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Old March 17, 2012, 02:10 PM   #1
tom234
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Hornady LNL Issues ?

I'm thinking about second press to load rifle cartridges and supplement my Dillon RL 550B that is set up for pistol cartridges. I've been considering the Hornady LNL but hear there are some issues with it. Namely, any powder debris stops the primer slide in it's track and over time the primer seater punch causes a divot in the frame resulting in improper primer seating. Hornady's auto indexing, 5 stations, and a powder measure that appears better suited for stick powders used in rifle cartridges looks very appealing.
What are the Hornady LNL issues and how does reliability compare with the RL550B ?
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Old March 17, 2012, 02:41 PM   #2
hounddawg
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first of all forget stick powder, ball and flake meter perfectly for me though. I don't use stick on pistols and I don't load precision rifle on progressive so that is not an issue. From my research I don't think there is a powder measure in existence that will dispense stick powder to my standards, even the auto dispense models that use a scale will be off .1 grain at times.

primer seating - so far I have loaded about 5K of pistol on mine and there is asmall divot as you call it forming but as of now primers are still seating fine, if it does become a issue I will do some hillbilly engineering and drill it out and install a piece of drill rod into it with some epoxy ( any Hornady reps reading this take note) or I might just drop a bit of epoxy and some powdered metal or metal shim on it. No biggie one way or the other, I used to fix things ofr a living and am not shy about modifying or strengthening a piece of equipment.

Edit: this thread got me curious so I went over and examined my press. A small flat washer and a dab epoxy to hold it in place and the dimple issue was resolved before it became a problem.

cleanliness - yep it is a piece of precision equipment and like any precison equipment needs to be kept clean. While primer debris has not been a issue for me any small amount of spilled powder makes for a guaranteed cussing session. I have fell into the habit of when I reload the primer tube I just take the index plate off and brush any powder/residue away with a chip brush, that involves removing one allen head screw and it takes maybe 5 minutes to take off clean and put it back on.

All in all I would say that for the money it can't be beat and cannot imagine that the presses that cost twice as much would be any better. Once I got over the learning curve and with a couple of tips from the Hornady customer service reps I can now load between 300 - 400 pistol rounds a hour and that is taking my time and doing the cleaning I mentioned above. If I bought and had several primer tubes preloaded I could probably do 500 an hour but I only shoot 200 to 300 rounds of pistol in any given range session so why bother.

When I was shopping for a progressive I had 1000 dollars to spend and was deciding between the Dillon 650 the Hornady LnL and the RCBS 2000. The Hornady was the best bang for the buck in my opinion. The RCBS was in second becasue of price and the primer feed system. I wish Hornady used the RCBS primer system because I hate the pick up stick method that Dillon and Hornady share. For me Dillon was dead last because it is so similar to the Hornady yet cost wise it is almost double. The Hornady is not perfect nor is it completely trouble free but after 35 years of working on complex production machinery I know that a perfect trouble free piece of machinery is a fairy tale.

I would rate the Hornady 5 stars on price, 4 stars on reliability, 3 stars on ease of learning and operation and 5 stars on customer service. Cost wise it beats the Dillon 550 and feature wise it compares to the Dillon 650 other than the low primer warning. Just my 2 cents worth
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Old March 17, 2012, 05:32 PM   #3
PA-Joe
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What type of rifle rounds are you talking about? Progressive presses are not well suited for bottlenecked rifle rounds. You have to lube the cases and then remove the lube.
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Old March 17, 2012, 05:50 PM   #4
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The primer system: A primer rides in a shuttle that slides back and forth. If powder or dust fouls the shuttle track it CAN mess up primer feeding. It's an easy fix. Keep a can of compressed air, like that used by computer technicians, a quick "blow" clears the shuttle track and you in business again in less than 5 seconds. I have loaded 1000 rounds in one sitting without fouling the primer shuttle. I don't really believe it is a problem. As long as the primer system is properly adjusted and clean, it is 100% reliable. I have had my LNL for 5 or 6 years. I have used Winchester, Wolf, Federal, Remington and CCI primers and I have not had an issue with any of them.

As far as the "divot" in the frame. Yes, it will eventually put divot in the frame but, with about 50,000 rounds through my LNL the divot has not caused me seating problems. My divot is no deper/different now than it was 30,000 rounds ago. Many people use a dab of JB Weld epoxy to weld a dime or piece of hack saw blade over the divot. So far, I haven't found it necessary.

Ninety nine percent of my loading on my LNL is pistol. I rarely load more than 100 rounds of rifle at one time. On those occassions when I do load more rifle, like 223 or 308 practice ammo. I size and deprime on my single stage. I then tumble my brass for 30 mins. or so to remove the Imperial Sizing Wax that I use for case lube. I then prime, powder charge and, seat bullets on my LNL. I don't crimp rifle cases, even 223 and 308.

