Hornady Lock n Load Auto-Indexing Press

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Caneman, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    Thinking about getting a Hornady Lock n Load AP (I think AP means auto-indexing press)... I have done some research comparing this to the Dillon 550b and the 650... I know the blue crew likes Dillon, which they should because it looks like really good equipment, but I am sold on the Hornady LnL because of some minor differences that matches up well with the equipment I have setup now... I have a few questions about the powder die setup:

    [​IMG]


    1) I understand there is shell case expander insert you can buy so that you can charge powder and expand the case at the same time?

    2) Can you buy additional powder dies and dedicate them for each caliber you load?

    3) Do you use a powder cop, or a powder checker?

    Any other things I should know before purchasing? Thanks.
  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Active Member

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    Caneman:

    If you like the Hornady press then buy it but here are a few things you should know:

    Auto indexing is nice for high volume reloading but where it gets in the way is when something at one station screws up and you have to clear the press. Most auto indexing tables can not be turned backwards to help clear the press (this does happen to all progressive presses, some more often than others). Auto indexing gets in the way when you are trying to use the press as a single stage press as you often have to do when you must size before you trim and then return to progressive reloading of the lot.

    The Dillon RL650 is the most comparable press to the Hornady you are interested in but I think the RL550B is the more universal progressive press because it easily supports progressive reloading, single stage reloading and turret press reloading.

    Then there is the history of the various manufacturers of progressive presses. The Dillon RL550 has been in the market place for at least 30 years. There have been small updates along the way (which Dillon provides for free in most cases). But the press is basically the same for that period because it flat works well. Hornady and RCBS progressive models have changed over the years in a large way until they finally got it right (?). Each of those manufacturer is on second or even third iterations of progressive presses, abandoning the versions that did not work all that well.

    Finally, there is no one in the reloading industry that beats (and some do not even meet) Dillon's after sales service. You break something on the press and Dillon replaces it for free 99% of the time. They will keep your press going for as long as you own the press or they are in business. And the RL550B is probably the most popular of all the progressive presses on the market and for good reasons.

    But you buy what ever you want.

    LDBennett
  3. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    Thanks LD for the well written reply... I hear what you are saying, lots of blue loyalty for sure as it is warranted... have you ever reloaded on the Hornady LnL AP?
  4. raysmithson1

    raysmithson1 Member

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    I use a LNL, have had it for say one yr. now, they have for some pistol sizes,powder thru expanders, I use a powder cop, I am very happy with mine, I now can change calibers in under 4 min. start to finish , I have used the Dillon , but prefer the Hornady, has few problems, ,like I have to shim the powder supply,it wants to walk around and not work , it lifts the whole unit and not leaving any powder ,,, I load 44 mag. 357 mag 9 mm. 30-o6, 300win mag, 8 m mauser rifle. I love the primer feed set up,, as in all press's keep it clean...
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  5. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    I did some research on this, and you can make the Hornady LnL just like the Dillon 550b by taking out the "pawls" and it will not auto index anymore and you index manually...

    also, i guess you can pull the handle so the shell plate is halfway up and then you can reverse index it manually...
  6. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    thanks ray... so you use the powder thru expanders that Hornady provides? i think there is a universal expander insert you can get from powderfunnel.com, do you know anything about that?
  7. raysmithson1

    raysmithson1 Member

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    no have not heard of a universal powder thru, could I suggest you go to youtube and look at the vidio for the Hornady press,,, you will get a good look at how it works , same with the Dillon,,, I bought the LNL because of the cost of the shell plates, etc. but am glad I got the "big Red One" In the end,,,, you will be into the press about $1,200.00, when you get all the calibers,,, might say I am very happy with the new Hornady dies, have used RCBS for a long time,,, and still do,,, nuff said
  8. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    i have an RCBS Rockchucker right now, and my dies are already setup with the Hornady quick change bushings, so this will be an easy transition for me... i can reload with the auto index progressive, or use the single stage, changing dies from one to the other using the quick change bushing
  9. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    Caneman,

    Dont hesitate to consider the hornady lnl one bit! I have nothing but positives to rant about this press, and some of the comments against the press are not exactly accurate. The warranty and support of this press is top notch. I have damaged parts on the press by my own foolishness and they are replaced by Hornady without question. You are correct with the auto indexing which some have a problem with. I have no issues clearing the occaisonal foul up and there is nothing in the design that disallows you to manually advance or reverse the shellplate, and yes drop the pawls and you have a 5 station manual advance progressive press. Place one die in one station and reload single stage!

