going to break this review into sections and try to keep brief. Before getting into the details, 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 well over 10,000 rounds on it at this point and couldn't be happier.

*** Customer Support ***
When I was starting out, I ended up breaking parts on the press two different times. On both occasions, I called Hornady tech support and talked immediately with someone who knew exactly what I was talking about. They didn't care that the breakages had been my fault and just stuck the replacement part in an envelope which I had in hand a couple of days later. The first time, when I broke an auto-indexing pawl, the support person actually threw a couple of extras in the envelope for me just in case it happened again (which it hasn't).

In both cases, I had felt some unusual tension when pulling the handle; but I thought it was just a hard-to-resize shell. This machine has a lot of torque, so when things bind up it is easy to break something - now that doesn't happen anymore since I always stop and examine the machine when I feel anything unusual.

I know that Dillon also has a reputation for great customer service, but it is hard to imagine that it could be any better than Hornady's - this is an area where there just aren't enough stars available.

*** EZ-Ject system ***
When I got my Hornady press, the EZ-Ject system wasn't available yet and it used a wire on station 5 to eject shells. This worked OK, but created several problems that I had to learn to live with.
1) The ejection wasn't very reliable and about a third of the time I would either have to help the shell eject or the shell would get thrown several inches over the loaded round tray. After doing it enough I got used to it and manually helping shells eject became part of the reloading process.
2) The ejection wire actually blocked station 5 from being usable with most dies which basically made this into a 4 station press (like the Dillon 550B).

Once the EZ-Ject became available I upgraded and I can't even describe how much better it is. The ejection is flawless and I have full access to station 5. As a result, I've thrown in an extra powder check die on rifle rounds and I went with a dedicated crimp die for pistol rounds which makes the bullet seater easier to setup. My productivity has increased from about 200 rounds/hour of 9mm to 350 rounds - and I'm not moving any faster than I was before.

I'm not sure if there are still LnL presses out there that don't have the EZ-Ject system, but make sure to verify that the one you buy has it! With EZ-Ject, this is a five star press; but prior to that I would have had to dock at least one star just for the crummy ejection.

*** Changing calibers ***
Originally, I just reloaded for 9mm so I didn't pay much attention to how easy it is to change calibers on the LnL. But, now I'm reloading for .308 and .223 as well and I've come to appreciate it:).

Basically, 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 inexepensive and incredibly easy to use. I also bought another dedicated powder dispenser, so I use one for rifle loads and the other for pistol. The powder dispenser itself also sits in one of the bushings so it is also very easy to swap out.

I can completely change from reloading 9mm to .308 in less than five minutes following these steps:
1) Swap out the shell plate
2) Remove all the 9mm dies and the pistol powder dispenser by just twisting the bushings out - this does not require any tools
3) Insert my .308 dies and rifle powder dispenser which are still setup from the last time I used them (although I always verify that)
4) Swap out the small primer seater for the large seater (both are included with the press)
5) Remove the remaining small pistol primers from the drop tube - not making a mess of this is probably the hardest step:)
6) Install the large primer drop tube - once again, no tools are required for this step

I'm not sure how this could be easier, and it definitely deserves five stars.

*** Discarded primers ***
The tube on the Lock-n-Load press for routing discarded primers into the trash is a great setup. Instead of trying to aim it into a trash can at my feet, I drilled a hole in a water bottle lid and just ran the tube through the lid and into the water bottle. This keeps the discarded primers out of the way and makes them really easy to get rid of when I'm done reloading.

In case that is hard to envision, the primer tube runs through the drilled hole in the water bottle lid and there is some tape wrapped around the tube so the lid won't slide off. Now I just screw the water bottle container on and off and it is a perfect little storage bin for discarded primers.

*** Powder dispenser inserts ***
First, if you will be reloading for pistol calibers, let me mention 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.

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.

When I bought the handgun rotor for mine; I saw the cool micrometer metering insert, so I went ahead and spent a few extra bucks to get it to replace the standard metering insert. This turned out to be somewhat of a waste of money for two reasons:
1) It turns out that the standard metering inserts can be bought for 1/3 of the price of the micrometer version and they can be easily swapped out of the rotor - so now I just keep a metering insert marked for each load and I've found that is far more convenient and repeatable than remembering what number a load was on the micrometer.
2) The micrometer insert got a layer of rust almost immediately, so I couldn't read the markings anyway. This rust appears on the dial head and it happened to two different units; although I take care to keep stuff oiled up - this is a part that just wants to rust.

