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lnl-press

Product Reviews by reloadingtips.com

These reviews are the opinion of our staff and a few others we trust. They are based on actual use of the equipment


Revised 2011-09-03

Hornady Classic Lock-n-Load Single Stage Reloading Press.

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 every day,  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. 

Pros:

Well made, strong, excellent finish. The ram fits perfectly with no wobble. Priming is easy and efficient.

 

Cons:

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 work.

Summary. 

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,  

If:

  •   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 bullets.

This press is not what you need.


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