Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progressive Press is an
automatic 5-station press that is full of innovative features. The
press features include; Lock-N-Load quick change technology, fully
automatic indexing, 5-station die platform that accepts standard
7/8"-14 threaded dies, and the EZ-ject System that delivers 100%
reliable cartridge ejection. This press is capable of loading rifle
and handgun cartridges with ease.
Wondering what extra parts to purchase? Well, the press comes
complete with a Lock-N-Load powder measure, rifle and pistol
metering assemblies, case activated powder drop, cartridge catcher,
primer pick-up tubes, and 5 Lock-N-Load Bushings, so
the only thing
left to purchase is the easy access shellplate, dies, and any
additional bushings you'll need. (all available at MidwayUSA).
Press Type: Progressive Press
Frame Material: Cast Alloy
Frame Design: O-Frame
Frame Opening Size:
Handle Location: Bottom Right
Die Size Accepted: Any standard 7/8"-14
Die Bushing Accepted: Yes
Die Bushing Brand Used: Hornady
Spent Primer Collection System:
Priming Feature: Automatic
Number of Mounting Holes:
Mounting Hardware Included: No, users will
need 1/2" thick bolts that are long enough to go through the press
and reloading bench.
Warranty: Lifetime Factory
- The EZ-ject system is designed to work with updated
shellplates. Earlier version shellplates are not adaptable with
the EZ-ject system. To tell if shellplates need to be updated,
turn the shellplate upside down and look for a groove that runs
in a circular pattern around the shellplate. For further
instruction please refer to the "what to look for" link below.
If there is no groove present Hornady will modify old
shellplates to work with the EZ-ject system.
- Hornady Suggests Spraying all metal parts with Hornady
One Shot Gun Cleaner-Degreaser and Dry Lubricant before using
the press (Sold Separately Item# 270-323)
End Hornady Specifications:
- This is a large heavy machine. It weighs almost 30 pounds without
- It has a two inch diameter ram.
- It has a stroke of 4.625 inches measured from the top of the shell
holder. Most presses talk about "opening size". The "Opening size of
this press is 4.875 inches. This is more than most single stage
- You are not going to wear it out.
- Your grandson is not going to wear it out.
- It has five die stations.
- It has the only primer collection system I have ever used that
has caught over 10,000 primers without one single primer hitting the
- The powder measure is one of the best I have ever used and it comes
with both the rifle and the pistol metering drums. Nothing extra to
- Then priming system works positively and very well. You can do it
but you really have to work at it to get a loaded round with no
- The case retaining spring works perfectly. It holds the
cases securely but they are very easy to extract and reinsert
- It loads really good ammo very quickly.
- Primer seating is performed as a separate operation with a
reverse stroke of the handle. It is very sensitive and allows
excellent feel of the primer seating process.
- Hornady customer service is excellent.
- Case activated powder drop prevents dropping a powder charge
on the loading platform is there is no case in place.
- Mechanical advantage is a little anemic for rifle use. I measure
it at only 18 to 1. ( Over the last half inch of the resizing
stroke.) This is significantly less than most single stage presses.
- It uses the Lock-n-Load Bushings. Most reviewers would consider this
an advantage. I do not. In my experience using this machine for over
one year, they cause more problems than any other single feature of
- Ejected primers regularly hang between the primer drop hole and the
shell plate requiring the shell plate to be jiggled manually before
it will index.
- Although the primer system is very good, very fine grain ball
powders can clog it up and cause the primer to be misaligned with
the cartridge primer hole.
- The auto eject is problematical. It sometimes grabs the rim
of a .38/.357 Mag. case and holds on like a bulldog. ( Most of
the time it works correctly. )
- The LnL bushings work loose regularly. In the beginning I found my self picking the resizing die up
off the floor about every 200 rounds.
I now know that the resizing die and the powder measure MUST
be reseated and tightened with a wrench every time I change the
- The indexing mechanism is made of "pot-metal". You are
warned in the instructions not to try to force indexing with the
press handle. I can attest that it will break the index pawl.
- Changing the primer seating arm is not really difficult but
it is tedious. Much more so than with a single stage press.
Setup Instructional CD
The LnL AP comes with a very good
instructional CD on how to set it up and use it. Please do
yourself a favor and watch it before you start.
ManualYou can download the manual here:
Indexing is positive and easy to adjust. The instructions are
very confusing. Just remember four things.
- The adjustment pawl on the left side of the press controls
the primer alignment.
- The adjustment pawl on the right side of the press controls
the de-capping/sizing die alignment.
- Backing a pawl out ( turning it counter clockwise ) causes
the shell plate to turn further.
- Screwing a pawl in ( turning it clockwise ) causes the shell
plate to turn less.