It takes a bit longer to setup a load with the standard inserts, but it is a time saver in the long run over the micrometer version.

*** Auto indexing could be smoother ***
When reloading small cases, the auto-indexing will sometimes shake a granule of powder out of the case and onto the shell plate. This is just something to be aware of (especially when the cases are fairly full), and I really haven't found a way to completely resolve it. One side-effect is that the loose granules can wind up getting stuck in the primer seater, which will prevent it from recessing completely and can bind the entire machine. This was actually the cause of my second broken part:).

Anyway, I don't want to make it sound like powder will shake out of every case. Just be aware that it does happen so you will typically end up with half a dozen or so loose granules after loading a few hundred rounds. I keep my air compressor handy to keep the shell plate clean; which prevents anything from getting stuck in the primer seater. I also blow out the seater every month or so and put a drop of oil in there just to keep it moving smoothly.

*** Hornady dies ***
I know this isn't directly related to the press, but I figure I should throw in my findings on dies as well for people who are just getting started.

Since I was buying the Hornady press and didn't really know what I was doing, I decided to play it safe and stuck with Hornady dies as well. Although they weren't bad, I always had little issues - especially with the depriming pin and the bullet seater; so I eventually swapped them out for some Redding dies. Let me just say, in my opinion, the Redding dies blow the Hornady dies out of the water. I've been incredibly impressed.

[UPDATE 11/30/2010]
Once again, I know this isn't directly related to the press, but feel free to read the comments posted under this review to see some of the issues I started having with the Redding 9mm sizing die that I recommended before. At this point, for 9mm, I'm using a Lee sizer die, Hornady expander die, Redding bullet seater die, and Redding crimp die. This seems to be a great combination - but I'm still irritated at the apparent drop in quality of the Redding dies. For other calibers (.223 & .308), I haven't had any problems with the Redding sizing dies.

*** Conclusion ***
My neighbor started a few weeks before me and went with the Dillon 550B for loading .45, so I have seen both presses in action - although I obviously understand the workings of the Hornady better.

If you are considering one of these two presses, then I highly recommend the Hornady. I think the Hornady is a much better press than the Dillon, yet it costs less; both initially as well as each time you add a new caliber.
4444 comments| 645 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 22, 2013
I'm new to reloading, but I shoot a lot so instead of doing what every beginner should and buy a single stage press I saved up a little and got the AP press due to the fact I knew I would use it a lot. But after it came I quickly realized it was far more technical than I expected. I found out there were a lot of parts I still needed and a lot more money that still needed to be spent. I was fine with it bet I knew I would have to save up for a little bit to get it all. But after about 100 hours of reloading YouTube videos and four months I was able to actually start reloading. Wishing I had a guide right off the bat to tell me what I need and why I ended up making one for any other new beginner. So here it is.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
***Disclaimer: Do not follow my advice blindly, do your research on each piece of equipment. The prices I have stated are not set in stone, they were what I spent. I would advise you to shop around to get the best deals***
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
**What you still need:

--Hornady Lock N Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PD01NS/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$462.64
*Notes: Does not have to be this press

--Hornady Lock N Load Ap & Projector Shell Plate
http://www.hornady.com/store/Choose-Shell-Plate-by-Number/
$41.33
*Notes: Each shell plate is for a different caliber, when you buy make sure you get the correct plate for the caliber you are reloading. Here is the guide http://www.hornady.com/assets/files/shell_holder.pdf

--Hornady Shell Holder
http://www.hornady.com/store/Choose-Shell-Holder-by-Number/
$5.00
*Notes: Each shell holder is for a different caliber, when you buy make sure you get the correct holder for the caliber you are reloading. Although RCBS makes a similar looking holder, it will NOT fit in the Hornady setup. Here is the guide http://www.hornady.com/assets/files/shell_holder.pdf

--Reloading Dies
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PD6PO2/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$43.89
*Notes: All reloading dies from all companies are universal to each other's presses. So you don't have to stick to Hornadys dies (I do because I like them)

--Digital Scale
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BDOHNA/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$29.14
*Notes: Digital scales are a little more expensive bet worth it for the time you save

--Digital Caliper
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002JFMIO/ref=oh_details_o09_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$10.60
*Notes: Digital calipers are convenient for speed but if money is tight you can go traditional