    I do have a ptx insert for 45acp but suggest you buy the available linkage to attatch to the powder measure to get full, usable expansion from it. I dont use a powder check die, the PM is should be in station 3, this allows you to see down the case mouth because the powder filled case is right underneath your nose after the powder drop, afterall you should be paying attention, the powder cop is nothing but a white ring that reveals when a charge is good, if anything buy a lockout die by RCBS.

    Yes you can buy as many powder measure setups as you want, however there are two powder metering inserts and three different drop tube lengths provided in the kit to cover most calibers.

    Beyond this PM me if you need additional info or you have questions about setup.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  10. Brisk44

    Brisk44 New Member

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    I think you will really like the horny and it is true that the blue ones replace parts 99% of the time , the only one that beats that is LEE I think they do so 99.9 % of the time.:D
  11. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

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    I have the LnL and love it! If you have any problem ask anyone here or 312shooter he helped me work a few bugs out and it runs smooth as glass now.:D
  12. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    :) :thumbsup:
  13. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    Not if it's over two years old but that's getting off topic.
  14. Waldog

    Waldog Member

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    For a case expander I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS: www.powderfunnels.com
    It works for all cases from .30 to .50 cal. It is easy to adjust as well.

    Additional powder dies are about $24. I have PD's for each caliber I load.

    I use the Powder Cop die. Only because I could not find the RCBS Lock-Out Die ANYWHERE. Been loading with the Powder Cop for about 5-6 years with no complaints. Never had a squib or a overcharge. The operation of the LNL allows you to look directly into each case prior to seating a bullet. With pistol cases it is easy to see your powder charge.

    The operation of Blue presses is different from Red presses. Each has it's benefits. Find what suits your style and you will be happy with either. Both are excellent products. Good Luck!
  15. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    Just wondering how the powederfunnel works... does it just drop in and the powder drop installs on top of it?

    Do you just dedicate a powder die for each caliber that is already preset and has the QC bushing, then drop in the powderfunnel insert and powder drop on top of it?

    Thanks, dog!
  16. Waldog

    Waldog Member

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    PowderFunnel drops into the powder die and the powder measure assembly sits on top. The powder measure linkage attaches to the powder die clamp. You only need ONE POWDERFUNNEL. It is swapped between each new powder die.

    I dedicate a powder die and QC bushing for each case I load. I have preset powder dies for 9mm, 357mag, 40S&W, 44Mag, 45 ACP and 223.

    I can swap from loading 9mm to loading 44 mag in about 5 minutes, including swapping from small to large primer.
  17. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    In doing more research I see that some have problems with Lee dies and this press... the problem being with some of the Lee dies not being long enough... anyone have these issues?
  18. Waldog

    Waldog Member

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    The Lee die problems were associated with the earlier version of the LNL with the ejection wire. That wire has been eliminated. Lee dies are shorter than most other makes. The only LEE die I use is a 40 S&W undersize sizing die. I don't have any problems with that die although, your lock ring only has about 2 threads to lock on. Works OK. I don't know about Lee seating dies. I do know that many LNL users use and, swear by, Lee Factory Crimp Dies.
  19. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    Yes, Lee dies are lacking one or two threads on the die body to screw down enough to securly fasten the locking ring and get proper sizing. The crimp dies work OK. RCBS dies are similar and juuust a bit short for me as well.
  20. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    wow, great writeup by waldog... i have done a lot of research and what he says below confirms what i have found as well... maybe the comparison between red and blue is like porshe and lamborghini ?!

    http://thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=72427&highlight=hornady lock load dillon

    ******************************************************************

    I have posted this before but, the Dillon and LNL issue always comes up.

    Your question usually ignites a firestorm of of "Blue verses Red verses etc." What you are not going to find is very many people that have actually loaded on BOTH DILLON AND HORNADY. I have loaded on both. Here is my perspective:

    Consider the Hornady Lock and Load Progressive. It’s cheaper than the Dillon and has several features that, IMHO are better than Dillon.

    The Dillon has been on the market a long time and have great customer service, as a result, Dillon users are very dedicated to their blue presses. The Dillon's are EXCEPTIONAL presses and do an exceptional job in reloading. The competition to the Dillon is the Hornady Lock and Load Auto Progressive. Because most of the Dillon users are so satisfied, when you ask the question “Which is better?”, you get swamped with comments like, "The Hornady L-n-L is Junk!" If you asked if they have ever loaded on the L-n-L and 99.9% said no. When I did find someone that had experience with both presses, most liked the L-n-L and many had sold their Dillon's and bought the L-n-L. However, there have been those that sold their red presses and bought blue. You just have to decide what you like best. Some times it’s just the color, red or blue!!