You are correct about the LNL powder measure being better suited to "stick" type powder. It is a rotary type powder measure. I have found that a rotary powder measure is more consistent with "stick" type powder than a sliding bar type measure. That is based on experience with both types of measures. I usually get +/- .2 gr or less with IMR 4895.

I love my LNL. Since you already own a 550, you know that progressive presses require a bit of "tweaking" to get them operating smoothly. The LNL is no different. The LNL is an outstanding loading platform and Hornady Customer Service is impeccable and equal to anything Dillon has to offer. Remember, though these are just my opinions based on my experience, others may differ.
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Old March 18, 2012, 08:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
What type of rifle rounds are you talking about? Progressive presses are not well suited for bottlenecked rifle rounds. You have to lube the cases and then remove the lube.
An RCBS X-Die makes loading rifle on a progressive actually progressive. Once your brass is first FL sized, trimmed and ran through the X-Die, you can use the X-Die in place of the FL sizer on your progressive whenever you reload that same brass. The X-Die has a mandrel that retards the flow of brass to the same point each time so there is no need to trim. Since the brass is all the same length, roll crimping is easy as well on a progressive.
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Old March 18, 2012, 10:14 AM   #6
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I to get one of those RCBS dies in .223 . TAC measures great in that Hornady and + or - .1 gr is no biggie at the ranges I shout the AR at. Thanks for the tip
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Old March 18, 2012, 10:45 AM   #7
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The dimple issue is easily fixed as some have already mentioned. On mine I used a dime and a small dab of silicone caulking...works like a champ and is holding up just fine.

The primer feed system getting jammed up has happened to me once or twice when I was first learning to use the machine and figuring out all its little quirks. Its easily remedied with a can of compressed air or pick up a small cheap paintbrush from Walmart so you can brush away powder spills before they become an issue.

The LNL really is a great machine, yes it has a few minor quirks but what progressive press doesn't? Once you know how to fix them/tweak the machine it cranks out great ammo.

The biggest issue I have had was when the shellplate would index sometimes cases did not want to line up right for resizing. The bigger calibers had no issues, it was when I went to smaller calibers that the problem seemed to show itself. I am guessing there was just a hair more wiggle room with the bigger sizes. Adjusted the pawls VERY slowly and finally got it where it needed to be and it has been flawless since then.

There is actually a REALLY good post on here about adjusting the pawls.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=368171
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Old March 18, 2012, 01:20 PM   #8
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I plan on loading ,223, .243, AND .30-06 and will do the typical 2 phase process of case prep and removing case lube followed by normal reloading. I can hand prime but would prefer to use the press if I can "feel" the priming. Using a RL550, I’m aware of keeping everything clean and I've have no priming issues with the primer tube feed system. It does concern me that LNL priming is done on the opposite side [back] of the press where I'd guess one can't see a primer problem.
Stick powders shoot fine but the Dillon's powder measure certainly isn't made for them. LNL's powder measure should work as well as a RCBS Uniflow that I've used until I use up old stick powder and switch to ball.
What intrigues me about the LNL is the auto indexing and the ability to add a casefeeder to load rifle as well as pistol cases like the XL650. The RL550 flaw is one can only load pistol cases even with a RL550 casefeeder. Although the XL650 might be a better upgrade the initial cost is much more [~$180] and the numerous caliber conversions I'd need would all but break the bank. The LNL sells for about the same as the 550 and much less than the comparable XL650.
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Old March 18, 2012, 05:04 PM   #9
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You are right that the primer is at the back of the press where you can't see it very well. However, on the PLUS side and, I have always felt this was a HUGE PLUS, is that the bullet seating is at the FRONT of the press and it is very easy to look into each case before you seat the bullet. Powder Cop dies and Lockup Dies are nice and I use them but, I sure like visually checking the powder prior to bullet seating.

So, as always, there are trade-offs when deciding what to buy! Good Luck!
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Old March 18, 2012, 05:27 PM   #10
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COL & Shoulder Bump Variations. Hornady Lock N Load AP

Over on AR15.com they were taking about shims. Seems a shim is needed between a few things. 1. Between the ram & subplate. 2. Lock N load bushings that hold the dies. Free from Hornady for the L N L AP. Dont own Hornady myself.
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Old March 19, 2012, 05:16 PM   #11
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I have the Hornady, purchased new around Christmas.

I cannot recommend it, too finicky, poor QC from Hornady, great customer service though. You will be talking to them all the time.