--Hornady One Shot Gun Cleaner & Dry Lube
http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-Shot-Cleaner-DynaGlide-Aerosol/dp/B000LC9YM2/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1375560230&sr=1-1&keywords=hornady+gun+cleaner
$13.28
*Notes: Used when you put the press together and clean all the parts

--Hornady One Shot Spray Case Lube
http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-Shot-Spray-DynaGlide-Aerosol/dp/B0001NA29U/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1375560743&sr=1-1&keywords=hornady+case+lube
$13.44
*Notes: This or any case lube is an absolute need or your rounds will get stuck in the die. This one is cool because you don't have to wipe it off after you deprime and resize so if you have an AP bench like mine you can just keep going.

--Case Trimmer
http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-50140-Camlock-Case-Trimmer/dp/B000PD6QJ6/ref=sr_1_7?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1375561942&sr=1-7&keywords=case+trimmer
$88.99
*Notes: This will trim the case down to size. Needed because after firing the case expands

--Cartridge Reloading Guide
http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-Edition-Handbook-Cartridge-Reloading/dp/B00A95QWGM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1375563579&sr=8-2&keywords=Reloading+guide
$39.80
*Notes: Tells you the specifics of each round. There is a different manual for each projectile. So if you use Hornady bullets you will use their guide, RCBS you you'd use theirs, etc.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
**What you need to clean the brass:

--Case Tumbler
http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-Case-Tumbler-110-Volt/dp/B000PD1XE4/ref=sr_1_17?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1375559938&sr=1-17&keywords=media+tumbler
$83.58
Used to remove the carbon from the rounds. I advise not to deprime before use because the media will get stuck in the primer hole.

--Tumbling Media
http://www.amazon.com/Frankford-Arsenal-287178-Brass-Cleaning/dp/B001GX8DS6/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1375561385&sr=1-4&keywords=tumbling+media
$20.10
The corn cob media is a little more fine grain and less likely to get stuck

--Metal Polish
http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-9993-Case-Polish/dp/B002L9D8VQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1375561809&sr=1-1&keywords=hornady+metal+polish
$14.17
You would put this in the tumbler with the rounds to give them a nice polish
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
**What I would recommend:

--Bullet Puller
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001B7ZB4Q/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$17.15
Used when you mess up a round, it pulls the projectile out

--Primer Turning Plate
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001OPL80Q/ref=oh_details_o09_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$17.56
used to make sure the primers are set the right way before you put them in the primer tube

--Universal Ammo Reloading Tray
http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-1536-480040-Universal-Loading/dp/B000GU8WU4/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1375559333&sr=8-3-fkmr2&keywords=universal+ammo+reloading+tray
$11.38
Used to hold your rounds for inspection, and helps with precision loading powder

--Case Prep Tool
http://www.amazon.com/Lyman-Universal-Case-Prep-Accessory/dp/B0034LAVUG/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1375562159&sr=1-2&keywords=case+prep+tool
$55.79
This is used after depriming and trimming to make sure all the holes are clean and free of debris

--Stuck Case Remover
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Y6ZJQ6/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$18.99
Used in case you get a round stuck in the die

--Hornady Micrometer Rifle Lock N Load Powder Measure
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003O1WOJ2/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$27.99
Used to better measure out the powder in the Hornady Powder Drop for rifle calibers

--Hornady Micrometer Pistol Lock N Load Powder Measure
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001OPR300/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$39.89
Used to better measure out the powder in the Hornady Powder Drop for pistol calibers

--Powder Cop
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003D6ZLXE/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$30.57
Used to make sure you don't put more powder in than you should

--Hornady Lock N Load Die Bushing 10 Pack
http://www.amazon.com/Hornady-Lock-Load-Bushing-Pack/dp/B00162OLTW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375563887&sr=8-1&keywords=Hornady+AP+die+bushing
$42.22
Would recommend if you are reloading multiple calibers, it makes change over much faster.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
**What you need for precision loading:

--Hornady Lock N Load Ammo Concentricity Gauge
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001KZ3NNK/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$99.99
Only needed for precision reloading

--Powder Funnel
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PD1XI0/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$5.78
Used for more of an exact measurement

--Hornady Microjust Seating Stem
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GU9VU4/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$24.99
Used to get an exact seating depth with the projectile
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I hope this helps! I will be making some tutorial videos soon and will post a link here.
88 comments| 219 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 26, 2009
I am a beginner re-loader. I went against the grain of common knowledge that you should start with a single stage press then move to a progressive press like this. I am glad I did because the amount I shoot it would take me forever to reload this on a single stage press.