    IMHO the Dillon has one major shortcoming and, most Dillon owners will agree if they are honest. The Dillon powder measure is sorely lacking in ease of use and adjustability. It meters ball type powder very well but flake type powder less so. And, extruded stick type powder is VERY troublesome and not all that accurate. To be fair, extruded powder is difficult in all powder measures. But, the L-n-L powder measure handles all types of powder MUCH better than the Dillon. Also, it is a pain to swap out the Dillon powder measure to another die plate. As a result, many owners have several powder measures on separate die plates for changing calibers. This significantly drives UP the COST.

    Also, IMHO, the Dillon priming system is less reliable than the LNL. With the Dillon system, spent primers drop through the bottom of the shell plate into a small cup. It is an “open” system and is easy to empty. However, the press gets dirty with carbon. Whenever carbon/dust/dirt or “primer dust” fouls the primer seating station this causes "flipped" or "skipped" primers. The DILLON primer system works well provided it is kept CLEAN. The Hornady L-N-L spent primers are dropped completely through the press into a plastic tube and into the trash or bottle or whatever you want to use. It is a “closed” system. You never get carbon in and around the bottom of the shell plate. The point is the dirt off the spent primers does not foul the workings of the press. I have never had a “flipped” primer. Although I have had “missed” primers that I feel were operator error (ME!) and not the fault of the primer system. (I forgot to seat the primer!) In all fairness, the LNL primer seating station will also not work properly if the primer slide is fouled with dirt or powder.

    If you want a powder check system you need a press with at least five stations. The Dillon Square Deal and 550 has 4 die stations. The L-N-L has 5 stations. The Dillon 650 has 5 stations, but costs significantly more. And, the Dillon 1050 has about 7 or eight.

    How the presses indexes is an issue for some people. In reading the web about "KABOOMS" (Blowing up a gun!!). Many of the kabooms I have read about were directly traced back to a manually indexing press. This is not the fault of the press but, operator error. With a manually indexing press, If you get distracted while reloading, you can easily double charge a pistol case case. (A double charge will depend on the powder you are using and the charge weight.) IMHO, a double charge is less of a problem with auto-indexing presses. The Hornady L-N-L, Dillon 650 and, Dillon Square Deal auto index. The MOST POPULAR Dillon press, the 550 is a manually indexing press. Some people prefer manual, some people prefer auto.

    Next, the L-N-L uses a really slick bushing system for mounting loading dies to the press. It makes changing calipers and SNAP. After a die is adjusted for whatever you are loading you can remove the die from the press with an 1/8 turn and insert a different die. Each die has it's own bushing. The Dillon uses a die plate. The Dillon die plate costs more than L-N-L bushings. Another neat feature with the Hornady is that you can buy a bushing conversion setup and use the same bushings on your RCBS, Lyman or other single stage press and the L-N-L!

    Additionally, the L-N-L seems to be built like a tank! The ram is about 2"+ in diameter and the basic press is similar in construction to the RCBS Rockchucker. I would say that a side-by-side comparison to the either the Dillon 550 OR 650, the L-N-L is at least as sturdily built. And, in some areas I think the L-N-L is better built. i.e., The massive ram, powder measure, and primer system. The head/top of the press is solid except for where the dies are inserted. The Dillon has a large cutout that is needed for their die plates. By just looking, it would seem the L-N-L would be stronger. But, of course, that may not be the case.
    There is one piece that can get damaged on the L-N-L. There is a coil spring that holds the cases in the shell holder that can get crushed if you improperly change shell holders. That's the bad news. The good news is that they are only about $2-3 for three and they won't get crushed if you change shell plates correctly. The other good news is that this spring is the primary reason that while loading you can easily remove a case at any station. With the Dillon you have to remove pins in order to take a shell out of a shell plate.

    You can load anything on both the Dillon and L-N-L from .25 ACP to 500 N.E. Realistically, I would say that people with progressive loaders mostly load pistol ammo 99% of the time. After using the L-N-L for while I feel confident that my Grandkids will be using when I'm gone.

    In summary, the Hornady L-N-L has all the features of the Dillon 650 but is much cheaper. However, the Dillon automatic case feeder is about $50 cheaper than the Hornady. Changing calipers on the LNL is faster and cheaper. The powder measure on the L-N-L is VASTLY SUPERIOR TO THE DILLON, at least in my opinion. I bought the L-N-L and am very satisfied. A shooting buddy of mine is a long time, dedicated Dillon user. He has three! After giving me a ration of "stuff" about my choice, he came over and used my L-N-L and sheepishly said, "That's a very nice setup!!"

    Both the Dillon and LNL are very nice setups. You WILL be happy with either choice. Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi!
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
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