Yes, each pawl affects the station on the opposite side of the
Adjustments should be made in increments so small as to be almost
invisible. If you adjust either pawl too far in, or too far out, the
indexing mechanism will lock up and not index at all.
The indexing part that actually turns the shell plate is made of
"pot-metal". You are warned in the instructions not to try to force
indexing with the press handle. I can attest that it will break the
index pawl. This is part number 29 and is called the "Drive Hub". Of
course they sent me a new one immediately at no cost and it was easy
to replace. It comes out the top, not the bottom.
Final word about the indexing adjustments. They will be correct
when you get a new press. They should not need further adjustment.
If you think they need adjusting, you are probably misinterpreting
I find the primer seating mechanism to be well designed and well
executed. The spring operated slide that moves the primer from the
primer supply tube to the priming punch has enough tension to
operate positively but not enough to damage a primer. The slide
rides in a slot in the base plate. The slide and the base plate are
both made of steel. The primer tube body housing ( part no 14 ) is
not steel but all it does is hold the primer tube in place. It does
not support any weight or sustain any strain.
The primer seating punch mechanism is very small, It is inserted
into the base plate from the bottom back of the press and is not
difficult but it is tedious to insert and change. It is also very
easy to drop, and very easy to lose.
This part does not really require any adjustment but it must be
kept clean. spilled powder granules, expelled primer residue, dust,
and other stuff will migrate to the primer slide and fall into the
groove in which it slides. When this happens, the slide will be
prevented from completely aligning with the primer punch and you
will not be able to seat the primers. Your first thought will be
that the indexing is not working. You can test for this condition by
jiggling the case. If the primer aligns when you move the base of
the case out from the center of the shell plate, you have something
preventing proper alignment of your primer slide.
The primer slide spring ( part no 16 ) is attached securely and
should never come off or get kinked or broken. Unfortunately, It is
sometimes necessary to remove it to clean out the slide or replace
the primer seating punch. You need to have a spare because if
you drop it and it hits the floor ( in my shop ) it is gone forever.
Primer Ejection and Collection
Ejected primers regularly hang between the primer drop hole and the
shell plate requiring the shell plate to be jiggled manually before
it will index. This problem is aggravated by the primer ejector rod
in the sizing die being loose enough to wobble. Be sure the ejector
rod extends out far enough to push the primer completely into the
drop tube and be sure it is tight and does not wobble. These actions
will alleviate but not eliminate the problem. You will become
frustrated and want to yank on the handle to force the shell plate
to turn. DO NOT DO IT. You will break the Drive Hub ( Part no. 29).
Grasp the shell plate and jiggle it back and fourth until you hear
the primer fall.
Lock-n-Load Bushing Problems
These bushings appear to be a great idea, You will judge for
yourself but I consider them a headache.
They do not hold the die tightly like a conventional press. At the
top of the stroke when maximum force is applied to the die, the
bushings will shift about twenty to thirty thousandths. I cannot
tell that this has any adverse affect on the loaded ammo but it does
cause the bushings to work loose over time. It only occurs on the
dies with the most stress during the upstroke. In my case this is
the sizing die and the powder measure. When I first started using
the AP, I found myself picking the sizing die up off the floor about
every 200 rounds and catching the powder measure in my lap about
every 300. When I started watching, it was immediately apparent what
was happening. The only solution I could find, and my current
procedure is that every time I refill the primer tube, I remove both
the sizing die and the powder measure and reseat them with a 12 inch
crescent. This bushing working loose problem is not unique to
the AP. I have exactly the same problem with the LnL Classic single
If you change loads, bullets, crimp settings, seating depth, etc.
frequently they significantly complicate the process. If you have
only one load and one die setting per caliber, that is not a
consideration and they become a really quick and painless way to
I have read on the reloading forums that this bushing working loose
problem can be solved by using a thicker O ring but that it makes
the dies significantly harder to insert and extract. I have
not tried that solution.
They are made of steel but do not appear to be hardened.
The shell plate is made of steel and is very hard
. There are two versions of the shell plate. If you are buying a
used press or a used shell plate, be sure you have the appropriate
shell plate for your press.
The retainer spring is an excellent device to hold the cases in
place in the shell plate but allow them to be removed easily for
inspection. This spring is probably the most vulnerable part of the
whole machine. It will get kinks and eventually will break. Be sure
to keep an extra on hand. The Hornady part number for a package of
three springs is 392370. At this time a package of three is less than $8.00
Hornady LnL Powder Measure
The Hornady powder measure is one of the best I have ever used.
In all honesty it has only one flaw. The mounting bracket that comes
with it is totally useless. There is a hole on one end for the
powder measure but the hole on the other end is so large that it
cannot be held in place by a loading die. The only way I can figure
to use it is to mount it to the bench top with screws.