If you follow the instructions and watch the videos you should not have any problems whatsoever. Do yourself a favor and get a can of Hornady De-greaser and dry lube because you will need to clean the grease from the powder measure, primer mechanism and the area where the shell plate sits. After that you should be good to go.

As far as performance, it is very consistent in the production of bullets. You can really crank out a lot of bullets in a hurry. I shot all mine today and had no problems whatsoever.

Some other suggestions:
--Get a good digital scale if you can afford it. It makes it much faster when you do your powder settings

--Get a powder through expander die. This frees up a spot for a cop die (charge validator). It basically lets you know if you have put too much or too little powder in your shell.

--Get a Cop die. (see above).

--Have a good sturdy location to mount it. For me I use a saw horse with some C clamps to hold it down and that works good for me.

So if you shoot a lot, get this press and get into it. You will save plenty of money and you will produce loads that are more accurate than factory loads.
11 comment| 142 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 26, 2010
If you can walk & chew gum, you can run this press. No need to start with a single stage, especially if your goal is to make a lot of handgun ammo. Primers, like any press, need special attention. I've got well over 40k rounds of 45ACP through mine, as well as several thou of 38/357 and 44 maggies. The only thing that needed to be replaced was one of the little "mousetrap" springs; it actually wore through. That was around 25k rounds. Hmm, I should take a look at the one in there now. Loading .223 or .30-'06 is a little more involved, what with the larger powder charge (you actually need to WAIT for the .223 powder to run through the little hole), case lubing and the attention to the case neck and seating the tiny bullets.

I've helped set up & run a few other brand presses. This one is the one to get.

Norm
0Comment| 102 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 4, 2011
I tried my hands on a few of the progressive presses available and I thought this was one smooth indexing, easy to change caliber, easy to change from small or large primers, and a very good priced product. I love the half indexing on the up and finishing indexing on the down stroke. I had some struggles with the spring retaining system of the new EZ Ject system but it just take a minutes worth of study and you realize you don't need a third arm to set the thing just right. My only real issue with not giving it a full five stars is that I had to remove a few burrs, round a few edges, and polish a few parts for the priming system to work just right. It would increase the cost of the machine, but it would make for better results and thus more positive reviews. Now it slams out ammo by the bucket and I love it. It's almost hard to keep up with keeping both the powder and primers full. The best part about this press is that it comes as a kit with everything you really need. The powder measure even comes with a baffle, both rifle and pistol drum and inserts, and both drums are quick change. I'm not aware of another brand that goes that extra mile to give you everything as a bundle right from the setup. Last, I love that this is a five station press instead of four. Four can be made to work, but if you want that extra hole for a separate crimp die, powder check die, bullet seating die, or any other specialty option then four station presses can be hard to figure out how to get what you want without having to do more case prep ahead of time.
0Comment| 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 14, 2011
I've been reloading on a 70's vintage RCBS single stage press for years now, and went with the Lock-n-Load system over the Dillon 550. Very glad I did. The Hornady system offers good value for the money... I got the case feeder along with the press, and feel it really expands the utility of the system. Caveat emptor, however, in that there is a learning curve, or 'protocol' if you will, that must be mastered to really wring out this system. When it arrived I unboxed and followed the step by step directions on the DVD, which cover assembly, set up and operations. Pretty straight forward. Once it was assembled my first loading was .45 ACP, which went smoothly except for the primer slide and punch. Your press will have to be tweaked until it indexes correctly, and until you have mastered this adjustment, you will get rounds without primers, and as the round makes its way around the stations it will dribble grains of powder under the shell plate which will cause your primer punch to NOT retract fully or seat primers properly. When this occurs be ready to remove the primer punch and clean it, reinstall and then remove shellplate and brush off powder grains from the rotary table.
The indexing pawl must be tweaked 'just so' and then the guide wire for the case feeder must also be adjusted, and the proper size "V block" installed in order to get cases to feed properly. Again it is a pain but once it is in the zone then you are good to go!
I ended up polishing the primer slides (large and small primers) in order to get them to slide without binding. and if you are reloading military .223 brass remember to use a primer pocket tool to remove the military crimp, or you will not get your primers to seat in the case. Ask me how I know this. (lol)
After learning the right way to set up and run this press, I can manage 300/hr of most pistol calibers-9mm, .38/357, 44 Special/Magnum. .45 Colt and .45ACP. Rifle rounds are a more painstaking and therefore slower process, but still capable of good production times. You will be needing dies/shellplates/powder through expanders in each caliber you reload for, and if you have the case feeder you will need the proper sized case feeder plate also, so extras DO add up.
I'm glad I made the transition to a progressive press and recommend the Lock N Load, wich is a quality piece of equipment, and Hornady's customer service has helped me through the learning stage with mine.
11 comment| 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 25, 2013
I bought this press a little over a year ago when I wanted to increase my output per session loading 45ACP, 223 Remington and 308 Winchester. I have been reloading for 5 or 6 years now, and I started with a Lee Classic Turret press. The Lee was a great started press and I could do about 100 rounds of 45ACP in an hour at a comfortable pace.

