Hornady Classic Lock-n-Load Single Stage Reloading
This is a well made "classic" single stage "O" frame
metallic cartridge reloading press. The front post is
offset to the right making it relatively easy for a right
handed loader to see what is in the shell holder.
The frame is cast aluminum. Many traditionalist
feel this is not strong enough and that it should be cast
iron. I have seen no evidence that there is any problem
with the cast aluminum frame. I have not personally owned
one but I have seen them made as shop projects and know
people who have used them since around 1960.
Although the press is
decidedly small and light weight, it performs its function
with considerable ease.
The ram, at 7/8 inch is smaller in diameter than
competitors but it has not been a problem in my daily use.
I don't test with .50 BMG.
It uses the quick change Lock-n-Load bushings. I
consider these things a solution in search of a problem.
They add $4.00 per die to the cost of a die set. They make
die changes much quicker - ten seconds instead of 30. They
make adjustments of the dies in the bushings somewhat more
tedious. They tend to work loose when I use them but my
friends tell me I am crazy. since I am biased against
them, and can find absolutely nothing positive to
say, I will not mention them further.
Two years later: I am still using this press
and now consider these bushings to be an ABOMINATION! I will
never own another press that uses them. They add four dollars per
die to your equipment cost. They complicate settings, they "wiggle",
they occasionally work loose enough to pop out of the press. Unless
you have a bushing for every die in your inventory, you will
constantly be looking for something to remove a bushing from.
However: If you load only a
few calibers and always use the same bullet with each
caliber and don't need to adjust your seating die from one
loading session to the next, You can save yourself about
15 seconds per die change by using the bushings.
The Priming Arm
The priming arm is a mixed blessing. It is ingenious in the
way it automatically moves in and out during priming. Unfortunately,
the rest of the time it is a pain in the posterior. It must be
installed for priming and resizing. When resizing, the primer arm
deflects the spent primers into the spent primer catcher. If it is
not installed, 100% of the ejected primers will wind up either on,
or in, your shoe. Now the bad news. It will catch some of the spent
primers in the priming cup and not deflect them into the primer
catcher. It will also hang up in the primer slot in the shell
holder. Attempting to free it, while not difficult, will
occasionally wind up with either the shell holder, the primer arm or
both on the floor. Even when it appears to be working in and out
flawlessly, it will "escape", jump out of its setting, and wind up
on the floor.
I resize in one operation and prime in another. If your
practice is to prime on the down stroke from the resizing stroke,
the primer seater pocket will occasionally "catch" the ejected spent
primer, refuse the new primer and you will wind up reseating the old
spent primer right back in the case it was ejected from.
If you leave it installed during steps when it is not needed like
expanding necks, seating bullets, crimping, it will hang in the
shell holder occasionally and also occasionally perform its escape
trick and jump out on the floor.
The Primer Catcher
The primer catcher is actually very good when the press is new or
immediately after a thorough cleaning. The primer catcher works
flawlessly but it requires the primer arm to be in place and will
not work at all without it. As a test, when the press was new, I
resized 500 .38 Special cartridges. It caught 498 of the primers.
Unfortunately it fits very loosely and is held in place only by
gravity. When the press becomes even a little dirty, the primer arm
does not work smoothly and this excellent performance in catching
primers reverts to about average, around 90%.
The Powder Measure Bracket
For years, various manufacturers have provided a
bracket that you can screw the powder measure into and use
the loading die, usually the seating die, to screw through
the other end of the bracket and lock it to the top of the
press. Unfortunately the bracket provided with this press
has a hole that is so large no reloading die can hold it
in place. This bracket as far as I can determine is only
useful as a fishing weight.
Well made, strong, excellent finish. The ram fits
perfectly with no wobble. Priming is easy and efficient.
Although the machining is excellent, the linkage a
little loose. ( Unlike the LNL Progressive AP) This is not
a problem in operation, and is not a real problem in use.
Some people will object to it.
The priming arm is a mixed blessing. When the primer arm is in place, the ram cannot be
moved to the bottom of its stroke. This causes trouble
with not having enough finger room to handle and seat
bullets in cases longer than about two inches.
Some older dies are too short for the press. You have
to screw them in so far that the locking ring will not
This is a small, light weight, but very strong press.
It takes up considerably less bench space than the larger
presses. It might prove troublesome with long cases -
longer than about 2.5 inches. It has a really slick
priming system for manual priming but it causes problems
when not actually priming.
If you are an occasionally reloader, reloading only a
few calibers with 50 to 100 cartridges per setting, this
is an excellent press for your needs.
On the other hand,
- You reload several calibers, changing
powder charges and bullets frequently.
- You must reset the sizing, expanding,
seating and or crimping die when changing loads.
- You reload two or three different batches per
week of 50 or more rounds.
- You are a fanatic about COAL when seating
This press is not what you need.