Get a Dillon 650.
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Old March 19, 2012, 09:43 PM   #12
Petespacking
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I have a LNL AP and love it. I haven't had ANY problems with any aspect of the press. As far as powder debris getting into the primer feed, how would powder get there? I load thousands of rounds at a secession and don't see any debris in the slide mechanism. In fact I've never had a primer feed problem at all. I would recommend getting several extra primer filler tubes so you can keep loading with minimal interruption. Another plus is the powder measure, it holds the charge within a tenth of a grain through a run. With the LNL AP your biggest problem will be keeping brass lubed, bullets ready to use and primer tubes filled, it's a loading machine.

mumbo, how about letting me take that press off your hands so you can get your Dillon? I'd like to have another one set-up for 9mm only.
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Old March 20, 2012, 03:06 AM   #13
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Petespacking,

No problem, You will have to purchase the case feeder, shell plates for .380, 9mm, 40 S&W, PTX for 9 & 40.

If you live in Florida PM me and arrange to pick her up and negotiate a price.
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Old March 20, 2012, 04:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Petespacking I have a LNL AP and love it. I haven't had ANY problems with any aspect of the press. As far as powder debris getting into the primer feed, how would powder get there? I load thousands of rounds at a secession and don't see any debris in the slide mechanism. In fact I've never had a primer feed problem at all.
operator error on my part. When I first got the press I had to get into the habit of firmly seating the primer on the down stroke. Then the powder would drop and spill out through the empty primer cup which would jam the feed.

Only other problems with the press was when first learning the press I did not have the shell plate tight enough and a shell jammed when ejecting, instead of working my way through it and loosening the plate to remove the cartridge I forced it and broke the link between the shell plate and ram which is a designed in "weak link" to prevent ham handed operators like myself from breaking something more expensive. Hornady had me another one in the mail that day even though in my opinion it was my fault the original broke. Several thousand round later the little wheel on a primer slide came loose. I epoxy'ed the axle back in and called Hornady, not only did they sens me a replacement but a few spare springs as well. I am still using the epoxied one and have the other as a spare.

I would say the first 500 pieces of rounds were my learning curve and I can understand where mumbo is coming from. It takes some patience and I was trying to go too fast at first to see how many I could load an hour. My first 100 or so I was ready to send mine back to Midway. The next 200 or so I was began getting the hang of it, by 500 I had the rhythm down, and now I love it and cannot imagine loading my pistol ammo on a single stage again. I have loaded somewhere around 5000 bullets and would not change a thing except for the pickup stick primer loading. I am planning on loading another few hundred 38's later this morning.
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Old March 20, 2012, 09:42 PM   #15
Petespacking
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No problem, You will have to purchase the case feeder, shell plates for .380, 9mm, 40 S&W, PTX for 9 & 40.

If you live in Florida PM me and arrange to pick her up and negotiate a price.


Dang, I'm in Illinois. If you would like to entertain letting just the press go I'm very interested, I don't want the case feeder. That's a whole lot of extras for a press you don't like.........
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Old March 20, 2012, 10:00 PM   #16
Petespacking
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houndawg,
Yup, the LNL AP is a heck of a piece of equipment. I'm amazed at how the set up never needs adjustment. I do a quality check every primer fill and nothing changes. I change from one caliber to another and still no change. I do have two powder measures so that speeds up the change over too. I think the LNL AP is a well made precision piece of equipment!
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Old March 21, 2012, 12:20 PM   #17
tom234
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After reviewing Midway's replacement parts comments for the LNL I discovered the primer shuttle is made of cast aluminum. I assumed Hornady would make the shuttle out of steel. Based upon this and the shuttle's reported susceptibility to damage, it appears the primer shuttle is the LNL's Achilles heel. Additionally, some other replacement parts were reportedly "made of soft material" so that they fail so other more expensive parts don't. I'm getting the impression that I might just be better off investing in a second 550; I haven't broken ANY parts since I bought my old 550 in 1987.
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Old March 22, 2012, 03:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
Petespacking
Dang, I'm in Illinois. If you would like to entertain letting just the press go I'm very interested, I don't want the case feeder. That's a whole lot of extras for a press you don't like.........
Ahh, your looking for welfare. So sorry, do like I do and work for it.

I never said I don't like it, reread my post.

As far as the extras (case feeder) I have arthritis, I'll use any tool to help me load with less pain. I am also considering BUYING a bullet feeder.

Last edited by Unclenick; March 22, 2012 at 09:48 AM.
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Old March 22, 2012, 09:26 AM   #19
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Mumbo,

You are apparently misreading. Pete is merely asking if you would consider selling the press without the extra accessories you mentioned. I'm not sure what you would do with them without the press—eBay maybe—but that's what he is asking; not for a giveaway. You could ask if he is interested in chancing the eBay route.