Like with any hobby, sometimes it is more fun to buy the tools than it is to do the work. The Lee press was more than capable of meeting my reloading needs, but I wanted something new and saw this LNL press as an opportunity to get a new piece of hardware and also increase my output in a given loading session.

Setup of the LNL was pretty easy. Probably the worst part was cleaning the powder drop assembly. I cleaned it per the instrucions (followed both online and written instructions), and my WIN 231 powder still stuck to the sides of the powder measure. I think I screwed up and used the wrong cleaning solution. I went back and cleaned everything with Brake Cleaner, and it worked out great.

In terms of operating the press, it functions really well, with the exception of sometimes not cycling the shellplate all the way to the next stop. This seems to occur when the tiny holes underneath the shellplate where the ball bearings sit get dirty or a piece of powder in them. A quick spray from the air compressor cleans them out and things seem to function well from there.

I fount the price of the press and the shellplates to be extremely fair, and when I compared to the Dillon press (550B is a fair price compare, the 650 is operationally similar to the LNL), I found the Dillon product too expensive to setup for multiple calibers. I know the Dillon is easier to change over with the toolhead setup, but I can switch my LNL from 45ACP to 308 pretty quickly in about 15 minutes. Biggest pain is the primer feed. If you have not used up all the primers in the tube, and you want to switch to another type of primer, I have not figured out a way to do this without spilling primers all over. What I usually do is just prime my brass until the primer shoot is empty, even if I don't intend to load powder and bullets into that brass in that session.

One cool thing I found online is that you can setup the Hornady bullet feed die WITHOUT the bullet feeder itself, and use a clear plastic tube from Bed Bath and Beyond to drop bullets into the die, which eliminates the need to hand place bullets. I do this for 45ACP, and it is awesome. I can get about 50 bullets in a tube, and have 2 tubes. I fill them prior to the loading session and by the time I get through 100 bullets I am out of primers and I need to refill my primers and bullet tubes to keep going. I posted a video of the setup on Youtube, if you want to see it search "jb06ix".

All in all, I am really happy with my LNL progressive press.

J
0Comment| 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 28, 2014
I am absolutely blown away by the quality of the Hornady Lock N Load AP press, especially at the $400 price it often goes for on Amazon (as of September 2014). Whether you're an experienced reloader looking to "upgrade" to a high quality automatic progressive press, or a new reloader who wants to jump directly into a progressive press for high-volume reloading (instead of starting with a single stage press as most people do), this is hands down the best quality-for-the-money ("bang-for-the-buck") progressive press on the market.

WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE?
The press comes with five lock-n-load bushings and a powder dispenser, but NOT a die set or shell plate, both of which are caliber specific and must be purchased separately. Add on those two accessories, though, and you will be ready to reload your favorite caliber at a pace of 200-600 rounds per hour for only around $500!

WHY DO SOME PEOPLE RATE IT NEGATIVELY?
Looking at the negative reviews here on Amazon and elsewhere on the web, I am convinced that those comments stem from users who have not set up the press correctly. It is also quite suspicious that so many of the negative comments end with some variation of the claim that "I finally spent twice as much on a Dillon as I should have done in the first place. Lesson learned: You get what you pay for." Such comments would seem to imply that the (much) lower price on the Hornady Lock N Load AP is much lower in quality than a comparable Dillon press. That's simply not the truth. Dillon presses are indeed excellent, but for nearly twice the price, they offer little noticeable benefit except for a visibly superior COSMETIC finish. Functionally, the Hornady Lock N Load has proven to be just as capable, and some of its features--like the excellent Lock N Load bushing system--actually make it more desirable, in my opinion. Compared side by side with other brands, the Hornady press has more visible casting marks and uneven textures. But the red finish still looks very attractive, and all of the press's MECHANICAL components are precisely machined for smooth, accurate reloading. After seeing the press in action, I can say without reservation that it is NOT substantially inferior to the Dillon in its operational build quality. I can only assume that many of the negative reviewers either work for Dillon or are looking to justify the fact that they spent twice as much for a press that is only 10% "better"--and mostly in a cosmetic way. Properly set up, the Hornady Lock N Load AP is a serious reloading press, a joy to operate and behold.