The measure normally comes with only one metering drum bus the
version with the case operated drop mechanism provided with the LnL
comes with both the rifle and the pistol metering drums.
You can see a complete review of this powder measure here:
Hornady Lock-N-Load Powder
Case Activated Powder Drop
This device is a mixed blessing but overall it goes in the Pros
column. It absolutely prevents dropping a powder charge if there is
no case in place to catch it. This makes the press easy to use as a
single stage loader just passing a single case around through all
the stations until it is completely loaded and ejected. This ability
greatly simplifies adjustments necessary when changing calibers. It
is especially handy when adjusting the bullet seating or crimping
Unfortunately, it also requires adjusting the powder drop linkage
every time you change to a cartridge with a different case length.
Even a change from .38 Special to .357 Magnum, a case length
difference of 0.135" requires a readjustment. I use one of the
die spacers for that adjustment as well as for the expander die and
the seater die. Since only one shim comes with a die set, I had to
buy two more.
Hornady supplies "powder sleeves" in four sizes. The difference is
in the length. This part must be of an appropriate length so that
the combined length of the cartridge case plus the sleeve pushes the
linkage just far enough to drop a powder charge. There is a separate
sleeve for .17 cal cartridges. I is sold separately. All these
sleeves come in "powder thru expander" versions. These are expander
plugs that expand the case mouth while at the same time allowing the
powder charge to fall into the case. All the powder thru expanders
are sold separately.
The case activated powder drop will not work with IMR type extruded
powders. The amount of force necessary to cut the kernels will cause
the powder sleeve to crimp the mouth of the cartridge case.
Attempting to load .223 with IMR 4198 will result in an empty
cartridge case with the mouth rounded over like a blank and 20+
grains of 4198 on your shell plate.
Changing from one cartridge to another is very easy after you have
your bushings install on your dies and your die settings adjusted
for your press and your bullet seating and crimping depth. Well,
there are other considerations:
If you don't need to change the primer size, a die change takes
about five minutes. Add five more if you change primer sizes, add
ten more if you are changing from rifle to pistol and need to change
the powder measure case activation drop tube. Add another five if
you need to change the powder measure metering drum.
Summary, changing dies will take five minutes. Changing cartridges
can take from five to thirty depending on just how much has to be
Changing cartridges will encompass one or more of the following
- Insert spacers under expander die, powder measure and
seating die. e.g. .44 Special to .44 Mag.
- Change the die set.
- Change the shell plate.
- Change the primer seating punch. ( Part No 26) *
- Change the primer seating slide. ( Part No. 15)
- Change the case activation powder drop sleeve. (-one of-
part no's 16,17,17,19,or 20 )
* If you have downloaded the manual from the Hornady web site,
there is a close-up of these parts on page 12.
Powder Cop Die
The powder cop die consists of a die body with a feeler rod that
enters the case mouth on the up stroke of the ram. The rod is free
floating and is pushed up by the powder charge. It gives a visual
indication of the depth of the powder charge in the case. It will
not tell you if your charge is off by half or a full grain but it
will tell you if it is missing, or double.
I consider a powder cop die an absolute necessity with any
progressive press. Sooner or later you will remove or damage a case
at a stage before the powder drop and you will wind up with no
charge or a double charge. The Hornady Powder Cop die is sold
separately and is Hornady part no.
050063 and is about $30.00.
The AP has a very interesting and convenient feature that
helps in this regard. Right in the center of the top plate is a
hole. The hole is three fourths inch in diameter and goes all the
way through the top plate. I have a small two "AA" cell LED
flashlight a MINI MAGLITE LED. I can stand this light on the top
plate facing light down through the hole and it will flood
considerable light on everything that is going on on the shell
plate. The best thing is that it will completely illuminate the
inside of the case at the station after the powder measure, the
station where the powder cop die will be if you have one. If you
don't have a powder cop die, this light will allow you to visually
inspect the level of the powder charge in the case. ( Obviously,
this will only work with straight sided cases. ) This method is not
as reliable as the powder cop die, but If you do not have the powder
cop die, you really should use the light.
EZject Ejection System
The loaded cartridge ejection system is problematical. It
occasionally grabs a cartridge case by the rim and simply will not
let go. In these instances, it is necessary to manually remove the
cartridge. Close inspection of these cartridge cases will shoe a
visible "bite" in the case rim. Hornady's official position on
this problem is that it is caused by operating the handle too fast,
with too much force. That sounds like a reasonable explanation - but
- It also happens when I am operating the handle very slowly while
watching the action of a die that is being adjusted.
I have tried polishing the ejection lug but I am afraid to change
the shape of it and polishing doesn't seem to help. This is the only
problem with this machine that I can't find an easy solution for.
Fortunately, it is not a high frustration level problem. It has very
little effect on the production rate because your left hand is
already in position with an empty case to be inserted.