Your final comment was inappropriate flame fuel, and I have deleted it.


For anyone interested, there is a stick powder measure that will get 0.1 grain consistency. It's called the JDS Quick Measure and is guaranteed to hold 0.2 grains, but when vibration settles the powder mine always holds 0.1. But it's an extra expense and the progressive press adapter for it is an extra expense on top of that. Still, it's the best, most consistent stick powder measure I have, beating my old RCBS Uniflow and my Redding BR-30, as well as the Dillon slide-bar measures. The next best with sticks after the Quick Measure is, believe it or not, one of my two the Lee Perfect measures that I originally got on sale for my portable kit. One works better than the other, though.


Tom123,

I would have worked the plan the other way around, getting the LNL for pistol loading, where volume tends to be highest, and using the 550 for rifle to take advantage of the manual indexing for separating out the sizing and trimming operations (or you can go the X-die route). If, like me, you don't normally crimp your rifle loads anyway, you can still put a powder check die in station three and seat at station four. You would then want to use your left hand to operate the handle to free your right hand for case and bullet feeding and, optionally do the indexing with it, too (your choice). Speed would not be my main concern, as one doesn't normally shoot through rifle ammo nearly as quickly as handgun rounds.

I find medium power bottleneck rifle rounds will grow an average of around .005" per sizing cycle, but it's not consistent with every case, so you do best to check with a gauge each time if you are not using the X-die. Some folks take a spare 550 die head and mount the sizing die and a Dillon motorized trimmer in it and size and trim progressively, skipping primer seating until the second operation set. Then a second die head holds the dies for the remaining operations. Since you only have to pull two pins to change a die head, that's a quick operation.
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Old March 22, 2012, 02:17 PM   #20
tom234
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Unclenick,
You're right about getting the LNL for pistol but unfortunately I made the decision to get a 550 casefeeder several years ago when I was only into action pistol matches. I obviously didn't plan ahead like I usually do. At the time I didn't think I'd be moving to the Midwest, getting into .223 loading, and doing some varmint hunting. I could just stay with the 550, move the casefeeder out of the way or just case prep and prime off the press and start with station #2. A second press was another option that I can afford.

Thanks guys for all the insights. I think this thread has run it's course.
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Old March 22, 2012, 10:00 PM   #21
Petespacking
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mumbo,
I asked to BUY it, I don't want it free. If you're not happy with it we can go through ebay or the sales forum, I'm interested.
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Old March 22, 2012, 10:18 PM   #22
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I just use the air compressor I bought from harbor freight for $40. to clear any loose powder. I'll take the case feeder if you really want to get rid of your press
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Old October 23, 2012, 02:16 PM   #23
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I have owned a L-N-L for three months now and I finally gave up. It is a total POS. I just sold it. I spent more than 50% of the time fussing with many many many issues.

* auto indexing is a joke
* Primer shuttle guide rod jumps out of the pocket
* Primer shuttle gets stuck and won't load
* Indexing pawls break constantly
* Ez-ject systems jams and somtimes cases are thrown to the left
* cases fail to align with the Stage one
* Spring case retainer is a poor design

I don't know who designed this press but it is a terrible sub-par design that needs constant operator attention.
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Old October 23, 2012, 04:42 PM   #24
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Quote:
Based upon this and the shuttle's reported susceptibility to damage, it appears the primer shuttle is the LNL's Achilles heel.
"Achilles heel?"

Really?

Some little pos part, that can't be more than a few bucks to replace, IF it ever needs it?

I've got close to 10,000 rounds of centerfires through mine in the last 3 years..
.223, 7-08, 6.5 Grendel, 7.5 x 55, 7.62 x 54R, .308....
Large and small primers...and mine hasn't had a hiccup yet.

You like blue, that's your perogative. But don't make a mountain out of a non-existent molehill...

Give this a read:

http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillon...Comparison.pdf
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Old October 23, 2012, 06:26 PM   #25
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I can't provide a first hand comparison because I've not owed a Dillon RL550. Keep in mind, though that the LNL-AP is more comparable to the Dillon 650 (five stations, automatic indexing). Everyone that I know who has a Dillon is well satisfied with it.

My Hornady has been very reliable. I've probably loaded about 5000 rounds so far, mostly .38 with a fair number of .45 ACP and a handful of other pistol rounds.

The priming mechanism on mine was fairly sensitive to fouling from spilled powder and other gunk. I polished the primer shuttle and got into the habit of cleaning it out periodically. As other have said it is easy to keep clean. Once the press broke it a little it seems less less sensitive. Primer seating is very good now especially with small size primers which represents most of my loading.

I am pretty well satisfied with mine.
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