HOW DO I SET IT UP CORRECTLY?
It does take some fiddling to get the press set up correctly, but the difficulty of setting up the Hornady doesn't strike me as any worse than any other press. With a little patience to dial in each die station correctly, this press will run like a Swiss watch. Best of all, ONCE you get the die stations dialed in correctly, the fantastic Lock N Load bushing system lets you lock in the setting securely. Thereafter, if you want to change calibers, you can simply twist the bushings to swap out the dies and install a different set. When you reinstall the dies after they've been set once, they HOLD that setting very well to ensure repeatable results again and again. This is one of the most outstanding features of the Hornady press, and one of the main reasons (besides price) that I chose it over the Dillon. Besides the convenience of easily swapping out dies for different calibers, the bushings also make it easy to quickly remove stations to clear them out of the way for better access to one station that, for example, you might need to get a wrench on to tighten or loosen it.

Instead of going over the initial cleaning and set up, I'll just recommend that watch the YouTube video series posted by user Bill Morgan. Search for "Hornady LNL AP Press Set Up Hints and Tricks, Part 1" to begin his outstanding, multi-video coverage of virtually everything you need to know to set the press up right. I don't know Bill personally, but his videos about setting up this press are top notch and will spare you a lot of headaches. Also, make sure you clean the press thoroughly when you first get it with a high quality cleaner and dry lube, like Hornady One-Shot, which works great.

HOW ACCURATE IS THIS PRESS?
After fiddling carefully with each station to get it set up correctly, I was able to produce better-than-factory-accuracy ammo (.223 Remington) on my first try with this press. In addition to this press, I purchased these two add-ons:

- Hornady Improve Shell Plate (17 Remington, 17/222, 17/223, 220VT., 20 Tactical, 204 Ruger, 221 Remington, 222 Remington, 222 Remington Mag., 5.6X50 Mag., 223 Remington, 6mm/223, 6X47 Remington, 6mm TCU., 6.5mm TCU., 7mm TCU., 7mm/223 Ingram, 7X47 Helm, 380 Auto)

- Hornady 223 Remington Custom Grade Reloading Dies(Series I Two-Die Set)

The Hornady resizing/de-priming die works great as long as you snug up the spindle with a wrench and use a generous amount of case lube on the brass (Hornady One-Shot Lube works great). The bullet seating die is also outstanding as long as you hold the bullet into place and guide it up into the die as you stroke the handle. Every bullet seats firmly to a consistent depth (i.e., it holds the depth you set VERY accurately) and appears perfectly centered in the case--an observation that is born out by the impressive accuracy of the resulting shots. You do NOT need an expanding die for .223 cases. The two dies in the Hornady set are all you need in addition to the included powder dispenser that comes with the press.

The powder dispenser is also surprisingly accurate. At first, I had a hard time getting it to throw a consistent charge. But then I discovered that the dispenser tube wasn't screwed in entirely, and as soon as I fixed that and made a few adjustments to the depth of the station, I suddenly started getting dead-on-accurate throws EVERY time. I'm using IMR 4320 powder, which is a mostly round, but slightly extruded powder that seems to work very well in the Hornady powder dispenser and is less finnicky about temperature changes than a true ball powder. When I tried measuring the loads by dispensing into the pan on my scale, I got inconsistent results, but when I started running cases up into the dispenser and then dumping the powder from the case onto the pan of my beam scale, I got an EXACT 23.5 grains EVERY time for nine in a row! After that, I checked the powder throw every 30 cases, but I needn't have done so. It was spot on every time! Of course, if you want those kinds of results, you have to make certain you clean your powder station very thoroughly and set it up properly (as I said above, go watch Bill Morgan's videos!).

One last accuracy note: Using CCI Small Rifle Primers (#400) with the small primer seating parts properly installed on the press, I had zero troubles with shallow or unevenly seated primers. It just works!

PROBLEMS AND SHORTCOMINGS
The Hornady Lock N Load AP press's printed instructions and included video leave a little to be desired. They're not bad, but you really need to consult both to have a good understanding of how to set up and operate the press. There are some things that aren't adequately covered in the print instructions that are much better explained in the video. For instance, it isn't clear how to grease the press unless you watch the video, which is the only place that makes mention of how much grease to use.

The only problem I had with my press is that, right out of the box, the plastic/nylon tip (ferrule) to the small primer pick up tube was broken. Instead of two clearly defined prongs, it looked as if it had been melted and cracked. I contacted Hornady using their online contact form, and with no questions asked, within a week they had mailed me a replacement tip/ferrule at no charge, so it seems that their customer service is very good. Of course, it was a very inexpensive part... perhaps if it had been a more significant problem, they would have been less accommodating (?). I can't say, but my sense is that they offer good support for their customers.

CONCLUSION
All in all, this is a phenomenal press. If you have any doubts about it, watch Bill Morgan's videos. Not only will they tell you all the things you need to know to get this press running like a Swiss watch, but also you will see the press in action and feel more confident about its quality. I still don't know why there are so many folks who bash this press or claim that it is vastly inferior to the Dillon. All I can say is they are wrong. It is a fair match for the Dillon, at a MUCH better price, with some features that are even preferable over the Dillon, and you won't be sorry you bought it. And sweetening the deal, if you buy this press, Hornady includes a rebate for 500 free bullets (all you pay is shipping), which is like getting almost an additional $100 off the price of the press!

I say buy it, and happy reloading! (Remember to be safe and use your brain, don't get in a hurry.)

[UPDATE 12/12/14: Well, I've been reloading on this press for awhile now, so I thought it was time for an update. I love it! So far, I have had zero problems with the completed rounds I've loaded, and only two issues with the reloading process. One issue is that with the lead-tip "Varmint" .223 caliber bullets from Hornady, the lead noses of the bullets are soft enough that if you don't keep the bullet oriented exactly right as you press it up into the seating die, it can turn sideways and get stuck inside the seating die, crushing the brass case in the process. It is very hard to feel that the bullet has shifted until it is too late and the case has been crushed. This only happened three times in the 250 rounds I loaded with those bullets, but I thought I should mention it. It's arguably an issue with those particular bullets, rather than the press.

The other issue is more serious: The Lock N Load bushing on the powder station can (and often does) twist and unseat itself after awhile. This never happened on the first 100 - 150 rounds I loaded; however, now it happens at least once every 50 rounds I load. The reason this is dangerous is because it allows the powder station to rise up out of the press, instead of pressing the bullet up inside to activate the powder drop and throw a (proper) charge into the case. If you don't notice it, then when you move to the next station and seat the bullet, you've just created a squib load. Squib loads are dangerous because when you put them in your gun, the primer may have enough force to discharge the bullet into the barrel of your rifle, but without a charge of powder, the bullet usually will stop somewhere in the barrel. Since you hear a "pop," and the round may even eject (or you may rack the bolt to clear it), you might think the round fired fine. But if you fire off the next round without thinking to make sure the barrel is clear (i.e., not realizing you just had a squib load), the pressure of the next shot in a clogged barrel can (almost certainly WILL) blow up your barrel and possibly injure you. So watch out for that! One fix is to buy a thin rubber O-ring from the hardware store and install it just under the lip/rim of the Lock N Load bushing. That way, when you lock it down, it compresses the O-ring and locks in extra-tight, which seems to correct the issue very effectively. Squib loads are always a greater risk on a progressive press, of course, but I just wanted to note that--due to the powder station's tendency to work the LnL bushing loose--they are a much higher risk on the Hornady LnL AP.

Those issues aside, I LOVE THIS PRESS. It produces very fine, very accurate, very consistent ammunition--at least in the .223/5.56 caliber I've been loading exclusively so far. Don't reload distracted. Pay attention to the FEEL of the primers going into the case (you can feel when you miss a primer--though, so far, that has only happened when a stray grain of powder jamms the primer loading tray); pay attention to the FEEL of the bullet as you guide it into the bullet seating die; and pay attention to the LOOK and SOUND of the powder station as it is throwing a charge correctly and locked down securely. With an eye on those details, you can avoid most of the frustrating or dangerous issues that can arise with a press, and your ammo will come out great if your components are good. One last tip that has helped me: I leave an open station BETWEEN the powder station and the bullet seating die, which allows me to visibly inspect and confirm the powder level of each case before I seat a bullet. I suppose you could insert a powder check station, but I find it more reassuring to actually see the powder levels for myself (and I'm pleased to see them throwing so consistently!). Hope that update/advice helps you!]
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 13, 2010
I recently bought the Lock N Load press to replace my older Hornady Projector press - the precursor to the LNL. The press is well built and will out last its owner with out a problem. The EZ-Ject cartridge ejector is a big improvement to the earlier wire ejector.

The tweaking and fine tuning is needed to get the shell plate to index properly. When I got my press setup, I cycled the press without any shells and the shell plate indexed properly each time the handle was pulled. When I began running cases thru the press, I began to notice the shell plate would not quite fully index on the upward and downward strokes. This would cause the shell plate to not line up properly with the primer station and on the upward pull, sometime the cartridges would just be a touch out of alignment with the dies. Both issues would require a manual movement of the shell plate to move the shell plate to the correct spot.

I called Hornandy customer support, this company has one of the best customer support departments of any product I have ever owned in my life, and was given instructions on how to make the adjustments to the palls that control the amount of rotation in the shell plate. They thought the issue may be due to the initial break in of the press and that there is some increased drag on the shell plate once cartridges are moving thru the shell plate and a little extra push may be required to compensate for this. I am still making some small tweaks to get it dialed in, but all in all this is a great press and equal in quality and operation to the blue press, but at a much more affordable price.
0Comment| 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 11, 2012
I was really hoping that I would be well pleased with my Hornady LNL Press, but I'm not. Mind you, I'm a big fan of all of Hornady products, but in my opinion, the LNL is a major disappointment. The basis for my opinion is this: The tolerances aren't as "crisp" as they should be, and several parts that are vital to the functioning of the LNL are made out of substandard "pot metal" and tend to break. For example, the primer slide is made of pot metal and this part gets extreme use. Further, should a flake or two of power find its way under the primer slide or into the primer hole itself, the Press binds up and the use of an air compressor is useful to blow away any powder residue. In the eight months I have had my press, I have broken three slides, two smaller and one large slide. It makes one wonder whether Hornady intentionally decided to make the sliding part out of pot metal to hold down costs. I have learned that anytime it feels like the Press is binding slightly, I must stop what I'm doing and take off the shell plate and spring and closing examine what's going on with the machine. Unfortunately, the issues that I have with the primer slide has resulted in using the LNL Press as a single stage press. For example, as a "work around" I now install primers on all of my shell casings first, and then proceed with powder charges and bullet seating in subsequent steps. I have found that by doing so, I save time and money. Read some of the other reviews, and some of those reviewers are having to perform this "work around" in the same manner as I have.

In addition to the issues with the primer slide, there is a also a fragile tube that causes the wheel of the primer slide to move in and out when the handle of the press is moved up or down. To me, it appears that it is quite easy for the tube to come out of alignment which places a binding force on the axle of the primer slide. Guess what material the axle is made of? Yep, pot metal. As a result, if the wheel and tube become out of alignment, any light binding will cause the primer slide to quickly snap. I informed Hornady of my belief that the primer slide and wheel is a design defect and they informed me that they are aware of the issue, but have not found a way to fix it. I'm seriously thinking about finding a good machine shop that could fabricate the parts from stainless steel or other suitable metal.

It should be noted that Hornady gladly took my Press (once I paid the cost of shipping - - which wasn't cheap) and realigned all the parts. Although Hornady's customer service is top notch, it's a real pain to have to send the Press to their headquarters for repair. This evening, I was reloading and the same problems as mentioned above occurred, so I'm sending it back once again. I've grown tired of having to do work arounds to accommodate a machine that costs over $350, hence the reason for this review.

I believe in Hornady products and believe they manufacture some of the best ammuntion available. However, I believe they have missed the mark on their manufacturing of reloading equipment. In my view, a company should stick to what it does best and, in my book, for Hornady that is ammunition.

If you are thinking seriously about a LNL Press, I highly suggest that you go to your local Bass Pro Shop or Cabela's and view the LNL in person and examine, firsthand, the quality of these parts that I discuss above. Best of luck!
2020 comments| 98 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 93 answered questions


Need customer service? Click here